Abstract: This study situates Origen of Alexandria within the Platonic tradition, presenting Origen as a Christian philosopher who taught and studied philosophy, of which theology was part and parcel. More specifically, Origen can be described as a Christian Platonist. He criticized “false philosophies” as well as “heresies,” but not the philosophy of Plato. Against the background of recent scholarly debates, the thorny issue of the possible identity between Origen the Christian Platonist and Origen the Neoplatonist is partially addressed (although it (...) requires a much more extensive discussion); it is also discussed in the light of Origen’s formation at Ammonius’s school and the reception of his works and ideas in “pagan” Platonism. As a consequence, and against scholarly perspectives that tend to see Christianity as anti-Platonism, the final section of this paper asks the question of what is imperial and late antique Platonism and, on the basis of rich evidence, suggests that this was not only “pagan” institutional Platonism. Keywords: Origen of Alexandria; Origen the Neoplatonist; Platonism; Ammonius Saccas; Plotinus; Porphyry; Hierocles; Proclus; Patristic Platonism. (shrink)
While virtually all of the few scholars who have dealt with the subject of prophecy in Origen of Alexandria have limited their analysis to Origen’s Contra Celsum, the present essay will take into consideration the most remarkable insights from all of Origen’s extant literary output, including his definitions of prophecy, which can significantly enrich our understanding of the value, sources, and functions of prophecy according to Origen. Fruitful comparisons with Philo, Clement, Eusebius, and Plotinus will also be drawn. What will (...) emerge from the present investigation is that, for Origen, prophets are moral examples, and true prophecy is a gift shared by men and women alike, is a kind of “proof,” structurally related to allegory and philosophy, and contains the announcement of Christ and, closely connected to this, the promise of the eviction of evil and the universal restoration or apokatastasis, which is a core doctrine in Origen’s philosophico-theological system. (shrink)
This essay investigates Clement’s terminology related to allegorical exegesis of Scripture (μυστήριον first of all, but also αἴνιγμα, τύπος, ἀλληγορία, παραβολή etc.), as well as theoretical and methodological issues related to Biblical allegoresis (i.e. the figural, spiritual exegesis of the Bible, which is taken to contain allegories or metaphorical, figural expressions), the influence of Stoic allegoresis of theological myths on Clement’s allegoresis of Scripture, and the impact of Philo’s Biblical allegoresis, and of Pantaenus’s scriptural exegesis, on Clement’s own spiritual exegesis (...) of the Bible. (shrink)
This cutting-edge monograph has extensively demonstrated that allegoresis was part and parcel of philosophy, and more specifically a tool of philosophical theology, in Stoicism and Middle and Neoplatonism, “pagan” and Christian alike. Many Stoics and ‘pagan’ Platonists applied philosophical allegoresis to theological myths, and this operation provided the link between theology and physics (in the case of the Stoics) or metaphysics (in the case of the Platonists). Many Christian Platonists in turn, starting from Clement and Origen, applied philosophical allegoresis to (...) the theological discourse in Scripture. [Arguments in this monograph, and further in more recent essays in English in International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Jahrbuch für Religionsphilosophie, Mnemosyne Supplements, the Brill Companion to the Reception of Homer, etc.]. This research is also extremely relevant to the intertwining of philosophy and religion in antiquity and late antiquity. It investigates one of the ways in which religion became part of the philosophical discourse, and at the same time philosophy became indispensable to religion, be this traditional “pagan” mythology and cults or newly expanding Christianity. Monograph in nine chapters plus bibliography. Chaps. I (before Stoicism), II (Ancient Stoa), III (Apollodorus and Crates of Mallus), IV (Palaephatus, his followers, and Conon), V (Cicero, Philodemus, Lucretius and other Epicureans; Philo and Josephus), VI (Cornutus and other Roman Stoics; Cornutus and Heraclitus: a comparison), VII (Chaeremon, Cebetis Tabula, Ecphantus, De vita et poësi Homeri, Plutarch), and IX (conclusions) and Bibliography by I. Ramelli; chap. VIII (Heraclitus Rhetor) by G. Lucchetta. Pp. 550. (shrink)
