Saturday, February 07, 2009

Philo on Parents as Gods

In his study _The Jurisprudence of the Jewish Courts
in Egypt: Legal Administration by the Jews Under the
Early Roman Empire as Described by Philo Judaeus_ (New
Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1929) Erwin
R. Goodenough relates that Philo evidently depicts
parents as QEOI EMFANEIS since they "create" (as it
were) in the manner of Almighty God. The ancient
writer from Alexandria contends that parents are "gods
only to their own children" and that parenthood always
implies "divinity" or "a rank between the divine and
human," as De Specialibus Legibus 2.225 suggests. Cf.
De Decalogo 120 as well.

This data can be found on page 67 of Goodenough's

De Specialibus Legibus 2.225 states: "For parents
themselves are something between divine and human
nature, partaking of both; of human nature, inasmuch
as it is plain that they have been born and that they
will die; and of divine nature, because they have
engendered other beings, and have brought what did not
exist into existence: for, in my opinion, what God is
to the world, that parents are to their children;
since, just as God gave existence to that which had no
existence, they also, in imitation of his power, as
far at least as they were able, make the rest of
mankind everlasting."

I find it interesting that Philo could posit these
ideas without breaching his monotheistic stance.

Best regards,

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