Divine (Dis)embodiment as an aspect of Divine Otherness in Philo

In his Quod Deus immutabilis sit, Philo argues against embodiment as an attribute of God. His argument there and in other texts intertwines with notions of human knowledge, and in particular the claim that enlightened people who attend to proper knowledge and the proper functioning of the mind most adequately apprehend the divine nature. In other words, a parallelism exists between the state of the knower and the nature of the known. Language of divine body parts in the Bible, therefore, for Philo represent the divine teacher's efforts to instruct the less learned. This paper argues that the dense fabric of argument in Deus draws on raw materials in the Greek Bible as Philo read it rather than representing a caesura in the tradition. While Philo's views differ from, and sometimes even invert, those in the older Jewish texts it is possible to identify some of his sources and thus to situate his discussion within the history of biblical interpretation even on a point that seems so counter-textual with respect to his sources.