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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Philo Of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 196

nanEquality is also very beautifully displayed in respect of the composition of spices for purposes of fumigation; for we read, "Take to thyself sweet odours, stacte, onycha, galbanum, these sweet spices with pure frankincense, all of the most chosen kinds, all of equal weight and thou shalt make of it a perfume, a confection, after the art of the apothecary, a pure composition, a holy Work." For the Lord enjoins here that each of the separate portions shall be equal to each, with a view to the proper composition of the whole.

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1. Philo of Alexandria, On The Creation of The World, 11-25, 69, 7-10 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. for reason proves that the father and creator has a care for that which has been created; for a father is anxious for the life of his children, and a workman aims at the duration of his works, and employs every device imaginable to ward off everything that is pernicious or injurious, and is desirous by every means in his power to provide everything which is useful or profitable for them. But with regard to that which has not been created, there is no feeling of interest as if it were his own in the breast of him who has not created it.
2. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.66-1.67, 1.82-1.97, 1.162-1.165, 1.172 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.66. We ought to look upon the universal world as the highest and truest temple of God, having for its most holy place that most sacred part of the essence of all existing things, namely, the heaven; and for ornaments, the stars; and for priests, the subordinate ministers of his power, namely, the angels, incorporeal souls, not beings compounded of irrational and rational natures, such as our bodies are, but such as have the irrational parts wholly cut out, being absolutely and wholly intellectual, pure reasonings, resembling the unit. 1.67. But the other temple is made with hands; for it was desirable not to cut short the impulses of men who were eager to bring in contributions for the objects of piety, and desirous either to show their gratitude by sacrifices for such good fortune as had befallen them, or else to implore pardon and forgiveness for whatever errors they might have committed. He moreover foresaw that there could not be any great number of temples built either in many different places, or in the same place, thinking it fitting that as God is one, his temple also should be one. 1.82. And after enjoining that the priest is to be of pure blood, and sprung from fathers of noble birth, and that he must be perfect in body and soul, laws are enacted also respecting the garments which the priest must wear when he is about to offer the sacred sacrifices and to perform the sacred ceremonies. 1.83. And this dress is a linen tunic and a girdle, the latter to cover those parts which must not be displayed in their nakedness near the altar of sacrifice. And the tunic is for the sake of promptness in performing the requisite ministrations; for they are but lightly clad, only in their tunics, when they bring their victims, and the libations, and the other requisite offerings for sacrifice, being apparelled so as to admit of unhesitating celerity. 1.84. But the high priest is commanded to wear a similar dress when he goes into the holy of holies to offer incense, because linen is not made of any animal that dies, as woollen garments are. He is also commanded to wear another robe also, having very beautiful embroidery and ornament upon it, so that it may seem to be a copy and representation of the world. And the description of the ornament is a clear proof of this; 1.85. for in the first place the whole of the round robe is of hyacinthine colour, a tunic reaching to the feet, being an emblem of the air, since the air also is by nature black, and in a manner may be said to be reaching to the feet, as it is extended from above from the regions about the moon, to the lowest places of the earth. 1.86. Next there was a woven garment in the form of a breastplate upon it, and this was a symbol of the heaven; for on the points of the shoulders are two emerald stones of most exceeding value, one on one side and one on the other, each perfectly round and single on each side, as emblems of the hemispheres, one of which is above the earth and the other under the earth. 1.87. Then on his chest there are twelve precious stones of different colours, arranged in four rows of three stones in each row, being fashioned so as an emblem of the zodiac. For the zodiac also consists of twelve animals, and so divides the four seasons of the year, allotting three animals to each season. 1.88. And the whole place is very correctly called the logeum (logeion 1.89. And by the one which he calls truth he expresses figuratively that it is absolutely impossible for falsehood to enter any part of heaven, but that it is entirely banished to the parts around the earth, dwelling among the souls of impious men. And by that which he calls manifestation he implies that the natures in heaven make manifest every thing that takes place among us, which of themselves would be perfectly and universally unknown. 