Who is Philo? fleetJune 26, 2021
Philo, or as it is pronounced, is a Jewish philosopher from Alexandria.
WHO IS PHILON (FILON)?
Philo was born in Alexandria and died in the same city. Philo was the son of a wealthy family of Old Hebrew beliefs.
Philo was originally Jewish and was a prominent thinker. We know that this philosopher was in the delegation sent to the Roman Emperor Caligula to provide some convenience to the Jews of Alexandria. Philo; He sought to reconcile Jewish religion with Greek philosophy, especially Platonic philosophy. With this work, he was considered the typical philosopher of the period. So much so that he knew Greek better than ancient Hebrew.
Philo tried to prove that Greek philosophy and the Torah were identical, and interpreted the Jewish holy book in the light of Plato’s philosophy. Just like Plotinus, he argued that there are good and bad spirits between God and man. Philo adopted the view that philosophy and religion are intertwined.
B.C. Born in 25 and M.S. Philo, who died in 50 BC, lived in Alexandria. Plato’s ideas, which he considers as real beings above time and space, Philo put forward the concept of God who creates, instead of the concept of architect God seen in Plato and Aristotle, by saying “Ideas come into existence when God thinks of them”.
First, he received an education based on the Hebrew religion, then he started long studies in philosophy, grammar, geometry and music. He especially studied the Greek philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras and the Stoics. He lived an introverted life by staying away from society for a while, eating only salt, bread and grass, then he worked on sages who defended different teachings such as Antisthenes, Epicuros, Heraclitus, Anaksagoras, Zenon.
Based on the knowledge he gained from these studies, he adopted a teaching aiming to reconcile the philosophies of Plato and Pythagoras with the Hebrew thought originating from the Torah.
He went to Athens for a while and studied rhetoric, and had the opportunity to examine the works of Greek writers such as Pindaros, Sophocles, Euripides.
Philo is considered to be the pioneer of a view that seeks to reconcile philosophy with life and advocates the need to ensure harmony between thought and behavior.
According to him, the sage is someone who lives as he thinks, adopts humility in his behavior, contentment with little, avoiding adornment and showing off. Therefore, morality forms the basis of his philosophy. The source of morality is the way of life proposed by the Hebrew religion, which all humanity will one day adopt. The essence of this way of life is “scientific love”.
From “scientific love” Philo understands his deep interest in his work to learn all kinds of beings, to study objects, and thus to know the universe as a whole.
According to Philo’s teaching, the effort to grasp the divine existence forms the basis of philosophy, which deals with the whole universe. Man’s divine essence, concretely, cannot see as well as not know, are his known accidents. Knowing the divine essence depends on the grace of God, when God wishes to be known, he sends a ray into the heart of the sage, and this ray is an inspiration. Knowing God through divine grace saves a person from non-existence and transforms them into existence.
According to Philo, inspired by Plato’s concept of “idea” in comprehending the divine essence, Greek philosophy, Hz. It was born from the views expressed by Moses in the Torah, therefore Hz. This philosophy is identical with the religion of Moses. Because the “ideas” put forward by Plato are actually the thoughts of the divine reason (logos) that turn into words. God influences the universe with them, these thoughts are the products of divine intelligence that created the whole universe of existence out of nothing. Because of these features, “ideas” were also created.
Philo, who defends the view that “ideas” are created, differs from Plato on this issue. Because, according to Plato, “ideas” are uncreated, eternal-infinite, they are the principles and basic examples of all types of existence, which are at an inaccessible maturity stage.
According to Philo, it is only divine grace that illuminates scientific truths, therefore, the sage who deals with philosophy first of all, God’s Prophet. He must learn the holy laws that he revealed to Moses and try to explain them with deep thought.
The method Philo proposes to grasp scientific facts is based on symbols and starts from the view that concepts have hidden meanings out of the ordinary. This aims to bring a mystical content to philosophy. According to this understanding, which regards mystery as the essence of scriptures, letters are objects (objects), and every action taken without understanding their true meaning leads to immorality. Because there is no contradiction to the principles of reason in the scriptures, whereas those who believe in their view and superficial meaning argue that they are incompatible with the principles of reason.
This is the source of the violation of moral rules. The main rule for man to live as a moral being is to devote himself to God, to turn away from temporary beings and turn to the immortal and supreme. This is achieved by introversion, by diving into deep thought.