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Logan-Hudson, Kimberly W.
An analysis Of Origen's charismatic ideology in his Commentary on the Gospel of John
h [electronic resource] /
by Kimberly W. Logan-Hudson.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
ABSTRACT: This thesis aims to examine whether Origen projects a charismatic ideology within his Commentary on the Gospel of John. Five characteristics will be utilized during the process: (1) Charismatic authority is given directly from God and only God; (2) Those who have been chosen sought and maintain the position; (3) Individuals must recognize this authority along with others; (4) Those with charismatic authority must mediate God's word for others; (5) This authority may only belong to individuals within the one body of the church. In analyzing Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 along with these five characteristics, the thesis will present Origen's charismatic ideology and determine how it functioned between him and those who held a more traditional view concerning the structure of the Christian Church.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Adviser: James F. Strange, Ph.D.
x Religious Studies
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
An Analysis of Origens Charismatic Ideology in His Commentary on the Gospel of John by Kimberly W. Logan-Hudson A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Religious Studies College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: James F. Strange, Ph.D. Paul G. Schneider, Ph.D. Darrell J. Fasching, Ph.D Date of Approval: March 27, 2007 Keywords: religion, leadership, christian, church, demetrius Copyright 2007, Kimberly W. Logan-Hudson
Acknowledgments I would like to thank all those individuals who have helped in the process of finishing this thesis. First, I must tha nk my mom, Patricia and husband, Alan because without their help and support this thesis would not have been possible. And second, a special thanks to Dr. Schneider and Dr Strange, whose endless patience and encouragement have nurtured my confidence dur ing the pursuit of my degree. And last but not least, I must thank all of my prof essors who have helped me throughout my academic career because every class wa s a stepping stone in the process.
Dedication This thesis is dedicated to my daughter, Alexandria, who is my new inspiration in life! I hope you dance!
i Table of Contents Abstract ii Chapter 1. Introduction 1 Chapter 2. Analysis of previous stud ies on Origens concept on religious 4 Leadership Chapter 3. Description of Charismatic Ideology 10 Chapter 4. Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John : Book 1 15 Chapter 5. Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John : Book 2 20 Chapter 6. Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John : Book 6 25 Chapter 7. Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John : Book 10 30 Chapter 8. Interpretation of Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 36 Chapter 9. Conclusion 50 References Cited 54
ii An Analysis on Origens Ch arismatic Ideology in his Commentary on the Gospel of John Kimberly W. Logan-Hudson ABSTRACT This thesis aims to examine whether Origen projects a charismatic ideology within his Commentary on the Gospel of John Five characteristics will be utilized during the process: (1) Charismatic authority is given directly from God and only God; (2) Those who have been chosen sought and maintain the position; (3) Individuals must recognize this authority along w ith others; (4) Those with charismatic authority must mediate Gods word for others; (5) This auth ority may only belong to individuals within the one body of the church. In analyzing Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 along with these five characteristics, the thesis will present Origens charismatic ideology and determine how it functioned between him and those who held a more traditional view concerning the structure of the Christian Church.
1 Chapter One Introduction This thesis seeks to analyze the 3rd cen tury Christian theologian Origen and his Commentary on the Gospel of John using an idea of charismatic ideology proposed by Joseph W. Trigg in his article The Charisma tic Intellectual: Origen s Understanding of Religious Leadership. 1 After this analysis, this thesis will then examine the findings against the historical backdrop of Origens and Bishop Demetrius controversy, which ends with Origens relocation to Caesarea. This is because Origen wrote his early books of this commentary during his feud with Demetrius and the later books after his relocation to Caesarea. Therefore, by examining Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 of Origens commentary in the light of Tr iggs five characteristics, and then by examining the historical information regarding the feud, this thesis seeks to provi de a possible insight into Origens beliefs on the stru cture of the Christian church. Thus, my thesis is that Origens charismatic ideology regarding religious leadership of the Christian chur ch, which he articulated in his Commentary on the Gospel of John, changed after his conflict with Bishop Demetrius. The requirement changed from all leaders having charismatic authorit y to there being room for both types of leaders in the church, thos e who possessed a charismatic authority and those who possessed a traditional authority. 2 Thus, leaders who have charismatic authority can 1 Joseph W. Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Or igens Understanding of Religious Leadership, Church History 50, no. 1 (March 1981): 5. 2 There will more regarding the term charismatic as well as the difference betwee n a charismatic type of leader versus the more traditional type often associated with the orthodox Christian church in the following chapters as it appears to Origen. However, in a brie f explanation, it appears that when Origen depicts a charismatic type, he explains it as someone who be haves in a prophetic manner. Max Weber defines a prophet as an individual who has charisma, who proclaims a religious doctrine or divine commandment. Max Weber, Sociology of Religion (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991). 46. The traditional authority is received by the election of other leaders and they follow standard form of rules and regulations set forth by other leaders within the church.
