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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9228
Philo Of Alexandria, On The Migration Of Abraham, 50-69


nanBut as the writer being new in all kinds of knowledge, has also introduced this novelty both in his accounts of domestic and of foreign matters, saying that the voice is a thing to be judged of by the sight, which in point of fact is almost the only thing in us which is not an object of sight, with the single exception of the mind; for the things which are the objects of the rest of the outward senses are, every one of them, visible to the sight, such as colours, tastes, smells, things that are hot or cold, things that are smooth or rough, things that are soft or hard, inasmuch as it is a body, if indeed it is a body at all, nor inasmuch as they are substantial bodies.


nanAnd what is meant by this I will explain more distinctly: a flavour is appreciable by the sight, not inasmuch as it is flavour, but so far it is a mere substance, for in so far as it is flavour the sense of taste will judge of it; again a smell, in so far as it is a smell, will be decided upon by the nostrils, but inasmuch as it is a bodily substance, it will also be judged of by the eyes: and the other objects of sense will be tested in this manner; but voice is not appreciable by the sense of sight, neither inasmuch as it can be heard; but there are these two things in us which are wholly invisible--mind and speech;


nanbut the sound that proceeds from us does not the least resemble the divine organ of voice; for one organ of voice is mingled with the air, and flies to a kindred region with itself, namely to the ears; but the divine organ consists of unmixed and unalloyed speech, which outstrips the sense of hearing by reason of its fineness, and which is discerned by a pure soul, by means of its acuteness in the faculty of sight. X.


nanTherefore, after having left all mortal things, God, as I have said before, gives, as his first gift to the soul, an exhibition and an opportunity of contemplating mortal things: and in the second place he gives it an improvement in the doctrines of virtue, in respect both of their numbers and of their importance; for he says, "And I will make thee into a mighty nation," using this expression with reference to the multitude of the nation, and with reference to the increase and improvement of what was already great;


nanand that this quantity in each kind, that is to say, both as to magnitude and as to number, was greatly increased, is pointed out by the king of Egypt, where he says, "For behold," says he, "the race of the children of Israel is a great Multitude." Since both these facts bear witness to the race which had the power of beholding the living God, that it had derived increase both in manner and in magnitude, and as having done so, had met with prosperity, both in its life and in its language;


nanfor he does not say here (as any one would say who paid attention to the connection of the words which he was using), a numerous multitude, but he says, "A great multitude," knowing that the word numerous by itself implies an imperfect multitude, unless in addition to its numbers it has the attributes of intelligence and knowledge; for what advantage is it to comprehend many subjects of speculation, unless each of them receives a power of growth to a suitable size; for in like manner a field is not perfect in which there are innumerable plants growing on the ground, and no plant has grown up by means of the skill of the husbandman so as to arrive at perfection, unless it is now able to produce fruit.


nanBut the beginning and the end of the greatness and numerousness of good things is the ceaseless and uninterrupted recollection of God, and an invocation of his assistance in the civil and domestic, confused and continual, warfare of life; for Moses says, "Behold, the people is wise and full of knowledge; this is a mighty nation; for what nation is there so great, that has God so near, as the Lord our God is to us in all the circumstances in which we call upon Him?


nanTherefore it has been plainly shown that there is power with God, which is a suitable and useful helper and defender, and the ruler himself comes nearer to the assistance of those persons who are worthy to be assisted. XI. But who are they who are worthy to obtain such a mercy as this? It is plain that they are all lovers of wisdom and knowledge;


nanfor these are the wise people and the people of knowledge of whom he speaks, each of whom may naturally be called great, since he aims at great things, and at one great thing with excessive earnestness and eagerness, namely, at never being separated from the Almighty God, but at being able to endure his approach when he comes near steadily, and without any amazement or display.


nanThis is the definition of great, to be near to God, or at least to be near to that thing which God is near; forsooth the world and the wise citizen of the world are both full of manyand great good things, but all the rest of the multitude of men is involved in numerous evils, and in but few good things; for the good is rare in the agitated and confused life of man.


