Philo On the Birth of Abel 1.56

De sacrificiis Abelis et Caini

55 Now the holy scriptures are opposed to all these classes, and reply to each of them, saying to the first class which has discarded recollection, and humbled forgetfulness, 'Take care, my good man, lest when you have eaten and are filled, and when you have built fine houses and inhabited them, and when your flocks and your herds have increased, and when your silver and gold, and all that you possess is multiplied, you be lifted up in your heart, and forget the Lord your God.' When is it then that you do not forget God? when you do not forget yourself; for if you remember your own nothingness in every particular, you will also be sure to remember the exceeding greatness of God in everything. 56 And Moses reproves the man who looks upon himself as the cause of the good things that have befallen him in this manner, 'Say not,' says he, 'my own might, or the strength of my right hand has acquired me all this power, but remember always the Lord thy God, who giveth thee the might to acquire Power.'

Josephus Antiquities of the Jews Book 13.5


9 At this time there were three sects among the Jews, who had different opinions concerning human actions. The one was called the sect of the Pharisees; another the sect of the Sadducees; and the other the sect of the Essens. Now for the Pharisees, they say that some actions, but not all are the work of fate: and some of them are in our own power; and that they are liable to fate,14 but are not caused by fate. But the sect of the Essens affirm, that fate governs all things; and that nothing befalls men but what is according to its determination. And for the Sadducees, they take away fate; and say there is no such thing; and that the events of human affairs are not at its disposal: but they suppose that all our actions are in our own power; so that we are our selves the causes of what is good, and receive what is evil from our own folly. However, I have given a more exact account of these opinions in the second book of the Jewish War.15

 Notes and References

"... the call of 4QMMT for 'a return to the law in the eschatological age is a means of eliciting the covenant blessings, not merely a way to identify who the righteous really are.' Obviously following a specific sectarian halakah is said to be a way to eschatological deliverance. To these quotes I add the observation that Philo attests debates among Alexandrian Jews about whether God's blessings were earned or were freely bestowed (Philo, Sacr. 54-57). Similarly, when Josephus discusses the various sects of Judaism, he differentiates them by describing their diverse ways of conceiving of human destinies along a continuum of divine initiative and human self-determination (Josephus, War 2.19-66; Ant. 13.171-73; 18.11-25),® A diversity of soteric patterns was normative in common Judaism ..."

Bird, Michael F. An Anomalous Jew: Paul among Jews, Greeks, and Romans (p. 39) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016

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