Does Philo really matter, honestly?

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Posts 3463
Milkman | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Sep 5 2014 3:58 PM

Thinking about the world view of the 'average' Jew in particular and 'regular joe' (milkman) in the 1 C., did Philo really make that much of an impact of his/her thought-process or actual life in practice? Or for that matter, did any sacred text or profane or holy writings seep into their minds? Or was he/she more interested in the horoscopes and sports page. You know something like, 'Did you hear about Alexander who lost in the final stage  of the event? What a bummer man, now he's out of a job and has to find a job just like you and me."

What I'm trying to understand is what did the average person living about 2000 years ago think about when he woke up, washed his face, had a bite to eat, kissed the wife/boss good bye and trucked off to work.

What if this guy was having a really crummy day at the 'office.' Maybe had a fight with his teen age daughter, didn't get his morning Tim Hortons or double latte and woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

yeah I get it, there are some who say he was all about praying to God, all things work together, yada yada yada, but really who thinks that way except for the extraordinary saint. I don't! 

What I'd like to know is what in the world was their "real" worldview and psychie during the average day. Not too much to ask. So if you know of a resource that specifically deals with that kind of topic, i'm all ears.

Or - maybe I/we just do a backwards extrapolation, look at our own culture and think that we are simple mirrors of them. Some saints, some scholars and for the rest of us and speaking personally, some sinners.

mm.

mm.

Posts 5292
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 4:20 PM

Philo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

How much he affect thoughts of the regular joe I do not no, but considering his thought is to have influenced John the gospel writer. He may have influenced many people.

-Dan

Posts 13399
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 4:20 PM

It's like asking if Karl Rahner matters. To some, a great deal; to others, not at all. But reading Rahner will give you a good idea of at least some of what was important in mid 20th-century Christian theology (at least in certain circles). Philo will do the same.

For "a day in the life" books, you've probably already got Edersheim. But you'd probably be best off with The Essential Companion to Life in Bible Times, or The Baker Illustrated Guide to Everyday Life in Bible Times. The latter's a dictionary, the former is written in chapters based around themes. Other books you may have are The New Testament Milieu, Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Manners and Customs, The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times, and The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (the latter is a commentary).

But be very suspicious of any book that tells you there was an average Joe in first-century Palestine. That's no likely than assuming that you and I have similar days and think the same way on all sorts of topics. Look for books that tell you about Joe and John and Joseph and James.

Posts 1129
Keith Larson | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 4:27 PM

Milkman,

I doubt the "average Joe" of the First Century even knew of Philo, however in every generation the intellectual elites have a profound influence on "pop" culture. Just look at our own "pop culture," it is just the regurgitated remains of "high culture.

For this reason studying Philo is important.

Posts 1661
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 4:39 PM

Without getting into a complex description about how we know anything about the ancient world, Philo is important because we have extensive literary remains of him, and he provides a witness to what Judaism could be like for someone in a large Jewish community in Alexandria at about the time of the New Testament.

As a literate person, he is almost by definition NOT typical, but he was trusted enough to be a representative of his community, and for his writings to be preserved.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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Posts 11068
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 5:35 PM

Your title implies that a normal answer might not be honest. You're too honest.

Part of Philo's family financed the destruction of Jerusalem, if I remember right, along with some other wealthy jews (one who subsequently tried to marry the Roman general). Indeed much of the destruction in Israel is better viewed as an internal civil war between those benefiting from power (Roman), and those viewing themselves as the 'chosen' (Zealots).  Josephus appears to switched sides and so was viewed as the worst of the worst thereafter by jews.  And certainly not the first; deja vu from the earlier days with the greek generals.

These are generalizations with iffy support.  But I mention them to illustrate that even in a wealth/no-wealth, it all depends on 'who'.  Who wanted to preserve Philo (the Christians).  Who wanted to preserve Josephus (the Christians).  So is either representative?  Of what?  Ditto on archaeology, where preservation is largely 'wealth' and which side of the tracks.

That's one big reason why I like to buy Logos papyri/scroll volumes from daily life.  Yes, the writers are not illiterate.  But quite obviously they're not rich either. And then resources on pottery, archetecture, geology, etc. where the reality of 'life' has to be respected (e.g. clean drinking water?, pooping where?, preserving food?, and so forth.  The commentaries almost always sort of gloss over these realities.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

Posts 149
Sam Henderson | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 5:59 PM

Milkman:

What I'd like to know is what in the world was their "real" worldview and psychie during the average day. Not too much to ask. So if you know of a resource that specifically deals with that kind of topic, i'm all ears.

Funny you should ask that. I've just started to dip into the Loeb Select Papyri Collection that appeared for Logos this very week. Volumes I and II are full of everyday documents (legal, epistolary, devotional and otherwise)  - in a pretty decent English translation -  much of them dug up from ancient rubbish tips not 300 clicks south of Philo's beloved Alexandria. You can't get more "average day" than this stuff. A fair bit of it is 1st cenury, though much is from the 2nd and 3rd. Might be worth a look.

Posts 3463
Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 6:46 PM

Always great to read your replies Denise!!

Denise:

Your title implies that a normal answer might not be honest. You're too honest.

Part of Philo's family financed the destruction of Jerusalem, if I remember right, along with some other wealthy jews (one who subsequently tried to marry the Roman general). Indeed much of the destruction in Israel is better viewed as an internal civil war between those benefiting from power (Roman), and those viewing themselves as the 'chosen' (Zealots).  Josephus appears to switched sides and so was viewed as the worst of the worst thereafter by jews.  And certainly not the first; deja vu from the earlier days with the greek generals.

