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Seeing that a study of the Trismegistic literature is essentially a study in Hellenistic theology, no introduction to this literature would be adequate which did not insist upon the utility of a careful review of the writings of Philo, the famous Jewish Hellenist of Alexandria, and which did not point to the innumerable parallels which are traceable between the basic principles of the Jewish philosopher-mystic and the main ideas embodied in our tractates. To do this, however, in detail would require a volume, and as we are restricted to the narrow confines of a chapter, nothing but a few general outlines can be sketched in, the major part of our space being reserved for a consideration of what Philo has to say of the Logos, or Divine Reason of things, the central idea of his cosmos.

In perusing the voluminous writings 1 of our witness, the chief point on which we would insist at the very outset, is that we are not studying a novel system devised by a single mind, we are not even face to face with a new departure in method, but that the writings

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of our Alexandrian 1 came at the end of a line of predecessors; true that Philo is now, owing to the preservation of his writings, by far the most distinguished of such writers, but he follows in their steps. His method of allegorical interpretation is no new invention, 2 least of all is his theology.

In brief, Philo is first and foremost an “apologist”; his writings are a defence of the Jewish myths and prophetic utterances, interpreted allegorically, in terms not of Hellenic philosophy proper, but rather of Hellenistic theology, that is, of philosophy theologised, or of theology philosophised; in other words, in the language of the current cultured Alexandrian religio-philosophy of his day.

As Edersheim, in his admirable article, 3 says, speaking

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of this blend of the faith of the synagogue with the thinking of Greece: “It can scarcely be said that in the issue the substance and spirit were derived from Judaism, the form from Greece. Rather does it often seem as if the substance had been Greek and only the form Hebrew.”

But here Edersheim seems to be not sufficiently alive to the fact that the “Greek thinking” was already in Hellenistic circles strongly theologised and firmly wedded to the ideas of apocalypsis and revelation. How, indeed, could it have been otherwise in Egypt, in the face of the testimony of our present work?

Philo, then, does but follow the custom among the cultured of his day when he treats the stories of the patriarchs as myths, and the literally intractable narratives as the substance of an ethical mythology. It was the method of the religio-philosophy of the time, which found in allegorical interpretation the “antidote of impiety,” and by its means unveiled the supposed under-meaning (ὑπνόια) of the myths.

The importance of Philo, then, lies not so much in his originality, as in the fact that he hands on much that had been evolved before him; for, as Edersheim says, and as is clear to any careful student of the Philonean tractates: “His own writings do not give the impression of originality. Besides, he repeatedly refers to the allegorical interpretation of others, as well as to canons of allegorism apparently generally recognised. He also enumerates differing allegorical interpretations of the same subjects. All this affords evidence of the existence of a school of Hellenist [Hellenistic, rather] interpretation” (p. 362).

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But this does not hold good only for the interpretation of “the myths of Israel” by Hellenistic Jews; it holds good of the whole cultured religious world of the time, and pre-eminently of the Hellenistic schools of every kind in Egypt. In brief, Philo’s philosophy was often already philosophised myth before he ingeniously brought it into play for the interpretation of Hebrew story.

In short, the tractates of Philo and our Trismegistic sermons have both a common background—Hellenistic theology or theosophy. Both use a common language.

Philo, of course, like the rest of his contemporaries, had no idea of criticism in the modern sense; he was a thorough-going apologist of the Old Covenant documents. These were for him in their entirety the inerrant oracles of God Himself; nay, he even went to the extent of believing the apologetic Greek version to be literally inspired. 1

Nevertheless he was, as a thinker, confronted with the same kind of difficulties as face us to-day with immeasurably greater distinctness. The ideas of God, of the world-order, and of the nature of man, were so far advanced in his day beyond the frequently crude and repugnant representations found in the ancient scriptures of his people, that he found it impossible to claim for them on their surface-value the transcendency of the last word of wisdom from God to man, at anyrate among the cultured to whom he addressed himself. These difficulties he accordingly sought to remove by an allegorical interpretation, whereby he read into them the views of the highest philosophical and religious environment of his time.

Having no idea of the philosophy of history, or of the history of religion, or of the canons of literary

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criticism, as we now understand these things, he never stopped to enquire whether the writers of the ancient documents intended their narratives to be taken as myths embodying an esoteric meaning; much less did he ask himself, as we ask ourselves to-day, whether these writers had not in all probability frequently written up the myths of other nations into a history of their own patriarchs and other worthies; on the contrary, he relieved them of all responsibility, and entirely eliminated the natural human element, by his theory of prophecy, which assumed that they had acted as impersonal, passive instruments of the Divine inspiration.

But even Philo, when he came to work it out, could not maintain this absolutism of inspiration, and so we find him elsewhere unable to ascribe a consistent level of inspiration to his “Moses,” who of course, in Philo’s belief, wrote the Pentateuch from the first to the last word. Thus we find him even in the “Five Fifths” making a threefold classification of inspiration: (i.) The Sacred Oracles “spoken directly of God by His interpreter the prophet”; (ii.) Those prophetically delivered “in the form of question and answer”; and (iii) Those “proceeding from Moses himself while in some state of inspiration and under the influence of the deity.” 1

But what is most pleasant is to find that Philo admitted the great philosophers of Greece into his holy assembly, and though he gives the pre-eminence to Moses, yet it is, as it were, to a first among equals—a wide-minded tolerance that was speedily forgotten in the bitter theological strife that subsequently broke forth.

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But what makes the writings of our Alexandrian so immensely important for us is, that the final decade of his life is contemporary with the coming into manifestation of Christianity in the Græco-Roman world owing to the energetic propaganda of Paul.

Philo was born somewhere between 30 and 20 B.C., and died about 45 A.D. There is, of course, not a single word in his voluminous writings that can in any way be construed into a reference to Christianity as traditionally understood; but the language of Philo, if not precisely the diction of the writers of the New Testament documents, has innumerable points of resemblance with their terminology; for the language of Hellenistic theology is largely, so to speak, the common tongue of both, while the similarity of many of their ideas is astonishing.

Philo, moreover, was by no means an obscure member of the community to which he belonged; on the contrary, he was a most distinguished ornament of the enormous Jewish colony of Alexandria, which occupied no less than two out of the five wards of the city. 1 His brother, Alexander, was the head of the largest banking firm of the capital of Egypt, which was also the intellectual and commercial centre of the Græco-Roman world. Indeed, Alexander may be said to have been the Rothschild of the time. The operations of the firm embraced the contracting of loans for the Imperial House, while the banker himself was a personal friend of the Emperor, and his sons intermarried with the family of the Jewish King Agrippa.

Philo, himself, though he would have preferred the solitude of the contemplative life, took an active part

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in the social life of the great capital; and, at the time of the greatest distress of his compatriots in the city, when they were overwhelmed by a violent outbreak of anti-semitism, their lives in danger, their houses plundered, and their ancient privileges confiscated, it was the aged Philo who was chosen as spokesman of the embassy to Caius Caligula (A.D. 40).

Here, then, we have a man in just the position to know what was going on in the world of philosophy, of letters, and religion, and not only at Alexandria, but also wherever Jewish enterprise—which had then, as it now has, the main commerce of the world in its hands—pushed itself. The news of the world came to Alexandria, and the mercantile marine was largely owned by Hebrews.

Philo is, therefore, the very witness we should choose of all others to question as to his views on the ideas we find in our Trismegistic tractates, and this we may now proceed to do without any further preliminaries.


Speaking of those who follow the contemplative life, 1 Philo writes:

“Now this natural class of men [lit. race] is to be found in many parts of the inhabited world; for both the Grecian and non-Grecian world must needs share in the perfect Good.” 2

In Egypt, he tells us, there were crowds of them in every province, and they were very numerous indeed about Alexandria. Concerning such men Philo tells us elsewhere:

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“All those, whether among Greeks or non-Greeks, who are practisers of wisdom (ἀσκηταὶ σοφίας), living a blameless and irreproachable life, determined on doing injury to none, and on not retaliating if injury be done them,” avoid the strife of ordinary life, “in their enthusiasm for a life of peace free from contention.”

Thus are they “most excellent contemplators of nature (θεωροὶ τῆς φύσεως) and all things therein; they scrutinise earth and sea, and air and heaven, and the natures therein, their minds responding to the orderly motion of moon and sun, and the choir of all the other stars, both variable and fixed. They have their bodies, indeed, planted on earth below; but for their souls, they have made them wings, so that they speed through æther (αἰθεροβατοῦντες), and gaze on every side upon the powers above, as though they were the true world-citizens, most excellent, who dwell in cosmos as their city; such citizens as Wisdom hath as her associates, inscribed upon the roll of Virtue, who hath in charge the supervising of the common weal. . . .

“Such men, though [in comparison] but few in number, keep alive the covered spark of Wisdom secretly, throughout the cities [of the world], in order that Virtue may not be absolutely quenched and vanish from our human kind.” 1

Again, elsewhere, speaking of those who are good and wise, he says:

“The whole of this company (θίασος) have voluntarily deprived themselves of the possession of aught in abundance, thinking little of things dear to the flesh. Now athletes are men whose bodies are well cared for and full of vigour, men who make strong the fort, their body, against their soul; whereas the [athletes] of

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[this] discipline, pale, wasted, and, as it were, reduced to skeletons, sacrifice even the muscles of their bodies to the powers of their own souls, dissolving, if the truth be told, into one form—that of the soul, and by their mind becoming free from body.

“The earthly element is, therefore, naturally dissolved and washed away, when the whole mind in its entirety resolves to make itself well-pleasing unto God. This race is rare, however, and found with difficulty; still it is not impossible it should exist.” 1

And in another passage, when referring to the small number of the “prudent and righteous and gracious,” Philo says:

“But the ‘few,’ though rare [to meet with], are yet not non-existent. Both Greece and Barbary [that is, non-Greek lands] bear witness [to them].

“For in the former there nourished those who are pre-eminently and truly called the Seven Sages—though others, both before and after them, in every probability reached the [same] height—whose memory, in spite of their antiquity, has not evanished through the length of time, while that of those of far more recent date has been obliterated by the tide of the neglect of their contemporaries.

“While in non-Grecian lands, in which the most revered and ancient in such words and deeds [have nourished], are very crowded companies of men of worth and virtue; among the Persians, for example, the [caste] of Magi, who by their careful scrutiny of nature’s works for purpose of the gnosis of the truth, in quiet silence, and by means of [mystic] images of piercing clarity (τρανωτέραις ἐμφάσεσιν) are made initiate into the mysteries of godlike virtues, and in their turn initiate [those who come after them]; in

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[paragraph continues] India the [caste] of the Gymnosophists, who, in addition to their study of the lore of nature, toil in [the fields of] morals, and [so] make their whole life a practical example of [their] virtue.

