Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

The Festival of Every Day: Philo and Seneca on Quotidian Time

  • Sarit Kattan Gribetz (a1)

Abstract

In Book Two of De Specialibus Legibus (Special Laws), Philo of Alexandria presents his readers with a “festival manual”: a list of ten holidays, their origins, and the practices associated with each one. Philo names the first festival in his list ἡμέρα πσα, “every day,” about which he muses: “If all the forces of the virtues remained unvanquished throughout, then the time from birth to death would be one continuous feast.” In what historical, intellectual, and literary context might we best understand Philo's “every day festival”? And how can we understand Philo's view of quotidian time in the context of his conception of time and temporality more generally? In this paper, I argue that Philo's presentation of this festival of the every day, and, more generally, his perspective on daily time, is an engagement not only with biblical texts but also with contemporaneous Stoic perspectives about time, especially those articulated by the philosopher Seneca the Younger. I thus read Philo's De Specialibus Legibus in conversation with Seneca's De Brevitate Vitae (On the Shortness of Life), analyzing their similar perspectives on daily time and suggesting several ways of understanding the connections between the two texts. I conclude by explaining how appreciating the similarities between Philo and Seneca's ideas about quotidian time also allows us better to understand Philo's exposition of the other festivals, especially his presentation of the Sabbath.

Copyright

References

Hide All

1 Philo, Spec. 2.42; text and translations of Philo's writings throughout are from Philo (trans. G. H. Whitaker and F. H. Colson; 10 vols.; LCL 226, 227, 247, 261, 275, 289, 320, 341, 363, 379; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1929–1962), with some modification. See also Philo, Sacr. 111; Legat. 157.

2 Philo, Spec. 2.43.

3 Philo, Spec. 2.45–48.

4 Seneca, De Otio, De Brevitate Vitae (ed. G. D. Williams; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) 4–5; Larson, Victoria Tietze, “Seneca and the Schools of Philosophy in Early Imperial Rome,” Illinois Classical Studies 17 (1992) 4956.

5 E.g., Dillon, John, “Philo of Alexandria and Platonist Psychology,” in The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul: Reflections of Platonic Psychology in the Monotheistic Religions (ed. Elkaisy-Friemuth, Maha and Dillon, John M.; Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition 9; Leiden: Brill, 2009) 1524; and articles by G. E. Sterling, D. T. Runia, D. Winston, T. H. Tobin, and J. Dillon in the special issue “Philo and Middle Platonism” in SPhiloA 5 (1993) 95–155.

6 Niehoff, Maren, “The Emergence of Monotheistic Creation Theology in Hellenistic Judaism,” in Jewish and Christian Cosmogony in Late Antiquity (ed. Jenott, Lance and Gribetz, Sarit Kattan; TSAJ 155; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013) 85106; eadem, “Philo and Plutarch as Biographers: Parallel Responses to Roman Soicism,” GRBS 52 (2012) 361–92; eadem, Jewish Exegesis and Homeric Scholarship in Alexandria (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011) 14–16, 96–97, 184; eadem, “The Symposium of Philo's Therapeutae: Displaying Jewish Identity in an Increasingly Roman World,” GRBS 50 (2010) 95–117; van Pelt, Robert Jan, “Philo of Alexandria and the Architecture of the Cosmos,” AA Files 4 (1983) 315; Runia, David T., “Secondary Texts in Philo's Quaestiones,” in Both Literal and Allegorical: Studies in Philo of Alexandria's Questions and Answers on Genesis and Exodus (ed. Hay, David M.; BJS 232; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1991) 4770; Borgen, Peder, Philo of Alexandria: An Exegete for His Time (Novum Testamentum Supplements 86; Leiden: Brill, 1997) 164–65; Kamesar, Adam, “The Logos Endiathetos and the Logos Prophorikos in Allegorical Interpretation: Philo and the D-Scholia to the Iliad,” GRBS 44 (2004) 163–81; Long, Anthony A., “Philo on Stoic Physics,” in Philo of Alexandria and Post-Aristotelian Philosophy (ed. Alesse, Francesca; SPhA 5; Leiden: Brill, 2008) 121–40; Roberto Radice, “Philo and Stoic Ethics: Reflections on the Idea of Freedom,” in Philo of Alexandria (ed. Alesse), 141–68; Gretchen Reydams-Schils, “Philo of Alexandria on Stoic and Platonist Psycho-Physiology: The Socratic Higher Ground,” in Philo of Alexandria (ed. Alesse), 169–96; Margaret Graver, “Philo of Alexandria and the Origins of the Stoic Προπάθειαι,” in Philo of Alexandria (ed. Alesse), 197–222; Reydams-Schils, Gretchen, “Seneca's Platonism: The Soul and its Divine Origin,” in Ancient Models of Mind: Studies in Human and Divine Rationality (ed. Nightingale, A. and Sedley, D.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) 196215; Radice, Roberto, “‘Unsociable Sociability’: Philo on the Active and the Contemplative Life,” in Pouvoir et puissances chez Philon d'Alexandrie (ed. Calabi, F. et al.; Turnhout: Brepols, 2016) 305–18. David Lincicum notes Stoic parallels in Philo in his recent index of Philo's non-biblical citations and allusions in “A Preliminary Index to Philo's Non-Biblical Citations and Allusions,” SPhiloA 25 (2013) 139–68; idem, “Philo's Library,” SPhiloA 26 (2014) 99–114.

