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Woman Wisdom and the Johannine Logos

One thing that you may have noticed if you read through the prologue of John’s Gospel (1:1-18) is that John did not use the feminine term sophia (wisdom) but the masculine term logos (word, message, reason). However, these two terms could be used interchangeably (Sirach 24:3; Wisdom 9:1-2; Philo, Allegorical Interpretation 1.65; On Flight 97, 109). Moreover, the reason for the shift seems to me to be that John also intended to echo the creation narrative in Genesis 1 in which God speaks creation into existence. Although Wisdom is accessible to all humankind, she was primarily embodied in the Torah according to Sirach 24:23 and was incarnate in the flesh in John 1:14. John, like Philo of Alexandria, may have further aimed to communicate to those who were familiar with the logos from Stoic and Middle Platonic philosophy.

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