Origen and the Platonic Tradition

Religions 8 (2):doi:10.3390/rel8020021 (2017)
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Abstract

Abstract: This study situates Origen of Alexandria within the Platonic tradition, presenting Origen as a Christian philosopher who taught and studied philosophy, of which theology was part and parcel. More specifically, Origen can be described as a Christian Platonist. He criticized “false philosophies” as well as “heresies,” but not the philosophy of Plato. Against the background of recent scholarly debates, the thorny issue of the possible identity between Origen the Christian Platonist and Origen the Neoplatonist is partially addressed (although it requires a much more extensive discussion); it is also discussed in the light of Origen’s formation at Ammonius’s school and the reception of his works and ideas in “pagan” Platonism. As a consequence, and against scholarly perspectives that tend to see Christianity as anti-Platonism, the final section of this paper asks the question of what is imperial and late antique Platonism and, on the basis of rich evidence, suggests that this was not only “pagan” institutional Platonism. Keywords: Origen of Alexandria; Origen the Neoplatonist; Platonism; Ammonius Saccas; Plotinus; Porphyry; Hierocles; Proclus; Patristic Platonism

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Ilaria L. E. Ramelli
Sacred Heart University

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