7 Niehoff, Jewish Exegesis and Homeric Scholarship, 15.

8 Lang, Manfred, “Lebenskunst und Ethos: Beobachtungen zu Plutarch, Seneca, Philo von Alexandrien und dem 1. Petrusbrief,” in Jenseits von Indikativ und Imperativ (ed. Horn, Friedrich W. and Zimmermann, Ruben; vol. 1 of Kontexte und Normen neutestamentlicher Ethik; WUNT 238; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009) 5774.

9 Scarpat, Giuseppe, Il pensiero religioso di Seneca e l'ambiente ebraico e cristiano (Brescia: Paideia, 1977) 6473; idem, ‘Cultura ebreo-ellenistica e Seneca,’ RivistB 13 (1965) 3–30; Radice, Roberto, “Filone Alessandrino e la tradizione platonica: Il caso di Seneca,” in Immagini e rappresentazione: Contributi su Filone di Alessandria (ed. Calabi, F.; SPhAMA; Binghamton, NY: Binghamton University, 2002) 5869.

10 Edwards, Catharine, “Time and Death,” in Brill's Companion to Seneca: Philosopher and Dramatist (ed. Damschen, Grego and Heil, Andreas; Brill's Companions in Classical Studies; Leiden: Brill, 2013) 323–41, at 326–27.

11 I do not conflate Philo with “Jewish” and Seneca with “Stoic” here, but rather acknowledge that recognizing the ways in which Philo's ideas correspond with Seneca's philosophy allows us to understand the many different philosophical and exegetical strands Philo tried to weave together in his writings.

12 E.g., Philo, Opif. and Leg. 1; Runia, David T., Philo of Alexandria and the Timaeus of Plato (PhA 44; Leiden: Brill, 1986); idem, On the Creation of the Cosmos according to Moses (PACS 1; Leiden: Brill, 2001); Greg E. Sterling, “Creatio Temporalis, Aeterna, vel Continua? An Analysis of the Thought of Philo of Alexandria,” SPhiloA 4 (1992) 15–41; Sorabji, Richard, Time, Creation, and the Continuum: Theories in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornel University Press, 1983) 203–9; Radice, Roberto, “Philo's Theology and Theory of Creation,” in The Cambridge Companion to Philo (ed. Kamesar, Adam; Cambridge Companions to Philosophy; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) 124–45, at 131–35.

13 Philo, Spec. 2.42.

14 Philo, Spec. 2.51.

15 Philo, Spec. 2.41: πρώτη μέν, ἣν ἀκούσας θαυμάσαι τις ἂν ἴσως, αὕτη δ᾿ ἐστὶν ἡμέρα πσα.

16 Philo references Num 28 again in Spec. 2.50–51.

17 Num 28:1–2 (NRSV).

18 LXX Num 28:2; Philo, Spec. 2.41. Jutta Leonhardt highlights that Septuagint Num 28:2 “implies that the Tamid represents the first of the sacrifices on special festivals, so that Philo follows a tradition of interpreting the daily sacrifices as daily festivals,” in Jewish Worship in Philo of Alexandria (TSAJ 84; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001) 26.

