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Origen of Alexandria and 81. Maximus the Confessor:

An Analysis and Critical Evaluation of Their Eschatological Doctrines
Edward Moore
ISBN: 158112261.e
Boca Raton, FloOOa
USA ' 2005
0/Ale.l<InJria wId SI. Af<u:i,.,u.. lhe Ctmfe$.'or:
An . and Cri/lca f E""luaJi,m "/T1k!ir Dr. ,.:lri"e.,
Cop)'right 0 Z()l).l Ed ward Moore
All rights reserved.
Boca Raton. Florida
ISBN: 1 581 IZ Z6 1-6
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Origen of Alexandria and 51. Maximus the Confessor: An
Analysis and Critical Evaluation of Their Eschatological
f..dward Mo<>re. S.T.L.. PI1.O.
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Table of CentenIs
ACK:'\jQWI ,EI>G1\1 END;
r REFACE.. ....
.. J
O RN ANIl TIll' I (If ESClIiI TOl (Xi """""""""""",,"""""" , I
1111 AN)) IMI' )I! I ANI '( 0 1 FSOl m ll lll i\" !!'I Cl IRISlJAN D KI! _ SOME"
BRil l RHIAIl!.: S J
B il l a 1I 1!11;8,\ I'I II CIl I S t.: l lill
( ) Il Kd N ' S I NJ I III C1I I AI I II III [AC;I
71w lliJlon ' o(Al'"A:<l IU.'/<I.' ;.' Du..'/ri",'S "I' /() (}rigel! 's Time , 24
<i,w.,lIci..m mod O,"f1,oJ oxF l1w ETigcnry of R"."{J()m c. .
DI " 11 [';( !I'll' ] ) II Tlt l AliSE ' O NF i ll S [ PRI NCI PI H
The &1\'ic Structure ..[ Origell '.I' U" i,wse
... __ . . 31
. 34
......................... 44
nu: Pre-.!x;,,/cll<'" o(S"" I,, _ " " _..
__ ,52
71k! SluN o(F"IIt'n Soul., },fullir!" Ag". wid ,,00 Ilk: Re.l",,""I;,,"
o(AII S9
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. . ... ......"""""""",,""""'" 97
MONQPIlYSm SM"'Nil JUE D1MISEOf AN EscUAfOI'oo lCAl , ANllIROt'Ql .OGY.......... 107
. II J
"llIE TII REr G A Z A N S ~ AENEAS, ZACHARIAS, PROCOPIUS. ". " """ " ., 122
Aenemo/Gaul_ " 122
Zachar/m, Bishop of MifJ1<,ne " , 126
Procopiw qfGa::a................................................................ . ,'''.' 128
JOlIN I'ill l.O PONliS ANDSnr UANIi S Of Al t )(ANIH\IA. ,,"' " ", ", , [ 3Q
n il' SO lll.
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C U AJ'TFH 6 ' ' CO RR E CTING m E MYTH" M,tX/M115 DIE CQNU"<tUR ',,
R II"IS/ ON Of" ORIGN{/.""Q ._ _ 170
RIC iII'lll II '" m IN y l kSl lS R IS It lk <l. llL IN
r"RI II ISI " "''''J) lI lI' M I ANING ( II Ill SIORY
J 9 1
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I dedicale this tomy Muse;
II i! jaunt!. lihim . lafind lhe primal j",ur;t ofLo,-e in Q It ntknr;y oflhe S"u1 IO'K'OI"d<
pUl? beauly ...
- PIoI:iru;. EnntaiU 111.5. 1(tr. MacKenna)
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List of Abbreviations
ANF Ame-Nk elle Full",r,<(cd. A. MCIl7.ie!;)
CCSG (orpu.<Chrill<llUJru", . Series Gr<l<.'CQ
I'G l'<l/roj''I' ;a Graeca (ed. J.-P. M;gne)
SVF SI";r;or",,, VlI'la "", FraKmmla (ed. von Amim)
TDNT G. Kittel. ed. TIw""'I'ie"j Dkl;"",1I}' ofIhe Nil'''' Te,'I"",ml . IF. G.W. Bromiky
(Mi<,: higom' Eerdll""" 1'J6.l 1
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I wauJd li ke to extend my thanks to Lewis Shaw, who offered invaluable guKblce and
ITKnl SI.WO"\ througl1oU; al l pha:;es of the writing of this dis.;ertalion. llwlks are also
due to M. Rev. Mar Mekhizedek, the director of my school whose OOckground ill and
mal for philosophy, 115 well lL\ his kird el'lOOllllIgett has made possible my 0\'011
research program.
Drafts of certain sections of this dissertation were presented lit meo:tings of the
Inlern"/ ;"",,I Society fi Jr NeopImonic Studies between 2002 and 2004. I wish to thank all
those who pwlicipated in those sessces, both in the ClIf'OCity of and
commem.ator. I give SJ'l."ial mention to G.R. Boys-Stones. Matt hew Stcenberg, and
Ardreop:lUlos.. for their lII1ique oonlribution< to certain themalic deve\opmenls
in this study. tnl lO Origl. 'll and MaximlB sd1oIar.;hip in general.
Thanks are due to Walter and Maureen La wrence for their help in ltCqlllnng
!level'llI rare voI....-.es au:ial to the elaOOralioo of my thesis. Finally, I exIend my thanks
to my parents, Carol and Richard Moore, who managed to guide me toward the
phik>:qiJi<;allife, agairlSl all odds.
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l k preselll snldy is my oo..1orJI di",;o.'l1allon. Slbnirn.'I'l in JUlia! fulfil1lTllT1l of the
rcqairerrerus for the of DoctoralI' of Philosophy, 51. Elias Schoul of Ol1IlOdox
Theok>gy (::!004). This wort.. arose out of my corcern whh l:lJlh t1...'OIogy and
As a philosoptll..T. I COINdel' myself a ClYislian in tic mar..... or a
Buhmn l or (more loigni rlCalldy) a Be!d)aev; for I see the life of tic ht. nan person ao; the
roimordial and uhimalc ",I>jm nf \XIfllemfllalion for philosophy. For this reason r lim
also <Jo.-..'<JIed to ar-.: ienl though!, to the extent tml I s!rtJr\:ly in the exig<.-n;:y of a
n.1um 10 the h<.'11. 1"f<...e p..nbk.''ITIs of the O assical. 1lellenisl H:. and
ByT&1line ''f3S, the ,1lOSl signiflC<lll of which. in my opinion. is
fal1cll rn:alion 10 rell.nl to its origioaJ stale in alnffl identical lemls, pointing klWanb a
(ulln that will be even ben.". than the urigiml l'arndise.... This i!O, of ecorse. lhe <'lema!
hl>pe of tile Christian, } 'eI ;\ take!' many form... 1l"e "'0 ,,,,me (onns of ClIChaloiogy
explon:d in this study are those of Origen of Alexandria and St. llAaximus the Confessor.
The fonrn.'f approachl:s the .., khat'HI crwlivcly. in Ihe 111ll1l1,,:r of a !ldf-dl.1crmining
inlcl lel.1 1lJet.1ing God in a l"l'Culiar f<N1ion in the mio:kl of hislay: ror this rea'iOll. Drigen
is to he uedersio od as a pro!,;>. ExisICllt ial ist. The latter, however, conceives or thc
, A. .nd finat ""'U....l i,.. "po.tot"""';' l in .... ( in.?" } of
and Ma' irnoo the ("OII fcso<" ,win TM-.Jm>: An O" li M Jowntdl af0 ,.,lt<od<,.' f'hri Jlian rlw<>l,,/{\' ,,"<1
rhil".'I>J>h" , I. n<>. 1OI1ol)
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ed haloo as a oomplction of a process initiated by Gcd. in which lunan p.1icipoliorl
makes no difference - for this mL';OO I come to oonsider Maximus as an anti.
hlmlWlist IhcoIogian. one of the originalors of !he intellectual decline of Qai<;lill'l
phila.ophy in Bymnritm, 10 mDc:h lower thi....ers like Gemistus l'\ethon were responding
when they iniliated !he RcnaiSMllrlCe" and the consequent return of H.manism 10 Western
There is a wide chrooulogical gap the wori<. of Origen and Ma.'<im\.6,
yet they are cceoecied, es it were. by a ' golden chai n' !he ......ns of the
Cappedocian FatherJ. (wbon will explore in this study) as well as several lesser,
known Cluislian PlatfXlists, such as the "Tbree Gamns," Stcphanus of Alel<arUia and. of
CQIIrJI:, the better-known so:minal C1tristian NeopIakwlist arn<:rlg
0Ihers. histurical review - \\oIW;h will CIlIet into oonsidefabIe de1 on certain poillls
- will enable \.6 to achieve .., overview of the vast influence of Crigen on his SlJV'S5OlS,
even on those who anempted. as did Maximus, 10 dislance themselves fl\1lTl the lhought
of this brilliln, yet ....fOl1lnltel y and wrongful ly (in my opinion) cOl'ldelllned,
philosopher of the Church.
Edward Moore, S.T.L
May 2004
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Oriltf n, Mnimus, and Chf Importan of Eschatololty
Eschi!tology, the OOctrine of the end limes. the ""maIiuo of 1unanity' s hist<.rical
.....bltl ship with God. Iw always held a cmliaI place in the Christian IhooIogicaI
lI1ldiliuo. But the verccs ideas COIlCel'IIing eschatology, espeo:iaIly in the patristic era,
have hem ..ide1y di't'l'gmt.1 This sCudy deals with two such
Ix.... IMghly inn....-.ial - those of Origen of Alexanma, and sc. Ma.'<irnus the
Origen bdicm:l that is open 10 all, and that the fskhafOl' will iocludf
('\Iei)' SOI.II genera1l'd by God. including the devil himself; for Origen believed that GtJd' s
IoYf is so powerful as to soften even the hanJesC heart. He also held the hunan intellect
in vel)' high esteem, refusing 10 consider any soul capabIc of knowingly choosing
obIivioo or evil over the ml ighCening presence of God.
Sl MaxiInus, on the other hand.
and problematically, his vision of the esAhawn involved a loss of self-hood,
I S<c. fur ."..,pIe. J.N.D. Kelly, EDdy 0<><:,,1_ _ (New Vorl<: 1\arp<I" and Row
pp. 59-4S9.
, tn lh... Ori,.., " ... odhelin, lO lhe st..-.lord GIfti philooophi<oI COfK'q>li<on or evi l .. lhc
" r 1<>00 Ihroul h i' ''''''''....... . "d IlOl , 1.le or ni st."", tim ..""Id """orinu,l) coo.....,.
S<c. fo< .umple.l'rod.... 'Jr . al"",. ,,,!Hit,..,,,ia ("On the Sul>oistCII<'C of h in.
, M..imuo ..thered...-ly inti f. lO the Orip:e>liot dodrirIo or apn!a/a",Jli, or ' lnIOnIiOl'l of 011
"'inp, .. _ will di"""," in deloit in f or ( ..ill . imply poinl my 'eode.. "' . ......' e in hi.
A.l>ip _ 7. J.tOlll B. he pmr.-such doctri O!JIin.1hom lO keop in mind !h. M.,im... l.iI...
hi, Ori ..,ist stonce, .. 1110 ndIalolog) doooaihed and laler inmore dotail.
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of a peTSlln,,1 ego, "'hich he believed "'Quid he replaced by the at>solnc presence of God.
In this, he dilK-red wi<.lt:ly from Origen. "'ho held dU the soul "ill remain ooiql.lC.
llrld r'l'la1..J to God on its "",n Icmls, li:ffiling on the frui t!; of II>;: divine
Origl..',f s infllJl;'Tll,X' ,he histo!)' of fIUl rislic thought was
mort. hilllWIr. saw fi t 10 I\.,\,j,;c the rr.o.;t probk.malical ooc1Ii nes contairo.'<l in Origl. ,.l" s
intlllCfllial the Ix f'ri"dl'iis ("On Principk:sj. a favori te of the Origo.'Il iqs
in 311 eschatology illVOlving the n.'Jllao.-'-'lTIl'l1l of the tunan ego by Ihe di vine prescn;;e. In
this study. r " ill examine the theological dcvelopnents lliat led 10 this bss of a sense of
human freedom and creativity in the face of the divine. By 50 doiog. I will dem<lIlSlrJle
1'1.: most obvious chalk:ngt: in attempting to romfXlre the escbotological drlClrines
of Origcn an:! Ma.\ imllS is overcoming the "'ide chronological gap scpanrting these two
s.:c. 1<....' ''>rIo. Ma, i""", on K... 2,U: I I"" t . '. hu,1ho:t'g..\ /" " dnJ ,h,
e"."",,: 'M I"i,;,'" ,if .\'/. JI,,,iMM"Jo. C_ fr",(>#" Km;t"'Jl-.d, NY, St. Vr.rim;" , Sani..... """"'
p. lI'I.
, l l>;o",ill .... di""....o<d in do:l .il Ch"l'l<t 2,
IIi, inn""""" "as . 1." of c"moe: iml'O'1""' c r... lhe <lc-cl"f'",..., t> "r lhe
h ' hcn. " h" "ill hc di",,,,<ed in "'PM"' c choplcr.
, l llc ... I">Olk ", " 'ill hc di "Ol in ( 'hoplcr 3.
lh""",ho" ' l lhi' ""rl< I" 1".:.,,,,, .1; hi"... J>/lih...'J'lIy. <1< or" ""he
Chri" ion . , i..-,i.li", phi..... of Nk"l.. por1 kularl) in h;" ,,<>rio;, SI",,,,J' ,,'HI f""'J, .....
,,'HI no.- S'llinninll and f:nd. n.. Dr.,iny 01 AI"n. nd riot l l. ,minx oll/j"tJry',
I"" _ .... lind implic"i"", "r ....' i""",..i,,&I) ",ri<!...,., F. r " k" 1''''''''' (m
Fat.rt.. Cony,!",,,,,,, Hi"/trhn,,J<'1!J' Rn"l.tion (New Yrri<, Piaodor
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thinken.. Origen was writing In! teaching in the aw1y 10 mid third cent..-y. aro:.l
Maximus was active in the eaiy 10 FCIl'ttnately. Ihere is a srrong
link belv.ecn eese two imponanl Cl"listian presuved in the intellc:ctuaJ and
dogmatical lllIditioo of the Chunoh. Clrigcn' s infl lll'lll'C' I:llkOOed -.dl inlO
lime - indeed. this great doctox of the Olm:h was himself infl uenced by 0rigeni5t
doctrine 1Il an ew:ly sl of his inlellc:ctual Moreover, this link betY.ttn
Origm and Maxim'-'!i lJIkes 00 all extra dirnensHJri when we wnsider 1he
Ihcmes thai gJlldually pervaded ee Chistian thoology of the early 8)?3ntine _ notably
ttwwgh !hi: infll.lClll.>: of the IUJlUS, ""'ich emergaI surne lime d.-ing
the filth oeMw)'.
Th Hislory . Itd Imporlllnno of F.sclIal0!0gy in T1toutthl - R.w(
The earliest O1riSliao kerygma Vra<; apocalyplical. nol esdJatoIogicaI. The distinction
resides in the difference be!weefllhe Greek terms [opoto/upt6) and ed:I!oIr>.' ,
ee former M ..-weiling or aweann:c ("m'dalioo"), and the latter II
culmination of a !ieI'ie of e\'efllS, oodersIood as a IIm1poral, historical proces5.10 While
the earlie't OvNians were conl1dem thai Chisl was the Messiah, thry beueeed chat lie
did oot become [ncamale m 1he Messiah; 1lIIher. they IBldeotood lIis Incarnation as a
preparation for a Secood Coming (pcJrou.tia), in whidi He woukI be n:vealed lIS the
It Soc T1)NJ wl . 2. pp. 6117-. \'d. l. PI'
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Mes--i.1h; this rrvelation \wtdd 1111.'11 give final form to the oomplt.'tion of hiSlOl), of which
C!Jrisl's 1''K,:arnalion, deat h. and RC\lll'Tl:Clion m:rltd the final The ear1 icsl Funn
of (luislology, lhen. is COfI'e'C1Iy undmllJOd as a tworuld aro:-.:alypse or revelation of
Chris! the Savior llrkI Messiah. Yet Ovisl' s promise 10 m um the dealh!; of Ilis
apost!es.ll .. hen sc.:mingly broken. led 10 no wide-'fIR'8d dis1<cmion frum the failh,'l as
<.nn",i.aIlS 'lC'3InIessIy adapI<:d III Ihe Juh"nnme Gouo;lic 1lUIH.1Il Ih... It.., Kingdom had
already arri ved, and that a Second Corning "as 1"0.)( necessary, and indeed noI planned..
alk:f all by GodI.
IRSlcad of a return as mder1;!ooo in the him sense of a figure usI..'ring
III a glorious age or rejoking and blessedness, early OJrislians began 10 oonceil'C of a
n.'tum of l "d;:e. in a rather primitil'C of a rewarder of gocd deeds. iffitead
of ao; a t=endenl. soIerio1ogicai deity." .....,..". we read such as the early
ccntUl)' Af'<J<:aI)1"'e ' if r "ler. it is impossible IlOl 10 M ice a WI)' ek.w attilude of brutality
mlJl'dered. the author or this describes the enjo:.mcm or these murdered souls, as lhey
" See R. IMI"""",- Tl><rol<>JQ' 'if 'N ,\', T"'<l1''' O'. I, lr. K. Gmtc:1 (New Yo,\; 0...-1<>
s.. 19" rI" 4- 11. n....1: ond l!uk"' 1'. ;",;,;,. CNi>liQody ;0 ;,. C"""'"J"'H"HY ."" " or..
Jr . lUI. r kT(Nno.' Y<d: Thr .....orId ( """'JWI) 1'1'. 196-2UII,
" M.-i 9: I.
" '\a= W.e. rl""r.....-. ,j m'k>ry' <if ellrwwo lPM ....lph;. : ... .,.."' ;"".......... r
:1-1; . 1", M. Wem. 1M f-"""'",i"" o!Chri"iao fJog"",. lr. S.G,F. 11larp....- lO>d 11n1lho:t> 19Sn
.. 'i Ilull"'....... ,,,,,,",,,t(>' <,;/ ,,,- ,,-... ,.""", ,.01. 2. r.. l . <h..,.o<n 14.
" .'\a= 1M f .."" of I U __ ", SIf, 1 e"" ' 9; . 1", " . 11) . f ,..[y eM .,;_ /),-";,,-;,,,. 1'I'. .u.o-
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IA]nd they (the murdered soul_I shall behold the Iom>ent of those themand <II)'
to ore anocher, ' RighlllOUo;nes$ and justice is the j oogmem of God. For we heard, but w.
believed not, 1hIIl we ohoukl corne into this place of dcmal judgment.' .
joy of the<oe souls is described only in terms of a pen-.eiving of their f(l111l;':f
Ioi li"" ms' suffering - a sadistic pleasure alien to the later, OvisIian thought of
the Iklleni'ic innuenccd Chun;:h Falhen. such as Origen of A1e:<andria and Gn:gory of
Nyssa. Such is an example of ooIions of Wvaiion, ClJnaJl in esiy a.rislian

before the adoption of the Johannine-GOCIStic conccplion of salvation as
a presenI mJlity (or poIenliai ity) in the process of being perfected through hislCl)',17 we
have a writer like ' Barnabas,' for whom the dualism of Light and is still a
"spirit" of !lC:I'ipllft (even though his gra5p may well be considered loose). His
eschatology is based on a reading of Old Testament scripltft thal is 001 lileral or
hi5t<Jri<:al, but 'spiritual,' i.e.. based on his understanding of the meaning of the om-
thousand years, for a day to God is like a thousand years to us (Psalm 90:4). and God' s
res! on the seventh day as irdicating !he time ofOJrist' s m um.
I. 71w Apo<:tl/ypJc '" P,.., 7. Ir. l-K. f.UiocI, in 8 .0 . E)"rull ,1. TIw N.... T. ..,,,.,,n' and Otlw'
Edrly elvu/ian H', ;l iIIK' : A Rtatk, (New ytll1<: (hfood lm1 p. 410. Thio""""""' ...\
""","iM II .Otty r""" of """,4,..,,,,,,..11 d<><cri nc. oltodt wucl><d in II>< tout. , ICm. of
phyoi<ol ",,!TotingM the retri .....ion of hum..ity for its . m. opin'" God (d . 1
" (lrigell ioII><: cI .....c ond ""'" prof....,.j exponent of !hi . ,"",,""p1ion. .. we, h.n >cc be low.
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l he must theref"", \a<.I six years, ,,(which the gmucr pan has expired
WIl,," is slated thaI God h"" rested on lhe.evmth day. the meaning i. that O u isl will
appear at ,"" beginning of the ..,vmth millenni um in order to dethrone the lJrwk..s One.
Note t'o. -re that the entire cosmos - "sun, moon ani _ is to he ("""formed, and "ot
j lN the human s.,uls. In this (ex, we rove an ealy indicatioo of the influt.'I1Ce of SIoi<;
philosophy on carly Quisti.., 5pCCulative theology and for a main idea of
Stocism " as Ihrt \he entire U"NllOS. all of hlrn<Ulity and the cek...-<.lial bodes, is
a pruoJut.1 of the psycho-pl1ysi<:a1 expansioo of Zeus - in elemallY R.ClIIring
Ct>m1ic measured in milk,noia - the rll.T) miro::l out of ,,1I"h all thing; an: made.'
Now O uisl ianity "'IS .... "'L'1" in danb'<." of lapsing inlo pIlIllheism. yd this Stoic l1Oliol'l,
.. hen appl ied 10 Christian e-;o:hatulugiall Il 10 the inevitable cond lfiiun tid
Oril,:efl. ", itll his SOltJisticaled OOctrine of mult iple <\-'I;:S. quite easily
assimilak.'<l this Stoic into his theology;21 "",",,,,..,r. !ill' his kss
pre"',cessors., such ideas led 10 strange 1I11.j u.... Ouislian llOIions.
milk-'lnI'iar16m or chili", ,,,_ i.e. the idea that ChriS! ..ill reigll on canh for a tholt.<..'lIld
)e:trS. JlI.1kling the final cont1ag.llion and judgmenl (eremal allocal ion 10 either heaven or
" ' ,N.D, t o" ," {hri<li.m f)"c"i_ .,. r, 1M /..""<ifII" " ",/>,,, .I,:;. 4:'J. 21:.1.
" """rlc. A,1i"" 1.7.33 SVf 2. 1027. AI"", A......"'... (SVf l.'lSj; IL''''" 9.16
(WI' 2,tol....k N i", IWI' 2,fo1.l).
'" j ,i n Mon1' , .IS" IT.. n ,1 IT.. 60,S If" m : N..,),' 7.1 II ; ..... Kelly.
1.'", 11, {'/<>';";",. " .1M.
:' '11,;, S,.';" ",,,, ,,,,,,,,,, ;. , olle<- be;n, ...m<;"nlly ",. i""" ol".,!! ('1I,; .. i""
"""""'" o l.<J. l<t><l " f Ilii",... . .. " e >1\011 di"'.... in I.:hapl<f 2.
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hell) of al l hurnlI'l Looking ahead a few cenlU" ies, ...tIco1 we lXlffiider the
chiliastic noIioo in litPw of Qni<;tological developrnenls, it is easy 10 see how this idea
leads to a degnlda1ion of Ovist into a mere despot. and not as a saw.r who suffered in
order 10 unite divine naIUre with human nallR . lOr if ChriS! were to ad as a ruler. even
lOr the spece of a Ihousllnd yean. this would mean thai l ie williT@ly 5el I limsclf '" and
over Iunlwlity, in I rclaIimWp of ruler 10 subject - the vel)' rellllionship between God
and man ....... , Ie I:8mC to ah:>Ii""!
Far more and infl uential, are tIve i'I)'SleItlS of Gnostic Iheology
expounded by Ba5i1ides, VaJertillU'i. PIoIemaeu<; and oIhet$. It is with these lhinkel'S Ihat
Chri'llian can be said 10 have hcgun. While C\ement of Rome. 19nalius of
Antiodl, and Juslin Martyr are =ogni=l as supreme lllllto'Jrities of the post-
unaided intellect, and OOI llCUll'ding 10 any eultic premises.
Realizing tID does noI contain all !hal is required for knowledl!">
based on Orislian 9.:lIIimcrn, buI held solidly together by his 0"T1
thouglt in a sirWe wand schema. In this. he was rU: far from the il1lelllion of
JJ Ori ,en. in 1"" ""'" fnpncotary 0.. 1M <hili....,. _ ...ell. the
noti"" of '" Ii,... resmci..- ion of Ibis ItkohlyJ ((1"Kt.. id. Early Chrilll<M noo"glrt omJ 1M
C1""k<J1 Trod"i"", 1'1'. Ori_ Dt 'V'''''''CI_Ii I>rl II. PGl1..... I-X>.
.. S- 8. l ,."b>Il, TIot 1;_11" S<:rlp<"..., (Nc'w YOI\ : DouI:>k:do)- pp. 411-444,
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"ho. as "'e "h,,11 sec. 1' "lh traditions in Ih.: """,in: of lhe grand s)"'le1n of his Ik
l'rill.:ipii", Yl.'l Ori!,. "", <litTered Ii" ", !lasilKks in that he more .n
CIriSlian or lUipnral teachi ng than to 11e1k.'I1iSl ic lhoug\Jl IIl<Ieed, one need only
e'l.alninc the fmgm. , ns of Basili<lcs 10 see INn he was es.<;e1(ially a Gn.'l:k
phik.,...phcr Irying 10 f,,,,..e OYislianity 11110 confoonation wilh his (MTl 1"""..ceoed
.. hile Orig.,n. ,.; ",e >hall see. all. a)':> ,,"emploo 10 ground his speculalitn; In
. " scnplurc.
in mid- to ime secood ceotlQ. theologians emerged
"'-Ilrk corNS/ell of lillie original but was nlllll"f devuted to thi:
n :l\liHcat ion ard refut.llion of Ill-resies. Among the firsl of these " lIS hmr,c\l5 of
"'- " '-._'_1. 1_
.IIn"'"", . ... V.'hik l renal'US g' "O:$ far bock inlo hislory to l/1ICl;IVC'r the
,. ' ......Iido... Ol 'cmpl<d ,.. do llH: .-.c, )' <1 hi. or """; I'lun: _ lik" ,hOI ,,f Gn ic< and
,he "'ltu<><l""" in,.,......l _ " ... p,uull)' ollo:,.,nffll l<> ,IH: . " """"_ " hi ' ) .
" ""PO'" . 11,,1""'''. ....oi'll. i. , . "',..., ...1_<.I ..d ........ "I' 1"'"",h '" hi. or
"hi<h ;. hi. lIu "IJI" . in lho: .."" ", 1, 1;' ", ..f " hi"" he ,.. p i. lhe c1.,..... inl.. lho< I""n,i"
",.:..,in, ,,f ,1>< Ikfo,n,w rip'''''''' S<e II. ( "had,, ;'-l. [aT/)' rh,;,U". 11to.lIh, <rJ'M C1"., k al Trodi,;"
1'1', 71).7I; III"d """" " ' l'",,, i.d,. II>< . tud) or j, W. .. (h;",. ' nw ..n<t r h" ... in ,lor
rh. NCh (A,I.",", john "' ''''' """" Iqs J l,
" I",n..,... " <I<'I'o"" i" lho:..I,,,i,,,, and 1><= ;',I",i... "' ploi l,,,,,oph<. I>< ba""d
hi. d><... , 'lip' II< " .. ,I>< roN In f",m.. I doo..".ill of ..,;, i",,1 . in, onJ I ", .i of
..I,ati,.. no 1<" 01 on bu, .-."", .. i,e. lho< ",,,,,. i., ..f f. ll"" 1,
f...... tIIc;, " TCtCfICd ... .., "" ( il-.l. II"",.. """I.. . ,,,,,><d in, to I=--do "' ' ''''', lif< ",. l il<:<!
. nd . ll.i...-d i. lioc 0 ' '''0''; , " ho: lhey I' . ... ,,, ,ho< .." ' .... helm'n, (\<'We' of
(il... . . '1><) .ll"", ,h<m",l, eo l.. I>< ocl<rn,in<l "'" hJ ""''' hi.c,ory . bUll "". II>< " i i,il)' ur Ge... in
,""i. Ii.,., in I} .....n"' .l onJ m.n"",. lbi. i. 'ho tbeoory ..n in
" hi"h . ll hu"'''' "'1i,i,) ond ......, i. d""'ri -d in "'''''' nf ,"" lUI;')' ;",,,,,,,,d " I"'" il lry ,I><
It.....'-"""<. "ilb "" ",. 1 I"" i'i," ,""'lri""I;'''' ,ioc 1'"" or """'lIlil) t1ci" , =<>t' niK<l .. """, i.l lu
"",'II..,oIo",k. 1 S h,".",... of'M .If . ,,' oIi<" r ,..."a,i./I 3234. in , . S""rn,.. N o> ,4
f .... M. ... . \oI K<lI). 1'1'. , "' 11 "nco". ' ., Ibi. ido:...1o......"'N ' n lho ."reo in , tic
t ur M..i"'n.. "hich "ill ....""'. (th:Ipcr 'I.
,. An ..Ii", "1I..,j,,,, of ho""i"" "" , ,,,,.in r-ton" (d. 1M 0f'I"""'I"} do."f"""Irnl ' ''' } cl on
"" ."",i , "", S K. Rodolph. ( ;"""is: TM aMJIi" ",,,.j(j""";C;Sltl. lr.
R. Mol .. Wi""", {f.dinho.My.: T. d: T. nar\; l qs n 1'1'. Ill-I I; 1<... on . 11 pl'-'<l "'''.... 1.....1;.''' of I""""
...:,...;' ,h'l'i..1 ......... '"'" A. Hil!"-"ft fd d. 1;" ::"I""... /.,.- ..' .... J.' r-p. ../I,
11.e""i, lIilWliem p. 21fT.
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of all heresies. his main COilC:lel.1 is wilh the conlenll"JlW)' Gln;ti<: schook of IhoughI that
"'=' 10 tmgrnen: omianily into imtInernble sr:ct!l and off shoots of StS..
Owisl litemlly died Ul the Cro&s, arguing irNe8d thai fii s was a illll'>ion
intended 10 the powers into lhillking thai th:y haJ succeeded in
enslaving lunaniey lUi ddYing the Most High God. This was the of "",wi.om,
which deI1ied the lUll tunanily ofOrist.
psyr;hlC'J, aOO h}f l<:s - i.e., those who are spirilual ; those who possess only a 5OtJ1; and
those who are material or ' lleshly' through-andtIwuugh. l 'he spiritual IlJrnan..; were said
by the GnooI ics to be ' scenered seeds' of the Highest God, identified nol wilh the
of 111: Old Teslllilltnt, bU: rnlhc:r with an alien God known simply as the Falher.
These spirilwl souls came 10 be scanered in the material realm through a cosmic drama
involving Sophia (WISdom) and her hubristic desire to know the Father dirmly. insread
of through. acts of <:n:aIion, as He intended. n." psy<;hics, or those ool1 a 5OI.Il
wi thoU; spirit, were considered as between the spiritual exish.'IlIS and !he
mere hylics; the psychics l'eCCJgIlim:l !he of the Most High God, yel are nol
" Thi. ..M. <:<>n<cm ... .... .. we """II _, for [.-... _1_or
ful l<>win' .... 11<11 k> "1'<""1"'" t."" octi plu", h.. ,i........ cle.. ,u_, ... mUS! "" ooM...1 "'" k>
k_ i f"," ...,..,j or<JOO i. 001 p1icil Urip:c1l ;1 .. <OIIscioos .. 1........... or the l imi....;.".. of h.......
i ....lledlaal _ for iftquirinl ink> world, "'" thin'" it _ il>le lOr the hu...... mind.
.. lhc .id of....,. , i"en in "'we>' 10 pr1y<'1" and purily of b<.-t. 10 wilh be<;omi"l dilToden<c
.,.,,, .... questions lh..... IIol .xplicilly ... ouI in Iho oposklli. rulo off.ilh" (a..dwid. pp.
" F... I <nlloainol or Iho IlI08I . i, ni r....c Gnoolic \ra1i.... ott J,M. Robin <d. 1M ,,"oK
H_"'I>di Li'-'Y /It EJ. \lri U Tho rollow;na """'" indi"""""" r...
wndonlandinl Iho hi >lory _ ;nl<lkcI...1 chane", of (hooIicism, K. RudDlpll. r. ,i" 1M Harlin aNI
His,.",. <!f r.....llki ; <1 Fi .f Hi'I"", <!f G...." kls",. It, A. Akxd (C..,hridl'"o MA: Illi,cl",d l
19\10); _ Iho ""'" d i y hy llon. J"..... 1MG-'IkRd JKiaII: 1M1.1" ",,.<!f'1ot ( ;"Jaled
llot 8<11:;"""'11:' o/C/tri.,_ily. Ihiod edi lion (1looIon: ne.oo.. I'n:os 195&. 200 1
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with Him onlologicJlly. They will net refUl1 10 His presmce - called the
rN,.,;"w or full ness (ll purely 5(lirilual realm beyond the the Sl'1/'S and the llldiac) - but
",ill Miler subsist, alkr lhe fi nal conflagTlltio" of the cosmos. in a pla<.-e situated j tN
belo.... the spiri"",] "",1m. Finally, lhen: lit\' the 1Iy1ics. ",110 are COlrupl rwure. purely
m31.-rial lind deslincd to be C<JfISlITICd in the tilllli confl"l?'1l'ion. " hich will end all
hi",ol)'. Such is the basic oulline of Orostc e5C1latology and antl""pology - a set of
k\t:ao; thai thinkl:l'S like Tl:f1ullian, IJippulyt\1'l. and rightly o;o;n;ideml il'<
The extreme oc1L..,ninism of GOOSIic eschatology should he cvidcnl fi\lm the brief
d<.OSCripiiOll abo...e. Certein beings were coosidl'roo 10 be saved by nature. 0l11ef'S (the
psychics) were " ff.Ted a limited chance for sal' alion, aod fi lially, group. the
hylics. \\l:1'e considen:d as l>e)'ond ho.:>pe, d<unned by nalun: to deslllJ<.1ion. The Stoic
concepl of a connagnuion of the cosmos. understood apart from the doctrine of e'lcrml
recwrcecc. "'hen 00111"100 ", jIll ccnain esoteric If'lrological likely gave me 10
all ;11<. '1"-
connected and tcsed 00 a dualiSlic lk1fion of a fallen "'urld created by all inhcrCnlly
mal"""". god (\he called laI<laIllnh and iderrtiflCd by the Gno,l>;lio;s with the
Yalnwh of IkfJn:w o;<,. Tiplun:) 'II.'l in <!flPO'\ilion to a p<.-.fecl. spirifU.11 realm subsisl ing
1'0 I h..c Ji.cn .I>ri<f .oo ,cry ......>unl ufl"" b<.>ic >lruct"", ..fl"" G...... ic m) 'h. . ..... .
di'Cu""i......r I"" ""men.... , an>li,,,,. (ond I"" l"'-./Ilcnlalical 1cntl "G>.... ic..' n .'c "lA. William..
R" himi"ll '"(;,"W i<: i, ,,,-: .4" ,('l(o",ml Jot" Di"",,,ml,n/i( " Doh"",. C" ,,""'" IN<w J""",'Y' ",""""on
l lni'''''I) Prc>s l'l%).
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While the heresiologists riglltly lIttaI;ked 1hi5 cxtR:me do.1enninism llI1d
mythologizing of the Goosrics, they missed a key poim in the GnosIK: schema thai wao; to
become of U1mosl imponance 10 Origen - the idea thai a transfonnative knowledge of
God, theas;s (a" deifICation, the ultimate goal of salvillion). is only possible through a
<;realiY!: existerD: along the lines "'" oot by God for l j is creation. The Gnosfics Iaugllf
thai the Aeons - te, the m1ilics generated directly by the Ma;t t1igh God ill His
- wert: generated in pairs, eech meant to romplcmnll and aid the other in
creative acts begetting yet Il'IOfe groups of Aeons? ' In this etemal process of creation,
the glory and essence of the Father \\'35 said to be made manifest.
l 2
Here we find, for the
1il'Sl time. the value of per.mnaliry, of individl.l3l endeavar. recognized as a key eIemem in
attaining Truth, or the GoOO, the One. or whatever epithet is suitable to describe the
Lile the Gnosti<,:s, Origen comidered eschatology in lelTtlS of a provisional or
accidental cosmos. The Gnostics this lrliverse as the accidenlal resull of the ill-
filled desire of Sophia to know the Father directly, apan from her own cmttive self-
expression, and comidl.'l'ed life in the 00SItMlS as a process of restoration of all :spirilual
bcingo;. acddmal ly ' spil led' by Sophia imo the malerial realm. 10 the Fullness. Origen
view! the cosmos in terms of a provisiooal arena set in pl;t;;e for the edOOllion of souls
who were unable 10 kr>ow God di=Uy, tht-rcl"ooe requiring a process - hiSlOl)' - by
wtrich to wUII >elf-krowlodge, leading n=tually 10 knowledge of God. Yel this
.. The.., A""". "'"JIll) \(> " p..,.., .i.c.nlSOll I.. di ",.-.lbtlow.
1I s.oc, ,.". eumple, the elaronl. V.Ien. ini... . ) ...... of I't<>1crn..us, preoen<ed by Fp; p/lani.....
A#,''''' 31.9.1)U2.9.1r. Lt,....... 1MG"""ic I'P. 211_302.
"s... n,., T.;p.mik 11". 11.111' . Attridp. E.IL I'aph. D. Mudleo-, ion R.......... ed. ,
1M NQB 116..",""i Librory, I'P. Sa- I!)).
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I." " m k:dgc of Gu,J is undcN{lod I>y bOlh the Gnostics 3I1d Origen a. a siatic
or a'1 enJ of "lOll,," and WO"1l\, bul rather as an cn<ilcss wilh a
reaJil)' dial always exceeds Ole sou.I or spiri lwl being ;n question. As N. Bertl)lI<"V
'Floe mJ is not O1t'<ely the of the woOd, and judgment. it is a lso It...
illuminalion and trnnsfonn:llk'O'l of the: world, the \XlIwiooarion, as it ....n, of " ,,"arion, the
C'fl1ry "I"'" a ne" ....."'. The e"""i"" acl o f man i . ..",,&,<1 for the CUll ing of die Kinl.l<klftl
of God, God is io1 nenI of and aw.m it The future coming of Chri<l pn:stlJ'POS"" thai the
Yel it mll't be stressed lhat man' s rn:Jl3I'lliol1 for the coming of Ouist, the Il'hering in of
the t'sl:h" um, is done as mu,;h Ii... II'e sake of as II is for Christ, God. BOlh the
GllOSIi<:s and cmphINlC.. in Illd r diffcrerw ways. the oo-opcracivc "",un: of the
ho.lll<lll-divine relalitnJlip. God did no, creale humanity on a ...him; His 3<.1 of crrolion is
based 00 kwe, and Ilis """ .....seoce is bound up with that of 11i5 creation, which is why
He S<. 'I11 lI is Son 10 d ie fur the salvalion of I l is cn:a1ion. A ""'Pl." undcfslllndi'lg o f
Chri!oli'lll CSoCtuIology mIN take into acootlnl the risk taken by God in cn:aling Clllities
" 110 are I\c"ollnely free 10 eilh<.,.. accq>I or rcjcd Him 00 !heir 0"" terns.
The Gnoslics did nol make it this f... in lheir they <JOe
" N. ..,. t/k and 'M f :nJ. .... R.M. r......... Yen, 1t .-p<."1 .... 1I" . bm
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concepI of creativity, which is aucial to any pesoeens philosophy. Origl:l1. however.
accepted the notion of a risk taken by God. aOO erded placing God in the servke of
hislOly. md not vee-versa, As this study will make clc8r. God ats in hisQy as the gJml
<:<I....... in .......i<;<: to His fal len souls, and lie will not acling in !his capocity W'fil
all souls In led back 10 the 1fUh and goodness of divine proximity. Origm allows For an
infll1ile nmber of ages (<J<"om) to take place, if for the salvation of all
humanity. The eternal existence of God, then, is placed in the seMce of hislorical
humanity, as it strives for an rtemal relation<JJip with. or orientation loward. God, md an
endlessCOIllnnplalioo of lIis mysterious renee,
The impol1llflCe of eschaIoIogy in OJisIilrI 1hougtI resides pm:isely in this idca::
thai God, in His Ill.1 of crmion, p1ao.:ed Himself at risk. The culmirm<Jn of
dependent upon hmwlity's response to God, is porentiaIly bolh the deiflClllion of
ho.nwlity ani the justifICation of God. His decision to atalc absolutely free. self-
de!erminale heil'lj?\ will be judged al the erdtime, with the tunans who defied the
condition<; of this =alion. BoIh God and His creature will be cal led inlo question. and
hiSby will either contirue or be ful fil led t-1 on the r opprochtmm f . lIII this rnurnen.
between God and His =aim If the h.anan response 10 God' s judgmerA is not
favornl.>le. then hislory will continue, drngging God along with it. Iowanl the goal of a
fll"llll. he1wcen God aid ""'-'it>'. .......... elIOmity will
00trude the finite lile of rrwn bestowing deiflCalion '4JOO In! lunlrlity upon
God. The lllCarTllllion mean'> nothi ng !11om' or less than this: !hal God becomes man SO
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this ....n. _,I"",hi...
" 'l'hi, i. (he r o ( S1. AIII".",i"" to ..... i"" i. """""cd hi. In>Cf kn" .." _ ond
......., noJi<ol - ...1 I h""'.,, i, I"".. i. " hc: co.. ", " ' It i, le ll ri>l"I ' ''' ;", ltuman l[)<
4k--. Ir. ( -....c"....... NY: St. VLoo,l imi,', S<mdw} ""'" t9ll6k p, 29.
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Chapter I: Ongen 'sIntellectual Background
Origen was. ilI:COfding to FJ...-.ebil$, "not quite sevtnteen
....i1en Seplimil$ Severui'
pesececo of the ClTistians beg;Jn "in the tenth year of [his) reign...l which gives the
;lJlpl\'lXimate date of Origen' s birth as 185/6 A.D.
He died <Uing the reign of GallO,$,
which places his death in 254/S A.D.' Origen lived dlling a turbulent period of the
the stability of the Empire. l lis was also a time of periodic persecution agaR;t
(1-rig:ians, ootabIy during the reigns of the ErnIJtl'ln SeYerus. Maximin. and Deehe, so
ItIllI Origen' s life began andendtd with pe=nrtion.
It was during the Severian that Origen' s father, a devout Christian.
was arrested IDd faced with certain martyrdom. Origen expressed the cesre to follow his
I Trms. G,A. Wil' ;-,...... m E_ i.... 1M 1Ii.1Ory of tIN! Ch",11 (New YooI<, l'1mpJin Roob

