2. (a) The HISTORY OF THE BOOK, as known to us, can be shortly told. It was printed by Adam Petri in 1527, at Basle, in a small folio volume, along with the genuine Philo's Quaestiones et Solutiones in Genesim 1 and a fragment of the De Vita contemplativa (called De Essaeis). These were followed by the Onomasticon (de Nominibus Hebraicis) ascribed in Philo, in Jerome's version, and a Latin rendering of the De Mundo by Guillaume Budé. The whole volume is in Latin, and was edited by Joannes Sichardus: for the first three tracts he used two manuscripts, from Fulda and Lorsch, of which more hereafter. In 1538 Henricus Petri (son of Adam) reprinted this collection in a quarto volume, which I have not seen, and in 1550 included it all in a larger collection of patristic writings called Micropresbyticon. In 1552 our book (without the accompanying tracts) was printed from Sichardus' text in a small volume issued by Gryphius at Lyons, under the title Antiquitatum diversi auctores, and in 1599 in a similar collection Historia antiqua, by Commelin, at Heidelberg, edited by Juda Bonutius.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Philo was read and occasionally quoted, e.g. by Sixtus Senensis in the Bibliotheca Sancta, and by Pineda in his treatise on Solomon: but the greatest critics and scholars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries seem never to have seen it. J. A. Fabricius would certainly have accorded it a place in his Codex pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti if he had read it: and very little escaped his notice. He does speak of it in his Bibliotheca Graeca (ed. Harles, IV. 743, 746), but only from the
point of view of the editions. It is not too much to say that the chance which kept it from him has kept it also from the flock of scholars who have followed him like sheep for two hundred years. The first investigator to pay any attention to it seems to have been Cardinal J. B. Pitra. In the Spicilegium Solesmense (1855, II. 345 note, III. 335 note, etc.) there are allusions to it: in the later Analecta Sacra (II. 321; 1884) he printed the Lament of Jephthah's daughter from a Vatican MS. of it, treating it as a known work, and referring to the printed edition.
In 1893 I came upon four detached fragments in a manuscript at Cheltenham, in the Phillipps collection, and printed them as a new discovery in a volume of Apocrypha Anecdota (1st series, Texts and Studies, II. 3). No one who reviewed the book in England or abroad recognized that they were taken from a text already in print. At length, in 1898, the late Dr. L. Cohn, who was engaged for many years upon an edition of Philo's works, published in the Jewish Quarterly Review an article in which the source of my fragments was pointed out and a very full account given of the whole book, with copious quotations. This article of Dr. Cohn's is at present our standard source of information. Nothing to supersede it has, so far as I know, appeared since. A few scholars, but on the whole surprisingly few, have used Philo in recent years, notably Mr. H. St. John Thackeray in his book, The Relation of St. Paul to Contemporary Jewish Thought.
(b) Can we trace the history of Philo further back than the printed edition of 1527 by means of quotations or allusions to it? The whole body of evidence is remarkably small. At the very end of the fifteenth century Joannes Trithemius, Abbot
of Sponheim, writes a book, De Scriptoribus ecclesiasticis, printed at Paris in 1512. On f. 18b is a notice of Philo, derived principally from Jerome, and a list of his writings. Among these he includes De generationum successu, lib. I. (which is our book), and adds the opening words: Adam genuit tres filios, which shows that he had seen the text. It is the only item so distinguished in all his list. Then, going back and setting aside certain extracts from the text (of which we shall speak under the head of authorities), we find, in the twelfth century, Petrus Comestor of Troyes, in his Historia Scholastica (one of the famous text-books of the Middle Ages), making a single incorrect quotation from our book (V. 8). He calls his source 'Philo the Jew, or, as some say, a heathen philosopher, in his book of questions upon Genesis': the words show that he was quoting a manuscript which contained that work as well as our text. His quotation is borrowed by several later mediaeval chroniclers.
In the catalogues of monastic libraries Philo is of rare occurrence. The Fulda catalogue of the sixteenth century 1 has "Repertorii noni ordo primus, liber Philonis antiquitatum 36." The number 36 is the older library number, perhaps as old as the thirteenth century, which was written on the cover of the volume. This was one of the two manuscripts used by Sichardus: we shall return to it.
In the twelfth century a monk writes to the Abbot of Tegernsee for the loan of the "liber Philonis." In 831 the abbey of St. Riquier, near Abbeville, has in its catalogue "liber Philonis Judaei
unum volumen." Both these references may be found in Becker's Catalogi. 1
One possible hint, and one only, of the existence of Philo in the Eastern Church is known to me. The Taktikon of Nicon, cap. 13, in the Slavonic version, as quoted by Berendts (Zacharias-Apokrypken, p. 5, note 3), reckons among the canonical books of the Old Testament "the Palaea (the Eastern text-book of Bible history comparable to the Historia Scholastica in the West) and Philo."
The Decretum Gelasianum of the fifth or sixth century condemns, among many other apocryphal books, "liber de filiabus Adae Leptogeneseos." The natural and usual interpretation of the words is that they refer to the Book of Jubilees, which the Greeks called ἡ λεπτὴ γένεσισ, but it is worth noting that Philo mentions the daughters of Adam in the first few lines, whereas in Jubilees they do not occur before the fourth chapter.
I know of nothing in earlier centuries which looks like an allusion to Philo, unless it be a passage in Origen on John (Tom. VI. 14.) in which he says 2: "I know not what is the motive of the Jewish tradition that Phinees the son of Eleazar, who admittedly lived through the days of many of the Judges, is the same as Elias, and that immortality was promised to him in Numbers
[paragraph continues] (XXV. 12)," with more to the same effect. He refers to no book, but to a tradition which is, in fact, preserved in several Midrashim. The identification is found in Philo, c. XLVIII. See the note in loc.
8:1 A volume issued by Ascensius at Paris in I 520, edited by Aug. Justiniani, contained only the Quaestiones et Sol. in Genesim.
10:1 C. Scherer, Der Fuldaer Handschriften-Katalog aus dem 16 Jahrh. (Centralblatt f. Bibliothekswesen XXVI. p. 105; 1902).
11:1 The Abbey of St. Bertin and that of Corbie in Picardy in their twelfth-century catalogues (Becker, nos. 77, 247, 79, 263) both have an entry of Questiones in Genesim; seemingly not those of St. Jerome, which occur elsewhere in the catalogues.
11:2 καὶ περὶ μετωνυμίασ γάρ, ὡσ ἐν ἀποκρύφοισ, οὐκ οἶδα πόθεν κινούμενοι οἱ ἑβραῖοι παραδιδόασι Φινεέσ, τὸν Ἐλεαζάρου υἱόν, ὁμολογουμένωσ παρατείναντα τὴν ζωὴν ἔωσ πολλῶν κριτῶν, ὡσ ἐν τοῖσ κριταῖσ ἀνέγνωμεν, αἰτὸν εἶναι Ἠλίαν, καὶ τὸ ἀθάνατον ἐν τοῖσ Ἀριθμοῖσ αὐτῷ, διὰ τῆσ ὀνομαζομένησ εἰρήνησ ἐπηγγέλθαι, ἀνθ᾽ ὧν ζηλώσασ. . . ἐξεκέντησε τὴν Μαδιανῖτιν, κ.τ.λ.