‘Two Powers in Heaven’ and Early Christian Trinitarian Thinking

Alan F. Segal

in The Trinity

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199246120
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600531 | DOI:
                      ‘Two Powers in Heaven’ and Early Christian Trinitarian Thinking

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Alan Segal outlines the history of binitarianism and the criticism it met within Hellenistic Jewish culture. Segal begins by identifying ‘those who say there are two powers in heaven’, a rabbinic heresy probably referring to Christians. He shows that Philo did not hesitate to call the logos a ‘second God’ because he felt it was more important to protect the immutability than the unity of God. The arguments, in turn, became the basis for Justin's christology and from there entered Christian discussions of the nature of the Trinity. At the same time, rabbinic opposition to all such notions, whether philosophical or Christian or both, intensified.

Keywords: binitarianism; criticism; Hellenistic Jewish culture; immutability of God; logos; Philo; rabbinic heresy; rabbinic opposition; Segal; unity of God

Chapter.  9913 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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