Philo of Alexandria

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Phantasy representation of Philons, drawing in the Nuremberg Chronicle

Philo of Alexandria ( Greek Φίλων Phílōn , Latinized Philo Alexandrinus or Philo Iudaeus ; Hebrew Yedidia (Jedediah) HaCohen ידידיה הכהן; * at 15/10 BC Chr .; † after 40 AD) was an influential Jewish philosopher and theologian. He is the most famous thinker of Hellenistic Judaism .


Little is known about the life of Philo. In 39/40 he took part in the delegation of the Alexandrian Jews to Emperor Caligula , about which he expressed himself in his autobiographical work Legatio ad Gaium . At this point he said he was already an elderly man . His life dates are therefore to about 20-10 BC. Estimated to AD 40–50. Philo has a high position in the Jewish community of Alexandria have held, as well as showing its participation in the mission. Flavius ​​Josephus writes that Philo was "held in the highest honor" by the Jewish community and was "not uneducated in philosophy".


Philo came from one of the most distinguished and richest Jewish-Hellenistic families of his time. His brother Tiberius Iulius Alexander , alabarch (i.e. Jewish community leader), responsible for collecting taxes, maintained good relations with Agrippa I and the Romans. From his fortune he is said to have paid for the gold and silver door fittings of the Jerusalem temple. His son of the same name , Philon's nephew, had apparently turned away from the Jewish religion in order to pursue a career in the Roman administration. As prefect of Egypt under Nero in AD 66 , he was responsible for the bloody suppression of the Jewish uprising and is said to have participated in the conquest of Jerusalem on the Roman side in AD 70.

Mediator role between Judaism and Hellenism

Philo can be seen as an outstanding example of the symbiosis of Judaism and Hellenism in the Diaspora Judaism of the 1st century: On the one hand, he was rooted in the Jewish tradition. His writings are primarily an interpretation of the Torah , even if they are deeply philosophical. Philo knew a lot about Jewish life in the temple, in the synagogues and in the houses. He certainly had connections to Palestinian Judaism, but these cannot be reconstructed due to the lack of direct evidence. At least one time, Philo casually noticed that he had attended the service in the Jerusalem Temple ( De Providentia II 107). The church father Jerome narrates in Vir Ill 11 that Philo is said to have been of priestly origin. If so, he may have had contacts with the Sadducees . Because his interpretations refer exclusively to the Torah, other Old Testament writings, the Nebiim and Ketubim , he hardly noticed. It is interesting that Philo could hardly speak Hebrew: Although he often cites “Chaldean” etymologies in his explanations, these are usually not well-founded. For the relatively few applicable etymologies, it can be assumed that Philo used handbooks and etymological collections that have been traceable in Egypt since the second century.

On the other hand, Philo was also very much influenced by Greek education. In accordance with his social status, he went through the Hellenistic path of education, as his discussions of the enkyklios paideia show. He spoke Greek flawlessly. His writings also contain numerous quotations and allusions from Greek literature. Possibly he had contact with the Greek philosophy schools in Alexandria. Obviously Philon participated to a large extent in the cultural and social life of Alexandria. Philon went to dinner (Leg all III 155 f.), Regularly visited the theater and listened to concerts (Ebr 177, Prob 141), watched the pankration (Prob 26) and horse races (Apol Jud bei Eusebius , Praep Ev VII 14.58) . Elsewhere, however, Philo suggests that the city's triennial sports competitions are examples of competition and debauchery. A Jew should therefore avoid participating as much as possible, but if he is pressured to do so, he should not refuse (Agr 110-121).


The allegorical exegesis

The allegorical method of Philo comes from the Greek Homer -Interpretation. Philo knows two senses of writing: on the one hand a kind of literal sense and next to it the allegorical sense. He often uses both interpretations side by side, but prefers the philosophical, allegorical method.