lm,/I'Ul .ccl..i".,kd 6.2.2,15; If. Williomom, p. 11'9,
II. Crouzd, 7lt. 1.1ft " ,*" f f ,m G..ot If. A.s. W"""U(TAT.
a-kl.Id. 1'. 2.
E....b;.... 1Ii'1. d.; C""".e\, 0.1,.". p. 2.
, A eII"",id. of U- _"'i"".. ..... Origen. lldi_ilies throo, boul hi. lif. is to be roo in
II",,,,. 6-7 orE_b;... m". <:1, n...., .. two ,...Fi lion. his <kooh, dc..ilod by l'amphih in
hi for Orl,.II; one is be died .... ",ortyr in C.......... tbe oIher i. thal be Ii_cd out hi. lif
..... i1 ..., 69, ....... he d"'d ODd .. Tl'" (_C..... Po
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his mud.". who hid his ckoltr.., <;Ompd ling !he ) '0lIfIg nl3l\, 00l of m<>.IcsIy. 10 n.main in
the h,"t<. re!il:uing him from martynlom he so desi red." Eusebius goes Ofl 1(1
lell us llJa1., Ihus foik:'ll by his moIhcr. "'he did lhe only thing pllSMbIe. II'ld selll his father II
him .nmgly Oil the suhjL'Cl of lt1al1yn!fm. aod him \":\.al11y ill
these \\urds: ' Mind you dOll" change your mind on our
<IfII.'COOte from Eusebi .... descri bing the bihli<;al Ies.,"", taughl 10 him b;.' his ",hen
IOrige:nJ. no! romenl 10 read the .. onts [of so,;ri plUf\' l in dlei. simpk and nal ural
sen.... """'ed for something """". and young ... he "as devoted to profounder
.... thal he WOI'Ti<'d his (;>Iller wilt. qllll<tm '" 10 the meaning and intention
thai underlay l he in,!,in:d Scripllll'CS. His falher woold make II show of scokling him to
h.. face, advising him noI lO look for anything beyond his undentanding. Of any meanilg
OIlier than the oIl\'ious "'""'. but ;n priVDle he " 1l'I ""lighted and profoundly grnleful 10
God, the Author of all goOO thing<.. ,,00 had him wonhy to falh.:r sud! a son. It
is said lilac 011<:11 ,, !len llIe boy Was askq> he ..ould bend him and hare hi. breast.
and as if it "'en' .he lemple of a divine sririt ....ould kis., il rt:'Vcrmely and count him...lf
bbt in hi- I""mising child,'
' Iii" , =
, I/m, <:1, 1>. 2.(>.5: Ir, Willi_... p, 1110,
1/"" <:1, 6.2.'.1"",,2,I I,6; Ir. WJli......... PI' IIIO-I RL
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Yet Origen \035 so:hooIcd not ooly in biblical studies, but in Hellenic educalion (p<. ldtla)
M well ' Eu!<dlitfi IeIls lIS !hat Origen wes only when he kloIr. 0YeT 15
lI eadmasler (did<J.d:aJf1J) of the ClIt helicaI School aI AIexandria.
Bill we are faced
with s<JrIll: clwunological diffK;\lkies when Eusebilfi a..er infcnm lIS thai Origen had been
a pupil of SL CJement of AIexaldria.
IF he took 0\IeI' the headship of the Calt.'Cho.'l:icaI
School at the early age of sevenIn, when did he srudy Inb CImlenrI CrouzIeI offer.;
an easy soIlfion by thai Origm studio:! unob Ckmmt "befOl'l' the pro5t'Clfion
of seveus, since ElRbillS tells lIS Ihat 1II !hal time ' 110 one was in cIwge of the
eateehelical tead1il'@. but all had been drivm aoo,y by the threaI of persecution.
pagan lIkopIaIOOist Porphyry. which "' 'IPS thai Origm 1m, mrl;';" in hi!. life, born a
pag:n. Contrasling Origcn with Ammonius secces (!he IclldJer of P\o(inus, II; well lIS
Origen himself), who had, lllXOl'ding 10 Porphyty. lXJI1vened from Oristianity 10 the
Hellenistic piety. Porphyry describes Origm as "e Greek schooled in Gredr. though!,
hcaliong into un-Grm. recklessness; immmed in this, he peddled himself and
hi" skill in <WgUi llelllalioo. In his life he behaval like a Oristian. the law: in his
metaphysical and Ihrological ideao; he played the G=k, giving a Grm twist 10 foreign
tales.... l II is higJ:11y Ullikcly Ita Origcn would have studied w:ler St. Clement as a
Orig<'''- 1'. , .
" I/Ist. ffd. 6.J.J.l .1; 1r. Will.......... ,. 12.
" iii... O'<'<'i. M I).
" CrtIOm' l p. 7.
IJ d.6. 19.7.1-9; tr. Willi....... ' . 196.
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Yel moll: difficulties ...ho,. .......e eompare PorphyJy' s statemerIl, fn:m his
('WI/ra Chri.fli<llKM (preserved in Eusebius) ",ilh his Vilu 1'I<)/ill;, where then: is again
m.:ntion of an Origen In the llCW\JIll in PorphyTy dearly
encountcr the name Oril= awin ill Porphp y' $ of his teacher, bo.J this time !he
lind 1'10I;11115. had made a pa<.1 10 1lI.'Vl:f reveal the secret doctrines of their teacher.
un: of l'\otim.L'i ' 1e\1un."S: '1i1k.'Il "illl die J'Ililo:sopl'oer fell silt. '11l, and
... ho.'f1 ....u.'<'d him 10 coolinue. n.'JlIicd: damp; O!"Oe's emhl6iasm IU" speakil1l;
...hen one sees thai one' s audience kno.."" already what one is going 10 say."". So here is
an Oril'-'tl. appn1111) ' a hilPlIy occomplMcd philosopher. berm: ",tun PIotillllS falls
yet 1'orpl1) 1)' never lxJtIll..... 10 clarify ....t..,.1her lhi: llIXOmplished Oristian Origcn
and his emilll.'1U pagan namesake are and the WIle. '1
As II . Crowel e'Plains, the lheoly of ","U distinct Oigens was r.".. put forth only
in the eenhry by one l knri .... Lavois, an editor of Eusebi llS' lIi./oria
" 1/,." h 'f:l. If.
" l"ikl rt"' mi l.2....u..
,. fI,,, n olmi lr. A.It. Am,,' ...., in PlOIi"... , ol. I ..oct> t1ao<oial Lib.._,.
K ....I>rid'.:: 1I.... -.llln;,ersilJ 1_
" W.. . UuJ;n, hen: l i flh< anccd.>Ic: " lo b< b<licudl lo lhooc _ do<lrincs ..h;';h,
lhou,h " , .,m I.. ..,,,n:,,y. hc .... n", ,,nllek .. in lhe ...1 ..r di, ..I, in, to hi. iil odcnu, "hcn Ori,cn
inlcrrnrl"" him by cnle";n, h.. k..1urc """ ? It.wl Orif:C'l ""upu him...'11-11.""",, ?
.. n ....nl mal.C" , imil..- ,,-.ruri. in hi, Ori,l'n, p. IZ.
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Origens.... \Vhile I admit thllt there is 110 way to llftM'Cf the definitively. my
O\m opinion is thM there was one Origen, who made contri bulions 10 both OwNian
Illl"JIogy and Greek phi\osophy,2<I We know that he both Orislian "lo<,:trine and
5CCUlar philooophy in the Calochetical Schoof' and. keeping in mind the standard
pracllte of the era. we Irnow thal it is tighly likely 1haI: his stlKlenls of philo:'icply \ID.JkI
have compi led study notes or even transcriptions of his jecrces lhat would laIer he
referring when he des Origcn DS a oommcntaloron PIalO.
l 2
Origm became intcreslal in Greek philosophy quile elrfy in his life. amassing a
uuh of the Q-risrim faith, he sold his libraly, aIuIOOning. b a time. any coOOIcl with
pagan Greek wisdcm, though he ""'-lid eventual ly ren.n to xcuIar studies as _II es
As his as a teacher srnad. he found him.df in the flMY of a wtalthy
benefactor, a man named Ambrose, a ramer Valenlinian GOOSlic Ctll'lVeI1ed by Origen to
the Olrislian orthodox faith. This Ambrose placed seven Slenogrnphm and a publislling
house at Origcn' s disposal. and began commissioning eesees from Ori gen so ZI.'aIou5Iy
and perl;i>llenlly thllt Origen referred to hi m lIS "my divine taskmasler...l
.. C........lp. I I.
1"",,"-. _ It Chod..d . F.4J'1y Tlwrhl .. '1<1 ,lor ('/a..ko1 TNJdlllotl:
Ju,i" . " ltd Orilf"" (New Yor\: Oxfonl u,,;>'ef'Ii!y p. M; lOr 'ho <aI.......
f...",......u"rOricen quoted by th< ....... phiklo<Jrhen E...>pi.... lI icro<:..... ond """'1 _ 1' .0 . Woher.
Orip "" N'''P''Q''''', A.r\M...
" c..>oU>tl p, 10.
n 1'roc:1.... 'ft " /auHri, ' ial""MOI -/'UM""";" 1-'9.16-1>1.9, 11> <I<:.;
1'Im>IogIQ 2.31.22&,
" Cf<'OLId. p, 10 . A... .........."" l""<1ied, ,.". 11>< ..I<or hi. ....."'. ..... lil ol) hit need fut
mMe)' Io ...pport
.. CrouzcL p, IJ.
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C\1lnf,,"'lbIy ;11S11,11ed in a position or inlelledual. as "ell as lin,n ::ial, 'il'Ctflty. (lrigen
himself to ooce lIj!aindrawUp:oIl the fruilS of pagan ....isdom.
Ill.' was to sp.:oo the I\.mair1dl:r of his life devnl oo to the e.'<P1icalion of Holy
S<.: ripillre and in oo\lcllling hi, IlIOn' gifted OIl the p"ir'ls of Cm Sl ian
irn;pin:d all the while by his rch IId leflislic inlellcctuaJ bockgrouoo. Aklu.Jgh
his lite "as full of COOlIU\-ersy and persecution I will not be disctMi'll these espcc es of
his 1Iio.>gr:lf'hy, for llle)' are 51."1 out at in H. crotII:ers seminal study Or;8en ' nle
Lift <I1hl Tho"):/1I of the Fir" Gn 'a' n"'"I''Ki,,n. as as in Eus...bius' /Iis/vr)' ,if lilt'
Churdr, which is n:aJily in English tmnslation. J ",ill ...."" proo.wd to di!<clN;
Orij, 'I.'1f s inlelleclltll t-..'1il3j,. >e. SJ"CCifically 00; excluo;ivdy) lIS iI reba 10 his
fundllTlC'lllai of "".,kul", /<I.<i.. or "resto"dlion of all thil\."i.M
Or il:en' s Inlt' l1ec:l ualll n i. l li: t .
Origen' s debl 10 /loly Scriplure is obviolfi; he quoleS the l>ible III great k.'!1!!.lh. often
drn...ing lugether """"ingly di'JlW'lle pa.... to make a profOlllld lhoo!<Jl!.ical point.
Yet his \1><"., 111 all the "hile infinned t>y his Gm..'" philo9:>phic.al edUC3lior\
>fI\.'Cirlcaily \hal of l'Ialonic tradition. In this he mo:lllbl..:s. tlrq:h Oflly portially,
Phik> of t>y ",hom he " .... neverthele;,;, deeply innuenced. J. Mansfdd
makes \he follo,,;ng. quite 3l...::.....d1e, stJIm1t.'l1l aI'ouI the character of Phik>' s OOlllrilui<...
10 .Ie",M l'b1onism:
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PlUIo belongs to two different worlds and to two traditions, thai of Gnlek philosophy ;WId
that of Jewish exegesis of tile Bible .. . Vet [he] endeavors 10 inlcrprtt each in
lmtls of the other ... His aniluoX IOWaN Greek philosqlhy is dcpmdenl on his JIOSition
as an and hi! anitu<k lOWard the Bible is to large depmdem on hi.
phibophiclll beliefs."
Sld1 a give- Illd-lake anil\Jde is not 10 be fOOJlld in Origen; IUs primal)' a11c:giance is to the
Oristian faith, .... md=lood in his time. As J. Dil lun apIly 1'elnlllMd. Origen is kindeed
a phi losopl lel , but me who, rather than adopting Platoni5lll or the doctrine of any Ofher
Ilellenic school. has D S) slem of his O\m out of the Qvislian scripllRS and
tradilim, to lUlich he PIalonism tribute for CllllCeI"S and fonnulatirns which he Iirds
weful, withoo.A swendering 10 the Greeks any principle ...1
Origm shares with Philo 00 insiSlefl(e on the fr will of the penon. &et:dom
thai is dira.1 evidence of humani ty' s likeness to God - for, like God's Being. human
existence is tree lium all nccessity. 17 The of the human being 10 alim powers
is not the doingof God, but rnlher the resull of the free 8Clivity of aut<:n.1nlO<8 !iO\lls.lI
Philo pieces the raopoosibility for evillOlally OIl mon. According 10 him, God is noI the
author (If ills a evil deeds. It is man who causes them ..IlOO his mind vollllllarily tums
" J. M.., r.ld. in the 'iet>'ke of Scriplu.. , Philo'. in ' .1.1.
Dillm, A,A. Lon-. cd., 1lw Qw" itHr of "cI,ki ', SlwIi in La,., G,..d PAi1<nt>plly (1Jah1<y:
Um..... ....... 1'lIllI ). pp, 1.....
J. [)ilion, "" Lbe Upc s..nr R<m" "" Lbe of Upt .. Lbe Fin! of
the in C. konnen. io:soo:r. W.l. F<tax... cd., of Alua...tru.: Hi< WorlJ aNi Ifi<
u /PC1(1r><!i...: Univuo;ty ofNoue Deme Prea p. 216.
,., Philo, {hwJ dt.....iI i .... 47.1-01'.1 If. ,....
10 A_i. 1M O"iM of St>td aNi (New York: litn
P'uhli<ho:<o p. 11.
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""flOO'iblc fur the choice of .,.. il. in hi. choice of good he is provided \O;m Divine Bid Of
(oougl. . Origcn is. OO--evt.'f, in agrecmt. 'l1l ", nh Phi kl on Ihe poil1l tIw 1a)s man
adV3IlCCS toward God. he is continoously aided by God in his acquisition of true
disagm:s .. illl Philo' s 1I01i<. II1 Ihal "'mar, is lOlaQy on G"<I ...l
Humanity is co-
of Go.f s rela1iooship .. ith lIis creation. As we shall see in the chapll"l". Origl'll "as
creation. The mUh.lal;ly of the hum,n-divine relaliooship is lt10Sl evidt.'l1l in Origen' s
doctrire of the of souls (elueio.laled '" length in his IN Pri"cipiis ). an 00
of " hich is fOlD1 in this r-o;age liom his C"mmmlary "" John:
ITlhe reason .. hich is in tH'ry creerure ()(X; upied the .ame relation to lhe
n:a'IOO who ..... in the heginning .. ith ClOd, .00 is God the Word [i.e. Olli s!. the
as God the Word occupin to God ... A.. then. there are many goo.. but 10 \IS there isbul
one God the f alher. and marly Lords, but 10 us is one Lord, k sus Quist, 50 "ere
.. T PII- 11 12-
.. Trip>lit" . p. D; l'Il ik/'" ,,,,,/1<-,,,.. 23. ,,,.
" Ihid.
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ore many IOROi, but we, for our part, pnIy thal lhat """ logo.J 1118)' be with us who was in
the beginning and was withGod, God the logos."
This metaphysical c:onception is derived from l't1ilo. who understood the Logos as
properly understood as - a copy (mime",a) of the inlelligible lnlYCr.le fashioned by
again, even after adtieving salva1ion. Philo described three types of salvalion: I.) when
the $0l.Il retlfl\$ \I) the lX' leslial parndise, or heaven, whefe the angels dwell (this is !he
form of salval.ioo filr the majority of souls):) 2.) when certain exceplional souls, like
Isaac and Enoch, ascend beyond the celestial paradise 10 dW(' lI in the realm of the
forms;ll mJ IinWly l) wtrn the completely puifled, beyond tJ-e heavens
and the inlell igible world and lives in the presence of God.... Moses is a rare example of
such a m .
l 1
The thai esceod beyond the heavens ochieYc: a Jdlirth Ilt
(palil1grneJla) and rmJain incorrupl:ible and III peace with oea" "However, of the souls
<Iesl;end again intohuman bodies to rq:>caIlhe cycle once again..l 9
3.1 1.
" Do UIC'. 2.6;{)It. IN>,
.. Tr1'oolili>. P. 16,
"llt 1. l.R; oJ", IS-If>.
" 0. n,,,.,,hi.. 11 .39;Dt 9.36 QIo. ill 11.1.
.. Triro/i"" . P. 16; 1'Iti1o. 0.
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Origen look lhis ido.." further. divesting it of its and rnthcr
untI<."lpinnings.. and ..tmed in all souls lhe p...,sil>ilily fur a sccunU fall.
and CVI.'f1 illlU ll<,Tdl>Ie falls, will 1\.1TIain. III lcasI Iheoretically: " For 0rigt.'I1, Ihe free will
of !he soul is absolule; Old in n" \\:1)' cumpels !he sooIlO remain \l11h Il irt\, nor hlr; l ie
created a cosmos in \lhich sours are dilTerel1l ialoo acconfi ng 10 a hierarchy based 011
spirilual or OIl101ogicai SlaIU.... This iUea of a hic:raochy of "lIrioo.lSly pwg...d souls.. presetn
l'!tilo. is arso common 10 GllOSIici".u \\hich Origcn would CI1d up comhlllling.
Further. did rul C<.Jffii&:r 10 be cornplde lIlIil all souls 3l:hicve il - lhi"
is his doctri"", of ul'0luILl.<!u.,i.,. or ".., I"rali"n of all (re5lilUlio in pr;51;,wm
,,,olUm) "Irich "" \\ill exami "", al Ierh in !he ne:<t chapler, I-Iowevt:r, he did lh;n
the po.",,;jbility of ..""'-'<I....... falls of souls " a<; hy his d"ctri..... of absolute free
\lil1. lIud in lhis he \\as able '" pnwide a moee personlIli..tic fo"ndalion 10 1'I1ilo' , IlIlher
cnde rn)1bJlogizirv. as we "ill SIX below \\hen we Origen' s
IheoiOW. Fa- Ill>\\l. I "ill tum 10 the COOCt. 'P' of lind trace Is histol)' up
until ..'ns limt',
1"he lIi"I",, <1ApokataSlasis Dt,...lriIW.' Uf'to Orig':;l S Time,
The .,. ..,.liesI phi k. ;llflhical occcsren of the leon upol olu' lu.' i.. is I" be flUId in
Emped..... 1es. \\ho."" il ref"" 10 Ire -rml rcllllion of Love and Strife in lhe mainll'fl:lrlCC
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of the cosmic order, The term also occurs in lhe pseOOo.-PIalonio; treatise ATiochu.' in
reteerce 10 tic of the Rtt this is a 1aIer, Hellenistic-era work, 00f
from PIaIo's pen. and therefore " j1lcs.:mative of later cunceplions. The flf'S( truly
concqllUlIl usc of this Iem1 is III be flUId in lhe _ n<JW GJIy - of the
early Stoic thinkers, plI1icularly Cby1;ippus, who had a special lIltachrnent It:> Babylonian
a<tronomy. with its thooIy of cosmic and eIefT"<Il RXlIImICe.
Already in PIalo,
however. we fmd a notion of distinct cosmic cycles or ages;" but a rigorou'i idea of
e,ernd recurrence. involving a notion of ca;mio,; culminalion and =onstiltJ:ioo, was
articulated for the first time bythe Stoics.
The Stoi(: idea was based upon an astronomical doo:.1rine according to which the
(ekpur&is), which is the reduction of !he m ire cosmos to its primal
eIemen (rn), after \\'hich fol lows the rebirth of all existing things."' This destn.ctioo
and rebirth is conreced effectively wi th the divine /uga. lhat guides the \XNTI05 and
preserves it in slability (ta/aJ/m i s). "Universal reason," a=>RIing to the StOO.
ewrouI ly "dries l4l evel)1hing" lnl absortls and contains al l unlque expressioos of
.. I:mpcdoclcs, 16, in Diels, KrirIl., M'
W. idnl....
., P. ........... A.>;i",:hO<. l 7f.tl. Ir. J.P. Ikr>hbd l. in J.M. ('oopo:r. <d. No"' ,- ('"",pl. ", If....h
t 1nd;.,.,polio, Il.,kett I"ubli...in. 199n
.. Sco: Fronz Cumunt ( 1921 ,1.,,,,,"10' and Rd igiott ..1 . ..",11' 1M G" d . ,,/fJ RtHltlJ/U 1M""......:
Kessinger I"ubl i>llil\! Com.-y.lqlrin!), pp. )0.) 1,
.. PIMO, Stalr... 2690:274e.
.. l'h..,.. i""". , /.off;"'" 6lS.I- 15 CSVF).
.. Ari .. Oid)'III'" 37; lon' .... S<dloy, 11". ed. n.. e-
y ori<; University 1'raI l ff7l, p. 309.
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According 10 lh..: Sloi,s. lhen.' is 00 room for auIoneJnlOll'> exp,,:sslon outside lhe
d<.N'd syslt"f1l of lhe cosmos. Each humao being. they argued receives his or ho. T SIalion
;n life fiu" !he di" De 1ol;os. and a virtuous life consists in merely one's
auoncd Slaliun. TIle rosmi<; prind pk: ,.. po;>Y<er resflOI1'i b1e for 5Ul:h allotmen1 wss
id<.TIIi lied by !he Sl<>iocs as helmarme''; or '"destiny'). 11 is rigln and proper for
hlAl1a11 heings to remain in harmony " ilh 1Ilis fIO"....., 11...,. .-gued sira: il sIems Imm
impol'tull Jl.'Sl1OI'L'I.'S to 1110; higllly inll ut.Tllial d..:trioe in lhe IId lcnislio;: era:
and tte Ilermetio; and Gnostic sctoots (\\ hich were influenced Ill.'avily by aSlrological
While Hclk.'l1islie It<t,uk>, likely dl."VclrJPed in a oommon milieu " ilh
l k:nne1ieism and Gl105licism ue, in I k:llcniz.ed Eg:. pl). lhis discipline did not dl.-velnp
!he cxce:.<.slvcly mystical, mythical, and esoteric lines as lhe lancr schools. When
Hclk.'Ii>;tio; astrok'b'Cl"S diso:us.se'<l a(',,1i,,1u.,I<I. ';5 it I'a<; lNllIly in Irons of an inlra-oosmic
rrfcr 10 any supra-cosmic cvcra, as did Gnoslic and Christian sotcriology
The llelknistic It<trok'b'<.TS adhered 10 the Stok model of the uniVCf1iC'" and
busied d.emselves "ill\. among olher lhings. calculaling die time of !he conflagralion
" So<: R. n"llm""" r,i"Wi,.. Ch'i"",ni'", in ;/> :;''''''1(. p. .
.. S, r,. " <Iii V n.'. in W. Knoll. rmii r"lm#. I.;"';
Cllo:rl;n: W.idmau> I'llm. 1'l7.1): l of S;do, f ""tI", ,.nla ( i ,."...,,, in II 0<1,
/l""",lki Sim,,,"C""",." ,h ln ,I" 1(K. '" 11 " il'/;I : T....I , I'l7H
.. An impo"' '''' l ho'" hoinl Cloud;", l, ,,lerny. " hooc "f'I'I'OKII ..... lhal of.n A....mN:
SrIk: " A,A, 1""'11- "l'Iolern) 0" An Fp;""""*W r... ' ho l'ncI.ici.. S<:ieftli... in I. bt.
I)il k...nd A,A. lonl1- td.. Tik 0'''''_ of 'd<eI Ki, ,",'; S,,,,,,.. I" IAITr GTuJ 1'1', 11....207.
r... lho InIrodlK1il",. p_10, Il i , 01", ,,,,,.,h lho ""mi.....1inn.......... "f N""P) lh"ll"",on ' h""Sh' Oft
""""l-inl Ikl"'"i"' ic ... n"''''k . ..n,pl<s hoinl lb< b'<lIli"", of Ocell us I..conus ...d Tim",,",
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(.. II WlIS generally agreed thal the apclaJasta.<U would occur ",hen all planets
aligned in Cancer _ this ....... the signal f<;r the d pur6.<Is. ConYmo:Iy, the aligtmml of all
pIano.. 'lS in Caprioom (the sigJI oppo;>site Cancer) IIIIIlO'.llCCd the Wllupoknla."asls or
by both llennelicists and Grostics, who gave it an anlhropoIogicaI and
soteriological frame of reference. The idea that the wOOd has been, and will lIl;lIin be,
sut;eeled to ch;r;l isemrol by flood. by nre, is fuo.n! in the Ikrmo.-lic A:fdepiu..
a Il'eal ise also incillded - in portia! ..-.:.l s1 iglltly aItert:d foon _ in the Nag flammadi
ooIlection of <:JIll:Sic lexts.
While the wm virtually si lert the
reeson or JlUI1lOSe for the conllagralioll, the Hermetic lIIld GllOSlic thinkers were clear in
The writirgo; comprising the Corpw H....", elicwm, produced al different times and
by different autII<:o. do rd always on eenain poilU of doctrine. Yet one dominant
theme is the loss of Iunan pmomJily lUI individwlily the sah'if!c evenr.
c. H. 10.16- 18. _ moounler a de9criptioo of the JUi flClllioll of the souJ ;n1 its dlnling
of a liay body. in wtlich mind is able to lid llS the C01IroIling faculty _ a Ia.... not
po!<'Iil>le when mind is contained by an earthly body. "For earth Qlnrd bear fi re; the
<"3Ith guarding like a fence or wall against the burning of the lire: " } Cornecting d,i.

" ... 2129 (VU ). If. J. 1lnolIIer, A Oi-. D.t.!. P.-mIl, in Rob........ 0<1 . 1M "' all
lIa",..adi Librory. I'JI. ) )0.331.
" CtHP'" 9.s-6; 10.6. Ole.
" cu. 10.11. If. C_.........
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<1f'"kul....' IU.t i. with mainl.:n",.,ce onk:I".'
While the HenTlClic wrili'"'!ct" do conlain some pesseges, the
duminalll anitude toward ne cosmos is one of qualified V<:I1I.'f1lIion. realizing that the
gkll)' is invisible ;nl i.-.dlo:dwJ. """""" !han ,;effii ble. Iu also admitting \hal the
visible cOS' OOS is the best of all possible "orU;.." The Gnostics. l1o;Mever. refused to
grnllt """,,, this respect '0 the visible. material cosmos, Unlike the IIe.m....ic wrilas. who
believed this cosmos to be an abode of passions and vices that may be overcome with
cmtroIled by an iuo-..,t 1\11e- and his vicious minior6, idenliflCd by the Grosl ics k:n;ely
wilh the stars and p1anct-'i.
At fi rst glance. the Gnostic poshon Illay SC<. 'I11 cornpk:tdy cooeary 10 the
IIdkooic spiriL "' hich n."CciVl.'d its Jtl(]r\O from PIalo, ", h.. dI.'Clared thal humanity exisls
for the sake of the cosmos. and not the cosmos for the sake of humanily. J.6 Yet if one
looks d<:'Cper'. oro:: "ill "",Ii"" thai the Grn;tics simply look Platonism Stoicisrn aslral
pery. and sundry 00... ,. It'pOCts of lId k:rU\.lic syncretNn, and t"mul!JII them 10 a k'Sical -
or po.Thaps illogical - conclll'ioo. Thisis not 10 say thai the Gnoslics ,wre TTlt- T(' e<;1c<:IK:s
.. r""i_ i " , I><lje,<llh", ,,,..t. in ' k n .... ,.., ,,I ,,, "arth ,.. of ' k .....
1.0,,,,. N"""""i... ,d. ""l.r lh< ......- ' h J/I Ik TI'OJI;'; of Cane... and ..il ' h"""h 'ho
l " 'l' ie "r C"""""""', Sin<. ,"""'" and decay ,>ct ", ,,,, I} in the ..!>-lunar realm (d . Occllll'I.""...u..
I'" "",,,,,,oj """,... 1h<n "'''.<r,''i. alTeet< lb. ""'''' I'''' of !IOUI.. " hi" "pol",,,,,,,.I. alT.""
Ik J"'I'I. and i< ,,, ho "nJe"lrood ;n a ""'eri<>l<>t:i<a1 """",01,,,;,;.1...."'. 11I i' di,i.i.... " f lh<
...."""'.. ;"l" I .... ......t l ""tc.l i. 1l ond 1...1H ) pan i< """"""" " , M;ddl< PIlII<",i JIIl
p!Ji k","""y (cr. L M,."". fi Middlo Pl.."ni
in I. ....... B. r>uwdrn. n.. In' <r.w,
1:,..,<1<>pt," <J/ Ph,I" ""p/!, 2QO,H, Tbe """;n u"J,..........."' .. \he " le"'Y '" ' ho in,.II"",,,,,1re.lm. while
'k mo..... i. un,JeN,">d a< \he """'" '" ""on,hr ...., ,he ,,," ... 'm. lIJId """'i.hn, 'Ileir ......' ...1.
1k ("","k . h} I'''''a' i"", , he """'" .. Ikcal... ,,110 ernanat"" N.' ..... I.... . "" ' n.... " r Ik ."h-
I""", ..al m. ""'I"""il>le f, O' moi"'. inin h<tt lock,.. ref. l>ilk", . 1/ot 1'1' 3'1-1-3%1-
" S<x b . , amrI<. C II, M ''''''IW''
.. Pi..... Lu>.-. 'lOx,
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- they mosl renainly 1m original idea.<; of their own, whi<,:h infinned their intefprelalklllS
of variolB doctrines. II must also he noted that Grosrkisn produced the li rsl greal
teaching and FiJilosophizing III 8 lime when Oristian OIthodoxy \\'$ still in its inrln:)'. I
wes the immediate IhrealIO naso:enr Olthodoxy in Origen' s time.
8a.lifides (fl. ca, ]]2-135 A.D.) wlIS heavi ly infl..,.;cd by Stoicism lIIld.
S I by . of , ,,- ,-,-
....",mung to . t renaeus, a certern esoteric ......... rJCI""U>U<;

ver.;ions of his S)'5leI11 have <:orne down 10 us. one preserved by St. lrmaeus, which is
I<Ilhef too simplistic 10 be ldhrnl ic. COl\'iidering thai Basil ides was famed ll'l a highly
aiginal and provocative teacher.
The: other is preserved by St. lI ippolytus.' 9
and contains a higtlly original accoml of the apota/aII lal;s. in which the post-restoration
maintenance of cosmic order is described ll'l dqlending upon lower existents'
fOl'J:ldfuiness of the higher realm. to which only the .. CM esceod For a:cording 10
periv. when they attempt to tmnsgress the bolnIaries of their natlR.
The purp;>se of the forgetfulocss is 10 prevenI MInI!y inferior being; m..n strivillg for a
station beyood their rerure, and to avoid the suffering anendant such improper
As J.W. Trigg has remarked; "Basilidcs' mdcrstnIing of the meaning of
" lrenocu.. Agui". / I1. ....ir. D. l..oylon. TIw GIW"'k .,><:.ipI..", p. .
.. See W. RamSlon<. ed. TIw Ofh<>, Bl bk (New y.n: H.pc:r CoU'" p. 626.
.. lIiJlllOI}"" " R./I<lallo OM,,;... """",/.,,, 7.20.1_7.27.13, in M. M..,."..iI:h. ed.
2S l ll<liin: n. ( lrnyIer
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" on.fs s",rvive {)flly in a r"", by laler writers. Acconling b 0riS"fl.
Basilid<. -s held a dcdriroe of reill(amalioo thal Wll'\ identical 10 the J>ythagurean belief that
human souls may take on Ihe hOllies of animals in fU1l1t' II is possible 111m
Basilido..'S bdievl:d in multiple restornl ions of the in II. manner akin lo the Stoic
impossible10 say more abottt his doctrine.
The Grnslic 1'1"1,'",,,,,us (n. ca. 136- 1521 A.D.) was a pupi l of Valentinus (ca.
100- 175 AD.), and the grc<UL'S! SySlL'1t1ali= among the OlriSiian Gnostics. A compk11.'
acwunl of his is preser;ed in St. Concerning the Opowla.' la1i1,
"spmlllar h.,i,,&, - i.e. the Gnost ics ,, 00 an: "saved by l18llft
- will he taken up irllO
(those p<lS...essi ng soul b.d spi rit. inch.lding the IAmiurge. ...hom the Gnostics
ido..'Illilit.'<l as Yah'lodl) ",ill remain otnside the plinimu in a place called the "'midp:>int.-
since iI is half-way h!,.1\U....'fl the blessed ful1l1t,.'f.S and OOI ivion.
At Ihis point in the [mdition. we have arrived aI a nolion of CXlITlpk.'1e sm;ugatiun
of the person to an ovcr-an:lting cosmic or supra-cosmic process. No longer does the
individual life bear meaning in rclal ion 10 the cosmos. for the oosmos has been stripped
of al l positiYe clwacICriSlics. In Stoicism. a certain dcrtt or humao- divine partnership
.. J.II' . Tril'-!' . (. il:"n. "'" 81Me unJ /'hliow plrf i n 1M 17Ii .-J....,nl wy Ch ....h (Al la",a, John 1'"",
rre-. J" 41-
. , H....I...... . ...... r . in 1.0)100, TIw G,.,mic !":riplrvY'. p. H9: OnJ<" ( "",,,,, R,,,,, _;,,
I,(i _lI M -II. ,\. "< . 1>.011 "'" . .. Ori p:<l .. .. """."..,.s In lhe: .. of ",i""...ol ;'"" i .., o
" ..i ",.1 """'"'"
., h ...." .... ,1/1<1/"'" U.l 1.8.$: 1,.0) 276-.102.
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was admitted; in aslroIogy the cosmic mind was approached ! me full of a1d
the Iunan elemert was maii'Mined; eva! in Hamcticism. the oosmos seved as a
h.rrm fi'eedom and autonomy were abandoned in liMlr of a radical essertiali5l1l. Either
one WlIS saved by nature or not - 110 Iunan dedslm ll1lDe in !he fa:e of Being ll1lde any
basement of arimal il)' to the rnerdy animale or ' 'psychic.," wOO was 00fISid=d
Origen. wOO full y ..-.lcr.;tood the meaning ;rod iruntiunaJity of !he tradilioo
which I have eluddaled here. responded with an a.w:rtion thai was truly
revolutionary. In the abJence of human jree,u,m, ""ill,.., the Cosmos n,," ewn Gad fuJ1d
all)' m.:anlng for humanily. We will explore this Iheme fully below, in OU" discussioo of
Origen' s philosophical theology (01apte:r 2). f or now. we must t..-n 10 a discussion of
!he mainslmlm Hellenic tradition !hal influenced Origen' s tIuJght. and 10 ...nidi he
COCISCiously turned for inspiration.
Reading U <t.
As Euicbi uo; poim eu, in his Hi3lory of ,he Chwrh. regarding Origert "tIJ:: CiR:eb
themselves lItknowlcdgcd his gn:aIIless as I philosopher."'l Indeed. we know thai
Origen auerxIed Ieetlfts of AmmonilB Saccas, the tcachef of PIolinus, and thal he
... EuoelH..., Hi,,,,,.. <Xk.i<ulic<l; 11". GA. 'MlliImoon, 1M HUI"']' of 1M Ch"'"
(",", YooI<: Iloob 195.
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pos....essed a large lim.y of philosophical worir.s, whkh he lalc,- sold to p,I)' fill" his
upkeep. 1'orph)'I)', the f".4'i1 of Ploti nus and acquaintance (or so he claims) of Oib'Cfl.
giYe$ U" tho: folkm ing Ii<! of the phi lo!qlhcfs with..nosc Origcn" lti I:'niliar.
Numm.... and elmi",_ 1..<II1I1-;n.... and Modemt"., Ni<;oma(;hus, and the
< "
,-"" If'lum;.
We possess lillie infmn.1tion 00 nlOS! of uese philosophcTs. but we have ell:lIig1l. on a
few, to sec that Porphy!)" s sIat<. 'ITlefll is accllf3le. In the case of Plato. of
c'Ot,n;c. Origcn' s deb! ;s obviotlf..'"
Urib,. ,n shares "iIl, N!Ineniu; a rosie asMJrnption aboI.A bodily retlC<. 1ed
in tho:ir mulual altitude kll, anl the stars and p1ll11l.1S. For Numcnius. only the 1mm" pan
of the ",nul is suhj<xtc>d 10 rhe fall.' (ht'im"rme.w) Teb'lJlated by the st:n;" for Origen. the
inllU<"1lCl.' of the star; .. 1>.......,(11:. i_If... ll'\ they aid Ihe soul in it'! striving ftt divine ne."
l "ho.-se altitudes an: .I.... to their shan.'t! Jlffiilion lha. \he incarnation of the soul in mancr is
.. l'<otpII}I)'. <1\1"1.... . /1,.",,,,,, . 6.1".1.1-110 or. in Will;"'""". p. 1"6.
" I'orp/IP J '. ",. ' cmrnl th.. Or i, cn ..cd him..rr 01 oil limes with rr..\ " moy . imply toe:
,.kn ., ""'.. ,"'" O"; l'<n .... . r'..,mi,1, """ ,,"', ""'.. r la"", i< <1<"',,.;...... b&n<l<d <1<, ,,,,
r.."" II>< Ohl A<aI<m)- _ .lI><it in !'uli., ct'oll<,t. Cbri;c;"i,y - . nd .. """,,"Orily ,hal II< ad til<
,,0<\, "r rlac". hHkcd. '"' ". mon) 1'1. ....;" 41"""""_4.-"... tlo>ati"ll . ......00 ill that p<riod; it io
,h. orilJ<'l io'incd hi, lc..... lnll'< " f PI",,,' , ,h""fht from , .",h "h OOhnok,.w II i, pr<>loahl.. ,hal
tloig... ,he I"'/l<'/# . " d IJ;Ja ,l"IiJ,,_. "r Alhi"",
.. 1M AI;4dI, l'I"'",,i"'. p. In.
, Orill"ft. P,,-ndl"-" l .5.4; Alon s.ct".. Ori!tt'n "M IM Ufr at JI"..... A 1Ii"'",- a/un 10k<>
INc y "n.: O, funl l.' " i. "";t) ""'" 1<I'l i 1-11). 147.
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bad; for NlrnOlius.. the incamalion of the soul is due to it's Sl.Jl.'Wtlbing to tel1lru:ioo by
malicious demons; for Origen it is the result of contemplalive Ia:Jty or inartenlioo. In the
case of Numenius. the sters are responsible for doling oul the fale thai ",Ies the IowI:r
portioll of souls; in Origen' s case, the stars are seen as pertrers with God, working for the
perfection of souls. Both of these oonclllSions - while quite diffaml - stem from a
that bodily incamalion is an evil - oe, in Origen' s ca<;e, a r=J1t of evil te,
the fall of souls away from God.u
Omiuol denied the migraion of souls into an that would
been hdpful 10 Origen as be fonnulatro his own doctrine of " 'P""ia1 lype of
or m:;....".;c of the soul in multiple paedeoJ:ic aeons (as we will discuss
below). And Origen would have agreed with - or perhaps lie wa$ inspired by - the lack.
of diSlinction '1letween a supreme ard a dcmi. god" in the works of Moderatu'l and
for we know that Origen, in his Commentary 011 John. iden\irled Olrist
as roth the Dlmi,. or craft5man (J,Jmiourgos) and the origin (w i lle) of creaJ:ion, l '
thetd>y denying any temp:oral diSlinction between God and the Logos, though he did IIOIe
the 00l0I0gicaI inferittily of the U:lt,:os. a5 we will see below (0Japtcr 3), ..nere Origen
seems 10 be fOllowing Ntmenil.lS.
Such is the natll'l: of Orig,:n's inlcllcctwl background; he was lI\\"lft of the more
.. Wbile o.;.,en held , he pooil ion ' h' only ' ho l 'rini' y is ..i,""",,, body, he made " diSlin<:tion
hel"""n "'" 1". ..lil)' and inoorporeality 1"- .... not on acIul l ph)', ;", but 011 1"" !>tipll
ohinlOC ined try the _ 1_ ..,., I,oh...... buc and . ul.or h bodies "'.. 10 thoi, i . ..
bodi , . 1><1 hurdonsomo, "",n ..,.,1. tlo!.., .i" fI..., d hl:n:ol bodies, ond for . 11
pU'l"'"" Jrtcf'pc>na/.
.. l>ilk>n. 1M MiJJl. l'Ia_;.... p. l llO; > Origen.C"""."" rlary "'" MQlllww I t l?
"" DiIm, p. l H.
.. 1.22.
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It." midollc-grouroJ lflXulalion of Philo. as "'ell a< the mainstream Platonism (or
Neopythag<.anism) of Cn.-.ius. Moderane. Niromachus. etc;Tl and of coese the
llliqll: conlribo..ion of NlImcnius. 8 llellenic phi losopher who nevmheb-l drew heavily
eJ"".<I;"i.m v"d Orll",J ox)' , The ExiJ(..'nt:) orRe"rome.
II is II-dlkJ1<m.n lhal the first ClTistian th.'ologians of any 19"Wl :5laIure WL're G....lSlN:s -
outli ......J briefly, above. some of lhe ley doctrines of two major Goo;l ic theoIosians.
Basilidt,.-,; and Vall:nli,,;'" 1'!ok:tna."U'I, buI !hen: were many n><>re. Jl1Slin
(aut hor of Buru""r), mun.'fOUS llnonymous Sc1.hians and Cainhes and OpllilCS. even
Ma/doll. who is ooc a Gnoslic, bur certainly a product of the same imc1lcduaJ
milieu - all of uese served to eene Ire highly speculative. inrellectuaJly elil isl
altlll"'Jlhcre in ",hich (lrigo.-o (..ulll at AIc">lllJdria.
This was a crudal period in the history of Ouislianity. for the one, holy, and
of lhe Gos[>:ls was in serocs danger of becoming ) 1:t aflOlher
religillo or cull of the ROIII.lO Empire. such as Millni5m. \\'hal ' s rncee, the Gnostics
" "The ide. ' hOI 1'1" 0 " .....U<kn, o r I'} lh. , ,oa dri,inJ ron:.: behind the Middle
PI..""i",, or Nror>' ho, " rnni'mHIH: ,,," "'" i"'<fdJ""[t<ahh: few ' IH: ....., inl<llccttull tndih.... ) ,....
,1"",i".,,'11 ' Ile: ";,, " f ( lrif"n. en.
' .' Nummi 9.1_11; in ..!nin f'r"'l/."",nlS. d.. PI"""" cd. tPam: I..,. Bdlcll
1"",:. I'IH <lc.
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were gr.ni syr.:reti1lel'S, including aspects of as many diverse traditions as they could
ITIllrIage within a lo05eIy coheid. S)'Slem (aro:! there were uuJess sygems. variations
i."1 v.riaIion$ \I3rialions). Origeo the danger. and thai if
mainstream OIistianity (such as n W3S in his day) \\ot':l"e 10 as the sole wilr'oeSS to
the IJuIh of the Gospds, it """,Jd require a carefully ..uked oul theological sy:stem..
I-ed on the _ priociples thal the Gnostics 50 r...,ifully adopIed aod
lwisled 10 their own ends, i.e., the rosie structun: <.I f Mi<klk: 1'\aIoni<: (or Neopythagorean)
phi1cllophy with its three principles of Monaj, Dyad. and World Soul Demill:}!:e).
Origen. recognizing the exigency of resporse in this situation, set wl 10 compose the firs!
syslemalic Clvistian theological trealise, the De l'rincipiu, lO a of ",hid!
rcw nsn
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Chapter 2: Origen 's Philosophical Theology
I Ip''" \he kill. .. r.1I ,1".11 "'iop 'n ",; I>< i. ll>< <nd
onkt ' n", nl'..n II>< 'I<'<:tOOd pri ncipk . and
' 1Hc: of 1he ' hird <>r<kr n",,,, ,I>< ,hi , ll.
_ PIa'". l ma- II. '
O'-;,,'<."I1S 111<.... famolls and innUl.Tllial wild is the \real""'" r"r; 1;,.,.,.,11 in latin as
De Prilld l'ii.<. and in English It'> 0 " First Pr;ndl'les.z This "Oft ) is ,he cleeres aOO
boldo;sl e:\alTlplc of his speculative genius, and lIS such il cont. 1ins lheories ,hal have
C3lN.'ll conl nM."<S)" throughoul O1rislian hislrlY. Cl."I1ain sclkJlars ha\'e
.... am.:d that shouk! ....11 "" ,1; to compo:l... -nd doctrines of Ori,,'CII by focu<ing IU II
single - even oro: as comprehensive as Ih" De PrU":;l'ii. - but ml her """-'k! examine
" his ....cd as II .... hoIe.... 11. Ct'OI.l7el romplai m of Ito: pitfall5 of Ito: former "J'PR-...;h:
MirNcad of explaining the Tn'uli.... lin Fim Prindl'l es by refererce to [Origen' sJ WOR ""
, H i. .., n i. ... i<k..,.J ..,. n,,"l .., "',1 11 k. I>< (n"" ..n. hand. ) .. it hod ......."""....
illn.......... ,.. 101.. f l. t,..i. m. nd N' ''Pl and .. ",,,,,,,I. of '''''''Sht. 11>< Inn. l. ti""
"",>I<.J i. b) G.R. M..m ... . in J. M. ( ....,"'". N . Pld' '': ("_pl." 11'",.. (lndi _li" llod.<01 l'I9n p.
, In kj'i"l! " ilh ... ' ""'i...... ",""I..-iy pnocticc. l " ill I>< fmi nll to Ihi. t"t hJ il. I .t ill tilk
Ihn"'ll"'.11 thi. ..on.. and " ill " '" IhoolanJonl aNn.iat "'" 110 poi"", in all "'11.. ,... in, f....... ant.
I h " ill["",,",i,... ,... 1he ,,",i1l8 of "'" 1-" roi"" .... ' fco,ri ... h,I"", ' , ...h I" G, W.
...."nll. lr. 0riI!<1I. (hi f ir . , r,;""'ipl., \ N<;o. \'<rl; l"-r<r and M,... l'I' , ,,ii",""
II. (' rowd p. IN; A. 1M IM,:" i ... <>/ ,11, .'>",,1 Phlli",.. 01101 (ni.... INcw
,",d o [ im. l'uIoli r. 'll t, W, VMk... IJ", 'III1t",... do. 0.,,,..... H .II.
M"I..- ' Y.1' p. u. J.
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a whole, [certai" scllolars] have inleqweh'd 1JII' work as a whole according 10 the ' system'
all the I1UlWICCS lWld refusing 10 take seriously the numeruus di5CUSSions bel_
altemalivc deses -.ming arbitrarily that Origen was committed to one of them:..! Yel
Crowrl docs rU pause 10 corNdcr the implications of his own admissioll !hal II is
possible to draw a system lium De Principiis; inda:d. the "'liter believes that a
system nnerges quite natuml1y lium a careful readingof the text
Before disctsing ftrther the De Print:ipiis, we \\oOO1d do well 10 define, or aI least
stale with ...ne clarity. whal we mean by the lellt1.'J ' system' and 'systen1lllic' ; and in so
This is especially ....'3I'I3Ilh".d d..e 10 the fact tJII1 the question of whether Of nul Origen is
presenting a inthe De I'rincipii.. is still a topi<: ofdebate among sc:holat5.
composed treatises dealing with the origin of !he oosmos, in worb usually given ee
standard title Perl PhuseOs. "On Nalln,M in which they tried 10 prove their various
lheuries the primal - wllle.- (Thales). fire (liaaclilus). air
(AnaxilTleflleS), nc.' It is likely, judging frmI the Slniving fragmmts, lIlII eese worb
were not presenling a sysem. as undcrslood in our own time - te, as a logically cohesive
I mean thai tho>ie thinkers W<'I"I: oot, ... is largely the case ....ilh present-day lrIIJIytical
Crouzel, p. .
Sec I. F.-IyG... . t PltiitnorHrY (New Yen: .....guin!looks 1917). 1'1'
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deduclion I>Jl .... ilh their past. of .... hich they weee often critical. yef upon
" hich lho.-y "ere 110 less dl."..,.k nl. M. Ring IlilS accurately dl.'SCribcd the .. lily
of lhese e:-iy and ll-eir ideal of a system;
Ana, imander attempled to prod""" a ",,"",..-If! systeM of It... uni....,.,..,. IIe thoogbl thai
ee principles 1001 "l'Cf'lllcd initially are still opmning in the present uni.....one. Al>d!hal
syst em .. as inlended 10 "" 10 cover the full history iIIld presen1
con>IilUl ion of the ""'ire uni,<:N<'. Although he co:nainly did "", manage 10
himsdf to lhe complel" nmge o f natural phenomena. ....hat he aspired 10 ........ an i,k ,,1(or
Qlh<n 10 10 sal isfy. /111 i<k.-al his SUCCC"S<lI'S at'lO lOd<"".-d.
This ideal """f15 10 RIC 10 lie at Ih" t""", of Ori$ell'. f"l't""'" in d'" D.. Principii. Ii... ...
he ..rill'" in [he I""'lace to thal work:
who is desil'OU'l of o;orn.truc:ling out of the fln1.'Oing a oon.......1l:'d body of
doctrine mll'! use points like m...... [implied teachings in 5Criplure IlOI clearly defi ned
... ,,It,menlary and foundation prin<iples. in llIXOIdance .. ilh the comn>ani.lm<.'tl\
whio.: h . Enlighto:n with tl!lllighl <>f [tl""", 10:12 LXXI.'
, M. !l i"$. .. I' ff,'M' ,:"" k. K oJifomi", M' J fldd r . 29. .... . ..., pp.
:4-H, oJ", CI I. 1;...... ..1 "",,,,,,,,..1<, a.,./ Ot"ig; ... ,if GtWA C"''''' k>R!' l""" '(<lit; l "<>Iun>hio
l lni, .,.,i'> r "", I%U).
o"/,,,i"". I""f. 1.10. Ir. Ikm.""orth,
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IJere \Ol! lind .., .....mgt-. invitalion by Origl'll to his n:aders to specuJale along the I,nes
his i.e., "'" eslahli"unenl of certain key themes to be elaboraled upon by later
it is in the ea thal we lir-' the IOOll illnuerdal
system of Al1;iquily, Stoicism. The systematic nature of Stoic philosqlhy lies in its
perfect coeesoeress - each aspect of the system clari fIeS and is dependent upon every
other.' The ' apxlictlc as called the foln:Iing notion of Stoic thought, ' O
is Ihat the cosmos is composed of II - craftsmanl)' f?ur ,,, lh,,iIOfl) !hal is also Zeus.
(/ogol .pm"atikm). As pure fire, Zeus periOOically expiUJds and ClJllb,ds in an elemal
cycle of generation and dl.guo:talion, in \\t1ich the IWrId is restored each lime exactly as
it was befcee. since the mind of Zeus is perfect, admining 110 a1tendioo. Stoic ethics is
both dependent upoo and gives lUI extra dimt.'flSion 10 this cosmOOgy; for each soul exists
as II th:Jughl-seed of Zeus, part of the divine plan for the perfect oosmos. One ..... II
simple choice: either submi l 10 one's stlIlion in lire as divinely allotted and be happy, or
else rd:lel againsl this providential and be lrilapp)'. This is the l11llIYler of
system me encounters in the Hellenistic and Roman periods _ oot II logiadly
body of doctrine in which all potential questions .., already provided wilh II (possible)
answcI". but Illlhef II vision of reality 1I1lll is speculative. the IX'O"ing-gromd fUr which is
s... F, "Tht h Id of "";1"""""'1...l u.. Culmi nah"" of f ill"",: S<>mc Rem.to .... Sloi<
C",_ -l,hkolo/ff," ill 1M Sroit; f Di<Y, . 01. I . no. 7 ("' ''I'''''
I. E. M""",A I'benornen<>IoJy Wi,hou, Rcoen' e: ... '1'ooHnodtnI' R..,.j;ng of II", Sl.,je '"",,"Y
of K......Itd""in S""pmi. ", ; .kJ. "",1 of ,Iw ClJ_ _ ftw lJltd PlJI,.,'WkNl
.. 5. no, I (Spli"ll 2(01 ).
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the existence of the pcrsoes ,,110 Ii", their lives according to the: dicta of such a
Wh..'Il such persoos achM."" happiness b)' way of such phi1osophies, Ihese
systems cease to be speculative and become dtft\lllic for those iooividuals, a; !he
only way III live. This is the in mind. r posh, of Oigcn es he seI uuI to compose his
0 ., /'ri'.dl'i/.. - to pnwidc his sndcnls "ith a tusie: Otdline of rwlily lf1ducive 10 the
' good life.' It isin this spirilthall "ish us to consider the: lamS sy:,w lI and ")"$,<' " w l i<' .

