Philo of Alexandria

Philo of Alexandria lived in the first half of the first century. In his Life of Moses (Book One, Section 65), he identified the Burning Bush as a bramble.

ἄγων δὲ τὴν ποίμνην εἰς τόπον εὔυδρόν τε καὶ εὔχορτον, ἔνθα συνέβαινε καὶ πολλὴν πόαν προβατεύσιμον ἀναδίδοσθαι, γενόμενος πρός τινι νάπει θέαμα ἐκπληκτικώτατον ὁρᾷ. βάτος ἦν, ἀκανθῶδές τι φυτὸν καὶ ἀσθενέστατον· οὗτος, οὐδενὸς πῦρ προσενεγκόντος, ἐξαίφνης ἀνακαίεται καὶ περισχεθεὶς ὅλος ἐκ ῥίζης εἰς ἀκρέμονα πολλῇ φλογὶ καθάπερ ἀπό τινος πηγῆς ἀνομβρούσης διέμενε σῷος, οὐ κατακαιόμενος, οἷά τις ἀπαθὴς οὐσία καὶ οὐχ ὕλη πυρὸς αὐτὸς ὤν, ἀλλὰ τροφῇ χρώμενος τῷ πυρί.

And when Moses was leading his flock into a situation full of good water and good grass, where there was also a great deal of herbage especially suitable for sheep, he came upon a certain grove in a valley, where he saw a most marvellous sight. There was a bush or briar, a very thorny plant, and very weak and supple. This bush was on a sudden set in a blaze without any one applying any fire to it, and being entirely enveloped from the root to the topmost branch by the abundant flame, as though it had proceeded from some fountain showering fire over it, it nevertheless remained whole without being consumed, like some impassible essence, and not as if it were itself the natural fuel for fire, but rather as if it were taking the fire for its own fuel.

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