nanOn which account it is said in the sacred scriptures, "It is not because you are numerous beyond all the nations that the Lord has selected you above them all, and has chosen you out; for in truth you are but few in comparison of all nations, but it is because the Lord loves You;" for if any one were to choose to distribute the multitude of one soul as if according to nations, he would find a great many ranks totally destitute of all order, of which pleasures, or appetites or griefs, or fears, or again follies and iniquities, and all the other vices which are connected with or akin to them, are the leaders, and he would find but one rank alone well regulated, that namely which is under the leadership of right reason.


nanAmong men, then, the unjust multitude is usually honoured more than one single just person; but in the eye of God a small company that is good is preferred to an infinite number of persons who are unjust. And, on that account, he warns men never to consent to a multitude of such a character; "For," says he, "thou shalt not join with a multitude to do Evil." May one, then, join a few to do so? One may never join a single bad man. But a bad man, though he be but a single individual, is a multitude of wickedness, and it is the greatest possible evil to join with him; for, on the contrary, it is becoming rather to oppose him and to make war upon him with fearless energy.


nanFor if," says Moses, "you go forth to war against your enemies and see a horse," the emblem of arrogant and restive passion which scorns all control, "and a rider," the symbol of the mind devoted to the service of the passions, riding upon it, "and a great body of your people," admirers of those before-mentioned passions, and following in a solid phalanx, "you shall not be terrified so as to flee from them," for you, though only a single person, shall have a single being for your ally, "because the Lord your God is on your Side;


nanfor his advance to battle puts an end to war, builds up peace again, overthrows numbers of longaccustomed evils, preserves the scanty race which loves God, to whom every one who becomes subject hates and abominates the ranks of the more earthly armies. XII.


nanFor," says Moses, "you shall not eat those animals which have a multitude of feet, being numbered among all the reptiles that are upon the earth; because they are an Abomination." But the soul is not deserving of being hated which goes upon the earth in one part of itself, but only that which does so with all or with the greatest proportion of its parts, and which is exceedingly greedy about the things of the body, and which, in short, is unable to penetrate into and contemplate the divine revolutions of the heaven.


nanAnd, moreover, as the animal with many feet is accursed among reptiles, so also is that which has no feet at all; the one for the cause already mentioned, and the other because it entirely falls upon the ground in all its parts, not being supported off the ground by anything, not even for the briefest minute. For Moses says that, "Everything which goes upon its belly is Unclean;" meaning, under this figurative expression, to point out those who pursue the pleasures of the belly.


nanBut some go far beyond these persons in wickedness, not only indulge in every description of desire, but also acquire that passion which is akin to desire, namely, anger, wishing to excite the whole of the irrational part of the soul and to destroy the mind. For what has been said in words, indeed, is applicable to the serpent, but in reality it is meant to apply to every man who is irrational and a slave to his passions, being truly a divine oracle, "Upon thy breast and upon thy belly shalt thou Go;" for anger has its abode about the breast, and the seat of desire is in the belly.


nanBut the foolish man proceeds always by means of the two passions together, both anger and desire, omitting no opportunity, and discarding reason as his pilot and judge. But the man who is contrary to him has extirpated anger and desire from his nature, and has enlisted himself under divine reason as his guide; as also Moses, that faithful servant of God, did. Who, when he is offering the burnt offerings of the soul, "washes out the Belly;" that is to say, he washes out the whole seat of desires, and he takes away "the breast of the ram of the Consecration;" that is to say, that whole of the warlike disposition, that so the remainder, the better portion of the soul, the rational part, having no longer anything to draw it in a different direction or to counteract its natural impulses, may indulge its own free and noble inclinations towards everything that is beautiful;


nanfor, in this way, it will improve both in quantity and in magnitude. For it is said, "How long shall this people exasperate me? and till what time will they refuse to believe me in all the signs which I have done among them? I will smite them with death and I will destroy them, and I will make thee and thy father's house into a mighty nation, greater and mightier than This." For when the great multitude of the passions which indulge in anger and desire in the soul is put to the rout, then immediately those affections which depend on its rational nature rise up and become brilliant;