“Nor are Palestine and Syria, in which no small portion of the populous nation of the Jews dwell, unfruitful in worth and virtue. Certain of them are called Essenes, in number upwards of 4000, according to my estimate.” 1

Philo then proceeds to give an account of these famous mystics.

In Egypt itself, however, he selects out of the many communities of the Therapeutæ and Therapeutrides (which the Old Latin Version renders Cultores et Cultrices pietatis2 only one special group, with which he was presumably personally familiar and which was largely Jewish. Of this order (σύστημα) 3 Philo gives us a most graphic account, both of their settlement and mode of life. By means of this intensely interesting sketch of the Contemplative or Theoretic Life, and by the parallel passages from the rest of Philo’s works which Conybeare has so industriously marshalled in his “Testimonia,” we are introduced into the environment and atmosphere of these Theoretics, and find ourselves in just such circumstances as would condition the genesis of our Trismegistic literature.

The whole of Philo’s expositions revolve round the idea that the truly philosophic life is an initiation into the Divine Mysteries; for him the whole tradition of Wisdom is necessarily a mystery-tradition. Thus he tells us of his own special Therapeut community, south of Alexandria:

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“In every cottage there is a sacred chamber, 1 which is called semneion and monastērion 2 in which, in solitude, they are initiated into the mysteries of the solemn life.” 3

With this it will be of interest to compare Matt, vi. 6: “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in the Hidden; and thy Father who seeth in the Hidden, shall reward thee.”

It is said that among the “Pharisees” there was a praying-room in every house.

We may also compare with the above reference to the Mysteries Luke xii. 2 = Matt. x. 26, from a “source” which promised the revelation of all mysteries, following on the famous logos also quoted in Mark iv. 22 and Luke viii. 17:

“For there is nothing veiled which shall not be revealed, and hidden which shall not be made known.” “Therefore, whatsoever ye (M., I) have spoken in darkness, shall be heard in the light, and what ye have spoken (M., heard) in the ear in the closets, shall be heralded forth on the house-tops.”

Both Evangelists have evidently adapted their “source” to their own purposes, but the main sense of the original form is not difficult to recover.

It is further of interest to compare with the first clause of the above passages the new-found logos:

“Jesus saith, Everything that is not before thy face and that which is hidden from thee, shall be revealed to thee. For there is nothing hidden that shall

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not be made manifest, nor buried that shall not be raised.” 1

But there are other and more general mysteries referred to in Philo; for, in speaking of the command that the unholy man who is a speaker of evil against divine things, should be removed from the most holy places and punished, our initiated philosopher bursts forth:

“Drive forth, drive forth, ye of the closed lips, and ye revealers 2 of the divine mysteries, 3 the promiscuous and rabble crowd of the defiled—souls unamenable to purification, and hard to wash clean, who wear ears that cannot be closed, and tongues that cannot be kept within the doors [of their lips]—organs that they ever keep ready for their own most grievous mischance, hearing all things and things not law [to hear].” 4

Of these “ineffable mysteries,” 5 he elsewhere says, in explaining that the wives of the patriarchs stand allegorically as types of virtues:

“But in order that we may describe the conception and birth-throes of the Virtues, let bigots 6 stop their ears, or else let them depart. For that we give a higher teaching of the mysteries divine, to mystæ who are worthy of the holiest rites [of all].

“And these are they who, free from arrogance, practise real and truly genuine piety, free from display

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of any kind. But unto them who are afflicted with incorrigible ill—the vanity of words, close-sticking unto names, and empty show of manners, who measure purity and holiness by no other rule [than this]—[for them] we will not play the part of hierophant.” 1

Touching on the mystery of the Virgin-birth, to which we will refer later on, Philo continues:

“These things receive into your souls, ye mystæ, ye whose ears are purified, as truly sacred mysteries, and see that ye speak not of them to any who may be without initiation, but storing them away within your hearts, guard well your treasure-house; not as a treasury in which gold and silver are laid up, things that do perish, but as the pick and prize of all possessions—the knowledge of the Cause [of all] and Virtue, and of the third, the child of both.” 2

Now the “Divine Spirit” (θεῖον πνεῦμα), says Philo, does not remain among the many, though it may dwell with them for a short time.

“It is [ever] present with only one class of men—with those who, having stripped themselves of all the things in genesis, even to the innermost veil and garment of opinion, come unto God with minds unclothed and naked.

“And so Moses, having fixed his tent outside the camp—that is, the whole of the body 3—that is to say, having made firm his mind, so that it does not move, begins to worship God; and, entering into the darkness, the unseen land, abideth there, being initiated into the most holy mysteries. And he becomes, not only a mystēs, but also a hierophant of revelations, 4 and

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teacher of divine things, which he will indicate to those who have had their ears made pure.

“With such kind of men, then, the Divine Spirit is ever present, guiding their every way aright.” 1

Referring to the ritual sacrifices of a heifer and two rams, Philo declares that the slaying of the second ram, and the symbolic rite of sprinkling certain portions of the bodies of the priests with its blood, was ordained “for the highest perfectioning of the consecrated by means of the purification of chastity 2—which [ram] he [‘Moses’] called, according to its meaning, the ‘[ram] of perfectioning,’ since they [the priests] were about to act as hierophants of mysteries appropriate to the servants (θεραπευταῖς) and ministers of God.” 3

So also Philo’s language about the Therapeuts proper, and not the allegorically interpreted temple-sacrificers, is that of the Mysteries, when he writes:

“Now they who betake themselves to this service (θεραπείαν) [of God do so], not because of any custom, or on some one’s advice and appeal, but carried away with heavenly love, like those initiated into the Bacchic or Corybantic Mysteries, they are a-fire with God until they see the object of their love.” 4

These Mysteries were, of course, not to be revealed except to the worthy. Therefore he says:

“Nor because thou hast a tongue and mouth and organ of speech, shouldst thou tell forth all, even things that may not be spoken.” 5

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And in the last section of the same treatise he writes:

“Wherefore I think that [all] those who are not utterly without [proper] instruction, would prefer to be made blind than to see things not proper [to be seen], to be made deaf than to hear harmful words, and to have their tongue cut out, to prevent them divulging aught of the ineffable Mysteries. . . . Nay, it is even better to make oneself eunuch than to rush madly into unlawful unions.” 1

With which we may usefully compare Matt. v. 29: “If thy right eye offend thee, cut it out and cast it from thee”; and Matt. xix. 12: “There are some who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of the heavens; he that can receive it, let him receive it.” Both passages are found in the first Gospel only.

For the comprehension of virtue man requires the reason only; but for the doing of ill, the evil man requires the organs of the body, says our mystic dualist; “for how will he be able to divulge the Mysteries, if he have no organ of speech?” 2

This continual harping on the divulging of the Mysteries, shows that Philo considered it the greatest of all enormities; we might almost think that he had in view some movement that was divulging part of the mystery-tradition to the untrained populace.

Elsewhere, speaking of those “who draw nigh unto God, abandoning the life of death, and sharing in immortality,” he tells us these are the “Naked”—(that is, “naked” of the trammels of the flesh)—who sacrifice all to God. And he adds that only these “are permitted to see the ineffable Mysteries of God, who

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are able to cloak them and guard them” from the unworthy. 1

With regard to these Mysteries, they were, as we might expect, divided into the Lesser and the Greater—in the former of which the neophytes “worked on the untamed and savage passions, as though they were softening the [dough 2 of their] food with reason (logos).”

The manner of preparing this divine food, so that it becomes the bread of life, was a mystery. 3

One of the doctrines revealed in these Lesser Mysteries was plainly that of the Trinity; for, commenting on Gen. xviii. 2: “And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him”—Philo writes:

“‘He lifted up his eyes,’ not the eyes of his body, for God cannot be seen by the senses, but by the soul [alone]; for at a fitting time He is discovered by the eyes of wisdom.

“Now the power of sight of the souls of the many and unrighteous is ever shut in, since it lies dead in deep sleep, and can never respond and be made awake to the things of nature and the types and ideas within her. But the spiritual eyes of the wise man are awake, and behold them; nay, they are sleeplessly alert, ever watchful from desire of seeing.

“Wherefore it is well said in the plural, that he raised not one eye, but all the eyes that are in the soul, so that one would have said that he was altogether all eye. Having, then, become the eye, he begins to see the holy and divine vision of the Lord, in such a fashion that the one vision appeared as a trinity, and the trinity as a unity.” 4

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Elsewhere, referring to the same story, and to the words of Abraham to Sarah “to hasten and knead three measures of fine meal, and to make cakes upon the hearth,” 1 Philo expounds the mystery at length as follows. It refers to that experience of the inner life:

“When God, accompanied by His two highest Potencies, Dominion (ἀρχή) and Goodness, making One [with Himself] in the midst, produces in the seeing soul a triple presentation, of which [three persons] each transcends all measure; for God transcendeth all delineation, and equally transcendent are His Potencies, but He [Himself] doth measure all.

“Accordingly, His Goodness is the measure of things good, and His Dominion is the measure of things subject, while He Himself is chief of all, both corporeal and incorporeal. 2

“Wherefore also these Potencies, receiving the Reason (Logos) of His rules and ordinances, measure out all things below them. And, therefore, it is right that these three measures should, as it were, be mingled and blended together in the soul, in order that, being persuaded that He is Highest God, who transcendeth His Potencies, both making Himself manifest without them, and also causing Himself to be seen in them, it [the soul] may receive His impressions (χαρακτῆρας), and powers, and blessings, and [so] becoming initiate into the perfect secrets, may not lightly disclose the divine Mysteries, but, treasuring them up, and keeping sure silence, guard them in secret.

“For it is written: ‘Make [them] secret,’—for the sacred sermon (λόγον) of initiation (μύστην) about the Ingenerable and about His Potencies ought to be kept

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secret, since it is not within the power of every man to guard the sacred trust (παρακαταθήκην) of the divine revelations (ὀργίων).” 1


But the chief of all the mysteries for Philo was, apparently, the Sacred Marriage, the mystic union of the soul, as female, with God, as male (Deo nubere). In this connection he refers to Gen. iv. 1:

“And Adam knew his wife. And she conceived and bare Cain. And she said: I have gotten a man by means of the Lord. And He caused her also to bring forth Abel his brother.” 2

We are, of course, not concerned with the legitimacy or consistency of Philo’s allegorising system, whereby he sought to invoke the authority of his national scriptures in support of his chosen doctrines; but we are deeply concerned with these doctrines themselves, as being the favourite dogmas of his circle and of similar circles of allied mystics of the time.

His views on the subject are clearly indicated, for he tells us in the same passage that he is speaking of a secret of initiation, not of the conception and parturition of women, but of Virtues—that is, of the virtuous soul. Accordingly he continues in § 13:

“But it is not lawful for Virtues, in giving birth to their many perfections, to have part or lot in a mortal husband. And yet they will never bring forth of themselves, without conceiving their offspring of another.

