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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9250
Philo Of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 97-99


nanfor the good which was previously bestowed upon him was the departure from the Chaldaean philosophy, which was occupied about the things of the air, which taught me to suppose that the world was not the work of God, but was God himself; and that good and evil is caused in the case of all existing things, by the motions and fixed periodical revolutions of the stars, and that on these motions the origin of all good and evil depends; and the equable (homaleµ) and regular motion of these bodies in heaven, persuaded those simple men to look upon these things as omens, for the name of the Chaldaeans being interpreted is synonymous with equability (homaloteµs).


nanBut the new blessing which is promised is the acquisition of that wisdom which is not taught by the outward senses, but is comprehended by the pure mind, and by which the best of all emigrations is confirmed; when the soul departs from astronomy and learns to apply itself to natural philosophy, and to exchange unsure conjecture for certain apprehension, and, to speak with real truth, to quit the creature for the Creator, an the world for its father and maker;


nanfor the scriptures tell us, that the votaries of the Chaldaean philosophy believed in the heaven, but that he who abandoned that sect believed in the ruler of the heaven and the manager of the whole world, namely, in God. A very beautiful inheritance, greater perhaps than the power of him who receives it, but worthy of the greatness of the giver. XXI.


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

25 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 12.7, 15.7, 15.15, 28.13 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

12.7. וַיֵּרָא יְהוָה אֶל־אַבְרָם וַיֹּאמֶר לְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וַיִּבֶן שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהוָה הַנִּרְאֶה אֵלָיו׃ 15.7. וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים לָתֶת לְךָ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת לְרִשְׁתָּהּ׃ 15.15. וְאַתָּה תָּבוֹא אֶל־אֲבֹתֶיךָ בְּשָׁלוֹם תִּקָּבֵר בְּשֵׂיבָה טוֹבָה׃ 28.13. וְהִנֵּה יְהוָה נִצָּב עָלָיו וַיֹּאמַר אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ וֵאלֹהֵי יִצְחָק הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה שֹׁכֵב עָלֶיהָ לְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה וּלְזַרְעֶךָ׃ 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." 15.7. And He said unto him: ‘I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.’" 15.15. But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age." 28.13. And, behold, the LORD stood beside him, and said: ‘I am the LORD, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed."
2. Plato, Timaeus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