2 work alongside of leaders who hold more of a tr aditional leadership role often associated with the Christian church. Discovering whether Origen did change his requirement over religious leadership is important because it provides a glimpse into the history of an influential Christian theologian of the 3 rd century. Incidentally, scholars of ten argue for Origens position on religious leadership in the church as being one where he /she should have charismatic characteristics in order to lead. Consequently, they have come to this conclusion by examining explicit accounts in an array of Origens writings. However, in an analysis of Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John using five characteristics provided by Joseph W. Trigg against the historical bac kdrop of Origens and Bishop of Demetrius controversy, I found that Origen changed his strict requirement a nd instead appears to provide a possible compromise. This is more than likely a direct result of his feud with Demetrius where afterwards Origen began to argue that there was room for leaders who have charismatic authority to exist within th e church alongside of leaders who have more of a traditional role. Thus, while Origen did argue for leaders to have charismatic authority as a prerequisite for church leadership, an encounter with Bishop Demetrius which resulted in his relocation to Caesarea, does appear to have slightly changed his argument if not permanently, at least for a brief period while he articulated his charismatic ideology in his Commentary on the Gospel of John. By not examining this factor closely and just accepti ng the fact that Origen only always argued for more of a spiritual or charismatic type of leader would be mi ssing out on a direct experience which may depict the struggles of an impor tant influential Christian theologian who helped develop and shape Chri stianity during his time. Chapter two begins with a brief analysis on some previous studies of Origens beliefs regarding religious leadership within the church. Then, ch apter three continues
3 with a detailed examination of Joseph Triggs article and his five characteristics used for analyzing Origens charismatic ideology in his writings. This chapter also presents Triggs argument for Origens charismatic ideology as being a possible reason for Origens and Bishop Demetrius controvers y, which ends in Origens relocation to Caesarea. Thus, with the desire to present th e evidence in an as objective manner as possible, the analysis of text begins with a close examination of Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 of Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John along with the five characteristics provided by Trigg. Consequently, chapters four th rough seven are examinations of each Book separately. For example, the analysis of Book one takes place in chapter four. Then, chapter eight presents the interpretation of the previous analysis of chapters four through seven in which the charismatic ideology was examined in light of the five characteristics provided by Trigg. Chapter eight also examin es Origens charismatic ideology as found in these four books against the historical back drop of the controversy between Origen and Bishop Demetrius. By doing so, this examin ation provides some insight into Origens view of the structure of the church.
4 Chapter 2 Analysis of Previous Studies on Origens Concept on Religious Leadership Origen was a 3rd century theologian w ho lived during a complex and formulating time in proto-orthodox 3 Christianitys history. Incidenta lly, the leadership roles such as the bishops, presbyters, and deacons within the proto-orthodox church were already in place during this time. 4 Be that as it may, some disc repancies over who held or the manner in which they held the authoritative pos itions occurred. In fact, Origen appears as a proto-orthodox theologian and teacher who voiced his opinion on the matter of religious leadership throughout his lifetime. 5 His argument may be observed in either an implicit or explicit fashion in many of his writings. This thesis will investigate whether he articulated it in his Commentary on the Gospel of John Books 1, 2, 6, and 10. 3 Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003]. Ehrman provides two different categories concerning orthodoxy1) orthodoxy & 2) proto-orthodoxy. Orthodoxy means the Christian tradition from the 4th century, and Prot o-orthodoxy means the orthodox Christian tradition with characteristics from before the 4th century. I have found this minor modification of the terms helpful in my growing understanding of the Christian tradition during the first four centuries. It has been especially helpful for understanding the historical development process of the Christian tradition, because Ehrman contends that orthodox Christianity was not necessarily clearly defined until Christianity became the official religion of Rome. Therefore, I will utilize both terms in order to help in the clarification process. 4 Joseph W. Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1983), 27. 5 Henri Crouzel, Origen (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989), 22123 Also see Joseph W. Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Understanding of Religious Leadership, Church History 50, no. 1 (March 1981): 5 and Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church and Joseph W. Trigg, Origen (London: Routledge, 2002) and Everett Ferguson, Origen and the Election of Bishops, Church History 43, no. 1 (March 1974): 263.
