Only the following fragments have been preserved: abundant passages in Armenian — possibly the full work — in explanation of Genesis and Exodus, an old Latin translation of a part of the "Genesis," and fragments from the Greek text in Eusebius , in the "Sacra Parallela," in the "Catena," and also in Ambrosius. The explanation is confined chiefly to determining the literal sense, although Philo frequently refers to the allegorical sense as the higher. This great commentary included the following treatises: "Legum allegoriae," books i. The first of these on the dreams of Abimelech and Laban preceded the present book i. The exposition of the Law then follows in two sections. First come the biographies of the men who antedated the several written laws of the Torah, as Enos , Enoch , Noah , Abraham , Isaac , and Jacob.

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In this whole group indeed, the allegorical explanation is still occasionally employed. In the main however we have here actual historical delineations, a systematic statement of the great legislative work of Moses, the contents, excellence and importance of which, the author desires to make evident to non-Jewish readers, and indeed to as large a circle of them as possible.

The contents of the several compositions forming this group differ indeed considerably, and are apparently independent of each other. As to plan it is divided into three parts. This introduction is followed by b biographies of virtuous men. Lastly, the third part embraces c the delineation of the legislation proper, which is divided into two parts: 1 that of the ten chief commandments of the law, and 2 that of the special laws belonging to each of these ten commandments. Then follow by way of appendix a few treatises on certain cardinal virtues, and on the rewards of the good and the punishment of the wicked.

De mundi opificio Mangey, i. He has only erred in the matter of declaring this whole group of writings older than the allegorical commentary p. It was easy to show in reply, that this popular delineation of the Mosaic legislation is on the contrary more recent than the bulk of the allegorical commentary. On the other hand there is nothing to prevent our relegating the work de mundi opificio also, to the more recent group.

We have already shown, p. On the contrary the beginning of the work de mundi opificio makes it quite evident that it was to form the introduction to the delineation of the legislation, and it is equally plain, that the composition de Abrahamo directly follows it.

For on the other hand it is just as certain, that the composition de mundi opificio was subsequently placed at the head of the allegorical commentaries to compensate for the missing commentary on Gen. Only thus can it be explained that Eusebius, Praep. It is just this which explains the transposition of this treatise into the catalogue of Eusebius, Hist. This is especially the view of Siegfried.

It seems to me however, that the reasons brought forward are not conclusive. Colson and G. Whitaker write Philo, vol. The theme dealt with by a Cosmogony is, indeed, too lofty for adequate treatment. By "six days" Moses does not indicate a space of time in which the world was made, but the principles of order and productivity which governed its making. Before the emergence of the material world there existed, in the Divine Word or Reason, the incorporeal world, as the design of a city exists in the brain of the designer.

The efficient cause of the universe we must remember is Goodness; and Goodness, to be attained by it as its capacity permits, is its final cause. The incorporeal world may be described as "the Word of God engaged in the act of creating.

In that, man the part , and therefore the universe the whole was created. The pre-eminence of Life-breath and Light are shown, he says, by the one being called "the Spirit of God," and the other pronounced "good" or "beautiful. Land and sea are then formed by the briny water being withdrawn from the sponge-like earth and the fresh water left in it; and the land is bidden to bring forth trees and plants. It is bidden to do so before sun and moon are made, that men may not attribute its fruitfulness to these.

He sees the purposes of these in their giving light, foreshowing coming events, marking the seasons, and measuring time. The fifth day is fitly given to the creation of creatures endowed with five senses. In connexion with the creation of man, Philo points out a the beauty of the sequence, ascending in living things from lowest to highest; b the reference, not to body, but to mind, in the words "after our image"; c the implication of exactness in the addition "after our likeness"; d the cooperation of other agents implied in "let us make," such co-ordination accounting so Philo suggests for the possibility of sin; e four reasons for man coming last, viz.

His place in the series is no sign of inferiority. After speaking of the honour paid by Moses to the number 7, Philo, treating Gen. After a disquisition on the subject of fresh water, to which he is led by Gen. The being of the former is composite, earthly substances and Divine Breath. Proofs and an illustration are given of his surpassing excellence. The title of "the only world-citizen" is claimed for him, and its significance brought out. His physical excellence can be guessed from the faint traces of it found in his posterity.

