Philo of Alexandria (20 BCE.--50 CE.) stood at the crossroads of ancient history. Philo was the first pioneer to integrate Judaic thought with the Stoic, Platonic, and Pythagorean philosophical traditions. This Alexandrian Jewish philosopher assembled the very first philosophical, ethical, psychological, exegetical, and theological commentary on the Torah. As his community’s most prestigious Jewish leader, he defended Alexandrian Jews from the attacks of anti-Semites, and met with the capricious Roman Emperor Caligula, calling upon him to respect the ethical monotheistic beliefs of the Jewish people. As with Josephus, Philo bears witness to the world’s first protomodern and intellectual Jewish community of Alexandria, the cultural center of Late Antiquity. Reclaiming Philo as a Jewish exegete puts him in company with other great luminaries of Jewish history. Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel has meticulously culled from all of Philo’s exegetical remarks, arranging them according to the biblical verses. He provides extensive parallels from the corpus of rabbinical literature, Greek philosophy, and Christian theology in presenting how Philo impacted the great minds of Late Antiquity and beyond.
Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel is the son of a Holocaust survivor. He holds two rabbinic ordinations from the Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch Yeshiva of 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn and holds a D. Min degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. He is an avid student of the Greek classics, Biblical and Talmudic scholarship, Jungian Psychology, Western Medieval Theology, Modern Philosophy, and 20th century psychology. He is the author of The Lord Is My Shepherd: The Theology of the Caring God (1996), Birth and Rebirth Through Genesis (2010), A Shepherd’s Song: Psalm 23 and the Shepherd Metaphor In Jewish Thought (2014), and Torah from Alexandria: Philo as a Biblical Commentator (Volumes, 1-3),(2014-2015)
Keywords: Torah Commentary, Jewish Philosophy, Ancient Jewish Thought, 1st Century Judaism, Hellenism and Judaism, Alexandria, Philo of Alexandria, Rabbi, Samuel, Philo