Paris: Lutetiae Parisiorum, 1640. Folio, contemporary blind-stamped vellum. Greek and Latin text in parallel. Moderate wear to the binding, from the library of the Bishop of Vermont, generally sound otherwise. The Opera of the Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher Philo Judaeus (20 BC-50 AD), who blended Greek philosophy and Judaism. Philo used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy. His method followed the practices of both Jewish exegesis and Stoic philosophy. His allegorical exegesis was important for several Christian Church Fathers, but he has barely any reception history within Rabbinic Judaism. He believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would stifle humanity's view and perception of a God too complex and marvelous to be understood in literal human terms. "In the Diaspora, Judaism was forced to come to terms with Hellenism in a manner that could be avoided in Palestine itself... There was a movement within Judaism that sought to show the compatibility between the ancient faith and the best of Hellenistic culture... The high point of this entire tradition was Philo of Alexandria... who sought to show that the best of pagan philosophy agreed with the Hebrew Scriptures" (Gonzalez I:13). According to Charles Duke Yonge, who translated this volume into English in the 19th century, these treatises prove Philo "deeply versed in Greek literature of every age and description, and of considerable skill in the sciences of music, geometry and astronomy... It is impossible to deny him the praise of acuteness and ingenuity, set off to their best advantage by neatness of language and felicity of expression." French scholar-printer Adrian Turnebe, who was both Royal Reader in Greek and directory of the Imprimerie Royale, uncovered a trio of Greek manuscripts in the king's library that he used to compile this volume.
(Inventory #: 18000)
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