Philo Judaeus advises against sortition

Philo Judaeus was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt, in the first century BC and first century AD. The following passages are taken from Philo’s A Treatise on Those Special Laws Which Are Contained Under and Have Reference to the Eighth and Ninth, and Tenth Commandments.. In them he repeats the competence argument against sortition which Xenophon attributes to Socrates. Philo adds an argument against sortition and in favor of elections from Biblical authority.

XXIX. (151) Some persons have contended that all magistracies ought to have the officers appointed to them by lot; which however is a mode of proceeding not advantageous for the multitude, for the casting of lots shows good fortune, but not virtue; at all events many unworthy persons have often obtained office by such means, men whom, if a good man had the supreme authority, he would not permit to be reckoned even among his subjects: Continue reading