In lhe De Principii.. " e find a seI of doctrines thal, in a manner similar 10 develop:d Stoic
phibophy. is self.OOIll:J.inal and Take. fer examrte. one of ...'Il' s
thooOes in lhe I>.: Principii " hich is only lIl<.'r1l.i<:n.'tl in lhal y,ork. as a
'1l)IXJlh. - thal a !":Cund fall could occ..... even all wub are n:slored 10 G..:,I"
This To.llion fOl lows nal,... .ally frron the: immero;c importan<:e placed on tree will
(dis<;UOi.'Cd aI knglh in Il.....Jk J of Do: Pri',,ipii., j, an impon;oncc rerogni1l:d by Cl"OWl:l
hi,m M.
SirlC<' Origo:n considered freroom of choice as eternally grnnted by
God 10 11is r<ll iooal crceuees, Ih.' 1 surely suct1 freedom "Ullld remain in place after
salvat ion, making llIJ..lhcr larl a possibility - for God "OO1d lll:\'eT use .nrul"''" in
relmion 10 11is Cre-.alUres.
AhhtJ.ll!,h Origen doe,. enlertain other lh:o:xies. il is ollen quite
II p. 2.13 I .... "illi,,!! '" admil thai in ",h.:r "or\<, Ori @<TI "'''l" h <1<. 11 ....".,
<<I..Ili"""l)" "ilh,hi, ide.. hul l . 11 ful l)' " ." iOd , hal be i, toling p/liloo.>phia l ,..,.ilion011 tbc mal...... in
I lt 1""10(. (d. 2.3.3. 3.3." .1", 1'1'Oj!",.,III 19 l1i:o."...-b.. ..... kmme [ p . ad.f vilMfn
" ( ...." d p. l <tj. " ""'" be ...... .,he 'hcok'l' ion",,, .... ffI:T: " ill."
" Ag.;n, ('nowe! nndel'1'l..-d. lhi, <h.r""l.ri<lk of lb....,hl. O' .,;denl in hi, di""" " K'"
,, ((IriIfl'II' , up!"...il K", '" M''''l<IlIi_ \ ( '"...""L pp. be r. il, '" mok. the larv..r " on.... ""K... to l he
'J .1. ,"..f Ilt pri"",
Copynghled matenal
clear \\tlich ones he prefers for eese a'e the 1hoories thai illlrninalc or
give 51 extra dimens ion to othen put forth, SlJl!8esting, as they do, a systematic approach
10 thrology.
However, I agr't'e !hal if we are comidc:ring Origen in aU his roles as
examined. Bit in tltis study, I 1m Wilh Origen the 0vi5lian PlllOl1ist
In tltis sense, I share the opinion of J. Annantage '1IU On Fir5/ Principles
does present a basic statement of Origen' s view of religioo,'" especially since Origen
inclo.aJes. in ee I;e;ie plan of the trealise as Otll ined by him in the pence, the systematic
are ncitltn raised nor ans-.ul by holy scripture. buI which wee commoo topics of
disclN.ion in Ik lk:nislic: schoollOJlTlS. " I an:;lude from tltis., .... ...,jl .... from tlte
speculalive nature of the wor1< as a whole, that in the De Principi is we are enc:<ltdering
Origoo the (Ovistian Plalooist) phiJosopher, rather than Origen the popular lheoIogian or
homiletic preacher of his ocher wods;l. and f..mer, thai a system iJ presenled to us by
Origen in tltis Orersed, it is not a systcmall: in the manner of a Kanl or
a Heget hut one would hi: 10 find any sysll:malio; tltinker, in such a riglX'OU'l
.. J . Arm........ -n.. or EloIII ....."'1<\0: Ori r;en'1 Vi<.... "" ond
{1<.i1\11io di l-m........ ( 'hri5li8ni Anlica !'P. 345-J046.
" Sec A. s-t. a,"" 1MLifr <>I ' MSian: AHi_tory <>I_ 1<ka (0): 1brd, 0 ......,.,.. Preu
t'M C1NIlpcr . , "Tho Ikllen;"'-", SdIool"""", 1'1'.
'" Of -.Ori[trl' iB p/liloo<>r"' itol spc<uIOlj"" in OIlier """".. ...rn u lbe ('__"""-"
"" John. t.... ('''''Ira . ..., ond . .... 11. ..... Gfftt" ..: "Oril\'n' , i M<f'<<l in ond ..." ,
p/lik>oophy I. not limited Iu bi. ""'"' ><: holo<ly W<I<b, . ud1 .. the Do pr;""ipi;" In t.... lre.. i.. Orr Prof"
be i. ltd by lbe upn:..;"" ' daily hn: od' in t.... l..ord' , Pnyer to di ><:ll.. tile meoni n. or ouboIana: . nd to
0 PI. ,,,,, i.. {in Aft 1:x1to"o'''''' to Mal1JPJm1t, P""", 0,"" & /uiU Worl", p.
N....,rtbel.... it il in Dopr;"". Ib.1 "" i, mool d.iBI _ ",iglnol, ond. n><>ol unobMhedly odoptstlle .....""
o r o Hellenm i<p/lilosopbel-.
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("-" 11
""""C. ,n ".......
"",pori of recognizinga S) ""'" in De "";,,<:Ipil., is. for me. the fioal word00 the
(Origenl "!."Ill to Ammonius, noI 10 hi: o;:onve<led to PIal""ism, but. "'ther 10 pi.:" up
number of "hom, ...m ll'l IkTacl", and hi. broIller Plular<:h, he actually lured away from
i\mmoniw;, This he c....kl "'. haw dune. r ",ithou! a S}'SlI'lll to offer.
. y.tern Me<! not be out nevny detail, nor r<m f= of contradictioM, but QnC
The De r r i>Jciri;. like l'lolinu,;' is a founding text of NeopIatOflNn;
011 In: hand _ may recognize the ccla:1idsm of this "'Jff;., '. y.:t on the OIho.-r Mild "t'
Christian faith ll"ing the concqJI5 of P1almi'im, " nile Tn'ising these wncqJl:'l aewnJ ing
elwis/ian dnctrine " as ",,' fiJr the sake of philosophical exposition. bul VK:e- vt'l'S3: he
" II. l 1lach>id. ... ,..." "'mil' thai /Jr rrm.:, i. - .y>lcmlOl ic in 1"" '" 'h.t 01'1'''''''0 b'
' he ' ,ie . ...""''''", ..... ..If..."",;", " ", ,-i." ,,( l h.. ....... doc tri , it_eftt" l . .......... i
,pIo "':l.ol..... ,""" do.",molk
41:,," .'-( '/o , i.. ,i"" 11>o' ''/{io/ ","" ,10,('/a....k " / TrWili.",. p.
, J. l li lk.... "l ... ". II", s...."" 11"",1<0 '"' ImOf:"') or ;" the i... Chaplor of
r", in ( ', ......1., p.,.<I><'II. col. of AI<.TanJria: Ifi. lI'orld and iii.
I,' ",,,:>'llnd'ana:: Illomc r, 2U' . " , I.
.. 0" the "''Ill ""kdki.....- .. """I .... 1<' ll d .... J, 1>i1 1on. AA LA"'" "".
TIl, V'''''''''' oj 't:cI..,'id, .. : -"""1",, i" / .a.., (;I'ft"A l l ln;. ,,(
<'I'. til<.' N i,on' - l ntm<loclit..: .nd llo... i"i. 1 11e Ili, lur)' " r C<ll1:f'l " r I'l',
ll. 1', <l i"""",it", "r I"",. iblc inn,K'I><C'I .... O";g<ft , """ 1),0. Ro"t<ock.
InA 'C '"' ()ri jK1l." in Ori/(O' " ;'",,, lIq i' uho <Ii 1.<1'''''''.... 11lml i...i An,i"" and r", hi< ,..,..,..1
lIe' Iro,,,,,,, ""'-I;poo>nd con<Ull ('. R. Ik>Jo .-Sl<"""'. r",,,-II<-/l,,,'''''' ,f ojiI.
j""" ,Itt SI"' N '" Orilft'l1 (Nc" Yrd , Ihhd I ' ni, ..,.iIYPn.... 1001 and A. T ,lot: /)"':lri", oj,1tt
....",1 in ,It" f'I",i nM' "oJ0,,1'''. l """'ct I. 1'1" )_u
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This critical spirit is whal eharnctcrin:s Ouislian Neoplatonism. as opposed to the
oonciliahy efforts of 'lO many plIgafl Neoplalonists, like Porphyry. were concerned
witl1 del'Kll6tl iling the '1Iarmony" of PIaIo and AriSlOlIe, for example.l l PIOOnus. m the
001er hand. ;5 ralher close 10 Origen in his critical approach to his tradition. n but lIS L.
Siorvanes has lK:Clntcly observed, and lamblichus, rnther than P\o(inus. were
Ovistian soeces, though 011 different terns, ThaI which he foorxl in pagan
IN Principiu is a worir. of systematic theological speculalion inspired by the 1Iffd for
cri tique.
As we haw seen, OIigen fotnI in Gru;licism invitaion to aiticill: the
Marcion. Valertinus, Ptolemy and. of ceese, his sirrgled oU; in the
>a I . 1:1<_ . "OriF" ond E-'y ( "_ i.. Ph...,II.... Tl>t nf iii. h<l,. tol<ollY,WIn C
K..""",ieuer, Pel......., ed. t>/ .. W. 1+'",,1.1 """ Hi, IAgy. pp. 352-3H. l lilklrl
moka & . imi.... commrnt in oonIriloulion 10 tho ""'...... p. 216., ''' 0 211, It. 3.
" S L Srn....., Proc/n ' N_Pla'<tic PltiltMQplry and !ku "",, \New n. . ...'
1'fno 19%). Cbopl.. l .:lCdion I. '1lle N>-PI.....ic CUlri<uh
ftJ'. p. lIS.
>J While ...ho le in Pl<loi...... ond l'<>C "U)" com l<r....,n ai,ici_ " r hi. rewred
_"hly 1'1010 in f,,_.. U . I.n.17 fT. Sec -'"" Oillon, in o.-;g.1I at .-l 1na/JdTia; If;,
",,,,1.1aN fij, U1l</<.,. p. 216.
" Sion'...., P,.od ,.., p. 116. iii. poim ...... is simply thol l'<J<phyry ond lombl kh.... in Ihti,
mainlenar>Ce ..r\be "hormonyWor 1'1110 Md AmlOlle. al.t>lis/>N II", paedeuli< tradition or ..."jo:h ......11..
mel other I..... Neopl..""i... ......, tM hei.. ond "pholden.
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Commentary on Jo'", . " "'la:1eon.
In lh!: Ix /'rinci!,ii., hl;Mever, his goal was IlOl to
simrl Y refute do<.1ri.....'S to " hich he Wlt'i "f'PO""d, but I<Ilher 10 off.. .,. an ortho."',x
ChrTslian alternalive 10 the quile sophisticated sysl<:lTJ!; of his Gno5lic opponents, aod
llJ. -reby provide onhodru.. C1lristiunity "ilh a . 'alid, imelloctually sophisticated 10
lhe ptll.1icaJly ingt.'lliol.ls.. bo.J thl't)logically systems of the GntJ;;l ic$. 11 is 10 an
explicat ion of the speculative edifi ce of the Dt.' Principii. that I now tum.
T/". & ic o{ Ori}!e" 's Uuil'l'r.I".
The fi rst of Ih,:SO: principlcs. the Father, is a ,.,ity. complcu: lIl!O Himself.
and Wilhoul body - a purely >piritual mind. God, es Origen wri tes:
mO<l not he thoughl to he any kind of body. nor 10 n ist in a body. but 10 he a
inld lcctu:ol oJmininll in hil",elf of "" addition whale' .... so thai he callIIOI he
b.:l ie-l to ha"" in himsel f a more or a leu. bul is Unity "''''''',, ), or if I may say.
On,,,,,,,. ['-"''''''1 tI>roolghout. and the milld and foont from .....ich original.... all
intell.,dual e,i..cncc or mind. "
, . C,....., ./>I, 2.l t ,Illl ll',
,. tk1",,,,,. IJ ,6. tr. ll. tl"" ..,.,h.
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As A. Triro! iris ellplains. the Father -eoes noI panicipate in being. He is perticipsted in
ralOOr than panicipilles . . . Despite Ori gen' s abstra:tions in determining God' s essence.
God is oot for him the impeoonal and inactive fllSl-god of !he Middle Plalooists and !he
One of Pl<:tinus. God is for Origen a pen;onal and active beif@.": Since God !he Father
is, for Origen, "personal and active," it follows that exiskd with Him, a1Way5, an
entity ..nich 10 exercise l lis intellecrual act ivity. This ertity is 0Yist, !he Soo, the
Logos, or Wisdom (Sophia), of God.
me 1he begiming of his ways for his works. l ie esmbIished me before lime _ in !he
begiming. bebe he mOOe the earth: even before he made the depths; before the
fountains of water came f<Jr1h: before the I'I'lOUIIlains weTC settled. and before all hills. he
begets me,1l - Origen proceeds to show how 1he Wisdom of Proverbs is idcoltical to !he
lojps of JoIln' s Gospel. Le ., Christ
Using !he \anguage of St. Paul (Colossians l:I S)
he refers to Wi5<bn ll' the MFirstbom," lIfId goes 01\ to clari fy Ihal. like !he Failla". this
Wisdom is also witholf: a body.29
monugenes) _ implying, lIS it does. that the Father Wll'I at some point
wi thoul Wl<;dnm - Origero delocribe. Wisdom "" being etemal ly creRled by the Father.
.. . n.., lJ<H:,ri M of1M SorJ 1M of OM 0.;_ , P. 92. I ",lIy dill
11m: ' rom Tripulili. in UIlIl I think it it Uri,..,',IO-Callcd. M-...,.,.iom thai al low hi ,
",,.;,,,, of. d)-..ic. oct;... , odIoc:.llo in his ...itinl-
" h) Uri, ...., IN prj"". 1.2. 1_ fronl 'ho (LXX). Tho _ I..ion I quoI c " by
Sir IX.L Iltenl<ln. in TIt< S"p'IItl1C;n' .. " """'"""" C",,,l aM (I.....do..: S. .."..ll1ll@.-""' and
SoO!I 11' 1, repriol , Hcodoicboo
" Ot prl..." 11.1.
,. I,. I',;<te. 1.2.2.
Copynghled ma"lrIal
", ho ",as rom iodecd of him and draw.! his being from him, but is } 'Cl wiThout any
beginning. .... ooly of dial kino! "hich "'" be distinguished by periods of time, but .........
of that 01""" kino! " hidltIM: mind alooe i. wootlo contemplate in itself and to pen:<'ive, if
J may so say, ", illl hare imelka and "'a....n. Wisdom. therefore, mllSl be belie,"" to ha'l'
been begonen IM:yood tIM: limil. of any heginningthai we can speakof or uno!c'nland. ..
l ie goes on further to dc<.cribe Wisdom lIS the concrete expressioo of 11M: Father' s mental
adivity, " hich he cal ls Ilis "im:Jge."" having staled e:-i ier tlrt W.....nn "cwliins "illl;"
Ik.'t'i<'lf hoth the iM.'ginnings aod causes and species of the \lhole cre:;tioo."Jl Origel}'s
idea of Wisdom (l Ob'OS) ht.TC is 1I11ile simib" to PIotillllS' OOIICept of lntellect or nou.<,
their sIl;VC(J edocational hockgroonJ, and the lik<'lihuod that the Orig.:n
dc>s<:rb.'<i by Purpll) 1)' is idI.'I1ticat witll our ChriSlian OrigL'I1 (lIS we have discussed
atxwe, Chapter I k tllis CUITe;clOll<k.'IlCe bt.1wCt.'I1 Origen' s Wisdom (logos) and P1olinus'
1111<'1 1<....1 (Nous) s1..."dd noI he surprising.
We also discussed (Chapler I) Origcn' , fiW11iliarity willi \'ilf1(J,l'; Mi<1l1e f1atonic
and NC0l' y1hagorean thinkets. One of dJest': thinkers was Nunlt.'I1ius of Apamca. " hose
influence on Clrig..'11 is eWIt.'Ill on our thinker's of the relation of lhe Lceos
.. I I.- 1.2.2.. tr. tlo"""" ...II.
" I' lot in.... f n,,,,ihh. '-' .7'1 If.
" h n. H .7 1f; xe .J>o 5.2. t.
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both 10 the Father and 10 hoolanity. In a passage of the De Principio. quoted by Sl.
The Son. who i.'l the image of the invisible f adler. is not truIh when a:mpanxl 10 the
FBlhcr, buI in rei",""" to ""' who are unable 10 1MIl'Uth of God almighty, he
shadowand semblance of the truth. ,.
This pessege is dependent. as I will demonstIale. upon an earlier fcrmulalioo or
Ntnenill5. where he retcrred 10 the (d.'miourgos) of the cosmos as an
"seccod god"' I..ogo$) as the or crealor_god.
In his Commen' ary un
John Origer! writes: ' 'Chris! "' in a manner. the 10 whom the FlIlher says., ' Let
be light.' and ' Let there be a fmmwnent.' But Oris! is demiurge as beginnif"@
[arkhe]. inasmuch as He is Wlodxn..l9
Let us cornpare Origen's stalelt1elllS with FI'IlgllletlI 16 of Numenius. where he
establishes a dislillClioo between the Sl.'COl'll god (the MDemiurge of Generation") and the
first god (the "'Demiurge of Being"), corresponding to Origen' s WMom ( Logos) and
.. n . qOOlcd b) Jerom. tin Ep. ad .f.i ,... 2) c:om:,pond' IOlho< I.... cwagnoph or I),
1.2.6. in Rur. Lilli" 1ran,11Il""'. A. Bull.""""h point. 0Ul, Rutin... h...llCrN lhc in
order 10 p<eoer\'C Orig from eton<kmf>oli<>n l BuI_ h, It" a.. Flnl Pri1t<"iple p.
.. So. Jo:mme, Ep_ aJ.f. itu . l l qooting It. nun""""",,, 0.. Fi'l/ l'nlOCjp!u, '" 20. n, l.
" N........i ..... 16; J. lIi llon. 1M MiJdl c Nnl"";$/>. p. 369. 11 it IhIIl f'l"""", iut is
heR IOIIowing PIIi lo, Sec D<t oW 5.22; Trirolilis. p. 7.
" AI!>in... held (he ..... , ie" 14.3). ... he is noc memioned by I'o<p/Jyry ..
""" .. r lho< by . ... it is liul, I'" Orill"" is innom<:<>d I><n: b)' f'lu"""'i ....
, c_ ..., J1I, 1.22. 11". A. Menzies. in 1M AlIINl'kt,,; for""n, mi. 10 IMidli pn:
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(If IIe;ng ", jJ1 re ,he Good Ilself aUI<la,l(utlw n ]. lhis king in hi.
F<>r lhe Second. heing double. Cf<'lIln hi. 0....." form and fie C()';Ilk'l$ 4' " t il.
Ori.. lilcwise. un<J,..-n;t;Inds the r.", god. the FathcT. ao; a ..... holly COflI<.mpla1iYe"
('1I\ity, ' 'a simple il1l<, Ik.'l1w l exisl..n:e,"" ll'i we ha......, seer! above. The secood god. then.
expres ses lhis idea in Ihe f"lIo" ing pos.agcs, pre!><. "fV<'lJ in Latin and Greek. "ith "'31) ing
dt.'J?A....'S of accumcy;u
Our SaYioIlr is ... !he image of ue of \he in."i<ible God, \he Falher. heing lhe IMIt.
" hcol COIt'Ii<.k.'ml in relat ion h' lhe FlI1her him...lf, and the image. "hen """"idem:! in
A """' ...ge preser.'ed by 51. .Jerome. ,U included in lhe Rufi nus ' If''"dINalion:
.. N"""",i"" r.,.,....... 11' , ... in 111< l/idJlr /,/",,,,,;,,.. r , 3MI. s.., 41.., ..
1"'1'<'" ond hin;' y, l',.uom< of Pl." ..." Inl1""",,,, on l'.-ly (lIri"i..,i') ." in G. "'L 1M
Clt,i,,;,,nil" (RO) .r I....;',,'. or l'!Iiloonrhl '.I-e<"lurc Sorioo 2' . 1'1' 1>-7.
L>r pr'lO( , 1.1.6.II', Ib..,,,,,,,,",,.
"'I hi, "'(;..><1 1,.. lr I<> b.: ""nt"'cd " "h 'ho ><><1 n. y...... l loin. " " prl ' inu 'h ., u..1
fiN ....,n, iooN by 1'1.1<> 1/1.". ,\, I'"rrhlry " .11bIIcr ..plain lin /'., ,," _ l'r.juI><nl . 1. ,hi> dcmi"'l'ic
"'(;'.><1 1,,,,,lr ;. not "'1""1 '0 ,ho< ( ;';"><1 " Ik y,-t Ik inlJ." "", n "prior h' !>oin. " l/>m<>MJi<r'I); cr.J. ...
l.P. G.._ ... rltllo",,"'-," Inl.....htc''''' p. 201.
" !lul'''''','!'!h. On /-1'-" r"" dpl... 1'1'. 19-20: ''''' ,11= quo,,.,;.,,,, ",,,, (rum hi,
tn""I. ,i,...
.. J)r pri"", 1.2.1>.
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God the flllhor i:'I lighl inoornprehensible. In <;OITlparisoo with the fBlhcr, Clvisl isI very
.."all brightneu, though to u< by n-on of our weakness he ......,s 10 be I great one."
1h:qJhilus lh:d facilitated his wndemnalionlit the eo....cil of Ale>;andria in 400 AD .:
Ptrhaps Drigen deliberately lIVOided the term mimbh so as not to he charged with
exoessi\o'e PIatonizing. Nevertheless. his dependence upon pilJlIl philowphy was
escape the implication !hal the Son - whom Origen clear1y 10 as - is
coo.'Iidered by Origen an imitator of the f ather in the acl of ll'elllion." further, s rce it
was lIIl established PIalooic doI:lrine that a copy is jess real than its ooginal moxlel'"
"Theophill,5' interpretation ofOrigen' s SIale!lJer'tS isnot entin:1y
"St. krornr, p. oJA.i'N.. 2.
.. lIu'......-...th WO' <id<.. Theup/l ilu. ' f<ormulalion of on.... doctriM P, Fin,
Pri""ipI.., P. 20, II. I). A. l will """'Iy . xpl li n, I lhink ic is possible thal Theophi g ' lOnnuloie...."."..,.
rnl'-be "",,1Iid<nld Iqely aa:u .
" The<>phi lus. lp, S, "",(.len...... p. 92).
.. Cpo PIalo, Ti"<HN' 29a-t> IT.. Thi. pasoogo ",.. ,'" ..... reoor numerous cosmoq ios tidn 10 ' hl c
of N.....n;u. -. indood, .
.. Seo, for 0"",,*. 1'\aIn. I p"'Slge ch.. "'.. c........"'" of this doctrine
""""'1 1'1..""i... ,
Copynghled ma"lrIal
nil: Ihill! -' I:N principle of the: divine triad is !he SJljril . " ho "proo,ed,
liuln tho: Son llIld is releted to /l im as Ihe Son is related to the Falhcr...5<l Here is OriJ!.l.-rl
c.\ plaining the stilUS of the II00y Spirit, in a pussage pcsevcd in the mginal Gn.'ek.:
Thoe God and Fathe... who holm the universe U>geIher, is ....perior 10 ev"')' being thal
being I=; than the Father. is superior to rational creatures ak_ (for he is second to the
Falher); the Iloty Spirit i. Slili lcoss. m dwelh wi"'in the ..inls abne. So \hat in this way
the Son is mo,,' than lI..t t>r thc: I/oly Spirit, .-.d in tum the flOW"" of the Hol y Spirit
This P"''''''!'-'' "xI""=""I quite ck. ...ny Oli go,,,", ouhordinalioni..... y et.... J. Dilk",
of his dayoffeml no ready "",,,e.'. In his l'1aklrlic-deri ved schema. Origen
"ll'I pre.ernN with a third principle " hich "as prisdy not but Spirit , and Soul
and Spirit "= lharply in the tnldilion &om .. hich Orig"" s,nng. going
back \0 SI. I'aul. 1".. hUKi"" cookl no! be re:sp<lffiible for all thal had soot iI
,. 1M f )"."lri_ <>f' /w !'"ol i. ,Iw Noli."wOOOri,., p. 94
.. h ",,,,,,,,, ,, I" _ ....,, " . lkllt<,,,,,,n h. 0" '"in,p,;""ipk. 1'1'. JJ..}-I.""p. ) 3, nal< 6, ' 1>io
io "",inN in .Ilt I.,io ' <1..i'"' or Ru fl ""., Orill''' V.n Icn,'hia of ' he ....u. of
,he Spiri' in Co,",,,, 8,I',
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Mthe cost of incurring the Platoni$1 ltp"OOCh of splitting up realitylike I had butchtr, nol
'" lhe
And he adaped in as rigorouo;ly philosophical a manner as possible. Indeed, while it was
quite oommon among Platonists 10 refer 10 the third emanasion from the One or First God
as Soul . nooe ",fernd 10 this mlity as Spirit. Origen wes left with the further problem
that the Gnostics had already used the term spirit (ptleunra) to refer 10 the ontological
SIlll.U$ of the "elect," or those who are saved by nallR.
' J
He solved this problem with a
formu1lllon believed (righiI)' , in my opinion) by Dillon 10 have echoed down the
centmes, finding expnssion in Pmclus, aOO other later NeoplalonislS.'"
Yet the Spn. for Origen. is not merely a problem !hal needs 10 be solved in the
COllleXl of his Christian-Platonic schema; the Spirit aIro maintains a moral dimen'iion, ll'i
II. 10 the exercise of fr=Iom. whith is the most JI'"OCiou'i gift of God 10 lI is
l'lllionality. the lioly Spirit with free el\isler(s by virtue of Grace frharis), which
is the dynamic ct Ood's Providence (pronoia).
God the FIIlhcr best...... on.1I the gi ft of uistmce; and panici"",ion in Orist. in virtue
of hi' being the WOfd or fea.'IOrI, makes them rational. Fmm this it thai they....,
wormy of or blame, because they are capable alike of virtue and wickedness.
" J. DiI1<Jn. 'IJ'I'i,en'. Ooctrinc of the Trinit, ODd Son>< IAtor Ncopl.....ic in DJ.
OMc.... ed., .. ",,", e M/";"n (Albony: SUNY ""'" " 22.
" A. Dillon . 1"" {NmpI"t""/I_ 0"<1 ('1tT/,,;an "",.,hI.
.. IbO:l. pp. 19-23. 1);1""" bowne<. don no! bel ie"., III. III.. formul. ion ..itlI
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The fllIionalily graucd by Christ serves to make !lis creanees free. and It.:n:fon: morally
responsibk- actKn; ill life, Ilul it is t/wuugh the Spiril th<d r"l imal bei"l;S
"ith God. in the grand of existence described by Origen in tenns
of multiple <NOIL<, Iv a discuWoo of ...hid! "'" ",ill soon t..... But first " C explon:
the gcncrnIion llIId of souls in Origcn' s scbcma,
T/I( .t"'II;"of.';""'.'
calls 'OKi k' Ll<I Ori gen speaks of the Iogika as bt.'ing created, they l'<eJe nol
cn:-dtro in time. Crealion "ill1 n:'iJW to them means thai they had a beginning. but r'<Jl a
,.'mporal ...05 1 Fun'...,.. Origcn explai.... that the number of lho. -se rational beings is
o f G<'<l . , ft...-e is the conttll\la"SiaJ "",,<age (pn. 'SCfWIl in the original Grcc....) " here Oigen
expresses ,his idea:
IlUrnM of irMlI iF"l a' he could control, f or we muS! maintain that ""en the
" 1.1" 1";',. ". 1.3.1. or. [lui""",...... p. , 8
... 1M!";..... H .J. 2.\1.1 .
" l rif'<>li l;' . I' 9-1
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power of God is and we mUSl not, under the of pra" ing him. lose sigh! of
hill limitaliom. For if the divine I"""a" W<:re infinite:, of necessity it could II(]( even
I>Ildemand itsrlf, since the infinite is by ilS incomprehensible. l i e made
j ..... a'l many ... he: could gnI-'P and in hand and subject 10 his providence. In ,he:
same way he prepared j ust '" much malte< lIS he cou ld reduce to order."
This p"'sa:.."" in my view, expresses Origen' s SIl'lll'8 sense of tunan-divine co-coersnorc
God and rn.n..uly ee linked ill II in which God ldlieves Ilis divine sd f
explore lain the characler of this II'lIIlSCmJence in Origen's philooophy; for now, I
.imply \\ish 10 poinl to h.. sense of Iunart- diviM imma:y, lDl the risk il ..,p1..... lOr
God as creator. as well as for world-his.oneal" iIlInanity. ' As for his assenion!hal God
is responsible for crealing maner, this is 001 an original Orislian idea (as migl1! easily be
asso.rned in 1igt1 of erea/io ex nihila dogma). I:U is traceable in the PIalooic tradilion
back 10 Eudorus of Alelwdria
and!heChalJoeon Oracle.I .
This conmnillllUSlll'SS of God and His creacioo is explained by
Origen inthe IOIIo1mg rn;rner:
In .. . Wisdom . .. wOO cva" wi th the father, the Cmttion was present in
form and outline. and there was never lime wllm the prc-figuralion of lho:Ie things
which hereafter ",no: to be d id II(]( exist in Wisdom.
" F,.me<M 24 .... JMlenOfIf\h. p. 129.
,. I will.""""" this lhane in d<;u;1 below.
.. "'I. ,,-.Itt" of Aphmdhi.., 1I" ..""Ii. I
., Chaldakd, frap><ftl }4 (.... S I I.., 1'1I110. flt "Pif. 26.. 1; . 21.1041f.;
..... Tripol;,; p.1.
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II is prohal>ly in this "ay 11Ial. w far as our weal.J1e'<5 alk,,,s. "e shall rtIlliMlin a
<:0<:1"",,,1"ilh him nor "" 1"': "'..... hand lhal he lurn.:d 10 lhe "nd 10 00 good
"ht.-n ... ILoId done no'hing good h:f<n. F...... lhe :<aying lI1al i. " rinen. 'I n ,,'isdom ha'Il
l!lou """'" all thing.' is a lrue one. And certainly if ' all Ihings have been made in
a pre-figuratK>n and pn.-formalion, eose Ihings " hieh afl"...."",h received
Here, lIS elsewhere. OrigL'Il is dL"""> indcblcd to Philo Jud. "ICllS. whose COOCL'P! of the
l<>g'" St.'M5 lIS the ...Id Ii,.. Origen's fonnulalioR; in the [k PrirK"ipii.. Like I'l1ilo.
n im as me miOO or IhooglM of God. nisling in God from all d ...... fty. Scu-ond. lhe
lhe malenal uni, ........ capable " fbeing concei ved apIIfl from God as an tnCl\>C1n,"'1 of II>e
" ill,,,, " flli. idea\ . '
.., I'" 1";"'-. .... ll"'kN""h. p, U . r... " ....... i... r.le 0.. ,..., I"' >blo:m of ,...,
"""'01;, .. of ....lIer io MKlJi<: Plal,..i< Ih,...glll. ' H..o. T1>o:."a<'IeII. "'l1Ic Urn,.,;,.. or Ma'l<' in
"l on;" i< ( h,..,;<;.." M io J,Il. T......... M. M*,,;l.. ed. (;"".<1;01.., aM I",,,,, PI<J"",;, ,,,, 1""_ . f ;t<......
" tOJ fou ( iI 't....' SOciClJ of t\;I>IK:al 1 1'1', 1 17.
.. p. 6; PII;k,. fH "Pi!""';"",..ti 4,19 n:
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These acconIing to Origen. are the pre- exislenl souls, the logi ta. COI'reSpOllding
to the logoi spermmitoi of Philo and the Sloics.
Yet unlike the Stoics. Origen did rot hold a medlanislic ,,_ of the logik".
While the Stoics believed !hal the existence of all souls, lIS logvi or tInlghts of 7\1S. is
pre-determincd, regardless of their assent {suntala/hes;s),'" Origen held that the li't:e
decision (or 11Q() of the soul shapes lIS edserce, opening an historical space in which
the penon (llS self-a:nstitulive reality) becomes possible. While God intended for this
self-actuaI ir.llion of the soul to take pliu in with 1Iim. the souls, <U of
bore:Iom or weeriress, fell away from God and punued an easier path.61 Yet Origen is
optirnislic eva! in the face of 011'" fall, setting him apart fium the Gnostics he opposed.
rrJhe caor;e of the withdnlwal [of souls away fi'om God] will lie in III is, thal the
movements uf their minds II(]( rightly and worthily d ireo:;te:d, For the Creator granted
good lI>aI WIl$ in them might become their own. since II was presen<N by chei. own f=
will; but sloth and welO'in= of taking lroublc to preserve the good. cooplcd with
Now UI wilhdraw from the good is nodIing else !han to be imn lCfsed in C'\I;I; for II is
.. The no,ioft or ....n' " ..i. ) is li t"" tile. of Sonic coonM>Iogital "'h ies. ...XW<I inl
to them. """ .,., only o<h;""'e hoppi_ ,.hen Oft< and. roland!! 1/1.. "",,' , lire is by tbe
rot""''' Ih"",hc 00: rod """"'ISl<> Ii"" 1Ml ir. ,...",0<1 I<",M hy 1M dei'Y. hi '''''' to , .. ill "'"
ohIn!" l i re; will simrIY be lime. .... howner, lhe or
"",,1' 10 .. on "'c:rci'" or di.i""l, frudom An<! allhoup ouch a I.d of ,....,.,llc:a<b l<> a
ran a...ay from God, io Orig",, . r_ ulation it ..... Ihr POO;liu asp:l or generaling a hilltn<y in whidl God
...ilh ond in' ll\lCIO IIi. ""ali"".
, Origc:n i. ""'" lIdopIing ... idea . uI!-J"' Ic:d b, Philo in hi arioo. -. - Htrn. 24O; Gig, 12;
s-., 1.IJ1 IF.; Opjf I6&: ,.<,. C, Ql<. 4.17; QIo u . H O; _ aloo CIud,.id<, wdy Clt, i>l;,m
TIa<>_KItt and 'M Cla..kal Tr-aJ" i<Ht, pp, 84-8S.
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certain thai 10 t.. m.:ans 10 t.. lacking in good. llencl: i1 is lhat in degree
(>II<' d.di ....... f.oml"" good. one illm ., equal <kg...., o f wicked....5- And ""
the Creator of all things ol>IaiflCd certain seeds and Causes of and
divers ity, ill ord..-r thal. lICOOfdillg 10 the of mi...... thal ;., of Illlional beinr ...
he mighl rn:lIle a ....',..ld l hat was . ,..iou. aoo diverse."
In Ihis n:mari<.ahlc pas."3gl', Origm is the ro-opernlive relationship that subsists
lI im, God resp"nds instead h)' creating a ""rid that is as as tile souls lil t fell
l 1<:re Origen' s admirnblc hl.nnani.m is must evident. Human freedom poses a
threat 10 God. nol because hllnlUlily is greater than God. but mlher because: God, in a
must "'11)', imrwted ahsoIUIe fnxdo:rn to humanity, placing Himself aI ri,k, God ;"
L..,.,.,.tially a =t"r - I/w Crealur - ,,110. in Ilis aL1 of cn:ation. <JPC.'fI<.'Il the possibility of
being .lo.:prived of lIis cre;llion - and terce lI is esseoce - in a m<We !hal is at once the
ullimale act of love and of divine 1'O" l'f, as realized run;n:lciy in the Il1CaIl1al ion of
Christ tl'o: I.ogos. As J. Macquanie e'f'lains. employing
.. 1Mpr;lOI:. l'U. II . llull"",,""h.
.. 'I ...., 11< prilOl:, 2.l .2.; 11< l .
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What constitutes Being as God, as holy Being 1h.aI itsel f and demands oor
allegiance. is prteiscly 1h.aI it does not 1131her itself logdher .... immutable: Being but
thai goes out into the openness of . world of being!, " wOOd of dlange and muhiplicity
and poo., ibility. We lalk of ' risk' because in this pl'OCtSS Being could become split,
fragmented. and tomwithin itselC"
Sucll is prteisely !he risk of ee Incarnation, as well. As Maximus !he Confessor taugllt.
and as we shall later discuss. !he Incamation would occurred ",hcthcf or not
1unaJily kit no M1 (the MXl5e: of God' s crearion being the mlltUal transferen:e of
nalurl:S).. ' i lowever, for Origet\ the ' success' of the tncamalion is dependent upon
Ilumanity' s accepCllnce of its "Ood ITIlI.Mood." whicll r=jts In lW1 ' incorporeal'
Origl:ll left open the l'JU'iSibility of a second filii (and, ilJdl:,ed, of inrtunJer.lb1e:
fillft 1aI1s - Ilis doctrine of absolute freedom required it);ll whereas, for Maximus, the
of !he hlrnan ego by the divine presence precludes llI1)' lirlIer fal ls.n
.. J. Macqo' l ie, P, j""H" Df CIt';6tian TMDIoIO" oooond edition (Now Y""': Charla S<:riI>n<r' ,
Sons p. 200.
.. L. 'ThunbcrJ, Mmr afJd1M Ca, ,,,,,,." 1M I'i6imr ofS'. Ma.oi",." M C""!t" M, p. 80,
'" v.I"'''''' 3.6. 1, H, 10. 1w Oris<n ",fcn 10 pure spirit as being ina>rpm:al, be do.....
nnt ....... thM it i. OOIIl' klel ) ..i, houI hod) inc<Jll'O"'O.lil) "';'h ..g. rd 10 ,tic trealed beings <1<""' .
_....,. af. n.... eIIIetc. 1ondin. ;'ih!e ....W'C <OI'CC'i.ed onl) hy ,be rnind'"(Tri polili. , p.
11 C_ I,,,n/tlly "" R-.. HO,IJ: M... rn:. d""",r " 'i11 sholl al...l" ......in in ral """ ...Iurn. II
..... ,.,..il>lc lOr bim ..00 IAlcifer, _ ing '" . he ",,_ a f hi> glo<y, ond ""'" moe in \he
moming bee Dr ,he light or knowledl!", 10 be """'Ied rmm hi, ""'" g\o<y MId bc<:<>rne <brt<IIClI'
bee or \he ,,. il ...hidl he And to him """' "'ithou< llain from the dny a f hi< binh ond
d lled i'" """""'im ond li. ed in ,he mid<t ..rthe net)' ond ..... <Iolhed ..i,h the <nI i.. ..10m.......,
of the . ;,-, in !be porNi.. o(('", d. ............ "" .......hin i<h could """'!"ft. IIUl IM.., miQllilie
........ f,...rod in hi", ond be .... u.l r""" , he hn wo to , tic earth. In ,be ..... '''") i, c.. rome 10 pe_1I>0I
i n ....... . ... . l .le ......1..i", .rod in ...... 1""... dqru ..r pafc:<l inn " f the . in..... i1 "." llli l1 ex"., iell'"
r.II, o..-i nl to , be r.. tho< . in,," i. """",,,""!eM(cr. T.r, Sd>ed :!0(1). I"""""". on,.., Iller in Ihi. .......
goes on to explain how God' , ""I"""le 10>'., recipro<Oled by the rcdeCft>ed _ I, will p<e>r.... onother f. 1I
('.10.1'; cr.alsDkrome, Ep. 124,
12 Cl&t>fW" Dn 1i_ I,dlf' l .n ; Thunbe<g, 1.1,,"" fJd tM (""'...... p. B9.
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Tho: only ra;""fI,,1 "00 esceed the fall and remained ",ith God is the
"soul of Cl'risC.;l j l his ir<lividual <OIJI is of the inlended fumion of uJl
Itl f'l"VCaI the divine myslc'I'y in unkjue " 3)'S. i"",r... as the lT1C3ning of this myskoy is
deposited within them. as lhcandric poIL"1lliality. 10 be drawn oul and revealed IhrolJgh w.
opcrsrion with God." As Origen .:.\ plains, the :<i<.lul of ChriS! "'lIS 110 ditfcrer. from thai
of any of the souls thal fd l ,," ay f,un GOO. fUI" 0"isl' 5 50\11 the same poICnl ial
for communion "illl God a<; 1M of all other souls. What dislif\toMcd the soul of c..1ri<l
from all otheTs _ and " 11. 11 Him m.n falling ""'ay _ " as Ilis surn:me act of
fiI."C choo,:.:. ' 0 remain inlll1\.'I1lC\l in the divinity. I Icrc is Origo.." cxplai'!inll
It cannot be douhled thalthe ""lure of 10,,;.. ", ) sool "as the ... mc as thai or "II souls;
OlhernL<.e it ooukl ool be called a soul if it were not truly ooe. 1M s i"", the ahilily 10
cOOosc good or "",it is "ithin the immedialc """,h of all this """I " hid! "'dongs 10 Om"
accordance with lhoe immcmity of its love; .t... bl:ing !hal by fonnl'l<e<$ (Of 1"''f'O'''.'.
im""",,;!)' of an tion and an ;nextinguishahle warm1h of """" all suscflJ't ibility 10
change or allerlll ion '''IS desl l'O)cd. and whal formerly depcn<k:d Up,," lhe .. ill ..as by
in1llJl:flC<' "rlong cu.,,,m changed inl.... nallJll'. Th... "'e mllSl bel""'e lhal did n''''
in Ovis!: a human and l31iooal soul. and yel no! ..1J'lX"lC thai it had -.y .....cepl ihilily l<\
or possibility of ,,,,n
" / -" prilK. 2AS.; P. % .
" / -" pr;..... 2.9.2""
" / '" prill<:. 2,6.5. tr. 11""",,,,.><110. Thi, f>a"""t'e "'u:e.r. rio,. "' ..... , II "",I .., ..,cd. rhci,
in'en", k"", ..r Go..! ,.i l1 pn:,,,,,,,,, li><n, r.."" roll... Ori"", io (""",.. , R,_
S, ID, IS. It... he c..-l'" " ITc"'" , ...."'"oJ i"',") . lOle, ,,,,,Min the SMJ>< ".n . .. \\ c hr. n , bo", (lI<OIe

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So what beame of all the oCher souls \Om. in varying degJI:es. fen away fium God? We
have already seen that God fashioned this WOfId in acconiance with the multiplicity
amorrg souls. with a v;",w l(I leading them Iw:k 10 Himself. But whal is the stale of Ihcsc
souls, and how winGod deal withthem? We shall now expIott these questions..
The Slote ofFallen !)""ls, Multiple Ages and and lhe Restorat /fm of.'11/.
We IIavl! seen that Origen termed the ' pr\'-""i <;lenl souls' /ogiia. or "ralional bei ng'!.M 11
is now lime to point 0Ul his distinction a plRty Illl ional being twus) and a soel
(p.<uJ:he). What are now souls began as minds. and through hon:dom or dislrat1lJn grew
"cold" (psukheslh<ll) ll'i they ITIOWd away lioo1 the Mdivioe wwmtlt..u. Thus depalting
from God. they came 10 be domed in bodies, III fiTSl of "a fine dhereal and invisible
eU1creal and invisible body to a body of a coarser and more solid stale. The purity and
subtlenes'l of the body with which a soul is enveloped depends upon the moral
deve\opmelll and pmectioo of the soul to which it is joined. Origm stales that there are
varying oegrees ofsuteJeness even among the celestial andspiritual bodies.
When a 50111 acl1ieves salvatioo" according to Origen it ceases being a soul, and
I'I:tl-ns 10 a Slate of pure "mind" or underslanding.
Howeva-, due 10 the fall, now "no
rnlional spirit alii ever exist without a body."'"
,. Dr priM:. 21.3.
" Tril,..Id;"." 106: ..,..1"";...., 1.4. I. 2. 1.4. 2.10,2.
,. r. Crombie. in his InItIbIion or Dr pri (ANF lbI! lMIl of Ru fim.. ..
-..nd<...-ift.... "'......... Il u" """"'h ......1... . , (]i,... Uri' ... , .... oroal ,OIion Ai
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" ,
f f


















































