Readers’ Weekly Mailbag: January 2, 2016

It is weekly Readers’ Mailbag time again.  If you have a question you would like me to address in a future post, just comment here, or send me a private email.  Today there are three questions, on three very different topics: the goddess Sophia, the rise of non-apocalyptic Christianity, and the evidence for John the Baptist. ****************************************************************** QUESTION:  In your debate with Justin Bass, you mention the divinity of Sophia.  I googled “Sophia” and can’t quite figure this out. Could you educate us about Sophia? RESPONSE:   Ah, this will be tough to do in a short answer!  Sophia” is the Greek word for “wisdom” (we get a number of English words from it, for example “sophisticated” and “sophistry”).  In ancient religious circles, both pagan and Jewish, “Sophia” came to be thought of as not simply a divine attribute (God is “wise”) but as a kind of divine emanation (“wisdom” actually “comes from” or “derives from” God) and then as an actual divine hypostasis.  The term “hypostasis” does not have an easy English equivalent.  It refers [...]