Philo of Alexandria

By Jean Daniélou

An invaluable study of the Jewish Hellenistic philosopher Philo of Alexandria, a key figure in the history of religious thought of the New Testament era.

ISBN: 9780227174494


Jean Daniélou’s Philo of Alexandria illuminates the life and work of a key figure in the history of religious thought. Philo of Alexandria was a first-century Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who was born into a wealthy and prominent family in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt. Educated in both Jewish culture and Greek philosophy, Philo believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would distort the Jewish people’s perceptions of a God too complex to be understood in literal, human terms. He became one of the first religious thinkers to initiate a strong allegorical reading of Scripture. Jean Daniélou places Philo’s writing in context, detailing the remarkable events of the philosopher’s life, including a diplomatic mission to present himself before the Roman Emperor Caligula on behalf of the persecuted Jews of Alexandria. James Colbert’s English translation provides a highly accessible introduction to this important figure, a pioneer of biblical commentary whose work has had a lasting influence on Christian theology. It is essential reading for those interested in patristics, exegesis, or the history of religious and philosophical thought.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 200

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Jean Daniélou, SJ (1905-74) was a Jesuit theologian, historian , cardinal, and a member of the Académie française. He is the author of several books on the early church.

James Colbert is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. He has published translations from French, Spanish, and Italian. His particular interests are medieval philosophy and Étienne Gilson.


Translator’s Preface
Author’s Foreword

1. Life of Philo
2. Philo and His Time
3. The Bible at Alexandria
4. Philo’s Exegesis
5. Philo’s Theology
6. Philo’s Spirituality
7. Philo and the New Testament



Endorsements and Reviews

James Colbert has produced an exceptionally readable and thoroughly engaging English translation of Jean Daniélou’s Philo of Alexandria. This clear and idiomatic translation further illuminates Philo’s beliefs, contributions, and place in Judaic and early Christian thinking, and thus his importance to both.
Harry Semerjian, Professor Emeritus, Fitchburg State University, Massachusetts

This is a fine book. Colbert brings to [this] manuscript not only his own virtuosity in philosophy and languages but his keen cognizance that philosophical and translational issues appear throughout under the theological issues. Additionally, his work exhibits the character that all good linguistic and theological thinking should exhibit.
Anthony Serafini, Centenary College, New Jersey