The Talmud (Megillah.9b and Tractate_Sefer_Torah.1.9) lists the 13 places/verses that felt problematic in the translation into Greek.

"י״ג דברים שינו בה:

  1. אלהים ברא בראשית.
  2. אעשה אדם בצלם ודמות
  3. ויכל בששי וישבות בשביעי..." and more

In #2 they changed the plural into the single but didn't change "image and likeness", indicating, probably, that they didn't see a problem with God having an image or form.


  • Maybe they thought about Book of Daniel on how G-d is described. Dec 6, 2021 at 22:18
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    #2 doesn't say בצלמו ודמותו but צלם ודמות. Why do assume it's still God's צלם ודמות intended here?
    – magicker72
    Dec 6, 2021 at 22:55
  • 1
    This would mean that He created Adam as a physical being to exist in the world. This does not say that Hashem had a physical being so it does not need to be changed. Dec 6, 2021 at 23:25
  • The Greek creation narrative is very close to the Jewish one. "Prometheus created man out of earth, and the goddess Athena breathed life into his creation."
    – pcoz
    Dec 6, 2021 at 23:52
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1 Answer 1


It could be that Chazal understood "image and likeness" as the Nefesh Hachaim does.

The Nefesh Hachaim 1 (1) says:

The use of the words tzellem and d’moot are not per their simple meanings, for it is explicitly written (Yeshayahu 40:18): “And what likeness will you compare unto Him.” Rather, their meanings imply a similarity in some feature, as in (Tehillim 102:7): “I am like a desert pelican.” It’s not that he was given wings and a beak, and not that his physical appearance was transformed into a pelican, but rather that he is described in that instance by his actions, that he wandered from place to place like the pelican in the desert (a lone bird that flies from place to place). This is per the early plain-text commentators (OBM).

And so this is what is meant by tzellem: that the one resembles the other in some fashion.

Learn more in the Nefesh Hachaim to understand the non-physical resemblance.

  • Absolutely the same reasoning can be applied to all other changes. The sages feared that the text could be misinterpreted for example "נעשה אדם". It does not mean that there's no other metaphorical explanation or interpretation. It appears that you missed the point of the question.
    – Al Berko
    Dec 8, 2021 at 8:21

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