in Origen and the Life of the Stars

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780198263616
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682612 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies


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This chapter discusses Philo of Alexandria. Many of the gaps in the understanding of the Hellenistic philosophical concept of the stars have been filled by him because of his strong interest in this problem, and because there is a large body of his writings that are still in existence. Moreover, Philo's interpretation of Judaism in new terms was a great achievement which stands as a landmark in the history of theology. Philo suggested that, though astral worship is not correct, it is better than the worship of images made by human minds, and is in fact part of the divine plan to move pagans towards true religion. Though he is unsure of the stars' precise ontological status, he believed that they are part of the created order and so on a footing with humans rather than with God.

Keywords: Philo of Alexandria; Judaism; pagan philosophy; astral worship; cosmology

Chapter.  5580 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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