by M. R. James
Translations of Early Documents, series 1
Palestinian Jewish Texts (Pre-Rabbinic)
London: SPCK / NY: Macmillan 1917
[Edited for the internet by Robert A. Kraft, October 2003.]
For the Latin text and extensive bibliography, see
Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum
by Guido Kisch
Publications in Mediaeval Studies
The University of Notre Dame
For discussion of the original language, date, provenance, etc., see
Leopold Cohn [an editor of the Greek works of Philo]
"An Apocryphal Work Ascribed to Philo of Alexandria"
Jewish Quarterly Review [OS] 10 (1898) 277-332
Thumbnail sketch of the main issues and hypotheses:
I have collected the passages in which his positive teaching is most clear and prominent, and purpose in this place to digest them under several heads, usually in the order in which they occur in the text.
The Future State of Souls and the End of the World (3.10, 19.4-13, 21.9, 23.6 + 13, 26.12, 28.10, 32.17, 33-2-5, 38.4, 48.1, 51.5, 62.9)
The Lot of the Wicked (16.3, 18.12, 31.7, 38.4, 44.10)
Punishment, long deferred, for past sins, is much in our author's mind (6.11, 27.7 + 15, 42.2, 45.3, 49.5)
The greatness of Israel and of the Law (7.4, 9.3-4, 12.9, 18.13, 32.9-15, 39.7; 9.8, 11.1-5, 32.7)
Of [the evil of] Union with Gentiles (9.1 + 5, 18.13, 43.5)
Angelology -- The service of angels is fairly prominent, and several are named (11.12 ["guardians"], 15.5, 18.5-6, 19.16, 27.10 [Gethel, Ingethel, Zeruel], 32.1-2, 34.3, 38 [Nathaniel], 42.10 [Phadahel], 64.6)
Demons and Idols -- Of evil spirits hardly anything is said, but some space
is devoted to descriptions of idols; (13.8, 25.9f, 44.5f, 45.6 ["the Adversary"],
Evil spirits were created after heaven and earth (on the second day) and are a secondary creation. They sprang from an echo in chaos: their abode was in "Tartarus" [no passages given].
A holy spirit is mentioned occasionally, but in rather vague terms; [favorable spirits are more frequent] (18.3 + 11, 28.6, 32.14).
The character of God and His dealings with men are, naturally, illustrated in many passages, in some of which there is a strange lack of perception of what is worthy and befitting (12.9, 22.3,16.5,18.4,21.2, 28.4, 30.6, 35.3 + 5, 36.4, 39.4 + 11, 45.6, 46, 47.3, 52.4, 54.1)
Man, especially in relation to sin (13.8, 19.9, 32.5, 36.1, 52.3, 54.8)
The Messiah -- Dr. Cohn speaks of the Messianic hope of the writer, but I am
myself unable to find any anticipation of a Messiah in our text. It is always
God, and no subordinate agency, that is to "visit the world" and put
all things right.
The word Christos occurs in two chapters: in 51.6 and 59.1 + 4, which refer to Saul or David.
There are two other puzzling passages, of which [] one inclines at first to say that the meaning is Messianic (21.6, 51.5 + 9).
[] 13. SYNOPSIS OF THE CONTENTS.
1. Genealogy from Adam to Noah, with the names of the sons and daughters of the early patriarchs.
2. Genealogy from Cain to Lamech;
the names of Cain's cities, short accounts of jubal and Tubal, and the song of Lamech.
3. The Flood and the covenant with Noah, mainly in the words of Genesis, but with the addition of two important speeches of God.
4. The descendants of Shcm, Ham and Japhet, and the territories occupied by them. The genealogy continued to Abraham. In this occur accounts of the first appearing of the rainbow, the prophecy of Milcah, and the beginning of divination.
5. The review and census of the descendants of Noah.
6. 'I'he Tower of Babel begun.
Abraham's rescue from the fire.
7. Destruction of the Tower, and dispersion of the builders.
8. The genealogy from Abraham to the going down into Egypt. The names of Job's children.
9. The oppression in Egypt. Amram refuses to separate from his wife. Miriam's vision. The birth of Moses.
10. The plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea. Israel in the desert. []
11. The giving of the Law. The Decalogue.
12. The Golden Calf.
13. The Tabernacle, and the institution of certain Feasts.
14. The numbering of the people.
15. The spies.
17. Aaron's Rod.
19. The farewell and death of Moses.
20. Joshua succeeds him. The spies sent to Jericho. Withdrawal of the manna, pillar of cloud, and fountain.
21. Joshua warned of his end: his prayer: he writes the Law upon stones and builds an altar.
22. The altar built by the tribes beyond Jordan. The sanctuary at Shiloh.
23. Joshua's last speech, with the story of Abraham's vision and of the giving of the Law.
24. His farewell and death.
25. Kenaz (Cenez) elected ruler by lot. Detection by the lot of sinners among the tribes. 'I'heir confessions: account of the Amorite idols.
