Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More bibliographics

Someone may have missed that one can find some bibliographic information of the homepage of Studia Philonica:

Studia Philonica 1989-2000 volumes I-XII
Index of articles and bibliographies
arranged by author.

Index of Reviews, arranged by author:
Volumes I-XII, 1989-2000.

Every Issue of Studia Philonica contains now an extended annotated bibliography. These are then collected and published as a book every 10th year. In my next posting I will return to relevant bibliographies for the study of Philo.

By the way; have you located and marked your spot on the Philo of Alexandria Map? Go to, then find and click on the link in the upper right corner, labelled Add Yourself. Thanks.


When you surf the Internet, you find something new, something old; this time I found something old, but nevertheless new to me!

It's a reference to an article of David T Runia I have missed to see before:Runia, David T. "The Idea and the Reality of the City in the Thought of Philo of Alexandria"
Journal of the History of Ideas - Volume 61, Number 3, July 2000, pp. 361-379

An excerpt of the article is given thus:

"The theme of my paper is the conception of the city as a social and cultural phenomenon held by the Jewish exegete and philosopher Philo of Alexandria (15 bc to 50 ad). There can be no doubt that the city occupied a central position in his own life. As an inhabitant of Alexandria he was thoroughly immersed in a highly urbanized form of life. From a more theoretical angle the city has an important place in his thought because of what it represents: of all physical products of human activity the city is the largest and most complex (here there is in fact little difference between Philo and us, although there is an obvious difference in scale). It is not my aim to examine Philo's political philosophy, i.e., his views on how the city should be governed, nor his views on the actual political administration of the Roman Empire in his time. These subjects have already been treated with sufficient competence by others. 1 I will argue that, though as an Alexandrian Philo was very much a homo urbanus, he nevertheless reveals a significant ambivalence towards the city. This attitude is related to his dual ideological background (Jewish and Greek), and anticipates developments in later antiquity."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Where do you live?

Due to a brief note on the Logos Bible Software Blog I was made aware of the interesting service of Frappr!, a free service providing the possibilities of setting up a map, and invite all visitors to place themselves on the map.

You can find the Philo of Alexandria map here:

Please consider entering it and locate yourself on the map: you can also post a brief message and /or photo of yourself (visitors: click on the symbol to see the message). It would be interesting for both me and all other visitors to see where in the world the various PhiloBlog visitors live.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Slavery in the ancient Greek world

This posting has not much to do with Philo research as such, but with research on ancient slavery, a field that I am very interested in (cf. The Philemon letter in the New Testament), and it is thus relevant for New Testament research, and- also for the study of Diaspora Judaism. I just came over a review of R. Zelnick-Abramovitz,
Not Wholly Free: The Concept of Manumission and
the Status of Manumitted Slaves in the Ancient Greek World.
Mnemosyne Supplement 266. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Pp. viii, 392. ISBN
90-04-14585-0. $160.00.

Reviewed by Deborah Kamen, Stanford University (
. The review can be read on BrynMawr Classical Review.

What also struck me here as very interesting, is that the reviewer points to another project on slavery inscriptions by Elisabeth Meyer:"A New Interpretive Study of Slavery in Hellenistic and Roman Greece." The project is presented thus: "he overall long-term goal of this project is to create an electronic archive of all Greek manumission inscriptions that can be of use to epigraphists (scholars specializing in the study of ancient inscriptions) and historians (of antiquity, but also of slavery in other historical periods) alike. The project was initially conceived as a way of organizing one type of data on which my own study of slavery, manumission, freedman status, and inscribing habits in Greece during the Hellenstic and Roman periods would be based, but has rapidly become more technically oriented and more precise, since all work which uses inscriptions needs to reflect a high degree of care and accuracy. The project thus aims to satisfy the needs of Greek epigraphists, to the extent that they can be satisfied when they cannot work from the stones themselves, by providing high-quality color images (and details) of every inscription, complete physical descriptions, comprehensive references to previous readings of the texts, reliable information about where the stone can now be found, and Greek texts of my reading of the stones. But I would also like to make this material accessible to non-epigraphists, and indeed to non-classicists (e.g. students of slavery in other historical periods), and have therefore included English translations of all inscriptions in this archive, information about location and context when possible, and forms of tagging (e.g. to price) that will help non-specialists to gather information from this archive."

You can here browse the inscriptions (a search function, alas, did not work for me).
A tremendous help when investigating ancient slavery; internett at its best!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

On De Virtutibus

On Tuesday, the last day of the SBL Annual Meeting, I attended the second Philo session, and for me, it was the most rewarding one. And do you know what: two out of three used handouts!! (cf. my former posting below..)