5 While Origen appears to have continua lly made an argument for charismatic 6 leadership roles within the church throughout his lifetime, his controversy with Bishop Demetrius of Alexandria is perhaps his most famous. Consequently, it is this argument that leads to his relocation from Alexandria to Caesarea where Origen would spend the rest of his life. It is like ly that this feud became personal and may even seem as Origens only strife with an official leader of the c hurch. However, according to Pierre Nautin, in his Origne: sa vie et son oeuvre 7 Origen actually had a persi stent inability to get along with his official eccles iastical superiors. 8 Instead, Origens reverence for his [heavenly] father, not respect for the church as an institution, acc ounts for his continued loyalty to the church. 9 It is Nautins work that Joseph Trigg uses as a base for his argument that Origen and Bishop Demetrius disagreed over whethe r or not leaders should hold charismatic ideology 10 versus the more traditional ideological leadership roles associated with the orthodox Christian church. There will be more regarding this subj ect and Triggs study in the following chapter, but briefly, the term charismatic for Trigg 11 appears to mean leadership roles which are based on an individuals behavior. This behavior is like a prophet, which appears more spiritual in na ture, meaning that he/she claims divine 6 The term charismatic will be explained in further deta il in chapter three. However, briefly it appears that Origen refers to someone who behaves in a prophetic manner. Max Weber defines a prophet as an individual who has charisma, who proclaims a religious doctrine or divine commandment. Max Weber, The Sociology of Religion (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991), 46. 7 Pierre Nautin, Origene: Sa Vie et Son Oeuure (Paris, 1977) this citation comes from Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Understanding of Relig ious Leadership, 5. Trigg mentions him in other works as well. 8 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Understa nding of Religious Leadership, 5 Here Trigg is paraphrasing Nautin from his Nautin, Origene: Sa Vie et Son Oeuure 414. 9 Joseph W. Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Or igens Understanding of Religious Leadership, Church History 50, no. 1 (March 1981): 5. Again, Trigg is paraphrasing Nautin from his Nautin, Origene: Sa Vie et Son Oeuure 414. 10 There will be a detailed analysis rega rding Triggs characteristics of Orig ens charismatic ideology in the following chapter. Trigg provides 5 characteristic in which to measure Origens charismatic ideologythese are discussed in detail as well in the next chapter. 11 Chapter 3 is almost completely devoted to defining charismatic as Trigg uses it. Briefly, however, Trigg appears to form a similar definition as Max Webers on prophets. See footnote #5 in this chapter.
6 connection in order to express the divines wishes; and therefore, may or may not follow the institutional rules beginning to be form ed as well as enforced within the protoorthodox Alexandrian church. 12 While Trigg chooses to use the phrase charismatic ideology for Origens beliefs on authoritative positions with in the church, othe r scholars may use slightly different terms or phrases. The differences are slight, but all in all they a ll tend to agree. For example, Henri Crouzel in his book Origen explains that Origen felt the clergy were neither depicting nor did they have the holiness necessary for their position. 13 He continues to explain how Origen felt eccles iastical hierarchy wa s too political and therefore allowed for too much manipulation an d greed. For evidence he sites a few of Origens writings in which Origen appears to explicitly express his negative feelings toward clergy who failed to meet the requirements of holiness according to him. Another scholar, Everett Ferguson in his article Origen and the Election of Bishops, approaches the subject by way of examining Origens argument for how bishops should be elected. He explains that Origens most explic it passage regarding the selection of clergy may be found in his Homily in Numbers 13.4 : ...But the leaders in office of the churches should learn not to designate by testimony nor to deliver the leadership of the churches as an inheritance to those who are related to them by blood or are associated with th em by fleshly closeness, but to submit to the choice of God a nd not to choose that one whom human affection commends but to grant entirely to the judgment of God the choice of successor... 14 12 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens U nderstanding of Religious Leadership And Weber, The Sociology of Religion 46. 13 Crouzel, Origen 222. 14 Ferguson, Origen and the Election of Bishops, 26.
