Creation in Paul and Philo: The Beginning and Before

Bibliographic information:

Worthington, J. Creation in Paul and Philo: The Beginning and Before . WUNT II/317. Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011.



God’s creative activity “in the beginning” is important to many aspects of Paul’s theology. Jonathan Worthington explores Paul’s protology by analyzing his interpretation of scripture concerning creation, mainly the beginning of Genesis. By examining Paul’s exegetical manoeuvres within 1-2 Corinthians and Romans, and by comparing these with the contemporary but more detailed treatments of the same texts by Philo of Alexandria in his formal commentary on Genesis 1-2, De Opificio Mundi , the author uncovers an approach to creation that is fundamental to both ancient interpreters. Paul’s interpretation of creation, like Philo’s in his commentary, contains three interwoven aspects: the beginning of the world, the beginning of humanity, and God’s intentions before the beginning. Recognizing this basic hermeneutical interplay between “the Beginning” and “the Before” facilitates a more appropriate comparison between Paul and Philo as well as a more adequate treatment of difficult and debated passages in both interpreters regarding creation.


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