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Origen of Alexandria uses the language of ἔρως to explain God’s desire to be with humanity. However, Plato’s classic definition of ἔρως as a mix of poverty and plenty seems to be at odds with Origen’s commitment to classical theism. This article explains why Origen does not consider this attribution to contradict his theological commitments. It starts with a discussion of Origen’s theory of divine attributes, the ἐπίνοιαι Χριστοῦ. Next, Origen’s doctrine of passio caritatis, which states that God can actively will to be passive, is explained. Then, Origen’s familiarity with Plato’s Symposium is demonstrated. The article then considers Origen’s attribution of ἔρως to God, and its context, in the Commentarium in Canticum Canticorum; it emerges that the Incarnation is, for Origen, God’s most erotic act. The final section shows that Origen maintains his understanding of God’s erotic, incarnational movement towards fallen humanity in works other than the Commentarium in Canticum Canticorum.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
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This article lays out Origen’s anthropological application of John 1:26. In particular, it examines the way in which Origen pairs the phrase “one whom you do not know has stood in your midst (μέσος ὑμῶν)” with the Stoic terminus technicus “governing faculty” (ἡγεμονικόν) through an identification of μέσος with soul. This identification assumes that μέσος refers to the soul and that references to the soul apply to the governing faculty. The former stands upon Origen’s four-fold interpretation of μέσος; the latter is an assumption based in Stoic psychology. This article begins with an examination of how Origen connects μέσος to soul and, subsequently, soul to the governing faculty. Next, it examines Origen’s engagement with John 1:26 in his Commentary on John. Finally, the article discusses the various ways in which Origen interprets this verse in his other works.

Open Access
In: Vigiliae Christianae