of Alexandria

(ca. 20 B.C.- ca. 50 A.D.)

 Philo Judaeus, miniature, 9th cent. Greek codex 
of works of St. John Damascene.
MS Gr. 923 fol. 310v

PHILO (c.20 BC-C.50 AD), Jewish philosopher and biblical interpreter. A member of a prosperous priestly family in Alexandria, Philo was the foremost figure among the Hellenistic Jews of his age and a prolific author. He was eclectic in religious outlook; he reproduced a variety of doctrines without welding them into a harmonious whole.

HIS most influential achievement was his development of the allegorical interpretation of Scripture which enabled him to interpret the Jewish Scriptures in the light of Greek philosophy. Of particular interest for Christian theology is the central place which he accorded in his system to the Logos, who was at once the creative power that orders the world and the intermediary through whom we know God.
(Adapted from E.A. Livingstone, Concise Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford, 2000, p. 449-450)



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