Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Scherbenske Eric: The Material and Memorial Organization of Origenian Knowledge

Responses to Origen were not indifferent. While Origen’s reputation was not untarnished in his own lifetime, his legacy proved increasingly divisive. This legacy affords a unique opportunity to explore techniques and modes utilized for organizing knowledge of Origen in both the possessive and objective sense—i.e. knowledge from Origen and knowledge about Origen. Indeed, various actors endeavored to shape this legacy in various ways: his writings were collected, preserved, and disseminated by multiple individuals at the library of Caesarea; this corpus was selected, excerpted, and compiled not only by supporters defending his teaching (e.g. Pamphilus and Eusebius’s Apologia), but also by enemies condemning it (e.g. Epiphanius’s Panarion); and numerous manuscripts attest to such preservation and transmission (e.g. Codex Marchalianus and Codex Sinaiaticus). Further testimony for the material shaping of Origenian knowledge is the tenth-century manuscript, Codex von der Goltz, which both presents an Origenian scriptural text circumscribed by numerous scholia drawn almost exclusively from Origen’s literary corpus, and also represents a witness to an earlier late ancient archetype (inferred by comparison with related scriptural and catena manuscripts). In this paper I explore the archetype of Codex von der Goltz as an artifact for memorializing Origen through selection, compilation, preservation, and physical transmission—techniques for organizing Origenian knowledge when his legacy was especially fraught. These ways of memorializing also invite comparisons with other modes of ordering knowledge in late antiquity such as the invention of patristic tradition, deployment of conciliar florilegia, and development of catena/scholia.

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