Metaphors of Closeness : Reflections on 'Homoiosis Theoi' in Ancient Philosophy and Beyond

Numen 60:54-70 (2013)


It is often assumed that a single, diachronically persistent motif of imitating god can be identifijied 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 identifijies 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 offfers important linguistic markers that allow us to trace the transgressive potential of (ancient) theologies.

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Christoph Jedan
University of Groningen

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