nanfor as the reptile with many feet and that with no feet at all, though they are exactly opposite to one another in the race of reptiles, are both pronounced unclean, so also the opinion which denies any God, and that which worships a multitude of Gods, though quite opposite in the soul, are both profane. And of proof of this is that the law banishes them both "from the sacred Assembly," forbidding the atheistical opinion, as a eunuch and mutilated person, to come into the assembly; and the polytheistic, inasmuch as it prohibits any one born of a harlot from either hearing or speaking in the assembly. For he who worships no God at all is barren, and he who worships a multitude is the son of a harlot, who is in a state of blindness as to his true father, and who on this account is figuratively spoken of as having many fathers, instead of one. XIII.


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

17 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Exodus, 7.27, 33.11 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

7.27. וְאִם־מָאֵן אַתָּה לְשַׁלֵּחַ הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי נֹגֵף אֶת־כָּל־גְּבוּלְךָ בַּצְפַרְדְּעִים׃ 33.11. וְדִבֶּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה פָּנִים אֶל־פָּנִים כַּאֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר אִישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵהוּ וְשָׁב אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וּמְשָׁרְתוֹ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן נַעַר לֹא יָמִישׁ מִתּוֹךְ הָאֹהֶל׃ 7.27. And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs." 33.11. And the LORD spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he would return into the camp; but his minister Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent."
2. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 12.1-12.9, 17.1-17.14, 17.16, 17.19-17.21, 18.17, 22.16-22.18 (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׃ 12.2. וַיְצַו עָלָיו פַּרְעֹה אֲנָשִׁים וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֹתוֹ וְאֶת־אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ׃ 12.2. וְאֶעֶשְׂךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וַאֲבָרֶכְךָ וַאֲגַדְּלָה שְׁמֶךָ וֶהְיֵה בְּרָכָה׃ 12.3. וַאֲבָרֲכָה מְבָרְכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה׃ 12.4. וַיֵּלֶךְ אַבְרָם כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֵלָיו יְהוָה וַיֵּלֶךְ אִתּוֹ לוֹט וְאַבְרָם בֶּן־חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים וְשִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה בְּצֵאתוֹ מֵחָרָן׃ 12.5. וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָם אֶת־שָׂרַי אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאֶת־לוֹט בֶּן־אָחִיו וְאֶת־כָּל־רְכוּשָׁם אֲשֶׁר רָכָשׁוּ וְאֶת־הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר־עָשׂוּ בְחָרָן וַיֵּצְאוּ לָלֶכֶת אַרְצָה כְּנַעַן וַיָּבֹאוּ אַרְצָה כְּנָעַן׃ 12.6. וַיַּעֲבֹר אַבְרָם בָּאָרֶץ עַד מְקוֹם שְׁכֶם עַד אֵלוֹן מוֹרֶה וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי אָז בָּאָרֶץ׃ 12.7. וַיֵּרָא יְהוָה אֶל־אַבְרָם וַיֹּאמֶר לְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וַיִּבֶן שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהוָה הַנִּרְאֶה אֵלָיו׃ 12.8. וַיַּעְתֵּק מִשָּׁם הָהָרָה מִקֶּדֶם לְבֵית־אֵל וַיֵּט אָהֳלֹה בֵּית־אֵל מִיָּם וְהָעַי מִקֶּדֶם וַיִּבֶן־שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהוָה וַיִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה׃ 12.9. וַיִּסַּע אַבְרָם הָלוֹךְ וְנָסוֹעַ הַנֶּגְבָּה׃ 17.1. זֹאת בְּרִיתִי אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְרוּ בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵיכֶם וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ הִמּוֹל לָכֶם כָּל־זָכָר׃ 17.1. וַיְהִי אַבְרָם בֶּן־תִּשְׁעִים שָׁנָה וְתֵשַׁע שָׁנִים וַיֵּרָא יְהוָה אֶל־אַבְרָם וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי־אֵל שַׁדַּי הִתְהַלֵּךְ לְפָנַי וֶהְיֵה תָמִים׃ 17.2. וּלְיִשְׁמָעֵאל שְׁמַעְתִּיךָ הִנֵּה בֵּרַכְתִּי אֹתוֹ וְהִפְרֵיתִי אֹתוֹ וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֹתוֹ בִּמְאֹד מְאֹד שְׁנֵים־עָשָׂר נְשִׂיאִם יוֹלִיד וּנְתַתִּיו לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל׃ 17.2. וְאֶתְּנָה בְרִיתִי בֵּינִי וּבֵינֶךָ וְאַרְבֶּה אוֹתְךָ בִּמְאֹד מְאֹד׃ 17.3. וַיִּפֹּל אַבְרָם עַל־פָּנָיו וַיְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ אֱלֹהִים לֵאמֹר׃ 17.4. אֲנִי הִנֵּה בְרִיתִי אִתָּךְ וְהָיִיתָ לְאַב הֲמוֹן גּוֹיִם׃ 17.5. וְלֹא־יִקָּרֵא עוֹד אֶת־שִׁמְךָ אַבְרָם וְהָיָה שִׁמְךָ אַבְרָהָם כִּי אַב־הֲמוֹן גּוֹיִם נְתַתִּיךָ׃ 17.6. וְהִפְרֵתִי אֹתְךָ בִּמְאֹד מְאֹד וּנְתַתִּיךָ לְגוֹיִם וּמְלָכִים מִמְּךָ יֵצֵאוּ׃ 17.7. וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי בֵּינִי וּבֵינֶךָ וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ לְדֹרֹתָם לִבְרִית עוֹלָם לִהְיוֹת לְךָ לֵאלֹהִים וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ׃ 17.8. וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ אֵת אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֶיךָ אֵת כָּל־אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן לַאֲחֻזַּת עוֹלָם וְהָיִיתִי לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים׃ 17.9. וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־אַבְרָהָם וְאַתָּה אֶת־בְּרִיתִי תִשְׁמֹר אַתָּה וְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ לְדֹרֹתָם׃ 17.11. וּנְמַלְתֶּם אֵת בְּשַׂר עָרְלַתְכֶם וְהָיָה לְאוֹת בְּרִית בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵיכֶם׃ 17.12. וּבֶן־שְׁמֹנַת יָמִים יִמּוֹל לָכֶם כָּל־זָכָר לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם יְלִיד בָּיִת וּמִקְנַת־כֶּסֶף מִכֹּל בֶּן־נֵכָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא מִזַּרְעֲךָ הוּא׃ 17.13. הִמּוֹל יִמּוֹל יְלִיד בֵּיתְךָ וּמִקְנַת כַּסְפֶּךָ וְהָיְתָה בְרִיתִי בִּבְשַׂרְכֶם לִבְרִית עוֹלָם׃ 17.14. וְעָרֵל זָכָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִמּוֹל אֶת־בְּשַׂר עָרְלָתוֹ וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מֵעַמֶּיהָ אֶת־בְּרִיתִי הֵפַר׃ 17.16. וּבֵרַכְתִּי אֹתָהּ וְגַם נָתַתִּי מִמֶּנָּה לְךָ בֵּן וּבֵרַכְתִּיהָ וְהָיְתָה לְגוֹיִם מַלְכֵי עַמִּים מִמֶּנָּה יִהְיוּ׃ 17.19. וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֲבָל שָׂרָה אִשְׁתְּךָ יֹלֶדֶת לְךָ בֵּן וְקָרָאתָ אֶת־שְׁמוֹ יִצְחָק וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי אִתּוֹ לִבְרִית עוֹלָם לְזַרְעוֹ אַחֲרָיו׃ 17.21. וְאֶת־בְּרִיתִי אָקִים אֶת־יִצְחָק אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵד לְךָ שָׂרָה לַמּוֹעֵד הַזֶּה בַּשָּׁנָה הָאַחֶרֶת׃ 18.17. וַיהֹוָה אָמָר הַמְכַסֶּה אֲנִי מֵאַבְרָהָם אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי עֹשֶׂה׃ 22.16. וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי נְאֻם־יְהוָה כִּי יַעַן אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ אֶת־יְחִידֶךָ׃ 22.17. כִּי־בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ וְהַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת־זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם וְכַחוֹל אֲשֶׁר עַל־שְׂפַת הַיָּם וְיִרַשׁ זַרְעֲךָ אֵת שַׁעַר אֹיְבָיו׃ 22.18. וְהִתְבָּרֲכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקֹלִי׃ 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." 