ORIGEN (c. 185 - c. 2J4), the most distinguished and most influential of all the theologians of the ancient church, with the possible exception of Augustine.
In his own lifetime Origen had to complain of falsifications of his works and forgeries under his name.
Antinous, the favourite of Hadrian, was adored in Egypt a century after his death (Origen, Contra Celsum, iii.
Origen reprobated medical art on the ground that the prescription here cited is enough; modern faith-healers and Peculiar People have followed in his wake.
It faded away in the great Church, and probably Celsus was describing Montanist circles (though Origen assumed that they were ordinary believers) when he wrote 3 of the many Christians of no repute who at the least provocation, whether within or without their temples, threw themselves about like inspired persons; while others did the same in cities or among armies in order to collect alms, roaming about cities or camps.
3 Origen, Contra Celsum, vii.
In the second place, though it is true that the persecutions indicated by Celsus (Origen, Celsus, viii.
It is often difficult, if not impracticable, to draw the line between orthodox writers and heterodox; on which side, it might be asked, is Origen to be placed ?
The works of Justin, Irenaeus, the Alexandrian Clement, Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian.
Next come the great Alexandrians, Clement, Origen, Dionysius; the Carthaginians, Tertullian and Cyprian; the Romans, Minucius Felix and Novatian; the last four laid the foundations of a Latin Christian literature.
The word h7roXo'yia is used by Origen (Contra Cel.
Views that he taught the transmigration of souls (Origen in Ep. ad Rom.
Peta y .), %vs ePaQCv yhvTCoX6yoc; Origen, Horn.
In the autumn of 397 Rufinus embarked for Rome, where, finding that the theological controversies of the East were exciting much interest and curiosity, he published a Latin translation of the Apology of Pamphilus for Origen, and also (398-99) a somewhat free rendering of the 7rep1 apXwv (or De Principiis) of that author himself.
The pope in his reply expressly condemned Origen, but left the question of Rufinus's orthodoxy to his own conscience.
In Sicily he was engaged in translating the Homilies of Origen when he died in 410.
For the translations, see the various editions of Origen, Eusebius, &c.
It was Origen who created the dogmatic of the church and laid the foundations of the scientific criticism of the Old and New Testaments.
By proclaiming the reconciliation of science with the Christian faith, of the highest culture with the Gospel, Origen did more than any other man to win the Old World to the Christian religion.
Orthodox theology has never, in any of the confessions, ventured beyond the circle which the mind of Origen first measured out.
Origen was born, perhaps at Alexandria, of Christian parents in the year 185 or 186.
In the year 202 a persecution arose, in which the father of Origen became a martyr, and the family lost their livelihood.
Origen, who had distinguished himself by his intrepid zeal, was supported for a time by a lady of rank, but began about the same time to earn his bread by teaching; and in 203 he was placed, with the sanction of the bishop Demetrius, at the head of the catechetical school.
Meanwhile the literary activity of Origen was increasing year by year.
In the year 21 6 - the time when the imperial executioners were ravaging Alexandria - we find Origen in Palestine.
On his way to Greece (apparently in the year 230) Origen was ordained a presbyter in Palestine by his friends the bishops.
This was undoubtedly an infringement of the rights of the Alexandrian bishop; at the same time it was simply a piece of spite on the part of the latter that had kept Origen so long without any ecclesiastical consecration.
A second synod, composed entirely of bishops, determined that Origen must be deposed from the presbyterial status.
This decision was communicated to the foreign churches, and seems to have been justified by referring to the self-mutilation of Origen and adducing objectionable doctrines which he was said to have promulgated.
No formal excommunication of Origen appears to have been decreed; it was considered sufficient to have him degraded to the position of a layman.
At a later period Origen sought to vindicate his teaching in a letter to the Roman bishop Fabian, but, it would seem, without success.
In these circumstances Origen thought it best voluntarily to retire from Alexandria (231-232).
In the, year 250 the Decian persecution broke out, Origen was arrested, imprisoned and maltreated.
Origen is probably the most prolific author of the ancient church.
The writings of Origen consist of letters, and of works in textual criticism, exegesis, apologetics, dogmatic and practical theology.
Origen worked also at the text of the New Testament, although he produced no recension of his own.
The exegetical labours of Origen extend over the whole of the Old and New Testaments.
With grammatical precision, antiquarian learning and critical discernment Origen combines the allegorical method of interpretation - the logical corollary of his conception of the inspiration of the Scriptures.
The principal apologetic work of Origen is his book Kara KeXuov (eight books), written at Caesarea in the time of Philip the Arabian.
The real state of the case is certainly unsuspected by Origen himself; but many of his opponent's arguments he is unable to meet except by a speculative reconstruction of the church doctrine in question.
(1875); Ornsby, "Origen against Celsus," Dublin Review (July 1879), p. 58; Pelagaud, E tude sur Celse (1878); Lebedeff, Origen's Book against Celsus (Moscow, 1878) (Russian); Overbeck in the Theolog.
Origen thus solved, after his own fashion, a problem which his predecessor Clement had not even ventured to grapple with.
The ten books of Stromata (in which Origen compared the teaching of the Christians with that of the philosophers, and corroborated all the Christian dogmas from Plato, Aristotle, Numenius and Cornutus) have all perished, with the exception of small fragments; so have the tractates on the resurrection and on freewill.2 6.
The most noteworthy are the Dialogues of a certain Adamantius "de recta in Deum fide," which seem to have been erroneously attributed to Origen so early as the 4th century, one reason being the fact that Origen himself also bore that name.
- The system of Origen was formulated in opposition to the Greek philosophers on the one hand, and the Christian Gnostics on the other.
As a theologian, in fact, Origen is not merely an orthodox traditionalist and believing exegete, but a speculative philosopher of Neo-Platonic tendencies.
As a philosophical idealist, however, he transmutes the whole contents of the faith of the church into ideas which bear the mark of Neo-Platonism, and were accordingly recognized by the later Neo-Platonists as Hellenic. 4 In Origen, however, 1 There are, however, extensive fragments of the original in existence.
Porphyry says of Origen, Kara Tds rrepi lrpay f caTWV Kai Belot) bo s as `EXX vt cav (Euseb.
As a means to the realization of this ideal, Origen introduces the whole ethics of Stoicism.
The Scriptures, however, are treated by Origen on the basis of a matured theory of inspiration in such a way that all their facts appear as the vehicles of ideas, and have their highest value only in this aspect.
The most convincing proof of this is that Origen (i) takes the idea of the immutability of God as the regulating idea of his system, and (2) deprives the historical "Word made flesh" of all significance for the true Gnostic. To him Christ appears simply as the Logos who is with the Father from eternity, and works from all eternity, to whom alone the instructed Christian directs his thoughts, requiring nothing more than a perfect - i.e.
This distinction was already current in the catechetical school of Alexandria, but Origen gave it its boldest expression, and justified it on the ground of the incapacity of the Christian masses to grasp the deeper sense of Scripture, or unravel the difficulties of exegesis.
At this point Origen succeeded in avoiding the heretical Gnostic idea of God by assigning to the Godhead the attributes of goodness and righteousness.
The pre-existence of souls is another inference from the immutability of God.
Indeed this is the fundamental idea of Origen - "the original and indestructible unity of God and all spiritual essences."