Boyarin’s “The Jewish Gospels”: Were Second Temple Jews Binitarian?

To inaugurate my blog, I am taking a close look at The Jewish Gospels, Daniel Boyarin’s latest book on the intersection of early Christianity with the Judaism of the first few centuries CE. As I noted in my first post, I like Boyarin. He distrusts religious borders. He likes to mix things up. He’s controversial.

He also drives me crazy. Boyarin is a terrific scholar and an original thinker who (in my view) tends to take his scholarship and thinking to places beyond what the available evidence will support.

For an example, let’s examine his argument in The Jewish Gospels that “[m]any Israelites at the time of Jesus were expecting a Messiah who would be divine and come to earth in the form of a human.” (p. 6) By “divine”, Boyarin goes beyond the conventional idea that the Jewish Messiah would be a human “begotten” son of God, like the king of Zion in Psalms 2 (p. 28). No, by “divine” Boyarin means that in Jesus’ time some Jews were expecting the Messiah to be a “divinity”, “a God who looks like a human being” (p. 33), part of a “doubled godhead” (p. 34), the second person in a kind of “Jewish binitarianism” (p. 51).

In short, Boyarin thinks that in first century Palestine, many Jews believed in two Gods! This is a radical claim. The thing that’s supposed to make Judaism distinct, the thing that is supposedly Judaism’s primary “contribution” to western culture, is belief in one God.  Consider the Shema prayer, perhaps the closest thing to a creedal statement in the Jewish liturgy, a prayer that is as ancient as Deuteronomy: “Hear Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” Or consider the second (or the first, depending on how you count) of the Ten Commandments: “You shall have no other gods but me.”

From our sources, it appears that first century Jews thought of themselves as monotheists. Philo of Alexandria, a first century Jewish philosopher, referred to “the most sacred of all commandments, to think that there is but one God, the most highest, and to honour him alone; and let not the polytheistical doctrine ever even touch the ears of any man who is accustomed to seek for the truth.” (Decalogue 65)  It also appears that non-Jews perceived Jews as monotheists – the Roman historian Tacitus referred to Judaism as “purely spiritural monotheism,” and Juvenal wrote in Satire 14 that the Jews “worship nothing but the clouds.”

So, what support does Boyarin bring in The Jewish Gospels for the idea that some first century Jews believed in two Gods? Boyarin bases his claim primarily on chapter 7, verses 9-10 and 13-14 of the biblical Book of Daniel: (p. 38)

(9) As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire. (10) A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him. The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened … (13) As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a son of man [human being] with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. (14) To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.

This is a breathtaking narrative, one where God (the “Ancient One”) sits on one throne and a second figure – the “son of man” – sits on an adjoining throne. In this narrative, the “son of man” has the appearance of a god: he comes “with the clouds of heaven”, he is given an “everlasting” kingdom, and the people of earth are required to “serve” (worship?) him. Given that the gospels clearly identify Jesus as the “son of man” (see pp. 57-58), Boyarin concludes that “many” first Century Jews “were already expecting that the Messiah/Christ would be a god-man.” (p. 56)

But there’s at least one problem with Boyarin’s conclusion: it is not the conclusion set forth in the Book of Daniel. At the end of Daniel 7, Daniel reportedly “approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth” concerning his “night visions”, and the attendant (evidently an angel) explained that the “son of man” is “the people of the holy ones of the Most High”. In other words, the “son of man” in Daniel 7 is not a god, but the people of Israel.

Boyarin duly notes the explanation of the attendant (p. 39), but Boyarin has a ready explanation:

Daniel’s vision itself seems to require that we understand “the one like a son of man” as a second divine figure. The angelic decoding of the vision in the end of the chapter seems equally as clearly to interpret “the one like a son of man” as a collective earthly figure, Israel or the righteous of Israel … The answer to this conundrum is that the author of the Book of Daniel, who had Daniel’s vision itself before him, wanted to suppress the ancient testimony of a more-than-singular God, using allegory to do so. In this sense, the theological controversy … was already an intra-Jewish controversy long before Jesus. (p. 43)

This is classic Boyarin. Boyarin doesn’t like religious borders, but he loves religious pluralism and diversity, and he loves uncovering historic “suppression” of heterodox religious ideas. But in the case of the Book of Daniel, I am compelled to push back: I see no “suppression” in Daniel 7, and no interjection of allegory intended to blunt some binitarian vision of the historical Daniel. My point of view is evident, I think, once we see Daniel 7 in a broader context: Daniel 7 purports to record a dream of Daniel’s, and the Book of Daniel is full of dreams and visions, followed in every case by an authoritative interpretation.

