Jump to content

Philo Of Alexandria


Zhavric

Recommended Posts

Philo of Alexandria was born in 20 bce and passed away in 50 ce making him (in theory) a contemporary of Jesus.

Though he lived in Alexandria, we know Philo visited Judea and had contact with Pilate.

We know Philo was a hellenized Jew who was fascinated by the early essenes who many believe to be early Christians.

Philo was in the right place at the right time talking to the right people to run right into this allegedly super-powerful & well known fellow named Jesus who was (allegedly) performing miracles (like bringing people back from the dead) and fulfilling prophecies.

Yet Philo is completely silent on the subject of Jesus... as are all other mid & early first century writers from the area. We don't see anything from Philo about Jesus directly ("I saw Jesus!") or indirectly ("These people keep talking about this Jesus who they said performs miracles...").

The very obvious conclusion for this silence is that there was no Jesus for Philo to discuss.

Link to comment

Philo of Alexandria was born in 20 bce and passed away in 50 ce making him (in theory) a contemporary of Jesus.

Though he lived in Alexandria, we know Philo visited Judea and had contact with Pilate.

We know Philo was a hellenized Jew who was fascinated by the early essenes who many believe to be early Christians.

Philo was in the right place at the right time talking to the right people to run right into this allegedly super-powerful & well known fellow named Jesus who was (allegedly) performing miracles (like bringing people back from the dead) and fulfilling prophecies.

Yet Philo is completely silent on the subject of Jesus... as are all other mid & early first century writers from the area. We don't see anything from Philo about Jesus directly ("I saw Jesus!") or indirectly ("These people keep talking about this Jesus who they said performs miracles...").

The very obvious conclusion for this silence is that there was no Jesus for Philo to discuss.

Ah, but according to the site you referred me to; namely, nobeliefs.com, you have employed a logical fallacy or two in this thread:

Appeal to ignorance (argumentum ex silentio) appealing to ignorance as evidence for something. (e.g., We have no evidence that God doesn't exist, therefore, he must exist. Or: Because we have no knowledge of alien visitors, that means they do not exist). Ignorance about something says nothing about its existence or non-existence.

Argument from authority (argumentum ad verecundiam): using the words of an "expert" or authority as the bases of the argument instead of using the logic or evidence that supports an argument. (e.g., Professor so-and-so believes in creation-science.) Simply because an authority makes a claim does not necessarily mean he got it right. If an arguer presents the testimony from an expert, look to see if it accompanies reason and sources of evidence behind it. [Here we see you stating that because your authority doesn't cite a 'Jesus,' Jesus, therefore must not exist.]

Excluded middle (or false dichotomy): considering only the extremes. Many people use Aristotelian either/or logic tending to describe in terms of up/down, black/white, true/false, love/hate, etc. (e.g., You either like it or you don't. He either stands guilty or not guilty.) Many times, a continuum occurs between the extremes that people fail to see. The universe also contains many "maybes."

Observational selection (similar to confirmation bias): pointing out favorable circumstances while ignoring the unfavorable. Anyone who goes to Las Vegas gambling casinos will see people winning at the tables and slots. The casino managers make sure to install bells and whistles to announce the victors, while the losers never get mentioned. This may lead one to conclude that the chances of winning appear good while in actually just the reverse holds true. (Other people at the time have spoken of Christ as a person, contemporaries of your source.)

This is a quick sampling.

Link to comment

I think it is a lot less of an open-and-shut case than that. The appearance of Jesus as an alleged historical character, the sudden outbreak of Christian belief and the outbreak of counter-propaganda can all be much more economically explained by the existence of a real historical character, Jesus of Nazareth, than they can by some mysterious creation of a totally mythical figure who none the less inspired what became a mass movement.

Philo says nothing, true. But the argument from silence is never a very strong one, and other non-Christian writers do have references, such as the eminent historian and Roman senator Tacitus (ca. 56 – ca. 117):

book 15, chapter 44 of his Annals in connection with the great fire of Rome in AD 64:

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Pliny was the Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. In one of his letters, dated around A.D. 112, he asks the Emperor Trajan's advice about the appropriate way to conduct legal proceedings against those accused of being Christians. Pliny says that he needed to consult the emperor about this issue because a great multitude of every age, class, and sex stood accused of Christianity.