Here you see the participants: Walter Wilson is presenting his paper, while Davit T. Runia (who presided at the session), then David Konstan, Gregory E. Sterling, and James R. Royse.

The theme was Interpreting Philo’s De Virtutibus.

First out was
Walter Wilson, Emory University, who is writing the commentary on De Virtutibus in Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series (PACS). His paper was an interesting discussion of some aspects relating to work, and he in particular dealt with issues raised by Katell Bertholot, Philanthropia Judaica: le debat autour de la "misanthropie" des lois juives dans l'antiquite (JSJ 76; Leiden: E.J. Brill 2003, sorry for the missing accents in my printing of the title here..TS)), and then with Emilio Gabba, 'Studi su Dionigi da Alicarnasso: La costituzione di Romolo,' Athenaeum 38 (1960) 175-225,
Gregory E. Sterling, University of Notre Dame, was respondent to this paper

James R. Royse, (San Francisco State University) gave his paper on The Text of Philo’s De Virtutibus. He even handed out his whole manuscript. Great! This paper was also illuminating to me as I do not know very much about issues related to the text and various manuscripts of Philo's work.

Last presenter was David Konstan (Brown University), whos paper was on Philo’s De Virtutibus in the Perspective of Greco-Roman Philosophical Literature. I would have liked very much to have had some handouts of this too, as I found it very interesting; but here I'll probably have to wait for its publication.

After the session I was having lunch at Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant, with Jutta Leonhardt-Balzer, Ellen Birnbaum and David M. Hay. A very very pleasant closing of this years SBL Annual Meeting.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Philo and Qumran

This morning I attended the first session of two sessions on Philo:On the not too good picture above you can see Martinez lecturing, while Collins and Najman are attentive listeners.

Philo of Alexandria

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room 103-B - Pennsylvania Convention Center
Theme: Linguistic Border Crossing: Philo of Alexandria and the Dead Sea Scrolls
John Collins, Yale University, Presiding
Florentino Garcia Martinez, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Divine Sonship at Qumran and in Philo (30 min)
Hindy Najman, University of Toronto
Revelation in the Desert: The Case of the Therapeutae and the Essenes (30 min)
Loren T. Stuckenbruck, University of Durham
To What Extent Did Philo's Treatment of Enoch and the Giants Presuppose a Knowledge of the Enoch-related Sources Preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls (30 min)

It was certainly interesting to here and see F. Garzia Martinez, this expert on the Qumran Scrolls, and I do think he demonstrated his mastery of the sources in this lecture. The other two were also interesting, and I do hope all three papers will be printed in the next volume of Studia Philonica.

The English of Martinez was sometimes somewhat difficult to follow, and Najman, who is an excellent scholar, is also an impresssive fast speaker, adding explanatory parantheses along the way. I must admit, however, not having English as my mother tongue, that I would have been greatly helped if there had been some handouts, giving the main aspects of the arguments presented. This is not something experienced only in this session; by no way,- many presentations suffer in a similar way. But that is no excuse. Please; do start considering using handouts.
Hence I have to wait some time to have a fuller understanding and enjoyment of these important papers.

Those who have followed the biblioblogs for some times, will perhaps remember that similar comments of mine sparked a debate among bibliobloggers last year. The viwpoints offered then, can be reread here, and here and here..
Most of them are still valid.

Update Nov 25:
Mark Goodacre supports my plea for the use of handouts.

The Jews of Rome

I attended the session S20-62 Hellenistic Judaism, at the SBL Annual Meeting today; the most interesting paper for my part was Erich S. Gruen, The Jews at Rome: Alienation, Toleration or integration? or None of the Above?

He said discussions were often marred by the issues of ghettoization or assimilation as the most relevant options, but he claimed that the Jews where able to live at both of these two ends at the same time. Their situations were complex, but our sources seem to support the hypothesis that they clung to their distinction as Jews, while at the same time enjoying participation in the life of Rome.

Are we often thinking too much in dichotomies?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Biblioblogging session over

Well, by now the biblioblogging session is over. I think the best part was the papers presented, but it was also interesting to meet the real persons behind the various names and pseudonyms so well known from their blog pages.
The discussion had its merits; it could perhaps, at least according to my opinion, have been a little more organised as people just 'took the word' and spoke without waiting in line, or giving a sign.
I had also hoped that someone (in addition to me.......:-) had focused a little more on the future; What do we expect blogosphere will look like in two years, and/or what do we want it to look like? I presume the wild flowers will continue to grow; but if we do not get more blogs who focus more strictly on specific fields, or groups of biblical writings, we will lose some interest in the scholarly world....
That's my prophecy for the day....