Daniel 2 recounts a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, one that Daniel must both describe and interpret correctly in order to survive. Daniel 4 reports a second dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, which Daniel also interprets to the King’s satisfaction. Daniel 5 tells the story of the “handwriting on the wall” of the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar’s son, King Belshazzar – and once again, Daniel is called in to provide the correct interpretation. By chapter 7, the Book of Daniel shifts focus: from here to the end of the book it is Daniel having dreams and visions, and a heavenly figure (most often the angel Gabriel) providing the required interpretation.

I disagree with Boyarin that Daniel contains allegorical readings of dreams and visions that might otherwise have been understood literally. Instead, these dreams and visions are literally fantastic, containing (as they do) images of giant statues, mountains filling the whole earth, trees reaching to heaven, and in the case of Daniel 7, great multi-horned beasts. These dreams and visions beg for interpretation; they make no sense in the absence of interpretation, and they are chock-full of symbols requiring interpretation. This is not just my reading of the Book of Daniel; the repeated motif of the book is of people seeking authoritative interpretation of dreams and visions that they cannot otherwise understand. In this context, it makes no sense for Boyarin to discount the angelic identification of the “son of man” as the people of Israel, and instead to insist on a literal reading of the son of man as a god. A person determined to read Daniel 7 literally would have to anticipate not only a god-like son of man, but also a ten-horned beast that was about to “devour the whole earth”.  We have no evidence that first century Jews were preparing to confront such an animal.

Boyarin’s argument for Jewish binitarianism thus runs into the problem associated with any literal reading of apocalyptic texts. (The Book of Daniel is an apocalypse, as are the two other non-canonical books – First Enoch and Fourth Ezra – that Boyarin uses to argue his point about the “son of man”.) It’s difficult enough for any reader to understand these texts, and it’s probably impossible for any scholar to divine the thinking of ancient readers of these books. To go further than this, to argue against the strong evidence of early Jewish monotheism based on an imagined widespread Jewish reaction to passages in a few apocalyptic texts – well, that’s a project that strikes me as reckless.

This is precisely where reading Boyarin can be such a frustrating experience – because while Boyarin fails to convince me that “many” Jews expected a man-god messiah, his arguments do support valuable conclusions that Boyarin himself declines to reach. For example: while first century Jews were monotheists, this is not to say that these Jews were monotheists in a modern sense. As Larry Hurtado has argued (persuasively, in my view), monotheism comes in many varieties, and the early Jewish variety “always made ample room for other heavenly beings.” So instead of arguing for Jewish binitarianism, Boyarin might instead have shown how the son of man fits into the greater picture of Jewish monotheism, or even (and this is more in Boyarin’s wheelhouse) that the son of man points to diversity within the Jewish concept of monotheism.

Boyarin also missed the opportunity to convincingly do what he does so well, which is to destabilize religious boundaries. Perhaps it is possible for us to seize this opportunity and imagine a reconstruction of Boyarin’s discussion of Daniel 7, one that recognizes the Jewish origin of the “son of man” without jumping to conclusions about Jews believing in two gods. I think Boyarin does prove that the concept of the “son of man” was nascent in first century Jewish circles even if it was not a part of normative Jewish thought. We might then conclude that this concept was not fully realized until Jesus and his followers embraced the “son of man” to help explain Jesus’ messiahship. Such a picture of early Christology, as neither thoroughly Jewish nor thoroughly foreign to Judaism, strikes a good balance. It preserves the Jewish variety of monotheism, while giving Christianity a proper claim to originality and creativity. It also has the advantage of being a great deal more plausible than imagining first century Jewish binitarianism.

  • Fascinating account of a line of thinking that most of us — Jewish and Christian — do not know. Particularly interesting is the summary of Larry Hurtado’s argument that “monotheism comes in many varieties, and the early Jewish variety “’always made ample room for other heavenly beings.’” That’s mind-boggling but certainly helps account for all those seraphim. Thanks again.

  • AJ

    Intriguing post! Quoting from the book blurb:

    Jesus, when he came, came in a form that many Jews were expecting, a second divine figure incarnated in a human.

    My first question would be, what exactly is “many Jews”? Because “many Jews” (certainly in the thousands) today believe that the late Rabbi Schneerson is the messiah. “Many Jews” (prominent thinkers in 11th century northern France at least) believed in corporealism, that God possesses some semblance of a “body”.

