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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Godís Body: The Anthropomorphic God in the Old Testament
Wagner, Andreas
Salzmann, Marion, translator

London: T&T Clark, 2019 pp. xvii + 187. $39.95

Description: 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.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Ancient Near Eastern History, Archaeology, Social-Scientific Approaches, Ideological Critique, Theological Approaches, Theological Interpretation

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Review by S. Tamar Kamionkowski
Published 1/23/2020
Citation: S. Tamar Kamionkowski, review of Andreas Wagner, Godís Body: The Anthropomorphic God in the Old Testament, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2020).

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