12.2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing." 12.3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’" 12.4. So Abram went, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." 12.5. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came." 12.6. And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the terebinth of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land." 12.7. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said: ‘Unto thy seed will I give this land’; and he builded there an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him." 12.8. And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Ai on the east; and he builded there an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD." 12.9. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South." 17.1. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him: ‘I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou wholehearted." 17.2. And I will make My covet between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.’" 17.3. And Abram fell on his face; and God talked with him, saying:" 17.4. ’As for Me, behold, My covet is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations." 17.5. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee." 17.6. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee." 17.7. And I will establish My covet between Me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covet, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee." 17.8. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’" 17.9. And God said unto Abraham: ‘And as for thee, thou shalt keep My covet, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their generations." 17.10. This is My covet, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised." 17.11. And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covet betwixt Me and you." 17.12. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner, that is not of thy seed." 17.13. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised; and My covet shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covet." 17.14. And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covet.’" 17.16. And I will bless her, and moreover I will give thee a son of her; yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be of her.’" 17.19. And God said: ‘‘Nay, but Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son; and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covet with him for an everlasting covet for his seed after him." 17.20. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee; behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation." 17.21. But My covet will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.’" 18.17. And the LORD said: ‘Shall I hide from Abraham that which I am doing;" 22.16. and said: ‘By Myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son," 22.17. that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;" 22.18. and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast hearkened to My voice.’"
3. Hebrew Bible, Isaiah, 41.8 (8th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

