The Works of Philo – Complete and Unabridged

Philo of Alexandria was a Jewish philosopher who lived in Roman-ruled Egypt.

When the Jews of Alexandria were ordered to defy their beliefs and worship Gaius Julius Caesar, also known as Caligula, they sent Philo to plead their case to the emperor.

Philo’s writings provide an account of the atrocities the Jews faced for their refusal to glorify a man as a god.

They were dragged to death, burned alive with their families, slaughtered in their homes, and even crucified.

Well versed in Greek and Jewish learning, Philo integrated biblical teachings with Greek philosophy, giving rise to an influential approach to Scripture. The ideas that emerged impacted both Christian and Jewish religious thought.

It is therefore very natural that Adam, that is to say the mind, when he was giving names to and displaying his comprehension of the other animals, did not give a name to himself, because he was ignorant of himself and of his own nature.

A command indeed is given to man, but not to the man created according to the image and idea of God; for that being is possessed of virtue without any need of exhortation, by his own instinctive nature, but this other would not have wisdom if it had not been taught to him: and these three things are different, command, prohibition, and recommendation. ~Philo the Jew, Chapter XXX, Verse 92

Each individual then among us is the son of life according to the outward sense, which he calls Meshech, honouring and admiring the foster-mother and nurse of the mortal race, namely, the outward sense, whom also, when the earthly mind, by name Adam, saw after it had been created, he named her life his own death; for, says the scripture, “Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living,” ~Philo, Who is the Heir of Divine Things, Chapter XI, Verse 52

“And the Lord God commanded Adam, saying, Of every tree that is in the Paradise thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat; but in the day on which ye eat of it ye shall die the death.”

A question may arise here to what kind of Adam he gave this command and who, this Adam was. For Moses has not made any mention of him before; but now is the first time that he has named him.

Are we then to think that he is desirous to supply you with the name of the factitious man? “And he calls him,” continues Moses, “Earth.” For this is the interpretation of the name of Adam.

Accordingly, when you hear the name Adam, you must think that he is an earthly and perishable being; for he is made according to an image, being not earthly but heavenly. ~But we must inquire how it was that after he had given names to all the other animals, he did not give one also to himself. What then are we to say about this?

The mind which is in each of us is able to comprehend all other things, but has not the capability of understanding itself. For as the eye sees all other things, but cannot see itself, so also the mind perceives the nature of other things but cannot understand itself.

For if it does, let it tell us what it is, or what kind of thing it is, whether it is a spirit, or blood, or fire, or air, or any other substance: or even only so much whether it is a substance at all, or something incorporeal.

Are not those men then simple who speculate on the essence of God?

For how can they who are ignorant of the nature of the essence of their own soul, have any accurate knowledge of the soul of the universe? For the soul of the universe is according to our definition,—God. Philo, On the Creation, Chapter XXIX, Verse 90-91

But the prior kind is of that generation for Moses says, “And God proceeded and made all the beasts of the field out of the earth, and all the birds of heaven; and he brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and whatever Adam called any living soul that became its name.”

You see here who are our assistants, the beasts of the soul, the On which account Moses says, “And besides he made…” and that what had been previously created were genera is plain from what he says, “Let the earth bring forth living souls,” not according to species but according to genus.

And this is found to be the course taken by God in all cases; for before making the species he completes the genera, as he did in the case of man: for having first modelled the generic man, in whom they say that the male and female sexes are contained, he afterwards created the specific man Adam.  ~Philo the Jew, Chapter IV, Verse  13

“And God cast a deep trance upon Adam, and sent him to sleep; and he took one of his ribs,” and so on.

The literal statement conveyed in these words is a fabulous one; for how can any one believe that a woman was made of a rib of a man, or, in short, that any human being was made out of another?

And what hindered God, as he had made man out of the earth, from making woman in the same manner?

For the Creator was the same, and the material was almost interminable, from which every distinctive quality whatever was made.

And why, when there were so many parts of a man, did not God make the woman out of some other part rather than out of one of his ribs? Again, of which rib did he make her?

And this question would hold even if we were to say, that he had only spoken of two ribs; but in truth he has not specified their number. Was it then the right rib, or the left rib?

Again, if he filled up the place of the other with flesh, was not the one which he left also made of flesh? and indeed our ribs are like sisters, and akin in all their parts, and they consist of flesh.

What then are we to say? ordinary custom calls the ribs the strength of a man; for we say that a man has ribs, which is equivalent to saying that he has vigour; and we say that a wrestler is a man with strong ribs, when we mean to express that he is strong: and we say that a harp player has ribs, instead of saying that he has energy and power in his singing.

