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Personification of wisdom (in Greek, Σοφία or Sophia) at the Celsus Library in Ephesus, Turkey. photo by Radomil talk 21:21, 30 November 2005 (UTC) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Personification of wisdom (in Greek, Σοφία or Sophia) at the Celsus Library in Ephesus, Turkey. photo by Radomil talk 21:21, 30 November 2005 (UTC) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

There is a deep wisdom behind the universe. It is beyond knowledge – knowing how things work. It is beyond mysticism – trusting how things work. Yet it involves and transcends both. In the Jewish and Christian traditions, this deep wisdom has a central focus. Hebrew tradition personifies wisdom as a woman practical and present at Creation, most famously portrayed in Proverbs 8. The epiphany of wisdom here  earthy, pragmatic and full of common sense. She became known in the Greek tradition as Sophia, and there is a strong strand in traditional Christianity alluding to the femininity of Wisdom.

John’s Gospel reflects its Hellenistic context. Here the more abstract term Logos – (reason) comes into play. It is the instrument through which the universe comes into being and is identified as being both with/of God and, indeed, God as well. The Logos took flesh and is recognisable in Jesus of Nazareth. Hence, Jesus is revered as the Word, the wisdom, of God. Both Sophia and Logos refer us to the deep Wisdom behind all things, and they are today’s gift.

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