“Who, then, is He who soweth in them their glorious [progeny], if not the Father of all universal things—

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the God beyond all genesis, who yet is Sire of everything that is? For, for Himself, God doth create no single thing, in that He stands in need of naught; but for the man who prays to have them [He creates] all things.”

And then, bringing forward Sarah, Leah, Rebecca, and Sepphora, as examples of the Virtues who lived with the great prophets of his race, Philo declares that “Sarah” conceived, when God looked upon her while she was in solitary contemplation, and so she brought forth for him who eagerly longed to attain to wisdom—namely, for him who is called “Abraham.”

And so also in the case of “Leah,” it is said “God opened her womb,” which is the part played by a husband; and so she brought forth for him who underwent the pains of labour for the sake of the Beautiful—namely, for him who is called “Jacob”; “so that Virtue received the divine seed from the Cause [of all], while she brought forth for that one of her lovers who was preferred above all other suitors.”

So also when the “all-wise,” he who is called “Isaac,” went as a suppliant to God, his Virtue, “Rebecca,” that is Steadfastness, became pregnant in consequence of his supplication.

Whereas “Moses,” without any supplication or prayer, attained to the winged and sublime Virtue “Sepphora,” and found her with child by no mortal husband. 1

Moreover, in § 14, in referring to Jeremiah, Philo writes:

“For I, having been initiated into the Great Mysteries by Moses, the friend of God, nevertheless when I set eyes upon Jeremiah, the prophet, and learned that he is not only a mystes, but also an adept hierophant, I did not hesitate to go to him as his disciple.

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“And he, in that in much [he says] he is inspired by God, uttered a certain oracle [as] from the Face of God, who said unto the Virtue of Perfect Peace: ‘Hast thou not called Me as ’twere House and Father and Husband of thy virginity?’ 1—suggesting in the clearest [possible] fashion that God is both Home, the incorporeal land of incorporeal ideas, and Father of all things, in that He did create them, and Husband of Wisdom, sowing for the race of mankind the seed of blessedness into good virgin soil.

“For it is fitting God should converse with an undefiled, an untouched and pure nature, with her who is in very truth the Virgin, in fashion very different from ours.

“For the congress of men for the procreation of children makes virgins women. But when God begins to associate with the soul, He brings it to pass that she who was formerly woman becomes virgin again. For banishing the foreign and degenerate and non-virile desires, by which it was made womanish, He substitutes for them native and noble and pure virtues. . . .

“But it is perhaps possible that even a virgin soul may be polluted by intemperate passions, and so dishonoured.

“Wherefore the oracle hath been careful to say that God is husband not of ‘a virgin’—for a virgin is subject to change and death—but of ‘virginity’ [that is of] the idea which is ever according to the same [principles], and in the same mode.

“For whereas things that have qualities, have with their nature received both birth and dissolution, the [archetypal] potencies which mould them have obtained a lot transcending dissolution.

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“Wherefore is it not fitting that God, who is beyond all generation and all change, should sow [in us] the ideal seeds of the immortal virgin Virtues, and not those of the woman who changes the form of her virginity?” 1

But, indeed, as Conybeare says:

“The words, virgin, virginity, ever-virginal, occur on every other page of Philo. It is indeed Philo who first 2 formulated the idea of the Word or ideal ordering principle of the Cosmos being born of an ever-virgin soul, which conceives, because God the Father sows into her His intelligible rays and divine seed, so begetting His only well-beloved son, the Cosmos.” 3

Thus, speaking of the impure soul, Philo writes:

“For when she is a multitude of passions and filled with vices, her children swarming over her—pleasures, appetites, folly, intemperance, unrighteousness, injustice—she is weak and sick, and lies at death’s door, dying; but when she becomes sterile, and ceases to bring them forth or even casts them from her, forthwith, from the change, she becometh a chaste virgin, and, receiving the Divine Seed, she fashions and engenders marvellous excellencies that nature prizeth highly—prudence, courage, temperance, justice, holiness, piety, and the rest of the virtues and good dispositions.” 4

So also, speaking of the Therapeutrides, he writes:

“Their longing is not for mortal children, but for a deathless progeny, which the soul that is in love with God can alone bring forth, when the Father hath sown into it the spiritual light-beams, by means of which it

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shall be able to contemplate (θεωρεῖν) the laws of wisdom.” 1

And as to the progeny of such virgin-mothers, Philo elsewhere instances the birth of “Isaac”—“which could not refer to any man,” but is “a synonym of Joy, the best of the blessed states of the soul—Laughter, the spiritually conceived (ἐνδιάθετος) 2 Son of God, Who bestoweth him as a comfort and means of good cheer on souls of perfect peace.” 3

And a little later on he adds:

“And Wisdom, who, after the fashion of a mother, brings forth the self-taught Race, declares that God is the sower of it.” 4

And yet, again, elsewhere, speaking of this spiritual progeny, Philo writes:

“But all the Servants of God (Therapeuts), who are lawfully begotten, shall fulfill the law of [their] nature, which commands them to be parents. For the men shall be fathers of many sons, and the women mothers of numerous children.” 5

So also, in the case of the birth of Joseph, when his mother, Rachael, says to Jacob: “Give me children!”—“the Supplanter, disclosing his proper nature, will reply: ‘Thou hast wandered into deep error. For I am not in God’s place, who alone is able to open the wombs of souls, and sow in them virtues, and make them pregnant and mothers of good things.’” 6

So too, again, in connection with the birth of Isaac, referring to the exultant cry of Sarah: “The Lord hath

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made me Laughter; for whosoever heareth, rejoiceth with me” 1—Philo bursts forth:

“Open, then, wide your ears, ye mystæ, and receive the most holy mysteries. ‘Laughter’ is Joy, and ‘hath made’ is the same as ‘hath begotten’; so that what is said hath the following meaning: ‘The Lord hath begotten Isaac’—for He is Father of the perfect nature, sowing in the soul and generating blessedness.” 2

That all of this was a matter of vital moment for Philo himself, may be seen from what we must regard as an intensely interesting autobiographical passage, in which our philosopher, speaking of the happy childbirth of Wisdom, writes:

“For some she judges entirely worthy of living with her, while others seem as yet too young to support such admirable and wise house-sharing; these latter she hath permitted to solemnise the preliminary initiatory rites of marriage, holding out hopes of its [future] consummation.

“‘Sarah’ then, the Virtue who is mistress of my soul, hath brought forth, but hath not brought forth for me—for that I could not, because I was too young, receive [into my soul] her offspring—wisdom, and righteousness, and piety—because of the brood of bastard brats which empty opinions had borne me.

“For the feeding of these last, the constant care and incessant anxiety concerning them, have forced me to take no thought for the legitimate children who are the true citizens.

“It is well, therefore, to pray Virtue not only to bear children, who even without praying brings her fair

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progeny to birth, but also to bear sons for us, so that we may be blessed with a share in her seed and offspring.

“For she is wont to bear to God alone, with thankfulness repaying unto Him the first-fruits of the things she hath received, [to Him] who, Moses says, ‘hath opened’ her ever-virgin ‘womb.’” 1

But, indeed, Philo is never wearied of reiterating this sublime doctrine, which for him was the consummation of the mysteries of the holy life. Thus, then, again he sets it forth as follows:

“We should, accordingly, understand that the True Reason (Logos) of nature has the potency of both father and husband for different purposes—of a husband, when he casts the seed of virtues into the soul as into a good field; of a father, in that it is his nature to beget good counsels, and fair and virtuous deeds, and when he hath begotten them, he nourisheth them with those refreshing doctrines which discipline and wisdom furnish.

“And the intelligence is likened at one time to a virgin, at another to a wife, or a widow, or one who has not yet a husband.

“[It is likened] to a virgin, when the intelligence keeps itself chaste and uncorrupted from pleasures and appetites, and griefs and fears, the passions which assault it; and then the father who begot it, assumes the leadership thereof.

“And when she (intelligence) lives as a comely wife with comely Reason (Logos), that is with virtuous Reason, this self-same Reason himself undertakes the care of her, sowing, like a husband, the most excellent concepts in her.

“But whenever the soul is bereft of her children of

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prudence, and of her marriage with Right Reason, widowed of her most fair possessions, and left desolate of Wisdom, through choosing a blameworthy life—then, let her suffer the pains she hath decreed against herself, with no wise Reason to play physician to her transgressions, either as husband and consort, or as father and begetter.” 1

Referring to Jacob’s dream of the white, and spotted, and ring-straked, and speckled kine, Philo tells us that this, too, must be taken as an allegory of souls. The first class of souls, he says, are “white.”

“The meaning is that when the soul receives the Divine Seed, the first-born births are spotlessly white, like unto light of utmost purity, to radiance of the greatest brilliance, as though it were the shadowless ray of the sun’s beams from a cloudless sky at noon.” 2

With this it is of service to compare the Vision of Hades seen by Thespesius (Aridæus), and related by Plutarch. Thespesius’ guide in the Unseen World draws his attention to the “colours” and “markings” of the souls as follows:

“Observe the colours of the souls of every shade and sort: that greasy, brown-grey is the pigment of sordidness and selfishness; that blood-red, inflamed shade is a sign of a savage and venomous nature; wherever blue-grey is, from such a nature incontinence in pleasure is not easily eradicated; innate malignity, mingled with envy, causes that livid discoloration, in the same way as cuttle-fish eject their sepia.

“Now it is in earth-life that the vice of the soul (being acted upon by the passions, and re-acting upon the body) produces these discolorations; while the purification and correction here have for their object

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the removal of these blemishes, so that the soul may become entirely ray-like and of uniform colour.” 1

Again, in giving the allegorical meaning of the primitive-culture story of Tamar, 2 Philo not only interprets it by the canon of the Sacred Marriage, but also introduces other details from the Mysteries. Thus he writes:

“For being a widow she was commanded to sit in the House of the Father, the Saviour; for whose sake for ever abandoning the congress and association with mortal [things], she is bereft and widowed from [all] human pleasures, and receives the Divine quickening, and, full-filled with the Seeds of virtue, conceives, and is in travail with fair deeds. And when she brings them forth, she carries off the trophies from her adversaries, and is inscribed as victor, receiving as a symbol the palm of victory.” 3

And every stage of this divine conception is but the shadow of the great mystery of cosmic creation, which Philo sums up as follows:

“We shall, however, be quite correct in saying that the Demiurge who made all this universe, is also at the same time Father of what has been brought into existence; while its Mother is the Wisdom of Him who hath made it—with whom God united, though not as man [with woman], and implanted the power of genesis. And she, receiving the Seed of God, brought forth with perfect labour His only beloved Son, whom all may perceive 4—this Cosmos.” 5

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The idea of God found in Philo is that of the more enlightened theology of his time. God is That which transcends all things and all ideas. It would, of course, be a far too lengthy study to marshal the very numerous passages in which our philosopher sets forth his view on Deity; and so we shall select only two passages simply to give the reader who may not be acquainted with the works of the famous Alexandrian, some notion of the transcendency of his conception. For, as he writes:

“What wonder is it if That-which-[really]-is transcends the comprehension of man, when even the mind which is in each of us, is beyond our power of knowing? Who hath ever beheld the essence of the soul?” 1

This Mystery of Deity was, of necessity, in itself ineffable; but in conception, it was regarded under two aspects—the active and the passive causative principles.