Philo presented the Pentateuch (in its Greek Septuagint version), written by Moses , to his contemporaries as the highest philosophy . All leading Greek philosophers would later have learned from Moses. In order to explain the philosophy of Moses, Philo uses the allegorical interpretation, which thus not only fulfills an inner-Jewish and edifying function, but also an apologetic function. With the allegorical interpretation, Philo can prove that Moses not only wanted to tell banal acts of the patriarchs (Somn I 39), but that they should in fact serve as models for virtues. Adam stands for thinking (nous), Eve for perception (aisthesis). The Garden of Eden stands for the highest joy, the serpent for desire. Cain symbolizes the sophist, Abel the piety. Jacob embodied the practice of the ascetic, Esau the stupidity. The figure of Abraham symbolizes the virtue of learning, the ability to learn, etc.

The essential characteristic of Philon's allegorical exegesis is to find a tertium comparationis in the figures and events of Scripture (e.g. the individual virtues) that is more general than the individual stories and with the aim of applying it to the present can be. "To recognize the 'general' that is revealed in the 'particular' of the Holy Scriptures is the systematic goal of Philo of Alexandria in his explanations of the Old Testament".

Philo could, however, also insist that the rules of the Pentateuch should not only be interpreted allegorically, but actually obeyed. Because of his responsibilities in the Alexandrian Jewish community, this aspect was also important.

Theology and philosophy

A systematic presentation of Philon's philosophical thoughts can hardly be drawn up. Above all, he sprinkles his thoughts in the course of his exegesis; his philosophy is not of one piece and contains many inconsistencies. Philo was influenced by the middle Stoa as well as the middle Platonism , whereby he occasionally shows influences by the New Pythagoreanism . Borrowings from Aristotle occur only sporadically, mostly he expresses himself critical of him. Again and again it becomes clear that Philo tried to bring Greek philosophy into harmony with Jewish theology .

God and the world

The division of the cosmos aisthetos in Philo

Philo represents the complete separation - not just the distinction - between the purely spiritual world (kosmos noêtos) and the sensually perceptible world (kosmos aisthetos). The dividing line is drawn so strictly by Philo that the apparitions of God seem impossible to him in the biblical sense. Since like can only be known through like, real knowledge of God is impossible for man. The Jewish and Christian concept of God's self-revelation takes a back seat with Philon. Starting from this separation, Philo seeks an answer to the question of how the mediation between God and the world can still take place. Philo's solution: We can never perceive being itself, i.e. God, but our powers (dynameis). These powers are also expressed biblically through the divine names theos and kyrios. Although the forces are actually without a number, Philo usually mentions three or six. His trinity of God's powers was taken up in the formulation of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. For Philo the triad consists mostly of God's goodness and authority, both of which are held together by God's Logos . The Logos is the aspect of God related to the created world; but sometimes it is also treated as a separate hypostasis and sometimes even called deuteros theos (second god). The forces of God with which he works in the world, Philo then also identifies with the angels of the Bible and with the daimones of Greek philosophy.

However, some ambiguities remain in Philo's attempt to combine Jewish theology with Greek philosophy:

  • In the characterization of beings (God himself) Philo vacillates between the philosophical concept of God to on ( the beings) and the biblical ho ôn ( he prefers) ( the beings; from Exodus 3,14 LXX). "Between the personal God of the Bible and the operative principle of so-called philosophical monotheism there is a gap that never really comes into Philo's view." Although no statements could actually be made about beings according to Philo, Philo still describes him - biblically - several times as good and the origin of all good.
  • The doctrine of the mediation authorities also ultimately remains unclear. On the one hand, the logoi or dynameis are presented as God's ideas (platonic) or God's active forces (stoic), but in other places they appear as independent hypostases, especially when Philo identifies them with angels (Jewish). The one Logos also has a share in this ambivalence: He is the idea that includes all other ideas, the force that includes all other forces; and on the other hand he is also very personally portrayed by Philo as the archangel who passes on the revelations of God (Leg all III 62; Conf 28; Somn I 41; Her 42 etc.), or as the high priest who stands up for people with God ( Gig 11, Migr 18, Fug 20, Her 42, Vit Mos II 26). Whether the logos is a quality of God or a person remains unsolved. "The Logos as mediator must be both distinct from both parties, and yet also be in some way like both parties, and this contradiction is unresolved."


