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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XVIII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XVIII.—The Works of Philo 420 that have come down to us.

1. Copious in language, comprehensive in thought, sublime and elevated in his views of divine Scripture, Philo has produced manifold and various expositions of the sacred books. On the one hand, he expounds in order the events recorded in Genesis in the books to which he gives the title Allegories of the Sacred Laws421 on the other hand, he makes successive divisions of the chapters in the Scriptures which are the subject of investigation, and gives objections and solutions, in the books which he quite suitably calls Questions and Answers on Genesis and Exodus422

2. There are, besides these, treatises expressly worked out by him on certain subjects, such as the two books On Agriculture423 and the same number On Drunkenp. 120 ness424 and some others distinguished by different titles corresponding to the contents of each; for instance, Concerning the things which the Sober Mind desires and execrates, 425 On the Confusion of Tongues, 426 On Flight and Discovery, 427 On Assembly for the sake of Instruction, 428 On the question, ‘Who is heir to things divine?’ or On the division of things into equal and unequal, 429 and still further the work On the three Virtues which with others have been described by Moses. 430

3. In addition to these is the work On those whose Names have been changed and why they have been changed, 431 in which he says that he had written also two books On Covenants. 432

4. And there is also a work of his On Emigration, 433 and one On the life of a Wise Man made perfect in Righteousness, or On unwritten Laws; 434 and still further the work On Giants or On the Immutability of God, 435 and a first, second, third, fourth and fifth book On the proposition, that Dreams according to Moses are sent by God. 436 These are the books on Genesis that have come down to us.

5. But on Exodus we are acquainted with the first, second, third, fourth and fifth books of Questions and Answers; 437 also with that On the Tabernacle, 438 and that On the Ten Commandments, 439 and the four books p. 121 On the laws which refer especially to the principal divisions of the ten Commandments, 440 and another On animals intended for sacrifice and On the kinds of sacrifice, 441 and another On the rewards fixed in the law for the good, and on the punishments and curses fixed for the wicked. 442

6. In addition to all these there are extant also some single-volumed works of his; as for instance, the work On Providence, 443 and the book composed by him On the Jews, 444 and The Statesman; 445 and still further, Alexander, or On the possession of reason by the irrational animals. 446 Besides these there is a work On the proposition that every wicked man is a slave, to which is subjoined the work On the proposition that every goad man is free. 447

7. After these was composed by him the work On the contemplative life, or On suppliants, 448 from which we have drawn the facts concerning the life of the apostolic men; and still further, the Interpretation of the Hebrew names in the law and in the prophets are said to be the result of his industry. 449

8. And he is said to have read in the presence of the whole Roman Senate during the reign of Claudius 450 the work which he had written, when he came to Rome under Caius, concerning Caius’ hatred of the gods, and to which, with ironical reference to its character, he had given the title On the Virtues. 451 And his discourses were so much admired as to be deemed worthy of a place in the libraries.

9. At this time, while Paul was completing his journey “from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum,” 452 Claudius drove the Jews out of Rome; and Aquila and Priscilla, leaving Rome with the other Jews, came to Asia, and there abode with the apostle Paul, who was confirming the churches of that region whose p. 122 foundations he had newly laid. The sacred book of the Acts informs us also of these things. 453



On Philo’s works, see Schürer, Gesch. des jüd. Volkes, II. p. 831 sqq. The best (though it leaves much to be desired) complete edition of Philo’s works is that of Mangey: 2 vols., folio, London, 1742; English translation of Philo’s works by Yonge, 4 vols., London, 1854–55. Upon Philo’s life, see chaps. 4–6, above. Eusebius, in his Præp. Evang., quotes extensively from Philo’s works and preserves some fragments of which we should otherwise be ignorant.


