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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9216
Philo Of Alexandria, On The Life Of Abraham, 200-208


nanBut the things which we have here been saying do not appear solely in the plain and explicit language of the text of the holy scriptures; but they appear, moreover, to exhibit a nature which is not so evident to the multitude, but which they who place the objects of the intellect above those perceptible by the outward senses, and who are able to appreciate them, recognise. And this nature is of the following description.


nanThe victim who was about to be sacrificed is called in the Chaldaean language, Isaac; but if this name be translated into the Grecian language, it signifies, "laughter;" and this laughter is not understood to be that laughter of the body which is frequent in child sport, but is the result of settled happiness and rejoicing of the mind.


nanThis kind of laughter the wise man is appropriately said to offer as a sacrifice to God; showing thus, by a figure, that to rejoice does properly belong to God alone. For the human race is subject to sorrow and to exceeding fear, from evils which are either present or expected, so that men are either grieved at unexpected evils actually pressing upon them, or are kept in suspense, and disquietude, and fear with respect to those which are impending. But the nature of God is free from grief, and exempt from fear, and enjoys the immunity from every kind of suffering, and is the only nature which possesses complete happiness and blessedness.


nanNow to the disposition which makes this confession in sincerity, God is merciful, and compassionate, and kind, driving envy to a distance from him; and to it he gives a gift in return, to the full extent of the power of the person benefited to receive it, and he all but gives such a person this oracular warning, saying, "I well know that the whole species of joy and rejoicing is the possession of no other being but me, who am the Father of the universe;


nannevertheless, though it belongs to me, I have no objection to those who deserve it enjoying a share of it. But who can be deserving to do so, save he who obeys me and my will? for to this man it shall be given to feel as little grief as possible and as little fear as possible, proceeding along that road which is inaccessible to passions and vices, but which is frequented by excellence of soul and virtue.


nanAnd let no one fancy that that unmixed joy, which is without any alloy of sorrow, descends from heaven to the earth, but rather, that it is a combination of the two, that which is the better being predominant in the mixture; in the same manner as the light in heaven is unalloyed and free from any admixture of darkness, but in the sublunary atmosphere it is mingled with dark air.


nanFor this reason, it seems to me to have been, that Sarah, the namesake of virtue, who had previously laughed, denied her laughter to the person who questioned her as to the cause of it, fearing lest she might be deprived of her rejoicing, as belonging to no created being, but to God alone; on which account the holy Word encouraged her, and said, "Be not afraid," thou hast laughed a genuine laugh, and thou hast a share in real joy;


nanfor the Father has not permitted the race of mankind to be wholly devoured by griefs, and sorrows, and incurable anguish, but has mingled in their existence something of a better nature, thinking it fitting that the soul should sometimes enjoy rest and tranquillity; and he has also designed that the souls of wise men should be pleased and delighted for the greater portion of their existence with the contemplation of the soul. XXXVII.


nanThis is enough to say about the piety of the man, though there is a vast abundance of other things which might be brought forward in praise of it. We must also investigate his skill and wisdom as displayed towards his fellow men; for it belongs to the same character to be pious towards God and affectionate towards man; and both these qualities, of holiness towards God and justice towards man, are commonly seen in the same individual. Now it would take a long time to go through all the instances and actions which form this; but it is not out of place to record two or three.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

20 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy, 8.16 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

8.16. הַמַּאֲכִלְךָ מָן בַּמִּדְבָּר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדְעוּן אֲבֹתֶיךָ לְמַעַן עַנֹּתְךָ וּלְמַעַן נַסֹּתֶךָ לְהֵיטִבְךָ בְּאַחֲרִיתֶךָ׃ 8.16. who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might afflict thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;"
2. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, None (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

12.1. וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ וַיֵּרֶד אַבְרָם מִצְרַיְמָה לָגוּר שָׁם כִּי־כָבֵד הָרָעָב בָּאָרֶץ׃ 12.1. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־אַבְרָם לֶךְ־לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ׃ 12.1. Now the LORD said unto Abram: ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee."
3. Septuagint, 4 Maccabees, 7.13, 13.12, 16.18-16.20 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

7.13. Most amazing, indeed, though he was an old man, his body no longer tense and firm, his muscles flabby, his sinews feeble, he became young again 13.12. and another reminded them, "Remember whence you came, and the father by whose hand Isaac would have submitted to being slain for the sake of religion. 16.18. Remember that it is through God that you have had a share in the world and have enjoyed life 16.19. and therefore you ought to endure any suffering for the sake of God. 16.20. For his sake also our father Abraham was zealous to sacrifice his son Isaac, the ancestor of our nation; and when Isaac saw his father's hand wielding a sword and descending upon him, he did not cower.
4. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 107-109, 11, 110-119, 12, 120-129, 13, 130-133, 136, 14, 144, 147, 15-16, 163, 167-169, 17, 170-179, 18, 180-189, 19, 190-199, 20, 201-208, 21, 217, 22-25, 256-257, 26-29, 3, 30-47, 62-69, 7, 70-79, 8, 80-81, 9, 90-93, 97-98, 10 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. for, as the poet Homer, though the number of poets is beyond all calculation, is called "the poet" by way of distinction, and as the black [ink] with which we write is called "the black," though in point of fact everything which is not white is black; and as that archon at Athens is especially called "the archon," who is the archon eponymus and the chief of the nine archons, from whom the chronology is dated; so in the same manner the sacred historian calls him who indulges in hope, "a man," by way of pre-eminence, passing over in silence the rest of the multitude of human beings, as not being worthy to receive the same appellation.
5. Philo of Alexandria, On Husbandry, 101, 95, 97, 100 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

