Once Again: Origen, the Origenist Crisis and the Monks

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Title Once Again: Origen, the Origenist Crisis and the Monks
Person and role
Description Intensive and detailed studies of Origen’s works, the reasons for his condemnation, and the so called Origenist crisis, have yet to come up with an answer to two basic questions: Why was it so important to have him, long dead, condemned, and how could his critics, succeed in this, when not only their adversaries, but even they, admired and used his works? That the relation between bishop Theophilus and the monks was crucial for the developments was recognized already in the earliest sources and has been confirmed in numerous recent studies. There is, however, still little agreement on Theophilus motives and actions as well as on the character and views of the monastic group or groups targeted by him.

In my contribution I will argue that the idea that Theophilus encountered two distinct groups, ’Origenists’ and ’anthropomorphites’ is a misleading construct serving the needs of a specific historiography. I will do this by taking a closer look at fourth century Egyptian monastic intellectual tradition in a search for traces of a common spirituality and understanding of how the human being relates to the divine. Following a suggestion by Sarah Coakley I will suggest that this tradition had a theological foundation for the nature of the Church and of leadership that was perceived as dangerous to the organized unity for which Theophilus and others were responsible.

2018 Apr 25

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • History of Ideas


Related organisations
2018 Apr 25

Event (Conference)

TitleRe-Thinking Origen
Web address (URL)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionInternational event

Related projects

Samuel Rubenson, Britt Dahlman, Karin Kulneff-Eriksson, Bo Holmberg, Andreas Westergren, Henrik Rydell Johnsén, Johan Åhlfeldt, Jesper Blid Kullberg, Jason Zaborowski, Lillian Larsen & Elin Andersson


Project: ResearchInternational collaboration

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Related research output

Lillian Larsen (ed.) & Samuel Rubenson (ed.), 2018, Cambridge University Press.

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology (editor)

Samuel Rubenson, 2012, Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. Johnson, S. (ed.). Oxford University Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Samuel Rubenson, 2011, Bibel, Byzanz und Christlicher Orient. Festsschrift für Stephan Gerö zum 65. Geburtstag. Bumazhnov, D. (ed.). Peeters Publishers, p. 185-201

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

View all (3)