νόμων ἱερῶν ἀλληγορίαι. This work is still extant, and, according to Schürer, includes all the works contained in the first volume of Mangey’s edition (except the De Opificio Mundi, upon which see Schürer, p. 846 sqq. and note 11, below), comprising 16 different titles. The work forms the second great group of writings upon the Pentateuch, and is a very full and allegorical commentary upon Genesis, beginning with the second chapter and following it verse by verse through the fourth chapter; but from that point on certain passages are selected and treated at length under special titles, and under those titles, in Schürer’s opinion, were published by Philo as separate works, though really forming a part of one complete whole. From this much confusion has resulted. Eusebius embraces all of the works as far as the end of chap. 4 (including five titles in Mangey) under the one general title, but from that point on he too quotes separate works under special titles, but at the end (§5, below) he unites them all as the “extant works on Genesis.” Many portions of the commentary are now missing. Compare Schürer, ibid. pp. 838–846.


ζητήματα καὶ λύσεις: Quaestiones et solutiones. According to Schürer (ibid. p. 836 sq.), a comparatively brief catechetical interpretation of the Pentateuch in the form of questions and answers, embracing probably six books on Genesis and five on Exodus, and forming the first great group of writings upon the Pentateuch. So far as Eusebius seems to have known, they covered only Genesis and Exodus, and this is all that we are sure of, though some think that they included also the remainder of the Pentateuch. About half of his work (four books on Genesis and two on Exodus) is extant in an Armenian version (published by Aucher in 2 vols., Venet. 1822 and ’26, and in Latin by Ritter, vols. 6 and 7 of his edition of Philo’s works); and numerous Latin and Greek fragments still exist (see Schürer, p. 837 sqq.).


περὶ γεωργίας δύο: De Agricultura duo (so Jerome, de vir. ill. 11). Upon Genesis ix. 20, forming a part (as do all the works mentioned in §§2–4 except On the Three Virtues, and On the Unwritten Laws, which belong to the third group of writings on the Pentateuch) of the large commentary, νόμων ἱερῶν ἀλληγορίαι, mentioned above (note 2). This work is still extant, and is given by Mangey, I. 300–356, as two works with distinct titles: περὶ γεωργίας and περὶ φυτουργίας Νῶε τὸ δεύτερον (Schürer, p. 843).


περὶ μέθης τοσαῦτα: De ebrietate duo (so Jerome, ibid.). Upon Gen. ix. 21. Only the second book is extant (Mangey, I. 357–391), but from its beginning it is plain that another book originally preceded it (Schürer, p. 843).


περὶ ὧν νήψας ὁ νοῦς εὔχεται καὶ καταρᾶται. Jerome, de vir. ill. 11, de his quæ sensu precamur et detestamur. Upon Gen. ix. 24. Still extant, and given by Mangey (I. 392–403), who, however, prints the work under the title περὶ τοῦ ἐξένηψε Νῶε: De Sobrietate; though in two of the best mss. (according to Mangey, I. 392, note) the title agrees closely with that given by Eusebius (Schürer, p. 843).


περὶ συγκύσεως τῶν διαλέκτων. Upon Gen. xi. 1-9. Still extant, and given by Mangey, I. 404–435 (Schürer, p. 844).


περὶ φυγῆς καὶ εὑρέσεως. The same title is found in Johannes Monachus (Mangey, I. 546, note), and it is probably correct, as the work treats of the flight and the discovery of Hagar (Gen. xvi. 6-14). It is still extant and is given by Mangey (I. 546–577) under the title περὶ φυγ€δων, ‘On Fugitives.’ The text of Eusebius in this place has been very much corrupted. The reading which I give is supported by good ms. authority, and is adopted by Valesius, Stroth, and Laemmer. But Nicephorus reads περὶ φυγῆς καὶ αἱρέσεως καὶ ὁ περὶ φύσεως καὶ εὑρέσεως, which is also supported by ms. authority, and is adopted by Burton, Schwegler, and Heinichen. But upon comparing the title of the work, as given by Johannes Monachus and as found in the various mss. of Philo, with the contents of the work itself, there can be little doubt of the correctness of the shorter reading. Of the second work, which the longer reading introduces into the text of Eusebius, we have no knowledge, and Philo can hardly have written it. Schürer, who adopts the shorter reading, expresses himself very strongly (p. 845, note 34).


