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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9216
Philo Of Alexandria, On The Life Of Abraham, 263-274


nanFor on whom else can we believe? Are we to trust in authorities, or in glory and honour, or in abundance of wealth and noble birth, or in good health and a good condition of the senses and the mind, or in vigour of body and beauty of person? But in truth every kind of authority is unstable, as it has innumerable enemies lying it wait to attack it. And if in any instance it is firmly established, it is only so confirmed by innumerable evils and calamities which those who are in authority both inflict and suffer.


nanAgain, honours and glory are most unstable, being tossed about among the indiscriminate inclinations and feeble language of careless and imprudent men; and even if they endure, their nature is not such as to produce any genuine good.


nanAnd as for riches and illustrious birth, those things sometimes fall to the lot of the most worthless men. And even if they should belong only to the virtuous, still they are but the praises of their ancestors and of fortune, and not of those who now possess them.


nanNor, again, is it right for a man to pride himself on his personal advantages, in which other animals are superior to him. For what man is stronger or more vigorous than a bull among domestic animals, or than a lion among wild beasts? And what man is more sharp-sighted than a falcon or an eagle? And what man is so richly endowed with the sense of hearing as that stupidest of all animals, the ass? Also what man is more accurate in his sense of smell than a hound, who huntsmen say can trace out by means of his nose animals who are lying at a distance, and can run up to them with perfect correctness, and course, though he has not seen them; for what sight is to other animals that is the sense of smell to hounds and to all the dogs which pursue game.


nanMoreover, the greater part of the irrational animals enjoy excellent health, and are as far as possible entirely exempt from disease. And also in any competition in respect of beauty, some things which are even destitute of vitality, appear to me to surpass the elegance of either men or women ; as, for instance, images, and statues, and pictures, and in a word all the works of either the pictorial or plastic art which arrive at excellence in either branch, and which are the objects of study and desire both to Greeks and barbarians, who erect them in the most conspicuous places for the ornament of their cities. XLVI.


nanTherefore, the only real, and true, and lasting good is trust in God, the comfort of life, the fulfillment of all good hopes, the absence of all evils, and the attendant source of blessings, the repudiation of all unhappiness, the recognition of piety, the inheritance of all happiness, the improvement of the soul in every respect, as it thus relies for support on the cause of all things, who is able to do everything but who wills only to do what is best.


nanFor as men who are going along a slippery road stumble and fall, but they who proceed by a dry, and level, and plain path, journey on without stumbling; so also those men who are conducting their soul through the road of bodily and external good things are only accustoming it to fall; for these things are full of stumbling and the most insecure of all. But they who by those speculations which are in accordance with virtue, hasten towards God, are guiding their souls in a safe and untroubled path. So that we may say with the most absolute truth, that the man who trusts in the good things of the body disbelieves in God, and that he who distributes them believes in him.


nanBut not only do the holy scriptures bear witness to the faith of Abraham in the living God, which faith is the queen of all the virtues, but moreover he is the first man whom they speak of as an elder; though they were men who had preceded him who had lived three times as many years (or even more still) as he had, not one of whom is handed down to us as worthy of the appellation. And may we not say that this is in strict accordance with natural truth? For he who is really an elder is looked upon as such, not with reference to his length of time, but to the praiseworthiness of his life.


nanThose men, therefore, who have spent a long life in that existence which is in accordance with the body, apart from all virtue, we must call only long-lived children, having never been instructed in those branches of education which befit grey hairs. But the man who has been a lover of prudence, and wisdom, and faith in God, one may justly denominate an elder, forming his name by a slight change from the first.


nanFor in real truth the wise man is the first man in the human race, being what a pilot is in a ship, a governor in a city, a general of war, the soul in the body, or the mind in the soul; or again, what the heaven is in the world, and what God is in the heaven.


nanAnd God, admiring this man for his faith (pistis) in him, giving him a pledge (pistis) in return, namely, a confirmation by an oath of the gifts which he had promised him; no longer conversing with him as God might with man, but as one friend with another. For he says, "By myself have I Sworn," by him that is whose word is an oath, in order that Abraham's mind may be established still more firmly and immoveably than before.


nanLet the virtuous man both be and be called the younger and the last, since he only pursues such objects as may produce revolution and as are placed in the lowest rank.


