THE WORLD OF IDEAS IN PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA AN INTERPRETATION OF DE OPIFICIO MUNDI 24-25 BY J. C. M. VAN WINDEN To Philo the one true source of philosophical activity is the Bible, and in particular its first five books, the Law. Moses, the Jewish lawgiver, has attained "the very summit of philosophy" (Opif. 8), and the only task of a philosopher is to study and to explain Moses' words, which embody a beauty of ideas transcending human capacity of speech and hearing (Opif. 4). In explaining Moses' words Philo makes use of his knowledge of Greek philosophy. And in explaining the creation story of Genesis he uses in particular Plato's 'creation story' as told in the Timaeus. In Tim. 28 Plato introduces the imagery of a craftsman who, looking at the eternal ideas, makes the sense-perceptible world. Philo explains the creation story of Genesis in such a manner that it depicts the making of two worlds, a world of ideas which he calls the kosmos noetos, and the sense-perceptible world, as we know it. Philo is quite well aware of the fact that such an interpretation of the Genesis text is not self-evident. That is why he
Vigiliae Christianae – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1983
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