Now that this has been premised we must also say, that the mind, while naked and free from the entanglement of the body (for our present discussion is about the mind, while it is as yet entangled in nothing) has many powers, namely, the possessive power, the progenitive power, the power of the soul, the power of reason, the power of comprehension, and part of others innumerable both in their genus and species.

Now the possessive power is common to it with other inanimate things, with stocks and stones, and it is shared by the things in us, which are like stones, namely, by our bones.

And natural power extends also over plants: and there are parts in us which have some resemblance to plants, namely, our nails and our hair: and nature is a habit already put in motion, but the soul is a habit which has taken to itself, in addition, imagination and impetuosity; and this power also is possessed by man in common with the irrational animals; and our mind has something analogous to the soul of an irrational animal.

Again, the power of comprehension is a peculiar property of the mind; and the reasoning power is perhaps common to the more divine natures, but is especially the property of the mortal nature of man: and this is a twofold power, one kind being that in accordance with which we are rational creatures, partaking of mind; and the other kind being that faculty by which we converse.

There is also another power in the soul akin to these, the power of sensation, of which we are now speaking; for Moses is describing nothing else on this occasion except the formation of the external sense, according to energy and according to reason. ~Philo the Jew, Chapter VII, Verses 19-24

For immediately after the creation of the mind it was necessary that the external sense should be created, as an assistant and ally of the mind; therefore God having entirely perfected the first, proceeded to make the second, both in rank and power, being a certain created form, an external sense according to energy, created for the perfection and completion of the whole soul, and for the proper comprehension of such subject matter as might be brought before it. How then was this second thing created?

As Moses himself says in a subsequent passage, when the mind was gone to sleep: for, in real fact, the external sense then comes forward when the mind is asleep.

And again, when the mind is awake the outward sense is extinguished; and the proof of this is, that when we desire to form an accurate conception of anything, we retreat to a desert place, we shut our eyes, we stop up our ears, we discard the exercise of our senses; and so, when the mind rises up again and awakens, the outward sense is put an end to.

Let us now consider another point, namely, how the mind goes to sleep: for when the outward sense is awakened and has become excited, when the sight beholds any works of painting or of sculpture beautifully wrought, is not the mind then without anything on which to exercise its functions, contemplating nothing which is a proper subject for the intellect? What more?

When the faculty of hearing is attending to some melodious combination of sound, can the mind turn itself to the contemplation of its proper objects? by no means.

And it is much more destitute of occupation, when taste rises up and eagerly devotes itself to the pleasures of the belly; on which account Moses, being alarmed lest some day or other the mind might not merely go to sleep, but might become absolutely dead, says in another place, “And it shall be to you a peg in your girdle; and it shall be, that when you sit down you shall dig in it, and, heaping up earth, shall cover your shame.”

Speaking symbolically, and giving the name of peg to reason which digs up secret affairs; and he bids him to bear it upon the affection with which he ought to be birded, and not to allow it to slacken and become loosened; and this must be done when the mind, departing from the intense consideration of objects perceptible by the intellect, is brought down to the passions, and sits down, yielding to, and being guided by, the necessities of the body: and this is the case when the mind, being absorbed in luxurious associations, forgets itself, being subdued by the things which conduct it to pleasure, and so we become enslaved, and yield ourselves up to unconcealed impurity.

But if reason be able to purify the passion, then neither when we drink do we become intoxicated, nor when we eat do we become indolent through satiety, but we feast soberly without indulging in folly.

Therefore, the awakening of the outward senses is the sleep of the mind; and the awakening of the mind is the discharge of the outward senses from all occupation. Just as when the sun arises the brightness of all the rest of the stars becomes invisible; but when the sun sets, they are seen.

And so, like the sun, the mind, when it is awakened, overshadows the outward senses, but when it goes to sleep it permits them to shine.  ~Philo the Jew, Chapter VIII, Verse 25-30

After this preface we must now proceed to explain the words: “The Lord God,” says Moses, “cast a deep trance upon Adam, and sent him to sleep.” He speaks here with great correctness, for a trance and perversion of the mind is its sleep.

And the mind is rendered beside itself when it ceases to be occupied about the things perceptible only by the intellect which present themselves to it.

And when it is not energizing with respect to them it is asleep.

And the expression, “it is in a trance,” is very well employed, as it means that it is perverted and changed, not by itself, but by God, who presents to it, and brings before it, and sends upon it the change which occurs to it.   ~Philo the Jew, Chapter, IX, Verse  31

“And he brought her to Adam. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.”

