Chapter

Anthropomorphism, Corporeality, and the New Consensus about God

Stephen H. Webb

in Jesus Christ, Eternal God

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199827954
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919468 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827954.003.0005
Anthropomorphism, Corporeality, and the New Consensus about God

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Cognitive sciences have demonstrated the inescapable function of anthropomorphism in human thought. The author criticizes the biological speculations behind this claim but agrees with the basic point that anthropomorphism is a stable and enduring framework of human cognition. The question is whether anthropomorphism is accepted or criticized by the Bible. This chapter argues that the God of the Old Testament is clearly anthropomorphic as well as corporeal. It also argues that many early theologians explained this phenomenon by developing Christological interpretations of Old Testament theophanies (which they interpreted as Christophanies). This chapter pinpoints the turn away from anthropomorphism in the work of Origen and the Origenist crisis in Egyptian monasticism. Finally, it examines the work of Eberhard Jüngel in his efforts to give anthropomorphism a firm basis.

Keywords: cognitive science; Old Testament; Eberhard Jüngel; Origen; Origenist Crisis; Christophanies; anthropomorphism

Chapter.  11455 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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