of wOOd1y existence.
As A. Tripolitis explains. ti"e wu1d ......J of the
phi\osopll!m. Origen's Logos takes a pescoet inlerest in each soul. He guides and helps
each ooe irdividually to retlm to its SOU'Ce, in with each soul 's need of lIim
and its ability 10 ra:cive Him: " l
However. acoording to this guidance of souls by \he Logos will take place
over the: courx of several ages or aeons. for "souls develop at different levels and speeds.
believes thai it may lake than ore oron before [the restoration of all] is
achieved.',1J 11 is II this point dw Origen' s COflIro\IeISiaI theory of lmnsmigr1Jlion of
sooIs mIL'll be di5cUS5Cd. D.Jring the COlne of a diSCU55ioo of the meaning of "outer
da!t.1le$' ''' in the New Testament, Origen makes. the following rommm. not iocluded
boj RuflnB in his of De Principiis:
earthly body, Ihrough wh ich at .... end of this world each man IhaI mllSl pass into IlIIOlher
world will m:eive !he !leg;Mings or. fresh birth."
II is imponam 10 stale, 8'1 soon as possible. lhaI we J'lOII$C'S$ no evidence Ihat Origen ever
adhered scrictly 10 the melempryd ,osis theories of Pythagoras. P\al:o, and their
" Trip>libo. p. 10J.
" p. 11. , 0riF0I. 0-_ 27.15, Dr 1"";"';' 2.3.I'.
.. Motlbew Se ll.
" QuotN by Jerome. [ p , ad 1. fIe< ..hid> .... od<k: Ki n ", .,......;n. [0ri,.n1 <leorly
ouppo<to ."" """,""" ort........i[<DIiorl l.usJIl by Pyt h8l!<>rWI on<I Plotn
(Ir. Dul\erwollh, p. 145. _ ... , ,)
f Pylh_ "" I18Mm;VlIlion ",..,..Itt>.i . _ I ...,; 1.:16 (F....- 21 Il ?
1ldI........ 01", 1.4-5, 1'tJrphyr)' . I' j,o """",""M 19; Diodorus Siool.... Bil>li <>l lwat lIi.,_ i", 10.6. !. ) .
For ""'to on ,he ...... t"l'i<. lie<' Law. 10.903<1 r.. ond Rep"bJi. IO.617d If. the f_ MMyth or Eri.
0_80I1>er pao",,,.
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il corn.'l1 10 do so. lhal al the 1C<t<l ....,lertained the ooIion of
muhipk ages.. we must m.l1 he llC\Ief eccepec the trnrNl1igmlion of human
o;ou), into animal l>:ldies." l ie is very cjc... on this poilll in the Cummt'nl ury (m Allll/l.eM'
(.... I1l. 'I1 00l11l11t.'I1ling on Mantle'\\- 15:25-26). .... ht-n: he ....rites:
from the bodies of .....'11 imo the bodies of dogs. according 10 their d<.'gI'tt of
....;,:I.ed.....,; _ . ,,110 do 001 fi nd Ihis al all in the divine Scripture. say thal the more
ralional <;:t>n<Jil i(ln inla d>c """" undergoing til .. aITlion in
ofgrClll slochfutJ1C5s and
One carl"I help .. in this a 10Ile ""')' dilT"""" flun Ihol of the De 1.../,,"';/,,1.
Origen is hen: like a rcsponsil>lc ll"o:ol<ian of the Cburch, 001 as a Chri Siian
is also the view he hekJ when ...ribnrg d.., 0.- Principii., Ii.. the "nt ion of the 5111.1l S
l he res!oralion of all (<JpvkUlU. ' u.' ;3) is the musl: important concept in his
rd igiou- phikY;ophy. and ,he louch." <>ne bJ.' which he all olher lheOOes. lIis
.. As di ",,,, ...-d .t"..< in I "h, plc.- I. in "'1""'...." 'n ,I>< ... 0."';..... .."'... ",d,
Oril""" had n:od. in .. hieh("runi", .."Ul !he mipatioo " r hum.. .,..... inl<> .nimal .
"Co..", . .lit. 11.17. Ir.J. ........"'lANf
.. il i, I,,", 1"<1" in C,...... .1f t. H.l.l 2) pudi IIHUot,,,,,./to.i. in no
.."",n..in 1<.'mI.. llIi. in Ik' "' "" di""'.... om_ .. " r .... do>dtine "' h ,, ",;''11, Ii ... o. 'I'i"".
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coocept of resloration is based on equally stroog Saipbr.ll and Hel lenistic
philosophical First, !3king his \cad from Stoic with its doctrine of
eternal recuereree, Origen offen the following bmtElim (\\tIich is still
grourdcd in Scripture):
[T]hc end is like the beginning; lI!I lhetefore there is one end of allth;n", ..., W1!
muo;t un<IeRland !hat there is one begilVling of all things, ,.,.j "" then: is one end of many
thing$, so from one beginningarise many differences rod varielies. which in their tum IW
rest<nd. Ihrough God' s iflOdI oess, Ihrough their subjedion to Olrist rod their unily with
the HoI)' Spirit. 10one end, which i:s lile the beginning. "
lhis fmnulatioo is not original. as it GIll be traced back to Heraclitu>, who Staled that
"the begirring and end lin' commoo..... Bill what is IIOlabIe is Origen's grun.!ing 0( his
fonnulalion in Scripl\R. oon;idering that his view was rejected by the Chistian tradition
on 'biblical ' gnxn;b. Ilis main pooof-text is I Cuinthiano;; IS:2S-28. especially vase 28,
which speaks of the rime "when al l Ihi'l;l shall be SIAlued unto him then shall
the Soo also himself be SlJb:iect IJlIIO him thai pa all lI"der him, thai God m<l)' he
.. 0.. pt' i ltC. 1.6.2. tr. Ru_. In a '" h;, IUMl otion of !hi! _SO, Il..n """orth
qool co pusqc from Jerome IlI'hK:ll he tom .. ovidenoo of Ruli n... _i".wof Ori[lOll ' . '"I-ci..
...tc: ment, Win 1""""idcr it mon: likolyllJot Ru lin," omilLed. nlh<r t.... _""mod.0ri1COl ",
. ....""""'.. In thi......" H. .. 10 tl>< r-..,e: from J.."..,., qUOl'" by Bul lenW>rlll. ""'ictloccm. 10 1M to
.. I coolin"Mion of 1MpasYge lran.hOled by Ruro" u", -on"" Of:oi" be! ;"";,,g .,j..,. from lbe erod
and ... erod from the beginning. and 011 "';,,1' ellanfed that """ ..."" i. ""'" "'OIl _ in _ her
W1lrid beoome . d_on, .... daemon, if be Ii, ""1l1;Be"tly, may be bound ... allroooer body, . hot is,
",ay be<:ornc . "'... ff;p_oJ ,h i",.. 3). Thi. pao&alI.C ill pw:zl i.... ,i""" OriB"n 1IeenI.1o be of
;n ,be pagan "....., .. ,,,,,.lioton of the hi!her I nd!...... _ .. f. ll... ...,.,1.. ",-, ......
h....... C..... "'" 10 hi w. y of ...ferrin, 10 !hem).
.. F"'IfIl"'lI B cOl (Dieb Kronli. u , J. Bomeo, 0,1, Ora! Philo.""", fNew YOfk: l'I:n$uin
p. 1"""'" , ed by ""'Ph,.., ;" hi< '-"""',,__ If_rkMw.. ( 14.1OOJ1-3.II1 ........, the l iNek
...1Ido: .n_ ga, arlM t ai IN"" ,pi bl<101O IN';pJru,u.. """innin. and end .... uni,ed in lhe
..... irl ..., of. - "'y
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1"" <;" ) s, in ligtt of Oogen's developed system in De l'rilk'ipi L., as otlined ill lhis
Later in his lrealise, he e1aboralcs ,-,"Ihis th,mle as 101101., ..:
If therefore thal subjed ;"" by which the Son ;. said 10 be suhjected 10 the Falhe< [I ('or
15:28] is tal .., I" be g,,"d and salulary, i, a and logical ron.;equcnc," lhal lh\"
<obj\"ctim " f hi< CIl<m o.'S ",hich is said 10 happen 10 Ih\" Son of God I I Cor 15:l5-27]
shoold also he UnokTSlOl ld to he salutary and """ful; so lhal, j us.l as ...hen tl", Son is ",id
10 be ...bjeo;led 10 lhe Fathe<lhe perf...1 = 1......lion of I"" \"fl1i", creation i. BnoouncN. ..,
"hen his mem;'" "'" said 10 he suhj\"cted 10 III\" Son of God .... are 10 ullOlentand Ihi, 10
discipline and period, of lime; lhat the ",hole world ", ill nol heoome suhject 10God by
!he pres...'" of """'" lIe,,,,. , ity lhal COOlpe" il into subject "-'"' I',-,r by the of force, buI
of edlJClllion, and also hy such merited and appropriale tltrealenings as "'" jtlSll)' laid owr
and lheir 'l'iritual heallh,"
. , r,,.. I ">RImP""'Q !I "I",k,.l del<.... "rO. i, on' , do"",; .... of "1"..",,,.Ia' i.,_ E.
"1 "-;""" " r AI.unoJ.i. _ "poA"'".rlari<: !"oIe> 00 . he of I N,"''' in
( "'I",,, )0"",,11 t>/ Clt"" i"" a"d /'hiloroFo.'' $, 00. I (J-.ary 2OOJ I:
.. "'''' ,,,,,,,,,, . ,"'urnI,
., IJI' ,.moe. B .1-11. ". lkrtl"""' 'of\ h.
Copyrlghled ma"lrIal
Readi ng this passage. one is struck by Origen's htmri<;m (or "personalism" in
Berdyaev's sense of the term), evident in his profoln:l lIlderstan:ling of God' s activities,
His co-coeaive relaticnlhip with humanity, the irullectlllll nat...: of the salvi6e fl"x:ess
(through "the best methods of education'), and the preservalion of Iluman tiftdom But
the most crucial aspect ofOri gen' s lunanisli<: O1ristionily is his view 11m 00 one will he
lost fOln'l.'l" 10 sin and dealh. blI all will be restored. His distinction belY..:en salvalioo
and restoration ("the salvation of those subjected and the resloral ion of those 1M have
been kNj is subtle for it points 10 a l'l'COgllilion of the absoll1e valle of al l
persons a.t such, regardless of their OI1lological stalus.
) Indeed, es Ori g"", e>;plai n:l
dSC'Where - commenling on Jeremiah 27:25-27 - there are 'heither ' vessee of wrath' nor
' vessels of mercy' l in llI1 absolute sense] to vessels of usefulness, perhaps, or fur SQme
odIer mysterious funct ion known only 10 God.... This rntion is in accord with a basic
doctrine of De Principiis - that the essence of humanity is intellect ....); for ItS we have
seen above. our pesere slate. according to Orig.en, is precisely a departure from. and
po&Sibilily of, understanding.
Th i. dioti nc:liOll - bel"'ftn l hoM .."" ""hi.....e ...IVOl ion . .... ,""'" who .. ,,"' orod - io .. a'IIIO<t
of Ori fCO". " ;,,,. ",. t , ... rail did n<>I . fT"", . lI =alures 110m< fd l farther Ib.. oIh.... 'Tho """"
..110 fell th< r_oreIhooe he ""II. i.e.. U,e "",,il and hi. demon.. Thooo who r. n tho 10_ ore til<
I ngeh . nd 11>0 ""...onl, bod;'" who quiet ly reverted bod to God; 1bc... Ori,.n ..y.. ...., ..... bjedeG l<>
God......., than the took of illumiuhn, 1bc rollen """I.. ..d of oidin, 1:-1Iri" in 1bc to"" of educot"",
on<! "''''''Oil"" of Ih. .. >nub iI" 1"1"". 1.1>. 2, 1.1. 4, 2.9,6, 1_. CI'UWeI I fnI """i.,. M _
Simootlt i 1962' .... the idea of a ""i. ersality of 1bc f. 1I (excepting the "",I ofChri" I" .
bo,ed upon lhe ' .f)' "",...,n I ""' Iled lwilh the inexpli<:ol>1e indu,ioo of .. ,_, : p_ 211 "
01 Ih.... P"''''Jn shoW!l Ihlll Ori,on ;. quit. oint "" hi. poinllhlll all ""... fallm . ,",Iy
"""'" hove "'turned more quietly Ihon "' ond .... ""'" engqed in . iding the """. inin, """I, in 1bci.
quest f", 1'e5l"""""" "PI'""'nlly, in hi. , 1 to ""der1tond Origa! by ruding '1Ii. ""'" as
CIOOld h.. proroundly mi, undentood III I t ..... of Ihii.,.le ..ork, t'" impononl and inn ",;.1
(" pri"",
.. K t.t"","". Ori, ... of "bondri. and opotato" o, ;" Some NOln on lbe of .
Noble ..........qundlibet._...,,;l'C"..,Ilml: Ori""" ok......;o'" 27.3: _ . 1... n.. pr i"".
3.121 t.
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This ..... ;on of a iJJlimacy bc1ween God and humani!)'. based 011
ill1etk... UIkl.'r.ilaI1Uing. is al>ill lhe e1hical bNs of Origen' s con':qJl of salvatioo or
restoration which is, in !he last anal ysis. morl: profICfly COl"i<k:n:d a' a r<-w ,i l'" of God
lUld man. 11m: is II from fA! Principii. in " hich the intellcaual nal...., of the
di,lI"o:-hl.'1311 relationship is nlOSl cll:arly cxrn:sscd- based 00 Ire biblical du<.1rine tM!
human beings were created in GOlf s ill"'b'C(Genesis 1:2(,.27):
[Tlhe man.. ofll", di,'i"" im;oge in man may be: c k:arly discc:rood. no! in lhe fonn ofl,;'
body. which to COl1Uplion. but in ,,,. prudence of his mind, in hi. riglll""""""", hi.
vift'le!i: which exist in God C'SSmlially, and may aist in man as " =uk of his own efTorts
and his (milali..n of God .. . We St.... ....... !hal ....... have a kind ofbklll<l-,datiofWlip
"ilh God; WJd . ince God al1' hinp and nol " . ingle in'cllCClual 'nnh <:an C!iaIJ'"
hi. no!ice ... it i. p:rssibk: lha. a rmiooal mind also, by IOdvancing fJom a k"",, 1cdg<: of
small to a knowledge of 'hings and from things vi. ible: to lhings invisible. may
ana' n to WI incmssillgly perfCCl
Thi. 'i.....n.=ifll?ly perfe<.1 ;. illlo=ro.Jed, by Ori b't.T\ in a dynamic sense. for
he consido.'red the minds of perstlllS ItS never ceasing 10 learn of divino: myscees, Such is
his imab'C of salvalion. ,,11<.'0 the soul "ill in 'intef k:ctual approach the divine
source "face 10 face,'.... This hl.fllll*divinc ;r1l imlll:Y is. for 0rigI.'n. the klgica1
" f:>'I""'C. lr. flu""....",,h.
.. f:>' I"i"". 2.11.7. If. 1I.. k<>...... in t'p. pJ A.'il"'" 7. "'r.... ,n lhi.
lh..., "c h.o.. ....,d.., rat lhal .. ".." no Ion@:"I nh and bOO;... and ro,.;hll
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(inlel1octwl, noelie) result of the fall of h.manity and the paoticipolion of
God h hi.'ilOI)' (undeI'slood as a pnxIlICl of the 1311). Origen is., like G.W.F. Hegel
aflcl" him. a true philosopher of histoly. As A. Tripolitis has rcmarl<ed. of Origen;
His thought rqnset1ts a true philosqlhy of hi5tOfy. Origcn' s of Iwman histoly
both the f_ of bibl ical hi.rory and the hi....,. of Greek lhoughL Ori gm
claims lIlllI in gmernlion, GOlf s wisdom has into 1ho """" of lhe pious
in order IhsIlhey might help their romeml"""'ies 10 <XJll\'ffI 10 lhc ways ofGod.,
His VIeW thai primarily Il-rnugh history ill the !lO<Ke of his dynamic
ootioo of the salviflC stale, wIlidl coestss III 6rsl of a leaming of '1he reasor6 for all
As a P1aronic philosopher, Origm was for introducing the hisklrical
dimension inlo ..tIiIl Ia:I, up ooIil his time. been llI1 ahistorical metaphysical ronslrud
based 00 eremaI emanalion from a stalK: lirsl r-inciple. His il"llnXlUClion of a 1M'\\.
llClive GOO who cares for humanity was not only a profomd CUltribo.J.ioo to
Ouistian thougtt. but WlIS a CllIlIIyst. in my opinion. for the IUIT1 IOWard throrgy and
ritLllll thai we lind in IaIo:r NlpIalonism. lanbiidJus and Earlier,
the Gnoslic:s and Middle PIalonisls IerIded to ernphasille the dislance the highest
"'" c_ """I. , 1>11, mind and undc:r<l.arlding COIl>< 10 perf"",;"" on<! "'" bl in<k<l by ...y cl oud of d iOlurtlin,
_ sh.1I _ ''''''''ol ond "I'in'",,1 being. r_ to r..,.'M(If. 8<11.""""""." "3.II.
'" Trir>oIilis. p. 111; Origcn. C_ .... C. I>. ", 4.7.
.. l .l I.!U.l1.7.
.. Fo<""lid """.....ponry aocoun" of Ib<... philooophe", 0 G. Sh.",. 1M 1Itt
of"-blt"h (lhI i_, Pork: Pen...,.......i. StMe Un;"'OBily ""'"" 1995), -.t L Sionw>n

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god and humanity; \he;;c lerer thinkers reacted by so:cking "llYS 10 creme a S<.'IN: of
' lis ""'" ;mp"nalll coolrillulioo 10 C11rislian thought !>.:sides "1'"A;al"" "'';5. is the
(,.,...;." through iii"''')' and pao.'do."lIIic eoag.<:lncnt with God they end in a see of et<.'1M1
I will end this chapleT wlh quolcs from Origen, de!;crilJing the
e;chalologkal stale of souls:
lhe earth, ...hkh llle scrifllure calk ' pandise', This will he a place of instruction
arod. !lO 10 speak. a Ilurt' room or 'OC1Iool for ISOOI$, in which they may he taught about all
thal they had ...-en on eanh and may also m:eM s<>rn<: S<'ftlC indication. of whal i. '"
folk"" in thol fUlure.' "
TIlt: fuMe. of cocrse. is an e1cmJlly unfolding imcllcctual space, for God. es Ongen
rs, eternally begets Wimn (Logos). the begillll;ng of "hich is alclllporal and
bt.1'ood hurtWl comrn.+"'OSion. IQI Siree the earthly aealion is desti ned to I1ffiS a" ay. the
souls do nlll n:main involvtrl in ils ..udy forewr.
Wi'll.", the ""inl. have rea.;l>cd the hnlvcllly places, then tho:y win see clearly the nalure of
,.. I'"p'in<:. 1.1 1.6. If. 1I... 'c..,,>nh,
I.' God ;, .1>" ", ,,,hn.. ;n"'I ..., in ..... of ....' ion. S1:>< ".. iN:_J",..l .
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m"Y be the tnrth .bout them. They ...ill .lw other mlVlR'I for God'$ ""orb.
which lie shall reveal to them. f or nuw he will show to them, as to !10m, the
Qu.es of thi ngs and the perfedion of his aeation, teaching lhcm why one 5Iar is placed
f inal ly, theSlJJl approaches God "face 10 face," and there it "'anains perfection,"
firsl that perfectioo by wIlich it rises 10 this coodilim lpuximily to God]. 1ft! se<,>;>ndly
that by which it remai... therein, while it .... for the food on whictl it feed!; the rmt*ms
of the meaning of things and the nallft of ....ir CIWlIe:O. For .. in this bodi ly or 0I.ln
_ font of.1l bodily into lhaI",hich _ now are. the i"", case being supplied in c....
e. 1y yean ITIft'ely by sufficiency or food, wt.erea. . fl er the pt'IX'e$$ of groWlll has
rnched it. limit _ "'" food nol in order 10 grow but as a lrl(3Vl life within
and suitable food in a ..........e which can neilher..mit ofwan. nor ofsuperl1uily. But in
all respects lIIis food m.... be undoenlood to be the and underst.-.ding of
God, and it:< .........."" to be !bose thaI.-e Ilpplopliate lftI suitable to th is nature ", hich
has been made and created. ' OJ
according to !he uniqueIlLS'; of each !lOl.lI; the diYel'5ity thai 1'4'\ the re<;Ult of the full is. in
the end. serctifled through an hislorical process of Iunlm-divine thai. results
I.' Pt J1rllt<'. 2.1 1.1, tr. Iluttcnoonh.
" J Ptprinc. 2.11.1. tr.
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in an intelltual f"dJ'PI'II1 hct\\.f:<.'n God and His c:realion. moving ever f"""anI in crealive
proticierq'. This dynamic oo:ion of t..n....divine rcliIion will be Sl<trkly COIWrasll."d. in
proceeding ~ \\ ilh an \':ICmtolo.>gical staticity thal evenruaIly stilled the
personalism inlrodlll.'Cd into l1mtian thought by r ~
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Chapter 3: The Influence ofOrigen 's Philosophy
afld g Ilro,,,,,hd I" ' M f n,_of"""' iltd.
(Jr"f'>')' or Nyou, ('a.. Ora,;"",I
Origen' s immedialc is !JlO!';t marl<.ed in the TrinitariM debates after his
taler bo:o.xxne the '-'is for the creeds of Nicaca and 0Iaked0n. 'MIlIt eon=ns me in d1;s
chapter is live spirit of Origen, n1 the I'lIIW'D:'f ill wIriclJ it pemded the
lOOught of the !JlO!';t gifted lDl influcnial theologians of the pos-Ncere era. the
Cappadocian Fathers: GregoIy Nazian:zm, of Nyssa. and Basil the Oreal. This
",hidl did not confine itsel f to 00 !lCriptlR, but to fill ill the left
open by the Bible, a book that. as the Capp&<.Ior;ians l\:lIdily admitted, though God-
intdloctual Chri stians at that time. They lII"Id=Iuod .... Bible a. the n>oonl of a gradual
r of Ny.... Oralio __)(I.ll-37. 11". c.e . Richordooo, in E. R. lIardy, ed.,
( 'A'll/ofOK)' of'. lal,. Fa' ."tPIJi1al<Ip/Jia: W......iMlol:r """'" p. 301.
Copynghled matenal
and C(lnlinuing of God to hl-.nan;ly. based on the CllfIOCity of human t".'1ngs to
uno.l'r1'land and n:sponoJ 10 divinercve!<lIinnl
Gn..'gOI)' NlI7.L:ul7l,.,., lind Basil were fricrds early in life. Slooying at the
philosophy. Like Origen Ihey learred as mud! as they "'l:fI: able Iium their pagall
flll'l.'bears. adapIing Classical Gfl'ek and leaming 10 ;WI of treir
Chri",ian faith Yl.'1 it wes (i1't\,'Ol)' of NyS\il, YOI.II1gCf mllhef of lkr.il. "flo IllOSl
from his inlc......ive Slud)' of on......'I1. While GI't\, 'Ill)' of Nys.<;;a did 1'l'Cei-e a
IOOnaI milUSil)' eo.locat iol\. in the man...... of his broth::r and Gregory Na>iawJ:n. his
n.1ln scholarly a/lilit ies led him to sorpess bolh in the dt.l'Ih and profundily of his
of l'IoIillUS and POfJ'hyry. and in this sense can be said to have carried OIl the ",ork
principles infonning his Ouistian philosophy, adapling. "",ising. and III times n;jeding
legacy of Origen as it eppeers in the wort. of the Cappadocians, I would like to klOk
brietly at the imn1t:diate in the Calcchclical School of AJexalldria.
, S,- IlMil i. p<rlI>l'" on ' '''''r<;oo in , hi. for he ..... . ..her .........: <:on"",,,,""" in mal lcn of
"I'<""lalion ,""" .hI; "". ( i",gor i... 11< n<>n<thdcu <1Kk:., on:<Ilo "1'0101< , long the
li n .d"pled by . hrol",ian, in hi. , ime. fll< .1>< 1"' <pt>O< of an 0<11'0<10, ...., .""in.. .he
" . ,,""""""', ,h",.. or 1><""', . II , " '" C....pcnh.....n. l ite f 'RlItt... <>f IItt a d Cb"",b (1." ,,,10.0,,
Adonl ..Jl 'hri:o II....... 1%.l Lp. \1.1 ,
, " . lI _k .,,11 )' """.rkd.( ; rq>><)' of N),... (""'....Itt,;'"" , Oral ;"" i. "II>< ". lIp .ribn, oft"'"
f,,,,nh "",'ul)' whi<h un "" ......."""'d lr> l 0ri,<n.) & (A. 1I_ k. lIi.t<>ry <>f .-.1. I .
or. Willi...... ", JJ4.
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Origen' s immediate successor as headmaster of the Calechelical SdIooI was
1'heogno.f'.... . who held !hal position from 250-280 A.D. He taught lhat the Sm is created
and derives His substance iJusia) from the Father, describing the substance of the Son as
811 (apon-oia) of the Father. This is, of course, an elaboralioo on Origen' s
lMT1 SlilOIdinalonisl ChrisIoIogy, as sci forth in his De P,incipiu (discussed above.
Chapter 2). Pierius (fl. 280- 300 A.D.) described the Father and the Son as two separnte
Iphu.eis) or (_fim), again in an elabo!atioJll 011 Origen' s use of
the tam hypmlasis (huposlm i.J) to describe the tIwe distinct persons of the Trinity.
Gregory Thaumalurgu.. (d. ca. 270), whose Creed sounds quue an orthodox llr1e for its
time, IIC\tido.:1es/; affirmed, on occesoo, the Origenisl formula regarding the Son as "a
creature U" a thing "'li5ma, poiema). FInally. there is Dionys;'/S ofAlexandria (D.
ca. A.D.) who spoke of the Trinity as comprised of three hypostates
(huprulaseisJ, and alfmned tie etemaI subsislence of ee Son. Vel he did 1101 employ the
tam hvmoousiatl in reference to the Trinity, arguing thal the tenn appuus IIO'o'tom: in
scripture . In tIlese rOll" thinkers we see Origen' s inll uence at wOO< in the =hn of
Trinitaria'l speculation, which was. III the lime, a common pn:oocupalioo for Olristian
theoIogilm. Cllfl)'ing with it the po5Sibilily of nmerous pilfalls irto Ileotsy. It is
precisely debates about the Trinity thai the concept of the peNon ;nd the I1WTIf'I'
of the per<tlI'I' s suh<;istence and e<lChatolngical nelD1inn 10 God 10 he 1'he
Cappador: ian FarheTs - 10 whom we IlQW tum - made greal conllibutions to this
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GR'J:Ol'l Nazianun.
godhead. Yel Wllike his pa:garl prececessoe, Gn1. 'Ol)' is ll\\'are of Ihe rimillllions of lhe
his J'k,,"1K: vision of It.: 4.1:1 . ].1 .7), Grq, 'OI)' moch 'n:."", guank,d and
3.3- I0). Moti"", descrimt his grand visim as (oIkMs;
Oil." I have ..ok...... upout "r the bod)' 10 my self.-.l have ""M'w illlo going
from all 011... ,. thing'S; I have Sl1 a t>cau", w-onderfulty gJTal and fel l a'l.<Uranct' lhallht<l
mo<l of all I to the beucr part; I have actually the best lire ...,.j ,,>
identity with Ihc divine: and ...1 ('nn in il I have coee 10 lhal supreme actuali!)'. s<'Uing
myself above a ll elsc in 1M realm of fmellcd.'
Gregory atlerTJ pled k, achieve a ' m)"'licar visil., like that described by l'\uti"... . but
ended up with a quite dilf.'fCllI resulL as he descri bes in his Ck ('"SeronoJ
TheoIogicaJ Oraicri):
I ... eIllered ."'3) from maller "nd materia' things. and ". rar as I could I withdrew ",ithin
mpd f. And 1",," " h.," t klOled up. J scarce"w ll>e bao;k pam of God; although I was
$hcllcn:>d by d", rock. the Word dial ,..'" made ne.h for us . And when 1 looked a linle
f ""n.t<J _7. Ir. A.l 1. " "",,....,ll!- 11'. ;" I,,",,, n...kol U""""
ll.....anl t Jn" .... ........ p. 397.
Copynghled ma"lrIal
closcr. I saw. not fll'Sl and unmingled nature lou Ii" Au!aUraton plrusinl.
known to itself _ to the Trinity, I mean; not thai which the first and is
hidden by the chcmbim; but only that nature, which at last even to us.'
What Gregory saw _ "!hal nalJ.n which al last even """",he:s 10 lI'lK - is noching Ies5
tben the of tunan.divine ro-operative union, Ihe63is. realized alrmdy in the
God-man Jesuo; 01rist, wrose nalure dcscendcd 10 humanity, taking on f\esh and
becoming man. lk.( for Gregory. is a future stale, to be aI/ained by
lutvniry llfId rot. like 1'\OOru<' vision of the One, In etemaIly existi'\J hyper-realily to
.. "".' through grand In:I privileged nights of though!. Ralher. this fuluislic vision
is l.nIer5ood by Gregory in a manneI" in acrordaoce with Origen' s es<;halological
te, of a future stlIe of irllellectual becoming in which all the present
questions of I1tJnwl existence will be lIffiWm.'d, llfId the infinite mysteries of God
revealed, in proportion to theabilities oha:h soul to receve suchmtclations.
'Nhile Gregory Narimlzm ClIf1 certainly be considerM an apop/IaJic tIlcoIogm,
his caution in describing the Godhead is due more to his disapproval of the overly
speculanve doctrines of the Arian for example, which he wz M pains to
refute, than 10 a real conviction that lheoreIicaI knowledge of God is off-limits 10 the
Iunan ;nlellecl (pUjely purified and Ulflditioned).' Like Origen. Gn:gooy spo;ulated
011 the nallft of the Trinity and the sOOsistcnce and relation of the three Persons
, Gr'eBorY N"';..= . ''The Se<:ood lbcolotk al Ono'ioo - On C>O<! W, ... 1.... ... e.G-
IIruwn<. J.E. S....lkrw. in E.1l [ lonly, ed. 01'10< La," Fallo<..., PI' 131_1311.
Grer:orl' N...iOlllefl. n.- ,M<JI<>g!tt (. 12-'.10
' See. I'or e....,ple Advff, w, h"".. ialt<>' 3. 1 If, ond n.- Ih.moRia 1.1 If. 1_, in the caoe of
the lloly Spirit. Gn!1<"Y is willin,co odmi' thlIIl no kno>o. ledge i . anainabl< by prnml """,..ity.
This will be ili""""...d in ok\ai\ bel"",.
Copynghled ma"lrIal
comprlS'ng it. aold in this he alk"'ed himself k, draw on phik"""f'hy, panicul'lf!y
l'loti..... and Porphyry. In lhe f" lk,wing Gn."glll)' a bold c"l'lanmion
[MJonarchy i. Ih.l .. hi<;h wc lold in honor, II is, ho..", er. a nlOfWCh)' lhal i. noI limited
10 one per;on. for it i. """,il>le for ...ity if III "arianc<: with it"e1f 10 come inlo a ",nJili<.,
of pluralic)': but one IMI .. made of an equality of nature. and a UIlion of minJ. and an
identity of """ion, and COO\offg<:nce of its c"'""-'Ilt, lO unily _ a thing .. hictt is
iml"""ihk- In 'hi' c"",lC<! nalurc _ "" thal Ihough n........ically dislincl lhere is no
is most in this pa>.-.;age is the NcopIalonic language of e............ioni... n
empk')'oo in the servICe of describing the tdat ion of the PeN"olS of the Trinity. As J.
fII'OCCSS of mone, /V'JoJ" .. and "I>i.lml'll" (widely adop:ed by an the Cappadocian
fathcr.;). appl ied to the relation<J>ip k 1Voeel\ the three momc:nls ", iilt the noetic triad -
The cam "',,"", lhi<J .... u-ro l>y corh<r 10 """"'e che Ihrory or .I"'p'i"oi"n.. i.e_,h..
{ 'hri . , " ",.n- t>/til'" .....1"'" "h<>m God' , >riril hoo:I <kso<odod"'" 1" I
Thi. d )' 1"" cork<! "d' o""' ic ..."'.....'hi.. ;s ..id 10 h ""Jinol.d " ;'h "". 7hroJ", . (<I. tlln
0 ( 'h";" i ... ,,"'.... ,,,nolo ",' h,d.. I>oli",c tn h c t>e Jed ,,, the ",,,,,,,I nf I"" phj '';''i"" n. ..... (d
20) ....U. .. 110 oc<:m' , ,, ho,. hoo:I ao inl",.." in I>olpio, Ch,.; iom ..,.;,... . m i<>nol. lICirntifl< ...
of Ih.,,, r.i, h. i.c,. ,HI<;n .. hich the i ,..-am.. ... of the held IH, 1'10<0_ See R. ....-. " ..... (Ullcn OIl .h..
"oJ ("h, i" ,ion, (th f<>rd: ..... Kell y, p. I I' If. l -'tIer, d)OIImk: nlUf\lO'dl;...;.m ",""c .... ) ... ,..
...HIaI;"" o f Sahdl n.. l cf. 1':<1 1)', p, 11q In
,)" jil." lOtol , 29. 2,1>- 13, If. c o. 11R....... H . ..al'-. - rbe Ihinl' ........'Ilkal Or"' . ... _ On
,t>c in L R. 1' <0"<1) . cd.. ( 'h"" " ,J,W ' ,if,he r"'e' f "./wr,. . p. 161.
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The Son, as n....... the indermite. ' dyadic' , procession of Poon:y 10 a hah by
We mllSl keep in mind, ......"""". as Dillon himself realires. !hal Gregory elsewhere
clc:al:ly (following Origen) !hal th= ..".,.,..". was a ti me when Ithe Father) Was
without the word"" I So we must no! inler'Jlrel lhis f"'S'"lgl' as implying a tallporal
' corning-inlo- fatherllood' of the Fathel". through an inlJa-Trinilarian for the
Father was a1wlI)'S Father, just as the Son WlIS always the Son. as Gregoxy insi51s. Yet
even in Porphyry I do not sense any notion of a lemporal acquisition of ' fatherlJood' by
the Fil'!t Principle.
Porphyry. in hisepitome of the EmwatkJ, \\oTites the
or the universal and perfect hyposlalic subslans [hoi';" Aui Ielt i"" IIII/'OJI,,,,, ';II). nooe
turns toward ilS product. All perfect hyposlali<: subslances rttum k> the principle< thai
gmcrnlcd them. The very body of the world, by the mere fact of its perfcdion, i.
C(IOwertOO 10 the inklligent Soul . .. t he Soul of the world is converted to Intelligence
1""usJ. and this to the f irst. All being!, !hem0ft'. aspire. to the each in the measure
orit! ability. fi'om the vay in the ranks of the universe up."
Porphyry is indeed here describing the process of mone, prorxMn. <'pistrophi, yet
nowhere does he mentioo any change in the rntological SIlIIUi of the Firs! Prh:iple, Le,
' 0 J. Dillon, .... <IOd Trinity: htlem. of Pl.t""i.. Influma: OIl "-Iy {1Iri..i.. in G.
Vney. cd, 1M I'/r lhnoplly it, Chrl" ia,,;ry (The: R<' ollml itul. of Phi looophy led..., Series 1$; N....
v ......: C-..bridp \lni......iIy "",", 1m}. p. 11.
II Oofilio (Onil. 29} 11.1J. 19, lr. C.G.1lrowno, J.E. S.....Iow.
" I'phyry . s."" ",j", "d J(I.I_7, lr. K. GuItwie, P"'pll}'r]! "
Pm. .. I<> , lor R...I", oj MiIodlOrand R.,,;.Js: Phones """" 19U), p. 46.
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t s
' I>:coming Fetter,' nor ooes he a coming to rest in Trinity; r-dlher, ... hal \\l'
htlw h.. is a gm.k-d hierarchy, ",jlh the fil'5l I'rillCipk eternally subsiSi ing as soerce of
all. \Vh .'ft' N,v i,uVl. 'I1 difft. TS 1TIIl'l fInn 1\"1'h)'1)' is not. as 1>;1100 in
his r'l"je<.1iun of lIl inl<'fl1 ionality on tile porl of the First Priociple or Fmho.or.
i.e., his
n. j edi"n of the PliIOlli\: noli\lI) of an bowl.... bul mlh..,. in his insistence
tIl3l "h ther is nlll a flame eill-o::r of l\Il eseece or of action . Ike it is the nalne of the
relation in \\hk:h the Fathl.'f to the Son. and the Son 10 !he i.e. an ctcmal
n.....ion. n AlXOflling 10 POlph)l)'. the First Principle is So<n'e bcc<lU'e of the moliun it
irnJWlS kl all hyl"'l'<t.1sl,'S l'lrulllaling from it; according 10 the Pri r-.:ipk is
Father MaU'iC of the d emal relation abiding between /l im and the Son. The dilfereoce
resides., in \he distinction 1...1ween m,Hi"n and ,...luli"... hip. So how, then. are
mote ck>:sely Gregory' s idea of the l1"WlIU in which both the Son and the Holy Spirit
relate to tile FaTtler and to each ocher.
Alt.1<:king an ide." prescnk.-d in the CI",!J",:un (Jmd es, and """"","Ily adopled by
his presenI opponenl" GI'l:b'Ol)' oc'l1io:s lhat tho: Son is a producl of tho: Father's ",ill
" [)ilion. in Ii, V""-, , <d., r. I l-
" S<c PI... li", ,,,, '" fllio ( )qj. 2.11_19, II ;" .............
is here Kfcni n. '0 ". ... iodf. ,... 10 , be _ of ... ..... ou, h<.... GKp ..,- !Of'e"ifocal1,
.. ,.'i.., FiN ."" 'i.<a>nd prr;,,,. 0; 1i<>. l o; ok.,..",.]. 1"-"""'1"" k>ol ...i' or
" .",.s d......., VOl il ;" """" tikely ' '"'' O...'><}'. "IIa .... ,liod .. A'be.... is referrin. ,,, the 0<, 1
n.",... ",. ils <k=ripli,. 'i,I., .. hi<h is ,i><n hy I) i"l'<neo Lac:rliu ,J,u."-'" "0 " N.......
6). 'The: .... . i. Cfl h, G,,' p "}' is. in an, ca..... Je,<. "OIl....."" he"., Kf1eco "'" con'",," of ,he
ri. ",....
" /" fillO il lrol- 2'1) ' b.Il....2. If, e n II.......... He S..........
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lIIgUing lIa the act of willing scparnles the pcr.lOIl ...00 wills lium the pmWct of his
.,," " 1&
"'1 ,.. lll:lMty.
I think !hal the penon ...no wills isdistinct 1Tom the.ct of .... il1ing .. . On the one.ide ....e
have the fTIOVer, and on the other tt.aI which is, "" ttl >peak, the motion. Thus the thing
willed is no( the child of fur it doc:s no! a1w"Y'l ,-,It memrom. But the things of
God bcy<lnd for with him perhaps the will 10 bcgd is gcnmtion. and there is
no intermediate aclion. (Ir. Browne, Swallow)
In the Cha/daetm Oracle., the will of the FllIh:r is tnJerstood as the feminine principle,
hypostati1led as Md:hef. who along with the Father l.'OI"OCeives the Ideas comprising all
mlIily. 1A)nd they lhll5 writes Gregof)', -a new SlXt of mother for him ]the
Soo), the in place of the FaIher....' The IOllowing passag!.' fium the Oroc/es comes
very close to the ootion thai is opposing. 11 is likely that his opponents
influenced b)' Ihis or a similar OO5lT'Klg(Il)'.
lIis Will the mukHOI1I'ICId Ideas. the single scorce from which all is dcri\<N; for both
Will and Perfection ' tel.,..] _ of the Father."
In other words. it is ttrougJ1 the lWIion of the Falher an:I His Wil11hl1 all
are coocelved and broug/ll to &\lition. Indeed. ebe.. I... , in the Oracles the: ti:minn:
,. iNfil'" ( 0rtIL 29) 6.21If.
" fili<> (0niL 29) 6.6.7, It. Bro.mo, Swallow.
" 0.""",,, c:ltdl ddkd. f nop>onl 17.1-1 IoSn my u.....' iun.
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principle is described lIS lho: mOlhcrly .-nb 1M: is the SlUl:C anJ IltJItlft of all exisling
{hings (Frngmerw 30. dt,.."
Such ideas were wta :ceplal>le 10 G"l:O')' Nll7jarl1l:f\ f,.. whom the Son, Chri s!. is
......JeNood as the an:he1} pe of all deifll.'d hlmani ly. eschlllolot;)' is <Jrienlcd
Iowan! 111<'0.';3, Lc., \he faith in the un1<1l1 (1' ;11101. dissolUlion) of God and Iunarity. As
he explaiJlS:
Goo will h: all in all in Ill<: time <>r l'I._ io" [up..,4rla,U<Jsi.<] ; Ikl! in tho: S(' nse thaI Ihe
Fal hn alone ",ill h:. and Ihe Soo "" .. holly n o him. li k a lOn.il inlo 8......1
J'>, re. rrom ..-" ich it "'as . ell . way for a lillie -race. and Ihe" put back . . .: " ut i li.. ent;'"
Godhead ... ",hen we shall l>e 00 longer divided (ll'I we "'" oow by "K....el1lents and
p""' , iomj. and cootain;"ll nothing al all of God. <T very lill ie. l>ut shall be .... i"'ly like
GoJ [/wi... /11<-....,<1'<'1. ]. ready 10 (into oor heao1., .... ,,"',Ie God ,..,.j bin, 31,_."
111 Ihe o;osm<lb'On)' of the ( JrlJl..'II!." Rea<;()ll. or Log"", c<WTle" afu..T Mind and Will, and is
lhcrefore IlOl C<>-C<.J""I with the liN and hiJl.hc';t principle. described lIS the prodUC1 ion {If
Ihe FiN l'rinciple and ils ....dl"" COIl.'\Ul't. In Gregory ' s O1riSlian oosrnoIogy. Ihe
Father' s Ro:ffi<Jfl (lq;oo;l is ", ilh lIim fium the very ' hegim ing' understood in
an atCfll r-lfiIl and is 1I1l:1"efote equal in divine The Son, lht.'n, be
"n."SOl voo" lnlO the F:nhcr, for lheir mlJw l oo-eqwlity makes sucl1 a mJuclion of the olle
10 lhe OIht.,- This r-JinlS 1m'an1 Gregofy' S idea of lhe salvinc stale of
ht.""..1ily in l/>;: ed /M Oil - lhe c{>- ;nherence of two distinct nalle!i, milOO in substanc.:e
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but Il(l( act. \he one infinite, the other {mite (yet subsisting eIemaIly with God). AbsolUie
Being, es Grego!)' mairuim, is the pos:sessioo of God only; yet ee Iunan being, tI'mugh
The AIIwmian formula which stKes !hal God became man in order thai man
in which the higher, divine nlItI.n holds ascmdancy 0'\ICl' the lower. while
maintailling the mtln in il
(Thto Son' s nallR]. the hurnanilJl, beI:arrM: God. because it was ...ited 10 God. and
became one (penon) because the higher naIUre fJm'B.iled in order that I too might be
made God 110 far .. he is made man. Ill' was born - but he had bc<en begonen: he .....
born of. woman - bul """ w.. ' virgin. The lirK is human; the second, divine. In his
hurmn ""'ure he had 00 bill. bulako in his divirlc natu.... 00 mather."
That Christ' s divine naIUre has no moIhcr is an important point for Gregory, noI only r..
the sake of a col1nmt Trinitarian doctrine bul also for supporting his of Oil"
eschalological stale. If \here is an of nall-.:5 with a being woo is IbiYed liurn
a source. Le., MoIher, \hen we only in the natlft of the conceived being. not
lIS lherefon: Ihe6sl 1 is only pwtiaI. llIId we become demi-gods irNead of sharing
ful ly in Godhl:OO, which is precisely ""hal. faith demrnded he maintain in his
.. n. jilio (Ora 30) IUl-15, 19.1..15, Mol E.R. Il..t" ed. Chris' <>!"KY 0/,1.< Lm., Fad",,,,, p.
1'10, 5'1.
" Alhano.iu., ..., hi
" D</ilia \ 0.... 29) 19.1>-10. .... nm...ne. Swolk>w.
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What. \hen. of l loly Spirit, in which. as Grego!)' states, tl1il}' fi nds a'Sl? or
those who speak of thi ng'! Gn."gOI)' l:Oll<;KlI:r.i the carli<.T Grec\.: "",h
I' lalo .nl Aristotle. to have arri,", ncaresl 10 the ooncepl ;on of the Spirit held by
merIlKlfling the I'l;Monic WOOd-Soul and the AriSiolcliM mind"
(1l mrUlhetl no un ) speciflCal ly.: J Yet Gn:gcry himself admits to his inability 10 say
III1) lhing definitive abolc the si' k;e tll.:re is nulhing 00 ca1h with \\-hich 10
the triune CoOdh.. 'ad,14 GI'Cb"ll)' is. howe'\'Cl'. ahle 10 make some rebultals ag.ainsl cerlain
doctri nes the Spirit that are clearly wrong. For t!"""' pIe. the
probk:m of ",I1<:th.". the Spirit is hI. 'gOlIC'tl or Gn.'l:U'Y makes the follcw. ing
must make a fUMher ...t>-divisioo. lie .. so either by the Father or by the 500. And i f
by ."" Fat her. the: are two Son\. and they a", hrolh<n. And you Ihi. opponents] may
mal..e them twins if ) ou like. or the OIIC older and tM od..". young<'!' , since you are .., V<'l}'
fooo of ,he bodi!)' C<.lIlCtf'Iiom. But jf by the Son. lhen _ 'II a OIIC will sa)'. Iltl a
glim...... of a gr..oo",... God. than which rook! be mort' aMurd."
His mentim Io;:re of a (Jo:f' is not pok,mical ",ockery. it is a::t....lly a
....ed carl ;',r by lhe philosopher NlIITll:rlius. as attest ed in Prudus. ...ho
claims (and _ hilvc 110 reason 10 doubt hi m) that Ntm<.'llius referred 10 llle eanes
" I), 'Pi'i'M "'...w 5.5-3; "'" . 1", Plalo. T"'''HM' If. (.", Ill< -.l i\ri.. I),
..,,Ii.... 7361>,21 281'''' I"" mind rh.. ent..,. the f..", from"itho" II,
" I" ' pln,. "'''''M .11.1-1 IT.
" Ik . pi'/' "",.." 7.2-&. lr. ,1", ,",, S".lk....
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of his primordial triad as "C'Jf3l'dfalher, Son. (Frngment 21.5-7, des Places).
Tk Cha/daeon ()rod..... contain doctrines derived from NtmenilB, 50 il is
likely tmt these two very similar soun;e; being U'led in some fushion by
Arian (or Eunomian) 0\1l01lClItS. This is evidence of Origen' s influence at work lItlOIlg
Gregory'sopponerts, for we know that OrigcnSlUdiod Numcni lB, if not theOrad eJ.
Gregory' s opJnlition to the lll1ion of bioIogkaI relatior<lhip of the Son and Spirit
stems, obviously. from the same concerns that led him 10 oppose the idea of a MOlher of
the Son, te, the theological of maintaining the ah;olutc equality of the tITee
of the Trinity. Unforturnlely, the De , piriju .anel a does not CQnlain the
philosophical elabomtion on the mrure and subsistence of the Spirit thai ooe is \cd 10
expect from Gregory' s comment in De fl/io (Oral. 29) 2.6-13. he m<:otions the
divine mity that firds in trinity. GI3IIled, Gregory doi.:s affinn thai "eadl of these
Person5 possesses unity, not jess with thai which is lI1iled to it 1han with itself, by reason
of the identity of essence and JlO""I",.;I 7 bul this in 00 way help!; 10 explain the
Neoplatonic ramifJC3lions of his earlier formulation. The only small clue we have as to
his rnc:lring is his of an anaklg to aid in IIwsaanding the
Trinity, which <m:gory immedialely rejects as inaXquale.
I picture 10 my""lf a lIOlJ",e [aph/halmon] IP<'RJ" I river [polo",,,,,] ... od",...
done ""fore. to 0 i f the fi rst might be ana\ogous to lhe fal1>er. the se<:oOO 10the
'" o r oounc, .. the _ baie x .d Orig""' , in"......,. "" A,;..KIn is ob>ious, for 0riFf' posited
, ubordin.. i""iOl "r lbe Trinity in hi. lJ< P,iM:Xu, as ... h..e " COl , ",hich ",as oo!oI>l<d by the:
A...... (Ol leat, in "'" cue " r tbe Son), I think il nnl unlikel) th.. Ori"",. Ari... ft,1kMu1
,,,,,,,,,, i.lI) the: intdlecll"'lly """"islicoll E"""",hos, ,0,,,.lId 11..< drawn up"" the ...... tests .. lbei.
m_. in Numeni.... and quit. pos.ibly. lbe r.Jrarit.
" lJ< . pin,..""w.-'" 16.14-1 &,It, I'\nnme, S.............
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Son. and tIJ<, third to tIJ<, Holy Ghost. f or in tMsc is no distinction in time. nor are
t"'--r l<>m f">m thei, ronncdion wnh each other. though they senn 10 be paned by
th"", penonali, ies [tri"in idi,,,e.'I]. n ut I was afnid in tile tiN that I should present
a flow in lhe Godhead, incapable of <tanding still; and se<;ondly thai by this a
numerical unity "ookl he introduced. For the 1OIM'Ce and the 'Pring and lhc river are
IIlJlTIerically ,....,. lhough in dilr....,.,. f,,""s."
" e h1M: a iIlUWali"" of ...ity (the single of the ri"",,"), eXleooing into
duality (the to fi oo rest in trinity (the ri ver, which roth depends on the 5OIJl"Ce and
the spring. and is the lim! result of the f<-.rmers activity). sp:aking. "'e
can scy that the soece is only weh alkol" it has producc:d a spring. r,.. if it had "ut
produced a spring uen of ... is it a s("OJI"CC? f:quaJ ly of the - in the ebserce of a
ri, .".. the is "" "''''rg. In ti,.. "e"",. [>i llun' s s!at<:n'l<'n! is ""m.""" It> the e ..cen!
the Fmher thi.: source of a spring) only fully becores a hthcr (ll"I{:e
l lis act is compklc and the Spirit (ti l(' ri"",,") has i..wed f\lrt h from the Soo (the spring).
Hrw.ev. til(' anal ogy. "' '''-'f1 taken Ihis far, fails to ilCCuralc1y n'J'fL'S<.'fI1
thought on ee manor, which iswhy he ullimatdy n;'JI.:ts it.
The mO'l that be \did. lhen. is that NazianJrn MIS struggling 10
f,,""ula1e a COl'o:t.'JlIion of tile Trinity along NoopL'UOnic lines.. and IOund himself (XlIJling
lip ,lion; fo, NI,'(lfllah1nic m,:tal'hysics al...ays p lSilcd the higbesl pirociple as imp<r;sive,
at rest, aloof from its produr.,ion. Gn1\O!)' needed a roncq>l ion of God that ...as equall y
lofty. ... hich admil1cd of mOl ion, of becoming. and. indet:d, of an .... ' ive COfICmI for
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dynamic. filled with the ever-moving pre;enoc of God. gJe3Ier destiny." writes
Gregory, "t:ao1 hefull 1TI<fl" lunility than thai: he sOOuId he n.:.mingled with God. lWld
' dayspring from <Xl higll' thai: even 1M 00Iy thing thai: shouJd be Inn be shoukI be called
the Son of the Higtiesl . ..r" It was Grtg<wy' s COllect" thai the Trinity noC tl\(1udc: the
pefection of creeed, historical. and esclwoIogicaI hlmllllily.
of Nysu.
As we have seen, Gregory Nazian>'O:ll, in his reliance UJIOfI Nroplalooic triadic
formulations, w"" unable to give an aoo:plable acooml of the Uoly Spirit and its rdalion
to the oeer two Persons of the Godhead, and 10 crealion. Gregory of Nyssa \'1M dealing
with the same problem ll Nazi3\1l'O\, i.e., the exrrere Arianism of Emomilll. who "' lIS
In fact, 50
sophisticated was the logical rigor of EunomiU$ thai of Nyssa was forced to
viltllally irrvert a new logic I-..::d 00 a strictly Uri:stian ..rod-view in order 10 refute
him. This new logic _ based 00 the pranisc: thai God' s I1lItIn is alempo.:-.al and
scparaled fi'om Inmanit)' by a 'spacing' or ' disctrtinuity' (diculbflu ). md thai God is
,. 1r.1\n:noo..... s .
.. So mud! Of> th. Tl>eool<>m """,plaj desf'oiri",ly of E""""'i... 'tlIlM>Iogkal tMoIo.'flf
(1ItNn" ica"''' fi>b. """.. ... &3.-'lO.l4-20); cf. ..Kolb'. fArly p. 249,
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onl)' knowable empirlcal ly tlToug.h lhe evidl:ru of his energies or llctivilics (e' '''1),''';<1I)
l he of EulOlllius "as quhe solid. al lcasl according 10 the standards of
argllm,ll of the Secood Sophistic. l ie argued tll3l siro::e there can only be II si ngle fi l';(
prin.;ipk: called C><>J, then The Son of God is not property uodcr.<tood as II productive
pri nciple but ralht.T a alld lho:n:l, l!'C must be said to possess a
MIll'" than the Falhi..T.
This idea of Eunnmills b'OCS hack. of cocrse. 10 Origcn and
a primordial JDi. of fi rst pr1ro::iple.., a and 11 D)ad, of opposi ng m1tn'l, one limiled
and the odlef indefi nite. In Middle P1alOOisrn the idea prevailed thai: the D..milJll;e
ronlemplalcd the Mind of God. uoo..-r.;tood as the unity of Ideal Numbrn or
-mmh.:malicals. and translated These Ideal Numbers imo the gcomc1riclIl exlellSion by
" hio;h malll.T was given foon." In this the is of II kM-I:T on.ie'r !han the
highe5t God. the One or the Good. ilIld is separmed from Him omologically. Following
Origcn, Eunomius oonsido."I1I til: Son as The OcmilJl'gC. or the helper of the Fad,,-... in
cl\.minn, ) 1:1 not ""'lual to As ("0" the lIoly Spirit. it is simply
CtlllSioc'fl'" as the fi N alld most glorious of the Falhcr' s crealiOlli. worthy of bei ng
inchd:d in Ihe fixlhcoo.J4
G"'-lI)' NazianJl:r\ l"i we h,we seen, wanlc:d I.., !he Trini !)' as a sort of
COOIpk.1ioo Of realir.llio.\ll of lI1c ....l'll1al prOOuctive moI:ioo of lhe Godhead. in the I1llDler
" So; J. <lmJ ..k<l l C. I,. ,.." J'I'. 40-73; .1>0 11. l in ' 0" ......
r"'"... ",rJ rIoo"llh'. 1'1'. 27.U 11
" So; ""'I). .1.-"'/,' ('Jr."" "", IJoe" ',, 1', H'J.
" So; Di lh", . ' '''' Mi M I. rI""",i Pl'. 1. 17. l'J. Ole.; oko 1::. (2UO' h MMidl l<
1'1.1<"'''''" j' d . f"""". II, , ,, .......... .. /"" '" F",)<:I<" ,",I" oj l'hil_'1>h)'.
.. "clll .I:",!..Cltri>li on fJ.":" in p.
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or Porphyry. Problems an;lSC. however, when his altempled explanations couJd nol be
IkveIopnerA of Iunan inlelled. The ..,iq...., o;:untributioo or Grego!)' of Nywo resides in
his postulate that "the word 'Godhead' signifies an operarioo t....w ia] and not a nallR
(phusilj :'" As Gregory explains:
We do nol Ieam lhal lbe Falher does something on his own. in whichIhc Son does not IX>"
operalc. Or agai n, lhallbe Son acts on his own withoullbe Spirit. Rather don
differing conoepIions of il have illi origin in Ihc f ather. p<:><:ft'd through the Son. and
"""'" its by the Holy Spirit."
lIere we haw laking the Porphyrian idea of a prot:IS'l involving mane, proodm ,
epistrophe, and awlYing it 10 inlJlt. Trinitariln onI%gy thai: is, by definilim, beyl.Di
the ful l COOlplti ellsioo of human illleliect. Grego!)' has m problem with positing motion
w.hin the GOOhead, so as this motion is nol intcrpo:ted as involving mlbbility in
God' s relation 10 His creatures. Yet he is careful to insist that '1n]o delay exists or is 10
be c:oncci\llld in the movemenl of the divine will from the Falher through the Son and to
the l loly Spirit:
Bolh the ..,ity of IIllIUre and the difTcrenriation of Persons in the
preserved in following lOOnulal:ioo:
.. Ad .. ';M, _.hi J, " 011>.16-17, II. c.c. Rio:hordoon.
.. Ad,l l>JaM... l. 1.(7.21..41.2, II. RkMnbon.
" Ad 3. 1.21,lY-l I, Ir. RicluRk<>n.
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Althoogh "" ...-koo.. ledge ' '''' naru", [of tho Trinity) i. lIIIdiff.......m""nI. we do 001 deny
II dis!inclioo wil li I'eSJ"'CI to ClI"",liIy. That is .he only "3y b)' which"", diSlinguish """
the COO"" . TIocl'\' isthat whictl d<.'J'Cf'ds on lhe firs! cause and that which is defi....cd rnlfll
f,,"ll the falher. IOu.. ,"" l"rI<.'dioti"n or the &11\ while it guards his J"l.'l"OlliIl iv" of l>eilljl.
m1y. begoocn. doe! 001 .he ",Ialion " hieh !he Spi rir "'"' by nature 10 the "", M ."
We halle here II mther s<,phist icated phibophical conceplion. akin 10 the latCf
of I'tod us. i,e. II s..'hom1a involving a triplV1ite co-inherence of nature.
It.: ""ll.-e "r!he Tri" i1y docs not ",.,,11 in ,he production of f"rt""" 1W1r"".... only of
ml.. "''''Irt' - !he cn.'a1 ion. the cosmos, held ... 1her by the t'nery.>ei" " fGod.
' o1iSUJn1inuity' ll..1Wl"Cl1 God and /li. cn:aliln TItis is rKlI a purely r...galiltC coru'f't. in
the _ thal it sqJlII1Jles C,,-.l tium humanity: mlller. it serves II mearrs of prcs<:rving.
lhc<.lI"CIically, !he easceroerce of God "hile l lis a.:tivities ("""'1,,'<'1<1;) in
" .ld J. lr, Rio;/I;It,j",n.
,.. f'r<><h /,/""",;,-,. ) .IU .<J fT.
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From !he side of God, there is no gap (Jim/imal. All crea:ion is immediately to
hi'n - in a ll its n t....ion of 'll8Ol: MId l ime. All l ime and a11 1lplloC<e has come to W .'"
oro:;e' and are IO(I:dl>er in !heir entirety alway, pnenllO God - or ' in God' .""
his work suggests:
It is the mart. of Dei ty ro pervade lI'Verything and ro 10 pw1 of ee nlllure of
exi:5ting things. Nothing. indooed, could wnl;nue- in did if not have itt being in
!he con:inlJllROl' of cxisting things compels US to believe d\aI iI al1 lhat is."
Yet I feel it is to interpfet this passage by to !he Platonic idnt of
panicipation (melll. xil ), rather than to the Stoic: notion of a Iut\an.dMne
(sumpnoia).<l We mIN, h<;>wever. be clear as 10 what the idea of participation means for
souls haw their origin in IXlIl-bcing. having been called i..o eeserce by God. In this he
is follo\.\ing AllulasiU'i.
Our participation in the GOOhead is our yeaning and desire
for proximity to God, and is !lOO1dhing dynami(, based on (U' 6tt:dx1l of
.. P... .. Iol.. C".., k MoM, 1M 1'IwoJotf)' afSi. (1'1... Yon: "-""
' ''''''''" pp. n. '.
" "fNy.... Oro,;" CDIK W,ka _ , _ 12.<4').5(, Ir. Ridlordoon.
, S M.. .., k 7It:
.. F. CopIeslon, A Ili.-, ofPlriltaoplr" vol . 2, MN KMWlI P!ril<noplr,. r-t I (Nmo- Yotk: ' ....
IkW 1%2). p. <llI. lnd<cd. Urqory, in opifl<: /o Jw-;"u (229.20-23 fT.). complains _ .... ....". of
/', i",, ;p#, too el.....ly .0 Il. neni. IIIoupI.
.. O. ;""".....,,_wr/>l 4.1 ((
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"'" 01' an '''''"klgical ,;talUS. in the Godhead is ...,m<:thing. gramcd 10
Em""",m:d by God' , man held. lofty p"'iliofJ. lie wa<; al'P',inlcd tll rule Ovcr
Ihe eart h and . 11 ,he ereatures on it . Hi. form was beautiful, for he Wi>< M lhe
image of thean.:het:) pal heaUiy. By nalurc he"M tree from passion. for he WM a eopy of
IIi", who i. .. itho..., pass;'lII. lie .. ", full of eandt.... rn'Cling in lhe direct of
Reading lhi. passage, it is hard 10 ecccpt Mar Gnogorios' conclusion !hal GfCll: "'Y is 001 a
l'\atonist Ore need . imply nul tt.: "sU1 of Plato' . R,'puNk VI (5Olla IT.).
aed !he f,1f1lOU'\ "aIk.'gO!)' of lhc C3\1:- in R<'I'IINi<: VI I. in order to Tccugnizo: lho: pun:
as of c,oo- means, flO( thal the hUlIlan being pos.o,e;ses God' s nature or but
r:llhcr that the human bd ng retkoclS the glory of the GOOhead in a tcmpmll, tinite
falhion. Yet not (lIlty oocs humanil)' JIlII'licipale in tho: Godhead. but lhe Godhead
" Orolio .104-1 11. II, Ri<llanl-<t""
.. C,".. ic 17-21 IT
" l hi. i, ,10< <li,.. ..f ,he: R, / >tI Mic .. It<rc 1'1.", <Iahnn,<'ll 0" ,he: hf,) , ,,, d .....
, pl.i "" lho ...1 " f ' hal ...... and lho ..01. of tho ...,..1 that ..".."d. to . ""h a ' i. i, .
1hf, r l. '"" i of ( ;r<:'\IO, ,- ",.idn i" hi. ",,,, , ieli,,,, ,h. , ". on: . i,. I.. ,hi. 1......,.""""1
' ''tn ,h,,,,,h do <1<>1 . /".... il> na, ,,,,, ,,' ....11<.-.: (o....iu., Oil' \ in""ip i. I"""i",l,- ",Ir. h" . in or ow
... ;''' 4<
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!lad 10 be mingled with hlanan naItR. In this way its desire Ife.' d i ~ i n e goodness) would
<,:orrnpond to !I<lmeIhing !Wi"" 10 it"
Tle Platonism of this ~ is a11l'lO'<l too clear to ""luire ",nun . but givm the po.itioo
of Mar Gregorios. [ wilt simply poi... my n:ader 10 l'IaIo' s Timut'us (45b-d). where the
"the p<ft fire inside us.... l his CllIICqJlion is, in my view (aid pace Mar Gregorios),
closer 10 Gregol)" s intended meaning than the maleriaIisric JUMptwia of Stoicism; for _
koow tla P\i>jo' s '"plR fire" is simply II poetic plese for the divine illlellect This
terminology was taken up by Origen. who corrsid=d 1he ' fire of hell' to mean,
Participation then, for Gregory, means an existence in accordance with lUI energy
or irw;olination implanted in us by God. ie., 1he inclination lOr perfectim. ~
eternity - fOr deity itsdf.
IWlhalevt'r is derived from the uncreated nature [God) has its ...bsistence out of
If it acts according to its nature. !hi. continual d>ange is for 1he bem:r, BUf if it i.
diYftted from the SIJ'lIighl paIh, there succeeds movement in !he opposite d;m:tion i c ~
back lOWard noo-bcingl.'"
.. ON, ; o CQtM l icd _1/_'.#-4Y. tr. RKt>.doon.
" T" DJ . byt inJ.M.C"""",,, od, p. 124R.
so o.a"o...,,/rf't icd ",OK_ I ,161_1t.a. If. Ridlanloon.
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On t1... grounds. GII:OI)' conceives <If'<,/t;<lIU.<IU,liJ as a of the human. 001 to its
pri mordial bo.J to its informing. animllir"G priociple - God.
When.. 0""'" long p<Tiods of li_. been and those oow tying in sin
ha\'e l>cen r<."Slon:d 10 lheir origi",,] $Illt" [u,ihuloll uf'<'ju/u"....isl. all <TI9ion will join in
un;too thanksgiving. b<.J!h lh<.-..c .. h,,'e puri flQllion has inwlved punishment lIIId those
Like GIl,.'l:"'Y evro iro:ludcs the devi l among \In;c firol ly albining salvalion.
Yet dues nul oescrite (he salviflc stnte as involving a repose in God. a>
M,,:umlfS will do (in a qUite radical "'''y. as we shall 5Ce ). Rather. for
salvalioo inltOlves a COlllirM.1OUS "'beooming" or IOOtOO toward God. never rea:hing
fultilh"",.. This c'OOl;nlluus nllJlion is the n:suh of the socrs rettiving the divine.
lran, formative power.
reS! (.,'mi' l. because sudl a one has soared lip inlo the ir><lcterminaleand the infinite
( De
Grego."Y is here oocc 3l!Jlin intluen.:ed by Orib'Cfl, for ",tun the salvif.. state is oee of
conslanl delving inlo the mysk-riei of the GOOhead, as we have Sl.'eIl. Grego ry's
" O",,'io rd'ff""';':" "lal("" 16..7J-77. 1r. Richank<",_
" II. U. "'" </".j """'/lh,.p.
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COIlCeplion is perhap; more !han Origtn' s, for !he greal AIexardrian' s
This is lft'Ci!lely the meaning of t>rulfi.l:03), as inYo/ving a mu. ,irion or ' hidden
discussed leter. For this reason. Gregofy of Nyssa is riglrtly f,;ta....,j lIS a ' mystic,' a lnm
thai: does l10l apply. in its strictest sense,
One final lqlic of importance must be llddn:ssed. in relation 10 Origen and
Gregory (for the Cappadocian was also the one mosI deqlIy infl uerud by tis
Alexandrian prNecessor) - te, the oonc:epI of fR:e win. As dlSCUlMd in the previous
chaptn, Origen wao; a champion of the concept of absolute freedom of will r.'aI in tile
face of the Gregory is an equally fervmt l(lhoIder of this view. eatain
rigon:o..os marner of Origen. lIJ'OO human freedom in rd8lion to God His denial of die
soul' s motion 0lJ. of noo-being into existence. When of an "original
stale" of the soul. be is not. lIS is Origcn. speaking of an llCtUaI proximity of souls 10 the
Godhead. huI IlIIher to II>: -......cc of evil or sin in lhe ......1. "The e\'Cr_ incmo!Jng. !hough
satiated. desire for God is. for l10l the gradual relum 10 a podagogical
relalicmhip with God. bul the ever-ina=ing ' Iheandric' nal\R of the soU flo borrow a
' lhid.p.U
.. This if not <i mply doc .., 111< p<><I....,i<ol ""I'<d o f lbc ..Iville tlol< r... on,..... l>uI . 1.., t>oo..
of hi. (JIl I.." l!Ieo<etin l ) -.:Imi..i"" nr \be or fuN... r.lb of .....1s. .. bid\. 10the pucnc ....i' ..
oj k:.. di"""",,1I ony _ iOll or. ' my..;",,1ferwr' in phi"""....,.
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a system " here the soul is said to been called out of Ix"," being and prevenl<:d.
otoIivion. and Ihcn.'by luldt."nining God' sCfE".I1ive aet.
Origen' s lhooly of pe-ecserce of souls provides a foo..nlatiort for the 11OIion of
"ilh Origen' s imNcro;e 011 humanity' s al>!;olute fn:cdoln of "ill. II is In.lC thai o.'ftain
scholars have crttkized Origcn for falli ng into coouadicfion based on his doctrine of
<1f _,t<lI<l.tla,;.< "hich irnpli.:s.. !O;l ll..l" say. a unailing of humm fn:w..." for the pllIJllJ!;t
of restoral ion of SOIIIs..'" This critcism of \he Ale>:.aoJrim is easily dismi'iWd
"hen '"' not 0111)/ m:al1lrot the soul has d-.e ability 10 .111 ever ag;U1I into sin (a snrt of
stale be taken .1" 3)' liurn il. in Ihe sense Iha1 n is possible - no mailer
how far the soul SlTllys lrom that sl.11e _ to re-altain it. Here, fltell"m lllO'''s no Ixx""ls,
and " hen Orig<:ll 53) 'S that tl-.e end is al" a)'S like \he begilVling. he is 1X1I sp...'1ling of
" ,><- ..,rbiI> If.
,. Sec, ... "' r l". M..,.. : .. SICCOII><fJ. -Uri"", ...J the r; 1 1tC'l'''''''''''' A Quc<lion or
lI"",. y." .lI"",,, ,,, ,, nkon/k ""'-'''''' ri.. i<:<Mri'''''_ ""ml, 1'.... . ",,,,,,,.1 or
"",iIi, _"., Moor.,. of A....odri ...J """"-ala"a,;,, Some fill It...
l).,. 01. No" '" No, io...- in {'-JIi MI: Onlinl' JaM, ,,,,1oIC.,;";"" rMol"KY a,"" f'hilw"IJh.'.
no. I ll",,""'} :Il1.HI' .. " quo...li......n<I!....."....-iI""' ,.lnml,
" \i",,, on, ,,,, "' """ lhe l. nn h f"U' a. ;. rot 1'<"""'. ' hi. ... it _ m. '" ..... uliJ
Copynghled matenal
etemal recwrerce in the SIoic sense, but rather of an ecemal possibility for creative.
hislaical ecseoce, inwhich noage or <NOlI is ever the same as the one before it.
Gregory. on the ocheI" hand. is tmable 10 posit 8 unique, sovereign ousia of the
!lOI.l1, for his PIatook-derived not ion of panicipalion requires him 10 locale the substance
of the soul in ils depo.:ndau on God; when the soul, aa:ording 10 (fol lowing
the persmal activity of the soul in history being responded to by God in a pcdagogicaI
ITIlnla", in Gregory we serse an inuption of the deity into hLmal1 history, for the purpose
denied to the soul. which is forced 10 move eternal ly in the direction of Go:!.
n:gan.lle;s of personal de<:ision. Grqp'y. in his rdi.153I to adopl Origen' , doctrine of pre-
existent souls, failed to provide a philosophical support for his mrncrous of
being as a p:lSSibiity, for as Hdlenistil: lhi'*ers they _ 10 admit the mlli lism
of II soul !hal willingly ctooses oblivion over the of the good Yel Origen is
more consistent than Grqpry, for he docs not describe the soul' s genesis as a calling OUI
trom I1Of'I.being, but rather as llI1 lIlemporal reality belonging 10 the sooI by nalle. its
pee-exserce with God. Gregory, on the 0Iher hand. adopls the Athana..ian t1OIion of
souls being crealed out of non-being. which places a limil on the Ilbilily of Ihe !lOUis to ad
fn::ely and as their own SO'IIneigno; - for all is permtned 10 them. excepe a 10
.. S A,hana. iuo. Dt i ""O"'<llil>M .." hi (If,
.. Sc<, for """,pIe, o,."ti<> c.r ' UMl iat _ lin" 29,
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lheir original SUIte. i.c. noo-h.'.;rtg. Gf'et,'Ol)" s l<lIlowing stak.omerL then, is 1101 SlJpported
OUI of hi, hish rq;ard for IIwt, !he Sovm:ign of !he uniwrsc lell SOInclhing under 001
0"'" OOIltrol and oh ..hich each ofu, i, .1!<: ""Ie masl.,... I """",,!he wilt a facuhy ....hich is
nee fru", hc.lIIdagund arld is grounded in the fm:dom of lhe mind."
The i n...'lklll1 of the minu Ft'ltll",riu Ji"""kD] II1<U speaks of docs IlOI cxtend
10 a voliTion of II sool in opposition 10 God. For GregOf)'. the soollhat opposes God is
t(lI'Xfully cjeensed by ne ' divine tire' (", hich he 0ri","'1\ as ue mcmal
is a 10 freOOoln in GII.'gOl)'s IIJOUghl. for. like Alhanasilt'i. 00 volition at odds ... hh
chaprcr. M... the Confe'<'lOI" develops this ilea 10 the extreme. in his docIrine That the
tncama1.ion would ha....., o,:cum.'l! ", heIhcr or r<JI I..nanily fell a""')' from God. the
uhimale inlOOlicn (Mm ) of the creaticn oc'ing divine incamarion - a r<JIion tll.'II makes
lim"", exisrcncc an:! volilion. ultimately. a tUr.:rioo of the Godllead. "ith Iun:Jn
freedom a bock-scott kl thc divine Will.
I ...ill no'" proceed 10 disc uss our final CappaoJociaJ\ St Basi l the Great. a< well
as l'u1r icto;. "'00 was n'Sf'<lllSibie lOr codifying Origl.,l' s phik'sophy and
.. Om' io ""' Mil", 3O.lJ-J7. tr, Rich.w'<l...n.
, Ik-.cr. unlil.<: Ori.,.... d"n .. . 11"", f, ,, P'......" i (,< n...",m"n. ..". 4.... "'"
roMi""," di, inc in .. the red""ogic. 1",.",.,.rof for ", hom lhe "I'I'l i<o'ion lOr ' di, i""
r.",' mcan. ,he ini.i ori"" pm<..... "r .." = i..,, ,..",ord , ..><I. and no! r...=l ' rccor it" lal ion'
" ,,,,, pJt<rI,,i.l<i.s1 "rthe ....ul u_i " 1"" -<k1<m>incd ..I.
, Or",,,, """'''M';''-'' .. ....
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irtroo:ha:ing il into mma'Slic circles. This latter ftglft will only be IreaIed of triefly. since
!he pepose of this S1Wy is 10 examine the philosophical impIicaions of Origm' s
eschatology. In! not his legacy in the monastic li3dition Iloweva-, Ewgri15 is an
important influence on Maximll!;, aro:l for thai he is worthy of some considcnllion,
allOOu@ll OU" main Wi...,," h= is wilh Maximl,ll;' phiklsophical inflllell<eS, esplCially
Stephanll5 of Alexandria and, of COllISe, P!;eudo. Dialysius.
Basil was \Odl-read in Hellenic liternture, especially Ikmer. Plato, Herodol:us, lllld the
rhetoriciam.. he was convinced !hal pagan liternture is to be valued ooly for the
theology. Basil was more CClIlSeIv.ll.ive !han eilher his brother Gregory of N)'rM a his
friend Grego!)' in ITIO';1 !he faithful heir of ar>d
Basil's devolion 10 Nicenc orthodoxy was un...,...mng. yd he failed 10 attain
NlI2ianzm, who (as we have seen) al least ollempled to fOl111ulare a speculerive,
philosophical lhroIogy. Rather, Basil COlJIlSeIed the inquisitive 50UI 10 remain contenI
with simple obedme 10 God' s commandments, scdUng knowledge: of God "TIlJ( by
carDJt (limn i" Mom. Mart. 4) blt by remaining in silm expcctaIion of ftrther
Set G.L. . ,00 Pd"''';'; (lond>n: s.p.ex ("""1 PI' H2-2M; ond II. VOtl
Compen"""_ . TIo; <>{I /o<: Gr. Ch" .-cIl (I"""""': Adem """ l llorb Il '-:k 19631 1'1'. MolOO,
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re-.'elation from God.... 1111S anilude of Basi l does not IllCl\I1 that he gave up complelL'ly
un Ihcolog:ical bul simply that he "'lIS far more cautious and COI\SCI'YlIlive
than the OIlier two Carpedoctan Fathers. placing his inletlect always in the $l.wice of
eeclesj;t;lical politics. and l1I.'Vef in the sole sevee of IU\' phiboJilic:a1 spt:aJlalion.
This is not, oo...evcr. to dismiss hlm as of roo import;n;:e. Has;r! I1105t importalW
In my Vl\.W. was his argurt1<.'n1S against the doctrines of
A[XJiIiIms. which I shalilricfly Slmmarin:."
At the ",mILT of dol;lrine of the Incarnation is the assertion that
Ilum'1I1 lksh (dle b1xly) blumc I'uJ with the Gulheoo "ln a ]ile and
God and man) in Ouist. a doctrine ",a, to beo;:ome m::h an import. 1f1I if..'1J: f(r
Chakednnian Orthotloxy. Ill' argued lhal .,he divine Word wac< suhstilllled for the
oonl11d hunn1 psych<>Iogy in Orisl....
and thai Ill' pos.o;;esses. HO!J<' nalure
tnia ph""i,.)
as a single person t "." .ip",, )."" Apnl1inaris w;r; roo(;Valed in this IIlt'lJ1)' by his desire to
reliJle any l1Ol ion that Chlbl possessed tml ...ills. ore htrnan and one divine; for
.. ('....plh.""'n. ,",''' (; ",,1. Ch",...It. p. 94.
, h ma)' b< "Mucd th. , fl . ,; I". ",,"sc,, . ,i,-c awro-ch to ' pcal l.,;. " i , d... "'.. hi,
",fe';o.. Bffl'i' Ylh... ,,, hi, <I<, i", lu m.inlain =biO>li".t ,,,..,,,,. ond cnn..,...... d urin8 ' "''Y
l"nsc p<:rioo " f Church hi," ...), .
.. Gn:l""''''' II ",,,'It he: n,oI<:<l, ......." Apol1;" ";. .. '(el " .. tb<ir ,
, lilllhal n"n'n. Uy tod 10 lmpc...... 'lbe<..l<""n" """,..,.,. opinst Ap.,Iti,...;., d<>o. 1Mc. " ell)', ""Iy
0"'>1;"0 j)'x lFi M ' , pp,
. f Timolhy' of llcQ' u>. I.p oJ II"", (lw. Kell, . ,,'/y {'h,;""", 1" ><I'i ...... p. 294, .. ...
".X."'''''her,'' Ifi.",,,,. ThroI''K.f' H'hiloJ<tphi" 'Tho: W"""' i....... Pmo. 1'1'. lI(l.8 L
.. Kelty, l 'urly ( h,i.""'" I"""i...... p. 1'12.
Ip, ud /Jr.", 1. 2 lI ,i<t.r_ 25n K.tt y'. p. 293, Whil< lh<..- ""mo", lam r"" """"..M in
""oni",",, ' " ';l;"l'-' i. he: ,,,,,,,,,ion. tty' n,,:, h"PQ>"" '" lh< l..-m "",ploy<>d by OriS"'" d , IJr
f ,J, ". ;",'urn. 6
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if ttis were the case, then OU" salvation would nol be guaranteed. for Ovisl would he
divided inHis thoughl. and theref(V'C an lIlV'eliabie source of redemprion.70
This doctrine of the "'Wily of (/u>fflid.! phusiti) of the divine Logos and
the fle5h it took 011" implicitly denied, as !he CappaoodWl5 quickly realized. that the
of God'" in which we were created is OIl" ;male l3liooality or iotelled (lagrl.J.
now). Rather, this doctrine S1 'W""'ed !hal OIJ deilicarion (thM i.1) il1YllMs m a
fulfillment of OU" J..nan rlllIltt in its rrialioo to GOO, bla raIher a change of 0lI" 1I31ure,
The Cappadocian 10
Apollinarian doctrine, heralded by Basil, COl"6isted of affirming "the definition of the
i," of God as ratiornlity,Mand ..,._ ing !he Athanasian formula thai Chri5l could
nol heallhilt which l ie did As Gregory Nazianzen writes:
Afl)'Il"le who in him as a mal wit"'-"" human mind .. molly bneft of mind ond
unworthy of salvalion. f or thai which he has 001 lISSUIl'oIed he has not cured. but thal
which is ""ited to his deily is also saved."
As J. Pelikan remarks, OIl this JllISSllge, 'lbIy a coroI laJy. therefore, jUSl. an ' 00 one bereA
of mind' 'WaS capable of gra;ping the faith in the incamale ('Jf"Ie, so the incarnate one could
.. r.....-.. 1 ( Udz., ..... Ck fld- me.u... 9 IUd<. ..d 9: B ; 10 (Lie.,
243 K<: ny, A' 291, :m.
" F........ In; 1<t9 (LioIz., 239; 2-47); Kelly, p. 293.
,., It"r. ";11 be helpful 10 ......lion II>< dm;r>cI;"" bel ... M 1IO,i . In II>< F..tem
it<dcl on_. lnId. ion. Ih< funner temI ....., to I>< urdcntood .. dc:nollnf dt.,;... """'<'Ief or
e etenlll otri';ng for tho< Godhelld ( I<> UOC { gory of Ny_ ' s ... ,.he lall... I<rm.
__I i. P"ll" Noopl.""ion of !he pani<ularly ;p laml>lichllO, it denoood a
voluntai ly of hom.. v"lition and its repIac<rn.aIt by hom.. parlicipolion in divino wo<\o:...
This I. tho """tl1l1 e<>n<:epI informiq lamblichan ...... (,....." . , lI' ;,, ); cl rlmblichuo.. iN"'Y'''''';" IOJ-
6.01... G. Shaw. TM. ,V a"J ,..... & . 1.- TM l>'rop/D_ i... ofI"",Mk h... C1t eop, P. 51.
" lp. 101 CI'G J?= . ""'.."('/Iri..k>ttlty " "J ("hii. k ,,1 (:""*-. 1'1'. l tl-l19.
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r10l 1>0: bereft of mild.... T" mm: ck31y. if the image of God is not itself present
in Ood - i.e. if hu rnVl reason is r10l presenI in the divine ltlgos - tIul hun:rl rea;on ",i ll
r10l he raio;cd up to God in salvation C-OIN.'qllelllially, thaI " hich is most ro.1blc in '" and
' 0 God ( uta' ""'-'OIl) "ill not be dciticd. The Caw ado,;:iam; displayed die
the (oo.ud,tioo ofChalccdou;an .

