|Who is it?||Philosopher|
|Birth Place||Alexandria, Egypt, Ancient Roman|
|Died On||c. 50 CE (age c. 75)|
|Main interests||Religious philosophy|
There was now a tumult arisen at Alexandria, between the Jewish inhabitants and the Greeks; and three ambassadors were chosen out of each party that were at variance, who came to Gaius. Now one of these ambassadors from the people of Alexandria was Apion, (29) who uttered many blasphemies against the Jews; and, among other things that he said, he charged them with neglecting the honors that belonged to Caesar; for that while all who were subject to the Roman empire built altars and temples to Gaius, and in other regards universally received him as they received the gods, these Jews alone thought it a dishonorable thing for them to erect statues in honor of him, as well as to swear by his name. Many of these severe things were said by Apion, by which he hoped to provoke Gaius to anger at the Jews, as he was likely to be. But Philo, the principal of the Jewish embassage, a man eminent on all accounts, brother to Alexander the Alabarch, (30) and one not unskillful in philosophy, was ready to betake himself to make his defense against those accusations; but Gaius prohibited him, and bid him begone; he was also in such a rage, that it openly appeared he was about to do them some very great mischief. So Philo being thus affronted, went out, and said to those Jews who were about him, that they should be of good courage, since Gaius's words indeed showed anger at them, but in reality had already set God against himself.
Azariah dei Rossi's Me'or Enayim: Imre Binah (1575), one of the first Jewish commentaries on Philo, describes four "serious defects" of Philo: reading the Torah in Greek, not Hebrew; belief in primordial matter rather than creatio ex nihilo; unbelief in the Lord as evidenced by excessively allegorical interpretation of scripture; and neglect of the Jewish oral tradition. Dei Rossi later gives a possible defense of Philo and writes that he can neither absolve or convict him.
The Septuagint translates the phrase מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה (Malakh YHWH, lit. "Messenger of Yahweh") as ἄγγελος Κυρίου (ángelos Kyríou, lit. "angel of the Lord"). Philo identified the angel of the Lord (in the singular) with the Logos. Peter Schäfer argues that Philo's Logos was derived from his understanding of the "postbiblical Wisdom literature, in particular the Wisdom of Solomon". The Wisdom of Solomon is a Jewish work composed in Alexandria, Egypt, around the 1st century CE, with the aim of bolstering the faith of the Jewish community in a hostile Greek world. It is one of the seven Sapiential or wisdom books included within the Septuagint.
The extent of Philo's knowledge of Hebrew is debated. His numerous etymologies of Hebrew names—which are along the lines of the etymologic midrash to Genesis and of the earlier rabbinism, though not modern Hebrew philology—suggest some familiarity. Philo offers for some names three or four etymologies, sometimes including the correct Hebrew root (e.g., יָרַד, yarád, lit. "(to) descend") as the origin of the name Jordan). However, his works do not display much understanding of Hebrew grammar, and they tend to follow the translation of the Septuagint more closely than the Hebrew version.
Logos has the function of an advocate on behalf of humanity and also that of a God’s envoy to the world. He puts human minds in order. The right reason is an infallible law, the source of any other laws. The angel closing Balaam’s way (Numbers XXII, 31) is interpreted by Philo as manifestation of Logos, which acts as man’s conscience.