περὶ τῆς πρὸς τὰ παιδεύματα συνόδου, “On Assembly for the sake of instruction.” Upon Gen. xvi. 1-6, which is interpreted to mean that one must make himself acquainted with the lower branches of knowledge (Hagar) before he can go on to the higher (Sarah), and from them obtain the fruit, viz.: virtue (Isaac). Still extant, and given by Mangey, I. 519–545 (Schürer, 844 sqq.).


περὶ τε τοῦ, τίς ὁ τῶν θείων ἐστὶ κληρονόμος, ἢ περὶ τῆς εἰς τὰ ἴσα καὶ ἐναντία τομῆς. From this double title Jerome (de vir. ill. 11) wrongly makes two works. The writing is still extant, and is given by Mangey (I. 473–518) under the title περὶ τοῦ τίς ὁ τῶν θείων πραγμ€των κληρονόμος (Schürer, 844).


περὶ τῶν τριῶν ἀρετῶν, ἃς σὺν ἄλλαις ἀνέγραψε Μωυσῆς. This work is still extant, and is given by Mangey under the title περὶ τριῶν ἀρετῶν ἤτοι περὶ ἀνδρείας καὶ φιλανθρωπίας καὶ μετανοίας: περὶ ἀνδρείας, II. 375–383; περὶ φιλανθρωπίας, II. 383–405; περὶ μετανοίας, II. 405–407. Jerome gives the simple title De tribus virtutibus liber unus.

According to Schürer (p. 852 sqq.) it forms an appendix to the third great group of works upon the Pentateuch, containing those laws which do not belong to any one of the ten commandments in particular, but fall under the head of general cardinal virtues. The third group, as Schürer describes it (p. 846), aims to give for non-Jews a complete view of the Mosaic legislation, and embraces, first, the work upon the Creation (which in the mss. and editions of Philo is wrongly placed at the beginning in connection with the great Allegorical Commentary, and is thus included in that by Eusebius in his list of Philo’s works, so that he does not make special mention of it); second, the lives of great and good men, the living unwritten law; and third, the Mosaic legislation proper (1. The ten commandments; 2. The special laws connected with each of these); and finally an appendix treating of certain cardinal virtues, and of reward and punishments. This group is more historic and less allegoric than the two others, which are rather esoteric and scientific.


περὶ τῶν μετονομαζομένων καὶ ὧν ἓνεκα μετονομ€ζονται, De Mutatione nominum. Upon Gen. xvii. 1-22. This work is still extant, and is given by Mangey, I. 578–619. See Schürer, p. 485.


ν ᾧ φησι συντεταχέναι καὶ περι διαθηκῶν πρῶτον καὶ δεύτερον. Nearly all the mss., followed by some of the editors, read πρώτης καὶ δευτέρας, instead of πρῶτον καὶ δεύτερον, thus making Eusebius mention a work “On the first and second covenants,” instead of a first and second book “On the covenants.” It is plain from Philo’s own reference to the work (on p. 586 in Mangey’s ed.) that he wrote two books “On covenants,” and not a work “On the two covenants.” I have therefore felt warranted in reading with Heinichen and some other editors πρῶτον καὶ δεύτερον, a reading which is more natural in view of the absence of an article with διαθηκῶν, and which is confirmed by Nicephorus Callistus. This reading must be correct unless we are to suppose that Eusebius misread Philo. Fabricius suggests that Eusebius probably wrote καὶ β', which the copyists wrongly referred to the “covenants” instead of to the number of the books, and hence gave the feminine instead of the neuter form.

This work “On covenants,” or “On the whole discussion concerning covenants” (as Philo gives it), is now lost, as it was already in the time of Eusebius; at least he knew of it only from Philo’s reference to it. See Schürer, p. 845.


