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Academic Periodical

The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

ISSN: 2658-7599 (print)
2713-3141 (online)

The Image of God: “male and female” or “neither male nor female”?

Vyacheslav Zykov, Postgraduate Student, Sts. Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies; librarian, St Philaret’s Institute (Moscow)
pp. 74–102
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2019.30.34594
This article is dedicated to the problem of the relationship between the two halves of Genesis 1:27 (“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”). The question of the relationship between the two halves of the verse is examined in light of various interpretations of the expressions “image of God” *1 and “male and female” *2 in texts from the Second Temple era, the New Testament and Rabbinic literature. Within this group of texts, a common line of usage for the two separate halves of the verses (Gen 1:27a, b (Gen 5:1b, 2а)) predominates, both in terms of quotation and in terms of interpretation. In the ancient texts listed, we can observe two basic trends vis-a-vis the expressions “image of God” and “male and female”. The first trend, dealing with the fulfillment of God’s words, “and let them have dominion <…> over all the earth” *3 and God’s command “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” *4, relates to man’s calling to be the ruler of the earth and to childbearing. The second trend is found in the context of striving for eternal life, appearing on the one hand in Philo’s understanding of the “heavenly man”, and on the other hand in Christian conceptions of Christ as the image of God *5 and of there being “neither male nor female” *6 in Christ and in the Church.
Keywords: Image of God, Bible, man and woman, male and female, androgynous.

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