“The Active Principle, the Mind of the universals, is absolutely pure, and absolutely free from all admixture; It transcendeth Virtue; It transcendeth Wisdom; nay, It transcendeth even the Good Itself and the Beautiful Itself.

“The Passive Principle is of itself soulless and motionless, but when It is set in motion, and enformed and ensouled by the Mind, It is transformed into the most perfect of all works—namely, this Cosmos.” 2

This Passive Principle is generally taken by commentators to denote Matter; but if so, it must be equated with Wisdom, which we have just seen was regarded by Philo as the Mother of the Cosmos.

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But beyond all else Philo is useful to us in recording the views of contemporary Hellenistic theology concerning the concept of the Logos, the Mystery of the Heavenly Man. the Son of God. Even as this word of mystic meaning comes forward in almost every tractate and fragment of our Trismegistic literature, so in Philo is it the dominant idea in a host of passages.

It should, however, never be forgotten that Philo is but handing on a doctrine; he is inventing nothing. His testimony, therefore, is of the greatest possible value for our present study, and deserves the closest attention. We shall accordingly devote the rest of this chapter exclusively to this subject, and marshal the evidence, if not in Philo’s own words, at anyrate in as exact a translation of them as we can give; for although much has been written on the matter, we know no work in which the simple expedient of letting Philo speak for himself has been attempted.


The Logos, then, is pre-eminently the Son of God, for Philo writes:

“Moreover God, as Shepherd and King, leads [and rules] with law and justice the nature of the heaven, the periods of sun and moon, the changes and harmonious progressions of the other stars—deputing [for the task] His own Right Reason (Logos), His Firstborn Son, to take charge of the sacred flock, as though he were the Great King’s viceroy.” 1

Of this Heavenly Man, who was evidently for Philo the Celestial Messiah of God, he elsewhere writes:

“Moreover, I have heard one of the companions of Moses uttering some such word (logos) as this:

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[paragraph continues] ‘Behold Man whose name is East,’ 1—a very strange appellation, if you imagine the man composed of body and soul to be meant; but if you take him for that Incorporeal Man in no way differing from the Divine Image, you will admit that the giving him the name of East exactly hits the mark.

“For the Father of things that are hath made him rise as His Eldest Son, whom elsewhere He hath called His First-born, and who, when he hath been begotten, imitating the ways of his Sire, and contemplating His archetypal patterns, fashions the species [of things].” 2

Here we notice first of all Philo’s graphic manner (a commonplace of the time) of quoting Ezekiel as though he were still alive, and he had heard him speak; and, in the second place, that the First-born Son is symbolically represented as the Sun rising in the East.


That, moreover, the Logos is the Son of God, he explains at length in another passage, when writing of the true High Priest:

“But we say that the High Priest is not a man, but the Divine Reason (Logos), who has no part or lot in any transgressions, not only voluntary errors, but also involuntary ones. For, says Moses, he cannot be defiled either ‘on account of his father,’ the Mind, nor ‘on account of his mother,’ 3 the [higher] Sense—in that, as I think, it is his good fortune to have incorruptible

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and perfectly pure parents,—God for father, who is as well Father of all things, and for mother Wisdom, through whom all things came into genesis; and because ‘his head hath been anointed with oil,’—I mean his ruling principle 1 shineth with ray-like brilliance, so that he is deemed fit for robing in his vestures.

“Now the Most Ancient Reason (Logos) of That-which-is is vestured with the Cosmos as his robe;—for he wrappeth himself in Earth and Water, Air and Fire, and what comes from them; the partial soul [doth clothe itself] in body; the wise man’s mind in virtues.

“And ‘he shall not take the mitre from off his head,’ [signifies] he shall not lay aside the royal diadem, the symbol of his admirable rule, which, however, is not that of an autocrat-emperor, but of a viceroy.

“Nor ‘will he rend his garments,’—for the Reason (Logos) of That-which-is, being the bond of all things, as hath been said, both holds together all the parts, and binds them, and does not suffer them to be dissolved or separated.” 2

In another passage Philo treats of the same subject still more plainly from the point of view of the Mysteries, writing as follows:

“For there are, as it seems, two temples of God;—the one is this Cosmos, in which there is also the High Priest, His First-born Divine Reason (Logos); the other is the rational soul, whose [High] Priest is the True Man, a sensible copy of whom is he who rightly performs the prayers and sacrifices of his Father, who is ordained to wear the robe, the duplicate of the

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universal heaven, in order that the cosmos may work together with man, and man with the universe.” 1


The Cosmic Logos is not the sensible cosmos, but the Mind thereof. This Philo explains at length.

“It is then clear, that He who is the generator of things generated, and the artificer of things fashioned, and the governor of things governed, must needs be absolutely wise. He is in truth the father, and artificer, and governor of all in both the heaven and cosmos.

“Now things to come are hidden in the shade of future time, sometimes at short, and sometimes at long distances. But God is the artificer of time as well. For He is father of its father; and time’s father is the cosmos, which manifests its motion as the genesis of time; so that time holds to God the place of grandson.

“For that this cosmos 2 is the Younger Son of God, in that it is perceptible to sense. The Son who’s older than this one, He hath declared to be no one [perceivable by sense], for that he is conceivable by mind alone. But having judged him worthy of the elder’s rights, He hath determined that he should remain with Him alone.

“This [cosmos], then, the Younger Son, the sensible, being set a-moving, has caused time’s nature to appear and disappear; so that there nothing is which future is with God, who has the very bounds of time subject to Him. For ’tis not time, but time’s archetype and paradigm, Eternity (or Æon), which is His life. But

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in Eternity naught’s past, and naught is future, but all is present only.” 1


The Logos, then, is not God absolute, but the Son of God par excellence, and as such is sometimes referred to as “second,” and once even as the “second God.” Thus Philo writes:

“But the most universal [of all things] is God, and second the Reason (Logos) of God.” 2

In his treatise entitled Questions and Answers, however, we read:

“But why does He say as though [He were speaking] about another God, ‘in the image of God I made “man”,’ 3 but not in His own image?

“Most excellently and wisely is the oracle prophetically delivered. For it was not possible that anything subject to death should be imaged after the supremest God who is the Father of the universes, but after the second God who is His Reason (Logos).

“For it was necessary that the rational impress in the soul of man should be stamped [on it] by the Divine Reason (Logos), since God, who is prior even to His own Reason, transcendeth every rational nature; [so that] it was not lawful that aught generable should be made like unto Him who is beyond the Reason, and established in the most excellent and the most singular Idea [of all].” 4

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From this passage we see that though it is true Philo calls the Logos the “second God,” he does not depart from his fundamental monotheism, for the Logos is not an entity apart from God, but the Reason of God. Nevertheless, this solitary phrase of Philo’s is almost invariably trotted out in the forefront of all enquiry into Philo’s Logos-doctrine, in order that the difference between this phrase and the wording of the Proem to the Fourth Gospel may be insisted on as strongly as possible for controversial apologetical purposes.

That, however, Philo is a strict monotheist may be seen from the following passage, in which he is commenting on the words of Gen. xxxi. 13: “I am the God who was seen by thee in the place of God” 1—where, apparently, two Gods are referred to.

“What, then, should we say? The true God is one; they who are called gods, by a misuse of the term, are many. On which account the Holy Word 2 has, on the present occasion, indicated the true [God] by means of the article, saying: ‘I am the God’; but the [one so named] by misuse of the term, without the article, saying: ‘who was seen by thee in the place,’ not of the God, but only ‘of God.’ And what he (Moses) here calls ‘God’ is His Most Ancient Word (Logos).” 3


This Logos, moreover, is Life and Light. For, speaking of Intelligible or Incorporeal “Spirit” and “Light,” Philo writes:

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“The former he [‘Moses’] called the Breath of God, because it is the most life-giving thing [in the universe], and God is the cause of life; and the latter the Light [of God], because it is by far the most beautiful thing [in the universe].

“For by so much more glorious and more brilliant is the intelligible [Light] than the visible, as, methinks, the sun is than darkness, and day than night, and the mind, which is the guide of the whole soul, than the sensible means of discernment, and the eyes than the body.

“And he calls the invisible and intelligible Divine Reason (Logos) the Image of God. And of this [Image] the image [in its turn] is that intelligible light, which has been created as the image of the Divine Reason who interprets it [that is, Light’s] creation.

“[This Light] is the [One] Star, beyond [all] heavens, the Source of the Stars that are visible to the senses, which it would not be beside the mark to call All-brilliancy, and from which the sun and moon and the rest of the stars, both errant and fixed, draw their light, each according to its power.” 1

The necessity and reason of forming some such concept of the Logos is that man cannot bear the utter transcendency of God in His absoluteness. And applying this idea further to theophanies in human form, Philo writes:

“For just as those who are unable to look at the sun itself look upon its reflected rays as the sun, and the [light-] changes round the moon, as the moon itself, so also do men regard the Image of God, His Angel, Reason (Logos), as Himself.” 2

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Such Divine Vision is the object of the contemplative life, for:

“It is the special gift of those who dedicate themselves to the service (θεραπευόντων) of That-which-is . . . to ascend by means of their rational faculties to the height of the æther, setting before themselves ‘Moses’—the Race that is the friend of God, 1 as the leader of the way.

“For then they will behold ‘the place that is clear,’ 2 on which the immovable and unchangeable God hath set His feet, and the [regions] beneath His feet, as it were a work of sapphire stone, and as it might be the form of the firmament of heaven, the sensible cosmos, which he [‘Moses’] symbolises by these things.

“For it is seemly that those who have founded a brotherhood for the sake of wisdom, should long to see Him; and if they cannot do this, to behold at least His Image, Most Holy Reason (Logos), 3 and after him also the most perfect work in [all] things sensible, [namely] this cosmos.

“For the work of philosophy is naught else than the striving clearly to see these things.” 4


And later on, in the same treatise (§ 28), Philo writes still more interestingly and instructively as follows:

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“But they who have attained unto wisdom, are, as they should be, called Sons of the One God, as Moses admits when he says: ‘Ye are the Sons of the Lord God,’ 1 and ‘God who begat thee,’ 2 and ‘Is not He Himself thy father?’ 3 . . .

