God's Body

The Anthropomorphic God in the Old Testament

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Andreas Wagner
  • New York, NY: 
    Bloomsbury Academic
    , June
     224 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Sarah Burton forthcoming.


Images of the body in ancient Near Eastern civilizations are radically different from body images today, which in turn creates significant consequences for our understanding of the biblical notion of God's human shape and the frequent and widespread misconceptions therein. Andreas Wagner illuminates such frequent and widespread misconceptions, and reveals the sometimes distant pictorial world of ancient body images. He contrasts these with contemporary models and makes the matter of the Old Testament concept of God's human form accessible and clear.

Wagner begins by introducing readers to aspects of anthropomorphism, the study of body parts, and Israel's basic understanding of the human body. He then turns specifically to the body of God, analysing why and how certain body parts are emphasized or regularly employed in the biblical text when it tries to describe God. Wagner draws out the theological aspects of the ways in which God's body is described as well as considering the diverse range of ancient Near Eastern perspectives on God, and the ways in which ancient cultures constructed and understood deities. Wagner concludes by looking at how the depiction of God in the Old Testament fits with the concept of mankind made in God's image. Enhanced by over fifty illustrations, God's Body will lead the debate in biblical anthropomorphism for years to come.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Andreas Wagner is Professor in Hebrew Bible at the University of Bern, Switzerland.



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