7 Ferguson proposes that Origen was not only expressing his sincere thoughts, but also reflecting the different selection process whic h was practiced in different regions during his time. 15 For his evidence he examines several of Origens works and concludes that even though Origen was presenting regional di fferences, Origens main concern was that the person elected had a characteristic simila r to the theme of inspired or prophetic designations. 16 Thus, similar to Nautin, Crouzel, and Trigg, Ferguson also presents Origens beliefs regarding religious leadership. Overall, Origen seems to have desired as well as expressed his belief that clergy of the church s hould have a type of holy, spiritual, or charismatic presence in thei r character in order to be eligible for leadership. Consequently, all four of thes e scholars utilize all of Origens works while presenting their arguments, and for the most part, appear to look for the most direct lines of evidence where Origen expresses his opinion in an expl icit manner. However, in his article The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Understand ing of Religious Leadership, Joseph Trigg presents another implicit manner as a possibl e way for examining Origens charismatic ideology. This charismatic ideology, which Origen se ems to articulate in his Commentary on the Gospel of John will be examined against Origens historical controversy with Bishop Demetrius. However, while all of thes e scholars appear to agree with Origens requirement that all leaders within the Christian church should have a charismatic type of authority, they do so for several different reasons. For example, Ferguson explains that regional differences may have accounted for Origens differences on the matter. Crouzel touches on it in his famous descriptive and historical book on Origen; and then Trigg argues that Origen was a charismatic inte llectual, whose charismatic ideology in which is found in 15 Ferguson, Origen and the Election of Bishops, 27. 16 Ferguson, Origen and the Election of Bishops, 33.
8 his works, caused his controversy with Bi shop Demetrius, which ended in Origens relocation to Caesarea. In an interesting observati on while reading these scholar ly works, I noticed that most are only using explicit accounts found with in Origens writings as their evidence. Trigg, however, does describe an alternative method for examining the evidence, but he does not appear to do a thorough and detailed exegesis on any one work. 17 This being said, these examination of the evidence does still provide a solid and useful study of Origens thoughts on the matter. And, wh ile there is nothing wrong with finding the most direct and explicit line of evidence regarding the matter, it may, however, allow room for error because it may allow for the possibility for one to overlook implicit accounts, which can in fact provide some mo re information on the subject. Thus, one may miss out on the up close and personal e xperiences of an individual who was an influential Christian theologian of the 3 rd century. Some may di sagree and feel that Origens personal experiences were of no ma jor importance, but I would disagree and argue that it very well could be of major im portance because this may in fact reflect why a particular region, as Ferguson claims, ma y have certain requirements regarding religious leadership. For example, as a resu lt of Origens controversy with the Bishop Demetrius, Origen relocated to Caesarea where he appears to have been a very important influential member of this Christian congrega tion. Therefore, his change in requirement regarding the leadership roles may have in fluenced the regions outlook on religious leadership rather then the region ha ving an influence on Origens position. 18 Thus, while I agree with all of the above scholars that Origen does believe religious leadership should be held by those who display a charismatic type of 17 This is my observation after reading Triggs articles and books. However, Trigg is an Origen scholar and may very well have done so before coming to his conclusions. 18 Incidentally, this argument may appear as one si milar to the argument of which one came first the chicken or the egg; it still is of signif icance for research regarding the matter.
9 characteristics in order to be leaders within the Christian church. I disagree that he always held onto this strict requirement throughout his li fetime. Consequently, there does appear to be at least one incident where Origen compromises and argues that there is room in the church for both type of leader s who either have charismatic authority or traditional authority. My conclusion comes from my analysis of Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John which is provided in the following chapters.