God leads the external sense, existing according to energy, to the mind; knowing that its motion and apprehension must turn back to the mind.

But the mind, perceiving the power which it previously had (and which, while it was existing according to habit was in a state of tranquility), now have to become a complete operation and energy, and to be in a state of motion, marvels at it, and utters an exclamation, saying that it is not unconnected with it, but very closely akin to it.

For Adam says, “This now is bone of my bone;” that is to say, This is power of my power; for bone is here to be understood as a symbol of strength and power.

And it is, he adds, suffering of my sufferings; that is, it is flesh of my flesh. For every thing which the external sense suffers, it endures not without the support of the mind; for the mind is its fountain, and the foundation on which it is supported.

It is also worth while to consider why Adam added the word “now,” for he says, “This now is bone of my bone.” The explanation is, external sensation exists now, having its existence solely with reference to the present moment.

For the mind touches three separate points of time; for it perceives present circumstances, and it remembers past events, and it anticipates the future.

But the external sensations have neither any anticipation of future events, nor are they subject to any feeling resembling expectation or hope, nor have they any recollection of past circumstances; but are by nature capable only of being affected by that which moves them at the moment, and is actually present.

As, for example, the eye is made white by a white appearance presented to it at the moment, but it is not affected in any manner by that which is not present to it.

But the mind is agitated also by that which is not actually present, but which may be past; in which cast it is affected by its recollection of it; or it may be future, in which case it is, indeed, the influence of hope and expectation. ~Philo the Jew, Chapter XII, Verse 40-43

“And she shall be called woman.” This is equivalent to saying, On this account the outward sensation shall be called woman, because it is derived from man who sets it in motion. He says “she;” why, then, is the expression “she” used?

Why, because there is also another kind of outward sensation, not derived from the mind, but having been created, at the same moment with it.

For there are, as I have said before, two different kinds of outward sensation; the one kind existing according to habit, and the other according to energy.

Now, the kind existing according to habit is not derived from the man, that is to say from the mind, but is created at the same time with him. For the mind, as I have already shown, when it was created was created with many faculties and habits; namely, with the faculty and habit of reasoning, and of existing, and of promoting what is like itself, as also with that of receiving impressions from the outward senses.

But the outward sensation, which exists according to energy, is derived from the mind.

For it is extended from the outward sensation which exists in it according to habit, so as to become the same outward sense according to energy.

So that this second kind of outward sense is derive from the mind, and exists according to motion. And he is but a foolish person who thinks that any thing is in true reality made out of the mind, or out of itself.

Do you not see that even in the case of Rachel (that is to say of outward sensation) sitting upon the images, while she thought that her motions came from the mind, he who saw her reproved her.

For she says, “Give me my children, and if you give them not to me I shall die.”

And he replied: “Because, O mistaken woman, the mind is not the cause of any thing, but he which existed before the mind; namely God.”

On which account he adds: “Am I equal to God who has deprived you of the fruit of your womb?”

But that it is God who creates men, he will testify in the case of Leah, when he says, “But the Lord, when he saw that Leah was hated, opened her womb. But Rachel was barren.”

But it is the especial property of man to open the womb. ~Philo the Jew, Chapter XIII, Verse 44-47

“And they were both naked, both Adam and his wife, and they were not ashamed; but the serpent was the most subtle of all the beasts that were upon the earth, which the Lord God had made: the mind is naked, which is clothed neither with vice nor with virtue, but which is really stripped of both: just as the soul of an infant child, which has no share in either virtue or vice, is stripped of all coverings, and is completely naked: for these things are the coverings of the soul, by which it is enveloped and concealed, good being the garment of the virtuous soul, and evil the robe of the wicked soul.

And the soul is made naked in these ways. Once, when it is in an unchangeable state, and is entirely free from all vices, and has discarded and laid aside the covering of all the passions.

With reference to this Moses also pitches his tabernacle outside of the camp, a long way from the camp, and it was called the tabernacle of testimony. And this has some such meaning as this: the soul which loves God, having put off the body and the affections which are dear to it, and having fled a long way from them, chooses a foundation and a sure ground for its abode, and a lasting settlement in the perfect doctrines of virtue; on which account testimony is borne to it by God, that it loves what is good, “for it was called the tabernacle of testimony,” says Moses, and he has passed over in silence the giver of the name, in order that the soul, being excited, might consider who it is who thus beareth witness to the dispositions which love virtue.