life. ' lis <NXtici.m b1 him to a mysticism in ....hidJ ...Jd 00l<h no real plao;e. and in
this he nla)' he corNdt.on:d a pn.'I;lfiJl" of Maxim... . Like Ma."i mllS Ill'; we shall see) B&il
believed ecetc discipline capal>k of raising .he soul up to a in " hich. es
Campenhausen d escribes, the "tne .-...:If is lihernted, f....isb:d with and raio;cd
t,,:yond the consl ri<.1ing bwTit.-rs. n may give nsefr wholly 10 God, !OX Ood, and
tecore one ",j' ll God.....
('al11l....nlla,,,,..', rcmarts IU1I...T. ro. ing that 1tl"is OOIICC(1lion
derh'e"; from Net"1Jlalonic m\:1."ph)'sics aro:j lhe ideas of UasWs tekwed master, ...
TIlis sta1<'lTH.'I1t Ie-.aves me miller at a kISS. for nowhere in Origen do we read of the soul
t...' 'COmitl; '"one with Go:"j"' - a distiroion is always mailllained. as Origcn' s doctri'le of
jXlS.";bIe fulure ralls olwiln;ly attcsl\. Also, in NcopIatonism. one is hartl- pressed 10 lind
" Ch, ;.,wn;r,' Cla"kf,1 C"I'..,....p- 278.
" Con"",nh_. 1M (;,..ACh......lt. p . 88
" ' hid.
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limblidu. for eumple. as he eIahoolIes his theurgical doctrine, is capable of speaking
of ht'OOfU, or 'mity' with the divine, yet this unity is JD1er.;lood in terms of aet(ivities),
and IlOl: in tenns of abiding. existence, or being (see above. note 72). It is obvious 10 the
present miler thal Basil wao; II simple lTlOOllSlic mystic, who elevated God's lJ3lscmdenI
TI<Itln' so far aOOve the human intelled thai into deity became, for him, the
only ' logical' <Mwme of a I-on;n.divine relari<n;hip. Such 1TJOmSlie misuse and
of Origm I'USI: 10 a boer pill;h in the II'lJlJghl of PooIic16
who. perhaps ITIOI"e !han llI1)' oCher thinker of the period, contributed 10 Origen' s
posthumous coodemnalion. II is to a discussion of him tIIllIwe now tim.
Origen and Evagrius were joinely condemned al the secoed 0I:cmw:nical Council
(Conslanlinople, 553 A.D.). The writing-; of Origen. specirJCally the EN Principiis, were
seen as the soun:e of Evagrius' departurto from orthodolQ'. As F. X. Murphy observes.
"there can be little doul:( that while Origen' s speculations wen: jilt down as exlnIVaganI
by SlICCC'eding generations, it was the bolder OI.IlJ'ellCh of Evagrios in his attempc co
encornpass the II'hoIe of reality, divine and I'unan. within a vast
thai occeslored their coodarmalion in boIh til: fOll'th and sixth oenIlIics..'11 The quesl
of Evagrius for a complete IICrolD of cn:ation and ho.mm ral,R led him to wlize
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lrnditiUl1 thai p:rvadl.-s Ollistilln 10 this day,"'
Evagrius received his acquaimence with Origen from the Cappadocians. and In
led by one AmmoniU<. a gJd: aJrnirer of Origen. N lX-spi1e the admonirioffl of his
IllOSI adv,:I111rcsoIl1C thcolugical spccuL'lIioll of any Oll'isIiw1 thinkcr: ' u ucec Evllgli us
5<. ' about codil}ing the speculations of Origen (ao; set (or1h in the iJ<o r r;I/d pii.l )
<nl with a t>:.>ld at a fOlYllal so much so Ihal It Uts VOIl
By this Ballha>.ar likdy mcwll thuI. EvagrillS ",ao; more ccoccrred than Origcn ",1111
cia/lnlllling a coh.:rel1l philosophical -.mid-.... iew. lWld desiTOll'l of crafting a logically
servce of tile escencer aro.l rnysti<:al <:11<IcavOl'> " fthe monastic rommt.';'k's oftllal
lhe thougIll of Evagrius s<"efT1S to have inclined quire nall-ally toward Gnosticism
(/,.." " r 11m the inflllCfll'C of the GJ10SIics ,,11'; still alive in his era), specitically in his
"'IIi"" or t"tl anih.nos of Gud ' "...an.! I lis Creallon - one of pun: b'Ol>d1lCSli, the otl..... of
,. II*!.. p. 2n.
,., It. d
'" 11.. G.. il ............. (;"....ti,,, af:... Pn",iq... rAi",>i rr <hl'(N' igjn" .. /'"
c;,..... tI I", .\) m n. (Pori" "'" i" k . So,""-,,,,,,,,,, 1%11, Murphy. p. 254.
" I)uol"" in LX, Murph>', Ponl icu, ..,.j in O"I"n"'"" p. 253.
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strict judgmeot and ordering. ' 2 The fall of souls (a'I described by Origen) is
by EvagritI'i as a movemenl or motioo W..es;.) away from God (I concqJI thm would
Before the ITIOVUf>efII [of sou'" . ....ay from God). God was good. !he creator of the
incorporeal (intelligences) .. . after, he became the crealor of bodies, I judge aod
- "
Origen himself does nol separate or disl:inguistl between God' , activities before and after
the fall; always is God under.;tood by Origen as a pedagogical fon:e - tte only diff-.;e
in JllR contemplation of the Godhead, .-flile in the former (OU" prnenI existence) we are
immersed in paedeutic hislU)', working ever back towards ()IJ primordial state. The
naIVe and simplislic noOOn of Evagril6 - thai God somehow changN His atlilude toward
His crealion aIler the fall of souls - leads 10 a conception of God as our j lldge, IlOl as our
Father, and ends with a view d" OU" relationship 10 Him I'd as one of children 10 parent,
but of citizen to guvmrnent, a submlination of the per.;on 10 a syssem of law, wherein
the penon becomes merely an individU81. N. 8erdylle'V m:ognized this view as
.. Th io _ ms l<> be ""..... subtle .."i, ion ..r tho doctri... of "' .cion.. which t hai there ore
1_ d;'I;.... 1 .1Id ....... . 1 (I"' ... f'H>l God., on< IIIC'I'Cl y j ..... md lhe olho:r pcrf:lly l ood.
h qri ... seems lO havet:<>mhil'led I"" Iwo M."ionite God> by intapreting tho differi tli oft"" on<
n ..d .. 1_ m",,", or iii. ...ip ...; Ill sinful h"",..ity. Allhou@ll Gno.>Ot ici ger I ,ill l
inlelle<wal ..,..,. in hqri... "'"Y ...,.,on, ",IOIi""ly .... lJnn<lio 1,.""1;.... s""h as the Ti'lpwti ,.. r"""",,..
be. morb ol1ho inO_ or Ori_ ond "= per1Iap!I of in_\0 Ori,eni.... Soc J,M
Robinson, 0<1., no. N"1I lIa.,lIhJt1i l. i/orory in l'n/tluA (l ciden: f J_ IInIi 1'1' _ 51-60 If.; ...., L
, IIindloud. E. n.om........ lr.. fA Ti'oit# n-/p<rrr ik (QuttIoo: Us I'rnon"" L' UnivenM laI<oI 1919).
.. ".pIta/ala (in"" k rl 6.20; Murphy. p, 264,
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J'ojji(lOOIlS lO aulll.'l11ic OTisti'Ylity. r leads lliIlurally to a relief in dcI11aI ohnnarion.
in hell. and in GOO as judg.e of actions. nol of per.iOO5 - and 110 person can ever, as
Iknlya<...... coerecrly b.come an incamalion of for the of God ;.; in lI'
all. and "hile it can te <Jbscln'd throogh sin. it can be effaced
Maximus \h", Conr.,,,,..... hdr to Origen and alii himself a monk like
Evagri us. does nol 1:111 inlo this lln"'onhy conccplion of God. but he em; on a diff<.'ll.'!11
point. i.e., he do.'SCIihes ""Ivation as the of ego I>y the dow.:
presence. This is LYllam"\In1 10 a deIl;,,1 of the importance of pc<sOOhood. and the
po.TSi" ...lCc of pl.'l'S<.ndity in exiSl<:nCe. f'U1111l. 'f, Ma"imus' idea thal It.::
Incamal i' lll would have occurred " 'helm or m tun.ril}. fell irto sin - the P"1'JlOSC of
cf'l:<l!H.Il1 b..' ing (i"d' s self-ot;l'ctiviflC3lioll. as Ma."imus - mluces our exislen<:e lO
a lilOClion of the Godh:ad. and rob!; our persoeoood of any meaning. In spite of this
troublesome COIL'qllion of our !klll/irlC stale. Ma"i1111JS holds a very loft)' vio.w of 11IItR,
arguing lhiJI our n>le In cll"alion is k) mise all of ml...: - all <I'limaIs and plants. the
",orId it'iClf - k, deiflC3lion. In <u Jl""'erll gk>hal situalkJl\, il which envif'OlYOC'I1tS are
bc-ing, deshuyoo bt.')<100 n'P"ir OVI.y-pupulalioo ;nl \\31': animals
for the salce of d..'VClopmcm and the ever- illCl\..'"1Sing need for
in UJ: r....1oly.. fanning lo)'SIcm; and human trilgs denied \heir dignity an.! tcsc
righls If; p...rso..... of their or ethnicity - all this makes the tTlt. -s. ... 1gC of
Ma"imll'< the Coofl'SSOl' IIMJI\" timely. than ever hefore. For this n'8SOl1, althoogh
p, SK.
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" 5
I will be quile criticaJ of Maximuo;' eschacoIogicai doctrines. I ..ill be Sln to point out
thevaluable contrillJliom he made to thearticulation of an authmtic Olri!l1ian ethic.
Before ",ith a of Maximus. however, il is necessary 10
elUmine the ronuiluion of Pscudo-Dionysiuo; the Arropag;le who.. even "'Of" !han the
Cappadocians, is for en.<lI"ing the Stn'ival of Plakwli<; within
Chistian lheology. l nfll.lellCed by the pagan philosophers Il'Itlbl ichus and Produs.
elabornted a """"istica!d and mystical theology. the
infl uence on Ialer (ird Ldiog oox own) of ",..hich CiV\f'IJl be over-stated. He came to
have a pmfomd infl uence on MlI.Umll';, so it isto a discussion of tile Areopegite and his
itwelJectual mil ieu thal we now lim
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Chapter 4: The Later Christian Neoplatonists up to SI.
Maximus the Conf essor
P""udo.lJiollp i... I""" / .'
not as Falht..... "," io" of God is quite common in We<ll'nl OIrisl i:wlity.
lho:re is anotho.... problcmatio; alti tude t......ard God that is. pemaps, I"I'lOre
in zeeem i.e., the idea Ihal God. in Il is esscrce, is ab';oIulcly
lhat Ihe CappadocilUlS already engaged in .. ""opll",;c or approoch to
a""'Jl ule lra". oendcn:,:e " f the highesl God or FiN I'rinciple became a major theme in
, r ..ud<>-l lion"i.... I.m.' I 10fl' ''. Ir. C l.uitQ:;d in ....- 1M Cn... If...-h
(_V.n , l'ooliol """'
, s.;.,. fn.. e""''I'k. (OJ. I.... G"J in P<Jt.;"k Tlwl;KIrt. 1'1'. 2.l-H; al,.., w.e PI""....... A
Iii.""" <>f<"Iv;,'i<! r"".I"Il!<'. I'f'- lI8.'I'I.
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both pagan <ni Christian l'Iatooisrrr. 1l wes the pagan Neopkllonist Proch.. (4 10-485
A.D-Y who came 10 !moe llf1 ilTlfTlCf1Sle infl uence on Christian Plalonism. for he is a ITIl\ior
intellectual mi lieu, specrc to Christianity. of this period, parfuJarIy ill m<ped of (he
grndual disappearance of sp:culalioo. repIa<;ed by a dominant corcem
y,ith the Ir3nscerdence of God. This corocem led 10 a moniSlll !hal, in effect.
rendered eschatology a roon- issue. with highly JYOblemaIical results. as _ willgee.
Monophysltismand t he DfomM orn EKhatologkal
E...:ha/" Iagy is concaned with the culmil1lllion of the human endoea\'Or in rcIalionship
with God. Le., eschatological doctrine is conccmcd with the rod of human eJ(;5lnICe.
ll" the fi nal goal of Ihi.J life, qJCfIi'l; onto another. elemoJ Soteriolngy is
concnned with the Il'lOfTlml of ' conversion,' when one makes a oommilmenl to God
tIwugh fai lh, and then c:mfi nn<; one's faith tkougIl a riglttoous existence. In short,
scceriology is U!i ICei 'oc:d with the ITlClfi'; of saIvOOon while cschaloIogy is
COIIOOl 'iOJ with '"the last or the threshold of otr new existence in Ovisl. lOfflidl
will qJI'Il lo us ;ll theend of history.
, f .... I brit f"""""'" of "",,,h... hk .-d...n. _ E. l.el...., 0..,11"'1 of'lw II;, ,,,,,, of Gnu k
(Ne\o YOlk: Meridi.. IIoob PI'- 3JG.)33. """" " pomi.... ly. _ mon: 1O>CftItly, """",k
L s;..,....... "Md.." ",...,.p' o''''' /(: rhil","('Ioy_5<:..""" _ ; Vile lhIi"Cnii, Pmos 19%1.
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w.e. Pta.;hr,.'f has adequalcly explained the general diffemn between F.astem
aud llOI.;ons of salvaliorl:
Si""e mosl W""em theologians though! of ll' occurring 1II n>omCIl1 of
lhcy rould say thal: human wcd.s had ....' pan in it ar>d 5lili lcave an importanl
pla.;c for human effill'\s.fief in ""ronse [0 God' s gl'llU'. taslern theologians.
In the Eeacm lradilion. (U" salvalion (.I<;/eri<l ) is undcIslood as a possibility opened up to
-pocess'' of ddfK:alion as a ro.:rfooion of the human oalurc. or as a J'"..paral;oll for ,he
",,:eplion of the divine nalcre: This queslioo is mosl Jl"'SSing wI..", "" consider the
W,c. PI. doe., A lIu t<>ry 1JHoM' R", !'P. w,..<n.
' n..: bihlic.1....... ro. lit< (11"I1.><1<" <1<..1'; of okir.""tioo "" ,Iw"'i. io 2 Pd... "he.. 1ht
Al""llc . peak, of 0.... t>t",,,,,in, "rall,k... or the di, i n' , ure l niari""i "".r [. io
i",p"""'" , ,, ..,.Ii,.,. thOl til< Churcll r ..1><-B h<ard in , his f'&""Il'" .. cch<. of 1'1. ... ', TMat! ,nn
17M. .. I><.. I"" J"''' phih_ ,r/><, ,..,<ok. or ...."'00l 111";0;0, .. . W ror I"....ib/t
1....._";,1>;. I" ,,, ... J o"'''''''l." Fn>m the lime of tho l'b1u. i< phi\ooopho..,. FlIdo<u> of AI<....Jrio 1ft
<II. 11.0"'" qloolifl'i"" M .. far 1".. " .. , ok... .., "",.n ,he ...,...., .b.' . ",..rI.r "., lido .
di. i"" " " e. "'" til.. we ..... in any "' y l in ,he PI. "",i<: Ymel in.he <ki'y'. St. Pel ',
lan, ..l'Cc1c.t), elude:. ,he: " r . rcr1accmcn' "r 'he h"m.. in,<Il<cl hI ,he: di. inil) , """ ,he:
idc:. , h.I human .... un: i,,,,,l r """"'_ t>,om<> di.i.... wimpl) be<-<>me .. "r ... ........M " r' he:
di.'i"" nallll"<. II " ' the: inn""""" " r 'ol... Nwpl""..i,mlwi'h ito .. ,hal lhe h...... n "",,1 rna) . ><:end
' 0 di, ini,y, t>ul ,'cr the: di.'init) ' 0 hum..il) ) "" Ch,hl i.n ' ,",uh' tIIat led 10 ,he M"""""y. it. id<lI ""',
any' ....,t...1 he, ,he h"mo ....., lhe di.i... nat",..,. ...t."""tic.lI) """, I.. in the ."""'ml" i"" .. r.he
f"m... 1' lhe: lOIter ; f the M"",-oph)'. it ", Imi,ted ,h.. ("h '0 <anh ..... hecome incom"'c,
bo' ill.. II. prc ...J .... n "r hu,n....it) in II i . "" n oC .,...,., i"" or ou, ...,h.tol,,,ic.1"",c. in
,hi. era. c.:...d '0 a pml>k m ,,"" ,he 1"""""";"" ..rthe: hum penon in ,"" .n",lif. " .. no ..g",
a th......"i<:. 1 or p/J ilooophic. l conc.m; ...,her. ,"" ..,... "",.,.;., ....."""1 . ,i...,,,,.,, nn<I
Copynghled ma'-lrial
implialtiom of Monophysit<sm. a doctrine which favored the tnmcendcnce and plrity of
the divine nature ova- the preservation md dymmic persisrence in exlseence of Iutwl
nalure. As A. ScI-memann explains;
(Among the Monophysites] ' DeiflCafioo' oe becoming ooe with God, began 10 be seen as
the destruction within oneself of everything lhat is human. which wa.' regarded M low
and ,,"worthy, '. bad thal soon would pass away."
This tendency 10 degrade the human body 10 the point of an cldmne escetctsn in ..tlich
e\lil itself is identified with fleshly ecs erce goes back. of COlne, 10 St Paul in the New
Tesl3mel1t, and 10 early Gn<;osticism and Neoplatonism.' However, in the case of
the advocates of this theoIog)'. following (or so they thought) the
b mulation of 51. Athnlsill>,I so emphasized the of the deity that it
became to speak of a of natures (divine md hmIan) withoul seeming kl
degrade the Godhead.
In order to the problem. it mUSl be made clear \hal these two
(d;"';ne and human) -.-e 001 lald=tood as absolutely dislillCl fium one llIlOIher, but
rather as ontologicaJly remote from each other at the highest or most complete level of
"""",,;nl '" , he God""ad. This i. _ m_ In ..... mon... ici.... of ..... ..... or>d i m'" Ihtme in Iht
IheoJosy " fSC, ",..1m... the ...fJ idI _ wi ll _ nlll1inc.
A. Sdlmnnon... 1M H;"orlcal <>f .... o..ltotfo.<y (C-......d, NY, Sl- V"'imir' .
Scmi..-y rr- I' 131.
, See P. Brown. T1w Body aNi Mm . W"", . ... "..a &"",,1 R." "",d,,,i<Nt ill EtJrly
C III"i<'ianity Yorl., CoI..oo;&Unil'Cl"llily ""'" 1983).
"One nat..... of (;od ,he w...-.t ' ''''''oI<.wThl. ;" actually. r""""I01I",, of A, P<'lllnoris. r ...<d
ofT 1' hi' . ymp.Ol hizcr> as from ,he I'<" <or A" h_iu.; of. SdI.............. 1M Hi. umcrn RooJ<>f
Orr"""*'-'Y. r_ I27.
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'' 0
man&'Slalim. The absol Ule lranso.'Ctldence and of the Godhead led 10 fbe
lhal mlfSl a loss of J1"I"O'1hood un tho part of the
hi, "'''' - l ill.m11y a ..tu ning UJl- of II'c tunm Mltl'C - and the conse<I ""nt ab,en,,:e
of unM.tUC person....lI,xl in the .... H'''/'H' . a of OOJ salvi foc slale in ... hich "roon " ....
noI SlI\iW IU i'l the naming COillOll.1 ", ith the Dcity:,10 This notion docs noc
imply a d' slim i"" of ""'ores, but rather a ' mutual" co-opc" U;"" of r><.un:s in whkh lhe
(hUm:Ulity) 10 ;helr. llle ","cn:(lming of the Vas! separa1ion ... (dial/em,,' - as
c1uciWled by G rq;.lll)' of N) s.<;a - hL1ween ClOd and man had 10 o..:cur. aetonJing i o the
suhonlinalion of the kMt"t(htman) to the
111C Iogk: of this pusit ioll is bIN.'(I uron IaIcr Neoplalonic monhm, ",hich OC'l;1ared
eIlI.1nllims of .... hk-h il is, reverthekss, the primal ceuse," The second or lower OneIl is
described by later as the active fi rst prirx-iple. whidl is the emarl<llive fillW
by '" hich all olher cxisk:ms L111<. TgC into being. This second One has a ccorecroo,
idl.'t1Iir.:d this Sl'COlU One .... ill1 Christ "The MonopIl)'5iles. ho\\evcr, 1' 110 c lGV1y
accepted ortIlodox Trinitarian d...:trine. which did no! recognize a hierarchy in the
Indd. .. hile Sl. ( ' r n l or AIe",,,dn. " .. c,,- of o fl hc ro..... iJi-.r, " r
( Ond on<! hom...ilJ. lhe: <l i"'i",1 . '" nr lhe:'.< "'n ..... . .... " Ill< . h..y, . . ... h"he , in,k . "' "'.
It..,,,,,,,,,,,,,)" r ehn'<\. IIx: lIi. in< 1"",<..; d . W.C. rt.</Ic-r. ,f lIi./Ory <>f Cit,;.,,,,,, TMoJ"t{". p.
,. S,:lm""" .,,,,. ' """ 1/j,',,,.i,,,,11/,><iJ"IT",,,,,, OrIi>od<u, . p. 127.
" I." '" o";.'' <k-<:Iored ,"" hi ,he>t (Ine "0' ftC" c,."".J'ct .. h.. 1""1' ""'.", i. ,hal tho
( Ine i. .. emdcnl <0."'. bul , .. "", lhoc f........r..;.-", ....r p"..ibill' J or .1I c.......hty. Sec. for
,,_rI<.1.",I>IK:hu. (""'....","<:" "" f,,..... "KN,, If"""""" in Pro<:I f """, VlIJn lI-2K
" .,.... line of hkh " ..<ok"",i....... b) <I... phil >pl>er as the ",cnlol'itJ, rn""
.. h.... h .11 " i"""", om..--.; r.... " . "'rlc. E"".n.
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Godhead, nevertheless retained enougl:l of their Neoplatonic background 10 refuse to
admit an iro:linalioo of the higllesl Godhead lO\\'3nl lunanity and maICriaI exislcnce.
The edhulon. !hen, could not admit of the P' ICe of authentic hlman Il8lUl'e. tu: only
of divinity. Sl Maximuo; the Confessor. usually hailed IL<; I pillar of 0rth0d01l)'. es his
tille implies. falls into m implicit Morqohy:sill: e!tC1aoIogy. as WI: will
soon cxpIon: in d.tai1.
Now lei 1.I5 examine briefly the thougtW of f'tocl us, whose
inllumce on \aler pIIlrislic - ootably Pseudo- Diooysius and Maximus - is quite
(to aUl o hl'n) thai serves as the grotnJ of being Dr all emanated As F.
Cop!cst..., explains. for Proclus "the primary Principle 1nU'lSCCnds the predicates of Unity.
Cause and Good, just es it lrll/1SCel"d<; Being. It follo\\os lhal we are really not entitled 10
pmiicale aJything positively of the: u1timale Prirx:iple: we em only say wtu: it is '1111,
realising that it slands all discursive and positive prcdicalirn, inefTable and
" II m.... tIC l <fll in mind. of COlI"', thot tl>< MOI!OJ'hy.i, es were oppwenlly ",, <:<>r><cmI ..-jIb
e.rn.." lov. ond did "'" rroduce "".,Ioco on the oubjl . When I _ M..imu. of holdins on
implkilly M"""l'hYoi.. vi<'w of ndIawlO8Y. I , imply m.... diM hi. posi tion is in ao:cool ...... with
onto-<"""k>c th.. willi Iier o<thodo" CIr on,,,,,iot IhoogM.
"""'I.... If..,;,. TMoI. .6, I I; '!Mol. Pial. 2.4; F. CopIesIon. ... lIu/)' of vol . I.
GfUN oJIJ R_ . pen 2 (New York: I..,. Rooks p. 222. It ;' likely lNoI. Pro<;luo ... .,..,.:eded in
Ihi, """""p'ion by I...,blich... """" ooccord;"8 10 op.>ke or on ir><ffablo ("",Mto<l t ine Dr Unity
ahidin8 beyond .he lndi, ion.1 trilld" _1ft of Plot in... and ..-lier PIM""i... (d. 0...-;.... 0.
1.II7.s- 12 ff, R...
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ir. :ornpn.-ho......ihle....
111is k.ll) pIa=nm of tho: One abm,,, oot mly IU Being
and rte Good is given an lI' lthropo:>k'l;ica1 signirlCllflCe by I'roclus in lIis positing uf a
foculty of the sr.. abo..: imdk.'Ct itself, "'by " hich it (the soul] can attain lhe One....
This so-caned allainlllell1 of the On" is oot to be uMer.<toud as an ....1",,1 vision or
befoee the Incomprehensible and Iroelfable....
While uere is no tn..-
ek.mo"IJl in f'rn:I",' philosophy _ his belief in 1111 eICfl"<lI and ..",11CfaI* cosmos
rn:cludes any concq:o.ion of " d/klilln - he nevertheless etfl rms thaI the tllIJIion of
emanmeo.l beings is always dil"l'Clt-od toward their prill,., or the hiernrchical manifcsLllion
of the Good 00 the OOlologkal le...'eI spl'CiflC 10 any given .::..istl.'llt This nallr.ll.
mo: tion of tbe soul toward the Good is conrll.'l.:tcd by Proclus l'> i1l1 tbc theurgica1
of I,.mblichus. spo:cif>cally tile idea t1Ja1 the gOOs pruvi&: aid 10 souls in lhe
maK';'lI realm. them up 10 therealm of pm: inlcl1ecl' "
Bef"", examining lhe Oui"' i:vl Ncopl... onr.m of St. Maximus the it is
filling to kd a1 the respon.<.es of Pseudo- Diooysi", the Areovagile and other ( :l1ri"'i""
phi losoph,.'f'> I'>ho " l.'re rL'Sj1l"OlSive. in the CTUCial flI."liod of lhe rnid-tillll 10 si.xlh
AirriL<.. lal:haria... and rnxopi""; John l'hiloporK". and Leort i", of llymrAi.rn. each of
"1lUIn. in thei r s.:vI.'I'aI "ays. paved the way for the learned. yet problo.'lfIlUkal . synlhcsis
,. " I/i.,/",., <if ..>I. I. ( ;nH<t! <NtJ pori 2. J'I'. 222_221; d: oho L
s;."' ....... P,."d.. .\ _ /' I,," "'i <nil"'OI"',f"nJ p. 1711 11".
,. Prucl..... " k il>. 1; ;k 1' ,.....,. 24; lII><l ( '''I' Ie<,,,,,, " /Ii,,,,,,, of .,. ,01. I, ( ; ,.". CIt "...J