3. Xenophon, Memoirs, 1.4.2-1.4.19 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

1.4.2. I will first state what I once heard him say about the godhead in conversation with Aristodemus the dwarf, as he was called. On learning that he was not known to sacrifice or pray or use divination, and actually made a mock of those who did so, he said: Tell me, Aristodemus, do you admire any human beings for wisdom? I do, he answered. 1.4.3. Tell us their names. In epic poetry Homer comes first, in my opinion; in dithyramb, Melanippides; in tragedy, Sophocles; in sculpture, Polycleitus; in painting, Zeuxis. 1.4.4. Which, think you, deserve the greater admiration, the creators of phantoms without sense and motion, or the creators of living, intelligent, and active beings? Oh, of living beings, by far, provided only they are created by design and not mere chance. Suppose that it is impossible to guess the purpose of one creature’s existence, and obvious that another’s serves a useful end, which, in your judgment, is the work of chance, and which of design? Presumably the creature that serves some useful end is the work of design. 1.4.5. Do you not think then that he who created man from the beginning had some useful end in view when he endowed him with his several senses, giving eyes to see visible objects, ears to hear sounds? Would odours again be of any use to us had we not been endowed with nostrils? What perception should we have of sweet and bitter and all things pleasant to the palate had we no tongue in our mouth to discriminate between them? 1.4.6. Besides these, are there not other contrivances that look like the results of forethought? Thus the eyeballs, being weak, are set behind eyelids, that open like doors when we want to see, and close when we sleep: on the lids grow lashes through which the very winds filter harmlessly: above the eyes is a coping of brows that lets no drop of sweat from the head hurt them. The ears catch all sounds, but are never choked with them. Again, the incisors of all creatures are adapted for cutting, the molars for receiving food from them and grinding it. And again, the mouth, through which the food they want goes in, is set near the eyes and nostrils; but since what goes out is unpleasant, the ducts through which it passes are turned away and removed as far as possible from the organs of sense. With such signs of forethought in these arrangements, can you doubt whether they are the works of chance or design? No, of course not. 1.4.7. When I regard them in this light they do look very like the handiwork of a wise and loving creator. What of the natural desire to beget children, the mother’s desire to rear her babe, the child’s strong will to live and strong fear of death? Undoubtedly these, too, look like the contrivances of one who deliberately willed the existence of living creatures. 1.4.8. Do you think you have any wisdom yourself? Oh! Ask me a question and judge from my answer. And do you suppose that wisdom is nowhere else to be found, although you know that you have a mere speck of all the earth in your body and a mere drop of all the water, and that of all the other mighty elements you received, I suppose, just a scrap towards the fashioning of your body? But as for mind, which alone, it seems, is without mass, do you think that you snapped it up by a lucky accident, and that the orderly ranks of all these huge masses, infinite in number, are due, forsooth, to a sort of absurdity? 1.4.9. Yes; for I don’t see the master hand, whereas I see the makers of things in this world. Neither do you see your own soul, Cyropaedia VIII. Vii. 17. which has the mastery of the body; so that, as far as that goes, you may say that you do nothing by design, but everything by chance. Here Aristodemus exclaimed: 1.4.10. Really, Socrates, I don’t despise the godhead. But I think it is too great to need my service. Then the greater the power that deigns to serve you, the more honour it demands of you. 1.4.11. I assure you, that if I believed that the gods pay any heed to man, I would not neglect them. Then do you think them unheeding? In the first place, man is the only living creature that they have caused to stand upright; and the upright position gives him a wider range of vision in front and a better view of things above, and exposes him less to injury. Secondly, to grovelling creatures they have given feet that afford only the power of moving, whereas they have endowed man with hands, which are the instruments to which we chiefly owe our greater happiness. 1.4.12. Again, though all creatures have a tongue, the tongue of man alone has been formed by them to be capable of contact with different parts of the mouth, so as to enable us to articulate the voice and express all our wants to one another. Once more, for all other creatures they have prescribed a fixed season of sexual indulgence; in our case the only time limit they have set is old age. 1.4.13. Nor was the deity content to care for man’s body. What is of yet higher moment, he has implanted in him the noblest type of soul. For in the first place what other creature’s soul has apprehended the existence of gods who set in order the universe, greatest and fairest of things? And what race of living things other than man worships gods? And what soul is more apt than man’s to make provision against hunger and thirst, cold and heat, to relieve sickness and promote health, to acquire knowledge by toil, and to remember accurately all that is heard, seen, or learned? 1.4.14. For is it not obvious to you that, in comparison with the other animals, men live like gods, by nature peerless both in body and in soul? For with a man’s reason and the body of an ox we could not carry out our wishes, and the possession of hands without reason is of little worth. Do you, then, having received the two most precious gifts, yet think that the gods take no care of you? What are they to do, to make you believe that they are heedful of you? 1.4.15. I will believe when they send counsellors, as you declare they do, saying, Do this, avoid that. But when the Athenians inquire of them by divination and they reply, do you not suppose that to you, too, the answer is given? Or when they send portents for warning to the Greeks, or to all the world? Are you their one exception, the only one consigned to neglect? 1.4.16. Or do you suppose that the gods would have put into man a belief in their ability to help and harm, if they had not that power; and that man throughout the ages would never have detected the fraud? Do you not see that the wisest and most enduring of human institutions, cities and nations, are most god-fearing, and that the most thoughtful period of life is the most religious? 1.4.17. Be well assured, my good friend, that the mind within you directs your body according to its will; and equally you must think that Thought indwelling in the Universal disposes all things according to its pleasure. For think not that your eye can travel over many furlongs and yet god’s eye cannot see the the whole world at once; that your soul can ponder on things in Egypt and in Sicily, and god’s thought is not sufficient to pay heed to the whole world at once. 1.4.18. Nay, but just as by serving men you find out who is willing to serve you in return, by being kind who will be kind to you in return, and by taking counsel, discover the masters of thought, so try the gods by serving them, and see whether they will vouchsafe to counsel you in matters hidden from man. Then you will know that such is the greatness and such the nature of the deity that he sees all things Cyropaedia VIII. vii. 22. and hears all things alike, and is present in all places and heedful of all things. 1.4.19. To me at least it seemed that by these sayings he kept his companions from impiety, injustice, and baseness, and that not only when they were seen by men, but even in solitude; since they ever felt that no deed of theirs could at any time escape the gods.
4. Theophrastus, Fragments, 230 (4th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

5. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 1.13-1.15, 2.87-2.97 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.13. However, to free myself entirely from ill‑disposed criticism, I will now lay before my readers the doctrines of the various schools on the nature of the gods. This is a topic on which it seems proper to summon all the world to sit in judgement and pronounce which of these doctrines is the true one. If it turn out that all the schools agree, or if any one philosopher be found who had discovered the truth, then but not before I will convict the Academy of captiousness. This being so, I feel disposed to cry, in the words of the Young Comrades: O ye gods and O ye mortals, townsmen, gownsmen, hear my call; I invoke, implore, adjure ye, bear ye witness one and all — not about some frivolous trifle such as that of which a character in the play complains — . . . here's a monstrous crime and outrage in the land; Here's a lady who declines a guinea from a lover's hand! 1.14. but to attend in court, try the case, and deliver their verdict as to what opinions we are to hold about religion, piety and holiness, about ritual, about honour and loyalty to oaths, about temples, shrines and solemn sacrifices, and about the very auspices over which I myself preside; for all of these matters ultimately depend upon this question of the nature of the immortal gods. Surely such wide diversity of opinion among men of the greatest learning on a matter of the highest moment must affect even those who think that they possess certain knowledge with a feeling of doubt. 1.15. This has often struck me, but it did so with especial force on one occasion, when the topic of the immortal gods was made the subject of a very searching and thorough discussion at the house of my friend Gaius Cotta. It was the Latin Festival, and I had come at Cotta's express invitation to pay him a visit. I found him sitting in an alcove, engaged in debate with Gaius Velleius, a Member of the Senate, accounted by the Epicureans as their chief Roman adherent at the time. With them was Quintus Lucilius Balbus, who was so accomplished a student of Stoicism as to rank with the leading Greek exponents of that system. When Cotta saw me, he greeted me with the words: "You come exactly at the right moment, for I am just engaging in a dispute with Velleius on an important topic, in which you with your tastes will be interested to take part. 2.87. Let someone therefore prove that it could have been better. But no one will ever prove this, and anyone who essays to improve some detail will either make it worse or will be demanding an improvement impossible in the nature of things. "But if the structure of the world in all its parts is such that it could not have been better whether in point of utility or beauty, let us consider js is the result of chance, or whether on the contrary the parts of the world are in such a condition that they could not possibly have cohered together if they were not controlled by intelligence and by divine providence. If then that produces of nature are better than those of art, and if art produces nothing without reason, nature too cannot be deemed to be without reason. When you see a statue or a painting, you recognize the exercise of art; when you observe from a distance the course of a ship, you do not hesitate to assume that its motion is guided by reason and by art; when you look at a sun‑dial or a water-clock, you infer that it tells the time by art and not by chance; how then can it be consistent to suppose that the world, which includes both the works of art in question, the craftsmen who made them, and everything else besides, can be devoid of purpose and of reason? 2.88. Suppose a traveller to carry into Scythia or Britain the orrery recently constructed by our friend Posidonius, which at each revolution reproduces the same motions of the sun, the moon and the five planets that take place in the heavens every twenty-four hundred, would any single native doubt that this orrery was the work of a rational being? This thinkers however raise doubts about the world itself from which all things arise and have their being, and debate whether it is the produce of chance or necessity of some sort, or of divine reason and intelligence; they think more highly of the achievement of Archimedes in making a model of the revolutions of the firmament than of that of nature in creating them, although the perfection of the original shows a craftsmanship many times as great as does the counterfeit. 2.89. Just as the shield in Accius who had never seen a ship before, on descrying in the distance from his mountain‑top the strange vessel of the Argonauts, built by the gods, in his first amazement and alarm cries out: so huge a bulk Glides from the deep with the roar of a whistling wind: Waves roll before, and eddies surge and swirl; Hurtling headlong, it snort and sprays the foam. Now might one deem a bursting storm-cloud rolled, Now that a rock flew skyward, flung aloft By wind and storm, or whirling waterspout Rose from the clash of wave with warring wave; Save 'twere land-havoc wrought by ocean-flood, Or Triton's trident, heaving up the roots of cavernous vaults beneath the billowy sea, Hurled from the depth heaven-high a massy crag. At first he wonders what the unknown creature that he beholds may be. Then when he sees the warriors and hears the singing of the sailors, he goes on: the sportive dolphins swift Forge snorting through the foam — and so on and so on — Brings to my ears and hearing such a tune As old Silvanus piped. 2.90. Well then, even as the shepherd at the first sight thinks he sees some lifeless and iimate object, but afterwards is led by clearer indications to begin to suspect the true nature of the thing about which he had previously been uncertain, so it would have been the proper course for the philosophers, if it so happened that the first sight of the world perplexed them, afterwards when they had seen its definite and regular motions, and all its phenomena controlled by fixed system and unchanging uniformity, to infer the presence not merely of an inhabitant of this celestial and divine abode, but also of a ruler and governor, the architect as it were of this mighty and monumental structure. "But as it is they appear to me to have no suspicion even of the marvels of the celestial and terrestrial creation. 