" Now this class of persons may be met with in many places, for it was fitting that both Greece and the country of the barbarians should partake of whatever is perfectly good; and there is the greatest number of such men in Egypt, in every one of the districts, and especially around Alexandria; and from all quarters those who are the best of these Therapeutae proceed on their pilgrimage to some most suitable place as if it were their country, which is beyond the Maereotic lake. — De Vita Contemplativa
They lived chastely with utter simplicity; they "first of all laid down temperance as a sort of foundation for the soul to rest upon, proceed to build up other virtues on this foundation" (Philo).
scriptures in their isolated cells, each with its separate holy sanctuary, and enclosed courtyard: the entire interval from dawn to evening is given up by them to spiritual exercises. For they read the holy scriptures and draw out in thought and allegory their ancestral philosophy, since they regard the literal meanings as symbols of an inner and hidden nature revealing itself in covert ideas. —
In addition to the Pentateuch, the Prophets and Psalms they possessed arcane writings of their own tradition, including formulae for numerological and allegorical interpretations.
They renounced property and followed severe discipline: These men abandon their property without being influenced by any predominant attraction, and flee without even turning their heads back again. — De Vita Contemplativa para.18
century contemporaries, who flocked out from Alexandria to reach him. On the seventh day the Therapeutae met in a meeting house, the men on one side of an open partition, the women modestly on the other, to hear discourses. Once in seven weeks they meet for a night-long vigil after a banquet where they served one another, for "they are not waited on by slaves, because they deem any possession of servants whatever to be contrary to nature. For she has begotten all men alike free" (
The term Therapeutae (plural) is Latin, from Philo's Greek plural Therapeutai (Θεραπευταί). The term therapeutes means one who is attendant to the gods although the term, and the related adjective therapeutikos carry in later texts the meaning of attending to heal, or treating in a spiritual or medical sense. The Greek feminine plural Therapeutrides (Θεραπευτρίδες) is sometimes encountered for their female members. The term therapeutae may occur in relation to followers of Asclepius at Pergamon, and therapeutai may also occur in relation to worshippers of Sarapis in inscriptions, such as on Delos. See Therapeutae of Asclepius
Asclepius (/æsˈkliːpiəs/; Greek: Ἀσκληπιός, Asklēpiós [asklɛːpiós]; Latin: Aesculapius) was a hero and God of Medicine in ancient Greek religion and mythology. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia ("Hygiene", the goddess/personification of health, cleanliness, and sanitation), Iaso (the goddess of recuperation from illness), Aceso (the goddess of the healing process), Aglæa/Ægle (the goddess of beauty, splendor, glory, magnificence, and adornment), and Panacea (the goddess of universal remedy). He was associated with the Roman/Etruscan god Vediovis and the Egyptian Imhotep. He was one of Apollo's sons, sharing with Apollo the epithet Paean ("the Healer"). The Rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff, remains a symbol of medicine today. Those physicians and attendants who served this god were known as the Theraputae of Aslepius whose symbol is the Serpent wrapped around a pole.
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent
King Hezekiah later destroyed the bronze serpent, which, by that time, had existed for 700 years, because it was being worshiped (2 Kings 18:4).
This is consistent with the claim in the New Testament of the Bible that Jesus also delivers believers from eternal death in the passage found in John 3:14
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:14
The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged http://amzn.to/2qAiiOi