RE: [asa] Philo on Genesis

From: gordon brown <Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU>
Date: Fri Jul 25 2008 - 16:16:47 EDT

On Thu, 24 Jul 2008, Dehler, Bernie wrote:

> "The unjust have female children."
> Interesting theory- until one has kids and has a female. My first two
> were girls, but the last two were males, so I must be getting better in
> my old age.
> Since I'm a male, my parents must have been behaving well when I was
> conceived. I come from a family of 12 (6 boys and 6 girls).
> ...Bernie

If I recall correctly, Philo made this statement in connection with his
interpretation of Gen. 6:1,2. It sounds pretty strange, but this passage
doesn't lack for having inspired theories that sound strange.

Gordon Brown (ASA member)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of gordon brown
> Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 8:18 PM
> To:
> Subject: [asa] Philo on Genesis
> I recently discovered that my church's library had a copy of the works
> of
> Philo. Philo (from about 20 B.C. to about 50 A.D.) was a Jewish author
> who
> lived in Alexandria. A rather cursory perusal of the portions about
> Genesis turned up some interesting observations. Since Philo was a Jew,
> it
> is not unexpected that many of his views would not agree with those of
> early Christian authors, although some agreement would not be
> surprising.
> Certainly some of his opinions would not hold up when viewed by someone
> who held the New Testament to be authoritative.
> Philo tended to see much allegory and symbolism in the Scriptures.
> Here are some interesting opinions that I noted in his works:
> Time had a beginning, but maybe not until the creation of light.
> The man created in Genesis 1 and the man created in Genesis 2 are
> different people. The former is the only one made in God's image.
> The human race has been degenerating from generation to generation.
> The Paradise (Eden) is figurative. Moses is speaking allegorically.
> The sons of God (Gen. 6:2,4) are angels.
> The unjust have female children.
> Philo shows evidence of having problems with the plural pronoun
> referring
> to God in Gen. 1:26 and 3:22. He also notes that wind does not dry up
> the
> ocean, and so he thinks that the wind in Gen. 8:1 might be the breath of
> God. (Compare this with Ambrose, who suggested that it was the Holy
> Spirit.)
> What really caught my attention was his lengthy discourses on the
> numbers
> in the Bible. They reminded me of Vernon Jenkins. He brought up
> numerical
> relationships and made statements about what various numbers symbolized.
> He was especially interested in the dimensions of Noah's ark. An example
> of what he did with numbers is what he presented about the number 120
> found in Gen. 6:3. Here are just some of his points.
> 120 is a triangular number.
> 120=64+56. 64 is both a cube and a square. It is the sum of the first
> eight odd numbers. (This is not independent of the fact that it is a
> square.) 56 is the double of a triangular number.
> 120 is also the sum of numbers related to several different geometric
> shapes.
> Philo also has symbolic meanings for all the divisors of 120.
> Some of Philo's views remind me of some that I have seen on this forum.
> Others I trust are not those of anyone on the ASA listserv.
> Gordon Brown (ASA member)

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Received on Fri Jul 25 16:17:56 2008

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