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The Noetic Anthropos of Pre-Nicene Christian Hellenism

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Chapter Summary

The noetic Anthropos represents a significant conceptual leap from anthropomorphic terminologies. In the Alexandrian intellectual environment of the second century bce, Aristobulus takes over and even makes some editorial adjustments to a pseudo-Orphic hymn which states that God is unseen by mortal eyes, but that a certain Chaldean wise man, skilled in astronomy, discerned God with his mind. The doctrine of a noetic form of God finds one of its clearest illustrations in Clement of Alexandria. The incarnation, for Hippolytus of Rome, is a mystery of economy, a mystery about the Logos and his manifestation in history. In order to defend the corporeal condition of the incarnate Christ, Tertullian assumed that even Christ's pre-incarnate status involves body and form. Commonly dated around 300-320ce, the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies is another pre-Nicene source including a Christology envisioning the Son endowed with a body of glory and a form (morphe).

Keywords: Christ's pre-incarnate status; Hippolytus of Rome; noetic Anthropos; pseudo-Orphic hymn



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