1.90. And the clearest proof of this is that if there were no light, and if the sun did not shine, it would be impossible for the indescribable variety of qualities of bodies to be seen, and for all the manifold differences of colours and forms to be distinguished from one another. And what else could exhibit to us the days and the nights, and the months and the years, and in short the divisions of time, but the harmonious and inconceivable revolutions of the sun, and moon, and other stars? 1.91. And what could exhibit the true nature of number, except those same bodies just mentioned in accordance with the observation of the combination of the parts of time? And what else could have cut the paths through the ocean and through such numerous and vast seas, and shown them to navigators, except the changes and periodical appearances of the stars? And wise men have observed 1.92. also, an innumerable quantity of other circumstances, and have recorded them, conjecturing from the heavenly bodies the advent of calm weather and of violent storms, and the fertility or barrenness of crops, and the mild or violently hot summers, and whether the winters will be severe or spring-like, whether there will be droughts or abundance of rain, whether the flocks and trees will be fruitful, or on the contrary barren, and all such matters as these. For the signs of every thing on earth are engraved and firmly fixed in heaven.XVII. 1.93. And besides this, golden pomegranates are attached to the lower parts of the tunic, reaching to the feet, and bells and borders embroidered with flowers. And these things are the emblems of earth and of water; the flowers are the emblems of the earth, inasmuch as it is out of it that they all rise and derive strength to bloom. And the Pomegranates{10}{the Greek for a pomegranate is rhoia, or rhoiskos, which Philo imagines to be derived from rheo┬Á, "to flow."} as above mentioned are the emblems of water, being so named from the flowing of the stream. And the harmony, and concord, and unison of sound of the different parts of the world is betokened by the bells. 1.94. And the arrangement is a very excellent one; for the upper garment, on which the stones are placed, which is called the breast-plate, is a representation of heaven, because the heaven also is the highest of all things. And the tunic that reaches to the feet is in every part of a hyacinthine colour, since the air also is black, and is placed in the second classification next in honour to the heaven. And the embroidered flowers and pomegranates are on the hem, because the earth and water have been assigned the lowest situation in the universe. 1.95. This is the arrangement of the sacred dress of the high priest, being a representation of the universe, a marvellous work to be beheld or to be contemplated. For it has an appearance thoroughly calculated to excite astonishment, such as no embroidered work conceived by man ever was for variety and costly magnificence; 1.96. and it also attracts the intellect of philosophers to examine its different parts. For God intends that the high priest should in the first place have a visible representation of the universe about him, in order that from the continual sight of it he may be reminded to make his own life worthy of the nature of the universe, and secondly, in order that the whole world may co-operate with him in the performance of his sacred rites. And it is exceedingly becoming that the man who is consecrated to the service of the Father of the world should also bring his son to the service of him who has begotten him. 1.97. There is also a third symbol contained in this sacred dress, which it is important not to pass over in silence. For the priests of other deities are accustomed to offer up prayers and sacrifices solely for their own relations, and friends, and fellow citizens. But the high priest of the Jews offers them up not only on behalf of the whole race of mankind, but also on behalf of the different parts of nature, of the earth, of water, of air, and of fire; and pours forth his prayers and thanksgivings for them all, looking upon the world (as indeed it really i 1.162. Or the creatures which are fit to be offered as sacrifices, some are land animals, and some are such as fly through the air. Passing over, therefore, the infinite varieties of birds, God chose only two classes out of them all, the turtledove and the pigeon; because the pigeon is by nature the most gentle of all those birds which are domesticated and gregarious, and the turtle-dove the most gentle of those which love solitude. 1.163. Also, passing over the innumerable troops of land animals, whose very numbers it is not easy to ascertain, he selected these especially as the best--the oxen, and sheep, and goats; for these are the most gentle and the most manageable of all animals. At all events, great herds of oxen, and numerous flocks of goats and sheep, are easily driven by any one, not merely by any man, but by any little child, when they go forth to pasture, and in the same way they are brought back to their folds in good order when the time comes. 