On this account the high priest “will not come into the holy of holies clad in a garment reaching to the feet; but having put off the robe of opinion and vain fancy of the soul, and having left that for those who love the things which are without, and who honour opinion in preference to truth, will come forward naked, without colours or any sounds, to make an offering of the blood of the soul, and to sacrifice the whole mind to God the Saviour and Benefactor; and certainly Nadab and Abihu,who came near to God, and left this mortal life and received a share of immortal life, are seen to be naked, that is, free from all new and mortal opinion; for they would not have carried it in their garments and borne it about, if they had not been naked, having broken to pieces every bond of passion and of corporeal necessity, in order that their nakedness and absence of corporeality might not be adulterated by the accession of atheistical reasonings; for it may not be permitted to all men to behold the secret mysteries of God, but only to those who are able to cover them up and guard them; on which account Mishael and his partisans concealed them not in their own garments, but in those of Nadab and Abihu, who had been burnt with fire and taken upwards; for having stripped off all the garments that covered them, they brought their nakedness before God, and left their tunics about Mishael.

But clothes belong to the irrational part of the animal, which overshadow the rational part. Abraham also was naked when he heard,  “Come forth out of thy land and from thy kindred;” and as for Isaac, he indeed was not stripped, but was at all times naked and incorporeal; for a commandment was given to him not to go down into Egypt, that is to say, into the body. Jacob also was fond of the nakedness of the soul, for his smoothness is nakedness, “for Esau was a hairy man, but Jacob,” says Moses, “was a smooth man,” on which account he was also the husband of Leah. ~Philo the Jew, Chapter XV, Verse 53-59

The third description of stripping naked is the middle one, according to which the mind is destitute of reason, having no share in either virtue or vice; and it is with reference to this kind of nakedness which an infant also is partaker of, that the expression is used which says, “And the two were naked, both Adam and his wife;” and the meaning of it is this, neither did their intellect understand, nor did their outward senses perceive this nakedness; but the former was devoid of all power of understanding, and naked; and the latter was destitute of all perception. ~Philo the Jew, Chapter XVI, Verse  64

“And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God in the midst of the trees of the Paradise.”

A doctrine is introduced here which teaches us that the wicked man is inclined to run away. For the proper city of wise men is virtue, and he who is incapable of becoming a partaker in that is driven from his city; and no bad man is capable of becoming a partaker of it; therefore the bad man alone is driven away and becomes a banished man.

But he who is banished from virtue is at once concealed from the face of God, for if the wise men are visible to God, inasmuch as they are dear to him, it follows plainly that the wicked are all concealed from him, and enveloped in darkness, as being enemies and adversaries to right reason.

Now that the wicked man is destitute of a city and destitute of a home, Moses testifies in speaking of that hairy man who was also a man of varied wickedness, Esau, when he says, “But Esau was skilful in hunting, and a rude man.”

For it is not natural for vice which is inclined to be subservient to the passions to inhabit the city of virtue, inasmuch as it is devoted to the pursuit of rudeness and ignorance, with great folly.

But Jacob, who is full of wisdom, is both a citizen and one who dwells in a house, that is to say, in virtue. Accordingly Moses says of him, “But Jacob is a man without guile, dwelling in a house;” On which account also “the midwives, since they feared God made themselves houses.”

For they, being inclined to seek out the secret mysteries of God, one of which was that the male children should be preserved alive, build up the actions of virtue, in which they had previously determined to dwell.

Accordingly, in this account it is shown how the wicked man is destitute of a city and destitute of a home: inasmuch as he is an exile from virtue, but that the virtuous man has a city and is allotted a home, namely wisdom. ~Philo, Allegorical Interpretation III, Chapter I, Verse 1-3

“And the Lord God called Adam, and said unto him, where art thou?”

Why now is Adam, alone called, when his wife also was concealed together with him? In the first place we must say that the mind is summoned, and asked where it is.

When it is converted, and reproved for its offence, not only is it summoned itself but all its faculties are also summoned, for without its faculties the mind by itself is found to be naked, and to be absolutely nothing, and one of its faculties is also the outward sense, that is to say the woman.

The woman therefore, that is the outward sense is also summoned together with Adam, that is the mind, but separately God does not summon her.

Why not? Because being destitute of reason she is incapable of being convicted by herself. For neither can sight, nor hearing, nor any one of the other external senses be taught, and moreover none of them are capable of receiving the comprehension of things; for the Creator has not made them capable of distinguishing anything but bodies only.

But the mind is able to receive teaching: on account of which fact God calls that, but not the external senses. ~Philo, Allegorical Interpretation XVI, Chapter I, Verse 49-50

The other answer may be of this kind; that which Adam himself uses. “Hear where I am,” where those are who are unable to see God; where those are who do not listen to God; where those are who endeavour to conceal themselves from him who is the author of all things: where those are who flee from virtue, where those are who are destitute of wisdom, where those are who are alarmed and tremble because of the unmanliness and cowardice of their souls.