19 Perhaps Philo transforms the obligation of daily offerings into a different type of daily observation because of the absence of sacrifices in Alexandria. See also m. Ta'an. 4:2–3.

20 Philo, Spec. 2.215–222 (LCL 320:334–35).

21 Plutarch, De tranquilitate 20 (see also 4); discussed in Heinemann, Isaak, Philons griechische und jüdische Bildung: kulturvergleichende Untersuchungen zu Philons Darstellung der jüdischen Gesetze (Breslau: Marcus, 1932) 106–10. Cf. Seneca, Epistle 18.1 (on the Saturnalia), 18.3 (on the New Year).

22 Plato, Leg. 838b, as translated in Leonhardt, Jewish Worship, 27.

23 Philo, Spec. 2.46. On Stoic conceptions of time, see Goldschmidt, Victor, Le système stoïcien et l'idée de temps (Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 1969) 186210; on time, including Stoic conceptions of time in Hellenistic Jewish texts, see Stern, Sasha, Time and Process in Ancient Judaism (Oxford: Littman Library, 2003) 90102.

24 Niehoff, Maren, “Stoic Ethics in the Service of Jewish Law,” in Philo of Alexandria: An Intellectual Biography (ABRL; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018) 162–65, in which Niehoff extensively details her argument about Philo's engagement with Stoicism. Niehoff refers to Zeno and Cicero's emphasis on Nature, as well as Seneca's emphasis on connecting to Nature at festival times in his epistle on “Festivals and Feasts.”

25 Hadot, Pierre, Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault (ed. Davidson, Arnold I.; trans. Chase, Michael; Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1995) 264–76, quotation on 265.

26 On Philo's education, see René Bloch, “Alexandria in Pharaonic Egypt: Projections in De Vita Mosis,” SPhiloA 24 (2012) 69–84 and Ekaterina Matusova, “Allegorical Interpretation of the Pentateuch in Alexandria: Inscribing Aristobulus and Philo in a Wider Literary Context,” SPhiloA 22 (2010) 1–52; on Seneca and Stoicism, see Inwood, Brad, Reading Seneca: Stoic Philosophy at Rome (Oxford: Clarendon, 2005).

27 Inwood, Reading Seneca, 8–11.

28 On Philo's embassy to Gaius, see Philo, Legat. and Josephus, Ant. 18.257–60; Harker, Andrew, Loyalty and Dissidence in Roman Egypt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) 947. Gruen, Erich, Diaspora: Jews amidst Greeks and Romans (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002) 66 estimates that the Jewish and Greek delegations waited between six and eighteen months.

29 On Seneca's biography, see Griffin, Miriam T., Seneca: A Philosopher in Politics (Oxford: Clarendon, 1992).

30 Niehoff, “Philo and Plutarch,” 364.

31 Seneca, De Otio, De Brevitate Vitae (ed. Williams), 18–20.

32 On the date of De Brevitate Vitae, see Seneca, De Otio, De Brevitate Vitae (ed. Williams), 2–3, 19–20; on Philo's writings, see Royse, James R., “The Works of Philo,” in The Cambridge Companion to Philo (ed. Kamesar, Adam; Cambridge Companions to Philosophy; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) 3264. Philo, Spec. 3.1–6 mentions unspecified “civil cares,” which some have argued indicates that the text might have been written around the time of the embassy, though Philo could be referring to other commitments.

33 On the cross-fertilization of ideas between Alexandria and Rome, see Takács, Sarolta A., “Alexandria in Rome,” HSCP 97 (1995) 263–76, esp. 272 on Seneca.