This volume collects the thoroughly revised and expanded versions of the papers, with the relevant response, presented at two interrelated workshops at the 2015 Oxford Patristics Conference, on theology and philosophy between Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, and on theology in Evagrius Ponticus between Origen, the Cappadocians, and Neoplatonism. This volume contributes innova- tive research into core theological issues in Evagrius and the Cappadocians, also against the backdrop of Origen’s thought and contemporary Neoplatonism. A profound continuity emerges between Evagrius’ theology (...) and the theology of Origen and the Cappadocians, with particular attention paid to Gregory of Nyssa. The latter’s influence on Evagrius’ thought still needs to be investigated systematically; a substantial contribution towards this important desideratum is hopefully offered in the present volume. Thanks also to the research offered in this volume, Evagrius’ theology emerges more and more as part and parcel of Cappadocian theology, within the Origenian line, and thus in relation to Neoplatonism (‘pagan’ and Christian). In this connection, pointing out the so far overlooked link between Nyssen and Evagrius is crucial. (shrink)
The authors of this volume elucidate the remarkable role played by religion in the shaping and reshaping of narrative forms in antiquity and late antiquity in a variety of ways. This is particularly evident in ancient Jewish and Christian narrative, which is in the focus of most of the contributions, but also in some “pagan” novels such as that of Heliodorus, which is dealt with as well in the third part of the volume, both in an illuminating comparison with Christian (...) novels and in an inspiring rethinking of Heliodorus's relation to Neoplatonism. All of these essays, from different perspectives, illuminate the interplay between narrative and religion, and show how religious concerns and agendas shaped narrative forms in Judaism and early Christianity. A series of compelling and innovative articles, all based on fresh and often groundbreaking research by eminent specialists, is divided into three large sections: part one deals with ancient Jewish narrative, and part two with ancient Christian narrative, in particular gospels, acts, biographies, and martyrdoms, while part three offers a comparison with “pagan” narrative, and especially the religious novel of Heliodorus, both in terms of social perspectives and in terms of philosophical and religious agendas. Like the essays collected by Marília Futre Pinheiro, Judith Perkins, and Richard Pervo in 2013, which investigate the core role played by narratives in Christian and Jewish self-fashioning in the Roman Empire, the present volume fruitfully bridges the disciplinary gap between classical studies and ancient Jewish and Christian studies, offers new insights, and hopefully opens up new paths of inquiry. Contributions by (in alphabetical order): Cathryn Chew, Mark J. Edwards, Erich Gruen, Vincent Hunink, David Konstan, Karen King, Dennis MacDonald, Laura S. Nasrallah, Judith Perkins, Richard Pervo, Ilaria Ramelli, Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta, Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, and Lawrence Wills. (shrink)
This innovative book, in its monographic introduction and systematic commentary (and English translation from the Syriac based on new readings from the ms.), provides a thorough reassessment of Evagrius’ philosophical theology, Christology, and anthropology. It argues, e.g., that Evagrius is authentically Origenian, not Origenistic, nor Christologically subordinationist, and Nyssen influenced him more than usually assumed. New linguistic evidence is adduced for the differentiation of bodies in KG and Evagrius’ philosophical anthropology. This investigation is continued in a Peeters edited volume and (...) a future monograph on Evagrius’ philosophical theology. (shrink)
Il presente studio si pone in ideale continuità con l’opera di Marcello Gigante Nomos Basileus, analisi fondamentale della nascita e delle interrelazioni tra diritto naturale, diritto divino e diritto positivo nel mondo greco, prendendo le mosse proprio dal punto in cui questi aveva interrotto la sua indagine, ossia sulle concezioni platoniche del nomos e le sue connessioni con il divino, l’anima e l’educazione. In Platone sono rintracciate le premesse teoretiche della concezione, poi diffusa in età ellenistica, imperiale e tardo-antica, e (...) solitamente attribuita agli stoici, del sovrano come nomos empsychos legge incarnata, fonte del diritto positivo in quanto è legge esso stesso. In Platone esiste uno stretto rapporto tra diritto naturale, diritto divino e diritto positivo: che il nomos empsychos sia espressione della legge di natura risulta dal principio platonico secondo cui natura è per l’uomo l’anima e principalmente la dimensione intellegibile e divina che è in essa. I governanti degni promulgano leggi positive che scaturiscono dalla loro anima divina: così può essere garantito il fondamento divino e naturale delle leggi positive. -/- . (shrink)
Il libro, diviso in quattro sezioni, mette in luce un'indagine storica del tutto originale di documenti noti e meno noti sulla figura di Gesù in fonti non cristiane del I secolo; su come il cristianesimo fu conosciuto a Roma già nel I secolo; sulle allusioni al cristianesimo nei romanzi e nelle satire pagane del I-II secolo; su alcuni esempi della prima diffusione del cristianesimo dal Vicino Oriente all'India.
