Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew NULL

Greek-speaking Hellenistic Jewish Philosopher and Biblical Exegete

"A teacher should give his pupil opportunity for independent practice without suggestions from himself, and thus set upon him the stamp of indelible memory in its purest form."

"Adopt, as far as you can, an unrestrained life purpose."

"Appetite is never satisfied, but remains in want and athirst."

"Courage is knowledge of what ought to be endured."

"Customs are unwritten laws, not engraved on pillars or inscribed on paper, which may be eaten by moths, but impressed on the souls of those living under the same constitution."

"Each of the four main virtues - wisdom, courage, temperance, justice - is a sovereign wielding authority."

"Each virtue is its own reward."

"Flattery is friendship diseased."

"He who thinks that God has any quality and is not the One, injures not God, but himself."

"Joy... is found only in the good things of the soul."

"Money is the cause of good things to a good man, of evil things to a bad man."

"No man is naturally a slave."

"Nothing ever escapes desire, but, like a forest fire, it proceeds onward, consuming and destroying everything."

"Nothing is better than to search for the true God, even if the discovery of Him eludes human capacity, since the very wish to learn, if earnestly entertained, produces untold joys and pleasures."

"One wise thought is better than many hands."

"Rumours travel fast in all directions."

"The beginning is half the whole."

"The beginning of all participation in good things is hope."

"The goal of wisdom is laughter and play - not the kind that one sees in little children who do not yet have the faculty of reason, but the kind that is developed in those who have grown mature through both time and understanding. If someone has experienced the wisdom that can only be heard from oneself, learned from oneself, and created from oneself, he does not merely participate in laughter: he becomes laughter itself."

"The health of the soul is to have its faculties - reason, high spirit, and desire - happily tempered, with reason in command, and reining in both the other two, like restive horses. The special name of this health is temperance."

"The rout and destruction of the passions, while a good, is not the ultimate good; the discovery of Wisdom is the surpassing good. When this is found, all the people will sing."

"They who give, hoping to receive a requital, such as praise or honor... are in reality making a bargain."

"To be pious towards God is to be affectionate towards men."

"To philosophize is but to desire to see things accurately."

"Truth... is its own reward."

"Virtue is the art of the whole life."

"Who train themselves in wisdom cultivate true courage."

"Wisdom's task is to investigate all that nature has to show."

"Wise men do not wait till the calamity is upon them."

"Geometry gives us the sense of equality produced by proportion. It also heals by means of fine music all that is harsh and inharmonious or discordant in the soul, under the influence of rhythm, meter and melody."

"God is withdrawn from both ends of time, for his life is not Time, but Eternity, the archetype of time. And in Eternity there is no past and future, only present."

"Growth is coherence capable of moving itself."

"He who is held in bondage by his senses can never enjoy even a dream of freedom. It is only by complete escape from them that we arrive at a state of freedom from fear."

"Hope is the source of all happiness... None is to be considered a man who does not hope in God."

"If anyone should ask me what was the motive for the creation of the world, I will answer what Moses taught, that it was the goodness of the Existent."

"If you remember your own nothingness, you remember also God's transcendence."

"It would be correct to say that the world was not made in time, but that time was formed by means of the world, for it was heaven's movement that was the index of the nature of time."

"Knowledge of Him is the consummation of happiness."

"The mind of the wise is the palace of God."

"Those who live in accordance with law are free; and right reason is unerring law."

"Time is a physician."

"To be able to live in strict conformity with nature is what the men of old defined as the end of happiness."

"When the righteous man searches for the nature of things, he makes his own admirable discovery: that everything is God's grace."

"After all the rest, Moses tells us that man was created after the image of God and after His likeness (Genesis, I, 26). Right well does he say this, for nothing earth-born is more like God than man. Let no one represent the likeness as one to a bodily form; for neither is God in human form, nor is the human body God-like. No, it is in respect of the Mind, the sovereign element of the soul, that the word 'image' is used; for after the pattern of a single Mind, even the Mind of the Universe as an archetype, the mind in each of those who successively came into being was moulded. It is in a fashion a god to him who carries and enshrines it as an object of reverence; for the human mind evidently occupies a position in men precisely answering to that which the great Ruler occupies in all the world. It is invisible while itself seeing all things, and while comprehending the substances of others, it is as to its own substance unperceived."

"Are not those men then simple who speculate on the essence of God? For how can they know who are ignorant of the nature of the essence of their own soul, have any accurate knowledge of the soul of the universe? For the soul of the universe is God."

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. "

"For God, being God, assumed that a beautiful copy would never be produced apart from a beautiful pattern, and that no object of perception would be faultless which was not made in the likeness of an original discerned only by the intellect. . . . He first fully formed the intelligible world, in order that He might have the use of a pattern wholly God-like and incorporeal in producing the material world."

"Gray hairs are signs of wisdom if you hold your tongue, speak and they are but hairs, as in the young."

"Holiness toward God and justice toward men usually go together."

"How could you… not grieve at war and delight in peace, being children of one and the same Father?"