Monday, October 26, 2009

Philo and Paul

In my reading of Joslin's book on Hebrews (see my comments here) I'm currently elbow-deep in his discussion of Philo's view of the law. In a sub-section entitled, "Philo and the Patriarchs" (71–72), Joslin writes,
Philo also paints an idealized picture of the patriarchs. He states that they embodied the law and intuitively obeyed the Torah before it was written by Moses. In short, the patriarchs lived according to true virtue since the written law codified what was known to be both true and virtuous. In his concluding statements on Abraham, Philo writes that the patriarch "obeyed the law . . . himself a law and an unwritten statute." (71; citing Philo, On Abraham 276)

Joslin also cites an article by John W. Martens ("Philo and the 'Higher' Law." Society of Biblical Literature 1991 Seminar Papers 30 [1991]: 309–22). My question: Is anyone aware of anyone bringing this Philonic evidence to bear on Paul's (nearly) contemporary argument in Rom 2.14–15 regarding the gentiles "being a law for themselves" [ἑαυτοῖς εἰσιν νόμος; heautois eisin nomos]? Is anyone out there familiar with Martens's work?

2 comments:

jwmartens said...

I suppose that vanity searching has its value! I do know Martens' work, as I am him. I have written an article for NTS (1994) on Romans 2:14-15, in the context of Stoicism. I have a book with Brill on Philo's notion of unwritten and natural law ("One God, One Law", 2003). My doctoral thesis was on Paul and Philo and Greco-Roman notions of Law. I attempt there, more explicitly, to connect Paul to Greco-Roman notions of Law. I hope this helps; I would be happy to discuss this more fully.

Rafael said...

Vanity searching as well as blogging may both have their value? Who would've thought?!

Thank you, John, for revealing yourself here. I will follow up on the references you provided. I'm not sure, yet, what I'd even like to ask vis-à-vis Philo and Paul (and Rom 2.14–15), but I'm currently trying to think through the question Joslin raises in his book (how does the author to the Hebrews think about νόμος/Torah?). If a coherent question presents itself, I'll have to contact you.

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