41.8. וְאַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר בְּחַרְתִּיךָ זֶרַע אַבְרָהָם אֹהֲבִי׃ 41.8. But thou, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The seed of Abraham My friend;"
4. Septuagint, Wisdom of Solomon, 15.4-15.19, 16.4-16.14, 16.17-16.18, 16.20-16.21, 16.24, 19.22 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

15.4. For neither has the evil intent of human art misled us,nor the fruitless toil of painters,a figure stained with varied colors 15.5. whose appearance arouses yearning in fools,so that they desire the lifeless form of a dead image. 15.6. Lovers of evil things and fit for such objects of hope are those who either make or desire or worship them. 15.7. For when a potter kneads the soft earth and laboriously molds each vessel for our service,he fashions out of the same clay both the vessels that serve clean uses and those for contrary uses, making all in like manner;but which shall be the use of each of these the worker in clay decides. 15.8. With misspent toil, he forms a futile god from the same clay -- this man who was made of earth a short time before and after a little while goes to the earth from which he was taken,when he is required to return the soul that was lent him. 15.9. But he is not concerned that he is destined to die or that his life is brief,but he competes with workers in gold and silver,and imitates workers in copper;and he counts it his glory that he molds counterfeit gods. 15.10. His heart is ashes, his hope is cheaper than dirt,and his life is of less worth than clay 15.11. because he failed to know the one who formed him and inspired him with an active soul and breathed into him a living spirit. 15.12. But he considered our existence an idle game,and life a festival held for profit,for he says one must get money however one can, even by base means. 15.13. For this man, more than all others, knows that he sins when he makes from earthy matter fragile vessels and graven images. 15.14. But most foolish, and more miserable than an infant,are all the enemies who oppressed thy people. 15.15. For they thought that all their heathen idols were gods,though these have neither the use of their eyes to see with,nor nostrils with which to draw breath,nor ears with which to hear,nor fingers to feel with,and their feet are of no use for walking. 15.16. For a man made them,and one whose spirit is borrowed formed them;for no man can form a god which is like himself. 15.17. He is mortal, and what he makes with lawless hands is dead,for he is better than the objects he worships,since he has life, but they never have. 15.18. The enemies of thy people worship even the most hateful animals,which are worse than all others, when judged by their lack of intelligence; 15.19. and even as animals they are not so beautiful in appearance that one would desire them,but they have escaped both the praise of God and his blessing. 16.4. For it was necessary that upon those oppressors inexorable want should come,while to these it was merely shown how their enemies were being tormented. 16.5. For when the terrible rage of wild beasts came upon thy people and they were being destroyed by the bites of writhing serpents,thy wrath did not continue to the end; 16.6. they were troubled for a little while as a warning,and received a token of deliverance to remind them of thy laws command. 16.7. For he who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw,but by thee, the Savior of all. 16.8. And by this also thou didst convince our enemies that it is thou who deliverest from every evil. 16.9. For they were killed by the bites of locusts and flies,and no healing was found for them,because they deserved to be punished by such things; 16.10. but thy sons were not conquered even by the teeth of venomous serpents,for thy mercy came to their help and healed them. 16.11. To remind them of thy oracles they were bitten,and then were quickly delivered,lest they should fall into deep forgetfulness and become unresponsive to thy kindness. 16.12. For neither herb nor poultice cured them,but it was thy word, O Lord, which heals all men. 16.13. For thou hast power over life and death;thou dost lead men down to the gates of Hades and back again. 16.14. A man in his wickedness kills another,but he cannot bring back the departed spirit,nor set free the imprisoned soul. 16.17. For -- most incredible of all -- in the water,which quenches all things,the fire had still greater effect,for the universe defends the righteous. 16.18. At one time the flame was restrained,so that it might not consume the creatures sent against the ungodly,but that seeing this they might know that they were being pursued by the judgment of God; 16.20. Instead of these things thou didst give thy people food of angels,and without their toil thou didst supply them from heaven with bread ready to eat,providing every pleasure and suited to every taste. 16.21. For thy sustece manifested thy sweetness toward thy children;and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one who took it,was changed to suit every ones liking. 16.24. For creation, serving thee who hast made it,exerts itself to punish the unrighteous,and in kindness relaxes on behalf of those who trust in thee. 19.22. For in everything, O Lord, thou hast exalted and glorified thy people;and thou hast not neglected to help them at all times and in all places.
5. Philo of Alexandria, On The Confusion of Tongues, 140 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

140. But, nevertheless, he is said to have come down and to have seen, he who by his foreknowledge comprehends everything, not only that has happened, but even before it happens; and this expression is used for the same of exhortation and instruction, in order that no man, indulging in uncertain conjectures about matters which he is not present to behold may, while standing afar off, be too prompt to believe idle fancies, but that every one may come close to the facts, and examining each one separately, may carefully and thoroughly consider them. For certain sight is more deserving to be looked upon as a trustworthy witness than fallacious hearing.
6. Philo of Alexandria, On The Decalogue, 11-17, 2-10 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

7. Philo of Alexandria, On Drunkenness, 150 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

150. In the first place it calls itself a severe day, having regard to the boy who is mocking it; for by him and by every fool the road which leads to virtue is looked upon as rough and difficult to travel and most painful, as one of the old poets testifies, saying:-- Vice one may take in troops with ease, But in fair virtue's front Immortal God has stationed toil, And care, and sweat, to bar the road. Long is the road and steep, And rough at first, which leads the steps Or mortal men thereto; But when you reach the height, the path Is easy which before was hard, And swift the onward course. XXXVII.
8. Philo of Alexandria, On Flight And Finding, 208 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

