Workshop: Philo of Alexandria
and the Beginning of Jewish Philosophical Scepticism
© Picture: The Sacrifice of Isaac, Beit Alpha Synagogue, Wikimedia Commons
October 27–28, 2019
- Carlos Levy (Université Paris-Sorbonne)
- Giuseppe Veltri (Universität Hamburg)
- Ze’ev Strauss (Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg)
There is a paradox within Philonian scholarship. On the one hand, Philo’s thought has never drawn as much scholarly attention as it does nowadays, while “scepticology” has become one of the most flourishing fields of research. On the other hand, works on Philo’s scepticism are still quite scarce, and most of the studies on the theme at hand limit their scope to a small number of Philonian texts.
The workshop aims to offer something different. By adopting a more holistic approach to Philo’s corpus, it will re-evaluate the presence of sceptical concepts in it. Forms of sceptical modes of thought can be found in many treatises, even if they are not explicit. It will be therefore argued that scepticism constitutes an essential component of Philo’s Jewish philosophy.
This session will pursue the following questions: (1) How should the relationship between doubt and revelation be described in Philo’s thought in view of his scepticism? (2) How does Philo subordinate other forms of the absolute, especially those of Platonism and Stoicism, to his biblical conception of God as the only true Being? (3) Finally, the workshop will tackle one of the most perplexing and influential aspects of Philo’s Weltanschauung: the integration of sceptical modes of thought into his system of negative theology.
- Mauro Bonazzi (Universiteit Utrecht)
- Francesca Calabi (Università di Pavia)
- Therese Fuhrer (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
- Martin Hose (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
- Valery Laurand (Université Bordeaux-Montaigne)
- Emidio Spinelli (Sapienza Università di Roma)
- Sharon Weisser (Tel Aviv University) – lecture cancelled –
Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies
Schlüterstraße 51/5th Floor
The event is open to the public, with advance registration via e-mail: