chapter  XV
19 Pages

Origen’s Platonism. Questions and Caveats

ByMark Edwards

This chapter shows that borrowing and dependence are inadequate terms to characterize the relation between philosophy and theology in Origen. It also shows that his reflection on Christian axioms in the light of philosophical disputes concerning the provenance of the soul did not confirm his adherence to Plato, but on the contrary led him at least far from any Greek norm as from the prevailing canons of orthodoxy in the Church. The chapter explores what relations, other than borrowing and dependence, could obtain between Christian literature and the philosophical schools of late antiquity. It distinguishes seven experiments with Greek philosophy. It begins with those that seem to the author least characteristic of Origen, while the last two, the catalytic and dialectic, receive the most detailed illustration because they were of most service to him in the construction of an autonomous philosophy.