1.164. And of this gentleness, there are many other proofs, and the most evident are these: that they all feed on herbage, and that no one of them is carnivorous, and that they have neither crooked talons, nor any projecting tusks or teeth whatever; for the back parts of the upper jaw do not hold teeth, but all the incisor teeth are deficient in them: 1.165. and, besides these facts, they are of all animals the most useful to man. Rams are the most useful for the necessary covering of the body; oxen, for ploughing the ground and preparing the arable land for seed, and for the growth of the crops that shall hereafter come to be threshed out, in order that men may partake of and enjoy food; and the hair and fleeces of goats, where one is woven, or the other sewn together, make movable tents for travellers, and especially for men engaged in military expeditions, whom their necessities constantly compel to abide outside of the city in the open air.XXXIV. 1.172. And loaves are placed on the seventh day on the sacred table, being equal in number to the months of the year, twelve loaves, arranged in two rows of six each, in accordance with the arrangement of the equinoxes; for there are two equinoxes every year, the vernal and the autumnal, which are each reckoned by periods of six months. At the vernal equinox all the seeds sown in the ground begin to ripen; about which time, also, the trees begin to put forth their fruit. And by the autumnal one the fruit of the trees has arrived at a perfect ripeness; and at this period, again, is the beginning of seed time. Thus nature, going through a long course of time, showers gifts after gifts upon the race of man, the symbols of which are the two sixes of loaves thus placed on the table.
3. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 2.98-2.135 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2.98. Now some persons say, that these cherubim are the symbols of the two hemispheres, placed opposite to and fronting one another, the one beneath the earth and the other above the earth, for the whole heaven is endowed with wings. 2.99. But I myself should say, that what is here represented under a figure are the two most ancient and supreme powers of the divine God, namely, his creative and his kingly power; and his creative power is called God; according to which he arranged, and created, and adorned this universe, and his kingly power is called Lord, by which he rules over the beings whom he has created, and governs them with justice and firmness; 2.100. for he, being the only true living God, is also really the Creator of the world; since he brought things which had no existence into being; and he is also a king by nature, because no one can rule over beings that have been created more justly than he who created them. 2.101. And in the space between the five pillars and the four pillars, is that space which is, properly speaking, the space before the temple, being cut off by two curtains of woven work, the inner one of which is called the veil, and the outer one is called the covering: and the remaining three vessels, of those which I have enumerated, were placed as follows:--The altar of incense was placed in the middle, between earth and water, as a symbol of gratitude, which it was fitting should be offered up, on account of the things that had been done for the Hebrews on both these elements, for these elements have had the central situation of the world allotted to them. 2.102. The candlestick was placed on the southern side of the tabernacle, since by it the maker intimates, in a figurative manner, the motions of the stars which give light; for the sun, and the moon, and the rest of the stars, being all at a great distance from the northern parts of the universe, make all their revolutions in the south. And from this candlestick there proceeded six branches, three on each side, projecting from the candlestick in the centre, so as altogether to complete the number of seven; 2.103. and in all the seven there were seven candles and seven lights, being symbols of those seven stars which are called planets by those men who are versed in natural philosophy; for the sun, like the candlestick, being placed in the middle of the other six, in the fourth rank, gives light to the three planets which are above him, and to those of equal number which are below him, adapting to circumstances the musical and truly divine instrument. 2.104. And the table, on which bread and salt are laid, was placed on the northern side, since it is the north which is the most productive of winds, and because too all nourishment proceeds from heaven and earth, the one giving rain, and the other bringing to perfection all seeds by means of the irrigation of water; 2.105. for the symbols of heaven and earth are placed side by side, as the holy scripture shows, the candlestick being the symbol of heaven, and that which is truly called the altar of incense, on which all the fumigatory offerings are made, being the emblem of the things of earth. 