Philo On Abraham 1:150


150 But there are two of these outward senses which have something philosophical and preeminent in them, namely, sight and hearing. But the ears are in some degree more slow and more effeminate than the eyes, since the latter go with promptness and courage to what is to be seen, and do not wait until the objects themselves are in motion, but go forward to meet them, and desire to move themselves so as to face them. But the sense of hearing inasmuch as that is slow and more effeminate, may be classed in the second rank, and the sense of seeing may be allowed an especial pre-eminence and privilege: for God has made this sense a sort of queen of the rest, placing it above them all, and stationing it as it were on a citadel, has made it of all the senses in the closest connection with the soul;

Matthew 6:22

New Testament

20 But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and devouring insect do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

 Notes and References

"... In the pseudepigraphical source, the Testament of Job, we find a clear statement of the extramission theory of vision: 'My eyes, acting as lamps, looked about' (Test. Job 18:4). Philo, the Alexandrean Jew, also followed this extramission theory of vision. He writes that the eyes 'reach out' and 'act upon objects' and that the light within us 'goes forth towards the things seen'. From these examples it seems that the theory of the extramission of vision was commonly assumed also in Jewish sources. From extant evidence it therefore seems that the idea of intra-ocular fire or light was taken for granted by the general public and regarded as common wisdom."

Viljoen, Francois P. A Contextualized Reading of Matthew 6:22-23: Your Eye is the Lamp of Your Body (pp. 1-9) HTS Theological Studies, Vol. 61, No. 1, 2009

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