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The Works of Philo

The Works of Philo

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While it would not be correct to say that Philo's works have been "lost"—scholars have always known and used Philo—they have essentially been "misplaced" as far as the average student of the Bible is concerned. Now the translation of the eminent classicist C. D. Yonge is available in an affordable, easy-to-read edition with newly translated passages, and containing supposed fragments of Philo's writings from ancient authors such as John of Damascus. The title and arrangement of the writings have been standardized according to scholarly conventions.

A contemporary of Paul and Jesus, Philo Judaeus, of Alexandria, Egypt, is unquestionably among the most important writers for historians and students of Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity.  Although Philo does not explicitly mention Jesus, or Paul, or any of the followers of Jesus, Philo lived in their world.  It is from Philo, for example, that we learn about how like the Gospel of John, Jews (and Greeks) in the Greco-Roman world spoke of the creative force of God as God's Logos.  Philo, too, employs interpretive strategies that parallel those of the author of Hebrews.  Most scholars would agree that Philo and the author of Hebrews are drawing from the same, or at least similar, traditions of Hellenistic Judaism.  With these kinds of connections to the world of Judaism and early Christianity, Philo cannot be ignored.


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Philo, usually known as Philo the Jew (Philo Judaeus) or Philo of Alexandria (a city in Egypt with a large Jewish Diaspora population in Greco-Roman times), lived from about 20 B.C. to about A.D. 50.  He is one of the most important Jewish Authors of the Second Temple period of Judaism and was a contemporary of both Jesus and Paul.  Yet, Philo is not nearly as well known or as frequently read as the first-century A.D. Jewish historian Josephus.

Philo wrote in Greek, and most of his writings survive in Greek, but a few have survived only in ancient Armenian translations.  Only two complete English translations of Philo have ever been published.  

Author Bio

C. D. Yonge (1812-1892), a noted classicist and author of more than thirty-five works, studied classics at St. Mary Hall, Oxford. A professor of modern history and English literature at Queen's College, Belfast, from 1866 until the time of his death, Yonge also compiled a Greek-English lexicon. The present translation of the works of Philo first appeared in 1854-1855 in 4 volumes in Bohn's Ecclesiastical Library.

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 944
Dimensions: 9.5 X 6.25 (inches)

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