2.106. But it became usual to call the altar which was in the open air the altar of sacrifice, as being that which preserved and took care of the sacrifices; intimating, figuratively, the consuming power of these things, and not the lambs and different parts of the victims which were offered, and which were naturally calculated to be destroyed by fire, but the intention of him who offered them; 2.107. for if the man who made the offerings was foolish and ignorant, the sacrifices were no sacrifices, the victims were not sacred or hallowed, the prayers were ill-omened, and liable to be answered by utter destruction, for even when they appear to be received, they produce no remission of sins but only a reminding of them. 2.108. But if the man who offers the sacrifice be bold and just, then the sacrifice remains firm, even if the flesh of the victim be consumed, or rather, I might say, even if no victim be offered up at all; for what can be a real and true sacrifice but the piety of a soul which loves God? The gratitude of which is blessed with immortality, and without being recorded in writing is engraved on a pillar in the mind of God, being made equally everlasting with the sun, and moon, and the universal world. 2.109. After these things the architect of the tabernacle next prepared a sacred dress for him who was to be appointed high priest, having in its embroidery a most exceedingly beautiful and admirable work; and the robe was two-fold; one part of which was called the under-robe, and the other the robe over the shoulders. 2.110. Now the under-robe was of a more simple form and character, for it was entirely of hyacinthine colours, except the lowest and exterior portions, and these were ornamented with golden pomegranates, and bells, and wreaths of flowers; 2.111. but the robe over the shoulders or mantle was a most beautiful and skilful work, and was made with most perfect skill of all the aforesaid kinds of material, of hyacinth colour, and purple, and fine linen, and scarlet, gold thread being entwined and embroidered in it. For the leaves were divided into fine hairs, and woven in with every thread 2.112. and on the collar stones were fitted in, two being costly emeralds of exceeding value, on which the names of the patriarchs of the tribes were engraved, six on each, making twelve in all; and on the breast were twelve other precious stones, differing in colour like seals, in four rows of three stones each, and these were fitted in what was called the logeum 2.113. and the logeum was made square and double, as a sort of foundation, that it mighty bear on it, as an image, two virtues, manifestation and truth; and the whole was fastened to the mantle by fine golden chains, and fastened to it so that it might never get loose; 2.114. and a golden leaf was wrought like a crown, having four names engraved on it which may only be mentioned or heard by holy men having their ears and their tongues purified by wisdom, and by no one else at all in any place whatever. 2.115. And this holy prophet Moses calls the name, a name of four letters, making them perhaps symbols of the primary numbers, the unit, the number two, the number three, the number four: since all things are comprised in the number four, namely, a point, and a line, and a superficies, and a solid, and the measures of all things, and the most excellent symphonies of music, and the diatessaron in the sesquitertial proportion, and the chord in fifths, in the ratio of one and a half to one, and the diapason in the double ratio, and the double diapason in the fourfold ratio. Moreover, the number four has an innumerable list of other virtues likewise, the greater part of which we have discussed with accuracy in our dissertation on numbers. 2.116. And in it there was a mitre, in order that the leaf might not touch the head; and there was also a cidaris made, for the kings of the eastern countries are accustomed to use a cidaris, instead of a diadem. 2.117. Such, then, is the dress of the high priest. But we must not omit to mention the signification which it conceals beneath both in its whole and in its parts. In its whole it is a copy and representation of the world; and the parts are a representation of the separate parts of the world. 2.118. And we must begin with the long robe reaching down to the feet of the wearer. This tunic is wholly of the colour of a hyacinth, so as to be a representation of the air; for by nature the air is black, and in a measure it reaches down from the highest parts to the feet, being stretched from the parts about the moon, as far as the extremities of the earth, and being diffused everywhere. On which account also, the tunic reaches from the chest to the feet, and is spread over the whole body 2.119. and unto it there is attached a fringe of pomegranates round the ankles, and flowers, and bells. Now the flowers are an emblem of the earth; for it is from the earth that all flowers spring and bloom; but the pomegranates (rhoiskoi 2.120. And the place itself is the most distinct possible evidence of what is here meant to be expressed; for as the pomegranates, and the flowers, and the bells, are placed in the hem of the garment which reaches to the feet, so likewise the things of which they are the symbols, namely, the earth and water, have had the lowest position in the world assigned to them, and being in strict accord with the harmony of the universe, they display their own particular powers in definite periods of time and suitable seasons. 