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Aron Reppmann on Origen: Castration, Rejection, and Redemption
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In this short coda to our main interview, we discuss two remaining, highly pressing problems in the scholarship on Origen: his polarised status within mainstream Christianities and the question of whether or not he chopped off his own dingus.
The latter problem, the so-called ‘sin’ or ‘folly of Origen’, we address first.
The prior problem, that of Origen’s status as an ‘indispensable Other’ in the Orthodox church in particular, makes up the second part of the interview. Reppmann presents Origen as, indeed, a central figure of Christian esotericism, whom the church can’t live with, but can’t live without.
Other Works Cited in this Interview:
- Eusebius H.E. 6.8 ‘On What Origen Did Recklessly’: Whilst at this time Origen was performing the office of an elementary instructor at Alexandria, he also carried a deed into effect, which would seem, indeed, rather to proceed from a youthful understanding not yet matured ; at the same time, however, exhibiting the strongest proof of his faith and continence. For understanding this expression, “There are eunuchs who have made themselves such (who have acted the eunuch) for the sake of the kingdom of heaven,” [Matt. 19:12] in too literal and puerile a sense, and at the same time thinking that he would fulfil the words of our Saviour, whilst he also wished to preclude the unbelievers from all occasions of foul slander, it being necessary for him, young as he was, to converse on divine truth not only with men but with females also, he was led on to fulfil the words of our Saviour by his deeds, expecting that it would not be known to the most of his friends.’ Trans. Christian F. Cruse.
- John Behr. Origen: On First Principles. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2019.
July 29, 2020
Ha! I just listened to the public Origen episode and was going to leave a cheeky comment about how I can’t believe you both resisted mentioning Origen’s penis…but look here! You never let me down. 🙂
September 14, 2020
I have a vague recollection, I can’t really put it into words… There may be another reason why Steve couldn’t have an orgasm. 😭
August 18, 2022
In this discussion, you explore a curious shift from Origen’s works being ok to read to later being stamped as not-ok to read. I heard an interview with John Behr in which he points to Jerome as that turning point. If I can find that interview again I’ll circle back and share the link.