34 Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae 1.1–2 (Latin from Seneca, Moral Essays, Volume II [trans. John W. Basore; LCL 254; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1932] 286). Translations throughout from Seneca, On the Shortness of Life (trans. C. D. N. Costa; New York: Penguin, 1997). Baumgarten, Hans, “Vitam brevem esse, longam artem: Das Proöemium der Schrift Seneca De brevitate vitae,” Gymnasium 77 (1970) 299323, at 315 argues that Seneca's peculiar quotation of Hippocrates’ aphorism most closely resembles Philo's formulation. At the beginning of Naturales Quaestiones book 3, Seneca looks back at his own life and mourns the time he has wasted; this passage in De Brevitate Vitae thus might also articulate Seneca's personal regrets.

35 Hippocrates Aph. 1.1 (Littré 4:458); The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (ed. Jennifer Speake; 6th ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) 9; Weinrich, Harald, On Borrowed Time: The Art and Economy of Living with Deadlines (trans. Rendall, Steven; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008) 8. See also Seneca, De Otio 7.5.7, discussed in Ker, James, The Deaths of Seneca (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) 159.

36 Philo, Contempl., 16.

37 Philo, Somn. 2.1.10–11. See also Galen, Hipp. Aph. (Kühn XVIIB:346–56); Sect. Int. (Kühn I:82–83) and Zeno SVF I:70.5–6; Baumgarten, “Vitam brevem esse, longam artem,” 299–323; Seneca, De Otio, De Brevitate Vitae (ed. Williams), 120.

38 Philo, Legat. 1–2.

39 Philo, Legat. 2–3.

40 Seneca, following Theophrastus, uses a monetary metaphor for time (see also Seneca, Ep. 1.3–4), as do Livy and others; Weinrich, On Borrowed Time, 9–10; Stern, Time and Process, 98; Lakoff, George and Johnson, Mark, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980) 79.

41 Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae, 2.1.

42 On which see Reydams-Schils, Gretchen, The Roman Stoics: Self, Responsibility, and Affection (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005) 83114.

43 Seneca explores leisure time in De Otio, explicitly responding to those who consider his ideas to contradict accepted Stoic positions, and articulating the differences between Stoic and Epicurean notions of time.

44 Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae, 7.2.

45 Ibid., 7.3.

46 Philo, Spec. 2.44.

47 Ibid., 2.49–50.

48 Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae, 7.1–2.

49 Philo, Spec. 2.49–50; Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae 7.1–2.

50 Philo, Spec. 2.46–47; ibid., 2.157.

51 Ibid., 2.47.

52 Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae 14.1.

53 Philo, Spec. 2.45; Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae.

54 Philo, Spec. 2.52, emphasis added.

55 Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae 18.1, emphasis added.

56 See also Seneca, De Otio, 3.4; 5.1–2, 8.3–4; Tranq. 2.1; Ep. 87.1; Epictetus, Diatr. 1.1.14–17, which employ the sea voyage metaphor for life, leisure, and contemplation. Sea voyages were dangerous due to natural and human forces; see Romm, James S., The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought: Geography, Exploration, and Fiction (Princeton: Princeton University Press) 1617; Shaw, Brent D., “Bandits in the Roman Empire,” Past and Present 102 (1984) 352; Patai, Raphael, The Children of Noah: Jewish Seafaring in Ancient Times (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998) 64; Hezser, Catherine, “Travel and Mobility,” in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in Roman Palestine (ed. Hezser, Catherine; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) 210–26, at 213; eadem, Jewish Travel in Antiquity (TSAJ 144; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011) 284–310; Gribetz, Sarit Kattan, “‘Lead Me Forth in Peace’: The Wayfarer's Prayer and Rabbinic Rituals of Travel in the Roman World,” in Journeys in the Roman East: Imagined and Real (ed. Niehoff, Maren; Culture, Religion, and Politics in the Greco-Roman World 1; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017) 297327.

57 Philo, Legat. 2.15.

58 Livy, History of Rome 31.47.1; Hesiod, Op. 663; Varro, Libri Navales Veget 4.39.

59 Gen. Rab. 6:5, ed. Theodor, Julius and Albeck, Chanoch, Midrash Bereshit Rabba: Critical Edition with Notes and Commentary (Jerusalem: Wahrmann Books, 1965) 1:4445, discussed in Patai, Children of Noah, 64. The lulav consists of a palm frond and other species used in the autumn festival of Sukkot/Tabernacles.

