Origen: Philosophy of History & Eschatology


A common accusation made against Origen is that he dissolves history into intellectual abstraction and that his eschatology (if this is recognized at all) is notoriously obscure. In this new work, the author draws on an impressive range of bibliography to consider Origen’s Philosophy of History and Eschatology in the widest context of facts, documents and streams of thought, including Classical and Late Antiquity Greek Philosophy, Gnosticism, Hebraism and Patristic Thought, both before Origen and well after his death. Against claims that he causes history to evaporate into barren idealism, his thought is shown to be firmly grounded on his particular vision of historical occurences. Confronting assertions that Origen has no eschatological ideas, his eschatology is shown rather to have made a distinctive mark throughout his works, both explicitly and tacitly.
In Origen’s view, history was the foundation of scriptural interpretation, a teleological process determined by factors and functions such as providence – prophecy – promise – expectation – realization – anticipation – faith – anticipation – hope – awaiting for – fulfilment – end. Since 1986, the author has argued for the unpopular thesis that Origen is, in many respects, an anti-Platonist. Nevertheless, the author casts light upon the Aristotelian rationale of Origen’s doctrine of apokatastasis, arguing that its validity is bolstered by ontological rather than historical premises. The extent of Origen’s influence upon what is currently regarded as ‘orthodoxy’ turns out to be far wider and more profound than has hitherto been acknowledged.

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Panayiotis Tzamalikos is Professor of Philosophy at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. He studied at this University (MSc, MPhil) and at the University of Glasgow, Scotland (Ph.D.). He has published extensively on Origen considered in the entire context of both Patristic Thought and Greek Philosophy. His books include The Concept of Time in Origen and Origen: Cosmology and Ontology of Time. Among his articles, “Origen: The Source of Augustine’s Theory of Time”, “Origen and the Stoic View of Time”, “Creation ex nihilo in Origen”, “The Autonomy of the Stoic View of Time”, “The Concept of matter in Plato’s Timaeus”.
"...the study that has best demonstrated that Origen’s whole thinking is eschatologically oriented.'
Ilaria Ramelli, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy in RBL 04/2008.

'This is an exciting book which makes a formidable contribution to the study of Origen: all students of the great Alexandrian will find much of profit in its pages. T. succeeds admirably in presenting Origen's conception of history as thoroughly dramatic and teleological, while also demonstrating the manner in which Origen's conception of history and of eschatology is fundamentally Pualine. T. has here provided the best available analysis of the crucial relation between eschatology and Christology in Origen's thought. Both this volume and its predecessor are enthusiastically recommended as valuable and exciting reading.'
S.W.J. Keough, Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses. Louvain Journal of Theology and Canon Law, 2008
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