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  • The Biblical Antiquities of PhiloPhilo
Andries Hendrik Potgieter Andries Pretorius FW Reitz General Louis Botha Gideon Jacobus Scheepers Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey Johanna Brandt Johannes Cornelius Lötter Koos De La Rey Pres MT Steyn Sarel Cilliers Siener van Rensburg

Debat oor Christendom en Godsdiens

The Biblical Antiquities of Philo

translated by M. R. James


Pseudo-Philo is the name commonly used for the unknown, anonymous author of Biblical Antiquities. This text is also commonly known today under the Latin title Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (Book of Biblical Antiquities), a title that is not found, per se, on the Latin manuscripts of Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities. Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities is preserved today in 18 complete and 3 fragmentary Latin manuscripts that date between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries CE. In addition, portions of Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities parallel material also found in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, a 14th century Hebrew composition. The Latin text of Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities circulated in some Latin collections of writings by Philo of Alexandria. Scholars have long recognized the pseudonymous character of the text now known as Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities. Primary in this regard is a vastly differing approach to and use of the Jewish Scriptures than that of Philo of Alexandria. For the sake of convenience and due to the lack of a better option, scholars continue to follow the lead of Philo scholar Leopold Cohn in calling the author “Pseudo-Philo.”

This volume "is a Bible history, reaching, in its present imperfect form, from Adam to the death of Saul. It has come to us in Latin manuscripts, and by accident the name of the Jewish philosopher of the first century, Philo, has been attached to it.

"Its importance lies in this, that it is a book of the first century - a product of the same school as the Fourth Book of Esdras and the Apocalypse of Baruch, and written, like them, in the years which followed the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. It is thus contemporary with some of the New Testament writings, and throws light upon them as well as upon the religious thought of the Jews of its time.".


Ch. 1.

Genealogy from Adam to Noah, with the names of the sons and daughters of the early patriarchs.

Ch. 2.

Genealogy from Cain to Lamech; the names of Cain's cities, short accounts of Jubal and Tubal, and the song of Lamech.

Ch. 3.

The Flood and the covenant with Noah, mainly in the words of Genesis, but with the addition of two important speeches of God.

Ch. 4.

The descendants of Shem, Ham and Japhet, and the territories occupied by them. The genealogy continued to Abraham. In this occur accounts of the first appearing of the rainbow, the prophecy of Milcah, and the beginning of divination.

Ch. 5.

The review and census of the descendants of Noah.

Ch. 6.

The Tower of Babel begun. Abraham's rescue from the fire.

Ch. 7.

Destruction of the Tower, and dispersion of the builders.

Ch. 8.

The genealogy from Abraham to the going down into Egypt. The names of Job's children.

Ch. 9.

The oppression in Egypt. Amram refuses to separate from his wife. Miriam's vision. The birth of Moses.

Ch.  10.

The plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea. Israel in the desert.

Ch. 11.

The giving of the Law. The Decalogue.

Ch. 12.

The Golden Calf.

Ch. 13.

The Tabernacle, and the institution of certain Feasts.

Ch. 14.

The numbering of the people.

Ch. 15.

The spies.

Ch. 16.


Ch. 17.

Aaron's Rod.

Ch. 18.


Ch. 19.

The farewell and death of Moses.

Ch. 20.

Joshua succeeds him. The spies sent to Jericho. Withdrawal of the manna, pillar of cloud, and fountain.

Ch. 21.

Joshua warned of his end: his prayer: he writes the Law upon stones and builds an altar.

Ch. 22.

The altar built by the tribes beyond Jordan. The sanctuary at Shiloh.

Ch. 23.

Joshua's last speech, with the story of Abraham's vision and of the giving of the Law.

Ch. 24.

His farewell and death.

Ch. 25.

Kenaz (Cenez) elected ruler by lot. Detection by the lot of sinners among the tribes. Their confessions: account of the Amorite idols.

Ch. 26.

God directs the disposal of the accursed objects: the sinners are burned. The commands of God are carried out: account of the twelve precious stones.

Ch. 27.

Kenaz's victory, single-handed, over the Amorites.

Ch. 28.

His last days: the speech of Phinehas: vision and death of Kenaz.

Ch. 29.

Zebul succeeds: an inheritance given to the daughters of Kenaz: a sacred treasury founded: death of Zebul.

Ch. 30.

Israel oppressed by Sisera. Deborah's speech.

Ch. 31.

The stars fight against Sisera: his death.

Ch. 32.