" t'""",,.,,..,p.
" Sox L ......"" , f",d.,,' f hd"" '1myIInJ .'><:i.n,' p. ry, 11".
Copynghled matenal
II )
of QIristian lheoIogk.aI docIrine articulaled by St MaximllS the Confessa In the early
P5eudo-DiolIysi UI the Arftlpagile.
The audu of the Coq>w DiooysiQCWl1. 10ng believed to have been St. Paul' , Athenian
convert (Acts 11;)4), is oow considered by all serious scholars 10 have been a theologian
and phila50pher of the mid-fifth early sixth CCIlIUy. l. Indeed, the ",ork of the
Art:q>agile bears the 1,4IfIistakab!e stamp of the infl --.:e of Proclus , spociflClllly in
m;pm of II lri.adi<; l:fNIIIllIionist !lc:hema and (most importantly lioo1 a O1rislian
pmpa:livc) the notion of a perfect \8Jily above the manifestation of the Godhead as
" ao
m"y, Adopting Proclus' idea of a '"primary (10 aUIO he,,), P!leudo-Dimysius
desaibes the highest principleas follows:
It io not kinphip. It is not wr.oom. 11 is neith OM nor oneness. divinily nor goodne.s.
Nor ill it spirit, in the sen", in which _ un<ler3tand!he term [hill hima.J ";""""'1-" It is
f. . .. J. JOII<'O points DUI in hi> introducl ion 10 hio 1.....lol iorl of 1M DiYjM" 0_ _ aM
Uy" icQl 7""''''<>/0' ( Mih uk",,: Un;. ...it} ....... """,I.,. h..e ", ..ik\d datn of
.lIhonhip __in, from 10 oboul (p. 6l. For . hjowry ..fthe C"'Pl<' D.... .... ... R.
Roq_ r A ite.
in do Silirl/",,/i,j ......,iq.... " "'pllq..... d_l ... 1'1Jti./dirt
(I'wis: 1957); at the ifttrodoeliom to Luibheid 19111) "" I. 1'eIikE. J. -' K. Fmehlidl.
.. Cople<ton. A lIi.wry at PM"'ophy. ...... 2, /,I. d;",,,,,! ...p/ly. r-t I (Ne. Y"",, I",...
IIoob p. II I.
.. On \he "",."inl of \he ptn... .\M III.,... in thi, ......,c. ... J. J"n p. 221.
Copyrighted ma"lrIal
Il<Il soruJ1 jp or r... ""'hood and il is OOIhing known 10 l1'I or 10 any OIlier 11 fal "
This is. l!'le e><ln:me of the apophalic ltJIIl'U'I'Ch to a /h.!,;"iu (such as it is) of the
Godhead. and it is clearly 'nn,oenced by I'rodus, who mites 1t.:Jl rhe One .,rarfflds
b.:ing and ao:tivRy and silcoce and wirPing the One of all positive
I bclic\<c thai in the case of Nox>plal<.1llisls.. this exlR:me "f"'Phalicism is thc
otfcrcd an avenue of approodl. if you ... ill. 10 the C,odhcad, the more thc ,ibsolule
Il'l\fi'\CCflI,knce of the Godhead reojed to be For in 1I-.eurgy th.ore W85
alWay1I the danger. IlOl of raising the mfllan !OJI 100 high. boA of hinging the gods oo-.n
.....'i".'he,,'..,,'oIIH.... Ir. l.uil>h<id.
" J'n><l".. 1'1"1,,,,,, 111L7-S my traMr",im
, . II" ...., .... _ 'ho "'l'um<1I I< "I' ( . Sh .. in h.. "'''' 1M I'" .. of
IUMMi.:hn Whi k I do, "'" d;.. .. jl h III< """" !besi. of lIIi. "or\.. l di..,..., "irh S..... """ ""'l ion
' hoi . &.in: lu <:omt>.l the m,OIIoIb; !l<.-;nt! mod< hy Chm.i..ily in IIli. era. "jlh it> .. "",. ritual;. clancnl.
.. .. "'" pra;col "" ''''''"' f,... lomMich... .. hc oc' i<kop! hi. lhcwtlicol <1<..1';""". I ogt<e " j' h Sh lhOl
,I><'n: i. ",or" ,... lamMic""" I""l"""" .han m<n:ly "' ., i...8 o.n.. i iIJ. loul lomhl ich.. ....."I, "' h." "
bern ", or'I<nnl ..ilh p'nc... . ; g hi, d) in8 roi.h ,um 10 " hon.ie rlal,.. i j.'"
.... ho l><'<ded in lhi .".J,. .
" lamhlid"... 11< "'.' '''';;'' U ! .2(,.:!9 Ilk... r l..... It. G. f""'..... in II"",,,. .f
1h" ",.;.,,1 I" 1M r.._ .I ! itld I N... Vorl<: Camlrilt< I lnh ... I...,.. p. 133 -
1T0,,,10I.," ",odi rK<!. !\eo . 1.., ( i Sbaw. wN""'pl.."...i< Thcu"" . nd Ui""y. i"" ,toe in J".,.".,I
ofl'rld ,l' Ch",' ion ,,>I , 7. ..." 9 1\\' inccr 1999). !'P' S7J.$79,
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und<:nnining the po.'lfe<.1 unity or dll: God"'"",,.
Jij!<-,.., ,,,iulim, llInoog the Itll"l.'C of the Trinity, r ei lhm" is no ,IM.jo". In his
(<liup/,o,a) lind (Jill i .....'i..;: the femler. he "'l;ucs' is MgotJd.Mthe Ian.". "'bad."
\\.'hat he means is thai diffc'fI.'I1I.'e pI.'fInilS communm i.eM imc'l'-pt.'fSIWJaI relaliolMips in
which the uniql"'IleSS of each pt.-r.;on is prt.'S<'r\Ied, while division all lUO easily produces
lISSl:nion of my id.,uity lhrough dil'i.,i<m (of myself IMn Olher.;) a1icro1.:s me nOI ooly
from my pn:5Cflt social comcxl. 00t from all of histoly which, as Bcrdyacv arglll:S (ano.l
source or ground of IIll.' h) J1Il';l;.llic manifc"!;/alioll of the Pt.'fSOllS of the Tri nity is dill.'Ctly
rclalc'd 10 his al1cgL-d MOllol'hysiti>.rtr
and the problem of the pm;ervalioll of the r.:r.;orl
c1,m,,1 Slllte and sl:dus of the h","m """I ill Ihe lace of elemity. If the Godhead does 1K>l
peeservc Ihe diff''fl111ialioo of divine I'mons lit the high::sl level. ll'o:n then: is 110 logical
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11 9
in its Taking the arnIogy of the visible !UI witll the invisible lDi
inlel lectual Good 10 its ' logical ' concll15ion the Arropogite, likely drawing l.IJXlIl the
Stoic concepIion of an elL'ITIlII ly reconsl ilUlcd cosmos, writes the following F V
[T]1Ie l'rcexislC'llI is the Soom:e and the end of all things. He is their Source. for he is
their Cause. lie is their end. for he i. the f or saM 0/ ll, h OlJl. lie is the boundary of all
things and is the unbounded inf", ily about them in fashion which rises the
cootradict ion betwm1 fi nite and infinite."
we the affinning an eternal or dissociation l:d..ccn
!uTwlity In:I divinity. based l.IJXlIl the moom irreducibility of fi nitWe llIId infinitude.
While hlmanity remains finite, God "rises above" boIh the finite lVld infinite. a1d
remains beyond "'the ClIlegorics of eICIT1ity and time...J9 Origen"s idea of an eternal
paedeOOcaI relationship of God and man ;s here done away wilh, as is Gregoly of
Nyssa' s vision of an etemal yearning for the deity, in which the Jituti ma is understood
not in the sense lhat it SCJHlllcs lIS etemal ly from God, boJt mther in the positive
serse thai II rno:rgires souls and preserves them in an etemal dynirnic exisIenl'e. wta
" P"'udo-Diony. i.... lN 700A-B. .... luil>hc:id ,
.. Sec c""I.""", A //i, 1Ory of vol, 2, M.a/tNI'D1 I'hil<n<>ploy. I (New Y,n;
I.... _ pp. 112-11 l . "here he II'J""" dw ud<>-Uiooy. iu. is ...... ""'bile I agree
willi him in 10 f. .. J .... willi", \<I tho< our Ihiftk 11(I( on /nl.nl/.""I ,,",,""' I I l>tlievc we ..
u....1e 10eocapc (m I will preoenoly ohovr ) """"I...ion I lbc A....",..,.i'c. like M. , im all... him, ...
"" i_ upon , Iori IYi", God . 1b<: ""'"' m.j ic. pcrl'\. ood ' ''ROCC1I dc", or . 11 c'iolcnu. lh.e1M: ended
up , i. in. humonity _ "'ri ll, reducin .,.. c,i>lm"" lO. men: run<:t ion or 11M: God1M:Ml, with no ",01
Iuc 4<'''' ;0)of ou, .,..." - .,. .
" di. i"i. _ j"ih RBB. If, t....hhoid- my empl".,;, .
" On 11M: i__ of !he rel..ion of I"" finitc l<> !he infi nilC in lhoo A,,,:,por.ite, _ S. UII.. -rt>c
Norionoflnfi nilude in r..-oiony.i-.- in no, .10_1<>f1MoIogko/ SlO'Ji 31( l980l PI'- 9:J.. I03.
.. dj. "","" .no, Ir. Luihhied.
Copyrighted ma"lrIal
we are left ",ith. bere, ill ue ",tll'\. of ee Areopo:tgile, is a dl.mand 10 be COIl1",,1 with lhe
llOl ion lhal our e,iSl<:OCe - ",ilh its manifold cesses, kwes, di s..1ppoillll1ll.'J1l'i. rewanb,
lcs.'itlflS. e re. - is nl<. 'rely c. 'IITicd 00 ji". of an ' entity' (God) lNd lrdllSCl"flds us
ahsoluldy, sod ha\ no mil and abiding relatiooship ",ilh us and our oolleclive hiSlOl)'. If
my exserce is mcrely for the sale of all entity LIw is forever bI.'Y01d the reach of my
i,t d kctual comprcht.'ffiion. and of all lhe cak"glJrie:s my reason is capable of
fonning and. moR. 'lWI.'l", lmn..:endo.'l1l even of my cmlIive 311L'fllplS to posit a meaning of
life, e,i:<lL,",ially I an llOlhing. I am ;to; indeterminate and pjllllcss as the ' God' I
Lest I be >tCCIN.'d of jooging lhe Areopag1te 100 haMly, I ",ill n:maIi uplln some
rrocills he borrows lhe llOl ioli lNt evil is prhlllion 1lI1d ......... existLTK:e. Evil seems 10
aROO lIS IlOl because it is an eXNL'J11 force or power, tu 0I11y because of our inabilil)' to
rtrogrl'7C immcdi'dCty gr.OO. The tesc priro:iple, as put Ii",h by Procles, is lh. -n
III<' ,me, which \\C also dc1uni""IC the 1\11," of the is bI.-yor<l being. C'\Iil is
bI.')ond t>(.....exiserce [ul'ra if'!' /II?' ,,"', esse f'seudo();o:.nysius appl ies lhis
bmula10 his doltrinc of the ",dun: ofsools. As Co:.lplcsloolllXlI'"".lIely explains:
.. It ;,. ""n h ,hal the pc:riod in " hN: h the ,,,., wrilin(l. i\ri"'>leli...
philooophJ " ",i"in, 1"'I"'1ari1)' in ,he Nooplatonic ........ ,1. Tbc innurn<:< of Ari" "II,, ' , """""'plion" r
the r..... rrincipk ... -prionc i . J"<fNro . 1 " o, l< in i", ,,,,,,",,, . 1"'''''''plion " r , he
11ft phil, and il. inl" ....' kon "ith 1o,l e' N"''''I...",i<m .... II . Sonhji.
<:<I.. r",'" fi ,,-.f: ,f".:;.", ( "' ,,1<.... ,,"" '''''iT I"j/ ",:. II onoJ,,,,, lJoud.,,<>rth 1\190),
.. """,I... , -.. ..h,i".",i" ....Ii. II. T. 1"0) r..." T,..,,'i Q/I'"",I". , ,,. na'""i<: S.....,...",
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C('JlTlXl since joogment leads 10 healthy n:covefY.'''I> Origtn of cour.Je, held the belief
lhaI judgment is for the purpose of recovay of the soul from wickedness, l:U Aeroea-;
here mislrderstands Origen's subtle maintenance of the theory of absol..e free wil l.
While Origm knew Ihlll God' s jOOgment is nor Of sevm. but pafeclly
"""rd 10 the healing of the soul in question, he al", thai free S(lI,lIs are capable of
rdlelling even in the face of j \rlgmart. Spirited defl3l1Ce is a1.....ays a possible reactiool of
the soul. even in the face of the directjOOgrnenl or of God inits existence.
Unlike the better-known cmstian thinkers of this era. A_ Wll"I quite
Plato, ..-d their implications for Cmstian 1heoIog)'. The PIalonic doctrine of the
Inlnsfermce of virtuous souls to the Elysian fields, and of wicked souls to Hades, led
Aenem 10 ol!ioct Ihlll "'is idea suggests 8 gradual dimimJjoo of the num..... of souls in the
world. leading to the wmplele absence of soul s in the oosmos.
If"" admit
Ihal. souls, if llOl pre-exislffit. in III least of a fi nite mrnbel". when _ COJple this belief
with I doctrine of an etemaI hc:a\.al (the Elysian fields) and lII1. equally etemaI l'ell
(I 1ades), we end up with the deteriofalioo of the cosmos when all souls have anained
!heir rigl'tful pllUS."
Aeneao; solved this by explai ning thai the soo1, ll'ough ' hom' aI the
moo>cnl of conccprion is, vi""," of it!< rarionIIl (1ikenesll to God). immortal ..-.:I
the possessor of free will. The hlMl8ll penon, Ihm, lK:OOIlling to Aeneas, lhougIl mortal.
possesses an immortal part; yet the anaittment of immortal ity is nol achieved on one's
.. '-l ip<, pfj.' ,Ir'J'6A; T_ is, p. lO.
, Taakit . pp. 20-2L
.. Aone... n..op/tI'a'"'' .;.,." k an;"",,,,,,, j ....o. ,.,Ii'ol< 17_18 IT. (<-",*-}
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and a1ll.l5ions 10, Origm. Nemesius, Bishop of Emesa. rather straiglltforwardly alopled
noc only Origen' s doctrine of JR"exislenf sooIs, blI abo the gmeraI pagiV1 relief in an
eternal cosmos.H Aeneas revised and adapted these idea'<. arguing thai ...flile :;ouls did
ln1 thai the lXIl!IlOS, while havir't; a begiming in time. is irdestIu:lible: and
the !OUt while not ctcmaJ. is yn immortal.
So !OllIs. lllXOI'ding to Aeneas. while not
dmIaIly lR-elUslmt with God, n:tain !he abi lity to ilttain deirlUllion. ood
also are recipims oflhe gift of immortal ity.
These ideas. while rnIher pwdoxical at first glence, are natur1lI conclusions based
upon Aeneas' general precept of Mimmortality laking the pIa:e of eIomityM dIEing the
ed halOft.
It is here thal AriW;JtdiMisrn is IhO':t evidm:: follo....ing Aristotle' s
doctrine thai all are composed of bolll form and maner, Aeneas thai form,
'1akm z an active idea, remains immonal,....6 lI'flile the body (maner) is monaL51 The
preserl world. then, acoxing to Aeneas, is M a of testing for makind,M when: the
immortal will strive with the mortal for 1he of of the be<! Im1 of 1he human
bcing. 1he immortaI5OU1.
One fi nal allusial (coosciously or noc) 10 ee philo&Jphy of Origen occtrS in
Aeoees' eeaise, where he erJCOUnIge:S his re<Illen to engage in a relatiomhip
" No......;... ""'N'" 37.7<1 fr, ([i_); cf. aloo W. J_ . !'"t,.";,,. """ E"",,,,,:
z. ", " pia_in.".. nol. ,i",,. P.,.iJoIIia'l8ort;.,; Weidrnam
.. EtnII;ly lien< t1ci n, 1JJHkntood .. lIOIIKIhin. bclon. in. .... ,.,iDlly Io . be _ll",bich A......
d<niodl; immortaIit) . on Ibc 0l 1w>d. i. OOOIC'IlIing Ol w ...ble by the suullh""'gh ill ""',1.hough IIOl its
' ri[!hlful pr<>peny' (....' ;a. Of
" Talakio,p.22.
,. T<1. , J'. 21.
" Mi_ NJ I H 61R, _fl.
.. Talakio . J'. 22; MiJne, I'G1$._"_11.
Copyrighted ma'-lrial
La .......,(;04._"*'_..., ' ' ......... _lom _
____.. __. n.... __..__Gool"
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-- --"'.-.. -"-"'''- _...
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_.. ...
- _."-"".. -
-_........ .. _.._-.
....",....,.. ...... __..'_Gol..
z...-. IloohoF '" Moy\<8< ,<I. '" A.OJ __.. ....
"' ...... of .... o..dl h ...... II< ....... '" prrlnn:4 ....
" _ ,PG.. ,..C. _ .'_., ll
.1 __-. _ .. t .. , . ....
- ' _ - ..--_.. _ . ..... -..*""'--
.. _ .. , .... _ ., 1110_.. _ .. _ ..__*"", ..
_.. - _--- _.. _.. __..
- , ..._ .__.. .. '1.'_-"
"'_. ,n
uni\'Cl'Se etcmal. sece it is the end-result of an eternal cmanati...., process, and therefore
know God tIvoogh His =ation, the divine tssuU itself is lri.nowabIe. fa' it transcends
all the prtdica1es proper 10 crea1ed substanoe, such IS de5aiption., limit, and n:lation.
Z1cIwias lIlili= the Stoic- Plalooic notion of God oontaining the "seeds" or principles of
all thiJ"tlS within His mind. aod argue5 thllt God is <:l<:mIIlty the fa ewn if He is
not at all times engago:d in acts of <;mItion, I k rmwins the c=dIK, just as 8
doctor remains 11 doctor even if he is rd at all times in the lid of c";ng parienls.
denying the PIalonic COllceprion of !he cosmos as existing for the sake of
oea" Ikff zacharias is avoiding the dmger of subonfirw:ing lunanily to a Ii.n:tion of
the Godhead- a danger thai Maxim161he Confessor was unable to avoid."
. , Mi_ PGI5J Ol I8,T...., p. 25.
' J TlH: " J>oI>US" ho:re " ' 0 be ull<knl,,"d in the _ of ,"" en, i.. on.l<d order, not ju.. t he
"'01";. 1.....!d. God i. '""I'O"";hle f",. Ib< "'.i......once of . 11 co;"illg thin[!$, not jmt . _ 1, lire _ Ihis
incl ...... of the .....Id to come. or ..... l.ltalOn.
"PemIYble, n. \hi. .. __ I'rom. _ 10 . hi(d!a" _ . of .ct... li,.tioo\. in
.....k h !be Imoor lIIote -p.ri"'-" for lho oMe .. r the <k>d"I"ncnl om .. whok.
"" Sec r loto. /_. "10k
.. It _ m. 10 _ lh-t the _ .. phi"""""'icd O n";... think"", or [be laI.
1l. I.... ioti<; ond E.orIy ...... ouch _ 1..m-;_ . """.lined k.... ty _ ..., oflhc implical ion. o' thei.
"""ilion<, , inee IMy were ""'"' d"..ly in !oI>dI ...it h philooorhioal """""t. of Ille ., A dlinker liu
Maxim.... on Ille 01.... hmd . ..bo ..... ""'"' of. <hurdlmon mel ,,,,I f<Oll'''' iouo l""""'alian I",," f
pmd. imed phil-.rhcr. loot sitht of the philMophi<a1 rro\>Ierns . t........,t upm "'..y of hi bMio<
fonnul. ...." Thill will "" diS<US'led in F _ . lot "''''''. thol: \>nih loch';.. mel Maxim'"
wen> dnwm, "p"" !he ........- of xripI epsia inilialed by PIIiln of Ak:.....wio.; d . his III
npifkio IIf.""; ' .21 ...., Tripnlitio, p. 1 mel R.M. Gnnt. D. TI'I<)'. ,j SIr-, lfi.kNy of ,w
Inl<,pm a,1mr nf' w Bibl, (Pllil..I<lplJia: f--... rras 1914k PI' lil-n. 5MIi.
Copyrighted ma'-lrial
I'roropius of Gam lea 46), 529) "'as tbe brother of 7..acharias ood an equally ardent
of phi\oo;ophy. his brolho.". and OIlier Chrisl ian thi nkers (>f the era
the "<Jl1<!.. ! in a maJl1t. 'f similar to his broIht..... wilh the addition of ;Jrl argumenl ba.<.ro on
the nalurc of ma1l<.T, jn "hi<: h he the ahsurdi ly of mailllaining a doctrine of
eternity of mall<.-r: if malk:r IS ekma!. then ;1 is also unallcrnblc: jf so. lhen any
pt.'ffi1 ulalion of ma11l'f would he kJgicalty F the 1:1erna1 callnot admit of
ak.".dlion. " l he IrtIN imJlOrt'l'l! l;OfIlribulion of l'mcopiu;.. in my' opinion, is
his rcm iO<kr Ih..l1 the prop..,. Cllrisliall COI'lCqlIion of prophC1ic e<:slasy d" ..", 001 i mply the
"",-_ ,Ost ,,,,, io,, of .. "-"f'la<-.... uf hun,,,, """'''' by the ... Min,J.. In hN
c",,,,,,.'/,t,,ry uti I.m/al., f'nl<.'opius ... r aes:
own:ome I>j. lhe Ik>Iy Spirit. Such a not ion is ...worthy of innllO."lll:e .. . for God
.' "'"" lbc: " 1'''''''001';'''' P,.,dj t Mi_. 1'( ; 87
.. ('_ or. . Mi_ Ni , 7.2'l,
.. Ori"", ... ,I>""" . e,., .-.., Ii"", in hi . " .." l ime. .. ... "'.........1 ,..., .. ,....").
"I' i" ""inll ion ... "-Tl _ ""'<1I' of .... man .. di.inc Ji<JIIOi<J. S II. ( ' ruum, Orift'n': 1M Lif<
FiN' C"", I'!" n-ll. ond ( 'h. 2. B . '"',"" ... i..... 'ho...h
""'j<<1c:d lin tho llIird """Uf) I .. . no! of the Ik>ly s,oiril of(;o.I lout of tho ..il . 1>01 deto. ",", op;' il-
1""liUt>. rM .""'''' of f:",,,.,.,, /rilNl-l7f/111. p. I S) n..enhel",. ron,.incd ",. i"", ..d
....."'ph.", """1,he Chri'<l i.n r.i ,h 'I' !w<;';. Ih. 1lhe P<""' i.k:_ o r I< id<.. ...,11 in' o tho
fifth CCfI'I><)' .houok! hc or ",.."'J'ri"" Whc n ... <oo<iJ<r. ",!,,"iolly. ..,,,, k In.U'll) . the
or110< hnmMl ;"toll1 b) the di ,-i"" 1"""'_00 100ll CT _ "'. 0 "u,, 01 ide.. and '"',,,,.....i.'" I"".. it< 1'1..,.
.k""",i<k; ,i",i l... de,dup",,,,,,, in l'CfIC't'Il l lcll<"i.li, ,,,,,,,"hl.
Copyrighted ma"lrIal
seeks the pmeclioo and not the privation of reasoning ... for lighl newr
causes blindness, miller it brings aboot the exercise of sight; God calls pure intelligence
into 11 spiritual con1emrl/llion. Only a malign power could provol<c ccsla5y thal would
harm Ih<:>oe imbued with it.'"
Hm: we see evidence of the humanism of Origen Sli"Vivitl!; in the l!u.Jglt of a Qri<;liarl
NeopIaIonisl of the late fifth aid early sixth =tIuy. Prooopius mairtained tift "!he
plOphet t/nJgh wek:urning the visitation of the I-IoIy Spirit, does nol cease 10 be a
thinking and individual. He m become a tlUltl'lIl being thai reaches
pelfection...11 Unfurhnltely, lTIOrI8Slicism W&'I 10 have a grcaIer influenoc: on the
phi\osophen. sucll as the Three Gazans. Let lIS contrast Procopius' view with that of a
s1WCJy later monastic theologian. St. .101m CHmacus. who, identifYing satvllliorl with
impassivity. taughI that the a<o.'tic sepamle himself liml the ho.mm element in all
that OCClJ"'S within and arourd him, preparing to <:onsInJCt another self, to enter another
life. to receive that which transcends man, to receive Go:l.'.n In this, he was advtxaling
'1he dcaIh of tile soul and the mi nd prior to the dcalhof the body: ,n
This is an exlImJe dr:ve\qJmenl of tntdiliJnal PIalonism which held that "the soul
of the most disdains the body. flees from it and seeks to be by itselr.... In
this new, Owistil.! PIaIonism, the hiernrcllical di5tinclioo between spirit, soul, 1nI flesh,
,. Procopiu.. i n ,.<1;;,.... "lip: PG 87.1817 (17_31), lr. NJ. Moutafold. 1m T. oI:,. ,
p, 25) - lt1In>l..;"" modi ftcd,
" T..... ,. 26.
" 1" ", p. 40-+1.
" Mil"'<. J'(i llS.1\67,673.
" PI..... PIwnfo Md,
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"as k lSl in favor of a ' h,>lisl ic' VIeW of the hU1TI1lfl being as a ful kn Crea!lJC or ' lost
cause Cor "tun 00 salvifk lll.1ivil)' could sutlice for resIOfaIion - only the repIacert1C'nt
of our sinful nalure toy dlC """'''lICe of Godhead.
John rhilo!lOOu. anti S1r plumus of .
Jdwl Phikf1oru.. , he Gmmnwilwl...l
is best known for his highly successful refutation
of l'mclll.';' thesis reg.wing the demity of the m>rld.'6 M;nimus ....ill n:lo..m to this topic.
dra"' ing l-f'OII Philoponus.. in his 10. lIS we shall discuss below. In addition.
the Coofc'SSOl' will elaborate upon the Dnd.'Ill PIaIooic conceplion of the One aOO the
D)'ad. agai n in a "4'C1ion of his wOO; in ","'ich he display5 dcpen&..-no: upon Philopoous.
as.-Jgn to lln activity oflhc MUlIaoJ it...,lf. n
"'hile juseJy esteemed for his of authenlic Chri5tian CONllOkJgy.
Phil(J!XII1US contri buted Olher COI1CI.-'flIS to the (1Jrisl.ian ill1cllectual milieu. concepts /hal
would irltluence the irntrH.'<liale pscocccssoes of Maximus (sech as Sl.:phanus. the student
of Philoponus) aOO ullimHlcly. of ecorse, Maximll5 himself.
uocever, as '"' shall
" II<> (; ruM",,,' iJ,,.C ..n". ",lf4 .. .... uoed .. him hy hi. """,,,,enl
Simpli<;", ' 0 imply 'ha' l'hik'f"H"l' "ia. 001 tnH: phih"'ophcr Ii"" p,><p/JY'Y. """''", .... l>o,..-i",. S
Il r ork) . c. Wikll><q<. Ir., r ltiIO/xm." (""roll .I.. <>II P/acr ,,<HI f ,,/d. cd. R, Surahji ([, N.,:
lJud;","" 19'11 p. 107. I.
.. (In tIIi, I,,,,;.: "'" G. V_c. --s.""" 1.01..- NC<>fII""..k "" moine (".....;..,. and ....
[ !<:mil y of ,1>< W"'Id. and II. Ill""....'h.>l J,..... l'!I i k,I'''''''' . nd Sl<ph.nn, " I' A\cundri.o; T.."
tII",,,,, . ,,.,ic e hri., i., ( '"",mc-ntot,,,,, ,., Ari... in IH 0 1.1........ cd.. ..' ''' ,,<HI CIt'i" /an
11tooglts IN<ri.,11.., IIA: In'.......ion. 1S<.:ie<y for ..""ic 19S1I,
, M..im",- '!", h' g'" 10. I IUn IT. ",""" I>< 1'", ;1> l'loIh God and II>< Munad joint!}", II><
..x,,,,,, or.u ... III..... Phil,,,,,",. , . "I>I/k ' " "' .,.}/ . ......... he I",,'i" u.. M" nO<l .. ,hc
'0""'" or.n numb<l' ,
Copyrighted matenal
prescnlly see. Ftilopcros is mere Hellenistic in his IIv:M.tght lIa1 Maximl1S {whose
thinking "'$ infl uco::ed by ITlOIllLSlicism in! the ascendancy of a lIliquely By7a1lire
styleof liJiJooqlhizing),71 with I'l'SUIts both ani negative.
Philopttu was, strictly speaking. rl'lIn of a philosopher than a lheoIogJan. He
tN:d logical rij"J, JllII spiritual <UIuity. as the basis for his 1'9 and for this
reason he is to be laOOed as a WOl1hy successor of Origen (whether or no( he was
conscious of Origm' s ronlribution to Olristian PhilopJrtus did JllII believe thai
God created in ordo:r to a certain mode or ""'fltd of Himself, as Maximus would
Iak:r. IOWiningly. imply. lrtitea1, Philoponus argued that God' s will is irdepender( of
time and spece, inl thai lIis cmtlion. while whsisting in time. is the n:suIt
of ,.., alemporal lllCl that will ex<:ced and cin:u.",.::ri be the l:mIIed work!.10 In this,
Philoponus is capable of a greaI freedlm - I fl"eledom that is reali zed by
Iumnily ml in <>pp<u ition to worldly laws and civil: tu ....... in interaction
with them. ,\ere Philoponus recognees the vallll: and importln:e of hlmall creative
endeavor in real izing fi=Iorn; for he againsl. f:MIistK: aslroIogy lUI divination 00
the gnxn.I lhal $Ul;h pno;tK:es offer an exccse for behavior. in so far as
astrology, for example, =ognizes certain ' personality nilS' and maps the InIjtory of a
life basedon such traits (as revealed in the horoscope)."
,.. By Ml k lleni..",w I _ ... . dire<:l <OIInect"'" widl lbc lI'Oditioo of ..... f'l.ol ""ic Ac.demy ..... it
._ _ h .. til< "".......1 of r lotim... ..ith . 11 i t. in""".. i""" _ rrom
' ldIol..tic' Pl-'''''i l'I"'ing lbc w-r lOr NfflP/o,,,,,,i..,, the domil\lnl ' c' temar on Ilyunl i....
pMo."phical do.el "'.
.. see T is. P. 11.
.. PIli""""' iN ", .Nli 21: of. ...., T_ i, . 1'1'. 21-29.
" PIli""""' opijN:io ..oNIj Il l. 200. 204:."" of. T......;.. p. 31.
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i'llilo\lonus' phikNJPhy! : setting il<oelf in to the
P1aklllic ccecepr or a (in:ular. sclf-o;unlaincd (OSITI(I$," expresses the ab50lute freedom of
the human pcrwn by insisling Uf"lll lhe ability of the fC"'O" k. e1e\la1e himself to God
"soldy by his spirit llItd the purity of his soul:" This as Tat. 1kis
calls it is ue process b)' which htman being - who has been created in the of
God" - sets abolll achic\lillg lhe "Iil eness- to God, ",hieh is only tmll.lg/lthe
cwn:;sc uf one's neuse." AItInlgh Pl1ikvnus is rd an explicitly
thinker (this is due IJl much 10 his Monoph)"sitis," lIS 10 his rib'Ol'l:Uily
to his n:ligim), I believe it is possible to make the fol klWing
g<......'I1l1 stalemerd ahllIJl a possible eschatology fium his phikl";lIphy.
exisleutial suuggIe of the "i""'tl"''' of G..:! (eiMn ' '''mu) 10 altain to God
("'H,,,,j,j,'i.,). Philopoous is po.-r.;orhxxl neither in a unioo of I1i.IIlftS - the
di\lWJe /Will the - nor ill the Origellian sense of a R:CO\ICl)' of a Slme.
Ratht.-r. he i<; po.'fSO,wllnlll in the Stl\Il's ;t;;ti\lity of maimni!\; the uf
God \'lhlie sui\lillg for ue 3llailvtlCltt of the di\line likencss. In this Phiklp<nlS is free
from Ma., imus' em1l" ;n prr,iting the salviflc stale as a replacemco1 of the hl.lllllli ego by
the divine pesence, )1."l he fai ls tll maimn the noble doctrine of Origt.'l\ which posits
" /'hil"",,,,", ""''l'nitoIl 'malCtiali"",' in Mal<> loJ l'l'lIOd l (l.ainq the _<:qllion
C'I"""..... in n..,.. 19<. olo. .;I.,in,IlIIl 1'1l!o mi,"ndomood "'''''''' l ", hom rhik,I',...... lo<li....cd 1<. ho> c
","n lhc _ fa: "r Pili,, ' , 1C... ond ..... .... f) c.l<'ftdcd im""" of ( M>d l ,,,
nl."l') 1lI;",- n i l 'hc ", .. <rilli"", ,hi> <_ i. I!Ic ,....' '' h " r ihll 1<It.. , 0'
h,,,n, _ in ",.,,-ri.1 "'l""'O"ll1i"n in "",.. ion. Phi\opo",,,,, .......c.c S"""
<:on r< "r 10"'; "I".".""il"i. Illd ... .. ,hI! , he 'n>< I'<>nn of I II ' hini ' i. 11"")'0 . I...... f'I'C>CIl' i n
ho:<omi n,. "-'I"'". 'i"li'.'" (TlIl"" i...
, PIa,,,. Ti_ ",,,. l Jb-c.
.. l ....
,. l'!Iiluro-"' .... / ". "Pi!"';" "' . "",- 141.21 IT., " '" T....... . ,. n.
Copyrighted matenal
-.... .......'11)' .. "" _ ... "" of .. -.p,oI
_. ,_.. ,_of GOO. F.. o."m. ... ....
..... .. ,-.I. -.I --. .... _ _....- _ _
'" ' , JW<....

