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God’s Body

November 18, 2008

One of the most interesting things I discovered when writing my new book is that the idea of an intangible, bodiless God is a comparatively new one. Scholars think it’s a Greek idea that got grafted onto Israelite conceptions of the divine sometime in the 4th century BCE. So, why didn’t the ancient Israelites get to see this body? Actually, a few got some glimpses — Moses got to see “His” back and Ezekiel got to view his legs (and even, gasp, his thighs, which is why his text’s generally considered inappropriate for young scholars, even X rated — too intoxicating for youth to handle). Some scholars suggest that the answer lies in the problem of God’s gender. God would not allow anyone to see “Him” face-to- face, which means that any gender markers “He” possessed remained invisible to His human followers. Perhaps this is because of anxiety about His phallus. Perhaps this is because of homosexual fears on the part of those who loved “Him.” There’s a great book on this subject, God’s Phallus. Here is the Amazon link.

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