Lawrence DiPaolo Jr. earned a Ph. D. in Theology from Loyola University. He is currently Assistant Professor of Sacred Scripture and Associate Dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary.
2008 0-7734-4923-X This study investigates the three main images of Christ in the material normally designated as hymnic in the New Testament (Phil 2:6-11, 1 Cor 8:6, Col 1:15-20, John 1:1-18, Heb 1:3-4, 1 Tim 3:16), specifically the images of Christ the pre-existent divinity, Christ the Creator and Christ the Incarnate god. It is the position of the author that the closest literary antecedents for the first two images can be found in the literary world of Hellenistic Jewish wisdom speculation, specifically that subset of Hellenistic Jewish wisdom speculation influenced by Middle Platonic thought and exemplified by the works of Philo of Alexandria. The final image, that of Christ the Incarnate god, finds its’ most compelling literary antecedents in works of Greco-Roman religious thought and philosophy, specifically those myths which deal with gods taking human form and serving as slaves. The image of the god as flesh, a subset of those images which deal with Christ as an incarnate god, however, fails to be easily classified as deriving from either Hellenistic Jewish or Greco-Roman literary images.