A brief history
The history of The Studia Philonica Annual
goes back to 1971, when a number of American scholars established
The Philo Institute in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. The founding members
of the Institute were:
- Robert G. Hamerton-Kelly, Director
- Earle Hilgert, Associate Director
- Don S. Hasty, Treasurer
- Honorary consultants
- W. D. Davies
- Samuel Sandmel
- David M. Hay
- Alan Howe
- Jean Laporte
- Burton L. Mack
- Alan Mendelson
- Merrill P. Miller
- Birger A. Pearson
- Jonathan Z. Smith
- Abraham Terian
- Herold D. Weiss
In 1972 the first issue of the publication of the Institute,
Studia Philonica, made its appearance. Its first
page should be quoted in its entirety:
Studies in rabbinical literature, early Christianity and the
origins of Gnosticism have indicated with increasing clarity
the significance of the Hellenistic synagogue. It constituted
the religious milieu in which many of the theological concerns
and language forms common to these three religious expressions
were first molded and against which further developments within
them are to be understood. The possibility of divergent theological
traditions within the Hellenistic synagogue regarding the interpretation
of Torah gives rise to an entire spectrum of questions as to
their origins, their interrelationships, their functions within
the community and the hermeneutical methodologies they reflect.
What theological and religious concerns were there which could
have informed postures toward the Gentile world daring enough
to help us account for the undeniable influence of Judaism on
other significant religious expressions of this period?
The works of Philo of Alexandria are our most significant witness
to the Hellenistic synagogue and the hermeneutical cross currents
that flowed through it. But the nature of that theological ferment
is still not clear to us. The reason this is so has largely
to do with our failure to understand the factors that informed
Hellenistic Torah exegesis. Analysis of the Philonic material
is needed with regard to sources; such analysis may reveal the
existence of contrasting or conflicing traditions within the
synagogue essential to our understanding of broader religious
developments in the Hellenistic world. In spite of the exceptionally
rich history of Philo scholarship, relatively little has been
done in regard to source analysis, although the few attempts
that have been made give promise.
The Philo Institute was established in 1971 to encourage such
basic research in the Philonic corpus in particular, and to
promote scholarship in Hellenistic Judaism in general. An initial
working session of the Institute was held at McCormick Theological
Seminary in Chicago, June 2325, 1971 and a second session June
2829, 1972. These meetings have served as a forum for discussion
and evaluation of the research projects undertaken by the members
of the Institute. A further project of the Institute is the
development of a bibliographical center for Philo studies.
With this issue, Studia Philonica makes its début
as a publication of the Philo Institute. While in the first
instance an organ for publication of research by the members
of the Institute, bibliography, abstracting and reviewing of
current scholarship also constitute a significant part of the
its concern; indeed its pages stand open to all engaged in research
in Hellenistic Judaism.
Burton L. Mack, Earle Hilgert, editors
Under the editorship of Burton L. Mack and Earle Hilgert six
issues of Studia Philonica were produced:
- Volume I 1972, 96 pages
- Volume II 1973, 80 pages
- Volume III 1974-75, 132 pages
- Volume IV 1976-77, 116 pages
- Volume V 1978, 149 pages (with index to vols I-V)
- Volume VI 1979-80, 224 pages
Back issues of Studia Philonica are available for purchase.
Due to developments in the academic careers of leading members
of the Institute activities lessened in the 1980's and the Institute
was disbanded on the retirement of Earle Hilgert from McCormick
Theological Seminary in 1990.
In 1983 on the initiative of Burton L. Mack a Seminar on Philo,
Hellenistic Judaism and the New Testament was commenced as part
of the annual meetings of the Society for New Testament Studies.
This continued, first under the leadership of Burton Mack and
Peder Borgen, later of David Hay and Ronald Williamson until 1995.
In 1984 under the leadership of Earle Hilgert the Philo of Alexandria
Seminar (or Group or Consultation) was established as part of
the Annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature held
in North America. At the 1988 meeting in Chicago it was decided
to revive Studia Philonica under the new name The Studia
Philonica Annual. Through the kindness of Jacob Neusner
and Jonathan Z. Smith it was arranged that the Annual would be
published in the Brown Judaic Series under the editorship of Jonathan
Z. Smith. The first issue of the Annual appeard in 1989 under
the editorship of David Runia with his associate editors David
Hay and David Winston. The reader is referred to the introductory
article by Burton Mack which tells more about the history and aims of
the new Journal.
In 1992 a number of changes were made to the organization of the
Journal. David Hay stepped down as associate editor in order to
become chair of the Advisory board. In his place Alan Mendelson
became associate editor. The editorial team was strengthened by
the appointment of Gregory E. Sterling as Book Review editor.
Moreover Shaye Cohen became the editor of Brown Judaic Series
responsible for the Annual.
Further changes were made in 1999. Gregory E. Sterling
joined David T. Runia as chief editor while Alan Mendelson became
the Book Review Editor. In 2002, Hindy Najman took over the task
of Book Review Editor.
The Studia Philonica Annual works in close cooperation
with the Philo of Alexandria Seminar of the Society of Biblical
Literature, now under the chairmanship of Thomas H. Tobin, S.
J. (Loyala University, Chicago). Papers presented in the Seminar
are often published in the Annual. Scholars wishing to have more
information about the Philo of Alexandria Seminar are advised
to take up contact with Thomas H. Tobin, Department of Theology,
Loyola University of Chicago, 6525 North Sheridan Road, Chicago
IL 60626-5385, U.S.A., email ThoTobin@aol.com.
University of Notre Dame
11/15/10 8:52 PM