The word ὕλη is relatively rare in the Greek Bible. When used, it is always in the neutral meaning of ‘material, matter, wood’ (e.g. Jas. 3.5). In philosophical and religious literature of the early Roman Empire, however, one sees ὕλη, ‘matter’, evolve into a kind of demonic power.
Due to an increasingly negative assessment of the material world in later Platonic philosophy, one finds in the writings of some philosophical circles of the early Christian centuries a correspondingly negative use of the word ὕλη. P…