Gregory for Origen

I don’t think I am an Origenist.  I don’t think his protology survives Maximus’s deconstruction of it.  But I do think it is wrong of “Trad Fundies” to bash Origen as a “heretic” when few of the greatest fathers of the church would have done that.  This is from Christopher Beeley’s work on Gregory of Nazianzus.

origen

Gregory had a largely positive view of Origen.  

  • “From Origen Gregory learned the rudiments and the great heights of Christian theology, and he found in Origen a clear model of the spiritual and intellectual dimensions of his own life” (Beeley 7).
  • “During the first years of his return to Cappadocia, Gregory’s formation in strongly Trinitarian, Origenist Christianity seems to have been largely completed” (10).
  • “By habit, he would have continued to steep himself in the Bible and Origen” (16).
  • Gregory structured his “Five Theological Orations” along the same loci as Origen’s De Principiis (39).
  • “We may note that Gregory showed himself to be a more faithful disciple of Origen than either of his Cappadocian contemporaries” (75).
  • “Gregory is led by the Alexandrians, above all Origen, in the adaptation of certain Platonist themes for his Christian program” (78).
  • Adopts Origen’s dual hermeneutics (89).

origen1

I’m aware of the 5th councils condemnations of Origen.  I just don’t found them morally compelling.  Especially as they would have condemned the Cappadocians for not condemning Origen–and the excuse that the former didn’t live during the 5th council and so are excused is both ad hoc and probably false.  Justinian was nowhere near the theologian as Gregory.

David W. has a very good summary of the issues.

Advertisements

Author: Ephraim's Arrow

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, charismatic gifts

2 thoughts on “Gregory for Origen”

  1. I use to eschew Origen, while be much less critical of Augustine. In fact, I wrote a whole paper trying to argue that Augustine exempted himself out of the Neo-Platonic tradition by only utilizing Neo-Platonic grammar. But as my studies with Maximus have shown me, Augustine got trapped in his own system.

    Despite a very odd protology, who would you say is unhealthy in their Neo-Platonism, Augustine or Origen? Or is this an unhelpful question?

    Like

  2. It’s a hard question to answer, since they took neo-Platonism in different directions. Probably Origen since he held to the more questionable aspectsof neo-Platonism (pre existence of souls)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s