208. For thus, after a gentle travail, thou wilt bring forth a male child, by name Ishmael, corrected by divine admonitions; for Ishmael, being interpreted, means "the hearing of God;" and hearing is considered as entitled to only the second prize after seeing; but seeing is the inheritance of the legitimate and first-born son, Israel; for the name Israel, being interpreted, means "seeing God." For it is possible for a man to hear false statements as though they were true, because hearing is a deceitful thing; but seeing is a sense which cannot be deceived, by which a man perceives existing things as they really are.
9. Philo of Alexandria, On The Migration of Abraham, 10, 100-109, 11, 110-119, 12, 120-129, 13, 130-134, 137, 14, 140-144, 146-149, 15, 150-151, 154-156, 159, 16, 164-167, 169, 17, 175-179, 18, 180-189, 19, 190-199, 2, 20, 200-209, 21, 210-211, 216-219, 22, 220-225, 23-29, 3, 30-39, 4, 40-49, 5, 51-59, 6, 60-69, 7, 70-79, 8, 80-89, 9, 90-99, 1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1. And the Lord said to Abraham, "Depart from thy land, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house to a land which I will show thee; and I will make thee into a great nation. And I will bless thee, and I will magnify thy name, and thou shalt be blessed. And I will bless them that bless thee, and I will curse them that curse thee; and in thy name shall all the nations of the earth be Blessed.
10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Creation of The World, 2-3, 1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1. of other lawgivers, some have set forth what they considered to be just and reasonable, in a naked and unadorned manner, while others, investing their ideas with an abundance of amplification, have sought to bewilder the people, by burying the truth under a heap of fabulous inventions.
11. Philo of Alexandria, On Sobriety, 17, 55-56, 8-9, 16 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

12. Philo of Alexandria, On Dreams, 1.193-1.195 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.193. When, however, he comes into an assembly of friends, he does not begin to speak before he has first accosted each individual among them, and addressed him by name, so that they prick up their ears, and are quiet and attentive, listening to the oracles thus delivered, so as never to forget them or let them escape their memory: since in another passage of scripture we read, "Be silent and Listen. 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.
13. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.29, 1.193, 3.1-3.6, 4.135 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.29. Not but what they have also joined to themselves the arts of statuary and painting as copartners in their system of deceit, in order that, bringing over the spectators by well-fabricated appearances of colours, and forms, and distinctive qualities, and having won over by their allurements those principal outward senses of sight and hearing, the one by the exquisite beauty of lifeless forms, and the other by a poetical harmony of numbers--they may ravish the unstable soul and render it feeble, and deprive it of any settled foundation. 1.193. Knowing these things, he did not allow them to celebrate a feast in the same way as other peoples, but at the very time of good cheer he first commanded that they purify themselves by bridling the impulses of pleasure. Then he summoned them into the temple for participation in hymns and prayers and sacrifices so that both from the place and from the things seen and said through the most powerful of senses, sight and hearing, they might come to love self-control and piety. Last of all, he reminded them not to sin through the sacrifice for sin. For the one who is asking for anmesty for the sins he has committed is not so dominated by evil that at the very time he is asking for release from old wrongs he should begin other new ones.XXXVI. 3.1. There was once a time when, devoting my leisure to philosophy and to the contemplation of the world and the things in it, I reaped the fruit of excellent, and desirable, and blessed intellectual feelings, being always living among the divine oracles and doctrines, on which I fed incessantly and insatiably, to my great delight, never entertaining any low or grovelling thoughts, nor ever wallowing in the pursuit of glory or wealth, or the delights of the body, but I appeared to be raised on high and borne aloft by a certain inspiration of the soul, and to dwell in the regions of the sun and moon, and to associate with the whole heaven, and the whole universal world. 3.2. At that time, therefore, looking down from above, from the air, and straining the eye of my mind as from a watch-tower, I surveyed the unspeakable contemplation of all the things on the earth, and looked upon myself as happy as having forcibly escaped from all the evil fates that can attack human life. 3.3. Nevertheless, the most grievous of all evils was lying in wait for me, namely, envy, that hates every thing that is good, and which, suddenly attacking me, did not cease from dragging me after it by force till it had taken me and thrown me into the vast sea of the cares of public politics, in which I was and still am tossed about without being able to keep myself swimming at the top. 3.4. But though I groan at my fate, I still hold out and resist, retaining in my soul that desire of instruction which has been implanted in it from my earliest youth, and this desire taking pity and compassion on me continually raises me up and alleviates my sorrow. And it is through this fondness for learning that I at times lift up my head, and with the eyes of my soul, which are indeed dim (for the mist of affairs, wholly inconsistent with their proper objects, has overshadowed their acute clear-sightedne 3.5. And if at any time unexpectedly there shall arise a brief period of tranquillity, and a short calm and respite from the troubles which arise from state affairs, I then rise aloft and float above the troubled waves, soaring as it were in the air, and being, I may almost say, blown forward by the breezes of knowledge, which often persuades me to flee away, and to pass all my days with her, escaping as it were from my pitiless masters, not men only, but also affairs which pour upon me from all quarters and at all times like a torrent. 3.6. But even in these circumstances I ought to give thanks to God, that though I am so overwhelmed by this flood, I am not wholly sunk and swallowed up in the depths. But I open the eyes of my soul, which from an utter despair of any good hope had been believed to have been before now wholly darkened, and I am irradiated with the light of wisdom, since I am not given up for the whole of my life to darkness. Behold, therefore, I venture not only to study the sacred commands of Moses, but also with an ardent love of knowledge to investigate each separate one of them, and to endeavour to reveal and to explain to those who wish to understand them, things concerning them which are not known to the multitude.II. 4.135. We have spoken before of that queen of all the virtues, piety and holiness, and also of prudence and moderation; we must now proceed to speak of justice which is conversant about subjects which are akin and nearly related to Them.{33}{yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On Justice. The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.}XXVI.
14. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 212-219, 95, 211 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