2.121. Now of the three elements, out of which and in which all the different kinds of things which are perceptible by the outward senses and perishable are formed, namely, the air, the water and the earth, the garment which reached down to the feet in conjunction with the ornaments which were attached to that part of it which was about the ankles have been plainly shown to be appropriate symbols; for as the tunic is one, and as the aforesaid three elements are all of one species, since they all have all their revolutions and changes beneath the moon, and as to the garment are attached the pomegranates, and the flowers; so also in certain manner the earth and the water may be said to be attached to and suspended from the air, for the air is their chariot. 2.122. And our argument will be able to bring forth twenty probable reasons that the mantle over the shoulders is an emblem of heaven. For in the first place, the two emeralds on the shoulderblades, which are two round stones, are, in the opinion of some persons who have studied the subject, emblems of those stars which are the rulers of night and day, namely, the sun and moon; or rather, as one might argue with more correctness and a nearer approach to truth, they are the emblems of the two hemispheres; for, like those two stones, the portion below the earth and that over the earth are both equal, and neither of them is by nature adapted to be either increased or diminished like the moon. 2.123. And the colour of the stars is an additional evidence in favour of my view; for to the glance of the eye the appearance of the heaven does resemble an emerald; and it follows necessarily that six names are engraved on each of the stones, because each of the hemispheres cuts the zodiac in two parts, and in this way comprehends within itself six animals. 2.124. Then the twelve stones on the breast, which are not like one another in colour, and which are divided into four rows of three stones in each, what else can they be emblems of, except of the circle of the zodiac? For that also is divided into four parts, each consisting of three animals, by which divisions it makes up the seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, distinguishing the four changes, the two solstices, and the two equinoxes, each of which has its limit of three signs of this zodiac, by the revolutions of the sun, according to that unchangeable, and most lasting, and really divine ratio which exists in numbers; 2.125. on which account they attached it to that which is with great propriety called the logeum. For all the changes of the year and the seasons are arranged by well-defined, and stated, and firm reason; and, though this seems a most extraordinary and incredible thing, by their seasonable changes they display their undeviating and everlasting permanence and durability. 2.126. And it is said with great correctness, and exceeding beauty also, that the twelve stones all differ in their colour, and that no one of them resembles the other; for also in the zodiac each animal produces that colour which is akin to and belongs to itself, both in the air, and in the earth, and in the water; and it produces it likewise in all the affections which move them, and in all kinds of animals and of plants. 2.127. And this logeum is described as double with great correctness; for reason is double, both in the universe and also in the nature of mankind, in the universe there is that reason which is conversant about incorporeal species which are like patterns as it were, from which that world which is perceptible only by the intellect was made, and also that which is concerned with the visible objects of sight, which are copies and imitations of those species above mentioned, of which the world which is perceptible by the outward senses was made. Again, in man there is one reason which is kept back, and another which finds vent in utterance: and the one is, as it were a spring, and the other (that which is uttered 2.128. And the architect assigned a quadrangular form to the logeum, intimating under an exceedingly beautiful figure, that both the reason of nature, and also that of man, ought to penetrate everywhere, and ought never to waver in any case; in reference to which, it is that he has also assigned to it the two virtues that have been already enumerated, manifestation and truth; for the reason of nature is true, and calculated to make manifest, and to explain everything; and the reason of the wise man, imitating that other reason, ought naturally, and appropriately to be completely sincere, honouring truth, and not obscuring anything through envy, the knowledge of which can benefit those to whom it would be explained; 2.129. not but what he has also assigned their two appropriate virtues to those two kinds of reason which exist in each of us, namely, that which is uttered and that which is kept concealed, attributing clearness of manifestation to the uttered one, and truth to that which is concealed in the mind; for it is suitable to the mind that it should admit of no error or falsehood, and to explanation that it should not hinder anything that can conduce to the most accurate manifestation. 