For when Adam says, “I heard thy voice in the paradise and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself,” he exhibits all the qualities enumerated above, as I have shown, more at length, in the former books of this treatise. ~Philo, Allegorical Interpretation XVI, Chapter XVII, Verse 54

And yet Adam is not now naked. It has been said a little before that “they made themselves girdles,” but by this expression Moses intends to teach you that he is not meaning here to speak of the nakedness of the body, but of that in respect of which the mind is found to be wholly deficient in and destitute of virtue.

“The woman,” says Adam, “whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.”

The expression here is very accurate, inasmuch as he does not say, “The woman whom you gave to me,” but “The woman whom you gave to be with me.”

For you did not give me the outward senses as a possession, but you left them free and unimpeded, and in some sort not at all yielding to the injunctions of my intellect. If therefore the mind were to be inclined to command the sight not to see, it nevertheless would see any subject which came before it. And the hearing also will in every case apprehend any sound which falls upon it, even if the mind in its jealousy were to command it not to hear.

And again the smell will smell every scent which reaches it, even if the mind were to forbid it to apprehend it.

On this account it is that God did not give the outward sense to the creature, but to be with the creature. And the meaning of this is, the inward sense in conjunction with our mind knows every thing, and does so too at the same moments with the mind.

As for instance the sense of sight in conjunction and simultaneously with the mind strikes upon the subject of sight; for the eye sees the substance, and immediately the mind comprehends the thing seen, that is black or white, or pale, or red, or triangular, or quadrangular, or round, or that is of any other colour or shape as the case may be.

And so again the sense of hearing is affected by a sound, and with the sense of hearing the mind is also affected; and the proof of it is this; the mind immediately distinguishes the character of the voice, that it is thin, or that it has substance, or that it is melodious and tuneful; or, on the other hand, that it is out of tune and inharmonious.

And the same is found to be the case in respect of the rest of the inward senses. And very appropriately do we see that Adam adds this assertion, “She gave me of the tree;” but he gives an habitation made of wood and perceptible by the outward senses to the mind except that outward sense itself. For what gave to the mind to be able to distinguish body, or whiteness?

Was it not the sight? And what enabled it to distinguish sounds? Was it not the hearing? What, again, endowed it with the faculty of judging of smells?

Was it not the sense of smell?

What enabled it to decide upon flavours? Was it not the taste? What invested it with the power of distinguishing between rough and smooth? Was it not the touch?

Correctly, therefore, and with complete truth was it said by the mind, that it was the outward sense alone which gave me the power to comprehend the corporeal substance. ~Philo, Allegorical Interpretation XVIII, Chapter XVII, Verse 55-58

And God said to the woman, “What is this that thou hast done?”

And she said, “The serpent beguiled me and I did eat.”

God asks one question of the outward sense, and she replies to a different one. For he is putting a question which has reference to the man; but she in her reply speaks not of the man but of herself, saying, “I ate,” not I gave.

May we then by the use of allegory solve the question which was here put, and show that the woman gave a felicitous and correct answer to the question?

For it follows of necessity that when she had eaten, her husband did also eat, for when the outward sense striking upon its object is filled with its appearance, then immediately the mind joins it and takes its share of it, and is in a manner made perfect by the nourishment which it receives form it.

This therefore is what she says, I unintentionally gave it to my husband, for while I was applying myself to what was presented to me, he, being very easily and quickly moved, impressed its appearance and image upon himself. ~Philo, Allegorical Interpretation III, Chapter XIX, Verse 59-60

But take notice that the man says that the woman gave it to him; but that the woman does not say that the serpent gave it to her, but that he beguiled her; for it is the especial property of the outward sense to give, but it is the attribute of pleasure which is of a diversified and serpent-like nature to deceive and to beguile.

For instance, the outward sense presents to the mind the image of what is white by nature, or black, or hot, or cold, not deceiving it, but acting truly; for the subjects of the outward sense are of such a character, as also is the imagination which presents itself to man from them, in the case of the great majority of men who do not carry their knowledge of natural philosophy to any accurate extent.

But pleasure does not present to the mind that the subject is such as it is in reality, but deceives it by its artifice, thrusting that, in which there is no advantage, into the class of things profitable.

For as we may at times see ill-looking courtezans dyeing and painting their faces in order to conceal the plainness of their countenances, so also may we see the intemperate man acting who is inclined to the pleasures of the belly.

