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The Body of God

Jewish, Christian and Pagan Ideas of God in Antiquity

by Markschies, Christoph

In this brilliantly written, fascinating exploration of the religions of European antiquity, Professor Christoph Markschies confronts us with a Christianity that appears surprisingly foreign: a world view that is suffused with pagan concepts of divinity. He highlights interconnections between the various religious traditions of the ancient world and explains how the idea of God as a bodiless entity gained acceptance among Christians only as late as the Middle Ages.

In the ancient world, even educated Christians believed that divinity could have a body, just like the pagan Gods. Drawing on contemporary philosophical and theological debates about the question and revisiting ancient temples, Christoph Markschies unearths surprising details about how the Ancients imagined the body of God. With the vast number of interconnections between pagan divinities and the Christian and the Jewish God, this book is an important contribution to current debates about cultural and religious identities. We come across a variety of views about the nature of man, his body and soul - and last but not least, about the healing power of religion. An important reminder of the foundations of our cultural heritage, articulated in lucid prose by an accomplished scholar.

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