In a similar way to Plato, Philo has little regard for earthly matter. For him too, the human body is the prison of the soul (desmôtêrion: Ebr 26; Leg all III 14, Migr 2), the corpse with which the soul drags around (Leg all III 22, Gig 3, Agr 5), the grave from which it will awaken to new life (Leg all I 33). This idea is connected with the biblical doctrine of sin. Sin is innate in man, and even the best person is not free from sin (Vit Mos II 29, Courage 6). The goal is therefore - thought entirely in Greek - the liberation of the soul. The liberation of the soul does not take place as a reunification of the partial human Logos with the general one, as the Stoa teaches, but Philo tries a synthesis with the Jewish tradition on this point as well: The liberation of the soul does not lead to reunificatio , but to Divine show. This liberation takes place as disembodiment, whereby the soul can reach a purely spiritual area, in which it becomes possible to see God. The name Israel is also explained as "he who sees God" (jisra-el). The statement that Philo was a mystic, however, is hardly tenable. It is true that Philo is concerned with seeing God, but Philo does not know a unio mystica because for him God is, so to speak, “the very other”, with whom the human soul cannot be united. A reunification of the human Logos with the general Logos is not possible for Philo.


So how does one get to the vision of God in Philo? The right way to God leads through a virtuous life, through ethics. On the Jewish side, one can think of the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law, but Philo also emphasizes - according to the Stoic apathy ideal - the extinction of desire and passion as the highest goal (Leg all III 11, 45). Like the Stoics, he calls for freedom from feelings and a simple life, combined with the ideal of “general human love”. However, man cannot manage to live virtuously on his own. God puts the virtues in the soul of a person, and whoever gives himself completely to God can achieve perfection. According to Philo, this vision of God is actually also possible in earthly life.

Philo and the women

Not much is known about Philo's attitude towards women in private life, but it can be assumed that he tended to be more conservative-patriarchal. In the philosophical context, for Philo, “the feminine” is a symbol for the earthly and corporeal that has to be overcome. In the background of the perception of women there is a deep-seated blood taboo, which is probably derived from the Old Testament purity regulations (Lev 15: 19-30). The desires that the wise man has to overcome on his way to the vision of God are "feminine" for Philo, the way to salvation is therefore also a process of "masculinization". The ideal woman for Philo is the virgin, by which he means women before and after menstruation. The virgin, who is not stained by the bleeding and who has no sexual intercourse with a human man, is in Philo's thought the ideal of the "masculinized" woman. In his interpretation of the Bible he interprets the patriarchal wives (e.g. Sarah , the wife of Abraham) as virgins who did not receive their descendants through sexual intercourse with their husbands, but only from God. As virgins, the patriarchal women can then become an allegory for the human soul. The soul, which frees itself from all physical and earthly desires, can become the bride of the divine Logos as a pure virgin and receive the virtues from him as the fruit of divine love. That this is not just about symbolism is shown by Philo in his work on the 'ideal Jewish community' of the " therapists ", in which he ( De Vita Contemplativa 68) speaks about their female members that they reject the joys of the body and none strive for physical offspring. For this they are given by God the wisdom logos, which brings forth the virtues as immortal descendants of the soul.


Philon of Alexandria (fantasy portrait from 1584)

On the Jewish side, Philo soon disappeared from cultural memory. This may be related to the fact that the rabbinical authorities, who later became influential, had little interest in Hellenistic Judaism. But of course also with the abrupt fall of Hellenistic Judaism itself, i. H. with its physical annihilation in the devastating revolts of the Egyptian Jews in the years 115–117.