At one point in his letter, Pliny relates some of the information he has learned about these Christians:

They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food--but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.

Anyone can easily see sources for these and other quotes online at, for instance:

http://www.probe.org/content/view/18/77/

Link to comment

Philo of Alexandria was born in 20 bce and passed away in 50 ce making him (in theory) a contemporary of Jesus.

And this also means he was dead before the first gospel was written, and long before the gospels reached Egypt.

Though he lived in Alexandria, we know Philo visited Judea and had contact with Pilate.

Interesting that you use a link that also mentions Josephus. Certainly you trust him as an historian more than Philo, who wasn't an historian at all. Josephus mentions Jesus. Josephus, of course, actually lived in Jerusalem.

We know Philo was a hellenized Jew who was fascinated by the early essenes who many believe to be early Christians.

No, many do not believe the Essenes were Christians. Some people (not scholars) believe it, and they do it in the face of real biblical scholarship. Stop trying to make your case more valid than it really is.

Philo was in the right place at the right time talking to the right people to run right into this allegedly super-powerful & well known fellow named Jesus who was (allegedly) performing miracles (like bringing people back from the dead) and fulfilling prophecies.

This sentence is egregious. First, he was not in the right place. He may have passed through the right place, but considering his allegiances and concerns, that he does not mention a figure downplayed as much as possible by those not invested in his success is not at all surprising. Second, no one alleges that Jesus was well-known in esoteric Jewish circles. Peter and the other apostles were beaten and commanded not to preach about Christ. What makes you think that they go around telling everyone about him? The less he was mentioned the better off for the Jews.

Yet Philo is completely silent on the subject of Jesus... as are all other mid & early first century writers from the area.

Like who? What about Josephus? Doesn't his mentioning Christ more than once kinda invalidate your entire argument?

We don't see anything from Philo about Jesus directly ("I saw Jesus!") or indirectly ("These people keep talking about this Jesus who they said performs miracles...").

So we can conclude that he either never saw him and never talked with people who did (highly likely since he was a Jewish theologian and not a Christian), or we can conclude that he spoke with everyone in Jerusalem and wrote about every single person ever mentioned to him, but just didn't hear about Jesus.

The very obvious conclusion for this silence is that there was no Jesus for Philo to discuss.

That is, of course, if we completely ignore all the evidence that exists outside of Philo's texts. If we actually look at all the evidence then the conclusion is still obvious, but in a different direction.

Don't let actual research and scholarship get in your way, though. Keep reaching for that rainbow.

Link to comment

Like who? What about Josephus? Doesn't his mentioning Christ more than once kinda

invalidate your entire argument?

As you probably know, there has been a longstanding disagreement amongst classical scholars

and historians as to whether we can trust the Josephus mentions of Jesus as having been the

exact reading of his original text.

Unless we one day locate a very early Josephus manuscript which includes those mentions,

the probability that they were later Christian interpolations into the text remains a strong one.

What Josephus does convey, with plausible accuracy, is that messianic zeal was at a high point

in Judea and the surrounding region, in the years between Herod's death and the eventual

destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by the Romans. In any given year during that period,

there were very likely several hoped-for/suspected/proclaimed messiahs operating there, along

with their followers. Some of these were Zealot pretenders, trying to stir up rebellion -- some were

criminal opportunists -- some were crazies -- and some were sincere visionaries.

Amongst this continual religious-political ferment, it would have no doubt taken a keen and

experienced observer to pick Jesus out from all the other teachers, rebels, and would be leaders.

We can forgive Philo for not noticing one such man, before any of the gospels were wtitten and

before the letters of Paul and James had reached a wide circulation.

Did Philo even notice the case of John the Baptist?

UD

.

Link to comment

Don't let actual research and scholarship get in your way, though. Keep reaching for that rainbow.

Josephus and Tacitus are far from being universally accepted as legitimate. - Anybody reading the Josephus passage should find it laughable that a son of a Pharisee would call Jesus â??a wise manâ? , a â??doer of wonderful worksâ? and â??He (Jesus) appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.â?.