Here is
a list of those commenting on the Biblioblogging session.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

BiblioBlogging issues

Some readers of this blog may have discovered that there will be a special session at the SBL Annual Meeting devoted to Biblioblogging. If not, you can read more about it here.

This event is not supposed to be focusing on Philo of Alexandria, but he will surely be mentioned, as I am one of the bloggers to participate in the discussion panel. I don't know how much time each of us will get in the discussion, and as I am not one of those fast-speaking-native-firstlanguage-English speakers, but a slow speaking Norwegian, I'll post some of my ideas about the future of Bibioblogging here. You are welcome to add your comments in the comment field below.

I was first a little surprised by being counted among the bibliobloggers and invited to this panel. On second thoughts, however, My Philo of Alexandria blog certainly deals with matter closely related to the study of the Bible as Philo himself was an expositor of the Scriptures, and his works are interesting for just that same reason.

My own blog came into being in relation to my Resource Pages for Biblical studies. The PaleoJudaica blog had been on the web for some time, and so had the New Testament Gateway blog, and a few others. I planned my Philoblog to be a place where I could present and discuss issues relevant in the world of Philo studies, and to gather and present material on the web on Philo. My first aim has been only partially fulfilled; there has been little discussion. After some time it became more and more a blog of collecting and presenting relevant links and news from the ongoing Philo research, both printed matter and websites.

There are several reasons for this; the main reason however, being my lack of time for just these things. Hence I focused more and more on updating it as a channel for presenting news in the fields of philonic studies. I try not to post on my personal life; I have two other blogs dealing with that (you can find them on my homepage), and I certainly do not write about Zwingli, but I focus on Philo and related issues within New Testament research.

Furthermore, I will not try to define what is or who is a biblioblogger. I do think the name just is there, and it needs no clear-cut definition. What I would like to focus on is some of the issues related to keeping and managing such a blog, and what I would like to see in the future.

The blogs now included among the 'biblioblogs' are very varied; the only common denominator seem to be that they in some ways deals with issues related to the Bible. Some are more academic than others, some are often rather personal diary-like. I will presume these aspects receive various responses from the readers. I made a little test among my colleagues in Stavanger at my present institution. I gave them a list of those blogs represented here in this panel, and asked them to have a look at, and – if possible - to tell me what they thought about the phenomenon of blogging, and what they would like to find. The answers I received varied from a confused professor asking: “What is a blog” to more informed responses. These latter focused on the scholarly content and thus usefulness of reading them, and explicitly said that postings of a more private nature would keep them away from visiting these sites. I am asking myself this: is our willingness and even interest in reading about personal experiences due to the fact that several of us have a feeling of knowing each other so much that it become natural to also read about personal issues and family events? If a blog is presented as scholarly, and not of the diary kind, I think we should be more restrictive here.

I do think some of the issues worthy of further discussion are closely related to something I brought up quite early on my blog concerning the keeping of comprehensive websites as, for instance, the New Testament Gateway and my own Resource Pages for Biblical Studies. At that time I called them megasites (see more on the discussion here). The fields of studies comprised by these sites, and the amount of studies published are so vast that it is becoming impossible for one person to be updated on all parts of, for instance in my case, Philonic and New Testament studies.
Hence I made two suggestions, and these, I think, are quite relevant also for the future of effective biblioblogging:
1. I would like to have more discussions of the prospects and problems of establishing a range of scholarly weblogs that deal seriously with various sections of the field of biblical studies and related fields.The focus of the megasites, or as here; the blogs, should be narrowed down from the comprehensive Biblical, Old - or New Testament to focus on individual Scriptures or group of scriptures. Good examples here are already the Evangelical Textual Criticism, Hypotyposeis, dealing with the Synoptic Gospels, the, dealing with the socalled Pastoral letters. But do we have any blogs dealing specifically with Old Testament groups of texts, or with the Pauline letters, the Johaninne writings, or the catholic epistles?(There might be some I don't know about yet; for those not mentioned here, please forgive me..)

It might be both possible and interesting – for the time being - to run and to read blogs that are biblical focused in such a wide way that they comprise not only biblical studies, but also biblical related movies, personal travels, and inputs from Zwingli. But not, I am afraid, in the long run. I would predict that those running such comprehensive blogs will sooner or later have to (re)consider narrowing their focus or splitting up their blogs into several. Some have already done that.