60 Among Stoics there were different perspectives on the benefits and drawbacks of travel for philosophical purposes; see Montiglio, Silvia, “Should the Aspiring Wise Man Travel? A Conflict in Seneca's Thought,” AJP 127 (2006) 553–86, at 554. Philo, too, was conflicted about travel; he encourages finding quieter places for contemplation, though he does not promote traveling as a means for philosophical discovery; see Abr. 20–23, 60–88; Decal. 2–17; Mos. 2.34–36; and Sacr. 50, discussed in Runia, David, “The Idea and the Reality of the City in the Thought of Philo of Alexandria,” JHI 61 (2000) 361–79, esp. 370–2.

61 Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae 7.9–10.

62 Eg., Philo, Somn. 2.143; Seneca, Ep. 57.

63 Seneca, Tranq. 5.11–12, cited in Montiglio, “Should the Aspiring Wise Man Travel?,” 560.

64 Montiglio, “Should the Aspiring Wise Man Travel?,” 560. See also Seneca, Tranq. 1.10–12. Philo characterizes periods of time given to one's soul's greediness or body's infirmities, or harm brought about by others, as the stormiest periods of a sea voyage.

65 Philo, Spec. 4.151–156. See also Horace, Carm. 1.14.

66 Philo, Spec. 3.5.

67 See also ibid., 3.1–6.

68 Ibid., 2.45. See also Col 3:1–11.

69 Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae 19.1–2. See also Seneca, Ep. 92.

70 Philo, Spec. 2.45.

71 Philo, Mos. 1.155–57; Opif. 142. My thanks to Jee Hei Park for her insights on the term.

72 Diogenes Laertius, The Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 6.63; Long, A. A., “The Concept of the Cosmopolitan in Greek and Roman Thought,” Daedalus 137.3 (2008) 5058; Pangle, Thomas L., “Roman Cosmopolitanism: The Stoics and Cicero,” in Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Globalism: Citizens Without States (ed. Trepaniel, Lee and Habib, Khalil M.; Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2011) 4069; Vogt, Katja Maria, Law, Reason, and the Cosmic City: Political Philosophy in the Early Stoa (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). See also Seneca, De Otio 6.4–5, on the contrast between statesmen, who make laws for one state, and philosophers, whose laws apply to the entire cosmos.

73 Philo, Spec. 3.1.

74 For Philo, philosophical contemplation was a regimented process of spiritual exercise; Elisa Uusimäki, “The Practice of Spiritual Exercises according to Philo of Alexandria” (paper presented at the SBL International Meeting, Seoul, South Korea, July 2016).

75 Philo, Spec. 3.2.

76 Seneca, Ep. 92.30–33.

77 See also Seneca, Nat. 1.7–10; Helv. 9.1–2. I thank Warren Campbell for pointing me to these sources.

78 On the discourse of the “everyday,” see Highmore, Ben, The Everyday Life Reader (London: Routledge, 2001).

79 Philo and Seneca's audience was presumably elite, consisting of those who had the luxury of leisure time to spend in contemplation because of the labor of others; we are thus speaking only of elite time.

80 Edwards, “Ethics V: Death and Time,” 328. See also Armisen-Marchetti, Mireille, “Sénèque et l'appropriation du temps,” Latomus 54 (1995) 545–67, esp. 560–67.

81 Seneca, Ep. 12.6.

82 Lévy, Carlos, “Sénèque et la circularité du temps,” in L'Ancienneté chez les Anciens (ed. Bakhouche, B.; Montpellier: Université Montpellier, 2003) 491511; Thomas Habinek, “Seneca's Circles: Ep. 12.6–9,” ClAnt 1 (1982) 66–69.

83 Seneca, Ep. 12.7.

84 Seneca, Ep. 12.8.

85 Discussed in Ker, Deaths of Seneca, 147–48.

86 Seneca, Ep. 1.1–2. Translation from Ker, Deaths of Seneca, 156. Seneca adds (Ep. 1.3): “Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time (Omnia, Lucili, aliena sunt, tempus tantum nostrum est)” (Seneca, Epistles 1–65 [trans. Richard M. Gummere; LCL 75; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1917] 4–5).

