Once Again: Origen, the Origenist Crisis and the Monks

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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.
Period2018 apr 25
EvenemangstitelRe-Thinking Origen
Typ av evenemangKonferens
PlatsCambridge, Storbritannien

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Idé- och lärdomshistoria


  • Origen, reception, monasticism