On the whole there are nearly dozen Jewish and Roman writers and historians of that period that are silent on the subject of Christ as a person.

But of course you know that from your research and scholarshipâ?¦ .

Link to comment

Does anyone mention Philo?

I take it that you are not much of a student of Neoplatonism, eh?

UD

Link to comment

I have never written anything about Al Gore. That doesn't mean he doesnt/has never existed. DOH!

On another note... Its kind of funny listening to the media from the east... Mitt Romney seems to be purposfully removed from all mention in lists of contenders. That does not mean he never existed.

Link to comment

Josephus and Tacitus are far from being universally accepted as legitimate. - Anybody reading the Josephus passage should find it laughable that a son of a Pharisee would call Jesus â??a wise manâ? , a â??doer of wonderful worksâ? and â??He (Jesus) appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.â?.

On the whole there are nearly dozen Jewish and Roman writers and historians of that period that are silent on the subject of Christ as a person.

But of course you know that from your research and scholarshipâ?¦ .

I wonder if there are any accounts from contemporaries of Joseph Smith who were historians, etc. and did not mention the prophet.

Link to comment

This is a quick sampling.

Argument from authority doesn't apply since I didn't say "I'm right cuz so and so agrees with me" . Argument from ignorance has an important exception that applies here. Excluded middle doesn't apply because the gospel Jesus either did or didn't exist as described in the gospels. Observational selection implies there were lots of people living in the 3rd decade of the first century writing about Jesus who I'm ignoring. If you have 3rd decade 1st century sources go ahead and share them. You'll be very rich and famous as you'll be the first to provide any.

Next time, do a more in-depth analysis and save me the time of responding to these false charges.

Link to comment

I think it is a lot less of an open-and-shut case than that. The appearance of Jesus as an alleged historical character, the sudden outbreak of Christian belief and the outbreak of counter-propaganda can all be much more economically explained by the existence of a real historical character, Jesus of Nazareth, than they can by some mysterious creation of a totally mythical figure who none the less inspired what became a mass movement.

Philo says nothing, true. But the argument from silence is never a very strong one, and other non-Christian writers do have references, such as the eminent historian and Roman senator Tacitus (ca. 56 â?? ca. 117):

book 15, chapter 44 of his Annals in connection with the great fire of Rome in AD 64:

Pliny was the Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. In one of his letters, dated around A.D. 112, he asks the Emperor Trajan's advice about the appropriate way to conduct legal proceedings against those accused of being Christians. Pliny says that he needed to consult the emperor about this issue because a great multitude of every age, class, and sex stood accused of Christianity.

At one point in his letter, Pliny relates some of the information he has learned about these Christians:

Anyone can easily see sources for these and other quotes online at, for instance:

http://www.probe.org/content/view/18/77/

This is all highly off-topic, but I will indulge you for a moment on Tacitus.

Tacitus refers to Pilate with an innacurate title and refers to Christianity as a superstition. Christians are quick to point at Tacitus' writing as "evidence" Jesus existed. It's nothing of the sort and Christian claims of this nature are disengenuous. Tacitus is nothing more than one of the first in a long line of authors to see Christians and assume there was a Christ. This argument just goes to show Christians aren't interested in delving.

"Tacitus mentions Jesus? Nevermind how he came by that information or what his sources were. This shows there was a Jesus."

By this logic, the Earth must be flat since there still remains a Flat Earth society.

Link to comment

Argument from authority doesn't apply since I didn't say "I'm right cuz so and so agrees with me" . Argument from ignorance has an important exception that applies here. Excluded middle doesn't apply because the gospel Jesus either did or didn't exist as described in the gospels. Observational selection implies there were lots of people living in the 3rd decade of the first century writing about Jesus who I'm ignoring. If you have 3rd decade 1st century sources go ahead and share them. You'll be very rich and famous as you'll be the first to provide any.

Next time, do a more in-depth analysis and save me the time of responding to these false charges.

Ah, I get it. the fallacies don't apply to you, because you have explanations around them. Check. :P

Link to comment

I wonder if there are any accounts from contemporaries of Joseph Smith who were historians, etc. and did not mention the prophet.