87 Ker, Deaths of Seneca, 147–76.

88 See also Seneca, Ep. 61.1.

89 Seneca's focus on present time might stem from his engagement with (and departure from) Epicurean philosophy; Grimal, Pierre, “Place et role du temps dans la philosophie de Sénèque,” REA 70 (1968) 92109.

90 Weinrich, On Borrowed Time, 11.

91 Eccl 1:12–14, 18, 20–23; 6:3. See also Philo, Spec. 2.52. Ryle, Herbert Edward, Philo and Holy Scripture: Or, The Quotations of Philo from the Books of the Old Testament (New York: Macmillan, 1895) xxix; Bohlen, Reinhold, “Kohelet im Kontext hellenistischer Kultur,” in Das Buch Kohelet: Studien zur Struktur, Geschichte, Rezeption und Theologie (ed. Schwienhorst-Schönberger, Lunger; BZAW 254; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1997) 249–73; de Jong, Stephen, “Qohelet and the Ambitious Spirit of the Ptolemaic Period,” JSOT 19.61 (1994) 8596.

92 On bodies as metaphors for time, Gribetz, Sarit Kattan, “Women's Bodies as Metaphors for Time in Biblical, Second Temple, and Rabbinic Literature,” in The Construction of Time in Antiquity: Ritual, Art and Identity (ed. Ben-Dov, Jonathan and Doering, Lutz; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017) 173204.

93 See also Philo, Opif., Spec.; Leonhardt, Jewish Worship, 55; Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael Shabta 1 on Exod 31:13; b. Berakhot 57b.

94 Seneca, De Superstitione in Augustine, Civ. 6.11 (Augustine, City of God [trans. Henry Bettenson; New York: Penguin, 1972] 251–52).

95 E.g., Josephus, Ag. Ap. 2.20–27; Gribetz, Sarit Kattan, “Between Narrative and Polemic: The Sabbath in Genesis Rabbah and the Babylonian Talmud,” in Genesis Rabbah in Text and Context (ed. Gribetz, Sarit Kattan et al.; TSAJ 166; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016) 3361, at 38–39; Goldenberg, Robert, “The Jewish Sabbath in the Roman World up to the Time of Constantine the Great,” in ANRW 19.2 (1979) 414–47; Schäfer, Peter, Judeophobia: Attitudes Toward the Jews in the Ancient World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997) 8292. Aristobulus, who also writes apologetically about the Sabbath, does not refer to the idea that the Sabbath is a waste of time (Aristobulus, Fragment 5, in Collins, Adela Yarbro, “Aristobulus,” in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2 [ed. Charlesworth, James H.; New York: Doubleday, 1985] 841–2).

96 Philo, Spec. 2.15.60–64; see also Philo, Opif. 128, Decal. 98, and Abr. 28–30; Weiss, Herold, A Day of Gladness: The Sabbath among Jews and Christians in Antiquity (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2003) 3251.

97 Philo's discussion of the first festival is far shorter than his exposition of the Sabbath, perhaps indicating that the former was an introduction to the latter.

98 Origen, Contra Celsum 8.22–3 echoes Philo's idea of each day being a festival. This is not surprising because he cites Philo elsewhere in this text; John Chrysostom's sermon for the Kalends of January evokes similar ideas and might also draw on Philo's philosophy via Origen's writings. I hope to explore the afterlife of Philo's reflections on the festival of every day in these Christian authors in a future article.

99 Seneca read Greek and likely spoke it. Someone of Philo's upbringing likely spoke some Latin; the scholarly consensus is that Philo did not know Latin, but Opif. 126–7 indicates that he was familiar with the language. There would also have been translators in Rome; Adams, J. N., Bilingualism and the Latin Language (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Dickey, Eleanor, “Teaching Latin to Greek Speakers in Antiquity,” in Learning Latin and Greek from Antiquity to the Present (ed. Archibald, E.P., et al.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015) 3051; eadem, Learning Latin the Ancient Way: Latin Textbooks from the Ancient World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

100 Kugel, James, A Walk Through Jubilees: Studies in the Book of Jubilees and the World of Its Creation (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 156; Leiden: Brill, 2012) 391405, esp. 402–5, similarly wonders about the correspondences between Philo's writings on Genesis and the book of Jubilees, and suggests that, given Jubilees’ popularity during Philo's lifetime, some readers of Jubilees might have traveled to Egypt and shared ideas from the text with Philo, prompting Philo to interpret Genesis in light of Jubilees’ overall approach to the first book of the Bible.