On the Christian side, on the other hand, Philo had a great impact - his writings have been handed down by the Christian Church. Clement of Alexandria refers to him in great detail in the Stromateis. Eusebius discusses the question of the therapist in Philo's Vita Contemplativa and quotes from Philon's lost writings in the Praeparatio Evangelica. Even Origen , Gregory of Nyssa , Ambrose , Jerome and Augustine owed him much, especially the allegorical interpretation of the Bible. Philon's concept of the logos could be evaluated for Christology, his triadic structure of God's powers for the doctrine of the Trinity. Due to his popularity with the early Christian writers, Philo became the church father honoris causa (D. T. Runia). Some Greek catenary manuscripts actually regard Philo as a bishop .

Martin Luther mentions Philon in his late book Von den Jüden und their Lügen (from 1543) by name with reference to the fact that “such outcry from the born Christ ” had sounded around Bethlehem at the time of Herod in order to win over the Jews .

In Jewish research, Philo has only been widely received since the 19th century. The emancipated Judaism served Philo as evidence that secular, classical education and loyalty to the faith of the fathers can be quite compatible.


Philo was a very prolific writer. Almost 50 of his writings have survived, some of them only in Latin or Armenian translation. At least 20 to 25 more are lost, as can be seen from the list of Philonic writings in Eus , HE II 18.1–8, as well as from Philon's own cross-references.

Exegetical writings

  • Vit Mos: De vita Moysis (two books) (introductory biographically oriented work on Moses as lawgiver, priest and prophet)
  • Op: De opificio mundi (interpretation of Gen 1–3: cosmological justification of the law)
  • Abr: De Abrahamo (the patriarchs as embodied unwritten law)
  • Jos: De Iosepho (Joseph as a model for a politician)
  • Dec: De decalogo (general explanation of the law)
  • Spec Leg: De specialibus legibus (four books) (special explanation of the law: vol. 1: circumcision, priest, sacrifice; vol. 2: Sabbath, parental command; vol. 3: adultery, murder; vol. 4: desire [8. -10th commandment])
  • Virt: De virtutibus (virtues such as courage, philanthropy and penance)
  • Praem: De praemiis et poenis. De benedictionibus et exsecrationibus (virtue is rewarded, iniquity is punished)

Allegorical Commentary on Genesis (19 treatises commenting verses on Gen 2–17)

  • Leg All: Legum allegoriae (3 books) (Book 1: Gen 2,1–17; Book 2: Gen 2,18–3,1a; Book 3: Gen 3,8b – 19)
  • Cher: De Cherubim (Gen 3.24; 4.1)
  • Sacr: De sacrificiis Abelis et Caini (Gen 4,2-4)
  • Det: Quod deterius potiori insidiari soleat (Gen 4,8–15)
  • Post: De posteritate Caini (Gen 4,16-25)
  • Gig: De gigantibus (Gen 6: 1-4)
  • Imm: Quod Deus immutabilis sit (Gen 6.4-12)
  • Agr: De agricultura (Gen 9.20a)
  • Plant: De plantatione (Gen 9,20b)
  • Ebr: De ebrietate (Gen 9:21)
  • Sobr: De sobrietate (Gen 9,24-27)
  • Conf: De confusione linguarum (Gen 11: 1-9)
  • Migr: De migratione Abrahami (Gen 12: 1-6)
  • Heres: Quis divinarum rerum heres sit (Gen 15: 2-18)
  • Congr: De congressu eruditionis gratia (Gen 16: 1-6)
  • Fuga: De fuga et inventione (Gen 16: 6-14)
  • Courage: De mutatione nominum (Gen 17.1-22)
  • De deodorant (poor. Received) (Gen 18.2)
  • Somn: De somniis (five books, two of which have survived) (dreams in Gen 28, 12 ff; 31, 11 ff .; 37; 40 f.)
  • Quaest in Gen: Quaestiones et Solutiones in Genesim (individual problems of interpretation in the question-and-answer scheme)
  • Quaest in Ex: Quaestiones et Solutiones in Exodum (ditto)