He looks upon great abundance of wine and a luxurious store of food as a good thing, though he is injured by them both in his body and in his soul. Again, we may often see lovers madly eager to be loved by the ugliest of women, because pleasure deceives them and all but affirms positively to them that beauty of form, and delicacy of complexion, and healthiness of flesh, and symmetry of limb, exists in those who have the exact contraries to all these qualifications.

Accordingly, they overlook those who are truly possessed of perfectly irreproachable beauty, and waste away with love for such creatures as I have mentioned.

Every kind of deceit therefore is closely connected with pleasure; and every kind of gift with the outward sense: for the one bewilders the mind with sophistry and misleads it, representing to it anything that comes before it, not in the character which really belongs to it, but in one that does not.

But the outward sense presents bodies, plainly as they are according to their real nature, without any device or artifice. ~Philo, Allegorical Interpretation III, Chapter XX, Verse 61-64

“And the Lord God said to the serpent, Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed above all cattle and every beats of the field; upon thy breast and upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity in the midst between thee and between the woman, and in the midst between thy seed and between her seed, He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

What is the reason why he curses the serpent without allowing him to make any defence, when in another place he commands that “both the parties between whom there is any dispute shall be heard,” and that one shall not be believed till the other has been heard?

And indeed in this case you see that he did not give a prejudged belief to Adam’s statement against his wife; but he gave her also an opportunity of defending herself, when he asked her, “Why hast thou done this?”

But she confessed that she had erred through the deceitfulness of serpent-like and diversified pleasure.

Why, therefore, when the woman had said, “The serpent deceived me,” did he forbid the putting of the question to the serpent whether it was he who had thus deceived her; and why did he thus appoint him to be condemned without trial and without defence?

We must say, therefore, that the external senses are not a peculiar property of either bad or good men, but that they are of an intermediate nature, and common to both the wise man and the fool, and when they are found in the fool, they are bad; but when they are found in the wise man, they are good.

Very naturally therefore, since it has a nature which is not necessarily and intrinsically evil, but one which being capable of either character, inclines at different times and under different circumstances towards either extremity, it is not condemned till it has itself confessed that it followed the worse inclination.

But the serpent, that is pleasure, is of itself evil. On this account it is absolutely not found at all in the virtuous man; but the wicked man alone enjoys it. Very properly therefore does God curse it before it has time to make any defence, inasmuch as it has no seed of virtue within it, but is at all times and in all places blameable and polluting. ~Philo, Allegorical Interpretation III, Chapter XXI, Verse 65-67

And again, the expression, “between thy seed and between her seed,” is uttered with strict natural propriety, for all seed is the beginning of generation.

But the beginning of pleasure is not passion, but an emotional impulse of the outward sense, set in motion by the mind. For from this, as from a fountain, the faculties of the outward senses are derived, especially, according to the most sacred Moses, who says that the woman was formed out of Adam, that is to say, the outward sense was formed out of the mind.

The part, therefore, that pleasure acts towards the outward sense, passion also acts towards the mind. So that, since the two former are at enmity with one another, the two latter must likewise be in a state of hostility. ~Philo, Allegorical Interpretation III, Chapter  LXV, Verse 85

Let us now see what account Moses gives of the mind itself, when it is set in motion in a way contrary to right reason.

And God said unto Adam, “Because thou hast listened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee not to eat, because thou hast eaten of it, cursed is the earth in thy actions.”

It is a most mischievous thing, therefore, for the mind to be swayed by the outward senses, but not for the outward senses to be guided by the mind. For it is at all times proper that that which is better should rule, and that that which is worse should be ruled.

And the mind is better than the outward senses.

As, therefore, when the charioteer has his horses under command and guides the animals with the rein, the chariot is guided wherever he pleases; but if they become stiff, and get the better of the charioteer, he is often dragged out of his road, and sometimes it even happens that the beasts themselves are borne by the impetuosity of their course into a pit, and everything is carried away in a ruinous manner.

And, as a ship holds on her right course when the pilot has the helm in his hand and steers her, and she is obedient to her rudder, but the vessel is upset when some contrary wind descends upon the waves and the whole sea is occupied by billows; so when the mind, which is the charioteer or pilot of the soul, retains the mastery over the entire animal, as a ruler does over a city, the life of the man proceeds  rightly.

But when the outward sense, which is devoid of reason, obtains the supremacy, then a terrible confusion overtakes the man, as might happen if a household of slaves were to conspire and to set upon their master.

For then, if one must tell the truth, the mind is set fire to and burnt, the outward senses handling the flame and placing the objects of their operation beneath, as fuel.

And the expression, “And thou eatest of the tree of which alone I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat,” is equivalent to saying, You made a covenant with wickedness, which you ought to have repelled with all your strength.

On this account, “Cursed art thou;” not, cursed is the earth for thy works. What, now, is the reason of this?

That serpent, pleasure, which is an irrational elevation of the soul, this is intrinsically accursed in its own nature; and being such, attaches itself only to the wicked man, and to no good man.

But Adam is the intermediate sort of mind which at one time if investigated is found to be good, and at another time bad; for inasmuch as it is mind, it is not by nature either good or bad, but from contact with virtue or with vice, it frequently changes for the better or for the worse;  therefore it very naturally is not accursed of its own nature, as neither being itself wickedness nor acting according to wickedness, but the earth is accursed in its works: for the actions which proceed from the entire soul, which he calls the earth, are open to blame and devoid of innocence, inasmuch as he does everything in accordance with vice. In reference to which fact God adds, that “In sorrow thou shalt eat of it.”

Which is equivalent to saying, you shall enjoy your soul in sorrow; for the wicked man does enjoy his own soul with great pain the whole of his life, having no legitimate cause for joy; for such cause is only produced by justice and prudence, and by the virtues which are enthroned as companions with them. ~Philo, Allegorical Interpretation III, Chapter  LXXXVIII, Verse 246-247

“And God cast out Adam, and placed him opposite the paradise of happiness; and he placed there the cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

In this place Moses uses the expression, “He cast out,” but previously he said, “He sent out,” not using the various expressions at random, but being well aware with reference to what parts he was employing them with propriety and felicity.

Now a man who is sent out is not hindered from returning at some subsequent time; but he who is cast out by God must endure an eternal banishment, for it is granted to him who has not yet been completely and violently taken prisoner by wickedness, to repent, and so to return back to virtue, from which he has been driven, as to his great country; but he who is weighed down by, and wholly subjected to, a violent and incurable disease, must bear his misfortunes for ever, being for all times unalterably cast out into the place of the wicked, that there he may endure unmitigated and everlasting misery.

Since we see Agar, by whom we understand the middle kind of instruction which is confined to the encyclical system, twice going forth from Sarah, who is the symbol of predominant virtue, and once returning back by the same road, inasmuch as after she had fled the first time, without being banished by her mistress, she returned to see her master’s house, having been met by an angel, as the holy scriptures read: but the second time, she is utterly cast out, and is never to be brought back again. ~Philo, Cherubim, Chapter I, Verse 1-3

And they shall undergo eternal banishment, God himself confirming their expulsion, when he bids the wise man obey the word spoken by Sarah, and she urges him expressly to cast out the serving woman and her son; and it is good to be guided by virtue, and especially so when it teaches such lessons as this, that the most perfect natures are very greatly different from the mediocre habits, and that wisdom is a wholly different thing from sophistry; for the one labours to devise what is persuasive for the establishment of a false opinion, which is pernicious to the soul, but wisdom, with long meditation on the truth by the knowledge of right reason, bring real advantage to the intellect.

Why then do we wonder if God once for all banished Adam, that is to say, the mind out of the district of the virtues, after he had once contracted folly, that incurable disease, and if he never permitted him again to return, when he also drives out and banishes from wisdom and from the wise man every sophist, and the mother of sophists, the teaching that is of elementary instruction, while he calls the names of wisdom and of the wise man Abraham, and Sarah. ~Philo, Cherubim, Chapter III, Verse 9-10

“And Adam knew his wife, and she conceived and brought forth 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.”

These men, to whose virtue the Jewish legislation bears testimony, he does not represent as knowing their wives, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and if there are any others of like zeal with them; for since we say, that woman is to be understood symbolically as the outward sense, and since knowledge consists in alienation from the outward sense and from the body, it is plain that the lovers of wisdom must repudiate the outward sense rather than choose it, and is not this quite natural?

for they who live with these men are in name indeed wives, but in fact virtues. Sarah is princess and guide, Rebecca is perseverance in what is good; Leah again is virtue, fainting and weary at the long continuance of exertion, which every foolish man declines, and avoids, and repudiates; and Zipporah, the wife of Moses, is virtue, mounting up from earth to heaven, and arriving at a just comprehension of the divine and blessed virtues which exist there, and she is called a bird.

But that we may describe the conception and the parturition of virtues, let the superstitious either stop their ears, or else let them depart; for we are about to teach those initiated persons who are worthy of the knowledge of the most sacred mysteries, the whole nature of such divine and secret ordinances.