101 See, e.g., May, James M., “Seneca's Neighbour, the Organ Tuner,” CQ 37 (1987) 240–3; m. Avodah Zarah 4:3. Radice suggests that Philo could have led conferences in Rome during his embassy, and that Seneca would have been interested in participating or might have heard about Philo's ideas secondhand (“Filone Alessandrino e la tradizione platonica,” 64).

102 Perhaps Philo's visit to Rome also impacted his views on other related matters. For example, is it possible that Philo read Num 28:2–8 through the lens of daily sacrifices he observed on his trip to Rome?

103 E.g., Gribetz, Sarit Kattan and Vidas, Moulie, “Rabbis and Others in Conversation,” JSQ 19 (2012) 91103; Boyarin, Daniel, Socrates and the Fat Rabbis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009); Howland, Jacob, Plato and the Talmud (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Hughes, Aaron W., The Art of Dialogue in Jewish Philosophy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007); Cameron, Averil, Dialoguing in Late Antiquity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014). Philosophical dialogues and the dialogic dimension of rabbinic sources are literary genres and differ in important ways from the more casual conversations and personal encounters I have in mind here, but these textual examples also gesture towards practices of dialogue central to various philosophical traditions.

104 This endeavor is related to, but different from, the project of constructing imagined dialogues between those who certainly did not meet but who, when put in conversation with each other by scholars, can be interpreted in new comparative light. E.g., Davis, Natalie Zemon, Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997); Green, Ronald M., “Kant and Kierkegaard on the Need for a Historical Faith: An Imagined Dialogue,” in Kant and the New Philosophy of Religion (ed. Firestone, Chris L. and Palmquist, Stephen R.; Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006) 157–78. Jerome, Augustine, and Pseudo-Linus imagined that Seneca and Paul shared letters; though this correspondence, too, was not historical but apocryphal (and subsequently forged into writing), the attempt to think about Seneca's personal and intellectual connections in first century Rome has ancient roots, on which see Sevenster, J. N., Paul and Seneca (Leiden: Brill, 1961); Ramelli, Ilaria L.E., “A Pseudepigraphon Inside a Pseudepigraphon? The Seneca-Paul Correspondence and the Letters Added Afterwards,” JSP 23 (2014) 259–89. Studies of Origen and the rabbis also debate the nature of their relationship and the possibilities of personal encounters, on which see de Lange, Nicholas, Origen and the Jews: Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations in Third-Century Palestine (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977); Niehoff, Maren R., “Creatio ex Nihilo Theology in Genesis Rabbah in Light of Christian Exegesis,” HTR 99 (2006) 3764; eadem, “Origen's Commentary on Genesis as a Key to Genesis Rabbah,” in Genesis Rabbah in Text and Context (ed. Gribetz et al.), 129–53.

105 Niehoff, Maren R., Philo on Jewish Identity and Culture (TSAJ 86; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001) 9; Graver, “Philo of Alexandria,” 199–200.

*Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for Biblical Literature as well as at the University of Toronto, Bar Ilan University, and Yale University, and I express my gratitude for the many excellent questions and comments. I wish to thank especially Ellen Birnbaum, Menachem Butler, Warren Campbell, Emanuel Fiano, Pratima Gopalakrishnan, Jonathan Gribetz, Christine Hayes, Matthias Henze, Karina Martin Hogan, Lynn Kaye, James Ker, Matthew McGowan, Alex Miller, Hindy Najman, Judith Newman, Maren Niehoff, Michael Peppard, Gretchen Reydams-Schils, Carey Seal, Yason Yuh, and the journal's anonymous reviewers for kind invitations, generous responses, and helpful suggestions.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Harvard Theological Review
  • ISSN: 0017-8160
  • EISSN: 1475-4517
  • URL: /core/journals/harvard-theological-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed