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3 Reasons Why Philo Never Mentioned Jesus

Philo

Philo of Alexandria lived between 20 BC and 50 AD, meaning all of Jesus’ life was within his lifetime. Philo was also a Jewish writer who left behind more first century writings than any other Jew.

So why didn’t Philo mention Jesus? For some Mythicists this is a major nail in the coffin of the existence of Jesus.

I would like to suggest that there are three good reasons why Philo never mentioned Jesus.

  1. Philo was from Alexandria. Not from Galilee or Judea. While he was Jewish, there is no reason why he would know everything that was going on in Galilee or Judea. We assume that everyone knew that Jesus was a big deal, but we know from Josephus that there were many Jewish messiahs and prophets in the first century. Phile, even if he had heard of Jesus, couldn’t have predicted how the Jesus movement would turn out.
  2. Philo was not a historian. This was not a part of his agenda and there is very little history in his writings. The only history that there is, is that which dealt directly with Philo, such as the embassy to Caligula.
  3. Philo was a philosopher. Philo had a very specific purpose for his writings. He wanted to show that the Torah, when interpreted allegorically, was consistent with Greek philosophy. Jesus didn’t fit into that agenda.

Philo’s silence on Jesus is no reason to doubt his existence. I actually argue elsewhere that there is an apologetic advantage to Philo’s silence.

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