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Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity

Ed. by Brennecke, Hanns Christof / Drecoll, Volker Henning / Heil, Uta / Markschies, Christoph

Together with Elm, Susanna / Gemeinhardt, Peter / Meier, Mischa / Perrone, Lorenzo / Pollmann, Karla / Riedweg, Christoph / Schöllgen, Georg / Williams, Rowan / Wischmeyer, Wolfgang

CiteScore 2018: 0.21

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.130
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.563

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Volume 20, Issue 3


Adam and the Logos: Aphrahat’s Christology in Demonstration 17 and the “Imponderables of Hellenization”

Emanuel Fiano
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Theology, Fordham University, 441 East Fordham Road, Duane Library 151, Bronx, New York 10458, United States of America
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Published Online: 2016-12-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac-2016-0046


Aphrahat’s presumed unawareness of contemporary theological developments has often puzzled scholars, who as a result have deemed his theological views “archaic” and bereft of any Hellenic influence. This image, which has begun to be questioned by a series of studies, can be further corrected by an examination of the central section, dealing with the begetting of Adam, of a Demonstration devoted to proving “that Christ is God and Son of God” (= Dem. 17). The paper argues that in this passage Aphrahat is indebted to an exegetical tradition, attested by Philo of Alexandria, which read in the double account of the creation of Adam in Genesis (1:26–27 and 2:7) a two-staged making of the protoplast. It further proposes that Aphrahat fine-tuned this interpretation through the application to Adam of the prolation of the Logos, a schema that had in Philo its most prominent attestation and had been long appropriated by Greek Christian writers. Finally, it suggests that Demonstration 17 integrates the schema of the prolation with an Adamitic Christology, thus merging theological models traditionally linked to two cultural worlds (respectively Hellenic and Semitic) often posited as largely separate.1

Keywords:: Aphrahat; Adam; Philo of Alexandria; Christ

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Published Online: 2016-12-16

Published in Print: 2016-12-30

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity, Volume 20, Issue 3, Pages 437–468, ISSN (Online) 1612-961X, ISSN (Print) 0949-9571, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac-2016-0046.

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