Deborah's hymn, with the description of the sacrifice of Isaac and the giving of the Law.

Ch. 33.

Last words and death of Deborah.

Ch. 34.

Aod, the wizard of Midian, seduces Israel by his sorceries.

Ch. 35.

The call of Gideon.

Ch. 36.

He defeats Midian: his sin and death.

Ch. 37.

Abimelech succeeds. [Gap in the text.] Parable of the trees. Death of Abimelech[Gap in the text.]

Ch. 38.

Jair apostatizes and is destroyed by fire.

Ch. 39.

Israel oppressed by Ammon. Jephthah is persuaded to help. His negotiations with Getal, King of Ammon: his vow: God's anger.

Ch. 40.

Seila, Jephthah's daughter: her readiness to die: her lamentation and death. Death of Jephthah.

Ch. 41.

The Judges Abdon (Addo) and Elon.

Ch. 42.

Manoah and his wife Eluma. Samson promised.

Ch. 43.

Birth, exploits and death of Samson.

Ch. 44.

Micah and his mother Dedila. The idols described. God's anger.

Ch. 45.

The Levite Bethac at Nob. The Benjamite outrage.

Ch. 46.

Israel attacks Benjamin and is defeated. The Lord's deceit.

Ch. 47.

Parable of the Lion, spoken by God in answer to Phinehas. Benjamin is defeated: names of the surviving chiefs. Death of Micah.

Ch. 48.

Departure of Phinehas from among men. Wives are found for the Benjamites. Conclusion of the period of the Judges.

Ch. 49.

Israel is at a loss for a ruler. Lots are cast in vain. Advice of Nethez. The lot falls on Elkanah, who refuses to be ruler. God promises Samuel.

Ch. 50.

Peninnah's reproaches to Hannah: Hannah's prayer.

Ch. 51.

Birth of Samuel: hymn of Hannah.

Ch. 52.

Sin of Hophni and Phinehas. Eli rebukes them, their refusal to repent.

Ch. 53.

Call of Samuel: Eli's submission to God's will.

Ch. 54.

The ark captured by the Philistines: Saul brings the news. Death of Eli and of his daughter-in-law.

Ch. 55.

Grief of Samuel. The ark and Dagon: the Philistines plagued: they take counsel as to the return of the ark: it is sent back.

Ch. 56.

The people ask for a king, prematurely. Saul comes to Samuel.

Ch. 57.

Samuel presents him to the people and he is made king.

Ch. 58.

LVIII. He is sent against Amalek, and spares Agag. Agag is slain, after begetting a son who is to be Saul's slayer.

Ch. 59.

Samuel anoints David: David's psalm: the lion and the bear.

Ch. 60.

Saul oppressed by an evil spirit: David's song.

Ch. 61.

David's first victory, over Midian. Goliath defies Israel: David slays him (story of Orpah and Ruth).

Ch. 62.

Saul's envy of David. David's parting with Jonathan: their farewell speeches and covenant.

Ch. 63.

The priests of Nob slain: God's sentence against Doeg. Death of Samuel.

Ch. 64.

Saul expels the sorcerers to make a name for himself: God's anger. The Philistines invade: Saul goes to Sedecla, the witch of Endor. Appearance and speech of Samuel.

Ch. 65.

Defeat of Saul: he summons the Amalekite (Edab, son of Agag) to kill him. The text ends abruptly in the midst of a message from Saul to David.

Philo of Alexandria (Philo Judaeus)

Philo Judaeus

Philo Judaeus

I am composed of body and soul, I seem to have mind, reason, sense, yet I find none of them my own. For where was my body prior to my birth, and whither will it go when I have departed? Where are the various states produced by the life stages of an illusory self? Where is the newborn babe, the child, the boy, the pubescent, the stripling, the bearded youth, the lad, the full-grown man? Whence came the soul, whither will it go, how long will it be our mate? Can we tell its essential nature? When did we acquire it? Prior to our birth? But we were not then in existence. What of it after death? But then we who are embodied, compounds endowed with quality, shall be no more, but shall hasten to our rebirth, to be with the unbodied, without composition and without quality. But now, inasmuch as we are alive, we are the dominated rather than the rulers, known rather than knowing. The soul knows us, though unknown by us, and imposes commands we are obliged to obey as wervants their mistress. And when it will, it will transact its divorce in court and depart, leaving our home desolate of life. If we press it to remain, it will dissolve our relationship. So subtle is its nature that it furnishes no handle to the body.”
― Philo of Alexandria