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The ΘEIA ФΥΣΙΣ of Hippocrates and of Other “Divine Men”

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Chapter Summary

Hellenistic Judaism, once regarded as a mediator between the pagan world and the New Testament, was said to ignore the concept because it was foreign to biblical thinking. Some scholars preferred to explain the gospel narratives through Old Testament or Jewish models rather than appeal to a concept that does not explicitly appear in the New Testament. At the center of this discussion lay The Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Philostratus, from the early third century CE, the principal pagan exponent of the so-called "divine man" biography. The term ϑείος in the literature of the imperial period often refers to founders of a discipline or a philosophical school. It simply means excellence above the human level. It is possible to say that both divine origin and veneration can be connoted by the epithet ϑείος, as the example of Hippocrates clearly shows.

Keywords: Hellenistic Judaism; Hippocrates; New Testament; Old Testament; Philostratus; The Life of Apollonius of Tyana

10.1163/9789047402190_005
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