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Re: orion-list Philo

Stephen Goranson writes:

> In Every Good Man is Free, Philo located Essenes in Palestine Syria, not
>  Egypt.

    That Philo asserts that certain anonymous potentates in Egypt (i.e. 
Flaccus and his cronies) had made unfounded charges against the Essenes it 
seems to me demonstrates Essene presence at Alexandria, despite Philo's 
assertion that the Essenes hailed from Syria.
    During the initial disturbances in 37/38 CE, the non-Jews at Alexandria 
had been very insulting towards Agrippa, who as newly appointed ruler of 
Syrian had passed through Alexandria on his way to Egypt.  It is possible 
that frictions were particularly high between Alexandrian Greeks and Syrian 
Jews.  The Syrian Jews whose presence in Alexandria was so troublesome may 
have been Essenes.  
    The London Papyrus 1912, contains the edict of Claudius in response to 
the troubles in Alexandria under Gaius Caligula and at Claudius' accession. 
This edict (line 96) contains a clause forbidding Jews from entering 
Alexandria from Syria or Egypt (i.e. the countryside).  The Greeks apparently 
considered Syrian and Egyptian Jews to have played a significant role in the 
problems at Alexandria.  Scholars consider it possible that these Jews were 
helping to arm the Alexandrians for revolt.   (As Josephus, Ant. 19.278 
reports, "Upon the death of Gaius, the Jews, who had been humiliated under 
his rule and grievously abused by the Alexandrians, took heart again and at 
once armed themselves.")  
    For the text of Gaius' edict, see H. Idris Bell, _Jews and Christians in 
Egypt:  The Jewish Troubles in Alexandria and the Athanasian Controversy_ 
(Oxford University Press, 1924).

>  And he wrote of potentates (plural) at various times over the country.

    One shouldn't read much into the plural, as Philo was obviously talking 
in generalities and not naming names.  Philo labels governor Flaccus a 
"potentate" (Flaccus 147).  When Philo wrote that "some of them" outdid wild 
beasts in savagery, torturing and killing their own subjects, he had some 
specific ruler in mind, i.e. Flaccus.  When he asserts that justice visited 
"them" with the same calamity, i.e. to be carved up alive, we are not to 
conclude that Philo knew several governors that met such a fate (!); in 
Flaccus he makes it clear that Flaccus' fate was the worst of any governor 
since Augustus.  

    Russell Gmirkin
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