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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 [...]

2020-04-03T03:57:41-04:00January 2nd, 2016|Historical Jesus, Public Forum, Reader’s Questions|

Wisdom as God’s Consort in the Beginning

I'm pleased to say that I met my goal of getting the eight chapters on the Hebrew Bible for my Bible Introduction written now, just in time for me to fly outta here. I head to London for the rest of the summer on Monday. But I will keep up with the blog from there! Below is just a short little "box" that I include in my discussion of the book of Proverbs.   *********************************************************************************************************************** Box 1.2: Woman Wisdom as God’s Consort? We have seen that in ancient Israel Yahweh was sometimes thought to have a divine consort, his “Asherah.”  This was never accepted by the strict henotheists who wrote the historical and prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible, but in Proverbs, a book of Wisdom, there is a passage that some interpreters have thought represents a kind of modified or “tamed” view of Yahweh and his divine female companion from eternity past.  Here she is not Asherah, but Wisdom herself, shown to be speaking in Proverbs 8: FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log [...]

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