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The Demiurge in the Apocryphon of John

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that the passage in the preface of the Apocryphon of John concerning the polymorphy of Christ reflects a well-known Christian view, wide-spread in the second century and perhaps even related to the theology of Tatian. It explains the fact that the image of the demiurge in the Apocryphon of John is moulded after the demiurge of Orphism, Phanes or Eros, who became Aion in Hellenistic times. The chapter shows us that the cosmogonic Eros, abandoned by Plato and ignored by the Stoics, continued to be celebrated in the Orphic school of Alexandria, even in the first century of our era. And if it is correct that the source of the Pseudo-Clementine writings in this case was a Jewish apology written in Alexandria, then it would appear that these Orphic speculations were known to the Jews of Alexandria at that time.

Keywords: anthropomorphisms; Apocryphon of John; cosmogonic myth; demiurge Phanes; Hellenistic times; Judaism; Plato; theology of Tatian



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