“And if a man should not as yet have the good fortune to be worthy to be called a Son of God, let him strive manfully to set himself in order according to His First-born Reason (Logos), the Oldest Angel, who is as though it were the Angel-chief, of many names; for he is called Dominion, 4 and Name of God, and Reason, and the Man-after-the-likeness, and Seeing Israel.

“And for this reason I was induced a little before to praise the principles of them who say: ‘We are all Sons of One Man.’ 5 For even if we have not yet become fit to be judged Sons of God, we may at anyrate be Sons of His Eternal Likeness, His Most Holy Reason; for Reason, the Eldest [of all Angels], is God’s Likeness [or Image].” 6

And so also we read elsewhere:

“But the Reason (Logos) is God’s Likeness, by whom [sc. Reason] the whole Cosmos was fashioned.” 7

This Divine Reason of things, then, was the means by which the Cosmos came into existence. And so we find Philo writing:

“But if anyone should wish to make use of naked

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terms, he might say that the intelligible order of things 1 is nothing else than the Reason (Logos) of God perpetually creating the [sensible] world-order.


“For the Intelligible City is nothing else but the reasoning of the Architect determining in His Mind to found a city perceivable by the senses after [the model of] the City which the mind alone can perceive.

“This is the doctrine of Moses and not [only] mine. At any rate in describing the genesis of man he expressly agrees that he [man] was fashioned in the image of God. And if this is the case with the part—the image of the Image—it is plainly also the case with the whole Form, that is the whole of this sensible cosmos, which is a [far] greater imitation of the Divine Image than the human image is.

“It is plain, moreover, that the Archetypal Seal, which we call Cosmos which is perceptible only to the intellect, must itself be the Archetypal Pattern, 2 the Idea of ideas, the Reason (Logos) of God.” 3

And elsewhere also he writes:

“Passing, then, from details, behold the grandest House or City, namely, this cosmos. Thou shalt find that the cause of it is God, by whom it came into existence. The matter of it is the four elements, out of which it has been composed. The instrument by means of which it has been built, is the Reason (Logos) of God. And the object of its building is the Goodness of the Creator.” 4

And again:

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“Now the Reason (Logos) is the Likeness of God, by which the whole cosmos was made.” 1

And still more clearly:

“But God’s Shadow is His Reason (Logos), which using, as it were an instrument, He made the cosmos. And this Shadow is as it were the Archetypal Model of all else. For that as God is the Original of His Image, which he [‘Moses’] now calls [His] Shadow, so, [in its turn] that Image is the model of all else, as he [‘Moses’] showed when, at the beginning of the law-giving, he said: ‘And God made man according to the Image of God,’ 2—this Likeness being imaged according to God, and man being imaged according to this Likeness, which received the power of its Original.” 3

Moreover, the Divine Reason, as an instrument, is regarded as the means of separation and division:

“So God, having sharpened His Reason (Logos), the Divider of all things, cut off both the formless and undifferentiated essence of all things, and the four elements of cosmos which had been separated out of it, 4 and the animals and plants which had been compacted by means of these.” 5

With this we may compare the following passage from The Acts of John, where we read of the Logos:

“But what it is in truth, as conceived of in itself, and as spoken of to thee, 6—it is the marking-off [or delimitation] of all things, the firm necessity of those

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things that are fixed and were unsettled, the Harmony of Wisdom.” 1

But to return to the concept of the Logos as symbolised by the idea of a City; speaking of the six “cities of refuge,” Philo allegorises them as follows:

“Is not, then, the most ancient and most secure and best Mother-city, and not merely City, the Divine Reason (Logos), to which it is of the greatest service to flee first?

“The other five, as though they were colonies [from it], are the Powers of the Speaker [of this Word (Logos)], of which the chief is the Creative [Potency], according to which He who creates by Reason [or Word], fashioned the cosmos. The second is the Sovereign [Potency], according to which He who created, ruleth that which is brought into existence. The third is the Merciful [Potency], by means of which the Artist hath compassion and hath mercy on His own work. The fourth is the Legislative Providence, by means of which He doth forbid the things that may not be. . . .” 2

Philo then regards these “cities” as symbolising the refuges to which the various kinds of erring souls should flee to find comfort. If the Divine Reason, and the Creative and Sovereign (Kingly) Powers are too far off for the comprehension of the sinner’s ignorance, then he should flee to other goals at a shorter distance, the “cities” of the Necessary Powers, namely, the Powers of Mercy and of the Law, which latter are twofold, Enjoining and Forbidding, the latter again of which is referred to vaguely, at the end of the chapter, as the “averting of evils” without further definition.

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Moreover, Philo continues, there are symbols of these five Potencies mentioned in the Scriptures:

“[The symbols] of Command and Prohibition are the [two tables of the] laws in the ark; of the Merciful Potency, the top of the ark, which he [‘Moses’] calls the Mercy-seat; of the Creative and Sovereign [Potencies], the winged Cherubim, who are set over it.

“But the Divine Reason (Logos) above them did not take any visible shape, inasmuch as no sensible object answers to it, for it is the very Likeness of God, the Eldest of all beings, one and all, which are cognisable by mind alone, the nearest to the [One and] Only One-that-is, without a space of any kind between, copied inerrantly.

“For it is said: ‘I will speak to thee from above the Mercy-seat, from between the two Cherubim.’ 1

“So that he who drives the Chariot 2 of the Powers is the Word (Logos), and He who is borne in the Chariot is He who speaks [the Word], giving commandment to the Driver for the right driving of the universe.” 3


Again, speaking of God as the True Shepherd of the universe and all things therein, the elements and all therein, the sun, moon, and planets, the stars and heavens, Philo writes:

“[He placed] at the head His own True Reason (Logos), His First-born Son, who shall succeed unto the care of this sacred flock, as though he were the lieutenant of the Great King.” 4

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The Divine Reason of things, moreover, is regarded as the Plērōma or Fullness of all powers,—ideal space, and ideal time, if such terms can be permitted. The Logos is the Æon or Eternity proper. And so Philo speaks of:

“The Divine Reason (Logos) whom God Himself hath full-filled entirely and throughout with incorporeal powers.” 1


This Supreme Logos, then, is filled full of powers—words, logoi, in their turn, energies of God. As Philo writes:

“For God not disdaining to descend into the sensible world, sends forth as His apostles His own ‘words’ (logoi) to give succour to those who love virtue; and they act as physicians and expel the diseases of the soul.” 2

These “words” or “reasons” are men’s angels; they are the “light-sparks” or “rays” in the heart—of which we hear so much in “Gnostic” and allied literature—all from the Father-Sun, the Light of God, or Logos proper, which Philo calls “the Light of the invisible and supremest Deity that rays and shines transcendently on every side.”


“When this Light shineth into the mind, the secondary beams of the ‘words’ (logoi) set [or are hidden].” 3

In treating of the allegorical Ladder set up from earth to heaven, Philo first gives what he considers to

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be its cosmic correspondences and then applies the figure to the little world of man:

“The ladder (κλῖμαξ), then, symbolically spoken of, is in the cosmos somewhat of the nature I have suggested. But if we turn our attention to it in man, we shall find it is the soul; the foot of which is as it were its earthly part—namely, sensation, while its head is as it were its heavenly part—the purest mind.

“Up and down through all of it the ‘words’ (logoi) go incessantly; whenever they ascend, drawing it up together with them, divorcing it from its mortal nature, and revealing the sight of those things which alone are worth the seeing; not that when they descend they cast it down, for neither God nor yet God’s Word (Logos) is cause of any loss.

“But they accompany them 1 [in their descent] for love of man and pity of our race, to succour, and give help, that they, by breathing into them their saving breaths, may bring the soul to life, tossed as it is upon the body [’s waves] as on a river [’s bosom].

“It is the God and Governor of the universe alone who doth, transcending sound and sight, walk ’mid the minds of them who have been throughly purified. For them there is an oracle, which the sage prophesied, in which is said: ‘I will walk amid you; and I will be your God.’ 2

“But in the minds of them who are still being washed, and have not yet had throughly cleansed the life that is befouled and stained with bodies’ grossness, it is the angels, the ‘words’ (logoi) divine, making them bright for Virtue’s eyes.” 3

This Light of God is, as has repeatedly been said before, the Divine Reason of things.

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“‘For the Lord is my Light and my Saviour,’ 1 as is sung in the Hymns;—[He is] not only Light, but the Archetype of every other light; nay rather more ancient and sublime than the Archetypal Model [of all things], in that this [latter] is His Word (Logos). For the [Universal] Model is His all-full 2 Word, the Light, while He Himself is like to naught of things created.” 3


This Word, or Logos, is further symbolised among phenomena as the sun. The Spiritual Sun is the Divine Reason—“the intelligible Model of the [sun] that moves in heaven.”

“For the Word (Logos) of God, when it enters into our earthly constitution, succours and aids those who are Virtue’s kinsmen, and those that are favourably disposed to her, affording them a perfect place of refuge and salvation, and shedding on their foes 4 destruction and ruin past repair.” 5

The Logos is thus naturally the panacea of all ills.

“For the Word (Logos) is, as it were, the saving medicine for all the wounds and passions of the soul, which [Word], the lawgiver declares, we should restore ‘before the sun’s going down’ 6—that is, before the

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most brilliant rays of God, supremest and most manifest, go down [or set]—[rays] which through His pity for our race He has sent forth from [His high] Heaven into the mind of man.

“For whilst that Light most Godlike abideth in the soul, we shall restore the ‘word’ (logos) that hath been given to us in pledge, as though it were a garment, that it may be to him who doth receive it, the special property of man—[a garment] both to cover up the shame 1 of life, and to enjoy the gift of God and have respite in quietude, by reason of the present help of such a counsellor, and of a shielder such as will never leave the rank in which he hath been stationed.” 2

From all of which it seems that Philo is drawing a distinction between the Pure Light of the Logos and the reflection of that Light in the reason of man, for he goes on to say:

“Indeed we have prolonged this long excursus for no other reason than to explain that the trained mind, moved by irregular motions to productiveness and its contrary, and, as it were, continually ascending and descending [the ladder]—when it is productive and raised into the height, then is it bathed in radiance of the archetypal immaterial rays of the Logic 3 Source of God who bringeth all unto perfection; and when it doth descend and is barren, it is illumined by their

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images, the ‘words’ (logoi) immortal, whom it is custom to call angels.” 1


And a little later on Philo proceeds to speak of those who are disciples or pupils of the Holy Word or Divine Reason.

“These are they who are truly men, lovers of temperance, and orderliness, and modesty,”—whose life he proceeds further to describe in similar terms to those he uses of the Therapeuts.

