Philo graces our history books as one of the most creative and brilliant Jews of history.
An Alexandrian contemporary of Jesus, Philo counted his descendants among those who remained in Egypt after the Babylonian Exile. Egypt had flowered in its fullness. But when Philo had come along, the Greeks (Alexander of course) and the Romans had taken over control of the city. Hellenism, democracy, and the impact of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle had taken deep root. And here comes this little Jewish man ready to harmonize the great Greek thinking with the Mosaic law and Torah. He could not have known then what an impact his thought would have on our lives two thousand years later.
The early Christians loved Philo, especially the Alexandrian Christians. They loved the way he made use of allegory to explain the deeper meaning of the scriptures. They loved the way he stood up for monotheism amidst the great Egyptian cults. And they followed suit with much fruit.
Where are the Philo’s of today? Where is that African indigenous man harmonizing Western thinking with African indigenous theology? Where is the Chinese Confucian woman who our Christians will love for her thought? Where is that Latino youth who will finally someday bring the ancient ways in line with modern? As world Christians, we must keep our eyes out for that Jewish man or woman who will break open our understanding of the gospel for a gloabal age. And when we find them, we will rejoice.