These are generalizations with iffy support.  But I mention them to illustrate that even in a wealth/no-wealth, it all depends on 'who'.  Who wanted to preserve Philo (the Christians).  Who wanted to preserve Josephus (the Christians).  So is either representative?  Of what?  Ditto on archaeology, where preservation is largely 'wealth' and which side of the tracks.

That's one big reason why I like to buy Logos papyri/scroll volumes from daily life.  Yes, the writers are not illiterate.  But quite obviously they're not rich either. And then resources on pottery, archetecture, geology, etc. where the reality of 'life' has to be respected (e.g. clean drinking water?, pooping where?, preserving food?, and so forth.  The commentaries almost always sort of gloss over these realities.

mm.

Posts 3463
Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 6:49 PM

Are u referring to these?

Sam Henderson:

Milkman:

What I'd like to know is what in the world was their "real" worldview and psychie during the average day. Not too much to ask. So if you know of a resource that specifically deals with that kind of topic, i'm all ears.

Funny you should ask that. I've just started to dip into the Loeb Select Papyri Collection that appeared for Logos this very week. Volumes I and II are full of everyday documents (legal, epistolary, devotional and otherwise)  - in a pretty decent English translation -  much of them dug up from ancient rubbish tips not 300 clicks south of Philo's beloved Alexandria. You can't get more "average day" than this stuff. A fair bit of it is 1st cenury, though much is from the 2nd and 3rd. Might be worth a look.

mm.

Posts 3463
Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 7:10 PM

Hey Denise?

Direct me to "Logos papyri/scroll volumes from daily life" please

Milkman:

Always great to read your replies Denise!!

Denise:

Your title implies that a normal answer might not be honest. You're too honest.

Part of Philo's family financed the destruction of Jerusalem, if I remember right, along with some other wealthy jews (one who subsequently tried to marry the Roman general). Indeed much of the destruction in Israel is better viewed as an internal civil war between those benefiting from power (Roman), and those viewing themselves as the 'chosen' (Zealots).  Josephus appears to switched sides and so was viewed as the worst of the worst thereafter by jews.  And certainly not the first; deja vu from the earlier days with the greek generals.

These are generalizations with iffy support.  But I mention them to illustrate that even in a wealth/no-wealth, it all depends on 'who'.  Who wanted to preserve Philo (the Christians).  Who wanted to preserve Josephus (the Christians).  So is either representative?  Of what?  Ditto on archaeology, where preservation is largely 'wealth' and which side of the tracks.

That's one big reason why I like to buy Logos papyri/scroll volumes from daily life.  Yes, the writers are not illiterate.  But quite obviously they're not rich either. And then resources on pottery, archetecture, geology, etc. where the reality of 'life' has to be respected (e.g. clean drinking water?, pooping where?, preserving food?, and so forth.  The commentaries almost always sort of gloss over these realities.

mm.

Posts 5615
Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 8:01 PM

Milkman:
Direct me to "Logos papyri/scroll volumes from daily life" please

Until Denise can guide you to exactly what she prefers, here are some:

Oxyrhynchus Papyri (vols. 1–15)

Greek Papyri Collection (6 vols.)

Wiki Links: Enabling Logging / Detailed Search Help - MacBook Pro (2014), ThinkPad E570

Posts 3463
Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 8:17 PM

Thanks Todd. As a matter of fact Sam Henderson suggested the Gk Papyri Collection. I looked at it and thought I would get it. But then.... I thought if I could talk to a s/r and get a cheaper price I would certainly buy it. But low and behold sales was closed. This prompted me to start a new thread Same Discounts after hours? Yup, I'll probably end up getting the 6 vol set anyway and before Monday office hours. Thanks again. 

Todd Phillips:

Milkman:
Direct me to "Logos papyri/scroll volumes from daily life" please

Until Denise can guide you to exactly what she prefers, here are some:

Oxyrhynchus Papyri (vols. 1–15)

Greek Papyri Collection (6 vols.)

mm.

Posts 11068
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 9:22 PM

Thank you Todd!  Yes, Sam mentioned a surprisingly good one (it's actually hard to 'put down' ... who'd of thought).   

I mentioned another one a while back that was Kindle .... 'Roman Palestine' which went into considerable depth on the nuts and bolts of life during the 'Fathers' period.  Aramaic Papyri in Logos has some that go further back at Elephantine (Persian), but 'life' doesn't appear to change a lot.  Another I like which centered around the Qumran period was by Jodi Magnes.  My current geology book about Israel mentioned her, how stubborn she was to stick with 'known' and not speculate.  So she really went into depth on weaving, pottery, etc.  Then there's several 'women' of the Roman period, which you probably don't want to dig through, but again, deal with daily life.

On the other end of the time period is Ramsay (a CP a few years back).  Some of his volumes go into quite a bit of depth in what now is Turkey, and the early Fathers period.

I doubt you'd want to read these but they illustrate how it's kind of touch and go ... a little here .... a little there.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 5 2014 10:15 PM

Milkman:
I thought if I could talk to a s/r and get a cheaper price I would certainly buy it.

Milkman, let me encourage you to spend some time working through the Community Pricing list. It takes forever but you may find some treasures that you really like. The Papyri collection that shipped this past week was only $12 in CP (if I remember correctly.) It is rare that a Sales Rep can match a CP price.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

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