2. Secondly, I would like to see more blogs not only having a more narrow focus, but also to be run by several bloggers. I do have a co-blogger on my Philo blog; unfortunately he has not been able to be as active as we both wanted. And I would like to have others joining me. Some of the new blogs mentioned above, in fact, have several bloggers. And I do think that is something that will prove itself rewarding.

The blogs are here to stay. But if they shall continue to gather interest from the scholars around the world who do not know the bloggers, and don’t want to know too much about them personally, but of their research the blog should be more narrow, and be driven by several bloggers in companionship.

I hope I am not killing the interest in the varity of Bible related blogs as we have it today. Let the wild flowers blossom! But for the sake of the future; let us also consider if there could be some more co-ordination among some bloggers, and thus be more able to build up a handful of biblical blogs focusing strictly on the scholarly research of the Old and New Testaments and related fields. It is not a question of either- or. We need both.

Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature

I spent a lot of time at the book exhibition today, and spent some money. There are a tremendous lot of new books publishe, and several revised editions are presented. Among some of the revised editions of useful books are the new edition ofGeorge Nickelsburg,
Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah, with CD-ROM
Fortress Press, 450 pages 6 x 9 inches
This version also includes some additional material, including now a chapter on Philo of Alexandria, and Josephus. Good to see Philo included where he belongs.
The list of the contents of the book can be seen here.

Philo on Gorgias Press

As mentioned by my co-blogger Kåre Fuglseth some weeks ago the Gorgias Press is to publish a complete Philo Concordance as a KWIC (Key-word in context) concordance.

Now they are announcing it on their website: "This edition, The Complete Works of Philo of Alexandria: A Key-Word-In-Context Concordance, is the ultimate printed form for any concordance with every occurrence of all Greek words. Each lemma is alphabetically ordered and presented within its context and thus designed to aid with research on Philo of Alexandria."

Skarsten, Peder Borgen, Kåre Fuglseth, Roald . The Complete Works of Philo of Alexandria: A Key-Word-In-Context Concordance
Gorgias Press. 7556pp; $ 1480

Gorgias is listed among the publishers present here at SBL; hence I will have to look them up, and see if they have some proof pages etc so one can get an impression of what the books will be like.

Arrived half dead...

Arrived in Philly yesterday; after 18 hours of travel; and the jetlag is heavy.... But I have attended two sessions today: the first one on Biblical Exegetical Software in the Classroom, and then the first part of a Workshop on Bibleworks.

Some of the guys in the first session were quite clever; both in their presentations and in what they had accomplished. But most of them were presenting how to teach Greek or Hebrew with computer technology; I would have liked to have listened to someone coming up with something more related to historical (and exegetical)studies. And second; it looked like Bibleworks was quite popular here, so both sessions must have been very valuable for the Bibleworks company...

My institution has an older version of that program; maybe I should have a closer look at it. But so far I have been very satisfied with my version of its competitor, a name I perhaps should reveal here so it can get some PR in this posting too...

Tomorrow is one of those looong days; I only hope I do not wake up 3 o'clock in the morning,- as I did today...
Good night....

I did....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Preparing for the SBL Annual Meeting

On Thursday morning (very early in the morning..) I am leaving Norway for a short week, heading for the SBL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. And just when I feel I have recovered from the jet-lag, I am no return back home, to take up another term of teaching.
The list of lectures and discussions to attend is written up, and so is the list of books wanted...

Acccording to the Program Book, it looks like Philo is popular at this Annual Meeting; in the 10 to 12 years I have been a participant I have never seen so many lectures and topics dealing with Philo, or at least including him in the material discussed. Early in the fall I listed the relevant sessions, but here is the relevant list of sessions I have on my schedule (including both Philo and non-philo related sessions):

S18-51Biblical Exegetical Software in the Classroom—Integration 101

1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room 112-A - Pennsylvania Convention Center

S19-23Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Early Christianity

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room 409 - Marriott
especially: Celia Deutsch, Barnard College
Text Work and Religious Experience: Philo and Clement

S19-72Religion in Roman Egypt
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room 106-A - Pennsylvania Convention Center
especially Steven Weitzman, Indiana University at Bloomington
Philo on How to Befriend an Emperor (25 min)

S19-123Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Early Christianity
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Room 409 - Marriott
(some of these will include Philo, according to the Abstracts)

S19-133Presidential Address
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Room: Salon G/H - Marriott

S20-12Computer Assisted Research
9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Room: Room 411 & 412 - Marriott
(probably not much about Philo, but I am a participant in the panel)