26. God directs the disposal of the accursed objects : the sinners arc burned.
The commands of God are carried out: account of the twelve precious stones.
27. Kenaz's victory, single-handed, over the Amorites. []
28. His last days: the speech of Phinehas: vision and death of Kenaz.
29. Zebul succeeds : an inheritance given to the daughters of Kenaz : a sacred treasury founded : death of Zebul.
30. Israel oppressed by Sisera. Deborah's speech.
31. The stars fight against Sisera: his death.
32. Deborah's hymn', with the description of the sacrifice of Isaac and the giving of the Law.
33. Last words and death of Deborah.
34. Aod, the wizard of Midian, seduces Israel by his sorceries.
35. The call of Gideon.
36. He defeats Midian: his sin and death.
37. Abimelech succeeds. [Gap in the text.]
Parable of the trees. Death of Abimclech. [Gap in the text.]
38. Jair apostatizes and is destroyed by fire.
39. Israel oppressed by Ammon. Jephthah is persuaded to help. His negotiations with Getal, King of Ammon: his vow: God's anger.
40. Seila, Jephthah's daughter: her readi-iiess to die : her lamentation and death. Death of Jephthah.
41. The Judges Abdon (Addo) and Elon.
42. Manoah and his wife Eluma. Samson promised.
43. Birth, exploits atid death of Samson.
44. Micah and his mother Dedila. The idols described. God's anger. []
45. The Levite Bethac at Neb. The Benjamite outrage.
46. Israel attacks Benjamin and is thrice defeated. Prayer of Phinehas.
47. Parable of the Lion, spoken by God in answer to Phinehas. Benjamin is defeated : names of the surviving chiefs. Death of Micah.
48. Departure of Phinehas from among men. Wives are found for the Benjamites. Conclusion of the period of the Judges.
49. Israel is at a loss for a ruler. Lots are cast in vain. Advice of Nethez. The lot falls on Elkanah, who refuses to be ruler. God promises Samuel.
50. Peninnah's reproaches to Hannah: Hannah's prayer.
51. Birth of Samuel: hymn of Hannah.
52. Sin of Hophni and Phinchas. Eli rebukes them . their refusal to repent.
53. Call of Samuel: Eli's submission to God's will.
54. The ark captured by the Philistines Saul brings the news. Death of Eli and of his daughter-in-law.
55. Grief of Samuel. The ark and Dagon: the Philistines plagued: they take counsel as to the return of the ark: it is sent back.
56. The people ask for a king, prematurely. Saul comes to Samuel.
57. Samuel presents him to the people and he is made king. []
58. He is sent against Amalek, and spares Agag. Agag is slain, after begetting a son who is to be Saul's slayer.
59. Samuel anoints David: David's psalm: the lion and the bear.
60. Saul oppressed by an evil spirit: David's song.
61. David's first victory, over Midian. Goliath defies Israel: David slays him (story of Orpah and Ruth).
62. Saul's envy of David. David's parting with Jonathan: their farewell speeches and covenant.
63. The priests of Nob slain : God's sentence against Doeg. Death of Samuel.
64. Saul expels the sorcerers to make a name for himself: God's anger. The Philistines invade: Saul goes to Sedecla, the witch of Endor. Appearance and speech of Samuel.
65. Defeat of Saul: he summons the Amalekite (Edab, son of Agag) to kill him. The text ends abruptly in the midst of a message from Saul to David.
There is more than one plausible way of dividing the book into episodes. The simplest is this:
1. Adam to the descent into Egypt, cc. 1-8.
2. Moses, 9-19.
3. Joshua, 20-24.
4. The Judges, 25-48.
5. Samuel,, Saul and David, 49-65.
A more elaborate subdivision would be:
Adam to Lamech, I.-II.
Noah and his descendants, III.-V.
Abraham to the death of Joseph, VI.-VIII.
The life of Moses, IX.-XIX.
The Judges, the chief figures being-
Deborah, XXX.-XXXIII. Aod, XXXIV.
Abdon, Elon, XLI.
The events,of the last chapters of the Book of judges, XLIV.-XLVIII.
Life of Samuel, to the return of the ark, XLIX.-LV.
Saul's career, LVI.-LXV., David entering upon the scene in LIX.