2.91. For in the first place the earth, which is situated in the centre of the world, is surrounded on all sides by this living and respirable substance named the air. 'Air' is a Greek word, but yet it has by this time been accepted in use by our race, and in fact passes current as Latin. The air in turn is embraced by the immeasurable aether, which consists of the most elevated portions of fire. The term 'aether' also we may borrow, and employ it like 'air' as a Latin word, though Pacuvius provides his readers with a translation: What I speak of, we call heaven, but the Greeks it 'aether' call — just as though the man who says this were not a Greek! 'Well, he is talking Latin,' you may say. Just so, if we won't suppose we are hearing him talk Greek; in another passage Pacuvius tells us: A Grecian born: my speech discloses that. 2.92. But let us return to more important matters. From aether then arise the innumerable fires of the heavenly bodies, chief of which is the sun, who illumines all things with most brilliant light, and is many times greater and vaster than the whole earth; and after him the other stars of unmeasured magnitudes. And these vast and numerous fires not merely do no harm to the earth and to terrestrial things, but are actually beneficial, though with the qualification that were their positions altered, the earth would inevitably be burnt up by such enormous volumes of heat when uncontrolled and untempered. 2.93. At this point must I not marvel that there should be anyone who can persuade himself that there are certain solid and indivisible particles of matter borne along by the force of gravity, and that the fortuitous collision of those particles produces this elaborate and beautiful world? I cannot understand why he who considers it possible for this to have occurred should not all think that, if a counts number of copies of the one-and‑twenty letters of alphabet, made of gold or what you will, were thrown together into some receptacle and then shaken out on the ground, it would be possible that they should produce the Annals of Ennius, all ready for the reader. I doubt whether chance could possibly succeed in producing even a single verse! 2.94. Yet according to the assertion of your friends, that out of particles of matter not endowed with heat, nor with any 'quality' (the Greek term poiotes), nor with sense, but colliding together at haphazard and by chance, the world has emerged complete, or rather a countless number of worlds are some of them being born and some perishing at every moment of time — yet if the clash of atoms can create a world, why can it not produce a colonnade, a temple, a house, a city, which are less and indeed much less difficult things to make? The fact is, they indulge in such random babbling about the world that for my part I cannot think that they have ever looked up at this marvellously beautiful sky — which is my next topic. 2.95. So Aristotle says brilliantly: 'If there were beings who had always lived beneath the earth, in comfortable, well‑lit dwellings, decorated with statues and pictures and furnished with all the luxuries enjoyed by persons thought to be supremely happy, and who though they had never come forth above the ground had learnt by report and by hearsay of the existence of certain deities or divine powers; and then if at some time the jaws of the earth were opened and they were able to escape from their hidden abode and to come forth into the regions which we inhabit; when they suddenly had sight of the earth and the seas and the sky, and came to know of the vast clouds and mighty winds, and beheld the sun, and realized not only its size and beauty but also its Ptolemaic in causing the day by shedding light over all the sky, and, after night had darkened the earth, they then saw the whole sky spangled and adorned with stars, and the changing phases of the moon's light, now waxing and now waning, and the risings and settings of all these heavenly bodies and their courses fixed and changeless throughout all eternity, — when they saw these things, surely they would think that the gods exist and that these mighty marvels are their handiwork.' 2.96. Thus far Aristotle; let us for our part imagine a darkness as dense as that which is said to have once covered the neighbouring districts on the occasion of an eruption of the volcano Etna, so that for two days no man could recognize his fellow, and when on the third day the sun shone upon them, they felt as if they had come to life again: well, suppose that after darkness had prevailed from the beginning of time, it similarly happened to ourselves suddenly to behold the light of day, what should we think of the splendour of the heavens? But daily recurrence and habit familiarize our indicates with the sight, and we feel no surprise or curiosity as to the reasons for things that we see always; just as if it were the novelty and not rather the importance of phenomena that ought to arouse us to inquire into their causes. 2.97. Who would not deny the name of human being to a man who, on seeing the regular motions of the heaven and the fixed order of the stars and the accurate interconnexion and interrelation of all things, can deny that these things possess any rational design, and can maintain that phenomena, the wisdom of whose ordering transcends the capacity of our wisdom to understand it, take place by chance? When we see something moved by machinery, like an orrery or clock or many other such things, we do not doubt that these contrivances are the work of reason; when therefore we behold the whole compass of the heaven moving with revolutions of marvellous velocity and executing with perfect regularity the annual changes of the seasons with absolute safety and security for all things, how can we doubt that all this is effected not merely by reason, but by a reason that is transcendent and divine?
6. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 60-88, 271 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

