Divine Embodiment in Philo of Alexandria

Divine Embodiment in Philo of Alexandria Because later polemics established Jews and Christians as binary opposites, distinguished largely by their views on God’s body, scholars have not sufficiently explored how other Jews in the early Roman period, who stood outside the Jesus movement, conceived of how the divine could become embodied on earth. The first-century Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria often operates as the quintessential representative of a Jew who stressed God’s absolute incorporeality. Here I demonstrate how Philo also presents a means by which a part of Israel’s God could become united with human materiality, showing how the patriarchs and Moses function as his paradigms. This evidence suggests that scholarship on divine embodiment has been limited by knowledge of later developments in Christian theology. Incarnational formulas, like that found in John 1:14 were not the only way that Jews in the first and second century CE understood that God could become united with human form. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for the Study of Judaism Brill

Divine Embodiment in Philo of Alexandria

Journal for the Study of Judaism, Volume 49 (2): 40 – Feb 27, 2018

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0047-2212
eISSN
1570-0631
DOI
10.1163/15700631-12491160
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Because later polemics established Jews and Christians as binary opposites, distinguished largely by their views on God’s body, scholars have not sufficiently explored how other Jews in the early Roman period, who stood outside the Jesus movement, conceived of how the divine could become embodied on earth. The first-century Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria often operates as the quintessential representative of a Jew who stressed God’s absolute incorporeality. Here I demonstrate how Philo also presents a means by which a part of Israel’s God could become united with human materiality, showing how the patriarchs and Moses function as his paradigms. This evidence suggests that scholarship on divine embodiment has been limited by knowledge of later developments in Christian theology. Incarnational formulas, like that found in John 1:14 were not the only way that Jews in the first and second century CE understood that God could become united with human form.

Journal

Journal for the Study of JudaismBrill

Published: Feb 27, 2018

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