Philo, On the Migration of Abraham

LCL 261: 132-133

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1I. “Καὶ εἶπε κύριος τῷ Ἀβραάμ· ἄπελθε ἐκ τῆς γῆς σου καὶ ἐκ τῆς συγγενείας σου καὶ ἐκ τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ πατρός σου εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἥν σοι δείξω· καὶ ποιήσω σε εἰς ἔθνος μέγα καὶ εὐλογήσω σε καὶ μεγαλυνῶ τὸ ὄνομά σου, καὶ ἔσῃ εὐλογητός. καὶ εὐλογήσω τοὺς εὐλογοῦντάς σε, καὶ τοὺς καταρωμένους σε καταράσομαι, καὶ ἐνευλογηθήσονται ἐν σοὶ 2πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς.” βουληθεὶς ὁ θεὸς τὴν ἀνθρώπου ψυχὴν καθῆραι πρῶτον αὐτῇ δίδωσιν ἀφορμὴν εἰς σωτηρίαν παντελῆ τὴν ἐκ τριῶν χωρίων μετανάστασιν, σώματος, αἰσθήσεως, λόγου τοῦ κατὰ προφοράν· τὴν μὲν γὰρ γῆν σώματος, τὴν δὲ συγγένειαν αἰσθήσεως, τὸν δὲ τοῦ πατρὸς οἶκον λόγου συμβέβηκεν εἶναι σύμβολον. 3διὰ τί; ὅτι τὸ μὲν σῶμα καὶ ἐκ γῆς ἔλαβε τὴν σύστασιν καὶ ἀναλύεται πάλιν εἰς γῆν—μάρτυς δὲ Μωυσῆς, ὅταν φῇ· “γῆ εἶ, καὶ εἰς γῆν ἀπελεύσῃ·” καὶ γὰρ παγῆναί φησιν αὐτὸ χοῦν εἰς ἀνθρωπείαν μορφὴν τοῦ θεοῦ διαπλάσαντος, ἀνάγκη δὲ τὸ λυόμενον εἰς τὰ δεθέντα λύεσθαι—, αἴσθησις δὲ συγγενὲς καὶ ἀδελφόν ἐστι διανοίας, ἄλογον λογικῆς, ἐπειδὴ μιᾶς ἄμφω μέρη ψυχῆς ταῦτα, πατρὸς δὲ [437]οἶκος ὁ | λόγος, ὅτι πατὴρ μὲν ἡμῶν ὁ νοῦς σπείρων


The Migration of Abraham

On the Migration of Abraham

I. “And the Lord said unto Abraham, Depart out1 of thy land, and out of thy kindred, and out of thy father’s house, into the land which I shall shew thee; and I will make thee a great nation and will bless thee and will make thy name great, and thou shalt be blessed. And I will bless them that bless thee, and them that curse thee I will curse, and in thee shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed” (Gen. xii. 1–3). God begins the carrying out of His will2 to cleanse man’s soul by giving it a starting-point for full salvation in its removal out of three localities, namely, body, sense-perception, and speech. “Land” or “country” is a symbol of body, “kindred” of sense-perception, “father’s house” of speech. How so? Because the body took its substance out of3 earth (or land) and is again resolved into earth. Moses is a witness to this, when he says, “Earth thou art and into earth shalt thou return” (Gen. iii. 19); indeed he also says that the body was clay formed into human shape by God’s moulding hand, and what suffers solution must needs be resolved into the elements which were united to form it. Sense-perception, again, is of one kin and family with understanding, the irrational with the rational, for both these are parts of one soul. And speech is our “father’s house,” “father’s” because Mind is our

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philo_judaeus-migration_abraham.1932