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Desiring Divinity: Self-deification in Early Jewish and Christian Mythmaking (M David Litwa) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2016) 9780190467166
Desiring Divinity: Self-deification in Early Jewish and Christian Mythmaking (M David Litwa) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2016) 9780190467166
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Title: Desiring Divinity: Self-deification in Early Jewish and Christian Mythmaking

Author: Litwa, M David

Publisher: Oxford University Press; Publication Date: 2016

Hardcover; ISBN: 9780190467166

Volumes: 1; Pages: 256

List Price in Hardcover: $99.00 Our price: $78.99

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Perhaps no declaration incites more theological and moral outrage than a human's claim to be divine. Those who make this claim in ancient Jewish and Christian mythology are typically represented as the most hubristic and dangerous tyrants. Their horrible punishments are predictable and still serve as morality tales in religious communities today.

But not all self-deifiers are saddled with pride and fated to fall. Some who claimed divinity stated a simple and direct truth. Though reviled on earth, misunderstood, and even killed, they received vindication and rose to the stars.

This book tells the stories of six self-deifiers in their historical, social, and ideological contexts. In the history of interpretation, the initial three figures have been demonized as cosmic rebels: the first human Adam, Lucifer (later identified with Satan), and Yaldabaoth in gnostic mythology. By contrast, the final three have served as positive models for deification and divine favor: Jesus in the gospel of John, Simon of Samaria, and Allogenes in the Nag Hammadi library.

In the end, the line separating demonization from deification is dangerously thin, drawn as it is by the unsteady hand of human valuation.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Types of Self-deification Mythology

PART I: The Self-deifying Rebel

Chapter 1 "I am a God." The Primal Human as Primeval Self-deifier

Chapter 2 "I Will Be Like the Most High!" The Self-deification of Helel

Chapter 3 "I am God and there is No Other!" The Boast of Yaldabaoth

PART II: The Self-deifying Hero

Chapter 4 "I and the Father are One." The Self-deification of Jesus in John

Chapter 5 "I and You are One." Simon of Samaria as Hero and Heretic

Chapter 6 "I Became Divine." Allogenes and Gnostic Self-deification

Conclusion The Many Myths of Self-deification

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