περὶ ἀποικίας: De Migratione Abrahami. Upon Gen. xii. 1-6. The work is still extant, and is given by Mangey, I. 436–472. See Schürer, p. 844.


βιοῦ σοφοῦ τοῦ κατὰ δικαιοσύνην τελειωθέντος, ἢ νόμων ἀγρ€φων. (According to Schürer, δικαιοσύνην here is a mistake for διδασκαλίαν, which is the true reading in the original title.) This work, which is still extant, is given by Mangey, II. 1–40, under the same title (διδασκαλίαν, however, instead of δικαιοσύνην), with the addition, ἐστὶ περὶ ᾽Αβρα€μ: De Abrahamo. It opens the second division of the third great group of writings on the Pentateuch (see note 11, above): the biographical division, mentioning Enos, Enoch and Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but dealing chiefly with Abraham. The biographies of Isaac and Jacob probably followed, but they are lost, and we have no trace of them, so that the life of Joseph (see below, note 26) in the mss. follows directly upon that of Abraham (Schürer, p. 848 sqq.).


περὶ γιγ€ντων, ἢ περὶ τοῦ μὴ τρέπεσθαι τὸ θεῖον. Upon Gen. 6:1, 11. The two parts of this work, both of which are still extant, form really but one book; for instance, Johannes Monachus (ineditus) quotes from the latter part under the title περὶ γιγ€ντων (according to Mangey, I. 262, note, and 272, note). But the two are divided in Mangey’s edition, where the first is given under the title περὶ γιγ€ντων (I. 262–272), the second under the title τι ἄτρεπτον (I. 272–299). See Schürer, p. 843. The title is found in the form given at the beginning of this note in all the mss. of Eusebius except two, which have καὶ instead of ἤ, thus making two separate works. This reading is adopted by Heinichen and by Closs, but is poorly supported by ms. authority, and since the two titles cover only one work, as already mentioned, the ἤ is more natural than the καὶ.


περὶ τε τοῦ κατὰ Μωϋσέα θεοπέμπτους εἶναι τοὺς ὀνείρους πρῶτον, δεύτερον, κ.τ.λ. Two books are extant, the first upon Gen. 28:12, Gen. 31:11Gen. xxviii. 12 sqq. and Gen. xxxi. 11 sqq. (given by Mangey, I. 620–658), the second upon Gen. 37:0, Gen. 40:0Gen. xxxvii. and xl.–xli. (given by Mangey, I. 659–699). Jerome (de vir. ill. 11) follows Eusebius in mentioning five books, and there is no occasion to doubt the report. Schürer thinks that the two extant books are the second and third of the original five (Schürer, 845 sqq.).


ζητήματα καὶ λύσεις; see above, note 3. Eusebius knew only five books upon Exodus, and there is no reason to think there were any more.


Philo wrote a work entitled περὶ βίου Μωσέως: Vita Mosis, which is still extant, but is not mentioned in the catalogue of Eusebius. It contains a long description of the tabernacle, and consequently Schürer concludes that the work mentioned here by Eusebius (περὶ τῆς σκήνης) represents that portion of the larger work. If this be the case, it is possible that the section in the mss. used by Eusebius was detached from the rest of the work and constituted an independent book. The omission of the title of the larger work is doubtless due, as Schürer remarks, to the imperfect transmission of the text of Eusebius’ catalogue. See Schürer, p. 855.


περὶ τῶν δέκα λογίων: De Decalogo. Still extant, and given by Mangey, II. 180–209. Jerome has the condensed title de tabernaculo et decalogo libri quattuor, and this introduces the third division of the third general group of works upon the Pentateuch (see note 11, above), and, according to Schürer, should be joined directly to the βίος πολιτικός, or Life of Joseph, and not separated from it by the insertion of the Life of Moses (as is done by Mangey), which does not belong to this group (Schürer, p. 849 sqq.).