It is to call out his intelligence that he is required to name the animals. Woman is the occasion of his deterioration. The Garden, we are told, represents the dominant power of the soul, and the Serpent represents Pleasure, and is eminently fitted to do so. His use of a human voice is considered. The praise of the "snake-fighter" in Lev. Stress is laid on the fact that Pleasure assails the man through the woman.

The effects of the Fall on the woman and on the man are traced. The treatise ends with a short summary of the lessons of the Cosmogony. These are: 1 the eternal existence of God as against atheism ; 2 the unity of God as against polytheism ; 3 the non-eternity of the world; 4 the unity of the world; 5 the Providence of God. And those who describe it as being uncreated, do, without being aware of it, cut off the most useful and necessary of all the qualities which tend to produce piety, namely, providence: 10 for reason proves that the father and creator has a care for that which has been created; for a father is anxious for the life of his children, and a workman aims at the duration of his works, and employs every device imaginable to ward off everything that is pernicious or injurious, and is desirous by every means in his power to provide everything which is useful or profitable for them.

But with regard to that which has not been created, there is no feeling of interest as if it were his own in the breast of him who has not created it. Since, then, this world is visible and the object of our external senses, it follows of necessity that it must have been created; on which account it was not without a wise purpose that he recorded its creation, giving a very venerable account of God.

We must mention as much as we can of the matters contained in his account, since to enumerate them all is impossible; for he embraces that beautiful world which is perceptible only by the intellect, as the account of the first day will show: 16 for God, as apprehending beforehand, as a God must do, that there could not exist a good imitation without a good model, and that of the things perceptible to the external senses nothing could be faultless which wax not fashioned with reference to some archetypal idea conceived by the intellect, when he had determined to create this visible world, previously formed that one which is perceptible only by the intellect, in order that so using an incorporeal model formed as far as possible on the image of God, he might then make this corporeal world, a younger likeness of the elder creation, which should embrace as many different genera perceptible to the external senses, as the other world contains of those which are visible only to the intellect.

When any city is founded through the exceeding ambition of some king or leader who lays claim to absolute authority, and is at the same time a man of brilliant imagination, eager to display his good fortune, then it happens at times that some man coming up who, from his education, is skilful in architecture, and he, seeing the advantageous character and beauty of the situation, first of all sketches out in his own mind nearly all the parts of the city which is about to be completed--the temples, the gymnasia, the prytanea, and markets, the harbour, the docks, the streets, the arrangement of the walls, the situations of the dwelling houses, and of the public and other buildings.

For the capacity of that which is created to receive benefits does not correspond to the natural power of God to confer them; since his powers are infinitely greater, and the thing created being not sufficiently powerful to receive all their greatness would have sunk under it, if he had not measured his bounty, allotting to each, in due proportion, that which was poured upon it. Accordingly he, when recording the creation of man, in words which follow, asserts expressly, that he was made in the image of God--and if the image be a part of the image, then manifestly so is the entire form, namely, the whole of this world perceptible by the external senses, which is a greater imitation of the divine image than the human form is.

It is manifest also, that the archetypal seal, which we call that world which is perceptible only to the intellect, must itself be the archetypal model, the idea of ideas, the Reason of God.

It therefore follows also of necessity, that time was created either at the same moment with the world, or later than it--and to venture to assert that it is older than the world is absolutely inconsistent with philosophy.

But order is a due consequence and connection of things precedent and subsequent, if not in the completion of a work, at all events in the intention of the maker; for it is owing to order that they become accurately defined and stationary, and free from confusion.

Then he created the incorporeal substance of water and of air, and above all he spread light, being the seventh thing made; and this again was incorporeal, and a model of the sun, perceptible only to intellect, and of all the lightgiving stars, which are destined to stand together in heaven. For the one he called the breath of God, because it is air, which is the most life-giving of things, and of life the causer is God; and the other he called light, because it is surpassingly beautiful: for that which is perceptible only by intellect is as far more brilliant and splendid than that which is seen, as I conceive, the sun is than darkness, or day than night, or the intellect than any other of the outward senses by which men judge inasmuch as it is the guide of the entire soul , or the eyes than any other part of the body.

And the image of this image is that light, perceptible only by the intellect, which is the image of the divine reason, which has explained its generation.