Such a life, he concludes, “is adapted not for those who are called men, but for those who are truly so.” 2

For those, then, who consciously set their feet upon the ladder of true manhood, there is a Way up even to Deity Itself, for Philo writes:

“Stability, and sure foundation, and eternally abiding in the same, changeless and immovable, is, in the first place, a characteristic of That-which-is; and, in the second, [a characteristic] of the Reason (Logos) of That-which-is—which Reason He hath called his Covenant; in the third, of the wise man; and in the fourth, of him who goeth forward [towards wisdom].” 3

How, then, continues Philo, can the wicked mind think that it can stand alone—“when it is swept hither and thither by the eddies of passion, which carry the body forth to burial as a corpse?”

And a little later on he proceeds to tell us that Eden must be taken to stand for the Wisdom of God.

p. 244

“And the Divine Reason (Logos) floweth down like a river, from Wisdom, as from a source, that it may irrigate and water the heavenly shoots and plants of Virtue-lovers, that grow upon the sacred Mountain of the Gods, 1 as though it were a paradise.


“And this Holy Reason is divided into four sources—I mean it is separated into four virtues—each of which is a queen. For its being divided into sources 2 does not bear any resemblance to division of space, but rather to a sovereignty, 3 in order that, having pointed to the virtues, as its boundaries, he [‘Moses’] may immediately display the wise man, who makes use of these virtues, as king, elected to kingship, not by the show of men’s hands, but by choice of that Nature [namely, Virtue] which alone is truly free, and genuine, and above all bribes. . . .

“Accordingly, one of the companions of Moses, likening this Word (Logos) to a river, says in the Hymns: ‘The river of God was filled with water.’ 4

“Now it is absurd that any of the rivers flowing on earth should be so called; but, as it seems, he [the psalmist] clearly signifies the Divine Reason (Logos), full of the flood of Wisdom, having no part of itself bereft or empty [thereof], but rather, as has been said, being entirely diffused throughout the universe, and [again] raised up to the height [thereof], by reason of

p. 245

the perpetual and continuous [circling] course of that eternally flowing fountain.

“There is also the following song-verse: ‘The rapid flow of the river maketh glad the city of God.’ 1


“What kind of city? For what is now the holy city, 2 in which is the holy temple, was founded at a distance from sea and rivers; so that it is clear that [the writer] intends to represent by means of an under-meaning something different from the surface-sense.

“For indeed the stream of the Divine Reason (Logos) continually flowing on with rapidity and regularity, diffuses all things through all and maketh them glad.

“And in one sense he calls cosmos the City of God, inasmuch as, receiving the whole cup 3 of the Divine draught it . . ., 4 and, being made joyous, it shouteth with a joy that can never be taken away or quenched for the eternity.

“But in another sense [he uses it of] the soul of the wise man, in which God is said to walk as in a city, for ‘I will walk in you and I will be your God.’ 5

“And for the happy soul that stretches forth its own reasoning 6 as a most holy drinking vessel 7—who is it that poureth forth the sacred measures of true joy, if not the cup-bearer of God, the [Divine] Reason (Logos), who is master of the feast?—he who differs not from

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the draught, but is himself unmingled delight, and sweetness, forthpouring, good-cheer, the immortal philtre of all joy and of contentment,—if we may use the words of poetry.

“But the City of God the Hebrews call Jerusalem, which by interpretation signifies the ‘Sight of Peace.’ Wherefore seek not the City of That-which-is in regions of the earth—for ’tis not made of stocks and stones; but [seek it] in the soul that doth not war, but offers unto them of the keen sight a life of contemplation and of peace.” 1

This, then, is how Philo understands the New Jerusalem (or Ogdoad), so familiar to us from the writings of the “Gnostic” schools, beyond which was the Plērōma or Treasure of Light. For elsewhere he writes:

“He will offer a fair and fitting prayer, as Moses did, that God may open for us His Treasure, yea [His] Reason (Logos) sublime, and pregnant with lights divine, which he [‘Moses’] has called Heaven.” 2

These “lights” are “reasons” (logoi), for a little further on he says:

“Thou seest that the soul is not nourished with things earthly and contemptible, but by the reasons God rains down from His sublime and pure nature, which he [‘Moses’] calls Heaven.” 3


And a little further on, referring to the allegorical “manna,” or heavenly food, “the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat” (Ex. xvi. 13), he writes:

p. 247

“Dost thou not see the food of the soul, what it is? It is the Continuing Reason (Logos) of God, like unto dew, encircling the whole of it [the soul] on all sides, and suffering no part of it to be without its share of it [the Logos].

“But this Reason is not apparent everywhere, but [only] in the man who is destitute of passions and vices; yea, subtle is it for the mind to distinguish, or to be distinguished by the mind, exceedingly translucent and pure for sight to see.

“It is, moreover, as it were, a coriander seed. 1 For agriculturalists declare that the seed of the coriander can be divided and dissected infinitely, and that every single part and section [thereof], when sown, comes up just as the whole seed. Such also is the Reason (Logos) of God, profitable in its entirety and in every part, however small it be.” 2

And he adds a little further on:

“This is the teaching of the hierophant and prophet, Moses, who will say: ‘This is the bread, the food which God hath given to the soul,’ 3 that He hath given [us] for meat and drink, His own Word, 4 His own Reason, 5 for this [Reason] is the bread which He hath given us to eat; this is the Word.” 6


Philo also likens the Divine Reason to the pupil of the eye—a figure that will meet us later in considering the meaning of the Κόρη Κόσμου (“Virgin of the World”) treatise—for he writes:

p. 248

“May not [this Reason] be also likened to the pupil of the eye? For just as the eye’s pupil, though the smallest part [of it], does yet behold all of the zones of things existing—the boundless sea, and vastness of the air, and all of the whole heaven which the sun doth bound from east to west,—so is the sight of the Divine Reason the keenest sight of all, so that it can behold all things; by which [men] shall behold things worthy to be seen beyond white [light] 1 itself.

“For what could be more bright or more far-seeing than Reason Divine, by shining in which the other [lights] drive out all mist and darkness, striving to blend themselves with the soul’s light.” 2


And again, in a passage of intense interest we read:

“For He nourisheth us with His Reason (Logos)—the most general [of all things]. . . . And the Reason of God is above the whole cosmos; it is the most ancient and most general of all the things that are.

“This Reason the ‘fathers’ 3 knew not,—not [our] true [eternal] fathers, but those hoary in time, who say: ‘Let us take a leader, and let us return unto’—the passions of—‘Egypt.’ 4

“Therefore let God announce His [good] tidings to the soul in an image: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word 5 that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,’ 6—that is, he shall be nourished by the whole of Reason (Logos) and by [every] part of it. For ‘mouth’ is a symbol of the [whole] Logos, and ‘word’ is its part.” 7

p. 249

These “fathers,” then, are those of the lower nature, and not our true spiritual parents; it is these “fathers” that we are to abandon.

Compare with this Matt. x. 37: “He who loveth father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me”; and the far more striking form of the tradition in Luke xiv. 26: “If any man cometh unto Me, and doth not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea and his own soul also, he cannot be My disciple.”

In the Gnostic gospel, known as the Pistis Sophia (341), the mystic meaning of these parents is given at length, as signifying the rulers of the lower nature, and the Master is made to say: “For this cause have I said unto you aforetime, ‘He who shall not leave father and mother to follow after Me is not worthy of Me.’ What I said then was, ‘Ye shall leave your parents the rulers, that ye may be children of the First Everlasting Mystery.’”

But the most arresting point is that Matt. iv. 4, in the story of the Temptation, quotes precisely the same words of the LXX. text of Deut. viii. 3 which Philo does, beginning where he does and finishing where he does, both omitting the final and tautological “shall man live”—a very curious coincidence. Luke iv. 4 preserves only the first half of the sentence; but it evidently lay in exactly the same form in which Philo uses it before the first and third Evangelists in their second or “Logia” source. It was, then, presumably a frequently quoted text.


The Divine Reason is further figured as a true “Person,” the Mediator between God and man. Thus Philo writes:

p. 250

“And on His angel-ruling and most ancient Reason (Logos), the Father who created all, hath bestowed a special gift—that standing between them as a Boundary, 1 he may distinguish creature from Creator.

“He [the Reason] ever is himself the suppliant unto the Incorruptible on mortal kind’s behalf in its distress, and is the King’s ambassador to subject nature.

“And he exulteth in his gift, and doth majesticly insist thereon, declaring: ‘Yea, have I stood between the Lord and you,’ 2—not increate as God, nor yet create as ye, but in the midst between the [two] extremes, hostage to both: to Him who hath created him, for pledge that the creature never will remove itself entirely [from Him], nor make revolt, choosing disorder in order’s place; and to the thing created for good hope that God, the Merciful, will never disregard the work of His own hands. ‘For I will herald forth the news of peace to the creation from Him who knows how to make wars to cease, from God the Everlasting Peacekeeper.’” 3

In considering what is claimed to be the elaborate symbolism of the sacred vestments of the High Priest, and the nature of this symbolical office, Philo declares that the twelve stones upon the breast of the High Priest, in four rows of three each, are a symbol of the Divine Reason (Logos), which holds together and regulates the universe; this breastplate, then, is the logion or sacred oracle of God.

“For it was necessary that he who was consecrated to the Father of the cosmos, should have [His] Son,

p. 251

the most perfect in virtue, as intercessor, 1 both for the forgiveness 2 of sins, and for the abundant supply of the most unstinted blessings.

“It probably also imparts the preliminary teaching to the Servant of God, 3 that if he cannot be worthy of Him who made the cosmos, he should nevertheless without ceasing strive to be worthy of that cosmos; for when he has [once] been clothed with its likeness, 4 he is bound forthwith, by carrying about the image of the model 5 in his head, of his own self to change himself as though it were from man into the nature of the cosmos, and, if we ought to say so 6—nay, he who speaks on truth ought to speak truth!—be [himself] a little cosmos.” 7


With these most instructive indications we may compare the intensely interesting passage of Plotinus in his essay “On Intelligible Beauty,” where he gives his yoga-system, so to speak. It is perhaps the most important passage that has come down to us from the coryphæus of Later Platonism, giving, as it does, in every probability, the method of the school whereby ecstasis was attained.

p. 252

“Let us, then, form a mental image of this cosmos with each of its parts remaining what it is, and yet interpenetrating one another, [imagining] them all together into one as much as we possibly can,—so that whatsoever one comes first into the mind as the ‘one’ (as for instance the outer sphere), there immediately follows also the sight of the semblance of the sun, and together with it that of the other stars, 1 and the earth, and sea, and all things living, as though in [one] transparent sphere,—in fine, as though all things could be seen in it.

“Let there, then, be in the soul some semblance of a sphere of light [transparent], having all things in it, whether moving or still, or some of them moving and others still.