10 Chapter 3 Description of Charismatic Ideology The project at hand is to analy ze Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 of Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John and determine whether Origen projects a charismatic ideology within it. In order to accomplish this, a guide line or formula will need to be established. The guideline or formula that I have adopted for this analys is comes directly from Joseph W. Triggs article The Charismatic Intelle ctual: Origens Understanding of Religious Leadership. 19 In this article, Trigg argues that Origen held a charismatic ideology regarding the structure 20 of the church. Those who have authorit y or leadership roles within the church are or should be those who have charismatic authority and not simply ecclesiastical in the more traditional manner associated with orthodox Christianity. 21 As Trigg explains, ...Origens understanding of authority is di stinctive in the Chri stian tradition: he validates charisma in terms of intellect ual gifts acquired through open-minded and disciplined study. 22 Thus, he argues that Origen be lieves religious leadership should belong to those who have charismatic authority versus authority which is given and controlled by other church leaders within the church. 23 Consequently, he provides a fair and detailed argument which not only depict s Origens charismatic ideology, but also 19 Joseph W. Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Or igens Understanding of Religious Leadership, Church History 50, no. 1 (March 1981): 5. 20 The term structure will mean the l eaders within the church, such as the bishops, prie sts, and deacons. 21 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Understanding of Religious Leadership. 22 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Understanding of Religious Leadership, 19. 23 There will be more regarding the difference betwee n charismatic authority versus traditional authority throughout this paper, but briefly the traditional author ity is associated with the orthodox church. Thus, leaders are elected by other leaders and they all follow a standard form of rules and regulations set forth by other leaders within the church.
11 concludes that Origen believed all leaders with in the church should have this charismatic authority before he/she could lead. This authority comes through an intellectual process, much like Origens own journey of studying and teaching scripture. Trigg provides five specif ic characteristics for determining Origens charismatic ideology. He explains that Origen derives the ideology from the Apostle Paul. Trigg also found this term charism atic in Rudolph Sohm, who derived it from Max Weber and used it in his work on ecclesiastical law. 24 Along with these five characteristics, Trigg incorporates explanations from the epistles of Paul for illustration. 25 These five characteristics are as follows: (1) God confers charismatic authority, not through human mediation (as by ordination) but directly. Paul claimed that he was an apostle-not from man nor through man, but from Jesus Christ and God the Father. 26 (2) Since God has conferred this authority, it is mens duty to defer to it. Thus charisma demands and elicits free obedience. Paul says to Philemon: though I am bold enough in Christ to command of you what is required, yet fo r loves sake I appeal to you. 27 (3) This means that indivi duals, by recognizing it, verify charismatic authority. Thus, Paul says: If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 28 (4) Charisma mediates Gods 24 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Unders tanding of Religious Leadership, 7 Trigg sites Rudolph Sohm, Kirchenrecht, vol.1 (Leipzig, 1892) & Max Weber, On Charisma and Institution Building, ed. S. N. Eisenstadt (Chicago, 1968), p. 46, and Ulrich Brockhaus, Chrisma und Amt (Wuppertal, 1972). 25 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Understanding of Religious Leadership, 7. 26 Rudolph Sohm, Kirchenrecht, Vol. 1 (Leipzig, 1892), 29 & 5859 From Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Understanding of Religious Leadership, 78. & Galatians 1:1. 27 Joseph W. Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Or igens Understanding of Religious Leadership, Church History 50, no. 1 (March 1981): 8. From Sohm, Kirchenrecht, Vol. 1 2728 & 56 & Philemon 8.
12 word. Thus Paul claimed to speak by the same spirit that inspired the prophets and assigned to his opinions an importance comparable to that of traditional words of the Lord. 29 (5) Charismatic authority, by its very nature, can belong only to individuals. Thus the point of Pauls simile of the body is to show that God has bestowed his gifts differently on different individuals. 30 Once Trigg establishes his cr iteria for Origens charismatic ideology, he examines a variety of Origens works and finds eviden ce that Origen was following a pattern in which one may find these five characteristics. Trigg 31 also provides a brief description of the relationship between Origen and the Bishop of Alexandria, Demetrius. He re ports that the two ha d a continual strife regarding the structure of the church. In a nut shell, he believes that Origen argued that those who had leading roles within the church should have all the char acteristics provided above in regards to charismatic authority. However, according to Trigg, Demetrius disagreed and argued for apostolic succession, claiming himself and others like him to have the authority of leadership based on an inherited type of position coming from the apostles. Origen, however, saw the leadership roles, including those of the apostles as being more of an individual position which is only given directly from God. Therefore, 28 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Unde rstanding of Religious Leadership, 8 From Sohm, Kirchenrecht, Vol. 1, 5152 & 1 Corinthians 9:2 (also 2 Corinthians 3:2, Philippians 4:1, and 1 Thessalonians 2:19). 29 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Unde rstanding of Religious Leadership, 8 From Sohm, Kirchenrecht, Vol. 1, 29 & 2 Corinthians 4:13; & 1 Corinthians 7:30. 30 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Unde rstanding of Religious Leadership, 8 From Sohm, Kirchenrecht, Vol. 1, 116 & Ernst Kasemann, Perspectives on Paul (Philadelphia, 1971) & J. H. Schutz, Paul and the Anatomy of Apostolic Authority (London, 1975). 31 Within the article, Trigg derives his thinking from two previous scholars, Marguerite Harl, Origene et la Fonction Revelatrice Du Verbe Incarne (Paris, 1958) & Pierre Nautin, Origene: Sa Vie et Son Oeuure (Paris, 1977) see also Pierre Nautin, Lettres el Ecrivains Chretiens Des II et III Siecles (Paris, 1961). However, these works were not used directly in this thesis.
