Friday, 17 May 2019

Elisa Bellucci: Between Kabbalism and divine wisdom. Origen in the work of the Pietist theologians Johann Wilhelm and Johanna Eleonora Petersen

Between the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century the couple of theologians Johann Wilhelm and Johanna Eleonora Petersen – connected to the so-called German Pietism – was among the most prominent supporters of the doctrine of universal salvation - apokatastasis.Such an idea is usually linked to the theologian of Alexandria Origen, who plays an important role also in the Petersens´ texts.Nevertheless, Origen is not the only source used by the Petersens to speak about universal salvation and, despite the fact that he is the most quoted author, he is not the first and main source for the Petersens to deal with this doctrine.Through my paper I want to analyze the figure of Origen in the Petersens´ texts, seeking to describe it 1) in connection to the other authors referred by the Petersens; among them, first of all the English tradition with Jane Lead and Anne Conway, but thePetersensmake also a large use of the Kabbalistic tradition, and they quote even Luther, harmonizing all these authors with each other; 2) in comparison to the role which the Alexandrian played in the context of thePetersens: on one hand he was considered by the orthodox theologian Colberg the chief of an enthusiastic and fanatic Christian tradition, on the other hand, his life was praised by some radical pietist theologians. Through the analysis of these two issues, I will seek to describe and explain the Petersens´ standpoint.

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