And it is a star above the heavens, the source of those stars which are perceptible by the external senses, and if any one were to call it universal light he would not be very wrong; since it is from that the sun and the moon, and all the other planets and fixed stars derive their due light, in proportion as each has power given to it; that unmingled and pure light being obscured when it begins to change, according to the change from that which is perceptible only by the intellect, to that which is perceptible by the external senses; for none of those things which are perceptible to the external senses is pure.

In order, therefore, that they might not war against one another from being continually brought in contact, so that war would prevail instead of peace, God, burning want of order into order, did not only separate light and darkness, but did also place boundaries in the middle of the space between the two, by which he separated the extremities of each.

For if they had approximated they must have produced confusion, preparing for the contest, for the supremacy, with great and unextinguishable rivalry, if boundaries established between them had not separated them and prevented them from clashing together, 34 and these boundaries are evening and morning; the one of which heralds in the good tidings that the sun is about to rise, gently dissipating the darkness: and evening comes on as the sun sets, receiving gently the collective approach of darkness.

And these, I mean morning and evening, must be placed in the class of incorporeal things, perceptible only by the intellect; for there is absolutely nothing in them which is perceptible by the external senses, but they are entirely ideas, and measures, and forms, and seals, incorporeal as far as regards the generation of other bodies. For this sweet liquid, in due proportions, is as a sort of glue for the different substances, preventing the earth from being utterly dried up, and so becoming unproductive and barren, and causing it, like a mother, to furnish not only one kind of nourishment, namely meat, but both sorts at once, so as to supply its offspring with both meat and drink; wherefore he filled it with veins, resembling breasts, which, being provided with openings, were destined to pour forth springs and rivers.

Having arranged these things, he gave them names, calling the day, "land," and the water which was separated from it he called "sea. Moreover he commanded every kind of tree to spring up, omitting no kind, either of those which are wild or of those which are called cultivated. And simultaneously with their first production he loaded them all with fruit, in a manner different from that which exists at present; 41 for now the different fruits are produced in turn, at different seasons, and not all together at one time; for who is there who does not know that first of all comes the sowing and the planting; and, in the second place, the growth of what has been sown and planted, in some cases the plants extending their roots downwards like foundations, and in others raising themselves upwards to a height and displaying long stalks?

After that come the buds, and the putting forth of leaves, and then after everything else comes the production of fruit. And again, the fruit when first produced is not perfect, but it contains in itself all kinds of change, with reference both to its quantity in regard of magnitude, and to its qualities in its multiform appearance: for the fruits is produced at first like indivisible grains, which are hardly visible from their diminutive size, and which one might correctly enough pronounce to be the first things perceptible by the external senses; and afterwards by little and little, from the nourishment conveyed in channels, which waters the tree, and from the wholesome effect of the breezes, which blow air at the same time cold and gentle, the fruit is gradually vivified, and nursed up, and increased, advancing onward to its perfect size; and with its change of magnitude it changes also its qualities, as if it were diversified with varying colours by pictorial science.

And the earth, as though it had for a long time been pregnant and travailing, produced every sort of seed, and every sort of tree, and also of fruit, in unspeakable abundance; and not only were these produced fruits to be food for living animals, but enough also to serve as a preparation for the continuous production of similar fruits hereafter; covering substances consisting of seed, in which are the principles of all plants undistinguishable and invisible, but destined hereafter to become manifest and visible in the periodical maturity of the fruit.

On which account he led on and hastened the beginning towards the end, and caused the end to turn backwards to the beginning: for from plants comes fruit, as the end might come from the beginning; and from the fruit comes the seed, which again contains the plant within itself, so that a fresh beginning may come from the end. For he foreknew with respect to men who were not yet born, what sort of beings they would be as to their opinions, forming conjectures on what was likely and probable, of which the greater part would be reasonable, though falling short of the character of unadulterated truth; and trusting rather to visible phenomena than to God, and admiring sophistry rather than wisdom.

And again he knew that surveying the periods of the sun and moon, to which are owing the summers and winters, and the alternations of spring and autumn, they would conceive the revolutions of the stars in heaven to be the causes of all the things which every year should be produced and generated on the earth, accordingly that no one might venture either through shameless impudence or inordinate ignorance to attribute to any created thing the primary causes of things, he said: 46 "Let them run over in their minds the first creation of the universe, when, before the sun or the moon existed, the earth brought forth all kinds of plants and all kinds of fruits: and seeing this in their minds let them hope that it will again also bring forth such, according to the appointment of the Father, when it shall seem good to him, without his having need of the aid of any of the sons of men beneath the heavens, to whom he has given powers, though not absolute ones.

