Philo the poet.
An ancient Jewish epic poet.
Philo (not the Alexandrian philosopher).
(Greek and English).
Online Critical Pseudepigrapha.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
Philo the poet, also known as Philo the epic poet, was an ancient
Jewish poet. His work is lost to us except for quotations from Eusebius,
who is quoting from Alexander Polyhistor.
Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).
Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on Philo the epic poet:
Martin McNamara writes: "Philo the Elder is the author of a Greek epic
entitled On Jerusalem. Of the original lengthy work only twenty-four
lines survive, preserved in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica (9,20; 24;
37). Philo, the author of this epic, is probably to be identified with Philo
the Elder mentioned by Josephus and Clement of Alexandria between Demetrius
and Eupolemus. The extant fragments are very obscure and hard to interpret.
The subject of the first fragment is Abraham, and probably the sacrifice of
Isaac. The second speaks of Joseph and the third praises the springs and the
water pipes of Jerusalem. Since Philo is mentioned between Demetrius and Eupolemus
by Josephus and Clement, his floruit was probably about 170 B.C." (Intertestamental
Literature, pp. 226-227)
Emil Schürer writes: "The Philo mentioned by Clemens Alex. Strom.
i. 21. 141, and by Josephus, contra Apion. i. 23 (= Euseb. Praep.
evang. ix. 42), and whom Josephus distinguishes from the more recent philosopher
by calling him Philo the elder (Φιλων ο πρεσβυτερος),
is certainly identical with our epic writer. According to the notice of him
in Clemens Alexandrinus, we might indeed suppose, that some prose writer, who
treated Jewish hitsory in like manner as Demetrius and Eupolemus do, was spoken
of (Strom. i. 21. 141: Φιλων δε και αυτος ανεγραψε τους βασιλεις τους Ιουδαιων διαφωνως τω Δημητριω).
Josephus took him for a heathen, for he adduces him, together with Demetrius
and Eupolemus, as a proof, that many heathen authors also hada tolerably accurate
acquaintance with Jewish history. But the circumstance that both Clemens and
Josephus, in the passages cited, place this Philo in the same series as
Demetrius and Eupolemus (both have the order Demetrius, Philo, Eupolemus), proves,
that both were drawing from the same source, and this can be no other than Alexander
Polyhistor. Since then no other Philo than the epic writer occurs in the copious
contributions from Alexander Polyhistor in Eusebius, there is no doubt that
Clemens and Josephus eman the same. Consquently Philo, as the fragments in Eusebius
give us reason to suppose, sang in such wise of the town of Jerusalem as to
give at the same time a history of the Jewish kings." (The Literature
of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, pp. 223-224)
James Charlesworth writes: "Philo the Epic Poet was a Jew who wrote in
the second century B.C., probably in the second quarter (cf. Y. Gutman, 'Philo
the Epic Poet,' Scripta Hierosolymitana 1  36-63; E. Lohse, no.
1183a; R. Laqueur in Pauly-Wissowa n.B. 20.1  cols. 51f.), and may have
lived in Jerusalem (so also J. Freudenthal, Alexander Polyhistor. Breslau:
Skutsch, 1875; p. 129; P. Dalbert, Missionsliteratur, p. 34; B. Z. Wacholder,
no. 1184; and A.-M. Denis, no. 24, p. 271. M. Hengel surprisingly claims this
assumption is 'pure speculation,' and opts for an Egyptian provenance [no. 104,
ET, vol. 2, p. 71]. See, however, his discussion of 'Jewish literature in Greek
in Palestine' [no. 104, ET, vol. 1, pp. 88-102].). He composed his verses in
Greek, demonstrating ability with the hexameters of the Greek epics." (The
Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, p. 169)