From the Thick Marshes of the Nile to the Throne of God: Moses in Ezekiel and Philo

Philo mentioned his attendance at the theater on several occasions (Ebr. 177; Prob. 141). He knew a number of the major dramatists and mentioned the most famous tragedians by name when introducing citations from them: Aeschylus (Prob. 143), Sophocles (Prob. 19), and Euripides (Prob. 99, 116, 141). Did he know any Jewish dramatists? In particular, is there evidence that indicates that he had seen or read the Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian (second century BCE)? This paper will attempt to answer this question by examining two lines of evidence. First, we will explore the exegetical traditions that are common to Ezekiel and Philo but are unattested in the LXX and in Jewish literature of the period. There are enough of these to suggest that Philo knew Ezekiel’s Exagoge. Second, we will then ask how Philo might have heard or read the famous dream scene in which Ezekiel has Moses sit down on God’s throne and what he would have made of it.