13 anyone may be chosen for the position as long as they have all or perhaps most of these characteristics. Overall, Triggs article appears very convincing and interesting. I was so interested in Triggs conclusions that I wondered whether an analysis of Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John could perhaps articulate Origens charismatic ideology. If so, then could it perhaps reflect a possible conflict betw een Origen and more traditional Christian leadership, which Demetrius is believed to represent? Perhaps this analysis might provide an insight into whet her Origen believed all leaders within the church should hold charismatic authority or should it be held for a select few who work along side of the more traditiona l leaders found with in the church. Why Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John ? As is well known, parts of this particular commentary were written befo re Origen was relocated to Caesarea, and the other parts were written afte rward. Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 are fairly complete and were the most recent books written both before and af ter the relocation. Inci dentally, if Origen was in fact projecting his charismatic ideology upon more traditional Christian leadership, such as the Bishop Demetrius, then perhaps these four Books may reflect this difference regarding the structure of the church. In fact, perhaps, Origens commentary either indirectly or even directly reflect s Origens and Demetrius conflict over the subject of leadership roles. Thus, this thesis examines Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 of Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John while following Triggs guidelines for clarifying charismatic authority within Origens works. Each Book will be examined separately and will have its own chapter with the aim to keep the evidence as clear and objective as possible. After examining each Book separately, there will be a chapter containing my interpretation of the evidence. As mentioned earlier, my intention is to investigate whether Origen projects a charismatic ideology within his Commentary on the Gospel of John
14 Incidentally, I hope that this examination ma y also provide some possible intention of Origens goals toward the structure of the C hurch. For example, did he believe all who held a leadership position within the church should have charismatic authority or should those who have it stand alongsid e those who lead but do so in more of a traditional manner?
15 Chapter 4 Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John: Book 1 In the first book of Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John 32 (Comm. Jn) Origen alludes to his charismatic ideology on many occasions. One characteristic which appears almost immediately is that God elects those to have charismatic authority. Incidentally, Origen projects this belief in his analogy of the 144,000 who are described as the ones having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads found in the Apocalypse of John (Comm. Jn. 1:3). According to Origen, the 144,000 represent a group who are electe d by God to represent and pa rticipate in certain roles within the structure of Christia nity; thus, at the same time also depicting different levels of spirituality. He explains: Just as the people of old, w ho were called the people of God...which engaged in the service of the Divine, was divided into additional priest ly and Levetical orders, so I think, all the people of Christ according to the hidden man of the heart, who bear the na me Jew inwardly and who have been circumcised in spirit po ssess the characteristics of the tribes in a more mystical manner ( Comm.Jn. 1:1). As may be inferred from this quote, Origen understands the Christian structure of the church to be similar to the Jewish structur e of priest, prophets, a nd members of tribes 32 Allan Menzies, Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 9 (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2004) Also consulted the translation by Joseph W. Trigg, Origen (London: Routledge, 2002) as well as Ronald E. Heine, The Fathers of the Church Vol. 80 (Washington: The Cathlic Univers ity of American Press, 1989).
