Newest Review on Torah from Alexandria: Philo as a Biblical Commentator Volume 1 Genesis



Philo Commentary Blurb
          About two decades before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, another Jew, Philo of Alexandria, was born and destined to   became the most prolific writer of Hellenistic Judaism. Philo’s thought is primarily centered on Scripture and theology, yet his works have often remained, unknown, unread, inaccessible or obscure to many Jewish and Christian readers. Thankfully, in this modern commentary on Philo and the Torah, Rabbi Michael Samuel, himself a master of texts and their meaning, has provided a very readable, creative, scholarly work on Philo.
This commentary “cuts to the chase.” Torah from Alexandria helps clarify much of the mystery associated with Philo’s rambling, allegorical “airborne” style by conveying the thinking of Philo in a relevant, down-to-earth manner that both scholar and layperson can grasp and appreciate. Enhanced by an abundance of notes, cross references and indexes, this commentary on the Torah will prove a valuable companion for Torah studies and provide new insight and angles of theological conversation useful to Jews and Christians.
Philo is one of the great thinkers of the ancient world, he need no longer remain an enigma to biblical interpreters. I enthusiastically recommend Torah from Alexandria.

Marvin R. Wilson, Ph.D.
H. J. Ockenga Professor of
Biblical and Theological Studies
Gordon College
Wenham, MA

5 thoughts on “Newest Review on Torah from Alexandria: Philo as a Biblical Commentator Volume 1 Genesis

    • admin says:

      Wait till next week. Many thanks. I hope you like it, I expect to have the entire set finished by late fall-early winter. I just started Deuteronomy.

      Michael L. Samuel

  1. anna kamenka says:

    I have only read summaries of philo-he’s very wordy.traditionally he’s regarded as gnostic philosophizing and too Hellenistic.i’m afraid an enthusiastic recommendation from a Christian academic is not good.of course they like philo-because that’s their tendency .
    there is no philosophy in tora-ecclesiastes just about.abstract theorizing isn’t very jewish even though we can and do do it.i suppose you must be a reform rabbi then

    your blogs look interesting ,so I wondered.
    I am currently working with the propostion that rabbinic Judaism is simply Hellenistic escapism from the horrible realities of the end of the ancient world-not to mention the disasters of 70 and 132-and the secession of many jews to jewish Christianity which thoroughly annoyed the rabbinic pharisaic party whose slogan might be -‘just stick to halacha’ when we get that rightly defined all will be clear.this is actually Hellenistic argument definition jewish plato but less they get to 600ce or so with shiny new mishna and Talmud and what is g-d’s response.?

    very nice converted the pagans as I asked.the only trouble is they converted to Christianity.which hates and persecutes what did you do wrong?
    (ignore the jesus son of god aspect which is pagan and the cruxifixion which is pagan human sacrifice modified a bit but problematic as a key belief.and focus on the rest.)
    open entry to non jews
    less and simpler halacha
    prophetic message of social justice
    simpler means of approach to g-d through guru-yoga-identification with guru teacher.(the maskilim were quite right chassidut and rebbe-worship are indeed christianizing)
    the empire became and stayed Christian with a Christianity more pagan than if jews had been responsible for the new version of Judaism ie jews other than paul./saul and more like james etc
    the rabbis got it wrong.
    rabbinic Judaism is lovely,it worked and preserved us through endless persecution (why did this happen?shoah is nothing why?is g-d saying -as Christians always claim-this is not what I wanted?)christianity needed you to make it more jewish and you messed up and did your own thing instead.2000 years of a wonderful but selfabsorbed religion of halacha oblivious of the outer world .
    I think the rabbis realised this-drew up a very devious liturgy for national preservation and accepted suffering and persecution as penance for their sins of omission and nit-picking hypothetical halacha.we love Talmud.its has content.and it totally ignores social realities within and outside the jewish community.on balance jews have fely satisfied .we did well enough in exile.we are better than the goys the redeemer (a Christian belief taken into rabbinic Judaism together with belief in the afterlife which Pythagoras intr from hindu reincarnation belief-which is probably correct.spiritual recycling imagimg material recycling in nature.

    • admin says:

      Dear Anna,

      Thank you so much for your comments. I recently ended my relationship with Kodesh Press for many reasons. Suffice it to say that I have prepared a new edition of the series that addresses everything you raised in your letter. Briefly stated, let me say that I have cut out a substantial part of the old manuscript and have kept only those sections that are bite-size expositions that are easy to grasp and understand. All longer expositions will appear as Excursus articles in the back of the book. All Greek words used will also be completely transliterated. All vague allegorical expositions are now removed.

      Even the cover design will look different.

      The book will be divided by its week Torah portion–and there will be numerous subheadings that will enable a reader to pick and choose much more easily the sections that s/he wants to read on any given topic, e.g., Philo’s Thoughts on Reincarnation, etc.

      Three of the volumes–Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Genesis will be out within the next month.

      Best wishes,


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