    Point being, theologically speaking, even “Orthodox” Jews have historically been in fact quite heterodox, and I would imagine that this was no less the case for Jews at the start of the Common Era. There were undoubtedly messianists and non-messianists. And among the messianists, there were probably those who would quasi-deify this “son of man”, and those who believed that mashiach merely meant “anointed”, referring to a talented, charismatic flesh-and-blood leader who would reinstate the Davidic monarchy and usher in an era of peace. And among the “deifiers”, there were probably those who did so “traditionally”, ascribing to the messiah supernatural powers and the ability to resurrect the dead (abilities already attributed to other Jewish prophets and greats), and it’s conceivable that some Jews went further speak about a Binitarian “Father-Son” concept, along Boyarin’s line of thinking.

    Though does he base his Binitarian thesis solely on the passage in Daniel? If so, that seems a bit flimsy, both for the reasons you cited, and also because there are countless passages in Scripture and Talmud which when taken in isolation could be used as “evidence” to support just about any theory you could want to propose.

    Again, great post – and blog!

    • lbehrendt

      AJ, Boyarin is tricky material, difficult to summarize, particularly when I look beyond a single article or book and try to consider his work as a whole. But to answer your question: Boyarin often describes “many Jews” as “perhaps most Jews”. So he’s talking about a lot of Jews.

      Boyarin clearly values Jewish heterodoxy, but he also believes that the extent of Jewish heterodoxy has waxed and waned over the years. He argues that Second Temple Judaism was much as you described it, with many varied systems of belief. But according to Boyarin, in the years following the fall of the Second Temple, the Rabbis embraced the concept of “heresy” (something that Boyarin argues was a new concept that emerged from the efforts of Christians to define what it meant to be Christian) to narrow what was acceptable belief within Judaism. He also argues that later Rabbis, in particular the Rabbis responsible for the Babylonian Talmud, expanded the permissible scope of Jewish belief. It’s an interesting argument, one that I find persuasive on many levels.

      Boyarin’s binitarian thesis is not solely based on Daniel, though you’d probably have to read a number of his books to understand this. Boyarin focuses on a number of figures that might function as the second person of God: not just the Son of Man, but also Wisdom/Sophia, Word/Logos, and any number of angels. The way I understand Boyarin is that he essentially conflates all of these figures into a single secondary god, yet resists any effort to incorporate these figures into a one God. It’s confusing stuff, made more confusing by the way Boyarin reads texts – he has a maddening tendency to assume that every textural variant represents the point of view of a different group of Jews.

      You’re right to point out that normative theology changes over time. It might well be the case that second century Jews saw the early Christians as Logos theology gone too far, and reacted by placing greater emphasis on belief in a one God. Perhaps the Rabbis at Yavneh were following rather than setting popular opinion when they wrote against the heresy of Two Powers in Heaven.

      Keep reading, and keep writing!

      • AJ

        Thanks for the response. This is proving to be quite an education for me!

        Fascinating about “Sophia” and “Logos” being understood as the begotten son of God. Makes you realize that there’s a great deal of blurry territory between “Godliness” and God, between conduits of God’s will/word/wisdom (texts, people, etc.) and God. The Zohar talks about God-Torah-Israel (another “trinity” of sorts?) as being “One”. Torah is God’s Word/Wisdom, and Israel is the one who carries/preaches that Word/Wisdom. Israel is also called God’s “firstborn son”.

        Still, going so far as to actually personify Sophia/Logos strikes me as a Scriptural metaphor run amok! It smacks of having a pre-existing theology and fitting it into the text, rather than something which emerges organically out of the text. (Of course Jews project their thinking into the text all the time – it’s called “Midrash”!)

        I suppose I need to read Boyarin’s books to see whether I find his arguments persuasive/sufficiently substantiated. But in the meantime, I’ll take your “logos” for it…

        • lbehrendt

          AJ, for the personification of Sophia, there’s Proverbs 8:22-31. You can’t find wisdom personified any more clearly than that!

          Another good example (and again, I’m pulling these stories from Boyarin) comes from 3 Enoch and also from Talmud Hagiga, where Rabbi Acher was given a vision of the angel Metatron sitting on a throne like a king, and came to the conclusion that there are two powers in Heaven. Metatron was punished for making it appear as if there were two divinities. This is a great rabbinic story, illustrating both that there is only one God, and that it’s entirely possible to reach a different (though incorrect, from a Jewish point of view) conclusion from the evidence.