And those who are thus worthy are they who, with all modesty,  genuine piety, of that sort which scorns to disguise itself under any false colours.

But we will not act the part of hierophant or expounder of sacred mysteries to those who are afflicted with the incurable disease of pride of language and quibbling expressions, and juggling tricks of manners, and who measure sanctity and holiness by no other standard. ~Philo, Of Cain and His Birth, Chapter XII, Verse 40-42


Page 748. B. “And God brought all the animals to Adam, to see what he would call them;” for God does not doubt, but since he has given mind to man, the first born and most excellent of his creatures, according to which he, being endowed with knowledge, is by nature enabled to reason; he excites him, as an instructor excites his pupil, to a display of his powers, and he contemplates the most excellent offspring of his soul.  Page 748

But as the first man who was produced out of the earth was also created at the same season of the year, he whom the divine writer calls Adam, because in fact it was on every account proper that the grandfather, or original parent, or father of the human race, or by whatever name we may choose to designate that original founder of our kind, should be created at the season of the vernal equinox, when all earthly productions were full of their fruit; but the vernal equinox takes place in the seventh month, which is also called the first in other passages, with reference to a different idea.  ~Philo, Answers to Genesis II, 748B, Verse 17

Carl Jung and Philo the Jew:

On June 23, 1954, Jung wrote to James Kirsch, “The gnosis from which John the Evangelist emanated, is definitely Jewish, but its essence is Hellenistic, in the style of Philo Judaeus, the founder of the teachings of the logos” (JA). ~The Red Book, Page 268, Footnote 48

A (Anchorite): “Unfortunately I am in no position to tell you everything I know about it. But at least I will try to make the elements clear to you.

Because of your ignorance I will therefore begin elsewhere this time: What you need to know is that before I became acquainted with Christianity; I was a rhetorician and philosopher in the city of Alexandria.

I had a great throng of students, including many Romans, a few barbarians, and also some Gauls and Britons.

I taught them not only the history of Greek philosophy but also the new systems, among them the system of Philo, whom we call the Jew He was a clever head, but fantastically abstract, as the Jews are wont to be when they devise systems; moreover he was a slave of his own words. I added my own, and wove an atrocious web of words in which I ensnared not only my listeners, but also myself.

We rioted terribly among words and names, our own miserable creatures, and accorded divine potency to them. Yes, we even believed in their reality; and believed that we possessed the divine and had committed it to words.”

I (Jung): “But Philo Judeaus, if this is who you mean, was a serious philosopher and a great thinker. Even John the Evangelist included some of Philo’s thoughts in the gospel.”

A: “You are right. It is to Philo’s credit that he furnished language like so many other philosophers. He belongs to the language artists. But words should not become Gods.”

I: “I fail to understand you here. Does it not say in the gospel according to John: God was the Word. It appears to make quite explicit the point which you have just now rejected.”

A (Anchorite): “Guard against being a slave to words. Here is the gospel: read from that passage where it says: In him was the life. What does John say there?”

I (Jung): “‘And life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not understood it. But it became a person sent from God, by the name of John, who came as a witness and to be a witness of the light. The genuine light, which illuminates each person, came into the world: He was in the world, and the world became through him, and the world did not recognize him.’ – That is what I read here. But what do you make of this?”

A: “I ask you, was this [Logos] a concept, a word? It was a light, indeed a man, and lived among men.

You see, Philo only lent John the word so that John would have at his disposal the word ‘Logos:’ alongside the word ‘light’ to describe the son of man. John gave to living men the meaning of the Logos, but Philo gave Logos as the dead concept that usurped life, even the divine life. Through this the dead does not gain life, and the living is killed. And this was also my atrocious error.”

I: “I see what you mean. This thought is new to me and seems worth consideration. Until now it always seemed to me / as if it were exactly that which was meaningful in John, namely that the son of man is the Logos, in that he thus elevates the lower to the higher spirit, to the world of the Logos. But you lead me to see the matter conversely, namely that John brings the meaning of the Logos down to man.”

A: I learned to see that John has in fact even done the great service of having brought the meaning of the Logos up to man.”

I: “You have peculiar insights that stretch my curiosity to the utmost. How is that? Do you think that the human stands higher than the Logos”

A: “I want to answer this question within the scope of your understanding: if the human God had not become important above everything, he would not have appeared as the son in the flesh, but in the Logos.”

I: “That makes sense to me, but I confess that this view is surprising to me. It is especially astonishing to me that you, a Christian anchorite, have come to such views. I would not have expected this of you.” ~The Anchorite and Dr. Jung, The Red Book, Pages 268-269