There are plenty of contemporary accounts of Joseph Smith from arrest records, church memberships and newspaper articles..

If your going to try and divert the issue to a red herring you will need to do a much better job than that..

Link to comment
Like who? What about Josephus? Doesn't his mentioning Christ more than once kinda invalidate your entire argument?

I stopped reading here when I realized you're one of those people who still believes Josephus' church-altered texts in some way evidences Jesus. Talk about Flat Earthists...

Link to comment

There are plenty of contemporary accounts of Joseph Smith from arrest records, church memberships and newspaper articles..

If your going to try and divert the issue to a red herring you will need to do a much better job than that..

Ah, but where, pray tell, is all this type of evidence for Philo?

More importantly: Why should Philo have mentioned Jesus?

Link to comment

Philo of Alexandria was born in 20 bce and passed away in 50 ce making him (in theory) a contemporary of Jesus.

Though he lived in Alexandria, we know Philo visited Judea and had contact with Pilate.

We know Philo was a hellenized Jew who was fascinated by the early essenes who many believe to be early Christians.

You keep saying "we know." Actually, we "know" no such thing. Philo could have written entire books on Jesus that may have been lost. You constantly assume, by saying "we know," that you know a great many things which, in fact, you are almost completely ignorant about.

Philo was in the right place at the right time talking to the right people to run right into this allegedly super-powerful & well known fellow named Jesus who was (allegedly) performing miracles (like bringing people back from the dead) and fulfilling prophecies.

Few Christians accept the Essenes as early Christians. Again this is something you say "we know" that in fact is highly disputed. The people that Philo was talking to may have assumed that Jesus was just another run-of-the-mill magician. They were common enough at the time.

Yet Philo is completely silent on the subject of Jesus... as are all other mid & early first century writers from the area. We don't see anything from Philo about Jesus directly ("I saw Jesus!") or indirectly ("These people keep talking about this Jesus who they said performs miracles...").

The very obvious conclusion for this silence is that there was no Jesus for Philo to discuss.

No, the very obvious conclusion is that Philo either never heard of Jesus or that he chose not to mention him in that particular document. That someone may never mention elephants does not mean that elephants do not exist.

Link to comment

As you probably know, there has been a longstanding disagreement amongst classical scholars

and historians as to whether we can trust the Josephus mentions of Jesus as having been the

exact reading of his original text.

Unless we one day locate a very early Josephus manuscript which includes those mentions,

the probability that they were later Christian interpolations into the text remains a strong one.

What Josephus does convey, with plausible accuracy, is that messianic zeal was at a high point

in Judea and the surrounding region, in the years between Herod's death and the eventual

destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by the Romans. In any given year during that period,

there were very likely several hoped-for/suspected/proclaimed messiahs operating there, along

with their followers. Some of these were Zealot pretenders, trying to stir up rebellion -- some were

criminal opportunists -- some were crazies -- and some were sincere visionaries.

Amongst this continual religious-political ferment, it would have no doubt taken a keen and

experienced observer to pick Jesus out from all the other teachers, rebels, and would be leaders.

We can forgive Philo for not noticing one such man, before any of the gospels were wtitten and

before the letters of Paul and James had reached a wide circulation.

Did Philo even notice the case of John the Baptist?

UD

.

I note that while the Testimonium Flavianum is considered questionable, in another place in Josephus it reads:

...and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James...

While there is some question as to whether the "who was called Christ" part might be an interpolation, I believe it is pretty widely accepted that the rest of that quote is authentic.

Link to comment

Two people now have stated (in not so many words) that Philo may have heard of Jesus and just written him off as another charlattan. I'm not sure why Christians make this argument as you're shooting yourself in the foot: People living at the time of Jesus thought he was just another nobody with a few tricks, but people living 2 millenia later are somehow convinced he was the real deal?

Please.

Christians in the second century (like Athenagoras) were blithely unconcerned with the personhood of Jesus.

All of you are willfully ignoring the most obvious conclusion (the only one that makes sense in light of the claims made in the bible): There was no Jesus there for Philo to hear about.

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...