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Erkki Koskenniemi

Erkki Koskenniemi


Philo's manner of quoting and referring to Greek poets has never been systematically investigated. This article shows how Philo often quotes Homer, but also Hesiod, Solon, Pindaros and Theognis. He knows the poets as well any Greek writer. In most cases, Philo quotes the verses exactly as we have them from other sources, preserving all the dialectic peculiarities. However, he may correct the quotation theologically, make a mistake or drop a line, and sometimes he might have learned a text that differed from ours. He often cleverly gives the words a new sense and makes them speak for his own view, following the manner of the Stoics. Philo's works allow us a glimpse the learned circles of the Alexandrian Jews. Philo had memorized poets in gymnasium. He hardly lost the contact to them after his early years, but allowed them to entertain him and his friends during his lifetime.

Greek Writers and Philosophers in Philo and Josephus

A Study of Their Secular Education and Educational Ideals


Erkki Koskenniemi

In Greek Writers and Philosophers in Philo and Josephus Erkki Koskenniemi investigates how two Jewish writers, Philo and Josephus, quoted, mentioned and referred to Greek writers and philosophers. He asks what this tells us about their Greek education, their contacts with Classical culture in general, and about the societies in which Philo and Josephus lived. Although Philo in Alexandria and Josephus in Jerusalem both had the possibility to acquire a thorough knowledge of Greek language and culture, they show very different attitudes. Philo, who was probably admitted to the gymnasium, often and enthusiastically refers to Greek poets and philosophers. Josephus on the other hand rarely quotes from their works, giving evidence of a more traditionalistic tendencies among Jewish nobility in Jerusalem.