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PHILO
Form: Gr. Philon.
The Jew. Born of a priestly family at Alexandria, about 25 B.C., he carefully studied the different branches of Greek culture, and, in particular, acquired a knowledge of the Platonic philosophy, while in no way abandoning the study of the Scriptures or the creed of his nation. In 39 A.D. he went to Rome as an emissary to the emperor Caligula in the interest of his fellow countrymen, whose religious feelings were offended by a decree ordering them to place the statue of the deified emperor in their synagogues. This embassy, which led to no result, is described by him in a work which is still extant, though in an incomplete form. Philo is the chief representative of the Graeco-Judaic philosophy. He wrote numerous Greek works in a style modelled on that of Plato. These are remarkable for moral earnestness, passionate enthusiasm, and vigour of thought. They include allegorical expositions of portions of the Scriptures, as well as works of ethical, historical, or political purport. Several of his works only survive in Armenian versions. His philosophy, especially his theology, is an endeavour to reconcile Platonism with Judaism.
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