τὰ περὶ τῶν ἀναφερομένων ἐν εἴδει νόμων εἰς τὰ συντείνοντα κεφ€λαια τῶν δέκα λόγων, α'β'γ'δ': De specialibus legibus. A part of the third division of the third general group of works (see note 11, above). It is still extant in four books, each with a special title, and each containing many subdivisions. They are given by Mangey: first book, II. 210–269, in seven parts: de circumcisione, de monarchia Liber I., de monarchia Liber II., de præmiis sacerdotum, de victimis, de sacrificantibus, or de victimis offerentibus, de mercede meretricis non accipienda in sacrarium; second book, 270–298, incomplete in Mangey, but entire in Tischendorf’s Philonea, p. 1–83; third book, 299–334; fourth book, 335–374: made up like the first of a number of tracts on special subjects. Philo, in this work, attempts to bring all the Mosaic laws into a system under the ten rubrics of the decalogue: for instance, under the first two commandments, the laws in regard to priests and sacrifices; under the fourth, the laws in regard to the Sabbath, &c. See Schürer, p. 850 sqq.


περὶ τῶν εἰς τὰς ἱερουργίας ζώων, καὶ τίνα τὰ τῶν θυσιῶν εἴδη. This is really only a portion of the first book of the work just mentioned, given in Mangey under the title de victimis (II. 237–250). It is possible that these various sections of books—or at least this one—circulated separately, and that thus Eusebius took it for an independent work. See Schürer, p. 851.


περὶ τῶν προκειμένων ἐν τῷ νόμω τοῖς μὲν ἀγαθοῖς ἄθλων, τοῖς δὲ πονηροῖς ἐπιτιμίων καὶ ἀρῶν, still extant and given by Mangey (incorrectly as two separate works) under the titles περὶ ἄθλων καὶ ἐπιτιμίων, de præmiis et pœnis (II. 408–428), and περὶ ἀρῶν, de execrationibus (II. 429–437). The writing forms a sort of epilogue to the work upon the Mosaic legislation. Schürer, p. 854.


τὸ περὶ προνοίας, De providentia. This work is extant only in an Armenian version, and is published with a Latin translation by Aucher, Vol. I. p. 1–121 (see above, note 3), and in Latin by Ritter (Vol. VIII.). Two Greek fragments, one of considerable extent, are preserved by Eusebius in his Præparatio Evang. VII. 21, and VIII. 14. In the Armenian the work consists of two books, but the first is of doubtful genuineness, and Eusebius seems to have known only one, for both quotations in the Præp. Evang. are from the present second book, and the work is cited in the singular, as also in the present passage, where τὸ is to be read instead of τὰ, though some mss. have the latter. The work (which is not found in Mangey’s ed.) is one of Philo’s separate works which does not fall under any of the three groups upon the Pentateuch.


περὶ ᾽Ιουδαίων, which is doubtless to be identified with the ὑπὲρ ᾽Ιουδαίων ἀπολογία, which is no longer extant, but which Eusebius mentions, and from which he quotes in his Præp. Evang. VIII. 2. The fragment given by Eusebius is printed by Mangey in Vol. II. p. 632–634, and in Dähne’s opinion (Theol. Studien und Kritiken, 1883, p. 990) the two preceding fragments given by Mangey (p. 626 sqq.) also belong to this Apology. The work entitled de nobilitate (Mangey, II. 437–444) possibly formed a part of the Apology. This is Dähne’s opinion (see ibid. p. 990, 1037), with whom Schürer agrees. The genuineness of the Apology is generally admitted, though it has been disputed on insufficient grounds by Grätz (Gesch. der Juden, III. p. 680, third ed.), who is followed by Hilgenfeld (in the Zeitschrift für wiss. Theologie, 1832, p. 275 sq. and in his Ketzergesch. des Urchristenthums, p. 87 sq.). This too, like the preceding, was one of the separate works of Philo. See Schürer, p. 861 sq.