S20-58Construction of Christian Identities

1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Liberty Ballroom A - Marriott
Theme: Ephesus and Antioch: Plurality of Christian Groups and Christian Texts in the First Two Centuries.
S20-62Hellenistic Judaism
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Independence I - Marriott
Theme: Boundaries and Limits in Diaspora Judaism
here especially
Sarah Pearce, University of Southampton
Philo on Atheism, Judaism, and Egyptian Identity (20 min)
Abraham Terian, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary
Philo's Definitions of Israel in Relation to Historical Realities in the Greco-Roman World (20 min)

S20-119John's Apocalypse and Cultural Contexts Ancient and Modern
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM

S21-29 Philo of Alexandria

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room 103-B - Pennsylvania Convention Center
Theme: Linguistic Border Crossing: Philo of Alexandria and the Dead Sea Scrolls

S21-68Hellenistic Judaism
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room 404 - Marriott
Theme: The Cultural Context of Judaism in Alexandria

S21-127Social History of Formative Christianity and Judaism

4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Salon I (Level Five) - Marriott
Theme: Ethnicity, Identity, and Social Boundaries

S22-16Philo of Alexandria
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room 109-B - Pennsylvania Convention Center
Theme: Interpreting Philo’s De Virtutibus

Well, I will probably not be able to show up at all these sessions; by experience I know that the time spent in book exhibition area is eating up session-time every day. But where else do you get interesting (and sometimes expensive) books for 50 % discount? Long ago I discovered that people attend these annual meetings for three reasons; meeting people, buying books, and attend sessions. But not necessarily in this order....

By the way, did you ask for my book list? There is not one Philo-book on it! I did not find any in the advertisements texts in the printed Program book. Hopefully there might be some on the tables at the book exhibition.....

Monday, November 14, 2005

'Accordance' and Philo

Great news for all Macintosh users: The Accordance Bible Software now announces their new release of Scholar’s Collection 6.9(CD-ROM is $10 with purchase of Accordance 6).
This new release upgrades most modules, and offer major new tagged Greek texts of broad interest to scholars. In this edition the works of Philo are also included and thus available for unlocking ($100,- All the extant Greek texts of Philo prepared, lemmatized, and initially tagged grammatically by The Norwegian Philo Concordance Project, extensively revised for Accordance.)
You can read more about it here.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Logos Endiathetos and Logos Prophorikos

For those of you who don't read the comment fields to the various posting, I would like to republish this info: In a comment to a posting of mine below Phil H(arland?) was so kind as to direct my attention to the following article:Adam Kamesar, "The Logos Endiathetos and the Logos Prophorikos in Allegorical Interpretation: Philo and the D-Scholia to the Iliad," Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 44 (2004) 163-181. It is freely available online at here.

Philo and Philodemus on Music

According to a posting by Mark Goodacre on his blog New Testament Gateway Weblog, there is an article related to Philo in the recent Festschrift to Abraham Malherbethat I have been unaware of so far; Early Christianity and Classical Culture: Comparative Studies in Honor of Abraham J. Malherbe, eds. John T. Fitzgerald, Thomas H. Olbricht, L. Michael White (Atlanta: SBL, 2005), 740 pp. I don't know the page numbers but the article concerned is Everett Ferguson, "The Art of Praise: Philo and Philodemus on Music".According to the note by Mark, it looks like the book was published by SBL in 2005; according to the E.J. Brill webpage, it was published in 2003 in the well known series Novum Testamentum Supplements, 110. The book is large; 748 pages, and the price terrible: List price: EUR 192.- / US$ 275.-.

Since Mark G. (above) mentions the book as published by SBL, he might very well be correct. I know the SBL has an agreement with Brill in publishing some of their works, but so far I have not been able to find this book on the SBL's webpages.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

News from de Gruyter

Walter de Gruyter publishing announces a couple of new books to be releaseed soon that may be interesting for Philo scholars. Here is the main fact about the issues:
Early Christian Paraenesis in Context
Ed. by Engberg-Pedersen, Troels & James Starr
- An up-to-date discussion of early Christian paraenesis in its Graeco-Roman and Hellenistic Jewish contexts in the light of one hundred years of scholarship, issuing from a research project by Nordic and international scholars.

Another volume, perhaps not that close to Philo, but relevant for students of ancient diaspora Judaism is this new commentary:Wilson, Walter T.: The Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides.
- This commentary on the Greek text of the Jewish-Hellenistic Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides, a sapiential poem of the first century BCE or first century CE, offers a full treatment of its sources, structure, perspective, and purpose as well as a verse-by-verse translation and analysis. The Greek text is given as appendix. The cross-cultural nature of these moral teachings is emphasized through extensive interaction with Biblical, Hellenistic Jewish, and Greco-Roman comparative materials.