Date of Award
Alexander A. Golitzin
Andrei A. Orlov
Julian Hills, Joseph Mueller, William Kurz
This study examines the theme of the heavenly Anthropos in the earliest extant paschal writings: Melito's Peri Pascha, Origen's Peri Pascha, and Pseudo-Hippolytus's In sanctum Pascha. Instead of analyzing these materials through the prism of such classical images as sacrifice and divine Lamb, the study investigates them through the perspective of the categories of heavenly Man and divine Image. The particular method of the study will be tradition criticism and will envision the paschal tradition of the heavenly luminous Anthropos as a development of the theophanic traditions of the Jewish Second Temple. Echoing such ancient passages as Genesis 1:27, Ezekiel 1:26, and their reception history in Philo of Alexandria and Paul the Apostle, these paschal materials articulate a theology of the heavenly Anthropos that can be typified through the categories of eikonic soteriology and noetic and mystery dimensions.
The examined texts elaborate a narrative where the divine Anthropos pursues a veritable Iliad of salvation, which I call "eikonic soteriology." Resuscitating the ancestral myth of the divine combat, the narrative portrays the divine Anthropos as a heavenly warrior seeing his created image (eikon) captured and enslaved by Death. He starts then a military campaign through changing, in a kenotic act, his own glorious divine Form for Adam's image. The victory over Death procures Adam's salvation and, moreover, his transfiguration into a divine image as Christ adorns the protopater with a heavenly radiant garment.
The other two categories also qualify Christ the divine Anthropos. Unlike previous Second Temple depictions of God as a heavenly anthropomorphic figure, the paschal Anthropos is transferred to the noetic and mystery dimensions of reality. While Clement, Tertullian, Pseudo-Hippolytus, and Origen did not rebuff the biblical idea that God has a form or image, they struggled with this concept, and the fruit of their intellectual endeavors was surprisingly not rejection but transfer to a noetic level. In addition, paschal liturgy was already conceived in the second century C.E. (see Melito's Peri Pascha) as the highest mystery performance. Its goal was to lead the participant to the encounter with the mysterious and glorious divine Image of Christ.