Date of Submission



Colossians 1:15-20 has often been noted for its distinctive use of language and theological nuance, in particular, its ‘cosmic’ Christology. Pauline and Colossians research have identified Plato’s Timaeus, Middle Platonism and Philo of Alexandria as potentially offering beneficial insight into this Colossian ‘hymn’ and for the letter as a whole. Unfortunately, to date, these identifications have lacked a thorough treatment and have seldom been more than assertions or short, incidental statements that are part of larger projects in Biblical studies. This thesis has undertaken to test and advance the above assertions by providing a clear method and a thorough examination. This thesis has selected Colossians 1:15-17, a notable expression of the author’s Christology and cosmology. The method proposed for examining Colossians 1:15-17 is an analysis of the passage’s terminology and syntactical constructions, and a demonstration of its distinctiveness within the corpus Paulinum. These distinctives are then compared with Platonic texts, primarily Timaeus and the ‘middle platonic’ exposition of Jewish scripture expressed in Philonic corpus. Upon completing the investigation, the selected text was found to be highly distinctive and where these distinctives were indicated, overt lexicographical and conceptual similarities were found with Timaeus and how it was used by Philo of Alexandria. The implications of these findings present similar beneficial insight for the rest of the Colossian hymn (1:18-20) and the wider distinctive language of Colossians.


School of Theology

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


184 pages

Degree Name

Master of Theology (Research) (MTheol(Res))


Faculty of Theology and Philosophy