And next the heaven was embellished in the perfect number four, and if any one were to pronounce this number the origin and source of the all-perfect decade he would not err. For the ratio of the sounds in fourths is as four to three; and in fifths as three to two; and in the diapason that ratio is doubled: and in the double diapason it is increased fourfold, all which ratios the number four comprehends.

At all events the first, or the epistritus, is the ratio of four to three; the second, or the hemiolius, is that of three to two: the twofold ratio is that of two to one, or four to two: and the fourfold ratio is that of four to one. For it was this number that first displayed the nature of the solid cube, the numbers before four being assigned only to incorporeal things.

For it is according to the unit that that thing is reckoned which is spoken of in geometry as a point: and a line is spoken of according to the number two, because it is arranged by nature from a point; and a line is length without breadth. But when breadth is added to it, it becomes a superficies, which is arranged according to the number three. And a superficies, when compared with the nature of a solid cube, wants one thing, namely depth, and when this one thing is added to the three, it becomes four.

On which account it has happened that this number is a thing of great importance, inasmuch as from an incorporeal substance perceptible only by intellect, it has led us on to a comprehension of a body divisible in a threefold manner, and which by its own nature is first perceived by the external senses. Those who play with nuts are accustomed when they have placed three nuts on the floor, to place one more on the top of them producing a figure like a pyramid.

Accordingly the triangle stands on the floor, arranged up to the number three, and the nut which is placed upon it makes up four in number, and in figure it produces a pyramid, being now a solid body. And that it is the only number the nature of which is such that it is produced by the same numbers whether in combination, or in power.

If we examine the number six which is composed of two threes, if these two numbers are multiplied it is not the number six that is produced, but a different one, the number nine. At present it is sufficient to add this that it was the foundation of the creation of the whole heaven and the whole world.

For the four elements, out of which this universe was made, flowed from the number four as from a fountain. And in addition to the four elements the seasons of the year are also four, which are the causes of the generation of animals and plants, the year being divided into the quadruple division of winter, and spring, and summer, and autumn.

And knowing that of all existing things light is the most excellent, he made it the instrument of the best of all the senses, sight. For what the mind is in the soul, that the eye is in the body. For each of them sees, the one beholding those existing things which are perceptible only to the intellect, and the other those which are perceptible to the external senses.

But the mind is in need of knowledge in order to distinguish incorporeal things, and the eyes have need of light in order to be able to perceive bodies, and light is also the cause of many other good things to men, and particularly of the greatest, namely philosophy. And the soul, feasting on a continuous series of spectacles, for one succeeds another, has an insatiable love for beholding such.

Then, as is usually the case, it examines with increased curiosity what is the substance of these things which are visible; and whether they have an existence without having been created, or whether they received their origin by creation, and what is the character of their movement, and what the causes are by which everything is regulated.

And it is from inquiries into these things that philosophy has arisen, than which no more perfect good has entered into human life. One of the reasons for his so doing was that they might give light; another was that they might be signs; another had reference to their dividing the times of the seasons of the year, and above all dividing days and nights, of months and years, which are the measures of time; and which have given rise to the nature of number.

But with a view to a more accurate comprehension of them, it may perhaps not be out of place to trace out the truth in a regular discussion.


De opificio mundi

Biografia[ modifica modifica wikitesto ] Nelle opere di Flavio Giuseppe si possono trovare i pochi dettagli biografici che lo riguardano. Sebbene i nomi dei suoi genitori non siano noti, Filone proveniva da famiglia nobile, onorata e benestante. Fu a suo padre o a suo nonno che Gaio Giulio Cesare aveva concesso la cittadinanza romana. Orgoglio, prepotenza e insolenza erano la sua regola … Il paese sotto di lui fu lasciato al saccheggio e la gente veniva uccisa senza rispetto di alcuna legge. Egli vede nella teoria del demiurgo esposta da Platone nel suo Timeo , il Dio creatore ebraico. Commentari allegorici[ modifica modifica wikitesto ] Le opere di Filone improntate a una interpretazione allegorica sono: Legum allegoriae, libri i.


Filone di Alessandria



Philo's works


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