Angelic humans, glorious flesh: Jerome's reception of Origen's teachings on the resurrection body

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

One of the most important theological questions in the first Origenist controversy was that of the resurrection of the dead. Jerome accused both Origen and contemporary “Origenists” of speaking only of the resurrection of the body, and not of the flesh, and he claimed that an idea of resurrection without the flesh could not guarantee the identity between the body living on earth and the resurrected body. I argue that although Jerome attempted to maximize the difference between himself and Origen by speaking of flesh instead of body, and by emphasizing the sameness of the body, it is clear that he, too, thought that the resurrection would imply a profound change. At closer scrutiny, Jerome's way of understanding this change, namely as the nature remaining the same while the glory increases, shows striking similarities to Origen's explanation of change. I argue that Jerome was dependent on Origen's ideas about the resurrection, even in his polemics against him. Jerome's heresiological strategies, I argue, have had consequences for modern historical reconstructions of his eschatological thought, which is often presented in opposition to Origen's more spiritual understanding. Awareness of the rhetorical strategies used by Jerome in the context of controversy is crucial, I claim, in assessing a continuing reception of Origen in his theology.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Religions

Keywords

  • Angelic life, Body, Heresiology, Hierarchy, Jerome, Origen, Resurrection, Sexual difference
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-81
Number of pages29
JournalZeitschrift fur Antikes Christentum
Volume23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes