Thesis: Hermeticism Influenced Philo

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
billd89
Posts: 684
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:27 pm
Location: New England, USA

Thesis: Hermeticism Influenced Philo

Post by billd89 »

Tracking back to Reitzenstein?

Judaica: Festschrift zu Hermann Cohens siebzigstem Geburtstage [1912], p.315:
With the assumption of a far-reaching Jewish speculation before Philo, E. SCHWARTZ (1908) enters into a precarious contrast with certain results of more recent Philonic research. With it he again picks up the idea of earlier researchers, which we already thought eliminated, that the "Alexandrian philosophy of religion" was established and current long before Philo. And had Philo only been one representative among many others? SCHWARTZ comes back to that "phantom of a general Jewish theosophy."3 There is a difference, however, in that he does not, like GFRÖRER and DÄHNE, cite other products of Jewish-Hellenistic literature as evidence, but concludes from the example of the Therapeutae (among whom the Bible was interpreted allegorically, according to Philo) that Philonic spiritualism originated from such circles as that of the Therapeuts. However they have also been declared by GFRÖRER and DÄHNE to be representatives of the Alexandrian theosophy which already existed before Philo. But nothing useful can be inferred from Philo's description the content of the Bible exegesis of the Therapeuts and about their religious or philosophical views. As WENDLAND has shown, Philo has subordinated his philosophical views to the Therapeuts as motives for their contemplative life and asceticism. It is therefore a complete reversal of the facts when SCHWARTZ derives the spiritualism of Philo from the Therapeuts. He is trying in every way to depress Philo's meaning as much as possible and to present the entirety of the Alexandrian's teaching not as his very own, but as the product of pre-Philonic Jewish speculation.

3 WENDLAND, Die Therapeuten (Jahrb. f. klass. Philol. Suppl. 22, 736). The somewhat unclear sentence "that not only Hellenistic philosophies, but also Oriental theosophies, which up to now cannot be grasped with certainty, helped in this spiritualization, should become ... readily admitted." One would almost like to believe that SCHWARTZ wants to fall back on the unfortunate idea of older researchers who assumed the source of the "Alexandrian Theosophy" in ancient Eastern mystery-wisdom. Or is SCHWARTZ thinking about REITZENSTEIN's baseless hypothesis of Philo's influence by Hermetic writings?

User avatar
billd89
Posts: 684
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:27 pm
Location: New England, USA

Re: Thesis: Hermeticism Influenced Philo

Post by billd89 »

In Personal Religion in Egypt Before Christianity, W.M. Flinders Petrie wrote, p.79: “Hermetic works are in fact the scriptures of the Ascetics {e.g. Therapeutae}.” Petrie (1909) does not mention either Ménard or Delaunay, and his would appear to be the first academic work in the English language which attributed the Hermetica to Philo’s Jews.

Petrie (1909) ascribes the Hermetica to a period hundreds of years BEFORE the lifetime of Philo Judaeus. Ergo, Philo would have known or been influenced by the older Egyptian material, though Petrie doesn't explicitly make this connection -- that Therapeutae were the AUTHORS of the Hermetica.

The time period 1900-1910 is key to this debate, apparently.

Image
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2270
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Thesis: Hermeticism Influenced Philo

Post by andrewcriddle »

billd89 wrote: Wed Aug 10, 2022 11:27 am In Personal Religion in Egypt Before Christianity, W.M. Flinders Petrie wrote, p.79: “Hermetic works are in fact the scriptures of the Ascetics {e.g. Therapeutae}.” Petrie (1909) does not mention either Ménard or Delaunay, and his would appear to be the first academic work in the English language which attributed the Hermetica to Philo’s Jews.

Petrie (1909) ascribes the Hermetica to a period hundreds of years BEFORE the lifetime of Philo Judaeus. Ergo, Philo would have known or been influenced by the older Egyptian material, though Petrie doesn't explicitly make this connection -- that Therapeutae were the AUTHORS of the Hermetica.

The time period 1900-1910 is key to this debate, apparently.

Petrie is almost certainly wrong see e.g. Scott

Andrew Criddle
User avatar
billd89
Posts: 684
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:27 pm
Location: New England, USA

Re: Petrie is Mistaken, But...

Post by billd89 »

Yes, I am well aware of that. I am tracing the origins of a theory, not evaluating why it found no acceptance (I know it did not.)

Scott is so widely derided, disregarded by scholars, its unwise to cite him approvingly. I use his work, cautiously, because I'm not so narrow-minded and I can appreciate his 'alternative' nterpretations; on VERY Late-Dating the Hermetica, however, he is wrong.

That doesn't make Petrie's Early Dating correct either, obviously.
Post Reply