Historical and apologetic works

  • Flacc: In Flaccum (persecution of Jews in Alexandria under Flaccus)
  • Leg Gai: Legatio ad Gaium (persecution of Jews in Alexandria and embassy to Rome 39/40 AD)
  • Vit Cont: De vita contemplativa (description of the Jewish community of therapists near Alexandria)
  • Apol Jud: Apologia pro Iudaeis / Hypothetica (description of origin, customs and laws of the Jews)

Philosophical writings

  • Prob: Quod omnis probus liber sit (stoic discussion about human freedom)
  • Aet: De aeternitate mundi (Defense of the indestructibility of the cosmos)
  • Prov: De providentia (two books) (stoic dialogue on prophecy)
  • De animalibus (handed down in Armenian; dialogue with Alexander, whether animals have reason)

Work overview

The alphabetically arranged overview lists the Latin, German and English work titles as well as the abbreviations according to common lists of abbreviations.

Latin title German title English title RGG⁴ ThWNT Studia Philonica Annual
Apologia pro Judaeis The indictment of the Jews Hypothetica: Apology for the Jews apol. ? Hypoth.
De Abrahamo About Abraham On Abraham Abr. Abr Abr.
De aeternitate mundi About the eternity of the world On the Eternity of the World aet. Aet mouth Aet.
De acricultura About agriculture On Husbandry agr. Agric Agr.
De animalibus About the animals anim. ? Anim.
De Cherubim About the cherubim On the cherubim Cher. Cher Cher.
De confusione linguarum About the confusion of languages On the Confusion of Tongues conf. Conf Ling Conf.
De congressu eruditionis gratia About living together because of general education On mating with the preliminary studies congr. Congr Congr.
De decalogo About the Decalogue The Decalogue decal. Decal Decal.
De ebrietate About the intoxication On drunkenness ebr. Ebr Ebr.
De fuga et inventione About escape and invention On flight and finding ? Fug Fug.
De gigantibus About the giants On the Giants gig. Gig Gig.
De Josepho About Joseph On Joseph Jos. Jos Ios.
De migratione Abrahami About the wandering of Abraham On the Migration of Abraham migr. Migr Abr Migr.
De mutatione nominum About changing names On the change of names courage. Courage nom Courage.
De opificio mundi About the creation of the world On the creation opif. Op mouth Opif.
De plantatione About the planting (Noahs) Concerning Noah's Work as a Planter plans. Plant Plant.
De posteritate Caini About the descendants of Cain On the Posterity of Cain and His Exile post Office. Poster C Post Office.
De praemiis et poenis About rewards and penalties On Rewards and Punishments praem. Praem Poen Praem.
De providentia About providence On Providence I II prov. ? Prov.
De sacrificiis Abelis et Caini About the sacrifices of Abel and Cain On the Birth of Abel sacr. Sacr AC Sacr.
De sobrietate About sobriety On Sobriety sobr. Sobr Sobr.
De somniis About dreams On Dreams I-II somn. Som Somn.
De specialibus legibus About the individual laws The Special Laws I II III IV spec. Spec Leg Spec.
De virtutibus About the virtues On the virtues virt. Virt Virt.
De vita contemplativa About the contemplative life On the contemplative life cont. Vit Cont Contempl.
De vita Mosis About the life of Moses On the Life of Moses I II Mos. Vit Mos Mos.
In flaccum Against Flaccus Flaccus Flacc. Flacc Flacc.
Legatio ad Gajum Embassy to Gaius On the Embassy to Gaius legat. Leg Gaj Legacy.
Legum allegoriae Allegorical explanation of the laws Allegorical Interpretation I II III LA Leg All Leg.
Quaestiones in Exodum Questions about Exodus Questions and Answers on Exodus QE Quaest in Ex QE
Quaestiones in Genesim Questions about Genesis Questions and Answers on Genesis I II III QG Quaest in Gn QG
Quis rerum divinarum heres sit About the heir of the divine Who is the Heir of Divine Things here. Rer Div Her Her.
Quod deterius potiori insidiari soleat About the reenactments that the worse prepares for the better Worse is Wont to Attack Better det. Det pot ins Det.
Quod Deus sit immutabilis About the immutability of God On the Unchangableness of God Deus Deus Imm Deus
Quod omnis probus liber sit About the freedom of the capable Every Good Man is Free prob. Omn Prob Lib Prob.

