A few Philonic parallels to the New Testament

When I reviewed Craig Evans’s book Ancient Texts for New Testament Study (on the whole, very helpful), I noticed a certain under-use of Philo in the index of ancient parallels. As a very cursory attempt to put some of the most striking Philonic parallels online, I thought I’d offer a few Philonic scholia to the NT – only some of the most convincing parallels that struck me while reading Philo, presented in no particular order and with no discussion of their possible significance. One should always bear in mind Sandmel’s famous warning against parallelomania, but these are at least worthy of consideration:

  • Woman being deceived by the serpent (QG 1.33)
  • “flesh as cause of spiritual corruption, which is indeed the truth, for it is the seat of desires, from which, as from a spring, flow the properties of desires and other passions” (QG 1.99)
  • Magi: Prob. 74
  • Cf. ‘godliness with contentment is great gain’ with Philo: “they are esteemed exceedingly rich, because they judge frugality with contentment to be, as indeed it is, an abundance of wealth” (Prob. 77).
  • Devouring each other like dogs (cf. Galatians): Philo, Contempl. 40
  • Crucified taken down and given to families: Flacc. 83
  • Physical exercise is of some value: cf. Philo, Hypoth. 11.7
  • Cf. to the ‘exchanging’ natural ways for unnatural in Rom 1, Abr. 134-36 (cf. Wis. 13-14)
  • All things are possible with God: Philo, Abr. 175
  • Contrast between gift & wages (Rom 4): Mos. 2.242
  • Cf. to Hebrews’ interpretation of Ps 95 and ‘today’, Fug. 57.
  • Philo cites Isa 5.7: the vineyard is Israel (Somn. 2.172-73; cf. Mark 12 par.)
  • Cf. to 1 Cor 9.9-10, Spec 1.260
  • Salt as preservative: Spec. 1.289
  • Veiled women (in context of the Sotah): Spec. 3.56
  • Prophecy and use of reason (cf. to 1 Cor 12-14): Spec. 4.48-49
  • ‘rising’ divine image, first-born Son, etc.: Conf. 62-63
  • Colonists of heaven, etc. (cf. Philippians 3): Conf. 77-78
  • Intention as important as act (murder; cf. Matt 5): Conf. 160
  • shadow vs. substance (cf. Col & Heb): Migr. 12
  • Not needing to be fed on milk like children: Migr. 29
  • Metaphor of running for the crown/prize (1 Cor 9): Migr. 133 (and elsewhere)
  • God giving being to nonbeing (cf. Rom 4): Her. 36
  • All a prophet’s utterance comes from elsewhere (cf. 1 Cor 14): Her. 259. The mind is evicted at the arrival of the divine spirit, but when that departs the mind returns to its tenancy: Her. 265.
  • Description of God in Acts 17: cf. Leg. 1.43-44
  • Hebrews 12.26; cf. De Deo on Deut: God as consuming fire, same textual form

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