“And, holding this [sphere] in the mind, conceive in thy self another [sphere], removing [from it all idea of] mass; take from it also [the idea of] space, and the phantom of matter in thy mind; and do not try to image another sphere [merely] less in bulk than the former.

“Then invoking God who hath made [that true sphere] of which thou holdest the phantom [in thy mind], pray that He may come.

“And may He come with his own cosmos, 2 with all the Gods therein—He being one and all, and each one all, united into one, yet different in their powers, and yet, in that one [power] of multitude all one.

“Nay, rather the One God is all [the Gods] for that He falleth not short [of Himself] though all of them are [from Him]; [and] they are all together, yet each again apart in [some kind of] an unextended state, possessing no form perceptible to sense.

p. 253

“For, otherwise, one would be in one place, another in another, and [each] be ‘each,’ and not ‘all’ in itself, without parts other from the others and [other] from itself.

“Nor is each whole a power divided and proportioned according to a measurement of parts; but this [whole] is the all, all power, extending infinitely and infinitely powerful;—nay, so vast is that [divine world-order 1], that even its ‘parts’ are infinite.” 2


But to return to Philo. The rational soul or mind of man is potentially the Intelligible Cosmos or Logos; thus he writes:

“The great Moses did not call the species of the rational soul by a name resembling any one of the things created, but he called it the image of the Divine and Invisible, deeming it a true [image] brought into being and impressed with the soul of God, of which the Signet is the Eternal Reason (Logos).” 3

All of which the disciplined soul shall realise in himself. Of such a man Abraham is a type, for:

“Abandoning mortal things, he ‘is added to the people of God,’ 4 plucking the fruit of immortality, having become equal to the angels. For the angels are the host of God, incorporeal and happy souls.”

p. 254

The angels are the “people” of God; but there is a still higher degree of union, whereby a man becomes one of the “Race” or “Kin” of God. This “Race” is an intimate union of all them who are “kin to Him”; they become one. For this Race “is one, the highest one, but ‘people’ is the name of many.”

“As many, then, as have advanced in discipline and instruction, and been perfected [therein], have their lot among this ‘many.’

“But they who have passed beyond these introductory exercises, becoming natural Disciples of God, receiving wisdom free from all toil, migrate to this incorruptible and perfect Race, receiving a lot superior to their former lives in genesis.” 1

And that the mind is immortal may be shown allegorically from the death of Moses, who, says Philo, migrated “by means of the Word (Logos) of the Cause, 2 by whom the whole cosmos was created.”

This is said “in order that thou mayest learn that God regards the wise man as of equal honour with the cosmos; for it is by means of the same Reason (Logos) that He hath made the universe, and bringeth back the perfect man from earthly things unto Himself again.” 3

But enough of Philo for the moment. Sufficient has been given to let the reader hear the Alexandrian speak for himself on the central idea of his cosmos. Much else could be added—indeed, volumes could be written on the subject—for it gives us one of the most important backgrounds of Christian origins, and without a thorough knowledge of Hellenistic theology it is impossible in any way to get our values of many things correctly.


199:1 In all, upwards of sixty Philonean tractates are preserved to us; and in addition we have also numerous fragments from lost works.

200:1 Philo is known to the Jews as Yedidyah ha-Alakhsanderi.

200:2 Thus, in D. V. C., § 3; M. ii. 475, P. 893 (Ri. v. 309, C. 65), referring to his beloved Therapeuts, he himself says: “They have also works of ancient authors who were once heads of their school, and left behind them many monuments of the method used in allegorical works.” Nor was this “allegorising” Jewish only; it was common. It was applied to Homer; it was the method of the Stoics. Indeed, this “treatment (θεραπεία) of myths” was the only way in which the results of the philosophy and science of the time could be brought into touch with popular faith.

The text I use is that of Richter (M. C. E.), Philonis Judæi Opera Omnia, in Bibliotheca Sacra Patrum Ecclesiæ Græcorum (Leipzig, 1828-1830), 8 vols. M. refers to the edition of Mangey; P. to the Paris edition; Ri. stands for that of Richter—thus abbreviated so as not to be confused with R., which elsewhere stands for Reitzenstein; C. stands for Conybeare’s critical text of the D. V. C. (Oxford, 1895), the only really critical text of any tractate which we so far possess.

200:3 “Philo,” in Smith and Wace’s Dict. of Christ. Biog. (London, 1887), iv. 357-389—by far the best general study on the subject in English. Drummond’s (J.) two volumes, Philo Judæus, or The Alexandrian Philosophy (London, 1888), may also be consulted, but they leave much to be desired. The only English translation is that of Yonge (C. D.), The Works of Philo Judæus (London, 1854) in Bonn’s Library; but it is by no means satisfactory, and I have in every instance of quotation made my own version.

202:1 Or “divinely prompted” (De Vit. Mos., ii. 5-7).

203:1 De Vit. Mos., iii. 23, 24.

204:1 For a sketch of ancient Alexandria, see F. F. F., pp. 96-120.

205:1 For a translation of the famous tractate on this subject, from the recent critical text of Conybeare, see F. F. F., pp. 66-82.

205:2 D. V. C., § 3; M. ii. 474, P. 891 (Ri. v. 308, C. 56).

206:1 De Sept., §§ 3, 4; M. ii. 279, P. 1175 (Ri. v. 21, 22).

207:1 De Mut. Nom., § 4; M. i. 583, P. 1049 (Ri. iii. 163, 164).

208:1 Quod Om. Prob. L., § 11; M. ii. 456, P. 876 (Ri. v. 284, 285).

208:2 C., p. 146, 1. 13.

208:3 D. V. C., § 9; M. ii. 482, P. 900 (Ri. v. 319, C. 111).

209:1 Or shrine—a small room or closet.

209:2 That is, a sanctuary or monastery, the latter in the sense of a place where one can be alone or in solitude. This is the first use of the term “monastery” known in classical antiquity, and, as we see, it bears a special and not a general meaning.

209:3 Ibid., § 3; M. ii. 475, P. 892 (Ri. v. 309, C. 60).

210:1 Grenfell and Hunt, New Sayings of Jesus (London, 1904), p. 18.

210:2 Lit., ye mystæ and hierophants.

210:3 Lit., orgies—that is, “burstings forth” of inspiration, or revealings.

210:4 De Prof., § 16; M. i. 558, P. 462 (Ri. iii. 128).

210:5 Leg. Alleg., i. 39, 4.

210:6 δεισιδαίμονες—here meaning the literalists; it generally signifies the religious in a good sense, and the superstitious in a bad one.

211:1 De Cherub., § 12; M. i. 146, P. 115 (Ri. i. 208).

211:2 Ibid., § 14; M. i. 147, P. 116 (Ri. i. 210).

211:3 Cf. Leg. Alleg., ii. § 15; M. i. 76, P. 1097 (Ri. i. 105).

211:4 Lit., orgies.

212:1 De Gigan., § 12; M. i. 270, P. 291 (Ri. ii. 61).

212:2 Philo, apparently, would have it that the sacrifice of the ram, which was a symbol of virility, signified the obligation of chastity prior to initiation into the higher rites.

212:3 De Vit. Mos., iii. § 17; M. ii. 157, P. 675 (Ri. iv. 216). The Therapeuts, with Philo, then do not mean “Healers,” as has been sometimes thought, but “Servants of God.”

212:4 D. V. C., § 2; M. ii. 473, P. 891 (Ri. v. 306, C. 41, 42).

212:5 Quod Det. Pot. Insid., § 27; M. i. 211, P. 174 (Ri. i. 295).

213:1 Ibid., § 48; M. i. 224, P. 186 (Ri. i. 314).

213:2 Leg. Alleg., i. § 32; M. i. 64, P. 59 (Ri. i. 87).

214:1 Leg. Alleg., ii. § xv.; M. i. 76, P. 1097 (Ri. i. 106).

214:2 Which they brought out of Egypt—that is, the body.

214:3 De Sacrif., § 16; M. i. 174, P. 139 (Ri. i. 245).

214:4 Quæst. in Gen., iv. § 2; P. Auch. 243 (Ri. vii. 61).

215:1 Gen. xviii. 6.

215:2 That is, apparently, the “good” = the “incorporeal,” and the “subject” = the “corporeal.”

216:1 De Sacrif., § 15; M. i. 173, 174; P. 139 (Ri. i. 244, 245).

216:2 De Cherub., § 12; M. i. 146, P. 115 (Ri. i. 208).

217:1 Ibid., § 13; M. i. 147, P. 116, 117 (Ri. i. 209).

218:1 Jer. iv. 3—where A.V. translates: “Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?”

219:1 De Cherub., § 14, 15; M. i. 148, P. 116, 117 (Ri. i. 210, 211).

219:2 In this, however, I venture to think that Conybeare is mistaken; it was a common dogma of the Hellenistic theology of the time.

219:3 Op. sup. cit., pp. 302, 303.

219:4 De Execrat., § 7; M. ii. 435, P. 936 (Ri. v. 254). See “Myth of Man in the Mysteries,” S. § 25 J.

220:1 D. V. C., § 8; M. ii. 482, P. 899 (Ri. v. 318, C. 108).

220:2 Elsewhere an epithet of the Logos.

220:3 De Mut. Nom., § 23; M. i. 598, P. 1065 (Ri. iii. 183).

220:4 Ibid., § 24; M. i. 599, P. 1065 (Ri. iii. 184).

220:5 De Præm. et Pæn., § 18; M. ii. 425, P. 927 (Ri. v. 241).

220:6 Leg. Alleg., iii. § 63; M. i. 122, 123, P. 94 (Ri. i. 175). Cf. Gen. xxx. 2: “Am I in God’s stead?”

221:1 Gen. xxi. 6. A.V.: “God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”

221:2 Leg. Alleg., iii. § 77; M. i. 131, P. 101 (Ri. i. 187). Cf. also De Cherub., § 13; M. i. 147, P. 115 (Ri. i. 209).

222:1 Gen. xxix. 31. Cong. Erud. Grat., § 2; M. i. 520, P. 425 (Ri. iii. 72).

223:1 De Spec. Leg., § 7; M. ii. 275, P. 774 (Ri. v. 15, 16).

223:2 De Som., i. § 35; M. i. 651, P. 595 (Ri. iii. 257).

224:1 De Ser. Num. Vind., 565 C.; ed. Bern. iii. 459. See, for a translation of the whole Vision, my “Notes on the Eleusinian Mysteries,” Theosophical Review (April, May, June, 1898), xxii. 145 ff., 232 ff., 312 ff.

224:2 Gen. xxxviii. 11 ff.

224:3 Quod Deus Immut., § 29; M. i. 293, P. 313 (Ri. ii. 94).

224:4 Lit., “sensible.”

224:5 De Ebriet., § 8; M. i. 361, P. 244 (Ri. i. 189).

