Saturday, 11 April 2015

Giovanni Hermanin de Reichenfeld: Resurrection and Prophecy: the Spirit in Origen’S Exegesis of Lazarus and Caiphas in John 11

The aim of this paper is to enquire about the role of the Holy Spirit in Origen’s exegesis of the 11th book of the Gospel of John, focusing on the resurrection of Lazarus and the prophecy of Caiaphas.
Origen discloses a twofold exegesis of Lazarus’ resurrection, detecting in the characters of the episode - the crowd surrounding Jesus - both the fleshly onlookers and the powers (δυνάμεις) that cooperate with the Logos. Lazarus symbolises every soul that is restored (ἀπεκατέστη) after having experienced the death of the sin. This restoration, operated by the Father, the Logos and other powers (ἄλλαι δυνάμεις), whilst intending to generate the faith of the witnesses, causes the consequent prophecy of Caiaphas. After enquiring whether the Holy Spirit or other powers, such us the evil spirits (πονηρὰ πνεύματα), have prophesied through Caiaphas, Origen suggests the deeper sense of the prophecy indicates the salvation of all the universe (ὅλος κόσμος) operated by the Holy Spirit.

Origen’s interpretation of this passage cast new light on some of the Origen’s most problematic theories, such as the universal salvation, the forgiveness of post baptismal sins and the relation between the Logos and other powers in the economy of salvation. All these themes are connected by the Holy Spirit, whose role and action seem to be the keystone of the entire episode and therefore worthy of further investigation.

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