Text editions and translations

Latin and Armenian versions

  • Françoise Petit: L'ancienne version latine des Questions sur la Genèse de Philon d'Alexandrie (= texts and investigations on the history of early Christian literature, vol. 113-114, ISSN  0082-3589 ). 2 volumes (Vol. 1: Edition critique , Vol. 2: Commentaire ). Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1973.
  • James R. Royse: The Spurious Texts of Philo of Alexandria. A Study of Textual Transmission and Corruption with Indexes to the Major Collections of the Greek Fragments (= Works on the Literature and History of Hellenistic Judaism, Vol. 22). Brill, Leiden et al. 1991, ISBN 90-04-09511-X .
  • Folker Siegert: The Armenian Philon - text inventory, editions, research history. In: Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte Vol. 100, 1989, ISSN  0044-2925 , pp. 353-369.
  • Folker Siegert: Philon of Alexandria. About the god designation "charitable consuming fire" (De Deo). Back translation of the fragment from Armenian, German translation and commentary (= Scientific Studies on the New Testament, Vol. 46). Mohr, Tübingen 1988, ISBN 3-16-145234-8 .
  • Abraham Terian: Philonis Alexandrini de Animalibus. The Armenian Text with an Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (= Studies in Hellenistic Judaism Vol. 1). Scholars Press, Chico (CA) 1981, ISBN 0-89130-472-X (also: Basel, Universität, Dissertation, 1979).