271. Those 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.
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Preliminary Studies, 49-51, 48 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

48. for, inasmuch as he is a relation of the wise Abraham, he partakes of that light which is according to wisdom; but inasmuch as he did not join him in his emigration from the crated to the uncreated being, from the world to the Creator of the world, he has acquired only a lame and imperfect knowledge, intermittent and delaying, or rather put together like a lifeless statue;
8. Philo of Alexandria, On The Decalogue, 53-81, 52 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

9. Philo of Alexandria, On The Migration of Abraham, 179-181, 178 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

178. What then shall we say? The Chaldeans appear beyond all other men to have devoted themselves to the study of astronomy and of genealogies; adapting things on earth to things sublime, and also adapting the things of heaven to those on earth, and like people who, availing themselves of the principles of music, exhibit a most perfect symphony as existing in the universe by the common union and sympathy of the parts for one another, which though separated as to place, are not disunited in regard of kindred.
10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Change of Names, 67, 76, 16 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

16. But when our mind was occupied with the wisdom of the Chaldaeans, studying the sublime things which exist in the world, it made as it were the circuit of all the efficient powers as causes of what existed; but when it emigrated from the Chaldaean doctrines, it then knew that it was moving under the guidance and direction of a governor, of whose authority it perceived the appearance.
11. Philo of Alexandria, On The Creation of The World, 11-25, 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.
12. Philo of Alexandria, On Dreams, 1.33, 1.53-1.54, 1.73, 1.102, 1.161 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.33. Therefore now the fourth element is incomprehensible, in the world of heaven, in comparison of the nature of the earth, of the water, and of the air; and the mind in man, in comparison of the body and the outward sense, and the speech, which is the interpreter of the mind; may it not be the case also, that for this reason the fourth year is described as holy and praiseworthy in the sacred scriptures? 1.53. And what is the lesson? The Chaldaeans are great astronomers, and the inhabitants of Charran occupy themselves with the topics relating to the external senses. Therefore the sacred account says to the investigator of the things of nature, why are you inquiring about the sun, and asking whether he is a foot broad, whether he is greater than the whole earth put together, or whether he is even many times as large? And why are you investigating the causes of the light of the moon, and whether it has a borrowed light, or one which proceeds solely from itself? Why, again, do you seek to understand the nature of the rest of the stars, of their motion, of their sympathy with one another, and even with earthly things? 1.54. And why, while walking upon the earth do you soar above the clouds? And why, while rooted in the solid land, do you affirm that you can reach the things in the sky? And why do you endeavour to form conjectures about matters which cannot be ascertained by conjecture? And why do you busy yourself about sublime subjects which you ought not to meddle with? And why do you extend your desire to make discoveries in mathematical science as far as the heaven? And why do you devote yourself to astronomy, and talk about nothing but high subjects? My good man, do not trouble your head about things beyond the ocean, but attend only to what is near you; and be content rather to examine yourself without flattery. 1.73. And do not wonder if, according to the rules of allegorical description, the sun is likened to the Father and Governor of the universe; for in reality nothing is like unto God; but those things which by the vain opinion of men are thought to be so, are only two things, one invisible and the other visible; the soul being the invisible thing, and the sun the visible one. 1.102. These things then, and other things of the same kind, may be urged in reply to those assertors of the literal sense of a passage; and who superciliously reject all other explanations. We will now, in accordance with the usual laws of allegorical speaking, say what is becoming with respect to these subjects. We say, therefore, that a garment here is spoken of symbolically, to signify speech; for clothes keep off the injuries which are wont to visit the body, from cold and heat, and they also conceal the unmentionable parts of nature, and moreover, a cloak is a fitting garment for the body. 1.161. for having forsaken the language of those who indulge in sublime conversations about astronomy, a language imitating that of the Chaldaeans, foreign and barbarous, he was brought over to that which was suited to a rational being, namely, to the service of the great Cause of all things.
13. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.13, 1.287 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.13. Some persons have conceived that the sun, and the moon, and the other stars are independent gods, to whom they have attributed the causes of all things that exist. But Moses was well aware that the world was created, and was like a very large city, having rulers and subjects in it; the rulers being all the bodies which are in heaven, such as planets and fixed stars; 1.287. But some are verbal symbols of things appreciable only by the intellect, and the mystical meaning which is concealed beneath them must be investigated by those who are eager for truth in accordance with the rules of allegory. The altar of God is the grateful soul of the wise man, being compounded of perfect numbers undivided and indivisible; for no part of virtue is useless.
14. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 213, 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.
15. Philo of Alexandria, On The Contemplative Life, 21 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