211. These men therefore are both of that class which is open to reproach; men whom, as they showed themselves wicked men, though descended from virtuous fathers, the virtues of their fathers failed to profit in the least, while the vices which existed in their souls did them infinite mischief; and I can also speak of others, who, on the contrary, ranged themselves in a better class, after having been born in a worse, since their forefathers were guilty, while their own life was to be admired and was full of praise and virtue.
15. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 2.4 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2.4. It becomes a king to command what ought to be done, and to forbid what ought not to be done; but the commanding what ought to be done, and the prohibition of what ought not to be done, belongs especially to the law, so that the king is at once a living law, and the law is a just king.
16. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 3.203-3.208 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

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

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.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham, encomia on Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
abraham, faith of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
abraham, praise of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
abraham Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
age and youth Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
alexandria Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
collocutions Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 229
covenant, with abrahams descendants Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
desires Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
egypt Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
encomia, on abraham Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
faith, and faithfulness Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
faith Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
friendship Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
god, oath of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
god, primal Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
gomorrah, rewards of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
hearing, sight distinguished from Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
hearing Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
idolatry Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
isaac Martens, One God, One Law: Philo of Alexandria on the Mosaic and Greco-Roman Law (2003) 94
ishmael Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
israel, israelites Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
israel Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
justice, piety and Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
king/kingship, and moses Martens, One God, One Law: Philo of Alexandria on the Mosaic and Greco-Roman Law (2003) 94
law of nature Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
laws, universalistic dimension of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
living law ideal, in philo' Martens, One God, One Law: Philo of Alexandria on the Mosaic and Greco-Roman Law (2003) 94
lot Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
migrations of abraham, literal and ethical interpretations of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209, 229
migrations of abraham, second Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 229
migrations of abraham Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209, 229
mosaic law, for ordinary people Martens, One God, One Law: Philo of Alexandria on the Mosaic and Greco-Roman Law (2003) 94
moses Martens, One God, One Law: Philo of Alexandria on the Mosaic and Greco-Roman Law (2003) 94; Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
mourning customs, the multitude Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 229
nature, gods commands evident in Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
oath of god Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
piety, as highest virtue Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
piety, justice and Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
prayer (see also lords prayer) Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
primary position Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
red sea Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
rewards of abraham, faith as Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
rewards of abraham Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
sight, god as object of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
sight, hearing distinguished from Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
solitude Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 229
the cosmos, and the law Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
the cosmos, contemplation of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
the cosmos, the country, good men withdrawing to Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 229
the sage, as primary Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
tombs of desire Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
virtue, piety as highest Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
wilderness, migration to Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 229
wilderness passim, place Smith and Stuckenbruck, Testing and Temptation in Second Temple Jewish and Early Christian Texts (2020) 104
wisdom, as a virtue Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
εὐσέβεια Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209
νεώτερος Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 405
πίστις Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 209, 405