225:1 De Mut. Nom., § 2; M. i. 579, P. 1045 (Ri. iii. 159).

225:2 De Mund. Op., § 2; M. i. 2, P. 2 (Ri. i. 6).

226:1 De Agric., § 13; M. i. 308, P. 195 (Ri. ii. 116).

227:1 Or Rising. Cf. Zech. vi. 12—where A.V. translates: “Behold the man whose name is The Branch.” Philo, however, follows LXX., but reads ἄνθρωπος instead of ἀνήρ. The Man-doctrine of the “Pœmandres” and of the Naassene Document was a fundamental one with Philo.

227:2 De Confus. Ling., § 14; M. i. 414, P. 329 (Ri. ii. 262).

227:3 Cf. Lev. xxi. 11.

228:1 τὸ ἡγεμονικόν—that is, the authoritative or responsible part of the soul, namely, the reason—a Stoic technical term.

228:2 De Prof., § 20; M. i. 562, P. 466 (Ri. iii. 133). The quotations look back to Lev. xxi. 10, but the readings in the first two differ from the LXX.

229:1 De Som., § 37; M. i. 653, P. 597 (Ri. iii. 260).

229:2 That is the sensible and not the intelligible cosmos.

230:1 Quod Deus Im., § 6; M. i. 277, P. 298 (Ri. ii. 72, 73).

230:2 Leg. Alleg., § 21; M. i. 82, P. 1103 (Ri. i. 113).

230:3 Cf. Gen. i. 27. Philo reads ἐν εἰκόνι instead of the κατ᾽ εἰκόνα of LXX., and ἐποίησα instead of ἐποίησε.

230:4 Namely, in His Reason. The Greek text is quoted by Eusebius, Præp. Evang., vii. 13 (M. ii. 625, Ri. vi. 175), who gives it as from Bk. i. of Quæst. et Solut. The original text is lost, but we have a Latin Version—q.v. ii. § 62 (Ri. vi. 356)—which, however, in this instance, has made sorry havoc of the original.

231:1 Philo and LXX. both have: “ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ θεὸς ὁ ὀφθείς σοι ἐν τόπῳ θεοῦ”; whereas A.V. translates: “I am the God of Beth-el”—that is, the “House or Place of El or God.”

231:2 Here meaning the Inspiration of Scripture.

231:3 De Som., § i. 39; M. i. 655, P. 599 (Ri. iii. 262, 263).

232:1 De Mund. Op., § 8; M. i. 6, 7, P. 6 (Ri. i. 11).

232:2 De Som., § 41; M. i. 657, P. 600 (Ri. iii. 264).

233:1 This is the Race of the Logos.

233:2 Cf. Ex. xxiv. 10. A.V. does not render this reading, but LXX. gives “The place where the God of Israel stood.”

233:3 Which here, as also above, Philo would equate with the “Place of God.”

233:4 De Confus. Ling., § 20; M. i. 419, P. 333, 334 (Ri. ii. 268, 269).

234:1 Deut. xiv. 1. A.V.: “Ye are the children of the Lord your God.” LXX.: “Ye are the sons of the Lord your God.”

234:2 Deut. xxxii. 18. A.V.: “God that formed thee.” LXX. has the same reading as Philo.

234:3 Deut. xxxii. 6.

234:4 ἀρχή, or Source, Beginning, as in the Proem to the Fourth Gospel.

234:5 Gen. xlii. 11.

234:6 De Confus. Ling., § 28; M. i. 426, 427, P. 341 (Ri. ii. 279).

234:7 De Monarch., ii. § 5; M. ii. 225, P. 823 (Ri. iv. 302).

235:1 Or the cosmos, which is comprehensible by the intellect alone.

235:2 Or Paradigm.

235:3 De Mund. Op., § 6; M. i. 5, P. 5 (Ri. i. 9).

235:4 De Cherub.,, § 35; M. i. 162, P. 129 (Ri. i. 228).

236:1 De Monarch., ii. § 5; M. ii. 225, P. 823 (Ri. iv. 302).

236:2 Gen. i. 26.

236:3 Leg. Alleg., iii. 31; M. i. 106, 107, P. 79 (Ri. i. 152, 153).

236:4 Sc. the essence.

236:5 Sc. elements. Quis Rer. Div. Her., § 27; M. i. 492, P. 500 (Ri. iii. 32).

236:6 John, to whom the Master is speaking.

237:1 F. F. F., 436.

237:2 De Prof., § 18; M. i. 560, P. 464 (Ri. iii. 130). There is unfortunately a lacuna in the text, so that we do not learn the characteristics of the fifth potency; but this is explained elsewhere,—the Legislative Providence being a twofold potency, namely, the Enjoining and the Forbidding.

238:1 Ex. xxv. 22.

238:2 This plainly refers to the Mercabah or Chariot of the Vision of Ezechiel.

238:3 De Prof., § 19; M. i. 561, P. 465 (Ri. iii. 131).

238:4 De Agric., § 12; M. i. 308, P. 195 (Ri. ii. 116).

239:1 De Som., i. § 11; M. i. 630, P. 574 (Ri. iii. 227).

239:2 Ibid., § 12; M. i. 631, P. 575 (Ri. iii. 229).

239:3 Ibid., § 13.

240:1 Sc. the souls.

240:2 Lev. xxvi. 12.

240:3 De Som., § 23; M. i. 642, 643, P. 587 (Ri. iii. 245, 246).

241:1 Ps. xxvii. 1. A.V. “salvation.” LXX. reads φωτισμός, “illumination”—a technical term among the mystics of Early Christendom for baptism—instead of the φῶς of Philo.

241:2 That is, the Logos as Pleroma.

241:3 De Som., § 13.

241:4 Sc. the vices of the soul.

241:5 Ibid., § 15; M. i. 363, P. 578 (Ri. iii. 232).

241:6 This seems to be somewhat reminiscent of the custom of evening prayer in the Therapeut and other similar communities, when, at the time of the setting of the sun, it was enjoined that “rational” praises should be restored or given back to God, for benefits received.

Philo, however, is here somewhat laboriously commenting, in allegorical fashion, on the pawnbroking bye-law in Ex. xxii. 26, 27: “But if thou takest in pledge thy neighbour’s garment, thou shalt give it him back before the going down of the sun. For this is his covering; this is the only garment of his indecency. In what [else] shall he sleep? If, then, he shall cry unto me, I will give ear to him; for I am pitiful.” (See § 16.) The A.V. translates otherwise.

242:1 Cf. the well-known logos from the Gospel according to the Egyptians, “Unless ye tread on the garment of shame.”

242:2 De Som., § 18; M. i. 637, P. 582 (Ri. iii. 238).

242:3 Or Rational.

243:1 Ibid., § 19; M. i. 638, P. 582 (Ri. iii. 239).

243:2 Ibid., 20; M. i. 639, P. 584 (Ri. iii. 241). Cf. C. H., x. (xi.) 24.

243:3 De Som., ii. § 36; M. i. 690, P. 1140 (Ri. iii. 312).

244:1 Lit., Olympian.

244:2 ἀρχαὶ mean sources, but also principles and sovereignties. It is, however, impossible to keep the word-play in English.

244:3 Or kingdom, namely, “of the heavens,” or rulership of the celestial realms, or rather of one’s self.

244:4 Ps. lxv. 9. So also LXX.; but A.V., “Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water.”

245:1 Ps. xlvi. 4. LXX. has the plural, rivers or streams. A.V. translates: “There is a river the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.”

245:2 The physical Jerusalem in Palestine.

245:3 κρατῆρα—lit., crater or mixing-bowl.

245:4 A lacuna occurs here in the text.

245:5 A loose quotation of Lev. xxvi. 12, as already cited above.

245:6 λογισμόν.

245:7 ἔκπωμα.

246:1 De Som., ii. §§ 37-39; M. i. 690-692, P. 1141, 1142 (Ri. iii. 312-315).

246:2 Leg. Alleg., iii. § 34; M. i. 108, P. 80 (Ri. i. 155).

246:3 Ibid., § 56; M. i. 119, P. 90 (Ri. i. 170).

247:1 The grain of mustard seed of the Gospels and of the “Gnostics.”

247:2 Ibid., § 59; M. i. 121, 122, P. 92 (Ri. i. 172, 173).

247:3 A gloss on Ex. xiv. 15.

247:4 ῥῆμα.

247:5 λόγος.

247:6 Leg. Alleg., iii., § 0; M. i. 121, P. 92 (Ri. i. 173).

248:1 The reading seems to be faulty.

248:2 Ibid., § 59.

248:3 Cf. Deut. viii. 13.

248:4 Num. xiv. 4.

248:5 ῥήματι.

248:6 Deut. viii. 3.

248:7 Leg. Alleg., iii. § 61; M. i. 121, P. 93 (Ri. i. 174).

250:1 Cf. the “Gnostic” Horos (not the Egyptian Hōrus) as referred to previously.

250:2 Perhaps a reflection of Num. xvi. 48.

250:3 Quis Rer. Div. Her., § 42; M. i. 501, 502, P. 504 (Ri. iii. 45, 46).

251:1 παρακλήτῳ—as paraclete, or intercessor, or defender (a term of the law courts), or comforter.

251:2 ἀμνηστείαν—lit., amnesty, or forgetfulness of wrong.

251:3 τὸν τοῦ θεοῦ θεραπευτήν—the Therapeut.

251:4 The dress of the High Priest, then, symbolised the cosmos—the elements, etc. May we deduce from this that in one of the Therapeut initiations the approyed candidate was clothed in such a symbolic robe?

251:5 Sc. the Logos as cosmos.

251:6 Signifying a religious scruple as referring to a matter of initiation.

251:7 De Vit. Mos., iii. § 14; M. ii. 155, P. 673 (Ri. iv. 212, 213).

252:1 Presumably the seven “planetary spheres” of “difference,” as set forth in Plato’s Timæus.

252:2 Sc. the intelligible or spiritual world-order.

253:1 Intelligible cosmos.

253:2 Ennead, V. viii. (cap. ix.), 550 A-D.; Plot. Op. Om., ed. F. Creuzer (Oxford, 1835), ii. 1016, 1017. M. N. Bouillet—in Les Ennéades de Plotin (Paris, 1861), iii. 122, 123—gives, as usual, an excellently clear rendering, but it is not easy to recognise some of his sentences in the text.

253:3 De Plant. Noe, § 5; M. i. 332, P. 216, 217 (Ri. ii. 148).

253:4 A gloss on Gen. xxv. 8: “And was added (A.V. gathered) to his people.”

254:1 De Sacrif., § 2; M. i. 164, P. 131 (Ri. i. 233).

254:2 Deut. xxxiv. 5. A.V.: “According to the word of the Lord.”

254:3 De Sacrif., § 3; M. i. 165, P. 131 (Ri. i. 233).

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