[b-hebrew] Did Plato know about the Old Testament?

Schmuel schmuel at nyc.rr.com
Mon Oct 10 04:32:12 EDT 2005

Hi b-hebrew,

George Athas wrote:
>Hi Joel! Just a suggestion: Philo is very interested in Plato, and seems to find Plato all through the Torah. I know the connection you're looking for is the other way around (Hebrew Bible to Plato), but research into Philo might turn up something regarding the other way, too.

I had the same thought and skimmed the entries from "The Works of Philo".  Didn't find anything yet.  However I am quite sure I remember hearing the theory coming through Philo that the Greeks had learned from the Hebrews (and by implication their scriptures).  

Now.. to find a quote.
And then, if found, we have to evaluate :-)

Wait.. google to the rescue.

Here is the Stromata..Clement of Alexandria.  At least in the ballpark.

Of all these, by far the oldest is the Jewish race; and that their philosophy committed to writing has the precedence of philosophy among the Greeks, the Pythagorean Philo shows at large; and, besides him, Aristobulus the Peripatetic, and several others, not to waste time, in going over them by name. Very clearly the author Megasthenes, the contemporary of Seleucus Nicanor, writes as follows in the third of his books, On Indian Affairs: "All that was said about nature by the ancients is said also by those who philosophise beyond Greece: some things by the Brahmins among the Indians, and others by those called Jews in Syria. 

"Ye that thirst, go to the waters," says Esaias, And "drink water from thine own vessels," Solomon exhorts. Accordingly in "The Laws," the philosopher who learned from the Hebrews, Plato, commands husbandmen not to irrigate or take water from others, until they have first dug down in their own ground to what is called the virgin soil, and found it dry 

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list