This excerpt is from Philo, a writer from the first century CE (Alexandria, Egypt). In this work Jewish philosopher laments about pagan Babel-like confusion, reflecting on how confused the pagans are about one true God of Israel. Philo speaks of being sons of God and ties Logos (God’s Word) to this idea in a very peculiar way.

Those who, as it were, attribute many fathers to existing things, and who represent the company of the gods as numerous, displaying great ignorance of the nature of things and causing great confusion, and making pleasure the proper object of the soul, are those who are, if we must tell the plain truth, spoken of as the builders of the aforesaid city, and of the citadel in it; having increased the efficient causes of the desired end, building them up like houses, being, as I imagine, in no respect different from the children of the harlot whom the law expels from the assembly of God, where it says, “The offspring of a harlot shall not come into the assembly of the Lord.” (Dt. 23:2) Because, like archers shooting at random at many objects, and not aiming skilfully or successfully at any one mark, so these men, putting forward ten thousand principles and causes for the creation of the universe, every one of which is false, display a perfect ignorance of the one Creator and Father of all things;

But they who have real knowledge, are properly addressed as the sons of the one God, as Moses also entitles them, where he says, “Ye are the sons of the Lord God.” (Dt 14:1) And again, “God who begot thee;” (Dt 32:18) and in another place, “Is not he thy father?” Accordingly, it is natural for those who have this disposition of soul to look upon nothing as beautiful except what is good, which is the citadel erected by those who are experienced in this kind of warfare as a defence against the end of pleasure, and as a means of defeating and destroying it.

And even if there be not as yet anyone who is worthy to be called a son of God, nevertheless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his first-born Word (Logos), the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names; for he (Logos) is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word (Logos), and man according to God’s image, and he who sees Israel. For which reason I was induced a little while ago to praise the principles of those who said, “We are all one man’s sons.” (Gen 42:11).

For even if we are not yet suitable to be called the sons of God, still we may deserve to be called the children of his eternal image, of his most sacred Word (Logos); for the image of God is his most ancient word. And, indeed, in many passages of the law, the children of Israel are called hearers of him that sees, since hearing is honored with the second rank next after the sense of sight, and since that which is in need of instruction is at all times second to that which can receive clear impressions of the subjects submitted to it without any such information. (Philo of Alexandria, Confusion 144–148)



  1. Dear Professor Shir, thanks for the good article that you have posted and I really enjoy reading it.

    Again thanks you

    • First of all this not me, but Philo. Second, it's OK to disagree. All teachings are fundamentally as flawed as human beings are fallen. We only strive to draw closer to God's fullness of glory, ever falling short.
  2. This quote from Philo seems to lend itself to the doctrine that Jesus was Michael the archangel? (Not that I subscribe to such a view)
  3. Did Philo write this? It is rather confusing to me as it does not make sense. No offense Rabbi if you are the author.
    • Dear Barbara, no offense taken... The first line of the article plainly says "This excerpt is from Philo, a writer from the first century CE (Alexandria, Egypt)." :)
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  4. Shalom Prof. Shir; the challenge I have is that Philo of Alexandria; lived at the same time as Jesus and yet fails to mentioned Jesus in any of his works. The extract cited deals with things from a Jewish/Moses perspective…
    • Ok, so how does someone's silence on a any particular topic challenges anything? I am not suggesting that Philo understood Logos in the same way John did. John made a connection to Jesus, but most Jews would not have done so, unless they were his followers.
  5. My understanding is that Philo did have a connection with the religious leaders in Israel and hence I would have believed he would have been aware of Jesus. From your insights can you throw any light on why Philo may have been silent on Jesus?
    • I cannot claim any special knowledge. Maybe he did not know, maybe he did not care. Maybe even if he knew he did not find it significant or relevant. Who knows.
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  6. I’ve came to see that the writers of scripture operated in a different paradigm than we are reading. I hold this is true of both the Hebrew and the Greek. I have not seen this passage of Philo before but he is speaking exactly as I would expect.
  7. Could you please explain what you think of the doctrine that certain Christian denominations teach that Christians are gods? I personally find it erroneous if not blasphemous.
    • I dare those gods to exercise their power and to quickly create a new heaven and new earth so that all who panic over climate change can sleep well at night. LOL. I am thinking that if Christians are really gods, then I am in deep, deep trouble.
  8. Why are "not even in the tenth generation" not allowed to enter the assembly of the Lord? How do we make sense of this (Dt. 23:2) and Exodus 20:5 in light of Ezekiel 18:20?
    • I am sorry, I cannot give you a short answer to this question inside the article comments. At least I cannot figure out how to do so succinctly.
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