Legacies of Hellenistic-Jewish Cosmological Wisdom

Paul M. Blowers

in Drama of the Divine Economy

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199660414
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745980 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Legacies of Hellenistic-Jewish Cosmological Wisdom

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Chapter 3 explores the most important legacies of Hellenistic Jewish cosmology for early Christian doctrine on Creator and creation. “Hellenistic-Jewish cosmology” is not a single finalized system or worldview operative among Jewish communities in the Diaspora that had made their ultimate peace with Greco-Roman thought. The diverse literature of Second Temple Judaism, rather, evidences a complex process of critical adaptation and reformulation, providing important precedents for early Christianity on a number of levels, including the connection of cosmology and moral wisdom. The Wisdom of Solomon and Philo of Alexandria were indisputably the two most influential Hellenistic Jewish sources on patristic theologians. Wisdom of Solomon, in particular, projected a new teleology of creation, an integrative worldview that tied together the origins and destiny of material creation against the backdrop of God’s immanent action in the “meantime” of salvation history. Philo’s profound influence is assessed in terms of his nuanced philosophical interpretation of the “beginning” in Genesis 1, his ambiguous but important teaching on creation ex nihilo, and his highly sophisticated theory about “simultaneous” and “double” (ideal and actual) creation.

Keywords: Hellenistic Judaism; Wisdom of Solomon; wisdom; teleology; Philo; creation ex nihilo; simultaneous creation; double creation

Chapter.  13438 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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