          If you’re curious about this, your best read (not an easy one!) is Boyarin’s “Border Lines”. Boyarin himself relies on an earlier book by Alan Segal, “Two Powers in Heaven”, but I have not read Segal’s work. As I’ve stated, I’m not convinced by Boyarin on this point — it seems to me that part of the Jewish effort to know an ineffable and transcendent God is to try to understand God in bits and pieces, and that some of those bits and pieces will have a tendency to take on lives of their own. But the overriding principle at play here is “monotheism” — I put “monotheism” in quotes because this too is an evolving concept. As you stated, normative theology is a changing thing, and it would be natural for Judaism to periodically move away from reconstructing God and instead to reaffirm divine unity. It is also entirely natural for Christianity, following this tradition, to find its own way to understand God as a multiplicity and a unity.

  • Fernie

    Larry,

    What is your thought on the Targum and the Memra?
    Doesn’t that shows almost a personification of God’s action/doing in the world?
    http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10618-memra

  • Korus Destroyus

    I think you have misunderstood Boyarin. Binitarianism is not ditheism (two gods). Binitarianism is the same as Trinitarianism except two persons instead of three. Boyarin is saying Jews thought the one God has two persons, similarly to how Christians like myself believe that the one God has three persons. He is definitely not talking about two gods.

    • Korus, you’re raising two questions: (1) did Boyarin think that Second Temple Jews (or at least, some Second Temple Jews) conceived of God as a single being consisting of two “persons” (in the manner that Christianity came to believe that God is one being in three “persons”), or instead was he speaking of a Jewish belief in two gods, and (2) is the right name for what Boyarin is driving at “binitarianism,” “ditheism” or something else?

      The second point is the easier to discuss. Boyarin himself used the word “binitarianism” in this book. Referring to what Boyarin described in Israelite/Canaanite religion as a myth of “El and YHVH as the two Gods of Israel,” Boyarin writes, “It is the power of that myth that explains the continuing life of Jewish Binitarianism into Christian Judaism and vitally present in non-Christian Judaism as well.” Then referring to Daniel 7’s “Son of Man” as a “heavenly Redeemer figure,” he says that Daniel 7 “is also the best evidence we have for the continuation of a very ancient binitarian Israelite theology deep into the Second Temple period. (pp. 51-52) Boyarin also frequently used the term “binitarianism” in his work “Border Lines.” So I think I do have the right word here.

      A related question concerns the distinction between binitarianism and ditheism. If Boyarin himself used the word “ditheism” in “Jewish Gospels,” I’m not aware of it. (He did use the term in “Border Lines.”) Alan Segal uses both terms in his masterwork “Two Powers in Heaven,” which I think underlies much of Boyarin’s thinking here, even though I’m not sure Boyarin cites Segal in “Jewish Gospels” (he does so in “Border Lines”). Segal never exactly defines the two terms, though in a footnote on p. 42, he describes ditheism as “two gods” and binitarianism as “two powers,” though he goes on to say that at least in some contexts, the two terms can be equated. While I haven’t read Segal as carefully as I’ve read Boyarin, I think Segal understands binitarianism to retain the possibility of monotheism, while ditheism would not. But I’d say that neither Boyarin nor Segal see these two terms as absolutely distinct; the possibility of a twoness in thinking about God could easily be one or the other, or fit somewhere in-between.

      To conclude on this point: I think Boyarin intended to talk about “binitarianism” in “Jewish Gospels,” which I’d agree is a lesser divide between divine persons or beings than would be connoted by the term “ditheism,” though the border between the two terms is not precise.

      Let’s jump back to the first question: in “Jewish Gospels,” was Boyarin trying to describe a Second Temple belief in a single God existing in two persons? The phrase Boyarin uses most to describe Jesus is a “divine figure.” (See p. 32, for example.) For example, in his introduction, his first reference to his binitarian thesis is that Jesus came in a form that “many, many Jews were expecting: a second divine figure incarnated in a human.” He refers to this divine figure as “a God” (p. 33), “that God” (p. 33), part of a “doubled godhead” (p. 34), one of “two divinities” (p. 40), one of two divine figures (p. 41), and the younger in a pair, “an old God and a young God” (p. 52). (Boyarin does once use the Christian Trinitarian idea of “hypostasis” to describe this duality, in the sense that the combination of the ancient Canaanite gods El and YHVH “always had the potential to split off again in a hypostasis (or even separate god)”, p. 49, but even here the idea of two gods is apparent.) When Boyarin goes on to describe how this Jewish idea of twoness could nonetheless be monotheism, he does not talk about a single God in two persons, but instead about “a second God that is completely subordinate to the first.” (p. 45) So here, I have to disagree with you. Boyarin frequently describes his thesis in terms of two gods, and he never takes the second step of saying that these two gods are necessarily one.