A third and more artificial method of division (which is followed to some extent by the MS. R) is into portions corresponding to the Biblical books, viz.-
Leviticus, part of XIII.
1 Samuel, XLIX.-LXV. []
The space allotted to the period of the judges emerges as the striking feature.
It is rather greater than that given to the Pentateuch and Joshua, and more
than double the share of 1 Samuel. And of it almost a third part is
devoted to the doings of a person practically unknown to the Bible, namely, Kenaz.
A passage in Origen On Romans (IV. 12, p. 646) deserves to be quoted as being very much in the manner of Philo. "We have found," he says, "in a certain apocryphal book (in quodam secretiore libello) mention of an angel of grace who takes his name from grace, being called Ananchel, i.e. the grace of God: and the writing in question says that this angel was sent by God to Esther to give her favour in the sight of the king." Just so in Philo appropriate angels are sent to Kenaz and to David and intervene to save the victims of Jair. I think it worth suggesting that the story of Esther found a place in Philo, and that this was the secretior libellus to which Origen refers. []
Phrases and sentences in italics mark quotations from the Old Testament : single words in italics, and short phrases to which no Biblical reference is attached in the margin, are supplements of the translator.
The following signs are also employed:
[ ] Words wrongly inserted into the text.
( ) Alternative readings of importance.
< > (As p. 151) and [[two less angled points]] (As p. 100) Words that have fallen out, restored by conjecture.
[[two daggers]] (As p. 89) Corrupt passages.
THE BIBLICAL ANTIQUITIES OF PHILO
OR THE HISTORY OF PHILO FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO KING DAVID
1. The beginning of the world.
[NOTE: Initium mundi appears to be the best reading. It is perhaps in the nature of a title: the proper LXX name for Genesis is ge/nesij ko/smou.]
Adam begat three sons and one daughter, Cain, Noaba, Abel and Seth. 2. And Adam lived after he begat Seth 700 years, and begat 12 Sons and 8 daughters [Gen 5.4].
[NOTE: It will be observed that almost all the names of sons and all those
of daughters are imaginary. They do
not agree with other legendary names, e.g. those of Jubilees. For the rest,
the first three chapters are to a very large extent simply copied from Genesis
The spelling of the names is very uncertain in many cases. Where " ph " occurs, it is very often substituted by Sichardus for " f" in the MSS.; but of course the "f" must represent a f, seeing that the text has come to us through Greek. I have therefore allowed "ph" to stand.
The chronology, according to Dr. Cohn, was originally that of the Hebrew text, but has been to some extent modified by reference to the LXX. The Hebrew numbers (from Adam to the Flood) add up to 1656, those of the LXX to 2262, those of Philo to 2256 : but Philo says (3.6) that the Flood was in the 1652nd year of the world, which only requires the change of secundus to sextus to make it agree exactly with the Hebrew.]
3. And these are the names of the males: Eliseel, Suris, Elamiel, Brabal, Naat,
Zarama, Zasam, Maathal, and Anath.
4. And these are his daughters: Phua, Iectas, Arebica, Sifa, Tecia, Saba, Asin.
5. And Seth lived 105 years and begat Enos. And Seth lived after he begat Enos 707 years, and begat 3 sons and 2 daughters [Gen 5.7].
6. And these are the names of his sons : Elidia, Phonna, and Matha: and of his daughters, Malida and Thila.
7. And Enos lived 180 years and begat Cainan. And Enos lived after he beget Cainan 715 years, and begat 2 sons and a daughter [Gen 5.9-10].
8. And these are the names of his sons: Phoe and Thaal; and of the daughter, Catennath.
9. And Cainan lived 520 years and begat Malalech. And Cainan lived after he begat Malalech 730 years, and begat 3 sons and 2 daughters [Gen 5.12-13].
10. And these are the names of the males: Athach, Socer, Lopha: and the names of the daughters, Ana and Leua.
11. And Malalech lived 165 years and begat Jareth. And Malalech lived after he begat Jareth 730 years, and begat 7 sons and 5 daughters [Gen 5.15-16].
12. And these are the names of the males: Leta, Matha, Cethar, Melie, Suriel, Lodo, Othim. And these are the names of the daughters: Ada and Noa, Iebal, Mada, Sella.
13. And Jareth lived 172 years and begat Enoch. And Jareth lived after he begat Enoch 800 years and begat 4 sons and 2 daughters [Gen 5.18-19].