Ramelli undertakes for the first time a systematic investigation of the possible knowledge of Christianity in a group of novels, all dated between the first and third century CE, and belonging to geographical areas in which Christianity was present at that time. She endeavors to point out the meaning that possible allusions had for the public addressed by those novels. . . . The results of her research are, in my opinion, of the highest interest. . . . Her work (...) seems to me to be most helpful and rich in outstanding results. --Marta Sordi, in Aevum 76 (2002) -/- The authors of the classical novels shared their world with Christians--some may have been Christians themselves--and one might expect to find references to Christianity in their works. In this learned and pioneering study, Ilaria Ramelli, an expert in both classical literature and early Christianity, brings to bear her profound knowledge of ancient history and a subtle feel for literary values, and identifies a wide range of possible allusions. Her book is a contribution not only to the study of the ancient novel but also to our understanding of the cross influences between religious cultures in the ancient world. --David Konstan Professor of Classics New York University -/- The book has important qualities. First of all, the author offers a very full synthesis of the results of earlier partial studies, including those by herself. A lot of work must have been invested in its preparation, which entailed studying a variety of areas, literary, historical, and theological . . . Secondly, she always takes a careful stand, and never allows herself to declare certain what is no more than plausible or even most probable; Lucian is the only author about whose direct knowledge of Christianity she is absolutely sure. And finally, the work includes a wealth of bibliographical references, both in the footnotes and in the sixty-eight pages of the bibliography. The book is a mine of information . . . Nowadays, both the literature of the novels and the early Church as an element of society are in the spotlight of scholarly interest. Those wishing to work on the points of contact between the two are well advised to use Ramelli as a guide. They will find the facts, well-balanced discussions, and an exhaustive bibliography. --Anton Hilhorst, in Ancient Narrative 3 (2003) -/- Ramelli demonstrates enormous meticulousness, learning, and a critical approach to the sources and bibliography . . . The documentation with which the author of this monograph corroborates all of her statements concerning possible parallels (between the ancient novels and Christianity) with respect to the contents or form . . . is absolutely exhaustive. We must also highlight the huge carefulness, erudition, and critical use of literature. --Antonio Artes Hernandez, in Myrtia 19 (2004). (shrink)
Edited by Svetla S. Griffin and Ilaria L.E. Ramelli. Harvard University Press, Hellenic Studies 88, 2019, ca 600 pages. ISBN-10: 0674241320; ISBN-13: 978-0674241329. Contributors: Luc Brisson, Kevin Corrigan, John Dillon, Harold Tarrant, John Turner, John Finamore, Ilaria Ramelli, Karla Pollmann, Carlos Lévy, Lenka Karfíková, Pauliina Remes, Mark J. Edwards, Pier Franco Beatrice, Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, Aaron Johnson, Dimka Gocheva, Olivier Dufault, and Robert Hannah.
The Teaching of Addai is a Syriac document convincingly dated by some scholars in the fourth or fifth century AD. I agree with this dating, but I think that there may be some points containing possible historical traces that go back even to the first century AD, such as the letters exchanged by king Abgar and Tiberius. Some elements in them point to the real historical context of the reign of Abgar ‘the Black’ in the first century. The author of (...) the Doctrina might have known the tradition of some historical letters written by Abgar and Tiberius. (shrink)
Questa monografia esamina in modo chiaro e conciso ma rigoroso e articolato le concezioni di tempo ed eternità nella filosofia greca, nella Bibbia e nella Patristica. Mostra come i Cristiani criticassero la nozione stoica di ripetizione infinita di evi in cui rivivono le stesse persone compiendo gli stessi atti, in quanto opposta al progresso morale, e ponessero invece l’eternità metafisica platonica alla fine del tempo storico, come luogo di retribuzione e partecipazione all’eternità divina.
What is truly timeless? This book explores the language of eternity, and in particular two ancient Greek terms that may bear the sense of eternal : aiônios and aïdios. This fascinating linguistic chronicle is marked by several milestones that correspond to the emergence of new perspectives on the nature of eternity. These milestones include the advent of Pre-Socratic physical speculation and the notion of limitless time in ancient philosophy, the major shift in orientation marked by Plato s idea of a (...) timeless eternity, and the further development of Pre-Socratic insights by Epicurean and Stoic thinkers. From the biblical perspective, the intersection of Greek and Hebrew conceptions is reflected in Septuagint, as well as new inflections in popular terminology in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and in the role of eternity in the theology of the New Testament. The profound cross-fertilization of Christian and classical philosophical conceptions in the works of the Church fathers and their contemporaries is explored, bringing the topic into the Patristic period. Christian theology in the first five centuries of the Common Era and its choice of vocabulary prove to be most revealing of larger doctrinal commitments. Above all debate raged on the question of eternal damnation versus the idea (deemed heretical in the Christian church after the formal condemnation of Origenism) of apocastastis or universal salvation - that is, the belief that the wicked are not condemned to eternal punishment but will eventually be included among the saved. Terminology for eternity is often at the core of how these issues were debated, and helps to identify which writers inclined to one or the other view of the matter. (shrink)