Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation

Introduction, Translation and Commentary


The Jewish exegete and philosopher Philo of Alexandria has long been famous for his allegorical treatises on the Greek Bible. The present volume contains the first translation and commentary in English on his treatise De agricultura ( On cultivation), which gives an elaborate allegorical interpretation of Genesis 9:20. Noah’s role as a cultivator is analysed in terms of the ethical and spiritual quest of the soul making progress towards its goal. The translation renders Philo’s baroque Greek into readable modern English. The commentary pays particular attention to the treatise’s structure, its biblical basis and its exegetical and philosophical contents. The volume will be valuable for the insights it gives into an unusual but highly influential method of biblical interpretation.
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Biographical Note

Albert C. Geljon teaches classical languages at the Christelijk Gymnasium in Utrecht, The Netherlands

David T. Runia is Master of Queen’s College and Professorial Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Review Quote

"The bar has been set high. One can only hope the next installments in this series will maintain similar standards. This work is both erudite and clear, and may serve, in the words of Philo: "beginners, those making progress and those who have reached perfection" (§159)."

Yakir Paz, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Academic libraries and scholars in areas of Classics, Jewish Studies, Biblical Studies, Patristic Studies.