By Harry A. Wolfson

Few students nowadays try and produce whatever which
could be known as a magnum opus. Wolfson is among the few;
and while it's remembered that the 2 huge volumes before
us symbolize a comparatively small a part of his overall project, he
must be placed into the vanguard of even that little team. For it
is Wolfson's plan to give a background of philosophy which will
begin with at the very least one quantity at the Greeks, then consider
Philo as right here, then supply the full improvement of philosophy
in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish circles of the center Ages,
and ultimately exhibit the beginnings of the hot age the place Spinoza
breaks the trend of medieval inspiration and returns to the Greek
approach. Wolfson believes that medieval philosophy had a
distinctive personality since it had a particular resource of
knowledge relatively overseas to either the Greek and sleek thinkers,
the resource we frequently name "revelation," yet which Wolfson calls
the "preamble of faith" (p. v). The moderns, just like the Greeks,
try by way of remark, speculation, and instinct, no matter what these
words suggest, to find the reality in regards to the nature of guy, and
the nature of his atmosphere as much as and together with God himself.
The medieval global needed to sq. all such facts of "reason"
with the information in their encouraged Scriptures the place the answers
were all given. greater than this, the medievalists needed to square
their purposes with a philosophical culture which determined
how Scripture itself was once to be interpreted, Wolfson says, for in
revealed starting place, in which philosophy, the manufactured from erring
human cause, needed to be established and purged and purified." These
inflexible ideas, Wolfson keeps in his Preface, have been all
worked out via none except Philo himself, and so "the philosophy
of Philo" got here to be "the such a lot dominant strength in the
history of philosophy right down to the 17th century."

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Philo: Foundations of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Volumes 1-2

Few students nowadays attempt to produce whatever which
could be known as a magnum opus. Wolfson is among the few;
and whilst it truly is remembered that the 2 huge volumes before
us characterize a comparatively small a part of his overall project, he
must be placed into the vanguard of even that little staff. For it
is Wolfson's plan to offer a historical past of philosophy which will
begin with not less than one quantity at the Greeks, then consider
Philo as right here, then supply the total improvement of philosophy
in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish circles of the center Ages,
and ultimately exhibit the beginnings of the recent age the place Spinoza
breaks the trend of medieval notion and returns to the Greek
approach. Wolfson believes that medieval philosophy had a
distinctive personality since it had a particular resource of
knowledge rather international to either the Greek and glossy thinkers,
the resource we often name "revelation," yet which Wolfson calls
the "preamble of faith" (p. v). The moderns, just like the Greeks,
try by way of statement, speculation, and instinct, no matter what these
words suggest, to find the reality concerning the nature of guy, and
the nature of his atmosphere as much as and together with God himself.
The medieval global needed to sq. all such facts of "reason"
with the information in their encouraged Scriptures the place the answers
were all given. greater than this, the medievalists needed to square
their purposes with a philosophical culture which determined
how Scripture itself was once to be interpreted, Wolfson says, for in
revealed starting place, during which philosophy, the made of erring
human cause, needed to be confirmed and purged and purified. " These
inflexible rules, Wolfson maintains in his Preface, have been all
worked out by way of none except Philo himself, and so "the philosophy
of Philo" got here to be "the so much dominant strength in the
history of philosophy all the way down to the 17th century. "

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From the alternate Paperback variation.

Additional info for Philo: Foundations of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Volumes 1-2

Example text

32: 13. Exod. 6:26; Isa. 26:12; 45:7; Job 25:2. » Somrt. II, 38, 253. Leg. All. I l l , 25, 79; cf. Gen. 14:18. "" In still another place, he happens to quote from the Septuagint the divine appellation " the Most H i g h " (4 C^ioros)," which he undoubtedly knew to be used as a Greek appellation of Zeus, and consequently, in order to show that the application of that term to God does not imply a polytheistic belief, as it does in its application to Zeus, he immediately adds: "not that there is any other not most high .

27, 91. 1 1 8 a 38 PHILO that is to say, their mysteries and rites are a mockery. Still, despite his condemnation of popular religion, mythol­ ogy, and mysteries, Philo does not hesitate to make use of the vocabulary of all these in his description of the beliefs and institutions of Judaism. " Nor does he hesitate to speak of the Furies as "the venerable goddesses" (aepval 0eal) * the name by which they were commonly called in Athens. Nor, again, does he hesitate to speak of God as "the Lord of gods and men" or " t h e supreme Father of gods and men" or as being "God not only of men but also of gods," though the description " Father of gods and men " is usually applied by Homer to Zeus.

I l l , 24, 135. *« Cher. 14, 49. »«« Cher. 14, 48; cf. also Fragmenta, Richter, VI, 2c6 (M, II, 651); 217 (M, II, 658). *« Sacr. 15,60. «« Ibid. 6 44 PHILO These statements on mysteries have been taken by certain students of Philo as evidence either for the existence of mys­ teries among the Alexandrian Jews or for the influence of mysteries upon Philo's philosophy.

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