21. Now this class of persons may be met with in many places, for it was fitting that both Greece and the country of the barbarians should partake of whatever is perfectly good; and there is the greatest number of such men in Egypt, in every one of the districts, or nomi as they are called, and especially around Alexandria;
16. Philo of Alexandria, Questions On Genesis, 3.1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

17. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 280, 300, 96, 98-99, 277 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

277. And after the words, "Thou shalt depart," he adds, "to thy fathers." It is here worth while to consider what kind of fathers is meant; for God can never mean those who had passed their lives in the country of the Chaldeans, among whom alone he had lived as being his relations, because he had been commanded by a sacred oracle to depart from those who were his kinsmen by blood. For, says the historian, "The Lord said unto Abraham, Depart from out of 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.
18. Philo of Alexandria, That Every Good Person Is Free, 74-75, 92-97, 73 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

73. And all Greece and all the land of the barbarians is a witness of this; for in the one country flourished those who are truly called "the seven wise men," though others had flourished before them, and have also in all probability lived since their time. But their memory, though they are now very ancient, has nevertheless not been effaced by the lapse of ages, while of others who are more modern, the names have been lost through the neglect of their contemporaries.
19. Strabo, Geography, 15.1.59-15.1.60 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

15.1.59. Megasthenes divides the philosophers again into two kinds, the Brachmanes and the Garmanes. The Brachmanes are held in greater repute, for they agree more exactly in their opinions. Even from the time of their conception in the womb they are under the care and guardianship of learned men, who go to the mother, and seem to perform some incantation for the happiness and welfare of the mother and the unborn child, but in reality they suggest prudent advice, and the mothers who listen to them most willingly are thought to be the most fortunate in their offspring. After the birth of the children, there is a succession of persons who have the care of them, and as they advance in years, masters more able and accomplished succeed.The philosophers live in a grove in front of the city within a moderate-sized enclosure. Their diet is frugal, and they lie upon straw pallets and on skins. They abstain from animal food, and from sexual intercourse with women; their time is occupied in grave discourse, and they communicate with those who are inclined to listen to them; but the hearer is not permitted to speak or cough, or even to spit on the ground; otherwise, he is expelled that very day from their society, on the ground of having no control over himself. After living thirty-seven years in this manner, each individual retires to his own possessions, and lives with less restraint, wearing robes of fine linen, and rings of gold, but without profuseness, upon the hands and in the ears. They eat the flesh of animals, of those particularly which do not assist man in his labour, and abstain from hot and seasoned food. They have as many wives as they please with a view to numerous offspring, for from many wives greater advantages are derived.As they have no slaves, they require more the services, which are at hand, of their children.The Brachmanes do not communicate their philosophy to their wives, for fear they should divulge to the profane, if they became depraved, anything which ought to be concealed or lest they should abandon their husbands in case they became good (philosophers) themselves. For no one who despises alike pleasure and pain, life and death, is willing to be subject to the authority of another; and such is the character of a virtuous man and a virtuous woman.They discourse much on death, for it is their opinion that the present life is the state of one conceived in the womb, and that death to philosophers is birth to a real and a happy life. They therefore discipline themselves much to prepare for death, and maintain that nothing which happens to man is bad or good, for otherwise the same things would not be the occasion of sorrow to some and of joy to others, opinions being merely dreams, nor that the same persons could be affected with sorrow and joy by the same things, on different occasions.With regard to opinions on physical phenomena, they display, says Megasthenes, great simplicity, their actions being better than their reasoning, for their belief is chiefly founded on fables. On many subjects their sentiments are the same as those of the Greeks. According to the Brachmanes, the world was created, and is liable to corruption; it is of a spheroidal figure; the god who made and governs it pervades the whole of it; the principles of all things are different, but the principle of the world's formation was water; in addition to the four elements there is a fifth nature, of which the heavens and the stars are composed; the earth is situated in the centre of the universe. Many other peculiar things they say of the principle of generation and of the soul. They invent fables also, after the manner of Plato, on the immortality of the soul, and on the punishments in Hades, and other things of this kind. This is the account which Megasthenes gives of the Brachmanes. 15.1.60. of the Garmanes, the most honourable, he says, are the Hylobii, who live in the forests, and subsist on leaves and wild fruits: they are clothed with garments made of the bark of trees, and abstain from commerce with women and from wine. The kings hold communication with them by messengers, concerning the causes of things, and through them worship and supplicate the Divinity.Second in honour to the Hylobii, are the physicians, for they apply philosophy to the study of the nature of man. They are of frugal habits, but do not live in the fields, and subsist upon rice and meal, which every one gives when asked, and receive them hospitably. They are able to cause persons to have a numerous offspring, and to have either male or female children, by means of charms. They cure diseases by diet, rather than by medicinal remedies. Among the latter, the most in repute are unguents and cataplasms. All others they suppose partake greatly of a noxious nature.Both this and the other class of persons practise fortitude, as well in supporting active toil as in enduring suffering, so that they will continue a whole day in the same posture, without motion.There are enchanters and diviners, versed in the rites and customs relative to the dead, who go about villages and towns begging. There are others who are more civilized and better informed than these, who inculcate the vulgar opinions concerning Hades, which, according to their ideas, tend to piety and sanctity. Women study philosophy with some of them, but abstain from sexual intercourse.
20. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 18.20 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

21. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 2 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

22. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 1 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

23. Porphyry, On Abstinence, 4 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

24. Simplicius of Cilicia, In Aristotelis Physicorum Libros Commentaria, 26.7-26.13 (missingth cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

25. Stoic School, Stoicor. Veter. Fragm., 2.1211



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham, as universal exemplar Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
abraham Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26, 27
allegorical interpretation, the laws of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
aristotle Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
asceticism Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
assyrians Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
astrology, vs. understanding of the sage Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
astrology Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216, 224; Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
atheism Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 290
babylonians Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
brahmins Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
buddhism, sarmanae Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
buddhism Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
burchard, c. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
celts Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
chaeremon Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
chaldeanism Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 290
chaldeans, abraham contrasted with Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216, 224
chaldeans Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26, 27; Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
chodollogomor, chosen father of sound Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
chrysippus Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26
collocutions Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
cosmos Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26, 27
deity, cult statues of Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26
deity, deities Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26, 27
druids Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
etymologies, of abraham and abram Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
etymologies, of harran Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
fatalism Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 290
god, as director Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
god, cosmos as Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
harran, etymology of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
heavenly bodies Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26, 27
hierarchy, of being (scala naturae) Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
india, and gymnosophists Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
matter Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 290
mendels, d. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
migrations of abraham, allegorical interpretation of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216, 224
migrations of abraham, as spiritual Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
migrations of abraham Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216, 224
perception of god, god aiding Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
persia, magi and Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
philo of alexandria, and the philosophical lifestyle Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
philo of alexandria, on cult statues Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26, 27
philo of alexandria, on heavenly bodies Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26, 27
philo of alexandria Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 290; Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26, 27; Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
philos essenes Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
plato Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
platonism, platonists Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
porphyry Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
principles/ archai Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 290
qumran, cemetery site at Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
sound, chosen father of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
stoics, stoicism Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26, 27
the cosmos, as object of worship Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
the cosmos, god directing Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
the cosmos, sympathetic influence of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
the sage, abraham as Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
the sage, platonic ideal of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
the sage, vs. the astrologer Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
virtue' Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
wisdom of solomon Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 26
νόμος Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
σόφος Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216
ὤφθη Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 224
ῥητός Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 216