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Metaphors of Closeness: Reflections on Homoiôsis Theôi in Ancient Philosophy and Beyond

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Abstract It is often assumed that a single, diachronically persistent motif of imitating god can be identified in Ancient philosophy and early Christianity. The present article takes issue with this assumption and seeks to establish the conceptual framework for a more sophisticated discussion of homoiôsis. The article identifies eight crucial junctures at which homoiôsis stories can diverge. For all the variance of homoiôsis narratives, the category of imitation of the divine remains a useful analytical tool. The article supports this claim by a comparison of Platonic and Stoic narratives of homoiôsis. It established their distinctness and shows how the rhetoric of imitating the divine offers important linguistic markers that allow us to trace the transgressive potential of (ancient) theologies.

Affiliations: 1: University of Groningen Department of Christianity, Philosophy, and Culture Oude Boteringestraat 38 9712 GK Groningen The Netherlands


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