The Perils of Philosophical Persuasion: Philo on the Origin of Moral Evils

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


When raising the question of the origin of evil, we first need to distinguish between two meanings of the term. Evil can refer to phenomena such as diseases, earthquakes, natural disasters, and the like, or it can refer to “moral evils” – that is, to humanity’s wrongdoings, improper conduct, or vices. Since the concept of an Evil Inclination, as defined by the editors of this volume, relates to moral agents and not to a bad state of affairs, it undoubtedly fits into the second category. This does not mean that Philo did not attempt to deal with natural evils. In two of his philosophical treatises –both entitled On Providence – he addresses this issue in connection with the question of theodicy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Evil Inclination in Early Judaism and Christianity
EditorsJames Aitken, Hector M. Patmore, Ishay Rosen-Zvi
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781108557153
ISBN (Print)9781108470827
StatePublished - 2021

RAMBI Publications

  • rambi
  • Good and evil in post-biblical literature
  • Philo -- of Alexandria -- Criticism and interpretation
  • Yetzer hara (Judaism) in post-biblical literature


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