      Boyarin writes with greater nuance in his more scholarly work. In “Border Lines” (p.141), he writes about the second person in Jewish binitarianism as someone “about whom it can be discussed whether he is identical in essence, similar in essence, similar (no essence), or dissimilar entirely with the first person.” But I think it’s clear in “Border Lines” that Boyarin does not see a Nicene unity of divine persons in the Jewish binitarianism he’s describing. In “Border Lines,” Boyarin describes his concept of binitarianism in terms of Logos, and writes that Nicene orthodoxy effectively “crucifies the Logos” by describing the entire trinity as “both self-contained and fully transcendent,” insisting (contrary to the Jewish notion he’s describing, of “Two Powers in Heaven”) that “God alone, without a mediator, without an angel, without a Logos, is the creator.” I think what Boyarin is saying is, however this second person of Jewish binitarianism might be envisioned, this person was not as subsumed within a single God as in later Christian thought. You’d have to read Boyarin at greater length to get a sense of this; he does not encapsulate this thought for us easily. But I think it’s clear from “Border Lines” that he sees Nicene trinitarianism as more than merely adding a third person to Second Temple Jewish binitarianism.

      In case it isn’t clear: I’m not saying that Boyarin is right in his understanding of the (or a) Second Temple Jewish understanding of God.

      • Korus Destroyus

        “Korus, you’re raising two questions: (1) did Boyarin think that Second Temple Jews (or at least, some Second Temple Jews) conceived of God as a single being consisting of two “persons” (in the manner that Christianity came to believe that God is one being in three “persons”), or instead was he speaking of a Jewish belief in two gods, and (2) is the right name for what Boyarin is driving at “binitarianism,” “ditheism” or something else?”

        He clearly uses the word binitarian, not ditheism. Scholars in recent years have had to stress the difference between the two terms since some people (probably popular readers/writers) have simply misunderstood them.

        “Christians did not create an additional, separate Jesus cult and add it to the existing worship of the one God. That would have entailed, in effect, a ditheism (rather than a “binitarianism”).
        C. Fletcher Louis, Jesus Monotheism: Volume 1: Christological Origins (Wipf and Stock 2015): pp. 26-27

        Larry Hurtado has made similar comments, stating that he is going to start using the term dyadic instead of binitarianism since people are being misled. I can provide more quotes but I think my point has been made.

        “He refers to this divine figure as “a God” (p. 33), “that God” (p. 33), part of a “doubled godhead” (p. 34), one of “two divinities” (p. 40), one of two divine figures (p. 41), and the younger in a pair, “an old God and a young God” (p. 52). (Boyarin does once use the Christian Trinitarian idea of “hypostasis” to describe this duality, in the sense that the combination of the ancient Canaanite gods El and YHVH “always had the potential to split off again in a hypostasis (or even separate god)”, p. 49, but even here the idea of two gods is apparent.)”

        All that terminology (two divinities/divine figures/etc) is all in the context of monotheism. You should read the critiques of Boyarin’s book The Jewish Gospels, they clearly have nothing about a failure to encapsulate monotheism. Boyarin is a major scholar, it would be inexplicable to thing he made such a flagrant failure in his logic as to argue non-monotheism. I think you have just misunderstood Boyarin.

        • Happy to let our disagreement stand as is, but want to make one additional point. “Monotheism” has been an evolving concept, as I described in my original post. It can and does admit to the possibility of multiple divine figures, and as I originally argued, Jesus might have been understood by some of his earlier followers within monotheism as one of these figures. But when Boyarin describes this binitarianism as belief in a “second God,” it’s hard to see how this is monotheism. Remember that the Nicene construct is expressly that of a mystery where there is one God even though three separate persons are each God. It’s that profession of faith that transforms Christian Trinitarianism into monotheism, and Boyarin never indicates that Second Temple binitarian Jews held that same faith.

          • Korus Destroyus

            The Christians were always monotheistic, although there has been a heretical group (cough cough gnosticism) that wasn’t monotheistic. Binitarianism/Trinitarianism are both the belief of the multiplicity of the divine identity. The divine identity itself is not multipled.

