Friday, 4 May 2007

Presentation, I write of Philo of Alexandria especially, in my research.


today I created this new blogging. My current research interest is writing of the texts of Philo of Alexandria, a Classical Philosopher. Currently I write especially on topic of glass in Antiquity, more of that will follow soon. To introduce myself, I present here to the interested a short summary of what I have recently published in London, a Book of 450 pages comparison Philo of Alexandria and Gospels of New Testament. (This was prepared in Sorbonne IV and Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen). And, more of glass will soon follow.... Glass ist Das!

The Table of Contents, composed by Pasi K. Pohjala
for the Book
Similarities of Redaction of the Gospel According to Matthew, with Texts of Philo Alexandrinus, written by Pasi K. Pohjala
(ISBN 978-1-84685-032-5, in Diggory Press, UK, 2006). (or ebook is available, too).

The INTRODUCTION presents Philo of Alexandria, important Hellenised Jewish writer of Alexandria, contemporary with Jesus and Paul. His writings in Loeb Classical Library are 12 volumes. These four studies argue that Matthew knew writings of Philo of Alexandria when redactionally formulating 5:13-16, 6:19-24, 12:43-45 and his own material 20:1-16. Synoptic Gospels (that is, Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke) are examined with currently usual methods, assuming priority of Mark and existence of the Sayings source (the Q source), finding thus Matthews redaction (even currently assuming priority of Matthew seems unlikely). Philo was Hellenised Jewish writer of Alexandria, well educated in Greek philosophy and Jewish traditions, who interpreted in Platonised Stoic philosophical manner the Scriptures for his actual situation. The interesting Scriptural details of Old Testament motivating also his interpretations are found by comparing LXX, Latin, Masoretic and Targumic versions. In the current scholarly discussions comparisons of Gospel of John with Philos writings are more usual; the current method of comparing Matthew with Philos writings includes thus also many novel aspects. Method for research is usually comparative Midrash. INTRODUCTION notices also many current writers of these topics, such as David Winston, David Runia, Peder Borgen, Valentin Nikiprowetzky, Carl Siegfried 1875, Richard Goulet, Gregory Sterling, Krister Stendahl, Emil Brehier, Isaac Heinemann, Walter Bousset, Harry Wolfson, Paul Wendland, Samuel Belkin. The Loeb Classical Library has published Philos writings, as well as French Les Oeuvres de Philon d Alexandrie (Cerf). Important are also The Philo Index (by P. Borgen), and La Bible d Alexandrie (Cerf, Paris) commenting Septuagint, the Greek (translation of the) Old Testament, and Studia Philonica Annual. The articles of Theological Dictionary of New Testament (=Theologisches Worterbuch) usually examine also Philos writings in detail.

Chapter TWO
2. Hellenisation of Palestine and Contacts with Alexandria of Egypt, Noticed as Background for the Gospel of Matthew

The SECOND CHAPTER wishes to elucidate how Matthew in his concrete historical situation knew the writings of Philo when composing his versions of the here studied texts. Philo wrote in Greek language in Alexandria. Actually, the geography strongly argues for Matthews knowledge of Philos texts. Alexandria was THE methropolis of the Eastern Mediterranean region, located very near to Palestine, and there was a large Jewish population who held Jerusalem in high esteem especially religiously; and there were many travelling between these regions. Also Jerusalem and religious life in Jerusalem was in many aspects Hellenised, too (cf. writings of Martin Hengel, esp. Judentum und Hellenismus). Indeed, Matthew Ch. 2 attests essentially positive attitude towards Egypt, presenting it as the safe haven for refugee Jesus and family; but other Gospels do not mention Egypt (Ch. 2.8.) Generally in the Jewish worship (in "synagogue" meetings- see esp. discussion of Lee Levine 2000), the Scriptures were publicly read in meetings, in Hebrew and in the local languace (cf. Mishnah and Babli Megillah), such practise attested also in New Testament, also by Jesus reading Scriptures in "synagogue" meeting. There existed many scholars fluent in Hebrew language, Scriptures and local languages for translating, also Greek. (Ch. 2.2.) High level of Greek language is attested by Revisions of Greek manuscripts of Scriptures, often towards Hebrew version, cf. kaige-revisions, Minor Prophets Scroll, and Prolog of Sirach. Also, translation of Aquila received much positive reputation, too (Ch. 2.3). Lively travelling between Alexandria and Jerusalem is well attested, even in Acts 2 and 6; and Megillah attests Alexandrian presence in Jerusalem (Babli Megillah 26, Tosefta Megillah 2:17 and Yerushalmi Megillah 3:1). Claudius Edict even aims to prevent people coming from there to Alexandria. Many Pharisees fled to Alexandria from presecutions (see esp. Jacob Neusner 1971, vol. 1); and the important institution of Ketubah probably came from Alexandria to Palestine. Comprehensively, Aryeh Kasher 1985 (The Jews in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt)writes the Chapter "Alexandrian Jewish Community in Talmudic Traditions" where attestations for cultural contacts are comprehensively studied. The Chapter 2.5. notices that in Palestine before 70AD the educated persons generally had to know Greek language for purposes of international business- Jerusalem (and Caesarea) were lively market centra- and also for communicating with the administration mainly in Greek language. Indeed, many Rabbinic writings describe Rabbinical students studying also Greek (Babli Sotah 49, Babli Baba Qamma 83; and Josephus attests of the wide-spread Greek learning and his knowledge in his Antiquitates 20:263ff.). But Chapter 2.6. notices that after the destruction of the Temple, studies of Greek language and literature were directly forbidden in Rabbinical circles (e.g. Mishnah Sotah 9:14, Yerushalmi Shabbath 1:4 and Babli Sotah 49). Generally, Lee Levine 2000, The Ancient Synagogue, describes much also of the language situation, Hebrew and Greek languages and archaeological attestations. Generally, archaeological finds attest many Greek manuscripts from Palestine, even in Qumran and Masada, and finds of Nahal Hever and Murabbaath (much discussions e.g. in Catherine Hezser 2000, Jewish Literacy in Roman Palestine).