πολιτικός. Still extant, and given by Mangey (II. 41–79) under the title βίος πολιτικὸς ὅπερ ἐστὶ περὶ ᾽Ιωσήφ: De Josepho. Photius, Bib. Cod. 103, gives the title περὶ βίου πολιτικοῦ. This forms a part of the second division of the third great group upon the Pentateuch (see above, note 11), and follows directly the Life of Abraham, the Lives of Isaac and Jacob probably having fallen out (compare note 15, above). The work is intended to show how the wise man should conduct himself in affairs of state or political life. See Schürer, p. 849.


᾽Αλέξανδρος ἢ περὶ τοῦ λόγου žχειν τὰ ἄλογα ζῶα, De Alexandro et quod propriam rationem muta animalia habeant, as the title is given by Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 11). The work is extant only in Armenian, and is given by Aucher, I. p. 123–172, and in Latin by Ritter, Vol. VII. Two short Greek fragments are also found in the Florilegium of Leontius and Johannes, according to Schürer. This book is also one of the separate works of Philo, and belongs to his later writings. See Schürer, p. 860 sqq.


περὶ τοῦ δοῦλον εἶναι π€ντα φαῦλον, ᾧ ἐξῆς ἐστιν ὁ περὶ τοῦ π€ντα σπουδαῖον ἐλεύθερον εἶναι. These two works formed originally the two halves of a single work, in which the subject was treated from its two sides,—the slavery of the wicked man and the freedom of the good man. The first half is lost; but the second half is extant, and is given by Mangey (II. 445–470). A long fragment of the extant second half is given also by Eusebius, in his Præp. Evang. VIII. 12. The genuineness of the work has been disputed by some, but is defended with success by Lucius, Der Essenismus, p. 13–23, Strasburg, 1881 (Schürer, p. 85).


See the preceding chapter; and on the work, see note 2 on that chapter.


τῶν ἐν νόμῳ δὲ και προφήταις ᾽Εβραϊκῶν ὀνομ€των αἱ ἑρμηνεῖαι. The way in which Eusebius speaks of this work (τοῦ αὐτοῦ σπουδαῖ εἰναι λέγονται) shows that it lay before him as an anonymous work, which, however, was “said to be the result of Philo’s industry.” Jerome, too, in speaking of the same work (at the beginning of his own work, De nominibus Hebraicis), says that, according to the testimony of Origen, it was the work of Philo. For Jerome, too, therefore, it was an anonymous work. This testimony of Origen cannot, according to Schürer, be found in his extant works, but in his Comment. in Joann. II. 27 (ed. Lommatzsch, I. 50) he speaks of a work upon the same subject, the author of which he does not know. The book therefore in view of the existing state of the tradition in regard to it, is usually thought to be the work of some other writer than Philo. In its original form it is no longer extant (and in the absence of this original it is impossible to decide the question of authorship), though there exist a number of works upon the same subject which are probably based upon this lost original. Jerome, e.g., informs us that his Liber de Nominibus Hebraicis (Migne, III. 771) is a revision of it. See Schürer, p. 865 sq.


“This report is very improbable, for a work full of hatred to the Romans and of derogatory references to the emperor Caligula could not have been read before the Roman Senate, especially when the author was a Jew” (Closs). It is in fact quite unlikely that Philo was in Rome during the reign of Claudius (see above, chap. 17, note 1). The report given here by Eusebius owes its origin perhaps to the imagination of some man who supposed that Philo was in Rome during the reign of Claudius (on the ground of the other tradition already referred to), and whose fancy led him to picture Philo as obtaining at that time his revenge upon the emperor Caligula in this dramatic way. It was not difficult to imagine that this bitterly sarcastic and vivid work might have been intended for public reading, and it was an attractive suggestion that the Senate might have constituted the audience.


See above, chap. 5, note 1.


Romans xv. 19.


See Acts 18:2, 18, 19 sqq.

Next: Chapter XIX

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