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Representation of Origen writing from a manuscript of In numeros homilia XXVII dated to c. 1160
Born c. 184 AD
Probably Alexandria, Egypt
Died c. 253 AD
Probably Tyre, Phoenice (present-day Lebanon)
Era Ancient Greek philosophy/Christian philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Alexandrian school of early Christian theology
Main interests
Notable ideas
  • Allegorical interpretation of the Bible
  • Apocatastasis
  • Asceticism
  • Christian pacifism
  • Free will
  • Incorporeality of God
  • Logos theology
  • Preexistence of souls
  • Ransom theory of atonement
  • Subordinationism
  • Universalism

Origen (or Origenes, also Origen(es) Adamantius) was an early Christian scholar. He lived in Alexandria in the 3rd century. He was born in the year 185 or 186, and proably died around the year 254. Today, he is regarded as one of the Church Fathers, but not as a Saint. This is probably because he had some ideas, which were declared to be false later on. These ideas included that the human soul existed before conception, and entered the human body before birth (generally known as pre-existence). Another idea was that of the souls entering a different human body after death. A third idea, called Apokatastasis, is that the reign of god would be restored when the world ends. These ideas were discussed by church fathers, but it was decided that they were false beliefs. The Council of Constantinople in 453 CE posthumously excommunicated Origen, and the 2nd Council of Constantinople in 553 CE declared apokatastasis as heresy. However, in recent years the idea has found some reconsideration especially among Restorationist Christian groups.

His writings are included in the general collection of early Church Fathers. However, unlike many church fathers, Origen was never canonized by the Catholic Church, because some of his teachings (for example, that every man and woman, and even the devil and his demons, would ultimately be saved) directly contradicted the teachings and actions of the apostles.

Origen was a prolific writer in many branches of theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, philosophical theology, preaching, and spirituality. Some of his teachings, however, quickly became controversial. Notably, he frequently referred to his hypothesis of the pre-existence of souls. In the beginning all intelligent beings were united to God. In his writingas, Origen also considered the possibility, that in the end all beings, perhaps even the arch-fiend Satan, would be reconciled with God in what is called the apokatastasis ("restitution"). Origen saw the Son of God as subordinate to God the Father. Even though this view of the Trinity was common at the time, it became controversial during the Arian controversy of the fourth century. A group who came to be known as Origenists, and who firmly believed in the preexistence of souls and the apokatastasis, were declared anathema in the 6th century. This condemnation is attributed to the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, though it does not appear in the council's official documents.

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