Overview representations in manuals

Overall presentations and investigations

  • Émile Bréhier : Les idées philosophiques et religieuses de Philon d'Alexandrie (= Etudes de Philosophie Médiévale. Vol. 8). 3rd edition, Vrin, Paris 1950.
  • Isaak Heinemann: Philon's Greek and Jewish Education. Cross-cultural studies on Philon's presentation of Jewish laws. M. & H. Marcus, Breslau 1931 (reprint: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1962).
  • Hans Jonas : Gnosis and late antique spirit. Volume 1: The mythological gnosis (= research on the religion and literature of the Old and New Testaments. Volume 51 = NF volume 33, ZDB -ID 528176-3 ). Vandenhoeck u. Ruprecht, Göttingen 1934 (several editions).
  • Harry Austryn Wolfson : Philo. Philos Foundation of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity and Islam (= Structure and Growth of Philosophic Systems from Plato to Spinoza. Vol. 2, 1-2). 2 volumes. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (MA) 1947, ISBN 0-674-66450-7 (multiple editions).
  • Karl Bormann : The philosophy of ideas and logos of Philons of Alexandria. An argument with HA Wolfson. Cologne 1955 (Cologne, university, dissertation, 1955).
  • Jean Daniélou : Philon d'Alexandrie. Fayard, Paris 1958.
  • Erwin R. Goodenough: An introduction to Philo Judaeus. 2nd Edition. Blackwell, Oxford 1962 (Reprint: University Press of America, Lanham (MD) et al. 1986, ISBN 0-8191-5335-4 ).
  • Ursula Früchtel: The cosmological ideas in Philo of Alexandria. A contribution to the history of genesis sexegesis (= work on the literature and history of Hellenistic Judaism. Vol. 8, ZDB -ID 525641-0 ). Brill, Leiden 1968 (also: Hamburg, University, dissertation, 1962/1963).
  • Irmgard Christiansen: The technique of allegorical interpretative science in Philo of Alexandria (= contributions to the history of biblical hermeneutics. Vol. 7, ZDB -ID 503127-8 ). Mohr, Tübingen 1969 (also: Kiel, University, dissertation, 1964).
  • Ronald Williamson: Philo and the epistle of the Hebrews (= works on the literature and history of Hellenistic Judaism. Vol. 4). Brill, Leiden 1970.
  • Jenny Morris: The Jewish Philosopher Philo. In: Emil Schürer : The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 BC - AD 135) . Vol. 3, 2, ed. by Geza Vermes , Fergus Millar , Martin Goodman . Clark, Edinburgh 1987, ISBN 0-567-02242-0 , pp. 809-870.
  • Dorothy I. Sly: Philo's Perception of Women (= Brown Judaic Studies. Vol. 209). Scholars Press, Atlanta (GA) 1990, ISBN 1-55540-500-2 (also: Hamilton, McMaster University, dissertation).
  • Peder Borgen: Philo of Alexandria. An Exegete for His Time (= Supplements to Novum Testamentum. Vol. 86). Brill, Leiden et al. 1997, ISBN 90-04-10388-0 .
  • Joachim Kügler: Pharaoh and Christ? Study of the history of religion on the question of a connection between ancient Egyptian royal theology and New Testament Christology in the Gospel of Luke (= Bonner Biblical Contributions. Vol. 113). Philo, Bodenheim 1997, ISBN 3-8257-0072-0 , esp. Pp. 224–243 (also: Bonn, Universität, habilitation thesis, 1996/1997).
  • Christian Noack: God Consciousness. Exegetical studies on soteriology and mysticism with Philo of Alexandria (= Scientific studies on the New Testament. Series 2, vol. 116). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2000, ISBN 3-16-147239-X (also: Frankfurt am Main, University, dissertation, 1998).
  • Maren R. Niehoff: Philo on Jewish Identity and Culture (= Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism. Vol. 86). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2001, ISBN 3-16-147611-5 .
  • Roland Deines (Ed.): Philo and the New Testament. Mutual perceptions. I. International Symposium on the Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum 1. – 4. May 2003 Eisenach / Jena (= Scientific Studies on the New Testament. Vol. 172). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2004, ISBN 3-16-148396-0 .
  • Kenneth Schenck: A Brief Guide to Philo. Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville (KY) 2005, ISBN 0-664-22735-X .
  • Adam Kamesar (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to Philo . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2009, ISBN 978-1-139002394 .
  • René Bloch : Moses in the mirror of Philons: Autobiographical facts in Philons Moses-Biographie , in: Jüdische Drehbühnen, pp. 29–52, Mohr Siebeck Tübingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-16-152264-2
  • Torrey Seland (Ed.): Reading Philo: A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria . William B Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids (MI) / Cambridge (UK) 2014, ISBN 978-0-8028-7069-8 .
  • Otto Kaiser : Philo of Alexandria. Thinking Faith - An Introduction (= research on the religion and literature of the Old and New Testaments. Vol. 259). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-525-54041-1 .
  • Ze'ev Strauss: The Enlightenment of Judaism in Platonism. On the Jewish-Platonic sources of German idealism, presented on the basis of Hegel's examination of Philo of Alexandria (= sources and studies on philosophy 137). De Gruyter, Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-11-062463-2


  • David T. Runia: Philo of Alexandria. On the Creation of the Cosmos according to Moses (= Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series. Vol. 1). Brill, Leiden et al. 2001, ISBN 90-04-12169-2 .
  • Pieter W. van der Horst: Philo's Flaccus. The First Pogrom (= Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series. Vol. 2). Brill, Leiden et al. 2003, ISBN 90-04-13118-3 .
  • Folker Siegert : Three Hellenistic-Jewish sermons - De Jona, De Jona (fragment), De Sampsone. JCB Mohr, Tübingen 1992, ISBN 3-16-145758-7 .
  • E. Mary Smallwood: Philonis Alexandrini Legatio ad Gaium. Brill, Leiden 1970.
  • David Winston, John Myles Dillon : Two Treatises of Philo of Alexandria. A Commentary on “De Gigantibus” and “Quod Deus Sit Immutabilis” (= Brown Judaic Studies. Vol. 25). Scholars Press, Chico (CA) 1983, ISBN 0-89130-563-7 .
  • Reinhard v. Bendemann: Philo of Alexandria - On the freedom of the righteous . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2016, ISBN 978-3-525-53465-6 .
  • Bernhard Lang: Philo of Alexandria - The life of the politician or About Josef. A philosophical story. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-525-53468-7 .


