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Origen and Hellenism

The Interplay between Greek and Christian Ideas in Late Antiquity

Panayiotis Tzamalikos

This book elucidates and engages in critical discussion of the Greek philosophical background to the work of Origen, the great third-century scholar and theologian. The author, Professor Panayiotis Tzamalikos, has long argued that Origen was in many respects an anti-Platonist, and that the clauses in Origen’s official anathematisation in AD 553 were based on misreadings by unschooled and fanatical drumbeaters. Tzamalikos has refuted those charges and demonstrated that they had nothing to do with Origen’s real thought. Origen and Hellenism continues the argument by placing Origen’s achievement in its correct context: Origen may have forsaken his ancestral religion and converted to Christianity when he was advanced in years, but he implicitly made much use of his Greek intellectual inheritance in composing his ground-breaking theological work, which paved the way to Nicaea.

The author’s thesis is that, in the quest to discover the real Origen, scrutiny of this background is vital. In the history of philosophy, Origen is uncategorisable as an author: his thought constitutes an unexampled chapter of its own, revealing a perfect match between Christian exegesis and Greek philosophy, which gave later episcopal orthodoxy the gravamen of its anti-Arian doctrine.

Panayiotis Tzamalikos (MSc, MPhil, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; PhD, Faculty of Divinity, University of Glasgow) is Professor of Philosophy at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His books include The Concept of Time in Origen; Origen: Cosmology and Ontology of Time; Origen: Philosophy of History and Eschatology; A Newly Discovered Greek FatherCassian the Sabaite Eclipsed by ‘John Cassian’ of Marseilles; The Real Cassian RevisitedMonastic Life, Greek Paideia, and Origenism in the Sixth Century; An Ancient Commentary on the Book of Revelation; Anaxagoras, Origen, and NeoplatonismThe Legacy of Anaxagoras to Classical and Late Antiquity; and Origen: New Fragments from the Commentary on Matthew.