.-.,. __,, ,1_ .. _ God _ of_

." .. ,-. .. _._.of
....... ._of.. ...... _.
l' ' A .. __ of ._....... r!f ;
__ , Mo __..... __.'_' , ,' . , _ . , _ "" ..
__... __ of ... t ..... _._._.. .,._..-,.
__ .. _.,._............ of ,. I., ,,,
... ..... . 1
/ . , ........ ....," .. c__ .............
_ . .. ......... d I '. , io __ . .... __ .._ """""'"
.......... d """ SucIo .. i4<a "'" _ W-,<I) .,ww ..-y I'
......... 1IWInwn .ho ....,."
'D_,...... <' ... _ ..
Jl ... ..-__ ......
"'. _. , -. _ __...
_ ... .."', ._..looc_._._...... ... _
_._.....-_..--_._.. _... _-
Iidt _ .. -... ... __." ... _ ,_ """ .. !ll _ -
__ ..... -.. of .... ..-I
___ ..... ., ' , ..... _ ... _ ... <6......
.. .. ...... __...
--.,... --"..-. ".'-.. _-.,..
..... _ _ ..<11"" ........................ _ ............
.. -.. '" .. _>II .-..loo d '" ...... ...._
_ I0oI ..- .. _ "'- _
_.._"'.... ....... -- _.. __... ..
--_.. _.. _.._---
" _ ...___.. ..,_
...-.... . _ _ c__. ..
.. .. _'_.-. Il.. _'_V.-..-_,_
-... ... _"'- 5 j ' "
......... .. _ "' ... _..1 <Jt
""," "Wtf__.w.. _ .........,"' ... _<Jl _ ..
_._-_......-.-_-_...-- ..... -
"'. 4' .... _ .... . " , "' _ " "' '''' _ ''''' _
_.0 __oIf .. .....,. C ,--. .... _"'_
1'lIt So>t.:s ..... _ ...... _ 4
--....... - -.__.'.. - --
....,. ' .. .. Ilr " - <I ".." , _. __ ... -. ,.... ....'"
buIol .. ...... ,- ..,",__... '" "" __ ............ """ .. .....
Ill' .... n.-...
n.. ;,. _ -., ._-
LO. =_ ,no c .. ... __ .. ......
'-:=:ww _ ' __ __,' .
,.:.... _._,_ _, ,1_,_ ' it .0"
..... ,._.._.o. _. __.. n . _
.. _ .. ... .. _d._on' ; _ LO -r, ......,.
..' ..".. _
...Tun ...
.. ,_ ...
"100_' : _ _ --. "'_,"' ""-,_
,.. _.. _...", ....
The Sct-."lI. from which StqiJanus emerged. despilo,: it,; adt:ion of
Orip.'I1islic and Sluil,: doo,,1tincs. pnwed ibc.'lf rather amenable 10 O1rislianily in "" far as it
" laid aside the onlologies of larnbli chos and scvm:1y limited the role of SIllS)' _ m ills
school severed tho: excheive bond between mclaphysics and paganism, and ... II:lldoem:I
possible the liaison between N<.'OpIa1Ollism llIld OtrisIi:wlity..a6 II is precisely t1vougll
this M",imus It.'<.'eived bolh lhe irnpi rat ion and intellCdual In:kgro<n:I for
as lhruugll 111iklpOOllS. Ale:<andrian J>Ia1onism, which included some of the Il<lI:b:l
ek,ncnts of Hellene cuhurc. "lIS fused with til: inlelk:ctua1 tradilion of Byllllllium.....
Tbcre is. bowevcr, one last figure thal I'C must discuss, before moving on 10 a
close cX31ll ioation of the cschmokll1.. v of Sf. Maximus IlinN:If - this fib'IR is Looolius of
Bp ,nium (ea. .. hose affi nities with and the as well
as his intclla;tuaI suphistication. mat him as a worthy SiI. .....ard of l-\cllcnislic philosophy.
Origroian lunanisrn
lkontius or Bp :a nlium
.. Taakis . 8x="mint Phila" "I>h,V. p. 36. What i. me.... here. ;.........11). is tIllIl ( lIri<li..,i, y
' 0 ",jc<:t mcl arh",ieat ..II i" ", or . ' m)''' ;c,!" ' ..... f<1't!flCC o r "", hum"" to !he divine ;. "hidl ,110 h......n n
I"". n, -I>. " ned ur' " ",I II<' Ihe deil )' (,hi. i , ,110 ",. in ' bni. of " fJi<h ,110
..... ';1 10 ...,ode", n). 1110 in"' l . uf <""""'. !>:Silk. in 1110 ..Jup!;"" ur , hi> vcry ..me: M""ur/l) .i'e
Ma"i",", 1110 , -onf<",,,,, hi",,,,,lf,
., 11UlJ r, JI>.
Copyrighted matenal
... ... " ,"",,' ,"'
... __b. '-.i<I'r 01__.......,.. ..
"" _ 01 __....... ......Iop. ..... ..- _ _
_ .. .,. .... 010 .'C!. ...__
__...... __ ' e , __ or ,-.,..
,.. _. -...""" -_...........---.. ........ -'-
, . ,
..- _ ... _...... ," ..., -*".., _.
'10... _.'......._
__, _" :'-0 .. _ ......... -.1
_ . ''''.'"", __ .... ,- . -.- _ ,....... at 010 de '
,.-. .-- ,,--.- ....... ,......, --..,
4 ,f. .., ... ..-._.........
....... _........ _ol'"- _O'- """""""
I .Jrm_... f-_ . ..,.,. h -'IP' <Jl .......... so. (")til
oIA buIl1t _ .... ......... (..........
.. r- ...-. ........ b.. ._ _ .... .. ...
A __' . _ _ "', _","'__' ... . ......
__,, _ _ " __"''' '-(M-. ''' __
-===:.. - - _.... - p",." . .. -....
.. - _ ,.. '---' --
_ ___... .... _.._._.44_...._.. __
__'-_'_" ._"_M"'
__ __ ..'-,_. .. J"'....
... , _.. , ,'."" --------...-
... __c_ 1'<; ,_
In 520. Leontius tmveled 10 Llvra near krusakm. " flcn: he a1igr>;:d himself
In .53 1. he accomp;:lnied Sl. Sabha\ to Cort'iIanlioople. ", hen: he look pwt in the
ChakeOOni<m f;Qnlmversy. dcfendi-.g ee of the COllllCil of Chakedon. Yet
SabOOs 1",,1<,:11 M)'S "illl him !Ihorlly It-ereafter. llCCUSing him of Origenism. I.eont ius
relumed 10 New Lavm in .538. .. here he bq;an his ceeeer of ll'aloos of
OrtOOdoxy, taking on lite so-caned <lJ"l/hurloj or ' incom.Jpl iblcs.: woo argued lhat
Ol,;,fs hody is as incorruplibk as lI is souL as w",11 as Nestoriar<; and Monophy'siles.
",hd is a philosophically and logically soon! expI:nIion of Ih:: lIlioo of
Chalcedoni3ll Qrtln.loxy
Ilr1Iwing III"" Arislot le' s dislillClion bern-em rllfTll and matter, u:"" l illS describes
O lliS! as -cee in pl.TSOll and dual in nature,lOl As E.R. lIardy explains. till" IDlIltil1S
' cr,,:enl' 'n'l!.' mUl u<ll1lo. in God.' ''' l.eontius is 001 into modalism ht...e. for his
in1<:pn.'\alion of ArislOlk: is U1u:naken in light of Te\lcl.llion rcg.lI'ding the lrue
nature and personhood of Jesus 111risl. ",hich held thal lie must be boIh God and marl if
He is 10 e1fecl our s. al'tll!ion I,eomius 1IIJdm1ands Arisllll le' s ji,..m - nl<l/Ier
ll' al'Pl}'ing to ClOd diffen:fl\ly than it coes 10 all cn:atcd lJcings.. for only God can
,., .... v . l;n,mcl. -1_ de in / Jic,"",,,,, iff M ." ,A,>ii qw II'wio: tqJ4).
Inn.. " . 1'1'. 4l!lJ-l l b: oJ'" '1...... r. ;It,.
,. , I .....;, . I'J' #-17.
, T.....i. r.48
,... E.k 11onl) . CA'i",>i"K:" of I""u f'",It<".r,3Th.
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,.. M;gne, I'U 116.1m " . 1917,. -0.
' 0' T_is.p. 50; d . oho I'(J 1l6. l 219A, 12190. 19178.
properly be tcnned f Cl li,,,,,>.IOl This means thal Goo is not reducible
excllNvcly to eith:r raurc (phwiJ) or person (hupos/illiJ) lU COfCaiTl'l both within
lIimdf _ the bmer in II:rms of ...ivtnality. the Ianer of 1D1ic:u"-ily.1l16 As Tatlkis
Between nature lIIId hypostasis eere i$00 reciprocity: hyposla<i$ is nature, bul lllllure is
punicuiu' . and proper. Coosequen1Iy, hYJlOSl8.'lis allows natlft 10 produce one particular
thing rarher than anocIw:r. Ilypostasis is clLaracto.-riUld II' a rolltion of llIXidml. dlIII
cannot be attributed 10 10 lOmeth;ng else.' '
Penons COOlprising the Trinil)' are 001 panicular aspects or expressions of this etcma.l
The nature of humanity, on the odIcr hand, is ceeed, llIIlI therefore not eternal,
buI immortal (as Aeneas of Gala explained, for For !his reason, the nature of
lunanity is of being ' eIlCllpSlIlaed' (if you will ) in a huposfQ.' is in ..bch
the human nalure bea:Jmes, noI a fo<niabon (hupokeime","') of the hupomnis. but a
the deity participates aiIo in lunar1ity, in a '1r<.lIIs! erence or of IIiItun:s
witID.t or "mixing- (Ile with the <tiler. As Leonti15 hirmdf eJq)lains.
'.. Migne, p(J 8(,. 12&41\. 11ere. .. TOl.n point, out . w<... _i n, l!I< "mmli licolioo of God_
Beinl- wi lh ..... led ;. lI:ol> undontood as panaking of Il<ing by "i n ... or God' , ..";,,j,y IS aealO<' (p.
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lI'iog the _>logy of a Coreh. In .. hjch, so he says, 'iil'l' is made .....oojen and 1" )00
[TIlling. which exchang."J each ocher and ."""fonned. being cooslit,,' <'<l oul of
j umbling and c.. ;n the of many hypo.. la,.e" and ""lures. preserving
prodocing somelhing else .. hid! has <;ORle ink> being OUI of these. y<"I ;' noI lhe """1' as
,he consli1Ul"fll pans. So then i f GodMadand manhood. " """ unil."J do no!
retain ,,"en in til<: un..", the na'ural of eacll, IIcy are It.gcd... .,., and there
n:mai", (;,,<1""00 nul' manhood. bul kind has
f(llTl1cd oul of them and)eI noI lhe same ... lwell a or 5Ullst;,nce] can have no
",al or ..hare in an nchange [of qualities wilh it. priorI. ' "
The human 11OlII ..., is preserved .,.'f1i-aly and C<Ynpletely in the h"f'<A,la,i.. of O1ri5l.
Secoed I'I."T'OJII of , he Tri" ily. it is neither stlbslwcd by God. nor does il produce ",,,,,,her
thaI is 001 itself. bul which eoss ...ithin a hyposta;.is"" In _ formulated
l,co," ill!', the basic idea of "hieh is this; G,-..!s mlln and hl/po"lasis are co-eval and co-
C\lual; the lIlIlure of humanity is ceaed by God. and therefore susceptil>le 10
,MMill"<. rn 86.1)(.... 11. ll anJ) .
,.. ll>id.. 1305. in II""", I'P' 37t>-377_ tr. ....... if><d.
". r-a.... p. Mil""' . 1'( ; lito.12771), 1UlJ,\ 11.
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dm.nscription or encapsul.alioo by God. The Illll...e of God ard the tIwee hupo.<la."u of
the Trinity remain imrnwbIe - only the nalIIe of Iunanity change!., in SO was it is led
up 10 God and dcirJed in the ...d:ha/on.
This is the basic idea informing the esdlaloIogy
of Maximus the Coofcssor, although he adds an extra dimension to tllis schema.
irrvolvingall of nal..e (I'D just lunanity as we shal l soonsee.
lit lie... we m.... ....,.11,1>0 dist;ncIion 1><1''''eo hislOl'ieal for Ihc ..... .N<"'plion
- .he fOrmer invol_ & h"", de-li.. ...., yeaming for <reati... . . i_.ru l iztd in & oulmil\Olim or
hi<luty ond 1"" opening of w av: "r humorK!i...... eo>de,Vot; lbe 1011... mIlK'CS hum ;ty 10 . 1.."" of
the Godhead, e..peci.lly when M!vat i"" i. descrit>td .. . n: <apit"lalion Of
of h"",..;" to lIS(primotd;ol) ......,...;".. .. "" n od ell: .00,..<. I_ion, & "
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Chapter 5: Asceticism. SOIi I. Nature: Basic Concepts in the
Theology of Maximus the Confessor
"1 ' M ..."rld. f ", if II J<,... "''' . 1Kh a dnsth II
_ M.., imus ,"" Conf",.."., Cupi'" ok
Introdud ion.
Maximlti "'85 born in 580 into an aristoemtic COllsl3l1linop:JIitan Famil)'. Early in li Fe he
served as court secretary undo.... Emperor 11t. 'laClius. ret iring ca. 6)0 10 pul!>Ue a n>ooa<lK;
ca""",..l It is likely d.... ng his stint as Ita. he became ocquainted with the
tcochings. iF001 Ill: person, of Slephanus of Alexandria. who had been invited to teach at
the Uniwfsi!y oFCOI'ISIaI1tin"l'le around 610.
The quiet soxlusion of the tnenNK: cloister was so"n inlerruph:d For Maximlfi,
boweve.... " hen the MonoIhel ile coerroversy a-ose in the aftermat h of the publicatioo by
, 2.61, 11". r;. Il<:rtbold. Canfit...".: .';' ''",1 W, iUngJ. p. 51>-
, r.... I hrid ro, detailed ....."'nl of M imus """.....,i< P.M. Ilk"'.... . and
in ,1/,,-,iMN' 2-6,
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palrian:h Serglus of his Eh hesis, in whidl he asserted the Cbistological fmnula:
in nah.tt, me in will ...., act..,I MiWmU'l gJMuaIly cane to the problcmalical
raure of this formulaliun, eventwIly himself in CJAlC6ilioo to SergilL'l'
Eklhe.is lWld the Iv:n:sy il had (Ul",iningly)
Soon the Emperor Cons1anS II published his Tupns. iW1 imperial edict fortJDling
any d&ussion of !he runber of wills or llClivities in Orist Maxim\&, howe'ver, refllSoed
to this edict. and pressed his ca:;e all the way to the imperial coon, thereby
esning for himself !hi: title ' 'Confesou,'' for he eventwIly died fa" his faith. The
him by eu:ting ou: his tongue at the root, aro:I ampullling his right hand. lOr in boIh word
and deed Maximus deferded the Otrislian (aim. as he lDlder.;rood il He died in in
in !hal he sought to all of his statcmcms eittcr in or in the wrili'l;S of the
OnRh F8lhers (preferably both). m;I proge$ive in thai he made use of pagan
phi1o:5oJ*1y (especial ly later NoopIatonism. infiRd as it wes with the of
Ariskltle),' in his 00Id illtemr- to oodify M <.101hoOOlI besed OIl a proper
II. T....., 1'. ' 4,
Sec L Th""bo!J. Ata" aM , If</' e ......".. p. 13 If, ond It U" " '" 11.1_ , Li''''7!Y. pp.
, Scc I.-M. Gonigun, "L'tf>tfgie di_i.... II 11 ""'" diet M.,in>< Ie in 1.1,,,,, 19
PI' Z72-2%; .1"" 1l1l..baJ, aM ,It<' C"" "'" PI' 141_14): ..... ror c:oIle<;lioo of "",y'
deI.oil;". the: """ of Ari"otcli.., phi"",""", in the de...1<>p<Mn' of Neopi lloni"", _ L Sonbji, <d_
An""'" n'O... 110<- Dud_
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M"-, ;no",, the COllf.,.._ i< . theologian of genius, he does no! sec
himself a< inll."l"'-1ing a tradition thal hao; come down 10 him. and intCl'J'l"'ling it for lhe
sake of Olllen,'
II is impurtanl 10 howewi', 1M Ma."im16 approach 10 Scripture differs quite
dra'<licarl y from lh.1I of Origcn even 1t.1lll;h Maximus i5 irdehcd 10 the Alexandrian
e:\(.1-'<:lio.:al tradition. to the ihar he makes use of allegoly and arlab'O&)' in his
c><plicalion of Scriptun:.
The P1llluoism of 0rig<.'t1 k.'I:I the great Alexandrian 10 give preo:dence alw"Y" 10
the .....""' ic signifKAl1lrc": of historical events recorded in Scriplun:. yn he remai ned 1I1 all
the 1;1.'l'lI1. historical rccoor of scripcure a pre-tiguring or typology of fulm:: tn"!1Is.
Ma'<iffil 5. on the U111l.'f hand.. ""pays lillie allenlion 10 lhe literdl record in scripture . .. l ie
corcerarares nnller on ",hat he calls ' the puweT of the lill'l'lll meaning in the spirit ',i} Ie.
hi.,lI>ri...., en 1""'lmIuli J lllkJmi. which is constanlly being n:alin.:d and al>:JUndi-.g into its
full""",,' The I,:ll,., firds its Inoe value ",,,,-'11 it is givi"ll way 10 higher spiritual
This approach 10 l.lrldcNandiog S<.:ripture is also used by Ma'<imus in the
COl1ICmplation of naruml hie (pItu.,it e Ih", jria). for in bulh ScriprurnJ exegesis and nar.... .al
conll'lllpial ioo Ma.'\imus ll."COgIlin:s '1he mkmptive eccnJlt1y concealed within the f'iK'Ji
A. t .....'h.1/"-"",,,-, ,"" C."'I. ...' .... p. 21.
, P.'I1. Ilk"",,,,. b,({<'.i, andSp;' ;'",,/ P.Ja/!"K" Ifill-i ",., ,II. C",,/-,,"". P. .
Ih;d. 1'1'. I 11-1Il.
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of the natural creation and of scriplute....
Here we find the AristotclillliZl.'d
NoopIatonism of Maximus (XlIt1mon 10 hi.<. eta) broughl to bear on Saipturnl exegesis, as
well as naturnI conremplatioo (ph1L,;fri Iheij,';(J), resulting in a concqJIion of history n
which human endeavor and freedom play linle or 00 part; for if the.
=nmy" is already "concealed within
ea;h indivXiual logtJII. tho:n history is little ITIOI'e
than lhe process of gmenuion iniliated by a Prime Mover, ending in te1e0logicai repose.
with linle ()I 00 Iunan contriluion.
we may at last make a finn diSlillClion between a Christian philosopher and
a 5peCulalive thoologian. Origen's use of pagan philosophy was selective and critical, for
I-e was working at a time when Olristianity was fragmenled into \I3rious sects, the most
intel llually dominant, of COOIliC, being the GOOSIK:s. MaKimus, on the Olhoer hand. Wai
thinki ng and writing in a period whm philosophy tuj conr 10 pervade Christian
thought 10 a profO<D;l degree (as we have seen in our discussions of the Three G37NlS,
and Stephanus of A1cxlnIria, for example - nut 10 mention the Cappadocians). While
Origen was lIhIe 10 more or less utili..e Platonic philosophy in the SoSVK:e of
his Olristial specu1aIion, the gJaduaJ rise 10 prominence of Aristotclian philosophy
Maximus' time,n led to distortions of essential tenets of Christian thooIogy,
notlbIy the dynamism of hisloly and the Wlpredietable fn:a.lom of theh\.lTlafl penon. 11
Ibid. P. 13'J.
It lIy the Ii.... of Maxim.... Ariodo' , philooophy hod I>ecomc " """"'" of doctrine in the
now nomina lly ClriI1i.. Acodnny . perlR.-uha1y UntH>i h """,mentarie$ of Eli.. ...J n.,loS, lhe roM h. "
in the _ Iy ChriOl i..im! Academy. Eli ",te commmtaries '"' P"'l'h)'TY, /.l(lgogt...d ""
......101.. C"",K'>'k. and P,iM .-l _ /yfia. Il..id _ '" "" the lo"""gt .oo rompooed a oeria of
pIIilDsophie.-1PI'OIq;oJIl''''', The"'in! hc.d of !be .........., . 11... Eli.. .00 David " .. Slephanus Cwhom
... met ........... ..im....
11 H, U.. voo ....... is vitlu.ll, the oppooil' ooncl., ion. ..-hctIhe wri ,.. "'.. lhe
"IeoIdeo>q to """"", i"" of the penon _"","lIy [i . .. II dynami unpmliOl.hl, fon:<e .. nlO1. ," ond
hi5lofyI m. y 1>0. . ....... from !he d fun Ou think .. '"""""",lIy' , hull i. I..... '" Hr.1no _,Ie or
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As discussed ahove (Cllapler 2), Origm is "",""ially a fOf nOI ollly
IS "" I;-.;Jldry c_'P'lllllding upon the basic tenets of the Ouisl ian faith as W1der.<l"ud in his
lime. l>ut he bas no ....nhorillui "' tr.l<.1ilion upon ",hich 10 drew for guidance. as did
Maxim"... In o.'1f,,'I,.1. eml>.:uled on a tight- rope .... alk. for which he WlIS later
Maximus, bowcve..... lIS an heir to the labors of the
CaPfl'ldocians " ere a Mh.,,- strung f,...ndalion upon ....hich to cm;l a S)'S1emalic theology .
tile io;ka<; of the t'l\1s,," 1\'0 thinkers posed some problems for Maxtrms, as 1a1"....
lho.......>giaJ1S and scholars have f'l'Ct\:" ind. I:'.. von Iv3nl.:a Iw; remarked. of Ma... imus
early A mI>iK"" (etten IaWed as conraininga hrilli;rrt le\'ision of ()rigenkl OOclrine) Illat
NBlUR:, nolol>..-d of the in"", d) . ..... ic o r ii, OW" 1"' '1''""1.1,,,.., f.". II>< .. of.he 1(,,,Io", o r .hel
"'....>fI . d"",,-'fId. in" , I><io, 0 m.ri"nrlle" ' ....f .. ic /.itM'K" . 1'_ 26J l_ Wha, Raith..... j...)in, h.....,.
,<,,,,," , iall). is t"'" n",n"" _ i,c. lhe: Mind. unf""li" , (<>WI: ,Iud . ... in ,he: of p""",t. I>rcal us
rocJ _ ;. ""nil more ,hon ."" '''' If.... on.! ""If....."'" P"",", 1iI.. P...,.I, I .. ,,,,k1 I""f<T ,hal
"0' '''''' I>< ' 0 . "",,,-;,,,,,,,1<'," in '.....II:r ,ha, my freed<"l> m->, be Ih.. arud hy biol",kal or><I
ph) . k . 1r........ '"I><y-.,..j my """"..I, M Po",. ' ", <iI" "
m:d ""I) i. m.... ,I>< r..il." in 'he " ....Id, "'" """'" I!uIt think. l In....,.....,. ,hac .1>< "ni .."..
arm i,,,, lf u, """-"'" him; ""';Oh "f air. d"'l' "f "-01'.,. ..... ........,tI ... kill him. '1' <1, ir II>< All
oho.",k1 "",.h him. m..... ,...Id " ill I>< ooj.la-lh.n 'hoi " -hi, II dc>ln' Y' him: fn, I>< kno... ,h'l l><
II< k..n.. . thottll< "ni"" i . than be, ....t tl>< uni, ...... k""..... ",.. of
1/',.",".. fro347.
" A. di",,,..,.;!. ... "as ",...';n,. in I"", port. 'u ,I>< """"i>lK:ot<d .)>I. m, "f (;",,,, io
t.."" k"..... like n..iliJ.... and V.kntin".. <Rd.:..-....i". '0 I""il y.' . m of hi. ,,"n. in ...",'ra>I'o ,I><
or ,I>< O",,,, i,,, , M"im ron' b . " as ' l1""'plin, '0 d.... U(lOII . "_or ""hod<>. tlloolon .
",itll til< i "';.", or .""',,"lin, I>< in 1!uI, ....... ""'....,"" f'lflh in .1>< r.rti" ....1or <ally IIp anti....
intdb.' lism.
" L '-on .. ...k ..'M /.r i,,,Mjft 49 ( 1956k" 411.
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A> _<, (1lopo:t< J "'" _ .... P'J<N>- Ilu>r* -"
_ 0( ' _ - ...._ .. "'"" d "" _ y" ..
...... __ ol _ IiI<I)' _ _ <111.-.:11
i ., - __
..II-._."'_......... __......
_ lor ... _ _ .., -. ... C...,.. ,. _
_ ... _ .. S. ..... IIino
b _ .... ,_ "" ..-:.c.- ......__ .. ",'-
d (Jo<l __.. _ """,, .-1 _ __.. -.
--_S...- pmlIb .-l _ ond ill ... _
II<t< ... _ .. """....., ",.,..,. _ .....,. -.I ....- of
.... .....' 0( ,.h.,Il ....... _ ....."' ...., .. .IIowlII>.
po.. .>010.1.,., ,II> _ p/no< mom ( , _ IUlf n.. hJmin
...... ..t Df un.l<.-.Jrc ..,... -. of (;00, '" ""
__ ihoI It>< -,.,. of __ -.II .........tJ<a ..,. _ . ....
_ _ -.l __'"
__"C_. lJ
which for this vt'f)' reason. CXCt'M' simple. hisl<ri:::al llo.rrll.liJy. !he of "hidl
is coofined strK,.11y 10 the leml"-.al. as Ilahllaolar 10 explaill, for

a!l lhing'! """",hie """h Oilier in al least this thal II<)f"oI,: of them i. the Oilier. each
or them is the I'e't; diff........,., is con"ilUli "" and delinit;"" of being' (diuph'>r"
.".Ita/IM A<li uf'I",,.i. Ikll for this limilalion also to imply a positive f"..,dllion for
being. it "JaY noI simply be imposed from withQut; it must flo" from the actual being
"",If. as irs efircr and il3 dcti<>;,ion. By its adivity. finite lx-ing dcljJlC:'l (li."",11y; de-
tines) ;1""l f. Natural freedom cannol be established any more deeply !han in this
"",,, logy of (,nM ""ing. Man. 111m. certainly s ingle &=bn of willing. hut
l""Ciwly in, ,,f..- ... "" i. no! . imply ingle hyJ'05lil-, is but also a s ingle ....t"'" " <II '
",ul<.. mum .. ia" l."
\\Ilia. lbhhasar is <,tatinS h<.-re is Iha1, acconIing 10 the hunan hei'\\.
' roll i ties' hiSl1Jer <mn l>y ' d Teding' ard ' defining' il. So the aL1ivity of the
p'......Jll is oow relall.'Il 5lriI.11y to temporality, noI to the Clcmity of the union of divine a1d
lunan natures in Jesus Cluist. ,he God-men; fOr. as BalIhasar admits. humall being:>""" ill
!>ingk: h),'poolasis " ilh ill single MUll:, "hcreas Christ is ill single h)'Jl<lSl.lsis "illl ill J ,<dI
""'lIf\:. This, of is It.: ""'ic definition of C1Jak:edonian Or1llo.:<Iol<y. )'d in !his
ronlCM it is pb.:cd in sevke or ill ClYisl<llogy and anll"ropo:.>log.v ",hid.. undt.... lhe
infho.:n;:e of the N<:qJIalonism of Phx:lus and his scl1ool. carne 10 define
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'" 1<Iool<.,. <Jllu_ 160 ....... ... fA_ d "" (...- . 1<1<. "..,. ........
"- _0_. .. __ __...
..__.. ..... _............ --
<Jl"' " _ _ _ _ <Jl."""
.. __., __io _ _ _ fll_ .. _''''. '' ".,__
.... , .... -.. .. . <11 ........... _.....,.
<If. kchor __ ... ,_
_ _ ..... .. "'-'O<Jl ... _ ..
( ....... ........... _
l"o< "" of ' .ooytb .... __< .....,.,...... of .....
_ IfIJ<c"l 'tl _v4 _ . """' ....not. "'" .. _ ..
.... .._ bd'<n .... _ "" -. __,_", of all
..............._- ...- .. _.-.....- -..
_ ... ...-<11 _-..1. ..
"-,.. "".... __,.... h.-_ ..
.., lJ-
Here, plainly, the OOIure of human e:dSlenlS is reveajed as ' SllpCll:SSCIlIially' divire - lhe
in lcnns of 311 hi<:rard\y in "hich certain llttrihulcs of the such as
.... ill and act. are suh..,rdinatoo to an over-arching (<M:F_arH...J. ing) pn:-:;ence of God as
ahsnllne n...x1i31CO". 11 is Ill"" l illie 10 examine UJe lR.'dical doctrines of Ma.ximus . for ""
have alreaoJy revealed their fourdation - i.e., the reducibility "I hu",an tid
' " JI>'i"../ 1II1<.' l i o",
In Book VII of his R,,!,,lhlk:, Plato oc"Sl;ribes the sour s ecstatic ....1S1OIl of the Good
\\as so I!J'Cl'l. acconlinl! tu 1' 1310. 1....1 this soul had 10 be compelled fi>rr:ed, to descend
O....'e again into the C3"C of human ignorance in order 10 share its of this Guod
";111 its fellow C";SlCflls. This soul that """ seen the Gc. nl, accortling to PIa1o. is ",onhy
of ruling as a "phikN-.pOer king." for as he in order for the soulic aIIa;n a vision
of the Good. it mter tecore like unto that which it vie\\'S.l l Hln how does Plato
concei ve of this vision? Whal effect docs it have soul?
'" I hi. ph<a'C ""curs "' R,'p. VI. Sll'lh. ar.J prepa",' ' 110 ""Icr f,.. ,be: of tll< <aH and ,""
di""""i.... k>l l....i", lh.:, d " "" in 110<.... VII .
" VII. ",.,.. , 1W.
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In the Phoedo, the great phi\osophef clearly descrila philo""phy as a "practice
for dealh, Ie., the pmon who el1gl1l;eS in the philosophical disciplillC does 50 with the
inlention of ftom the world of Ilesh, into a pure realm of intellcd, where 110
bodily hilidli lli o;:es the mind (nolLJ) fn:m exercising its divine power?2 Two
dominant It1t.'1apIlors are employed by Plato in order 10 describe the Good beyond Being.
and the philosophical "'p'aclice for deaIh. For the lirst, he urilizes the meIaflhor of liglt,
in the so- called "1rn of Rep. VI (50Sa-b IT.). In the latter, he draws upoo the
myth of the GlllJ,ICI,l'; (Rep. X. 6I1c-6128 f.), who is encnNed with the rime of
the ocean. his IrUe fonn obscured. The con: lusion, as tmdI.'fSlOOd by later folkMrn; of
Pllllo, is Ihat in order to achieve a vision of the nodi: the soul must shed the
encJU\l3Im of bodily existence and rise. poJe and undefiJed. 10 a life of intelltual
It is in ligl1t of these ccnbaI themes of PIablism lhal the fol lowing from
Maximus' s early, asccticlll eeense Cup/la de carlfule (""Four Centuries on Love') are
properly llIIderstood.
When in the full ardor of ils love fur God the mind goes out of """If, then it ha!I 00
pm:qllion all either of itself or of ..y crearures. For illuminaled by the di"ine-
aod "fmite light (apt'irou pM/osJ. it """,,im memible 10 chat is made by him.
j ust as the ptl}'sical eye has no sensation of the stan when the wn has ri_. "
" p""ntQ 6404><1 If,
" C"Pi'" '" al.it",. 1.10. .... 1lcnbokl,
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mind which d... 00 the heighls "f l'f3}er separalcd from the thoughts " f lhe world. f or if
it docs Il<lI d ie Wl:h a death it """"'II he and ....hen: God i.."
JIM as in l'Iala. lhe created onIcr and ooe's fellow are tOrg<.lllen in the e<;5latic
of tlte lrar\li(;end.:11lal source of all Being; ok.llh i:s undt...,;kx.J not as an evil. but as
the prup." goo! of 1he enlightened soul. As Plato stales. '"the soul of the pIli1osoJiter most
disdJi ns the body. flees from it and seeks to be by jtself....l
simil;wly looks
fillV<nnJ to tlte exal talion of ",,'('I' irKlividuality, wben lhe soul. h.:'OOming like the
from earthly to
Balthasar. lJ;w, e>ler, ,n hi, of Ma."irnus' conceplioll of lite
= hatok'l;ical relat ionship ho.1""-11 (he vaeocs /''K'' ; and !he on<: Logos.n as. ....res his
rceoer lhal '1here is no reduction ill 1he se-se of II dissolllliou [of beilJl:1.S ;11 the
hul ralher lhe ' UI1COl1fuscd union' ( Iwm;" ;,5 atlm.tulm) of !he O'l'istian IIIOC>1ogy
of the Incarnation and of Iunan cent<:n:<l on 0Ti'it....l
Yet. as we have seen,
exislL.... in lempomlity, oot in relation 10 elcmity, the will of en.! i:s A
nb'Ol'OtlS sense or hur'naJl.olivine co-operation - understood by Origen as in\oOlving the
"n"L 2,62,lr, O. IIo. 'f1"'.w,
, . Ph<u Jo. lr. ( iM,iI . Gmt.<. inj ,M. c..""". <d. t p. 51.
,. <k ,... li<rtho>ld
" TIl< I"/Wi ", fn> I" '''''0'<'<1 ,..", 1... h"rnon .. and ,he l .oil'" nf c"""". ,,, ( ' hri<l in ",hom.n
h,,"''''' ",,,,I, d"cll, l he N-ic c"","' p1 of ,IN: " f .'i'!ing .., ;..ing in , he ", i l
"f ,,,c. I>.d I" ,"" Mi,Jd lo: P1a..", i<: rhilos"ph,:, EI><Ioru> or AI",.....Jria, " .... inn"""""" PI",in", a....
la,"' in iIIi' "' gord.
o U. lIh_ . ( ......." . 1.""'1(,.. p. 121>.
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' 53
of an indetermiRale hisby chat is the result of fl'l'e acts of IuTw1 souls -
becomes, in MaximlB, simply a series of fumbles Md fal se SUftS, leadi!\! event\IIlIly to
human de:spilir and the ronseqlll:!ll (and necessary) unquestioning of God' ,
[Tllle invent ;... power of man, whioch in the Ii..... p'*'" is due 10 hi. rational COIISlitution,
engages itself in a false search for f""",, of lB""ion, irresistibly ending up in
despair thai is at the ""'"" time the dead end of nillllld thus the necessary roodition
for an of God in the Incarnation,'"
The SO\icreigl1ty and nobil ity of the htmal a:t, \Oohich Origen lDlderstood as the greeiest
gift of God to lIis ceeco, in the form of absoh.tc !Tee will is absent in Maximus., who
Adam to have fallt:n into sin fiom the Vl:I)' nx.nenl of his <,:mtlion. Th'" low
esIimalioo of the w1ue of lunarl fm:dom in relation to God leads Maximcs 10 aOOpt lhe
a1rnosl pmlestilllll'iaf?O view !hat ""1ht: incamIionaI 5Cheme of [was) prepered
fur man a1mtdy his faiL""
l his certraI Ihi.me in Maxirnuo; is explicitly rn'aIIed in his doctrine lhat the
purpo$e of Goofs ereation was the effecting of His lllCimlllion or, to put in another way.
thai thelllClllf\3l.ion ofOnist woold haveoccered whethcf or not Illmanily fdt inro sin.
.. Thunt>era. ,,"<1 tM Co....... P. ' 9.
.. See M......... Ciklpu.. <Hf 2.24. ......... M""jm... nH1rtiot:"tM: _ ot
in himselfl/lroua<h Iho i nama1;"" .. man ...... r"'ln (Ir. EIenb<>Id. p. 1'21
" n,,,,,herJ! . ,,"" ,It.< C"".,"" pp. N-60; cf. olIOM...im.... Q-.._.<MI ... M.
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fall. 001 i. in fao.1 ir...,l f the: law of Gnd', p,,", in n:og...d I" man and the created world.
Mil,im.... emphasizes wry thai God " il ls <;OI1tinually 10 male IIil11Sl:1f ino;amalC.
IIfl<l the full is til.... ooly . rctanIing.nd ...pplemenlary fOCl or in 10 this gmll and
(1':01al plao" r ' he Triull<' God."
flow di lTen:nI this conception is from thai of Uri.,.'!\. for ",hom .he Fall res we have St. ... 'I1)
""""k-d '0the human soul. I I>.:licvc thai il is now quire clear that "'taximus' view of
OClivily to divi"" wi lt to th" ""' e'l1l lhll:! h..nanity is In'nlIni ... """"'ya funct ion of Ih"
G.,..u-,cad, "00 1.1. :. llis (or the purpoo,;e of I lis ownso:lfaetualizalion.
In his early ascc1ical tn:aIr.: C,lpila de <'uri /ale, Ma, imuo; make'S use of a ietm
1Il:11 had. tly his lime. acquired a technical philosophical sil!J1iflC.'IllCe. Tbe ICIm IS
usually trdflSlaled as M3pliltde.. or "stIil:Jbiliry: ,ll l h is li,nn occ.... in
COI11ll..'Cli"n ", jIll c.:nain C\.'Il1rJI dcsigMtiuns and oonccpIS of Maximus such as d-.e
distinction of ' 'l1o. -ing - '-dl- hcing - \:lema! lleing" (10 e;",,; i al eu ""nu; hli
ud ";/kll). lIld the faulhy" or -m.:ulty of wile' (g".nnilci epiliJ.:iQl.!/I) .l. 1'he
" a...J Ca,'.w .. " 14,
" S G. Sho\o.. P. IU. n"tt 4
... M. , ....... ( "P'w.kcm"iw " lll.13. l.ll. Ir, Iknho>kl. p, /04 ,
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oil< _ GDJ II -. _ <\\ b<qI ,..- II __II ol'_ ll<qo II
.. _..tp:tWl_.._ ., _<Jl(;..JII -.."
__... .. GDJ ._... "' . b_'. .....".... -.1 _ ..... ..
.-.. ., __' of _ _ ..- _
___ oil _ ... _ .,., .... II l .{fIo '" _ flj<oQ _
........ .. .... ".._111 . _
...-... _._........ ... _ _..,.
__ r..... _ I-I ..,_ ... _ -. ..
'"'" - II """'"' . . .... .. .. II ........ _
............... n.._.. Gool, ... .. _1onI.
__ II ' .bdo:ooPaI ... Iol'-. ... ......... ' .. _ ... _ ..
'''';' .... ., ". ...... ,",,' 10k" '" Moo..... __for _ "" ..u'" Ih<
............ o>f. __io _ ...' l ",..., h "" ......... _ ,"
_ _ .. c__...
r _ C_ . -.U.._ . ..
all-rcrvadillJ:; pt'N.'flCe of God. As Ma.'im"" writes, using the of
food"(employed also b>-
When Ithe SOll ij rece,ves through this food elcmal ble5sOOl1t."SS ind" cUing in it
mind and '"""" ar>d willi them ,he ml1 u131 .... of the which l>eoorne Godl ike
fo rth Ihr"" l:h "0")' ami _' Old "'hen IlN'ir tl<llurul ure ''''ns.-em/cd in
(If ,da.t. . F,. the I'lop<>se of heaven is the untroubled and d}'namic
allow 1liNiIlb>e hum Ma.\ imus. I f.'lil to see how any<>ne could l'O"'ibly anrl the
quilc dcarl)", !hat !he ''T\a1uml fealures- of the soul are '1mnsccndo.'d- and lhal (lilly God
is in "OVClwhehning gkll)'.- I" this eso;halol" l:\icaI Slate the soul CCllSCS 10 be an
act<r, CJR.l has 1:>.. 'COITIl" all in all fulfi lling His desire 10 lIL:tualit.e Himself inll/woogll the
In<:amal ion In the Iasl arol) sis. t11l.'l'\, I beljeve it is oom:ct 10 illlerprel Maxim16'
asceticism as a pR.'fWlIIion of the soul I" be filled by God and to 105e. in the process, its
8U1l...,1l;.., oolure as c""'lcd. self-movingsubslance.
,.. II<""iI><:. 2.1 1.7.
.. Ma'imo..... 0"'1'1<'" 2.RlI. u. llertt.>Id - ml ...i.,
.. 1""""'Id .11"" ..... ( "" .fr" "': S<l1".",J Il'r;,i"l1"- p. Illfl. un
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[ cannoI help drawing. in coodl15ion, a oompllison berceen Maximus' ascetkal
doctrine and the theurgical doctrine of the pagan Nc:qtIalRlis( lamblicluB. As G. Shaw
lk actions performed in a IhctJrgic rile the uga of the gods actualized by an
embodied soul Participation in !hi. action depended enIirel)' on the soul' s ' suitability'
as an organon of the gods; &om thewgic perspective, the embodiedsoul
For Maximlfi. ascelici!m involves, firsl of the aIlairmcnl of the "ap;ituic"
("pi/ide/(Jlb ) to do divine wods ''X<! ); these works are intended to lead !he soel upward
to God, where, during salvation in the eJi halOtl. the soul be<.:ome$ a n:cepta<:le
(hupoJoihi) of the divine liglt. l One may describe this fi nal stale of the SOIlI &<; Ihrosis,
a ' casting ofT of W<r\dy things lOr di vine,' etc. Yet in the \a<;t lWIlIIysis the loss of the
sour s lIulooomy as a unique. entity cannot be escaped: it is a conclusion
following recessarijy upon the doctrinal fuundation estabIMcd by Ma'limuo; in his ...n
- i.e., thal God' s purpose in creacing humanity wasso thai He may become Incarnate
., G. Shaw. 17...'/0' o",, 'M So"I; T1w HropIat""i. ... a/I".. Wklo. .. p. M.
., M..imu&, My."'RoIti<l 2. 19 fI: - .. ferringlOlbe Ii.... ""- !he _I "will taI<. on, by the
chongo inlo ;"""""I'Iion. poleI><}' ......... illld. 10 r=;..., God ', rominl llil<pOJo.llr.'lI ptlronia. ' MOil ...
{ll. (l.c. 1lmhoId, p.
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GiVl"l1 this oh.1riml I" o"da" on of Maximus, ...hal is the ontological status " f the soul. as
ul1llt.'NOIlll in his Chrislian d1\:l.llogy? In hi'> lreali!le ('QllCeming Ihe Soul," Maximus
rejects OOlh !he PlalooK: and Ori l,. 'eIli>tic idea that all souls pre-existed with die Godhead
before .... imo malcrial exlsrc nce. as _II as AriSlOlIe' s theory thal die intclleclual
focuky "fthe soul ..) enters the alter cooct'JlI:ion.l l Rather, MaximllS 3f'.llCd. in
this In:<Jtise. thirt -ee consI.it..-i"" e lemenls of rn.nan ""'un: come into h:i ng
united from the fust loomcnt of con;:ep(ion. These ek. 'll1ClllS
are the body, made for sensing. and tile rational soul... It is clear d13l MaximllS sees
temporal existence as essentially d ichotomous; for if both soul and body suhsi st equi-
primon.!ialty, then both ,lie limil31ion of die body, ",Ill ti le Clt....13I dyMmic st ri...ing o f the
soul ""ill be respcooed 10. equal ly, by GOO. Vel ""hal occurs in tile developed thoughl of
its SOI.IW, but mtht.'f a subsumpliun o f the troublesome 'irregularity' o f human I1IIturc by
Ihe perfL'Ct f\.'guJarity ("'llulalioo) of die Godhead.
Mvc.i1TlllS recogni=! tine ' modes' of .... 1i...ity in tile soul : the ralional (fogi,"ike),
al"'f'll'1ilive (epilhumelikh arlll willful ( fh" mike). ...cr, unlike other philo'iopl'orn;
(1).1Ih pagan and ChriSl ian) ,, 110 held 11131 the soul is composed of throe disti","' parts,
.. T. ..io ha. Ihi, .",ati.... .he only ...0<1< by M. xim", lb., ".,on be """,iden:d 'not}'
phit"" 'l' hi"at- lB." unli p. 54). I Ji<aj:_ " ith lhi, ....<SrnefIL <p<..,ifieolty in lirJM of t""
.4Mhill:"u. "'p. 7 and 10 "'. 11 a,; the "" ""ruin """Ii""" of "hi<h ",,"od ,..her
PI04inian'one: (esp. 1.1 121.
.. Ansl"'k. IN .... uni .." IiMM7.w..2728.
.. T",o/;i>. /'h,i",uph" ,. p, 57.
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MMimus argued that M/ngru. epilhumia. and IhllmO$ 1ft flll:tllties. or difTCRfIl activities
make a distinction between ru and mind tJow"), that the
sooI is the ooifled activity of rea'iOI1 md !leJlSlllioo. ..nile mind is "the aI which
ineffable lTWIIlel':.' This oocetoe of !he sooI is the besis upon whidl Maximus
<kvt'1op:d his a'lCdic doctrine. for the ineffable ooion of the pnly mrionaI sooI with
God isUIIdcrnood lIS the goal toward which the soul aspil\'$. As Talakis exp/ailE
This aspiralion to an uistence lIlat supenedes knowing is """" !han method for 11M:
acquisition of truth; il i. beslllfIdentood ... .. lI!Cdicism, perfection of life. """'" and
ph'''''''''P''ical rule thai can be labeled with. modem word. Exls/entialis......
between kno....ing and being, in which the former is UldelSlOOd lIS preparalion few the
laller, tIYnu;,:h ascetical \\ourls and the acquisition of knowledge tt.oog!l faith, de.so l k
oft-repeated motto of Existential ism. -extseoce p'e=les (:SS(llce," is recognizable hen-
in tbe ides thai onl'" know\c:dge $:PJr;"Is. lDierstoOO in the Evagrian sense of a praynM
intuitive "'>po....... to reality) prepares one for the acquisition of being.
" lbO!; Mipe, PG 90. 61(1(.
" Ibid
1I>id.. p. 59.
.. Mipc:, I"G 90. IJ9JA; T... U. , pp. , ... "'.
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_ .......... <Jl __, .,,_ _ ,
., --.. ._._-'-' - .... .. --- ... , ._-.
_ ...... . _ -.I< <Jl _ __. ... ., _ __
_ ., ..... _ .. ............ . ' -,.. _ i ii,.
----_ -. .
1Idol* ........ __-...*_<Jl ........ __
-.I _ .. . . , -.. b il ..-oril;' _ , . ._1_
- i i 'i,<I.,...-., .. . _ <Jl .....,.... .. __
bc _ .. __ :5_.. _-. <Jl_,. __ io ...
......,.. .......-.,..-.I.......
'" "" .....,... -...., Ma_ """""""" <Jl "" oouI
rh'oJd; f "'" ........" of -..,. 10M: in "'"
kwo <Jl t><-. S , !lcfdya<", h., (1npI bit lwn. ""
__. n.. __* _ _. .. .... _ .._
(;",,1...- _III< _ . r.n-'<f _ ." ....,..__ '" _ "'"
It>< ......... _ ... GOO ....-.. _ ....... _ "",,",_ .1<>-.1 of
_..... ..-....-.
.... _-
""" " '
.,__.. - 01__- _ ....
_ . ........ _ .. _ .... __....__.......... <1
.... _ ..... <1 ... . ... . _ ....... .......,. __
_.._._-"'-_.,.,_.. ..
011 ..._, .... _ ...,._.... __._
...... -.. 0..,-... j
01 ... _ . __-..,. ....
.. _-.,." ... _----
.... II< .- of '" (.-.- _ Guo! -.I __ 01<
..... _ ................. ... __.....
"" _ "" C..- ""' "" C_. By ..-.. tho< GuJ .
_ . buI Ii< ,,' ''' tIoo ' . , E...- lit __i< . ... _
N_ ( _ J-o_. "
N.. ._. _ ...... . 1_ .........
declan: " 1 am- (eg,; This dcclara1ion of selfhood. .... hen madc by the human
nlalt.s the of the c=tive ego. aOO il is in Ihis that the J1"f'"J'1 mosl
closely rcscmbks God, and conforms to His - image and likLTICSS.,- for it is in our
creativity that ....e [Host resemble our Crcaroe,
:"i l lu re.
l l le ultimate lJlIIl'USC aOO inlL'I1Iion of Maxim.., ' concepl of the so" l and the ascetic life i
explained by A. Louthas
!Tlhl'l,)lJgh 31Xornplishing all thf" Slag\"! of the spiritual life, !he human penon achieves,
n<'II ' impl)' .... ion wilh (Oed hut aka fulti ll. what io the ......'I1tially human rol< of heinll
the nalll1'11l brood of all !>eng. dl3",ing tile whole =ted order into harmony ,,'jlh ;!self.
and ""'0 union ... God "
I k.", ,, 0: encounter It s"r' of human-divine oo-op<.'tlllion. or It -rcctpeoclry" (as Thllllb<.-rg
would say) between God and humanity. Yel there is 00 cre:.ltivc dynamic at \Om here.
merely It filllClioning of the human hcing in relalion 10 an alnaly divine ooiL-r.
Tbe la';k of our existence is not, as in Origen conceivtd as It call to creative existence in
response to divine hut is rnm..'f Ulldcl"Slood as ilMllving an ontok\;ical
impcrnlive to raise all of natllrC til' 10 stalic unkwl with God. WAl"I1 the glorious
.. r. ): 14; cr. . 1,., J,olIn J""" <k<:11lmI: " lid "'" At>noIwm .. .." I ...' Iqri r

" I .' ",'h. ('nn/i'''''''l'_73.
Copyrighted ma'-lrial
~ ._......... _ .... ~ _ _ ..... io
., _ of _ "" .. oIrft--. _ . .. .. ......_ of .. .-01 Mol
.........,..- . ..-. __", _.. a_ ...-.. "io_
------ ....
.... ~ ... ~ _ __ I_ ""' -. - -
-_-.1- .. .. _ -,.._...
= :
.. ...- II< 'M.'. __
'" IiI<..- .. . -.....
- _ - . . ~ ~ ........... _ - . ~ _ . ~ .
- - - ' 1M _ _ '"' _"'..-. ... -"' . ...
, t
""" ....,. Il<IlIIII .-. ..... ........ u...-
___ _ <If.., ,.,... ........ ..... _ . -..pW ,.-... _
_ L. ~ ...- .. ........ ' Tbt __ >Rl
""- ......... _'"" _d'" 011_ 1_ '" .._ ~ onI ..... -
_ ,,,.... ""'" or"'*' "'" of ~ w.. _ . ... '" _ '....h, ~ """
.-. ..J -.... _ ............. (;o.l l.t-......-I'1. -'" '" "'""
--_.._-_._ _ ._......"..-.0:,
.. ... -..._.......,,-'" "....
. ..... *'
nalure (phu<;s) as a SCJfI of foo.-c or power undt."f which IumM souls l1OOr. due 10 their
For weh is nature. ponishing as much lhoosc ... ho are <d t.... "",""pi it. 8'llho<c: ,,110 10
li"e contrary \(I n"lUre. who;> d" "01 acquire the whok: power of naru", naturally. and
cause its soundlle'5S 10 dt.1eorioralc. ood are fn 10 be I"'nisl>ed. since they
tho,l\Ighlkssly and mindb<ly pro'o' ide tho:m...,l"es wi lli a defK;icncy of being thei,
inclination IOWan!<; "'......!>eiog. "
11 is precisely the fear of Jar-;ing inlO or death tim <.:alt.'leS human beings 10
velue hiological pn;>cmI1ioo hcyond all '="Yl, lIS Maxim"" n:<:otP'i<=. lhis is a positive
aspect of his thougJrt, for it speaks I10l only 10 our environmental aro.l
<:oo<:allS. in " l,icll I...mm ovttp"pulat ion is an """""'P""'C"- probl= . but abo
to II crisis of pcr;onalism _ i.c., .. hen parent'l dt.'YOlc their live:l to the rearing of chiklren
whe.>. wflcn grwon "ill rear yd ITI<ln' children. ad infinilUm. due 10 the w lue 5)151<'111
bestowed upon " ,ildren by their purenrs. in which biological procreation is regarded as 11
vinue. In this silumion. so prevakm in contempornry oocio:ly, the raising of childrm is
J'l'3ised as lUI end in ",itl! no questions eva" being 13M! the intellectual
co- creative do:\<cloplll<.'111 of the individual parents es persoll' indepl.'I1<It,.'Il\ of their
Ma.,ymll'; f'l'<::l' ill.'S the conneclioo between iolellectual imm"hrity ;nj the
oll5O:5,_kll1 " nil biological otI<;pri"l ""en I-.: "rites:
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....... __olk<._ lor .. ""_ of ..... boJooo. ...... ... _
A.IloI,... ........ _ ... _, _
_.. _-_.. _... .. -...........,
.., ..., .........---"'.... .._... __.

_____010<>_' ' i .. __
.--- ....-.'-,.,- .._--.....
___... __ ,._01
_.... ... _... ..,. ._---"._---
"'... .. ...... .--- ........ ..
_ .. -. -.... ...,.. _ ..._ of __k.-,..l- n. ...
--'" - .-, -tdIy v.. _ ..... ..,. ...
:::'; _ _ .. __ "," _ -.I.
_of __. ,, ....... ... .-_
...... b """. ....__ .. .... .. .. ........... -.I _ .... d ....
.. ............ -... ... .. _ .. -.0 ......... ....,. ..... ..,. .....
-C_*._lJII.. _
" _ c_ o.-p. _
disarce Iium it than involvcmcnl in II
Maximus considers sexwliry as
the fi rst in the return or re<;apilulation of humanity lO\'oard God,61 for sex is D
uni flCalion of two p<n<M"" in "hi.;h is sounded a kdi.'i\aI" "'eak ecto of the love of
God: ....
This positive -'Cl of sexuality, i.... a turning of the soul toward God. is noI
Iocalc'd by Maximus in rre tmnscendL'I1 passion of n.o peqlIe in love; .-dlller, it is located
"in the disgust lhaJ: folkm-s and 1hal oblilcm1es the whole SIaIe of mind thai has b'one
before.'''' ' In oIh.., wonk, the sool IlJl1lS Iowan.! God, acmrding to Maximus, ooly ",tJeO
Ma"imus <.Jewading human expcricoce in faYOl" of an escape to the divine. in
which personal desires. loves, rclmionships. are subsl.-ned by the Godhead as
ti...;1;0115 of the divillc "ill. The pI.'l'SOl1Ill union of a ITWI and woman in love is oct of
paramount - or even mil..... - iTponance for Ma'l.imus. only the exercise of the human
soul's divinely ordaint.'d r.....1ion as "II.... world' , naluraI mcdill/<r with God (l'hu..iA<'s
The nobIc D'fJ'."Ct of the so" r s rnediatioo between God and Ilis cn:alion is the
ecological concern for the pR.'Sel'Vation of the created order, and the respo:d such II
COI1C<."ITl for 1J()I).1un;fl life. Ma\irnus' desire to sec the entire created order
raised 1-" to divinity ise.'. 'rnp/iflOO in his following staIemenl aboulanimals.
" M",;",.... ,:,,1,11, l<l +1'1("1) ; 1I. llhaur. p, 199.
, I " 'Ilh, ,I t" " r,,,..,J>. p, 1Il1r.
.. In 1)< lJi . ,\',,,,,. 4. 2t 1,\.(; llollh...... p, 100.
, Ip;.lIl. 111 b17( ; lloltho._ . p, 1Y7.
" U. llh_ . I'I' , I<,I9. 2"') ,
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[Ilf we approach [animals) in a ml ional way we shall fled a trace of the in
them which is a 001 UIlwonhy imitalion of what is above tea'lOO. f or if we look at those
that naturally care for thei, oflSpring. we are encouragrd to dtf_ for
rcvnenIly and wilh godly boldness \hat God exercises providence in hi. sovereign
uni'l"""'tU all beings .."
Animals' imitalion of whlll is -eoove reeson'' is ITOOf of !heir roooxtkll1 with the highest
reality, yet no one "OO1d ahnil lhat the JmR of animals is equal to tift of ho.RJwlity. fa
hlftlaR'l possess, es Maximus himself admitted, a faculty of tt.uugI1 ",hieh a
distinction between Ihe sen;ible and Ihe intelligible is p:.ssible, for the perpose of guiding
the lunan soul toward the proper mode of existence _ or not. For humans. unlike
animals, have the ability to rebel agal nsl God; lWlimais have unly ttrir God- gi-. instinct
It is the Iunan freedoo1 10 challenge God that qualifies US lIS mediaIor.; between God and
His crtalion ... or aI least it should. Jest we Iap;c into a futalistic l:OfICeJlIion of h.ananlty
lIS a pre- dctermined nacure scheduled by God fora certain history.
Unfortumldy, this is, in the b;r analysis, the of hlnlmity and histOl)'
held by MMimus, as the following passage clcarly ilIUSlJ1lleS:
God, as knew how. completed the primary principb (/0.'101) of creatures and tile
univm.al essences of beings CJIIC(: for all. Yet he is Iti ll at work, not ooly preserving
these cualUres in t!>eif f o rim,,) but effCCling the f(O'1t\8lion. un<!
iIIISIeIIlInCe of Ihe patU \hal lft potmtial withi n !hem. Even now in his
providence he is bringing abouIlhe _ imilalion of pIV1iculan to univenals until he might
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clru/ll,.., . ''''",. wI/um"", i"",filttJ/;,m10 m"re "ni""I.luI 'W'ltlul rw;'.d pJe"f
ell "'nm). and male the." ham,..nious and ..,If-moving in relation to one lIOOIhcr and to
the '"hok I" Ihi. "'ay therr , /rail M "" ;",,,n/;OII<1I di,...,!. ",,,,:e ""'K' een
" ni l fT.uf., "nd ""rl;cuIUI. . Rathcr, one and the same prineip,," shall be oo,en iable
lhroughoul tho: uniwrse. ,,,.Imining of no difTo:n:rlt ialkJl1 by Ille indi vidual """'""
elTe<.1 ive to <J.,j1) the
semeoces qoceed above. Yel this Clllire passage is evidence of his favori ng of univt'Nl!
<'I<.'mII di,-inily, it amounts to the """''' thing. l lowever, as Bkm...... and Wilken
of the cosmos as a "hole. MIL,im", rresuf'IlOSC'S here. as lhat hi: ""'L'R.'OO1il\:
of -,nt,,,,,ima) 1):'/<;IIII.i Jiar/mlu). the sclf-ccm..TCd dd ibcra1ive movement
of Cn:<d"",,,- will he ""fUi,itc 10 the n:stornliooof all to !he Cmdor.....
In his ;real 10 c" p"'in lhe condilioo> of hul1lll1i!y's n. 1lffl 10 union wilh God.
MaxilllU' ended up ("..grading 10 a mere fllllctioo of ue Godhead human;1y' s Iflllp;:
T13l un: and will. and in dlis he p;rtOO frum the philosophy of
.. Q-'"0..... "" ""'louiN'" 7:' I ... P.M, 111<.......... R.I. - m) ......('111....,
.. Il k....... . ...... ( lor ,10< C"" .. k ,II.," , 'J' .of.h,'N' ('!lTi...- .'i<!f,nJ "";'i,,/:, /1'<- .\<. Af<t., ;.....
,'" ('_ k,,,,,_p. lOU. "",. 3.
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' 69
Origen We ..i ll oow proceed with a discussion of Maximl,l';' so-caned revision of
r i g l f ~ tInJght.
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Chapter 6:
Correcting the Myth
MaxinrJls the
Confessor s Revisi on ol 0rige,,(ism}
_... ... ..
-_.... .. -_...-
_ _ .. ....

, _ ,"" C__"
10.... . _ 1, ,, _ ... Ok _
,_...._ .. ., __, __.. ... O:'--Jo.......
_ . ... . ... ..t). "'" - Ok ...._ .. .. _
-1,' ''''._''-1'''''' ....... _ . -..........- .....
.. _ ..- ... Moo....., ._ ...... _ ..... ..-'
(__ _ _ """"fi< l'<f<m>.>r o>.l .lo, T;
In .... .n,,,.., .. ><=t ''''-'' .............. _'II __"" "'u...........
_ -... of "" (> Mao. _ .....,t .. JaIl _ __""","""""
' Tt. '" _ . "', C__ _
_ ._... .. "------".'-'
'... ,_ .. __., ...._.,_... C_._
..,_ . _ J. .. .,r
' .. _... 1 . .. . ... _ ....... _ ..
_"_01. ' .
desire. in which freedom appears only as a quickly passed. in the assent to tlw::
o;onlingent bC'ing' , irresiSlibk need for pk:ni!ude.'
Indeed, this freedom (if or-.: can eva! call it thai) is men:1y lI-e response of an entity (the
Iunm !OJ) to its 0Wl1 oature, which has been pre-detennined by God to relinquish II.';
in Favor of a sOOjugarion of personal voIilioo kl the irresiSlibie power of divine
inIerOOnaIity. A. NicIDIs has aply SIlled !he impIicarioos of Maximus' puo;ition:
In trying 10 describe ho... freedool is stabilised by Ihe divine energy ....hich O\lCfCOOleS it,
Maximus was betI'ayed lnro human action as a lI>In pa...ivity. Such
for. chrisrological Monocnergism - on ..nich. of coune. Denys' notorious phrase.
' the M'W lhearldric mcrgy' could bestew the olftcial mollO.'
Maxanus lIIriYes at ltlis idea dI6ing the CXllIl'Se of his revisioo of a main theme of
Origen' s thought: the idea that there IS a po'lSiblily of a 5eI.:OrId fall (lIIId, irdeed,
imulilelable falls) after the restonlIion
As we beve 5CC1l above. in C1lap:r 2. the idea of rep:aled falls of souls away
fiom God is a corollary of Origen' s firm position 00 the absolute fic:6h" of will of
d .. ogcable nalu'e of Iunm will and inlcllccl, thus allowing (31 Ica!t theon:IicaIly) for
, A. I'li<hob. Gtnprl: Maxi ,lot eMf.., ,,," M<Xh'" Sd><>/a,.. ip IEdinhorgh: Ta T
, ........ 21M; ...., _ u..rigua, M ;.. I, c<Htfr..#"". p. 98.
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........ a<p. an.! _., pot _"' -. .. _
no-..., ...... _ , Mo>. qIl<> ... .- _ -- ...-
_ .. (:....l .._ ... _...,._e-.
... __"-I ... ........_ f .. >6._
_._... _. f._......-..__' ....... _
._... ... __........ -
_ ... .. _ .. _._...
........ __.. 01_._......
.. _ .. ......... .r . . ...'