14. And these are the names of the males: Lead, Anac, Soboac and Iectar: and of the daughters, Tetzeco, Lesse.
15. And Enoch lived 165 years and begat Matusalam. And Enoch lived after he begat Matusalam 200 years, and begat 5 sons and 3 daughters [Gen 5.22-23] []
16. But Enoch pleased God at that time and was not found, for God translated him [Gen 5.24].
17. Now the names of his sons are: Anaz, Zeum, Achaun, Pheledi, Elith; and of the daughters, Theiz, Lefith, Leath.
18. And Mathusalam lived 187 years and begat Lamech. And Mathusalam lived after he begat Lamech 782 years, and begat 2 sons and 2 daughters [Gen 5.25-26].
19. And these are the names of the males: Inab and Rapho; and of the daughters, Aluma and
20. And Lamech lived 182 years and begat a son, and called him according to his nativity Noe, saying: This child will give rest to us and to the earth from those who are therein, upon whom (or in the day when) a visitation shall be made because of the iniquity of their evil deeds.
21. And Lamech lived after he beget Noe 585 years [Gen 5.30].
22. And Noe lived 300 years and begat 3 sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth [Gen 5.32, 6.20].
II. But Cain dwelt in the earth trembling [cf Gen 4.14], according as God
appointed unto him after he slew Abel his brother; and
the name of his wife was Themech.
2. And Cain knew Themech his wife and she conceived and bare Enoch.
3. Now Cain was 15 years old when he did these things; and from that time he began to build cities, until he had founded seven cities [Gen 4.17]. And these are the names of the cities: The name of the first city according to the name of his son Enoch. The name of the second city Mauli, and of the third Leeth, and the name of the fourth Teze, [] and the name of the fifth Iesca ; the name of the sixth Celeth, and the name of the seventh Iebbath.
[NOTE: The names of Cain's cities, except the first, do not occur elsewhere.]4. And Cain lived after he begat Enoch 715 years and begat 3 sons and 2 daughters. And these are the names of his sons: Olad, Lizaph, Fosal; and of his daughters, Citha and Maac. And all the days of Cain were 730 years, and he died.
[NOTE: Jerahmeel says that Enoch, son of Cain, took Niba, daughter of Shem, to wife. His source is unknown to me.]6. But Lamech took unto himself two wives: the name of the one was Ada and the name of the other Sella. 7. And Ada bare him Iobab: he was the father of all that dwell in tents and feed flocks [Gen 4.19]. And again she bare him Iobal, which was the first to teach all playing of instruments (lit. every psalm of organs) [Gen 4.21]. 8. And at that time, when they that dwelt on the earth had begun to do evil, every one with his neighbour's wife, defiliiig them, God was angry. And he began to play upon the lute (kinnor) and the harp and on every instrument of sweet psalmody (lit. psaltery), and to corrupt the earth.
[NOTE: See the Appendix on readings.]
9. But Sella bare Tubal [Gen 4.22] and Misa and Theffa, and this is that Tubal which showed unto men arts in lead and tin and iron and copper and silver and gold: and then began the inhabiters of the earth to make graven images and to worship them.
10. Now Lamech said unto his two wives Ada [] and Sella: Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, give heed to my precept: for I have corruptcd men for myself, and have taken away sucklings from the breasts, that I might show my sons how to work evil, and the inhabiters of the earth. And now shall vengeance be taken seven times of Cain, but of Lamech seventy times seven [Gen 4.23-24].
[NOTE: Jubilees does not speak of this Lamech. The turn here given to his "song" suggests that his offence was against morality; this view is found elsewhere.]
III. And it came to pass when men had begun to multiply on the earth, that beautiful daughters were born unto them. And the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were exceeding fair, aid took them wives of all that they had chosen. 2. And God said: My spirit shall not judge among these men for ever, because they are of flesh; but their years shall be 120. Upon whom he laid (or wherein I have set) the ends of the world, and in their hands wickednesses were not put out (or the law shall not be quenched).
[NOTE: See the variants, which are difficult to explain. If the reading et in manibus eorum scelera non extinguebantur is right, the clause would be better placed after opera malignitatum in the next verse. "And God saw that in all the inhabiters of the earth works of wickedness were fulfilled, and in their hands," etc. I have preferred the other reading: the whole sentence will then refer to the new race who are to arise after the Flood, and especially to Moses (see IX.8 fin.): the last preceding words ("their years shall be 120 ") do certainly apply to them and to him. The antediluvians are to perish utterly. See on XVI.3.3. And God saw that in all the dwellers upon earth works of evil were fulfilled: and inasmuch as their thought was upon iniquity all their days, God said: I will blot out man and all things that have budded upon the earth, for it repenteth me that I have made him [Gen 6.5].
4. But Noe found grace and mercy, before the [] Lord, and these are his generations.