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Origen and Hellenism

The Interplay between Greek and Christian Ideas in Late Antiquity

Panayiotis Tzamalikos

Since 1986, Professor Panayiotis Tzamalikos has argued that Origen was an anti-Platonist in many respects, and all of the clauses in Origen’s official anathematisation in AD 553 were based on nefarious adulteration by unschooled and fanatical drumbeaters. The author’s pertinent books heretofore have uprooted all of those charges and demonstrated that they had nothing to do with Origen’s real thought.

Therefore, Tzamalikos’ work constitutes a peripeteia in the Aristotelian sense of the term, referring to tragedian plays of classical Athens, which points to the moment when the hero learns that everything he knew was wrong.

This book (like the author’s previous ones) brings to light and critically discusses Origen’s Greek philosophical background, which he puts to full use upon composing his Christian works. Consequently, the author insists on the need for engaging in the onerous task of ascertaining Origen’s endowments and feat: whereas he was a Greek ‘apostate’ who forsook his ancestral religion and converted to Christianity when he was well on in years, nevertheless, he implicitly made ample use of his patrimonial lore upon composing his ground-breaking work which paved the way to Nicaea.

The author’s thesis is that, in the quest for discovering the real Origen, scrutinised perusal of this illuminating background is inexorable. For in the history of philosophy, Origen ipso facto is an uncategorised author, whose thought constitutes an unexampled chapter of its own, revealing a perfect match between Christian exegesis and Greek philosophy, which imparted the later episcopal ‘orthodoxy’ the gravamen of its anti-Arian doctrine.