100. therefore the character of patient endurance is good, and capable of receiving immortality, which is the perfect good. But the character of pleasure is evil, bringing in its train the greatest of all punishments, death. On which account Moses says, "Let Dan become a serpent," and that not in any other place rather than in the road.
6. Philo of Alexandria, On The Preliminary Studies, 166-167, 170-171, 173-174, 177-178, 164 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

164. and then he tempted Him." For the invisible trial and proofs of the soul are in labouring and in enduring bitterness; for then it is hard to know which way it will incline; for many men are very speedily fatigued and fall away, thinking labour a terrible adversary, and they let their hands fall out of weakness, like tired wrestlers, determining to return to Egypt to the indulgence of their passions.
7. Philo of Alexandria, On Drunkenness, 87 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

87. and he will appear in the outer conspicuous altar of life to exercise abundant prudence with respect to the skin, and flesh, and blood, and everything relating to the body, in order not to offend the common multitude which gives the second place in honour to the good things of the body in close proximity to the good things of the soul; and at the inner altar he will use bloodless, fleshless, incorporeal things, things proceeding from reasoning alone, which are compared to frankincense and other burnt spices; for as these fill the nostrils, so do those fill the whole region of the soul with fragrance. XXII.
8. Philo of Alexandria, On Flight And Finding, 138-139, 137 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

137. Those also who have inquired what it is that nourishes the soul, for as Moses says, "They knew not what it was," learnt at last and found that it was the word of God and the divine reason, from which flows all kinds of instinctive and everlasting wisdom. This is the heavenly nourishment which the holy scripture indicates, saying, in the character of the cause of all things, "Behold I rain upon you bread from Heaven;
9. Philo of Alexandria, On The Creation of The World, 158-166, 157 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

157. And these things are not mere fabulous inventions, in which the race of poets and sophists delights, but are rather types shadowing forth some allegorical truth, according to some mystical explanation. And any one who follows a reasonable train of conjecture, will say with great propriety, that the aforesaid serpent is the symbol of pleasure, because in the first place he is destitute of feet, and crawls on his belly with his face downwards. In the second place, because he uses lumps of clay for food. Thirdly, because he bears poison in his teeth, by which it is his nature to kill those who are bitten by him.
10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Posterity of Cain, 154, 20, 22, 153 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

153. And we must inquire the cause why the handmaid gave the servant drink from the fountain, but gave the camels water from the well. May it not perhaps be that the stream here signifies the sacred scripture itself, which irrigates the sciences, and that the well is rather akin to memory? For the depths which he has already mentioned, he produces by means of memory as it were out of a well;
11. Philo of Alexandria, On Dreams, 1.194-1.195 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.194. In this manner, too, Moses is called up to the bush. For, the scripture says, "When he saw that he was turning aside to see, God called him out of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses: and he said, What is it, Lord?" And Abraham also, on the occasion of offering up his beloved and only son as a burnt-offering, when he was beginning to sacrifice him, and when he had given proof of his piety, was forbidden to destroy the self-taught race, Isaac by name, from among men; 1.195. for at the beginning of his account of this transaction, Moses says that "God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham, Abraham; and he said, Behold, here am I. And he said unto him, Take now thy beloved son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and offer him up." And when he had brought the victim to the altar, then the angel of the Lord called him out of heaven, saying, "Abraham, Abraham," and he answered, "Behold, here am I. And he said, Lay not thy hand upon the child, and do nothing to Him.
12. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.271 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.271. I should say to such a man: My good man, God is not pleased even though a man bring hecatombs to his altar; for he possesses all things as his own, and stands in need of nothing. But he delights in minds which love God, and in men who practise holiness, from whom he gladly receives cakes and barley, and the very cheapest things, as if they were the most valuable in preference to such as are most costly.
13. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 2.71-2.108, 3.162-3.168, 3.203-3.208, 3.210 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

14. Philo of Alexandria, Questions On Genesis, 1.31-1.41, 3.56, 4.73 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

15. New Testament, James, 2.21-2.23 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.21. Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 2.22. You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; 2.23. and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness;" and he was called the friend of God.
16. New Testament, Hebrews, 11.17-11.19 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

11.17. By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son; 11.18. even he to whom it was said, "In Isaac will your seed be called; 11.19. accounting that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead.
17. New Testament, Romans, 8.32 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

8.32. He who didn't spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things?
18. Ps.-Philo, Biblical Antiquities, 18.5, 32.1-32.4, 40.2-40.3 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

19. Anon., Targum Neofiti, 22.14 (2nd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

20. Anon., Pirqe Rabbi Eliezer, 31



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham, name largely omitted by philo Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 269
abraham Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
abramidae Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
aqedah, for philo Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 256
aqedah, importance of Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 256
aqedah, in philo, a drama Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 269
aqedah, role of god in philos version of Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 278
biblical interpretation Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
constantia Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
eleazar ben yair Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
ethics Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
ethnicity, ethnography Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
euentus Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
fate Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
genus regale Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
immortalitas Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
india, indians Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
israel, israelites Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
masada Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
mors, mortis Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
moses Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
pedagogy Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
philo of alexandria Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
rabbinic judaism Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
serpent Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
souls Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
suicide Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 113
testing passim, agents of Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
testing passim, roles in Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
virtue Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
wilderness passim, place Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8
wisdom' Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 8