            Philo of Alexandria for example, a first century Jew in the diaspora, believed in what he called the ‘logos’ (word), or even what he called the ‘deuteros theos’ (which literally means ‘second God’), yet Philo always qualifies this when he says it with ‘so to speak’. It is not an actual second God. Jewish binitarianism predates Christianity.

            • Jonathan Burke

              Philo only uses the term “second god” once, and he makes it clear that it is not a “god” in the same sense of the one true God of Israel. He’s referring to a secondary divine being who is not “true God”, which is how he preserves monotheism. He is definitely not referring to a second personality in the one true God. This is not binitarianism. I agree with Larry’s comments above, about Boyarin. Reading both “Divining Lines” and “Jewish Gospels”, it’s clear that when Boyarin speaks of the ANE gods and the divine figures of Second Temple Period Judaism, he never describes them as different persons of the one true God. He always describes them as separate beings. This holds true when he describes God and Jesus, who he speaks of as “a Father divinity and a Son divinity”, not “two persons of the one divinity”. He says “a second god” for a reason. He has no problem with that because, similar to Philo, he has a “soft” definition of monotheism which isn’t breached by the existence of more than one divine being. Additionally, when Boyarin speaks of the “divinity” of Jesus, he is speaking of functional divinity, not ontological.

              • Korus Destroyus

                “Philo only uses the term “second god” once, and he makes it clear that it is not a “god” in the same sense of the one true God of Israel. He’s referring to a secondary divine being who is not “true God”, which is how he preserves monotheism.”

                I’m pretty sure he qualifies his statement “deuteros theos” with “so to speak”, so he’s not speaking of a secondary deity at all (at least according to what I remember Larry Hurtado wrote).

                Boyarin is not talking about ditheism at all, he’s talking about binitarianism.

                • Jonathan Burke

                  You’re repeating what I have already said. Philo makes it clear that it is NOT a “god” in the same sense of the one true God of Israel. He’s referring to a SECONDARY DIVINE BEING who is NOT “true God”, which is how he preserves monotheism. As I said before, Philo even states explicitly that he is using the anarthrous theos to speak of that which is NOT “true God”. Here it is.

                  “What then ought we to say? There is ONE TRUE GOD ONLY: but they who are called Gods, by an abuse of language, are numerous; on which account the holy scripture on the present occasion indicates that IT IS THE TRUE GOD THAT IS MEANT BY THE ARTICLE, the expression being, “I am the God (ho Theos);” but when the word is used incorrectly, IT IS PUT WITHOUT THE ARTICLE, the expression being, “He who was seen by thee in the place,” not of the God (tou Theou), but simply “OF GOD” (Theou);”, Charles Duke Yonge with Philo of Alexandria, The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995), 385.

                  Not only that, he quotes the Greek Old Testament to prove it. He is definitely not referring to a second personality in the one true God. This is not binitarianism. He says this.

                  “Why is it that he speaks AS IF OF SOME OTHER GOD, saying that he made man after the image of God, and not that he made him after his own image? (Genesis 9:6). Very appropriately and without any falsehood was this oracular sentence uttered by God, for no mortal thing could have been formed on the similitude of the supreme Father of the universe, but only after the pattern of the SECOND DEITY, [τὸν δεύτερον θεόν] who is the Word of the supreme Being; since it is fitting that the rational soul of man should bear it the type of the divine Word; since in his first Word God is superior to the most rational possible nature.”, Charles Duke Yonge with Philo of Alexandria, The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995), 834.

                  When he says “as if of some other god” he doesn’t mean “it looks like he’s talking of another god but in reality he’s talking about another PERSON WITHIN GOD”, he means “it looks like he’s talking of another god but in reality he’s talking of a divine being who is NOT TRUE GOD”.

                  This passage was later used by Christian commentators of the fourth and fifth centuries, who actually rewrote it so it agreed with their theology, to make Philo sound like a Trinitarian.

                  You say “Boyarin is not talking about ditheism at all, he’s talking about binitarianism”. As I have explained, he is not talking of binitarianism in the way you think. He doesn’t talk of one God with two persons. For example, he never describes the Ancient of Days and the one like the Son of Man as two persons in one “Godhead”. He never refers to Philo’s Logos as another person in the “Godhead”. As I said before, he always describes them as separate beings. This holds true when he describes God and Jesus, who he speaks of as “a Father divinity and a Son divinity”, not “two persons of the one divinity”. You’re trying to tell us that Boyarin meant something very different from what he actually wrote. Where are all the quotations in which Boyarin says these divine figures are just different persons of one God?