Monday, August 2, 2010

Did You Know There Were Two Different Interpretations of Origen's Self-Castration?

I did not but since I participate in the site I am finding out that even EXPLICIT statements of fact from SUPPORTERS of Origen are turned upside down.  I am not objecting to questioning everything about the ancient past - but Origen's self-castration?   Why would anyone doubt that?  What possible motivation would Eusebius - a neo-Origenist - have in accepting such a horrible story and writing:

At this time while Origen was conducting catechetical instruction at Alexandria, a deed was done by him which evidenced an immature and youthful mind, but at the same time gave the highest proof of faith and continence. For he took the words, There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, Matthew 19:12 in too literal and extreme a sense. And in order to fulfill the Saviour's word, and at the same time to take away from the unbelievers all opportunity for scandal,— for, although young, he met for the study of divine things with women as well as men,— he carried out in action the word of the Saviour. He thought that this would not be known by many of his acquaintances. But it was impossible for him, though desiring to do so, to keep such an action secret. When Demetrius, who presided over that parish, at last learned of this, he admired greatly the daring nature of the act, and as he perceived his zeal and the genuineness of his faith, he immediately exhorted him to courage, and urged him the more to continue his work of catechetical instruction.[Church History 8,1 - 3]

It baffles the mind why Eusebius would perpetuate such a 'monstrous fable' if it were not fact. The business about Demetrius accepting and commending the 'genuineness of his faith' is likely the only BS.

I was told to read an article 'Kastration und Magenprobleme? Einige neue Blicke auf das asketische Leben des Origenes.' (p. 15-34) I guess I am going to have to read the text just to make myself familiar with the arguments but I have to admit I find it difficult to accept the idea that EVERYTHING in ancient Christianity is up for grabs, everything is worthy of 'doubt.'

Is all of this 'higher criticism' really being carried out by objective scholarship or are these people conspiring to make Christianity disappear or marginalize its influence?

I like to think that I am moving my research with OBJECTIVITY. I am not so sure that everyone else in the sandbox is reigning in their impulses. The cart always seems to be leading the horse with these people.

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