-...._....,._Iot """" ......... _ ....... 11< __. ..........
...... .. _ . .... . ....... ., 5 ......... -.-..... Go>.I. _ .. .. .... of ._,l1oo>o
."""-"-.. -----_.. _-.. ...-
.. _.. .. __-..... ..-.........-..... _-,..-
,, __, M
. _._,. ..".... , .. _ . 1..1.- *-,....- - Qo
__,"' " '
-. 1"'J'" ... ,_ _ of_ .. _ . ( _ _ ,
--... _,..
is in its beginning .-.d 1ht I'IId of is givm in its uhimate goal . . . The
inclination 10 ascmd [10 God] and to see one's proper btginning WII:'l implanted in man
AI frrst glance. this pm.sage seers quilt close 10 the thoug/1l of Origen Y.tIo himself
made the SIalement thal "the end is always like the (De princ. 1.6.2). Yet
concept (ph....,;s), one is S1Ju:k by the intensely NeopIalooic: _ or lTKlI'e
specifically. SIoic' - impl icaliom of this
The Stoics that h..-nan souls ee "raliooal seeds" (logo; spermali!OI) of
God, t.e, products of the will of lnrs. illleOOc:d to exist in a certain fashioo in lhe
cosmos. For a Stoic, the fale of the Iiunwl being is sealed, the only key 10 happiness is
accepting one's lot in life. By lI'guing Ihal "MIle"' drives II'> toward God in a ITIllIlIleI"
pre-dctennined from before our Crealicn, Maximuo; is SIoic fatalism 10
eschatology,lU While he does - at IelN in this early work - maintain Clrigen' s ( and
A.. bilP.... 7. 1000AB, lr.lJk>oMn, Wilk",,-
Theme. or St<*: phi lo>ophy .1.., came to pcnodo tb< (l "i" i.. ;"",lled..., milieu of c. ly
Ry._i"",. to It.. Ialt lhOl. II. Tolak.. h.. ranarlcd oflhio period: " it iI,.onh notin,lh.olth< extenll<>
""'idl (1)ri0li ... of 1M f ".iled l hmJ",l_ o f tl>< rich Stoic: .......1 to... no! h<en ... rr"" a ltly
J'eOOfIIized. I'atl"l'" II k1 "'" ... , ,,., bold to ' 0"0" \hOI .... diupp'",_ o f Ihe Stoics ..u d... in
I ...., to their boinS """"I..,cd by tbc OIri";'''''" (8. T kis, By>an'i", p. 4J). II mit>! be
rem N . ""-"er. ltIOl til . 1"""01..",,, " r to<>lh SIt>i. II>< 011<1 Atilll"'cli... """""pl' in lh i. pcri<ld -.
1101 impl y II>< derni.. "r N pIOl,... iom fl'f j UIll .. PI",in.. _ Oti""" upon .....
ond " (i""'liI'i' l1\ II>< 1.. .. """", ..""i... dmo UI"'" Ari.."d. ond lhe SI"k
yel rvcly in dircc:l _ition to l he r"und.. i""ol ......,..,.. " f 1'101<>4 ni""' l. l"f>en, "'=. of .........
=i. iom. yel h.,jly ever ..y dircc:l I>rcok, ,.ilh lhe ,.....,,1 PIOl,... io trodilion ....icll hed. from " wly ""-
r""nd 0 pi.... fur Ariol"'lo.
10 11 i. """'h ...... hl:", IhOi Mo.im", mode "","""",to in some: or hi. "";linp in ..."""" of II><
pncti<:c of _ mingy. Cf. Me>oeROhrn idl. Mll immelobudl lIIId SI.mcnt<lIrift.
6S, in 1\ohh..or. C". _;"
LII"'JO'. PI' 61-62.
Copynghled matenal
Gn-g' lr)' of Nys-"lI' s) COIII.'l.'pl of up"tal<l..Iu.,is.
1he rt.'SIJlt of the argwnClll is lha! the
llLanan bd ng is IDen'ly a tUrd;,.. of the Godhead. nol 8J1 aUl' '' lOm(ltIS and noble c=tion
[10 God l and 10 see one' s propt-'f bt.'ginning W<IS implanled in mall by nature: ' one rightly
wondt."I'S .... hal this is thai does !he "implanting. It mltil. of coe'se. he the
divint:. crcal ive nallll.:'. As Ma\ imus e.'I!Iains.:
IWfe were heforc the ages (cn :ph 1:11- 12) 10 he in him lGod] as memhm;
of h;' body. lie aJapled us to himself and 'mined us together in the Spiro a. a ""ul lo a
body -.d us 10 the mea'lUre of Sf' iritual manwily derived from hi. full ,..,... For
ll1i. we " ere created: this " "" Goo's good purpose for u' bcf,nthe 8g('$. "
WID Ma"imllS is S3) ing t-.:n" is 1M! the p.rpuo;e of humanity is 1O exi>! as "1111. , nb<. T.I uf
Goo' s and nol as inde, ,,mdl.'t1t, autOlKllllOllS beings each with all aulhen:ic
" fhis 0\\ 11 - 1/<". ewn ...ilh u uni"".. 'la/lITe.'
in th: life of the 1umn <alL ',"is arises quik M1trdll) from his AriSlOlClian teleology
"hicll. \\ho.'ll pIac,'<l in the service of Christian eschatology, result. in a mcchani5lic
notion of humallily' s jOllnl<-". a"'ay from aOO hock """ani GIld.
By n:placing OriIlCfl'S
" -f ... 7. l!l'nC
" -f 7. lW7R ... .... .....
" 111 i, .,,,"Ii<fn,," ,"" ' 1'I'Ii<. ' ion 10 Chri,tian nch.ok>JY or . l't.tiic "'>nc"f'l nf Ari."Mk ,
rhil'>S<lfIhj. i ,e. thot the ,""" , n, t,n.in) or on c, i<l<n' i. ",. Ii/ed (,.... alt. ined) in il< (>Cfk<1ion
Le. ,In: "',....' i"., of ,Il< ;"<,,,. , 1"'''""''' (Of '''If"''''''".li'". i.... '" ,"" ""li,..in<> or ot tl><
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doctrine of of 9JUb with the rIl.IIiM of elI'tnBI ' thought- forms' ( ogm) of
$<0.115 in the Mind of God, of which existm: htmMity is memy an lUgro\'.th or
developmental fin:tion. ,. Maximus Sl oxceds in removing history and tunan endemu
from Chistian CllChaIology. all thing'! dependent UJXlI1 the O'oeI'-ardlirl;: will of
God, which 00 hIman act of freedom can possibly thwart. This positioo ends with his
regarding deiflClKion (lhemi! ) in D rnInleI" simil. 10 thal of the lamblidtus, for
c,.;ample, for wton tt-oeo..gy rr>eIQ n;t the of the h.-nan soul as such, tv:
raIher the soul' s silflinginpureI)' divine lL'tivitics (el1t'rgejw). n
Yel the of Maxi mllS' position do not He also tacitly
supports a Monophysite COOCCJlIion of the W1ion of divine lIld Iunan natlreS when he
argues thai the soul, in salvalior\ "becomes God through pmicipltion in divine grace by
it<Iclf ccming from all activities of mind and sense and with them the IIiIluraI activities of
the body which become Godlike along with it in a pa1icipalion of deiflClllioo proper 10 it.
In this stk only God shines filrth. tIwugtl body and soul when their nann! features are
IJan<iCI:fIIb1 in ov-t.:lming gIory.... 6 We have aIlo.'M:. in Chapter 4, that Ire
Monoph)'5ites believed thai the corCad of hlmilnity with God resulted in a ' 'blrning
of Iunar1 fIlfU"C due 10 the ovawhelming power of the divinity. The statement of
tnd or mot ion (l iM. i . ). See J. B.neo. W io Ilam<.. ed. 111. Co",briJgo Companion ",
" , /j IMI. IN... y<Wt: e_ l>ridll<: Un;"""";ly Prao l'fI. 66- 1011.
.. '-1.,.""",,' <:on<:q>I of 1801 _ lIS ImpilCOlli""" .... mad< pl..n in tI>< 101_;08
""'l!" frum hi. A.. .. 1. 1DUB, whidl is, inci<kn' olly, 0 upboIdiog"po.t"' ,," ,,,i. doc:Irino<:
wililak. pl..,. ..hen ..ery ...ion.1 ,her ""gel hom.. boingo, ;. filled
with deligh, 0.... ..,itilu.l pl...!nft. ond """ no! .,..., Iy oorrupltd di.i"" 101(0; ...hidl by
............... mcl;".d _ ords the end set ,.". them by the C "".. . IV. /I1<>..-en. Will..... P. 6))
NOI. Ihal ,... 10f{O; of i""i. Ml nal Ming' .... >p<>ken of as 'bough ' hey .e . r""", ... _ in........' in . 11
beings. yel wi,h .. ;",,1;0' " '''' indepcndenl of "" will of _ h i""i. idual l'"'""".
" lombIidl lM ..","r/a IO.6lda oloo G. S...... 1MrtTffJ' .."" 1M So. I. P. 51.
I. M"' C/o",..." on 2.U . 11'. Ilcrthold . p. 167.
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Ma'\imus here q.....cd fully supports dial J1'J!ii tion, and is a re<;ult of his allempl to revi'IC
the hiswrical. exls craial. and p:r.,onali Sl ic of Origen in philosophical lenns
COOlIT'K1O in early Byr..nline thought. II is row time 10 examine in moce <leIail certain
"P'-",ifK: points in Maximus' revision of Origeni'iITL
Rec:allitulation ' ....nus RI/'<loralion.
Promiro., l1 Maximus scholars such as II. UIS \IQIl Balthasar and. ITIOn' n.:cenlly. A. Louth.
ancmpted 10 dislanl;e Maximus frum N"oplalollic phikl1;<lp/ly. As LouIh writes.
1 Maximlls'] n:jcction of Orib'\:nism ... entails elso a ftnlan1eral n.'buttal of
Nroplaronism, with its idea or emanatioo and rellm. For Maxrmus we arc created by
God wil h a 10 fi rwly "",ing in him: it is ti,.. ,hill ..I<bj;.lrds his OrisIian
Illelaphysic.'''' l...ouIh, like Ballt-, Sl."-'S Ma'<. imus <Jllak..phulai,'i$is doctrine as an
on h"&',,, allCllllllive 10 Origc'TO' S """kulat/a, i. for. as they h:.Jlh claim, MlIXimus' doctrine
escapes the pitfal ls of N<,.' 'I'lalonism in II way Ihal Orig.. 'tl' s docs root, withool
explaining. with ri gl.Jr. the of' tbese piual\s.'
DisI.'1&i'l\ Maxim,..;' n.-plocI,ncm of Origcn' s triad of sla. is - ti,,.;.,i.. - Xm ..sis
whh its reversal, ..si.<- J) ne.i.<_ .<I <I.<ls. LouthwnleS:
This, for Maxim... . rnllCh m"", IICCUnuc ly ClI{Jlures the <;:(lndilion of . reared beings. First.
lhey come 10 be. Thi, j, ilself a a form cf nlO\' emerJt. 50 becoming immal ialcly
in m<Wt.'ll1O.11l. and il is lhe purpose of movemenl \<.> find rest n.-,;t will be ..... fi nal
" l.' ''''h. COI1/" ''''. p. 67.
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stllle. This eont(1ion of Origenisrn is much rn<.lfe far_rrach ing. In !llarting Ii'om lhe
Origeristl manifesled their fundamental affinil)' with whith saw the
wholo of reality .. subject to the cil'l;Ular se<juencc of resl-pI'(JCe55;""' rdum,"
In doctrine of uookepllaJai6Jis or "recapitulation- of the !IOlIl in Orist. the
Nroplalonic idea of lhe of a ....ique sdf-istent, the so.JI, inIo multipl icity is
replaced by a gradual loss of dist inction. to the exlcnl that. at the rod of mot ion. the soul
cease 10be s.elf-existcnllIl and becomes wholly delcnnincd byGod"
Maximt.r; . idea thai the !lOUt achieYes fi nal res! in God. Il:" du;11" fWJre of
souls impossible, is a eounler 10 (ligen' s conc:eprion of the cosmos. te , thai it may once
again come into existenoe after the upo!alasla.t!j wlJen souls 0fICe again fall away from
God and corne 10 ""luire pedagogical history 10 lead them """k 10 Ilim. Thill Orige......
of qualified ' elCmlty' of the cosmos 10 which the Stoics held - te, even though the
cosmos is destructible. it the poIenliai to be rq;enemlcd infirritdy. lk
followingSlllIeItlel1l by Balthas;y, !hen. is1JIi1e
In of a merely lemp<nry wor ld, made fur dissolulion, !lUCh as is R1ggcs1ed in
Origtfl..-J even - gently - in I'!eudo-Dionysius by the Ncoplatooic rflythm of the divine
" Il>id.
.. Cp, the I..or 1'"$0'1 '"cuplal ""i.... of 1'ro<:1us, f<lr c..mplo, in whi<il -" ...-ed being, """"
men;,.. '" ill _ . is said l<> I new prin<irk: of ion (""lied toy Proehn I 1w'ltHll.
oootmum! in mol;"", l'4Iilo in principle .. _ in ilS_ .
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being', radillllion and ""urn, dilllsl,,.., and Max;m", a n311",,1I) lasl ing:
cosmo!I as the oupproninS ground for atl supemalIInIl
He", we a", being lOkI t/'0l Maxim.... is offering a rcbullal to Nooplalonism (Looth), and
the Ncoplalooic of -radiation and rdum- of I>:ings (Balthasar), Bolh of
tl1csc sunerreras are based on Maximus' ro;lSiling of res! (,flll, j.) lIS (U fi nal
In l'\olinus, the ,,,,....-flow of the One, from which all being arises. ;s """SCribed
atcmpornlly as a process exceeding the d.:sigJliltions el ,'m iry and lime, n.: Inlellcd
(mu,, ) is described as eternally conlemplating the One, ",hile the Soul is said to pnlCt'O;'d
....lh' frum the Intel lcct. fur Ihe purpose of om..";ng lhe matenal cosmos.
l l
souls. lhen, are uOOt.'l'Slood as seeds of the Intellecl fag,,/). which ,'Iller into the cosmos
dwuugh the Soul (rot.If.hly id<'lllilied with 111<: Middle fA.'I11it.-gc or World-Soul),
The gUll] of ltlI:'< individual "lUis. according to l'\oliTJUS, is I10l 10 remain f.Jm.a' ;n
motion l>uI rallrr 10 a reversion (epUlroplli ) to their SO'IIU',Z2 lit ",hich point
rbey will no 1ongt.'T I>: subordimte 10 the emanati ..... J'lI'l.'CC5S \If the Intelk."CI and Ihe Soul
1><. will come 10 have the One as tlleir "guardian or prioIJ - in sllUlt, II-.')' will
aehi<.'\'C l'l:>il . While iI is tnoc that Maximus docs oppose the Neoplaloni.m of "melli'; ,
p:lrticuLvl) the COI1C<.tlI of primonlial h""udes. ] bcl ie'Ye lhal his ",liarD: lJI1 Arblol le.
with a clear allinil) ",ilh the genernl cosmolngical schema of I"''';nus (as
,. 1l.llh_ , 1> 1.
" PI",inu', I 'nn, ,,d
" 1.'nn, oJd 3.4.
Copynghled matenal
n"laring specioo.Jly to the emanation and reversion of souls), provide us with lVtlpk
reason 10 identitY him as Ouislian NeopIaIonist, contra the claims of Balthasar and
Louth. The most conspicuous reason for doing so is Baltha1llr's own claim lhal. Ma:<.imus
NeopIatonism, and even certain forms of Christian NeoplalOl1ism, such as thai of
Slephanus of Alexandria. a.. we have seen (Chapter 4).
is one more, miller ;mportanl. poinl to be made regarding
recapitulation and restoralioo in !he respective schemas of Maxirm,l'j and Origen. It is
wath repealing !he \Otlfds of LouIh quoted a few paragrapIti above: Mi n starting from
rest. the Origmisl'l manifested their finbnentaI atfllli\y with NeqlIak'nism. which saw
the whole of reality as subject to the cirruJar sequeno;:e of M As 1
hIM: lIrBued such references to 'circularity' as a defining characterisl ic of
Neoplalooism the result of a genernlizalion and gross of a "er)'
on this sut;eet lium PIOOnus up leil Simpliciuo; and Pltilopc:n!s, will readily alleSt Yd
my ccecen here is with the llltrilUion of ' cin:u1arily' 10 Origen' s ooctrire, and how such
llII attrituion bettllys a miSlnier3tanding of the AIexarrlrian' s conception of hiSlOl)' and
histaicity in hlllWlity's relalioo 10thedivine.
AClI'di ng 1<> Raltt-. Origeni...... with its fJ<>'i ting of motion lIS the final -., of
u L '"Or> Ti"", ..... tbe: C.1endor in 0nh000. Ulu'l!iool "Th>l<lIY: S<w'o< iii """"""
Ohoervo'i"".." in 1Jotu...mn: ,I" .low_I "IOrllrod<u e M;" i"" n"",/<>gy""If I'hUOJoph, 01. I.
...,. 2 (Wi...... ........,_..,.,.,."i""o:./lI"'1.
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.4mhiK"": ' "11w spirits are "" shilled a hoot and can neither 1I'lVe nor hope for
an "nshakeable b", is for remaining finn in the Good: I,'Ih;,t ooukl be greater reason fIT
dl.".;f'llir?' .' BalltliNlr alk'l11p1S ' " put a positive spin on Maximus' position by descril>ing
of Maxirrus, the val ue of human endeavor. desire. yeaming. and all the pn' fOUllll
a"ay and replacW by God AIooe, as Absolute Foundation of "" exisleoce. One wilt
Tlole here a veoy urrExisl<.'Jl1ial desire for a life "ilhout challt. 'Ilge.. wilh<:'" vari3l i<1l1, and
of all '"" ithol. ji"eed"'''' As Sarrre roeectly observed. freedom is only open 10
persons during .';lIklli""., for it is (lilly in the COrlCTde moment of decision tIw
bectlflleS aware of .lI1('s freedom. and glories in its exercise.
l l
I can think of no blacker
S1lIIe of <ksppir ,Il;.. CfIC in "' tlk h J am dt..,-.:ndenl aboolutely upon anolher being.
incap;lblt- of acting on ") own. WIrn Ma.\ imllS speaks of 0lI absol Ule dl.'Jl<.'ndencc upon
tiotl as a remedy for dI.'SJ'llir. he is lapsing illlo a fasc iSlic cooceoeon of God; for " I:'
know from history lhal fascist 1cadt.'fS ah. ays rise 10 IX"''ef whom the populace feels that
they art' helpless.. and l'<.ll1SC<jUffilly kIng for a prolcetor, regardless of Ille pesoeet 005l in
terms of individu;ll freedom and even justice. Indeed. as we an: reminded through"u'
",.. ,. '"
"""'" .''. ''It''. p.
.. Mi_l'(; 9L I0lW(.
" C" J"" K l,il"'P. p, 1.10 ,
" J,_P. s.ur. a<HI in R.C '10k N . " ",I1.' .iJlmlidli",.
4","" Yon" IIaop;:o ond R"", p. -1M. s... . 1-;0 E. M" ... of W (l1'",,,"''',,,i,,
S<"'"' "" , lie Ilc. ck' pmcnl " r. i" Q .,Jlil>c, OttN", .A>."",I <>/ C/ori"H'"
aad ' vI , .. "". I 2003), """.,q..-.J lih<t.__
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history (in a saying that has beI.xJme ralIllT cliched but \J\Je 1lOllI;'the1ess), when people are
scared, the 1il'Sl Ihing they arewilling to sacrifice istheir freedom.
Origen' s COiuption of hillIory and the is, fortlnllel y, fill'
Exislonialism Yet one mllSl be careful jere to avoid the mislake of considering
MaAim15 a pessimist and Origen al oplimist regarding Iunan nature. for the tI\le
lunanist is neither a pessimist ru an oplimist. rather sees the hlm3l1 being es a sel f-
of being aa:on1ing 10 his own wlitian.29 lhc hl.lT\allist regards human Ii'ecdom as
dhically and morally newaI; our freedom may lead us up toward the Good. or
lllIIhmtic exserce - Le., personal existence undelennined by OC>jective contraims and
norms - as the folnlation of a creative life - or, ITIOR' llCCUI3lely, as the result of
a life already determined 10 be creative. Origell' . pre-existent souls are such being\:
free agenb. cap.IbIe of choooing the sort of life suitable 10 them at llII)' lMicular point in
Grwrted. _ find in Origcn the concept of an efemal pedagogic&l
between God and hlmMily, 10 the exlenl !hal 00 human soul will ever. according 10
Ongen, be lost forever to the darlneM of s in (and in this be differs IilJm Pico ...too. in his
.. Pi<:o del.. Mirando" , (hi ,,,,. v,p,,,, <>f l . It. E.L Foo1><s, in KM<lIcr.
No. n.. 01 Man (l"hi<a@o: UnivaVly I'reu p.
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hislOl)'. whid! is tht' Ioxus of OOIll Iuman cremivily ll'Id the exercise of Goofs true
C'i-,",-'"',:e ao; Crealor. Oril,!l:l1 begins his on1ological schema oot with perfect res,
does " ,,' huw,.JI in a primonJiai rnationslip bctween the triu"", Godhead.
lrdffiQ.>OOing all limilalion. ;nj ctt.'l'tlally hl,lTWlily, limited, yet wjth lI'llimilal
freeOOll as their etemaI onIoiogicaJ possibilily. It is precisely because of the gift of
God' s granting of fn.'C<.lOI1l 10 His ctewwcs is so !hal they may find Him acoording 10
lheir 0'"'11 dt.'Sire. an.l no! by way of lilly compulsion exercised by God upon f lis creation.
of human li'cedom. Loothdcl;cribcs Maximcs' poshlon as follows:
Adam in paradise shoukl have moved towards and around GOO, and in thal way found
rest. IlLSIead be moved ""'ay from God and towards beings lower lhan him...IF. and
condcmoed himr.clf 1<> COIllinual movement, leading 10 further movement. and oot 10 an
ullimate rN at all. II is in I<1m'l lil e \hi. _ ......,.,.ially in lerms of desi re and longing
f"' >lrated 1' being misdirecled - lhat Maxim... is fond of _Iyling lbe human
c.>ndition. "
.. 1hi, diff. """", "'. .. ..,n ... anJ Pi"" i' 10 "" un<k"'I""" by' """,ide,i n" t'" eh...,.lhOl I'"
e""""pl "f fn:cdum Un<k:nlCflt the """..... "rthe w..t<:m MidJle " " " l nod into tl>< RCflli....."".
The ('I_ie,l ("md. ideo tl>oc on ,-,"","1 ""iog l ",,,,in,,ly ""''''"" e- il " " ,.-.duolly ...pl""ed _ in 1'"
We>l. ' I I.,,, _ hy , "'"" , .. ic , Ie" " fl'" """.., I ." ul.... "'-'alb" lIy lIa"ed and r, lI<lI <1\,,,01"....
" I,e. ""01"", "n.d """_i"1 r""" 110.. " hid! .."""" b.>th. .... h " . 6.7.1 7.
" 1.011111, M....i .. . ' 1MC""k 'ff. p. 67.
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This is oct 10 say thal Maximuo; was a pessimisl regarding hlnlllll IIllhre, but rather thlIl
he did nol trust the urrlledcd volitioo of the 50Ul to lead it to God. Indeed. Maximl.lS'
vi:sDl of the Slll.II' s fi nal sl'* is one of q>limi<tie faith in the ability of God 10 perfect His
Yel this failh is ....Iy JlO'<'iible when one accepts Maxlmuo;' view thai hln1anity
is a fin:tion of the Godhead.
In Maxim15' eschatology, all hope is 10 be placed in the power and will of God.
lIIld none what50ever in the volition of human souls. Origco' s view of the e.d:/wlol1 as
irrrolving an ec=oaJ of edl.Olfioo in the mysteries of God. as _II as Gtegury of
Nyssa' s .::oncepIion of an eternal. unsalialed Slriving j,pdtasis) for God. in which motion
is Wlctifled 011 the basis of ils intenlion. are by MlOOmltS in favor of an
e9ChaloIogy !hal "oonsists in allowing oneself 10 be carried by another in the dephs of
OOl" Sbeing and 10 be borne towardthe ocean of God' s rest....lJ
hrousl. QndIIII.' M"mlng o!lIt.,,,'Y.
The ebseoce of a genWllC sense of historicity in the eschatology of Maximl15 is due in
part to his conceplion of 0.;", as the divine embodiment of hi.slory, in ..tun all lunlo
bewming originaks and finds fulfillmenl, or res (5Im is). Combaling OrigeniSll\
Ma:<iTTllIS avoided any COI ou:ption of a.ist as being hem the fomdalion of
the world,M b such a oorpl results (or so he thought) in the positing of an
" Ih lth. ... C.....ic /' ;' '''1fY. DO,
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__-..... of ..t '" _'01' of............. r", \.IouIu
-..oJ , C ,..,
....,.. S ... .. .. _...
.... __ of -,. ... ""'- .. _
,..,.. ..-ot ....... '..- ,_.
Go.Ioooo.I. __to ..... ,.. _ .. _ of .. _
.._... ""(iooI-.I ..... _-'O'
1. _ _ _; .... .., _ e.t_1iII
__<..... _ ..-.... J ...... _ of
__ ... _ ...
Jio\_ "" .. __ of k-.: ,........ _ --.. ...
_f_.Th< __ . ... pt<-.d
_ ........ _-.,. __._ ; _ok ' ._
................. _.. _---..
_ mpo. ..,j _ Ik rIII) .-...w.I .. -... _ -,.. .,.j .,..
__ ....... .. Ih< of .. .....,......,.. "' .. _ ...... for "'"
1.10>...... "" ., '""" _ """'" C1w>oI .. on .v-...... __.. "'" """'''
<_1-.1en.! ,><I.., of.u"'-"Y.
80<_010...0 . .. _ . ... .. __ . ... ...
_._ ""-.....0...0 f .... _
M_... _.... .... __....
bc:tw"" limit of the ages and limitlessness, between measure and immeasurability,
between finilude and infinity, between Crntor and creatioo, between rest s-d motion,
was ccoceoed before the ages. This union hlL'l been manifested in Christ at the end of
lime, and in itself bringsCJOd's I(rd;.nowltdge 10 fulfillment, in order thai naturally
mobile creatures mighl secIII"C them..,l _ around God', IOI3l and essent ial immobility,
desist ing altoget her from !heir movement toward and lOWardeadl other."
The summalion of Iunat motion. or historical becuning W"e4is), in repose is
n:oogni=l 001 only in terms of a mdical dissimulalion of Self l:I1d 0!hI:I", bu also ,n
terms of a disconnectedness between ore' s self and one' s 0'WI1I1l0St hislOfY. The
porousta; or ''Second Coming. of Christ is not a dynamic CUI""" in the eschaIoIogy of
Ma:UmU5, for he is mabie to place any posit ive valu:: on history in the life of the hlm:n
soul. The existenlial power of historicity disaprean in his concep:icn of OTis! as a
grand oosmoIogicaI mlity in II'hom all history resD:s as furethoogI1t (prurnJia. /<.>gvI) .
As Balthasar wries:
The parousia of Chrisl, as the end point of history. is of little interest 10 IMallimus]; he
looks at it almost cul...ivd y as God' , open proclamalioo of the new
pmcn1 in a hiddm way in evuyday life. Even "" m to Chri st. the historical
penon and hi. panicular car1hly Ill:IS and sulferings are of less interest for MaximltSlhan
the consideration of the inner reality of ee lncarnat oo _ one is tempted 10 say, iI's
' formal swenn.' Although this foem is eatainly inlluenced, 10 some eXlefll., by
(cont....porary) disputes over the mosl: precise way to formulate the mystely of O lTist. it
" Ad 60.76, 1f. 1t. B"'-n. Wil...... p. Ilj.
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pIl<'tlOlll<11al lli>k"}' as s imply d'" over, the pointer toward.. """rn<1Ul1 p",.c,,,,;,,,."
hislory the form or pe<'Ql of "C05I11ic Man," or the kNew Adam," uoo.:rslood as Jesus
Chrio;t. the Logos, ....00 contains all of Iti-to!y I' ot as varied phcoomena. t-o.. as a single
MinoJ A preceo.It. .... for this is 10 he found ill the: C" ..p, f{,'rm,>/ kllm. "here the
folk'"'i, "unt<; are plao:d in the mouth of ' "im",l<lre., the -Shepherd of
I myself, I"" mind INolI,.I. am presml lo It... blessed and good and pure and merciful -to
tile ....ml - and my pr"""nce ran'''';'''1 be<:on1n 8 help; they <j ukl ly
hymns aff' 'CIiooalely and in the """"" appropriate whim. "
Hec the lIloral dim,'flSion of hl.anan existence 0'I'e'Iridcs the exislcnl ial of 0lI
bI.'COIt1ing; the one "00 h1ls atlained lI1ornTil}' now basks in ehe pure presence of Unive<sa/
Mind. and hisl..y Ill' Iongcr has any fur il is concei ved in ICl1ns of the
1''lllporal llC<.luisition of morality ... lth a vk w \0 a coocecie, SIalic e.d:huilln ill " !Jiclt the
h,aMl1 a..1ivity (e'wlJ,...ja) ochic,-.'\l mornlily 00 1o.:q,'Cf has any n>le to play. 0" this
to"=". the hlmall soul has ITI<.TCly ratified ils exi!;lence nol as a mor.tl, fll,'\' agent. bo.J.
ultim:lldy as a function of the ( i<ldhead, of Mind N OlL.). lIislury is 00 Iongcr
.. U.I,h.._, c......... /';'IdI!.." . r. IlIO,
" e",,,... II"""",;,."," 1.22.l .JI. tr, ( ' op<nh", .., ff_lim, r, 5.
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conceived. as in Origen. as an eternal pedagogical relationshp between God and man, nor
is it wnceiVlld in Ny=.' s sense as en demally unsatiated yearning fa" divine IYOximity.
RaIher, in Maximl15, history is the OYCfOOrTling - the oven<'helm;l1g - of htmanity' s
tempornl becoming, its his/orlcity, in and by the absolutely presenl Godhead. which
manifests itqelf as Jllft presence, sOOsuming beth hislay and elanity in a siJWe ad, the
eschatological result ot-a super.infinile plan infinilely \he agt'5-..11
So why is this a pubIem? \VhaI is wrong with a hlman bei1g desiring. as his
salvation. an dcmal repose in God? The problem. and the error, resides in the concepI of
a of """If- dt:termi r.ed moIion wxIerstood as personal history; fa" when
ceases b be sel f-ITIO'VIXI (and this is the In:ienl G=k definition of soul), one ceases 10 be
free - fiftdom understood hm: as the willful to a si\tlalion in \\f1ich one esserts
one' s own iderwity, one' s unique personhood. As MlWru;' student Anaslasius of Sinai
rernar\ed, in a passage likely intended as a gentle <;riticism of his esteaned kal:her:
"theosis is the llSOCI1Sion toward what is better - it is neither a dimirulim Il<T an
alteration of nature. In odll.'l" words, by theosis moo will rot cease being man: he will
simply beo:ume perfect man."\9 The perfuction of the person in IhOOsiJ is only properly
UIldemood in terms to God, for as St Peter declares. our salvation will consist of
our sluing in the divine rwure, not in a loss of OU" 0Im 1IlIhre. And the loss of OU" own
This is. in the 1asl analysis, a ChriSlologic:al problem, as I have aIlemplOO to make
JI M......... Ad 1Jw1a.. .. 60.15, Ir. .....ilken, p. 1;U.
.. Mi(!I'C. I'G 19; TatolJs , p. 67.
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_ >'<>1 hi. on.. ""'" oil ol ......, IfUmlIIoII ..... "'" ",. "" n=t<
or III ;",r,.l<WI _ II< .... ro.,"<'i """ _ .. """" of III IdJpOO:\
.,.,. ( M! "'" or on.IM.looI """"'" .. of uoo. oi our _ ... ..,....
of .... CooJll<aJ. proo._ boi II.. ftom ""fur< "",.,_ on.! "'""'"
or ...., lh< _ k ;, """ _ .. ........... ..-.y. ;" ""
... P ""l' IIw fool ...."..., ol .., ;" -..110.'" _
"""'_ iI _ '" pre-J<t<1mIn<d "''P<'"'''' ., , I.-!y ..
by ( O>.! 1><_ .... __ In .... -." oi "'Y of _ ......
....... .-n> lJ'd"'W) B h"""Y or ",hO.tI ... .
ODd 11 <n/y io of, I bdi",,, '" ""'..., _
.. ""00 "'" ,.,"',,,""" M ""," J,l"",,,,,,,,,,,... "* d
"" "'
I ..... "' ''' ""'" I ..., "'" baoo< oi hio
......... _ III h>JooJ. <n: "'"Y eooOl)' me b-
_ III My p;>onl 000II0I0! .. 00 ....., 1h< ."OJJI'i<d 00gm0
or OIl< C1udI; _ , . .... """""'ro; II> 00 "" 1uNno"" "'" 1'<f1'OI"'l""''''
I "" ............. '" .. CIrioiom Wb, n I Iq>< on " than," io_
"'!..df. my .,.j oil or _ 1UbIun<d .. 1h< <I<mOI. ........ gkvy 0(
,.oJ. I .... n """"'" .. or 11 -...... "'"' p:rllIIl ",,,",,,,,, ;,. of
IlOl< ox '"' ,....... """'" <riy '" ,II ol. Gool ..m """'" 10 """t"" Il unll'
.. "I" ....",-ry
In do< ro.I'>< <If "'" wJy "" ""'" """ ... -.........." _"<oJ .... '""""" of
from """'gill ,,",,'1f>.:aIIy "'_ '" hi< >:<tIlqI .',<.Ion of
_ .._ __....t ........ ""
I .......... I __ *- ... ._of-.-.
-ll' .. "" __ _ u_
_., _(iDI..w,. _ _01__.
,... ... __ ... of_ .... , ' ..
____.. __.... __
..... _ "'_ i t _
_ __._ "'.
__ { {... -.... __ __ _of
_ .._ (0)01. -,. _ __ .- of
-_..-,-... ----.__..... --_.
__..__ ' ,"''''fOod
... ..,.IIIY of_ " ," .... _ "' ... _
.... ... port of ............._ . 1b< no, __ , ofl_.ho
__.... __.. .., """"'" of _ -....." .. 11< ..... of
............. of ( O>I .. _ .. _OWI)'-.... _.d
_''''''0lo,0o. ..... to< _ 1.<_ ....... .. ..
.... .....11 of . ..... " .00\ ..-.l _ .... ..
_.. --... ..... ... _..,"' -.. ..-.-.."
TIl< _ plI"' __.1I< pl\of __ __ .. _
""-"' .... -.1 .. _ ..... _ .-;_ __', ...
_' _ ... _ __ _ofGool __
..... -. noo"" ', _ ,..=' _
d<. 'V("(ion !O frcedoru, :IS well lIS his kwe for phik:ls<1Jhical Iroming - 3llri bules
Ill<tI are a wecone _1 in all of all periods andall faiths.
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1I'''Drf i, iwtr.th Ih. path "" ".",1",. ",od d. /, i . ill
In the coese of this study '"' have witressed !he ~ of two types of history"
Oristian tIlougfW: ee dytunic l:Olll:ep of hi!aOly held by Origcn in whictl God uses our
hi5lOOcal existence as a Illl3ti of educating us and leading us back 10 lfim in fn:alon1;
and the staric roIICCJItion of hisny held by Maximus. in which God ulilires our existence
will of God by rrlusing 10 respond to Uis plU\"idence, exercised in human history. This
history, then, tecores a locus of CR:alivt ~ of the p,Rly h\.ll1aO - not of the
, N. Ilefd) ..... TI>t M..",jllg <>/ Hi.",.". If. 0. R.....ey (C1e>e'->d: World Publishin. C"",,*,y
1911np. I7ll,
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Godman Jesus 01rist. nor even thai of the: Iunm suul bearing !he ilTlab'e of God.
RlIlh.,,.. Origen sees hNOI)' as II human affai r. albeil one in "'hich GOO works
... itllin ca1ain limits 10 elfcc1 a return 10 lhe primordial SUIte of pooagogicaJ Tdalionship
I>cl ...ccn tbe creatures Illld Iheir Creaioe.
Ma\imo..r;. on lhe Olher han,! sees history lIS !he unfolding of a divine: pl.n in
... IJidl ue Incamalion. death. and Resurrection of Christ marks !he culmiroting poin!.
The only p6Ih op.'" 10 humanity flOW, as Ma,imll$ sees it. is 10 confonn enlirely 10 !he
image and likeness of God, in order 10 prepare !he "1lY for ee linal union of GOO arol
nOI in a\ <,.,Ah"I,," in which the lIOiqueocss of human nall..e is O'mu"' ... by !he gloriouoI
presence of ue Divinity. Hist'-r is not retained in Ma,imus. lIS it is in Origer\ ll' lhe
l'C"'isl<'OCe of "b, ,,I'de hlfllllil freedom ev1."I1 after salvll1ioo: rather. history is
up byG,1<I in Ihe e., Aha/"".
Ma'\imlJ'< explicilly denies 1hat Goo' s jWgrnent is ro-"llagI>gicaI. insisting iffi1eao1
in u NeopIllIonic manro.'I". Ihlll Ihe provido.'llCe of GOO is fOf lhe purpose of
maintaining !he cosros according 10 rea;on Humanity is acoonJirWY (as I' ve
iildicaJ:cd _=I li"'es ill this study) In:oIIl:d by Maximus lIS a ITICI<: function of the:
Godhead. for ... lI ich 11lIn<l1 history In> no real mcming. since GOO is bL)'ond lilll(' an.J
As indk.3l<'Il by !he allow epigraphs. I belil:ve histoly is !nl,,,,hing 10 be
overcome. yet il is .... '\Icrthclcss rec'eS.'iaI) for Cd devek'JllTlC"l M persons. Further, I
believe !hal even dlli ng Ihe <, d /ruN"'....ikTI lU" 5llIvifIC strivillt will fnl its fullllhnefl,
lhe m.,mory of our historical development ...ill seve 10 preserve our uniquc>lcss as
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persons. For history is lit once bolh an annoyaroce. IT es PIotillUS put!< it,
and a "path to another wotId... as Berdyaev declares. Indeed, this statemenl of Berdyaev
5U!lI5 up quite lIdeqUll!dy Origen' , conceptioo ofhNoly:
ll iSlOQ' me very roughly, and it shows not the sligh\esl roolC:ll for my wd l-boing.
That is of it. But history is also my hi!!tory. I hIlve indeed had I share in its
happening. If ",., holds the cosmos witllin him. there is all the mason for saying
\hal: he indudn. history ""i!hin him. In the spiritual dcpIh of me - in II'an5tIdenIa man
_ the wnlnlldi,:tion is removed. The history of 1""",,1, Eg)'pI. rm.... Babylon, Greece,
and Rome, of lhe Middle Ages and the Renaiuance occufll'Jd wilh my paniciJl"lion, it is
my hiSlOQ' and for that reason only can it be illCt'lIigible 10 me. 11 is my paIh, my quest
and my lure. lis fall. and ils upl ifting are mine. If for me lIlis mc:n: objcdiflClllion
in which everything is r=:ived fium without on ly. !tom I should be .... 10 IIIKicntand
ll<4hing of il'
It is in this lighl1hal me1anpsychosis doctrine is properly Wldcrstood. i.e., as the
pru;eetiorl of the self il1lO all periods of history. in v.hich my o;orncs 10 as a
panicipanl irrespective of temporal mwict ioos; for in sucl1 I deep embrace of hislory
creativity and imaginlllioo 0Ya'C0Il'0e temporality. Su:h profOtnI hiSlOrical rroerroy will
the "" ly in of all pu.... .. in the I'dh"I"'" For the 1:S. 'ie1>Ce of God. as
tuh Origen and MaximU'l affinn, is beytnl being. Yet the c: ,u of tunanily is
il1limarely (D'IleCIOO with OU" hislorical bcing- n-the-wortd, which mU5l be in
absolute fm:dom. \\'hen our link 10 our own hi'ltoly isseveml. we cease to be unique.
, N. """'r" ' , T,.,.,. "ltd Rr..lm_, Ir. R.M. Frado (New Y..... : ("oilier Iktol.s l%ll '" &-I .
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unn.,-.eatabk: entit ies - p ~ - and hc<.:ume merely caces inscri bed in the Vas!
l'lfolding le.\! of<.I ivine intinily,
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Appendi x: The Role ofthe Emperor in Ecclesiastical Politics in
the Byzantine Era
Maxanuo;' thougI-. did IlOl develop in llf1 imdla:tual vacwm, nor did it develop amid'<t a
closed circle of lIClllkmics. as is the C<l'C with lete pagan NeopIatonism Rather,
Maximuo; _ vocal at a period \\ohm the theological opinions of monks ~ COJl'<idem.I
c.'dmnely impmanl fa" the establi5hrnenl and rnaintmance of ortho;dox OOctrine. Vel the
higl-e.<;a autIu1ty in Maximuo;' time was IlOl a monk., nor e-et a bir.hop. Iu the Emperor.
Granted, the Emperor received his coronation III the hIVlds of the Palriardl of
COIlSIlIItIinopie and, as J.M. Hussey poinlS O'.l, "the long line of rum fiom Leo (457-74)
on",ards ~ it as n."CS1lial that thq shook! be crowned by the Patrian:h of
COl1Il3I1linopie. ..no by rea'lOll of his priesthood and his position in the ecclesilNical
hierarchy perfttmed the rile of CCliSCClaling the Emperor as vicq$renl of 0risI....
Ilowevcr. this did not mean Ihat the Eastern Emperors regarded the Church as superior 10
them in power andal&hJrily.
The relationship of On.1'Ch and Stale in the Byzmtine world \WS aJIllXived
~ in leITllS of the telalionship beIwecn soul and body. Philosophically, the
IltitWc lOIWnt the body in Bpanline lhoogIlI, ",nile s1i1l \argdy Platonic. avoidc:d the
idea thai the body is a tomb of the soul (as stated by Plato in Pluwdo 81.e-e). declaring
inslead llf1 inlimale partnership between body and soul, drawing llf1 _logy belwcm the
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IOmI"-TOr (the body ) and th" l J'UUl:h (the The O IlRh, lJrl<ler'>t{..'<! as the 'l'll1ionul
soul: "'''' given the liN; of the orthodoxy of Ih" E'mpo.'TOI', 10 the ext,'IlI lhal
every [ 1111'0,:1'01". 11plll1 his corona/ion. wes required to a confession of faith. ruliflCd
1' the Patriarch The resuh of this is Ita the Emperor was given an a/ITJO!;{
role in the life of the Church even though his power "'lIS checked,
1I -.:t","1ically. by [hl' ", ho "'as given the authority to condl. 'fIln a h"n.1ica1
,he ilffperi"", ,.,"""",,'" of Ease Rome as in Christ..'fldom In<! it only to tlK:
surface ,,""" the Eml""""" was a her"';c. IT was recognized , hat lhe Emperor had a
'f"'Cial ",sr o' ''ib' li!)' for maiNaining law and order .-nonS hi .oojem. ca:lesiaslical as
"'d l as lay. and ,II;' "'.... inlaptdnl as including no! ooly their <ul<h.1 as ..ls.
but the di; iplinc anJ oopnu.ation of = lesiaslical inslitlJlions (as or
ecc le'l iaslical administration (as the .....ammgcment of dioceses).'
In 0111c, wuords, 001- '<: f.mrem.- had tx."n deemed Qr\hodox by lhe l'alriald\ and signed
the of faith, he _"ned f'O"er inand <M:r the inslilulional Q1m,:h.
II is clear. fur1hcnnore, that the Em peror had II major role in the of
polit ical as _IL as till: folJoo, ' ;'lg aohooition of Maximus by die ecdesiaslical llUlhorilM:s
, M'I hi. " .. ..cd i1I ,he I",. nin'h """'"ry ,he l.'pa""Kog<. i1I "hi<!> .''''I'<f'''
.nd r.., i.ch ... """r:n<!'" ." ,,1' 00 ho. >d) , h ";,01." ,he ". ...... ....il J'IM\ "r ,he .."", """";" uni,,.M
1II",,,,). riot! fI,>="';'w W,...IJ. r ,
, II",,,,,. . 1M fI."=<uII''''' JI''''/J. r ,<,1( '-
Copyrighted matenal
during his lriaI makes clear: "do 001 grieve the emperor who has i5sucd the Typos for the
sake of peace aOO that alone, 001 beceuse he wanted to destroy any of eose Ihingo;
Wldefstood of Christ but 10 arrange for the silence of !hose Iertt1S wllietl were causing
Political exigency in this \'.a'<e _ the preo;ervarion of the stability of 11I1
Empire 5OI"ely pn:s.'led on all sides by of Arabs, Slavs, and Pe!sillfl'j - was
The refusal of MaximlJ5 to abide by the TupoII issued by Emperor CORSIans II (an
edict forbidding any diswssion of the mmbcrs of wills or energies in CITisl:) resulled in
his being placed on Iri;tI for tmr;on, b his refusal to abide by the will of the
Emperor. Ye'I Ihis raised a larger qlleSl.ion: To what extent is the Emperor pennitted to
infel'Vme in ecclesia<;lical affall5t The diffICUlty of this questioo _ compotnlL'.d by
the fact that in Mi\;(imus' time secular oonqueslS of Emperors, such as success in war,
nd:d up having !WI effect 01\ theological development in the Church. \Vhen Heraclius
returned the True Cross to Jerusalem in 630, after his successful campaign against the
I'mians, he was hailed Il'i a divinely_aided hero. and his thrological adviser Sergi us
shared much of the acdaim.
This, of coase, did nol bode well fur MaxlmlLS, woo
denounced the Monothelite Hlhe.is of Sergius. a document tearing the Imperial stamp
of approval.
After the codiflClllion of patristic doctrine by St. .Iohn of llafnascu!;, the O>un:h
had a reliable SlIf\ma of the faith. ..t1ich one simply needed to an<;u/t in times of
"ThoTrio! of Mvoimu.. lI'. Ilonhold. inMrui",,.. COff/n.or: Wr iling<. Pl'. 2324
, See RenhnId. MlUj",,,. C""/t..<I': StltctdWrit ing.. p. 29. """ 1.
II. "Tho By....;"" ChurdI. in N.Il. lIay..... N . By:""'i.... (o. fi>td Un;' . "ity Preu
194H1p. 102.
Copyrighted malanal
lepics.-'11.1OO as a conflict between the Olun:h and !he State, a emmet fioo1 .....hid! the
Churd1 emerged lJr'"luesrionably the victor," 1 believe this staIeltled to be mislcading.
fot as we have seen the relatioMhip of Church and State (Le., !he Emperor, the
head of the State) was ronccivaI in tams of the (ideally) hanoonious relalioffihip
bet"'...... soul and body. I think it is TIJOIe COO1':d 10 stale thal \he JUstoi)' of Bylllltl ium is
characterized by a strong desire for an absolute SIalldlwtI of lMh. In tmes of miliwy md
political strength. the Emperor was ofle'l1 looced upon es Ihe gtmnIIIlor of in
rimes of political weekress, it was the voice of the solitary Churchmen thai was heeded
Lest tllis seem a sweeping gencmli:lIl!:ion. I would point to !he fad thai ..., lAltil
the eYe of Byzantium' s downfall in 1453, that great Empire coolinued to lkvote greal
enagy 10 theological and philosophical debate. bequeathing upon thc lalin West the
1Tuits of P\aIonism and related systems of thooglrt. and sowing the seeds of the Italian
Renaisslw1ce. lIOl3bIy in !he person of Gemisl:us PIethon. II is ralher ironic that a
civi lil3lion $0 devoled to the elabornlion and maintenance of Orthodox Ovistianity
should end, not with a gr:nJ flourish in which the Gospels and thc O1un:h FWlcrs win
the day, tu in an "*11edwI ITIO'VmIaIl in which PIalo, Ari5lol;Ie, P\otiru;. and other
pagan th;nk= re-emege with c:rn intellectual to infuse the West with
Humanisl: phi\n<qlhy. This is 00 doubt the gLU ,.... achievftnenl of B)?3I1lium.
Copyrighted ma"lrIal
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