2.130. Therefore there is no advantage in reason which expends itself in dignified and pompous language, about things which are good and desirable, unless it is followed by consistent practice of suitable actions; on which account the architect has affixed the logeum to the robe which is worn over the shoulder, in order that it may never get loose, as he does not approve of the language being separated from the actions; for he puts forth the shoulder as the emblem of energy and action. 2.131. Such then are the figurative meanings which he desires to indicate by the sacred vestments of the high priest; and instead of a diadem he represents a cidaris on the head, because he thinks it right that the man who is consecrated to God, as his high priest, should, during the time of his exercising his office be superior to all men, not only to all private individuals, but even to all kings; 2.132. and above this cidaris is a golden leaf, on which an engraving of four letters was impressed; by which letters they say that the name of the living God is indicated, since it is not possible that anything that it in existence, should exist without God being invoked; for it is his goodness and his power combined with mercy that is the harmony and uniter of all things. 2.133. The high priest, then, being equipped in this way, is properly prepared for the performance of all sacred ceremonies, that, whenever he enters the temple to offer up the prayers and sacrifices in use among his nation, all the world may likewise enter in with him, by means of the imitations of it which he bears about him, the garment reaching to his feet, being the imitation of the air, the pomegranate of the water, the flowery hem of the earth, and the scarlet dye of his robe being the emblem of fire; also, the mantle over his shoulders being a representation of heaven itself; the two hemispheres being further indicated by the round emeralds on the shoulder-blades, on each of which were engraved six characters equivalent to six signs of the zodiac; the twelve stones arranged on the breast in four rows of three stones each, namely the logeum, being also an emblem of that reason which holds together and regulates the universe. 2.134. For it was indispensable that the man who was consecrated to the Father of the world, should have as a paraclete, his son, the being most perfect in all virtue, to procure forgiveness of sins, and a supply of unlimited blessings; 2.135. perhaps, also, he is thus giving a previous warning to the servant of God, even if he is unable to make himself worthy of the Creator, of the world, at least to labour incessantly to make himself worthy of the world itself; the image of which he is clothed in, in a manner that binds him from the time that he puts it on, to bear about the pattern of it in his mind, so that he shall be in a manner changed from the nature of a man into the nature of the world, and, if one may say so (and one may by all means and at all times speak the plain truth in sincerity
4. Philo of Alexandria, Questions On Exodus, 2.68 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

5. Philo of Alexandria, Questions On Genesis, 3.3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

6. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 140-142, 146, 156, 159-160, 165-172, 176, 181, 184, 187-188, 190, 192-193, 197, 199, 201, 205-206, 209, 214, 226, 230-232, 235-236, 134 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

134. for, having taken it, he began to divide it thus: in the first instance, he made two divisions, the heavy and the light, separating that which was thick from that which was more subtle. After that, he again made a second division of each, dividing the subtle part into air and fire, and the denser portion into water and earth; and, first of all, he laid down those elements, which are perceptible by the outward senses, to be, as it were, the foundations of the world which is perceptible by the outward senses.

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
angels Klawans, Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism (2009) 118
incense Klawans, Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism (2009) 118
menorah Klawans, Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism (2009) 118
philo Klawans, Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism (2009) 118
philo of alexandria Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 296
priestly vestments Klawans, Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism (2009) 118
tabernacle Klawans, Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism (2009) 118
temple, as cosmos, in philo' Klawans, Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism (2009) 118