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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

316     TAf Egyptian Contribution to Christianity
Platonism was the work of the Jew Philo, an older contemporary
of Jesus of Nazareth and of St. Paul. His voluminous works are
for the most part exegetical tractates on the Pentateuch in
which Greek Stoicism and Platonism are read into the sacred
text by means of Allegorism. We know but little concerning
the relations of this Alexandrine Jewry and the Church in the
first two centuries. The influence of the Jewish community in
Alexandria declined after the disastrous risings in Cyrene and
Egypt in the reign of Trajan, and about the same time Judaism
throughout the Empire was changing its character and yielding
to the exclusive dominance of the Hebrew Scriptures and ortho-
dox Rabbinism. It seems not unlikely that with the Septuagint
Version of the Bible a not inconsiderable number of Hellenistic
Jews may have drifted into the Church.
What is certain is the importance of Philo's writings and
particularly of Philo's method for the development of Alex-
andrine Theology. It is probable that Philo's works were not
unknown to the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews—possibly
also to the Fourth Evangelist. But in the New Testament
direct dependence upon Philo is very rarely demonstrable.
When we come on to the writings of the second-century Greek
Apologists there are many parallels with Philo, but again there
is probably little, if any, literary dependence. With Clement
and Origen it is otherwise. From this time onwards Philo
Judaeus, neglected and disowned by the adherents of his own
faith, becomes a factor in the development of that Alexandrine
theology which was the chief legacy of Greek-speaking Egypt
to the Christian Church.
J. M. CREED