Accordingly, in the time of writing of the (redaction of) Gospel of Matthew, there were many Scolars well learned in Jewish traditions, and learned in Hebrew, Aramaic and in Greek languages, living in Palestine that had lively cultural connections with Alexandria; much travelling was occurring there. Therefore it is indeed concretely plausible that Matthew had knowledge of Philos writings when writing the writing nowadays known as Gospel According to Matthew. Indeed, W. Bousset has discussed School of Biblical interpretations of Alexandria (Schulbetrieb), this being remembered still by K. Stendahl in The School of St. Matthew. Indeed, some traditions do present Philo as the Master of such exegetical school in Alexandria; but arguing Matthew as Scholar having studied in such Alexandrian School could not be completed in my Book as only four Matthean text could be here studied.

The THIRD Chapter
3. Matthew 5:13-16, Praising God and Listing Individual Parts of Creation, A Comparison with Texts of Philo Alexandrinus

The THIRD CHAPTER examines Matt 5:13-16, whose redaction is easily found, Matthew here adding details of thanksgiving and notes of audience and their (inner) light. Matt 5:13-16 writes of salt, earth and lights and their changes. The Philonic parallels are mentions of thanksgiving prayer to Creator for His good works, describing creation in detail, the waters, earth and heaven and heavely light givers. Chapter 3.5. studies such Philonic prayers in detail. Philos Special Laws 1:300 notices how created things do not change, alteration does not occur in waters, salty and sweet water, mountains and low lands or heavenly lights; no, everything remains in their form. Obvious contrast are changes of salt, mountain and light givers in Matt 5:13-16 that Matthew in explicit and provocative manner presents as surprising changes. Especially, God remains the same. The Special Laws 1:210 exhorts to dividing according to right elements such thanksgiving prayers to Creator, so that waters, earth and lights are mentioned in right manner. W. Bousset and N. Walter have further compared this with Alexandrian Aristobulus writing preserved in Eusebius Preparatio Evang. 8.10.9-11. There is described how God remains the same, and neither changes of created order occur concerning waters, earth and lights. Also On Dreams (De Somniis) 1:239ff is noticed. Importantly, Philo describes in De Flaccum 123 actual Alexandrian practise of such prayer to Creator. In Apostolic Constitutions, the Hellenistic Synagogal prayers present parallels in AC 7.34 and 8.12.9-20 (see Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. Charlesworth, and writings of Fiensy and W. Bousset 1916) also examining changes of parts in created order.

The Matt 5:13-16 writes of the light of disciples in this thanksgiving prayer. Especially, this parallels to Philos Special Laws 1:285-298 that allegorically describes such thanksgiving to Creator as light in human being. Such thanksgiving should be continuous, continuing day and night. Details of Spec Laws 1:285-298 parallel Matt 5:13-16. The 1:285-298 emphasise salt and light as expressing (and causing) continuity of expressions for thanksgiving in the presented offerings (contrasting with the changes of creation that include non-continuity), this interpreting Leviticus 2:13 (Chapt 3.2). Futhermore, Chapt 3.3. discusses topic of light and lamp. Place of lamp as light giver is central in Matt 5:13-16 and Special Laws 1:285-298, Philo here notices also Menorah of Temple. Menorah gave continuous light (LXX Leviticus 24:4, Spec Laws 1:296 and 1 Macc 4:50ff. and Matt 5:15, discussing lamp).

Resulting conclusion of the THIRD CHAPTER is that the redaction of Matt 5:13-16 is grounded on a specific tradition of thanksgiving prayer to Creator for his good works, formulating the 5:13-16 based on Philos discussions, especially hilos writings of thanksgiving to Creator in Special Laws 1.

4. The Stability of Virtue, and Human Mind, A Comparison of Matt 20:1-16 with Writings of Philo Alexandrinus

The CHAPTER FOUR presents Sacrifices of Abel and Cain 1-42 as the obvious Philonic parallel to Matthew 20:1-16. Topic of ascribing to younger (that who comes later) same worth as for the older, (last becoming first), is in Matthew 19:30 and 20:16 written, forming an inclusio. The same topic is by Philo written also as inclusio in Sacrif 11-17 and Sacrif 42. Similarly as Matthew, Philo writes of labouring as causing such change of worthiness, describing especially agricultural working of Abel and Cain (Chapt 4.3.). Chapter 4.4. describes labour and its rewards. Similarly, esp. Sacr 35-42 writes beautiful praise of labour. Every good thing has labour and toiling as its ground. The Sacr 36 emphasises labour as light that gives sight to eyes. Thus men may understand practises of virtue. Matthew describes as contrast how the first men although labouring whole day did not understand method of payment as good, as virtuous. (Even the word play AGORA, ARGOS, AGROS suggests learned Alexandrian context.) Chapter 4.5. studies role of numerals 3, 6, and 9 in tale of Matthew, as moments of day, this attesting interest for some science and calendars. Philos discussion of numerals is noticed. These multiples of number three describe the time of becoming servant of God, and exaclty similarly, Philo specifies in Sacrifices of Abel and Cain 12 Moses becoming friend of God at the third (moment), here slightly but importantly modifying the quoted LXX of Exod 4:10. Chapter 4.6. describes human estimating of rewards writing the problematic word of GOGGUDZO,that is examined (e.g. Theol Dictionary of New Testament!). The Sacrificiis 10 explicit mentions that God does not need human advice when estimating those rewards He is going to give to humans. Also, Sacrificiis 20ff. describes how virtue and vice in their presentations describe their benefits, and virtue strongly warning against wrongly estimating the seemingly lucrative rewards of vice. The central problem in Matt 20:1-16 is allocation of the material properties by the owner in the form of salary according to his will (THELO). Essentially the same problem of allocating of material benefits in accordance with owners wish is discussed in problem of the inheritance of first-born, and of this Philo quotes Deuteronomium 21:15-17 in Sacrificiis 19 and interprets it. Philo discusses cases of Jacob and Esau and Abel and Cain here.

5. Alteration of Virtue and Vice in Human Mind, Comparison of Matt 12:43-45 with Texts of Philo Alexandrinus

The FIFTH CHAPTER discusses Philos parallels to Matthews version of the entering of vice in place left empty by good, in Matt 12:43-45. Indeed, astonishingly many consistent parallels appear in Philos writings. Philos interpretations of Genesis 27:30 are obvious parallels to Matthews version in 12:43-45. Philo emphasises that this Gen 27:30 describes the movement how after Jacobs leaving a certain place there soon thereafter enters Esau, who is returning. (Targumic terminology is nearer to Philonic versions than LXX). Philo consistently interprets this change of the inhabitant so that after the exiting of virtue from soul, the vice will certainly enter there soon thereafter, here allegorically interpreting Jacob as virtue and Esau as vice (this allegory being usual in Philos writings). Thus, allegorically understood, Gen 27:30 exactly describes the entering of vice in soul swiftly after exiting of virtue from there. The texts are found in Sacrifices of Abel and Cain 134-135. On Drunkenness 1-10 (De Ebr) and Questions of Genesis 4:220. These are obvious, clear and contemporary parallels to the situation of Matt 12:43-45, examined in Chapter 5.3.1. Further, Chapter 5.4. examines such texts where Philo emphasises that soul shall be completely filled with virtue, warning that any empty place provides opportunity for entering of vice. Such texts are found in Special Laws 4:141-144, Rewards and Punishments 16-21, 65 and 112, and in Sacrifices of Abel and Cain 1-5. Moreover, the Chapter examines the theme addition, as Philo describes how adding something in the soul includes taking away from there the other; these apply also to vice and virtue. The interpretations of Genesis 25:8 in Flight and Finding (Fuga) 128 and Sacrifices of Abel and Cain (Sacr) 5 emphasise this, contrasting adding and taking away. Also Questions on Genesis 4:152 applies this so, that soul should be full of virtues. The Chapter 5.3.3. describes Flight and Finding (Fuga) 116-118 that describes how vice enters into soul left empty by departure of virtue.

Written by Philo of Alexandria, contemporary of Jesus and Paul and Matthew, these writings studied in the CHAPTER FIVE are notable parallels to Matthews version of Maqtt 12:43-45, although not being noticed in current exegetical discussions.

