Original Research - Special Collection: Studies on the Bible - spirituality and mysticism

The (in)visibility of the gods in the Greco-Roman world and of God in Hellenistic Judaism: A comparison

Dirk van der Merwe
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 1 | a2839 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2839 | © 2015 Dirk van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 October 2014 | Published: 26 October 2015

About the author(s)

Dirk van der Merwe, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, School of Humanities, University of South Africa, South Africa

Abstract

The attribute of (in)visibility of a reckoned divine being is one that is not discussed often; it is one of the more obscure attributes of deities and not an easy subject to embark upon. Not much data is available on this subject, and the available information often seems contradictory. This article investigates briefly the references concerning the (in)visibility of the gods in the GrecoRoman world as well as the (in)visibility of God in Hellenistic Judaism. In order to gain more clarity, the investigation examines what the ‘seeing’ of the god(s) comprises in the mythology of Homer, the philosophers, the mystery religions and Hellenistic Gnosticism. In Hellenistic Judaism the focus will be on Philo as the ideal exponent.

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