Finn, “The God-fearers Reconsidered,” pp. 82–83.

Other references in Philo are less clear. In his Life of Moses (2.4.20–24), where he declares that Jewish institutions have won the attention of the whole inhabited world, he singles out the respect which all peoples have for the Sabbath and for the Day of Atonement. We may suggest that the fact that he selects these two observances, whereas a proselyte is required to observe all the commandments, would seem to indicate that we are dealing with “sympathizers.”

Similarly, when Philo (Special Laws 2.12.42) speaks of the “blameless life of pious men who follow nature and her ordinances” and (Special Laws 2.12.44) of “all who practice wisdom either in Grecian or barbarian lands and live a blameless and irreproachable life,” Wolfson (Harry A. Wolfson, Philo, II [Cambridge, Mass., 1947], pp. 373–374) concludes that the reference is to what he terms “spiritual proselytes,” that is “sympathizers,” inasmuch as the ordinances which these pious men are said to follow include five laws which are characteristically similar to those described by the rabbis as Noachian and which are binding on non-Jews.

Finally, there seems some reason to believe that Petronius the governor of Syria under Caligula in the middle of the first century A.D. who endeavored to persuade the emperor to rescind his order to place his (the emperor’s) statue in the Temple in Jerusalem, may have been a “sympathizer,” since Philo (Embassy to Gaius 245) states that Petronius had “some rudiments of Jewish philosophy and religion acquired either in early lessons in the past through his zeal for culture or after his appointment as governor in the countries [Asia and Syria] where the Jews were very numerous in every city, or else because his soul was so disposed, being drawn to things worthy of serious effort by a nature which listened to no voice or dictation or teaching but its own.” The description of Petronius’ soul as “disposed” to Jewish religion and the statement that he had been instructed in some of the rudiments (the Greek word indicates “sparks”) of Judaism presents a picture of a “sympathizer.”