6. The Quality of Eye, Oneness, Keen Seeing and Wealth, Comparison of Matt 6:19-24 with Texts of Philo Alexandrinus

The CHAPTER SIX studies Philos parallels to Matt 6:19-24. The essential observation is that in writing of keen seeing eye (OKSUS) Philo consistently also writes of different wealths and freedom of soul. Such paralles clearly Matt 6:19-24. Matthew here describes eye as HAPLOUS; light of eye is discussed, wealths compared and freedom noticed. The Greek word OKSUS translates in LXX often HD (keen/sharp/swift) that as Hebrew word parallels AHD, one, relating to HAPLOUS. Chapter SIX studies following topics:

6.1. Use of the word OKSUS in the Greek translations of Scriptures, and Lucian
(especially Proverbs 22:29 whose LXX version writes of man diligent in his works, OKSUS, is totally different from the Hebrew version. Interestingly, Lucianic version of Ezra 7:6 presents GRAMMATEUS OKSUS, a Scribe keen in the Scriptures; Lucian often preserves old versions well. OKSUS may thus have been early honourific title of men learned in Scriptures in some Scribal groups.)
6.2.The HAPLOUS contrasted with Mixed
(6.2. on Migration of Abraham (Migr) 148-153)
6.3.The OKSUS seeing Singers of the Song at the Sea, and Division into Two
(6.3. Contemplative Life 83-89 and Agricultura 78-83 describe them. Division into two is here presenting Platonic Diaresis-examination method, such terminology is in these texts important).
6.4. Human OKSUS seeing and Research after Species, According to De Opificio Mundi
(6.4. studies De Opificio Mundi 53-57, 66 and 130-131. Philo obviously applies some empirically oriented method for natural research, version of Platonically oriented Aristotelian method. Esp. 130-131 presents Moses seeing clearly (OKSUS) when "rightly" dividing waters into two classes in Genesis 2:6).
6.5. Condition of Eye, OKSUS seeing & Manifestations of God
(6.5. studies Questions on Genesis 4:8 and On Dreams (Somniis) 1:160-167.)
6.6. Unmixed Soul has OKSUS seeing of Simple objects
(6.6. studies Migration of Abraham (Migr) 43-52 and 117-126)
6.7. Statements Concerning OKSUS seeing and Making Judgements in the Wisdom of Solomon
(6.7. studies chapters 7 and 8 in the Wisdom of Solomon)
6.8. Mind learning OKSUS by practise and repetition
(6.8. remembers the ideas of Nicomachaean Ethics concerning education, paideia, of learning by repetitive doing, and studies Special Laws 4:161-165 and the relevant LXX of Psalm 45:1-4 that describes diligent and keen scribe.)
6.9. Exegesis of the Place Shekem in Migratione
(6.9. studies Migr 222-223)
6.10. Human Mind Partakes in Divine Simplicity, but Senses are Mixed
(6.10. studies Heres 177-86, Deus Immutabilis 70-77 and De Gigantibus 20-27).
6.11. Light and Darkness in Human Soul, and OKSUS seeing
(6.11. studies Legum Allegoriae 3:162-171)
6.12. Human OKSUS seeing, OKSUS seeing wealth, and Freedom from Slavery
(this 6.12. studies Flight and Finding (Fuga) 16-20, Virtutibus 1-12, Vita Contemplativa 10-12 and Omnis Probus Liber 136-43)
6.13. The OKSUS seeing described in Discussions about Etymologies of Names
6.14. The OKSUS seeing and Making Interpretations
6.15. Letter of Aristeas and In Flaccum
(this 6.15. finds in contemporary ideals of kingship concrete applications of the epistemological cleverness and keenness denoted with this OKSUS, that makes the content of this OKSUS more understandable concretely. Here are studied Aristeas 275-77 and 156, descriptions of Dan (cf. Hebrew Din, make judgements, to discern) in Somniis 2:39, and praise of Flaccus in beginning of his career in Flaccum 2.
6.16. Traditions in Talmud
(the 6.16. is examination of such texts of Babylonian Talmud, Babli, that describe intellectual cleverness and scrupulouness in interpreting and applying the Law/Mizwot with the word ZARIZ. Material is found in Concordance of Kassowsky and Bar-Ilan Responsa Project. e.g. Taanith 7, Berakhot 47, Shabbath 63 and 19-20, Erubin 13, Sanhedrin 70, Pesachim 50 and 12, Menahoth 43, Hullin 82, Sukkah 41 and Baba Mezia 38. The search for exactly this term ZARIZ is motivated in study of Midrashic mentions of the Prov 22:29 that was done in Chapter 6.1. Especially Exodus Rabbah 11:1 and Song of Songs Rabbah 1:1 explain the cleverness of Proverbs 22:29 as ZARIZ where LXX writes the OKSUS cleverness