Reincarnation in Philo of Alexandria

Sami Yli-Karjanmaa

Research output: Book/Journal/ReportBookScientificpeer-review


Philo of Alexandria is the most important representative of Hellenistic diaspora Judaism. His writings, devoted to a large extent to the allegorical exegesis of the Books of Moses, profoundly influenced Christian theology during its formative centuries. The strong element of Greek philosophy in Philo’s thought has been recognized since antiquity, but his relation to the Pythagorean-Platonic tenet of reincarnation has been a neglected, even avoided, topic in research. This book tackles the issue head on and with thorough, detailed research confirms the view—common in the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries—that Philo accepted the doctrine even though he preferred not to speak openly about it. The book shows how allegorization enabled Philo to give an interpretation involving reincarnation to very different scriptural passages.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
PublisherSociety of Biblical Literature
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeC1 Separate scientific books


  • Philo of Alexandria
  • reincarnation
  • Plato
  • Platonism
  • Exegesis

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