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

17 results
1. Septuagint, Tobit, 8.15 (10th cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

8.15. Then Raguel blessed God and said, "Blessed art thou, O God, with every pure and holy blessing.Let thy saints and all thy creatures bless thee;let all thy angels and thy chosen people bless thee for ever.
2. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, a b c d\n0 "17.17" "17.17" "17 17"\n1 15.4 15.4 15 4 \n2 15.5 15.5 15 5 \n3 15.6 15.6 15 6 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

3. Hebrew Bible, Psalms, 34.10 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

4. Septuagint, Tobit, 8.15 (4th cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

8.15. Then Raguel blessed God and said, "Blessed art thou, O God, with every pure and holy blessing.Let thy saints and all thy creatures bless thee;let all thy angels and thy chosen people bless thee for ever.
5. Anon., 1 Enoch, 48.7, 104.7 (3rd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

48.7. And the wisdom of the Lord of Spirits hath revealed him to the holy and righteous; For he hath preserved the lot of the righteous, Because they have hated and despised this world of unrighteousness, And have hated all its works and ways in the name of the Lord of Spirits: For in his name they are saved, And according to his good pleasure hath it been in regard to their life. 104.7. but keep afar from their violence; for ye shall become companions of the hosts of heaven. And, although ye sinners say: ' All our sins shall not be searched out and be written down, nevertheless
6. Septuagint, 3 Maccabees, 6.9 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

6.9. And now, you who hate insolence, all-merciful and protector of all, reveal yourself quickly to those of the nation of Israel -- who are being outrageously treated by the abominable and lawless Gentiles.
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 264-276, 262 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

8. Philo of Alexandria, On The Change of Names, 184-185, 189-190, 180 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

180. For the fervid and glowing heat of that region does not suffer to to rest tranquil; on which account, overleaping many things, it is borne far beyond every boundary perceptible by the outward senses, to that which is compounded of ideas and appearances by the law of kindred. On which account in the good man there is a slight change, indivisible, unapportionable, not perceptible by the outward senses, but only by the intellect, and being in a manner independent of them. XXXIV.
9. Philo of Alexandria, On Curses, 28-30, 27 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

27. Let these men, then, hang by their appetites as by a halter; but the wise Abraham, where he stands, comes near to God, who is also standing. For Moses says that "Abraham was standing near to God; and coming nigh unto him, he Said,"... For in good truth the unalterable soul is the only thing that has access to the unalterable God; and being of such a disposition, it does really stand very near to the Divine power.
10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 213-219, 212 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

212. The most ancient person of the Jewish nation was a Chaldaean by birth, born of a father who was very skilful in astronomy, and famous among those men who pass their lives in the study of mathematics, who look upon the stars as gods, and worship the whole heaven and the whole world; thinking, that from them do all good and all evil proceed, to every individual among men; as they do not conceive that there is any cause whatever, except such as are included among the objects of the outward senses.
11. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 3.83-3.87, 3.217-3.219 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

12. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 91-94, 90 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

90. Therefore it is a necessary addition which is subjoined, "Abraham believed in God," to the praise of him who did thus believe. And yet, perhaps, some one may say, "Do you judge this worthy of praise? who would not give his attention to God when saying or promising anything, even if he were the most wicked and impious of all men?
13. Philo of Alexandria, That The Worse Attacks The Better, 124-126, 130-137, 123 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

123. But by this is meant wickedness, which is established in the souls of foolish men; the remedy for which (as one seeks for remedies for a severe disease) is found to be the just man, who is in possession of the panacea, justice. When, therefore, he has repelled these evils he is filled with joy, as also is Sarah; for she says, "The Lord hath caused me laughter;" and she adds further, "so that whosoever hears it shall rejoice with Me.
14. New Testament, Luke, 8.17 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

8.17. For nothing is hidden, that will not be revealed; nor anything secret, that will not be known and come to light.
15. New Testament, Mark, 4.22 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

4.22. For there is nothing hidden, except that it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light.
16. New Testament, Matthew, 10.26 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

10.26. Therefore don't be afraid of them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed; and hidden that will not be known.
17. Nag Hammadi, The Gospel of Thomas, 6, 5 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham Piovanelli, Burke, Pettipiece, Rediscovering the Apocryphal Continent: New Perspectives on Early Christian and Late Antique Apocryphal Textsand Traditions. De Gruyter: 2015 (2015) 74
abram/abraham, faith and doubt of Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
augustine of hippo Piovanelli, Burke, Pettipiece, Rediscovering the Apocryphal Continent: New Perspectives on Early Christian and Late Antique Apocryphal Textsand Traditions. De Gruyter: 2015 (2015) 74
doubt Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
faith Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
hope Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
laughter Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
moses Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
neoplatonism Piovanelli, Burke, Pettipiece, Rediscovering the Apocryphal Continent: New Perspectives on Early Christian and Late Antique Apocryphal Textsand Traditions. De Gruyter: 2015 (2015) 74
promises, divine Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
pseudepigrapha, christian signature features Piovanelli, Burke, Pettipiece, Rediscovering the Apocryphal Continent: New Perspectives on Early Christian and Late Antique Apocryphal Textsand Traditions. De Gruyter: 2015 (2015) 74
sarah Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
virtue' Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463