The philosopher Philo of Alexandria, in the second book of his treatise On Dreams (II.18.123), relates a story about a despotic governor of Egypt. “It is only a very short time ago,” he says, “that I knew a man of very high rank, one who was prefect and governor of Egypt, who, after he had taken it in his head to change our national institutions and customs…was compelling us to obey him, and to do other things contrary to our established custom.”Continue reading
Philo of Alexandria
All Opportunity For The Good, Yet None For The Unworthy
Philo of Alexandria wrote a relatively obscure essay entitled On the Prayers And Curses Uttered by Noah When He Became Sober. His translator has fortunately shortened this unwieldy title to the compact De Sobrietate, or On Sobriety. It contains the following passage of importance:Continue reading
The Almond, The Virtues, And Liberty Of Conscience
The philosopher Philo of Alexandria relates the following anecdote in his short treatise On the Life of Moses (II.23.178). The prophet Moses, we are told, had appointed his brother to the office of high priest. His decision had been based on his brother’s merits, but there was inevitably some grumbling by people who believed that the appointment was the result of familial favoritism.Continue reading
The Nakedness Of The Soul
I have just finished watching a reality television series on Netflix called Alone: The Arctic. I believe it was originally produced by the History Channel. Now before you roll your eyes and dismiss what I have to say out of hand, I would ask you for a fair hearing. Hear me out, dear reader: for I too once retained your same squint-eyed skepticism.
Be A Horseman, Not A Rider
Philo of Alexandria, in his essay on agriculture (De Agricultura), points out that there is a difference between an ordinary tiller of the ground, and an actual farmer; and that there is also a clear difference between a shepherd and someone who just tends to sheep. In the same way, he tells us, there is a great difference between a rider of a horse and a true horseman.
The Armor Of Virtue
The Hellenistic philosopher Philo of Alexandria made this compelling analogy in his essay, Every Good Man is Free (Quod Omnis Probus Liber Sit V.26):
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