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  • Print publication year: 1967
  • Online publication date: March 2008

Chapter 8 - Philo

The history of Christian philosophy begins not with a Christian but with a Jew, Philo of Alexandria, elder contemporary of St Paul. Philo's work is an elaborate synthesis of biblical revealed religion and Greek philosophy, mainly cast in the form of an allegorical commentary on Genesis. Although Philo is as deeply hellenized as a loyal Jew could conceivably be, he ultimately shares the Maccabean spirit of resistance to the totalitarian claims of Hellenistic culture. Philo's statements about the Logos were to have a notable future when adapted to the uses of Christian doctrine. Philo's Logos is not merely an essential clue to the Christian development but also a stage on the way towards the Middle Platonist and Neoplatonist speculations about two or three levels of being in God. The complexities of Philo make a just estimate of his work hard to achieve. The modern reader is exasperated by the repetitiousness and the verbose rhetorical style.
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The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy
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