Philo was a devout Jew who defended the traditional customs of his faith. The bulk of his writings consist of commentaries on parts of the Pentateuch in the Septuagint version. He is important for two reasons. First, as a representative of Middle Platonism — the Stoicized form Platonism had taken from the beginning of the first century BC — which provides the intellectual background of many of the Fathers, and is the form in which the idea of the soul’s ascent to God is understood. Secondly, Philo is important in himself, for there is no doubt that his writings had a very considerable influence on the Alexandrian tradition in Greek patristic theology.
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