Friday, 17 May 2019
Alfons Fürst: Portraits of Origen in Late Antiquity
In Late Antiquity, Origen became a highly disputed figure between his followers and his enemies. The depiction of his ideas, however, was much more complex than this simple dichotomy might suggest. Due to different perspectives on his works and thoughts, the concepts of "Origen" and "Origenism" were of considerable variety. The portrait of Origen in Pamphilus's Apology, for instance, is quite different from the Origen in the Philocalia, and Methodius and Epiphanius had another concept of "Origenism" than Rufinus, to say nothing about the complex and inconsistent view of Jerome on Origen the exegete and Origen the dogmatician. Therefore, what we call "Origenism" is a highly complex historiographic category. The contours of this concept depend upon the respective approach to his works. Out of different perspectives on Origen, various aspects of his multifaceted thoughts are highlighted or neglected, distorted or accentuated. We find thus many portraits of Origen in Late Antiquity which all claim to present the "true Origen". The paper will focus on some samples to demonstrate these different portraits and to analyse the respective perspectives out of which these portraits were depicted.