  • Peder Borgen, Kåre Fuglseth, Roald Skarsten (Eds.): The Philo Index. A Complete Greek Word Index to the Writings of Philo of Alexandria. Lemmatised and Computer-Generated. William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids (MI) et al. 2000, ISBN 90-04-11477-7 .
  • Hans Leisegang : Philonis Alexandrini opera quae supersunt. Volume 7: Indices ad Philonis Alexandrini opera. Reimer, Berlin 1926.
  • Günter Mayer: Index Philoneus. De Gruyter, Berlin et al. 1974, ISBN 3-11-004536-2 .

Bibliographies and Research Reports

  • Peder Borgen: Philo of Alexandria. A Critical and Synthetical Survey of Research since World War II. In: Rise and Fall of the Roman World. Part 2: Principate. Volume 21: Religion (Hellenistic Judaism in Roman times: Philon and Josephus). Part 2. De Gruyter, Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-11-009522-X , pp. 98-154.
  • Roberto Radice, David T. Runia: Philo of Alexandria. An Annotated Bibliography 1937–1986 (= Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae. Vol. 8). 2nd, unchanged edition. Brill, Leiden et al. 1992, ISBN 90-04-08986-1 .
  • David T. Runia: Philo of Alexandria. An Annotated Bibliography 1987-1996. With Addenda for 1937-1986 (= Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae. Vol. 57). Brill, Leiden et al. 2000, ISBN 90-04-11682-6 .
  • David T. Runia: Philo of Alexandria. An Annotated Bibliography 1997-2006. With Addenda for 1987-1996 (= Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae. Vol. 109). Brill, Leiden et al. 2012, ISBN 978-90-04-21080-6 ( online, PDF at doab ).


Web links

Commons : Philon of Alexandria  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Philo of Alexandria  - Sources and full texts


  1. René Bloch : Moses in the mirror of Philons: Autobiographical in Philons Moses-Biographie. In: René Bloch: Jewish revolving stages. Biblical Variations in Ancient Judaism. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2013, ISBN ISBN 978-3-16-152264-2 , p. 30.
  2. Flavius ​​Josephus, Antiquitates Iudaicae 18,258.
  3. ^ I. Christiansen: The technique of allegorical interpretation science in Philon of Alexandria. 1969, pp. 42, 44.
  4. ^ Hans Leisegang: Forms of thought. 2nd, revised edition. de Gruyter, Berlin 1951, p. 243.
  5. M. Mach: Philo of Alexandria. In: Theological Real Encyclopedia. Vol. 26, 1996, p. 526.
  6. ^ J. Morris: The Jewish Philosopher Philo. In: E. Schürer: History of the Jewish People. Vol. 3, 1987, p. 884.
  7. David M. Scholer, Charles Duke Yonge: The Works of Philo , Peabody 1993.
  8. For more information, see Sly: Philo's Perception of Women. 1990; Kügler: Pharaoh and Christ? 1997, 234-238.
  9. ^ Philo Alexandrinus: The Midrash of Philo. Volume 1: Genesis II-XVII. Selected portions from Philo's Questions and Answers and from his other writings. Translated into Hebrew from the Armenian and Greek with a commentary based upon parallels from Rabbinic literature by Samuel Belkin. Edited by Elazar Hurvitz. Yeshiva University Press, New York NY 1989, ISBN 0-88125-149-6 (English, Hebrew).
  10. The work is only preserved as a quote in the praeparatio evangelica of Eusebius of Caesarea