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Theophany And The Invisible God In Early Christian Theology And Art

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Chapter Summary

Christianity emerged in a world that was well stocked with visual images of gods. Justin Martyr not only wrote apologies aimed at defending Christianity to a traditional polytheistic audience, he also engaged in a debate with the Jew, Trypho. In both situations, Justin used Logos theology to explain the appearance of God to certain individuals, but he found it especially useful in proving the superiority of Christianity to Judaism. Irenaeus similarly tried to reconcile the contradiction between God's essential transcendence with biblical accounts of divine theophanies. Tertullian employed this idea of dispensation, or divine condescension to human need to deal with God ?in a human way" to assert an essential point of distinction within the Trinity against the modalist Praxeas. Origen also saw the incarnation of Christ as the essential and unique way that God's invisible divine glory, could be manifest.

Keywords: divine theophanies; early Christian theology; God's invisible divine glory; Justin Martyr; Tertullian



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