Continuing our discussion on John’s Prologue (which originally started on the topic of gender in translation, but I have taken the oppurtunity to move into the discussion of Logos and Sophia), we make a brief side step into the Patristic Interaction in which it was a common thought to united Word and Wisdom (Logos and Sophia) into the Incarnation.
Origen, himself a root of heresies, states ‘and they call this Word and Wisdom and the very Power of God’ when speaking about the ‘second substance (ousia)’ (PE VII 12.1.2) (See John 1.1; Wisdom 7.26)
In Alexander’s letter to all the bishops regarding Arius, he calls Christ the Word and Wisdom of God (asking of Arius that if Christ is such, how could there be a time when He did not exist). In the letter, he quotes John 1.1, 3; Ps 45.2 (lxx), 110. 3 (lxx); Wisdom 7.26, Colossians 1.15; ebrews 1.3, and Malachi 3.6 (lxx).
In the creed promulgated at the Council of Serdica, the Western Bishops used Wisdom 7.22 (feminine), connecting it to John 1.3 (neuter, masculine?).
In Athanasius’ defense of the Nicene Definition, he quotes Baruch 3.12, allowing him to call Christ Wisdom and Life, connecting it to the Father as source of the Son.
Ambrose (18.222) quoted Baruch 3.37 to promote the idea that Christ did indeed take on human flesh.
I intended for this to be brief because there are more important things to do, and many do not take the Deuterocanon as worth studying – yet, we know from the Christological controversies in the 3rd and 4the century, both Wisdom and Baruch played a part along side of John in defending the deity of Christ. While the defenses were, for the most part solid, it shows us these many years later that the early Church Fathers had no qualms in combining the feminine Sophia (Wisdom) to the masculine Logos (Word.) It further shows us that the wisdom tradition found in the Old Testament was co-opted into the New with the use of Logos.
Why is this important to a conversation started about grammer?
Perhaps, just perhaps, it shows that the Church Fathers regarded the Logos in John’s prologue as an ‘it’, or at the very least, found the feminine compatible with the masculine. For another excellent post, please see here.