16 found in the Old Testament. Thus, accord ing to Origen, like the Jewish system, Christians appear to be elected by God to se rve different purposes w ithin the church. However, while these 144,000 are said the be chosen or elected directly by God, it is their responsibility (144,000) to seek, maintain, and perhaps even advance within the system. For example, Origen writes- ....and no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who were purchased from the earth. These are those who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are thos e who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were purchased from men, the first frui ts for God and for the Lamb, and no lie was found in their mouth, for they are blameless ( Comm. Jn. 1:3). In this verse, Origen points out that the 144,000 were the only ones el ected by God to learn the song, but at the same time, these were the ones elected becau se they not only followed the Lamb of God but also were virgins. Thus, these elected sought, maintained, and appear to have advanced their positi on by being virgins. Origin continues with his analogy by comparing the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and t eachers within the church (Comm. Jn. 1:18). These positions all have a place and appear to be designed by God in order to serve the one body of the church. As may be recognized, most of th ese positions hold some type of authority within the church, and for Orig en, many of these positions be long to those who have been given charismatic authority dire ctly from God. For example, Origen writes- For there are those who understand those men who have b een truly instructed by Jesus to be greater than the other creatures, some being such, some think, by nature, others, according to others, also by the principle relate d to the more difficult struggle ( Comm. Jn. 1:172). Therefore, there are those who God conferred their charismatic authority in which they worked for as well as maintained it. Cons equently, they should also be recognized by other individuals within the structure to have charismatic authority.
17 Intertwined within Origens articulation of the requirements necessary for those who are recognized by others as having charis matic authority is the responsibility to mediate Gods word to others. Origen appears to comply with this characteristic in two ways. One is in a parallel with Jesus. Th e other is in a parallel with the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers. Thus, prime examples used by Origen are Jesus, the apostle Paul, and John the Baptist. He uses them to show how a Christian should, if elected, mediate Gods word. As Origen explains: But do not be surprised if Jesus announces the good things which happen to be nothing other than himself to those who are about to announce the good th ings, For the son of God announces the good things of himself to those who are able to learn of him without the aid of others. But he who treads upon the mountains and announces th e good things to them does not despise the poor in soul sin ce he was instructed by the good Father who makes the sun ri se on the bad and good and rains on the just and unjust ( Comm. Jn. 1:65). Here, Origen explains that Jesus taught about himself; and theref ore, those elected by God that hold one of the above positions should in turn also teach Gods Word. But, how would one know who was truly capable and spoke the truth? According to this passage, it would be those who do not despis e those poor in the soul. This appears to be the ones who do not maintain as high a spiritual level as those who are like the apostle, prophets, evangelists, and teachers. Another example is with passage 75- But if there are among men those who are honored with the ministry of evangelists, and Jesus himself preaches the good news and preaches th e gospel to the poor... ( Comm. Jn. 1:75). Thus, according to Origen, when one possesses charismatic authority, one should also take the responsibility to mediate Gods word.
18 Incidentally, Origen also appears to support the qualification that individuals hold charismatic authority alone. However, th ey use it through the one body of the church. 33 As Origen writes: Now we understand the moon a nd stars to be analogous to the bride, the Church, and the disciples, who have their own light or a light acquired from the true sun to illuminate those who have not been able to provide a source of light in themselves. For example, we will say that Paul and Peter were a light of the world, but the world of which the apostles were a light was the ge neral run of those instructed by them, who, while they were il luminated, on the one hand, could certainly not illuminate others ( Comm. Jn. 1:163). By examining this passage, it appears that Origen believes certain individuals hold the charismatic authority by themselves (the di sciples, who have their own light); and therefore, they are expected to help others who may not be capabl e of acquiring their own light. Also, Origen uses parallels to demons trate this as well. For example, in passage 18, Origen writes- Furthermore, if God placed apostles, prophets, and evangelists, and pastors and teachers, in the Church... Comm. Jn. 1:18). Here, Origen is describing that God places individuals in certain roles within the church. The use of these examples appear to imply that charismatic authority is held by individuals, a nd then the individuals working through the church make the one body. Therefore, while Origen is organizing and examining the beginning of the Gospel of John, he does appear to project a charis matic ideology through B ook 1. He articulates the concept that God elects those he/she wish es to have charismatic authority. However, 33 There will be more details on the one body of the ch urch in Book 10, where Origen appears to focus on all Christians being all one body through the church.
19 while those with charismatic authority are personally selected, they are personally responsible to seek as well as maintain it. Once these two criteria are met, then the charismatic authority should be recognized by others so that he/she can then be mediators of Gods Word. Lastly, Origen appears to be lieve the charismatic authority is only given to individuals. This is why, according to Orig en, there are different positions within the church, which in turn acts as one body which is the church.
20 Chapter 5 Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John: Book 2 Moving on to Book 2 of Origens Commentary of the Gospel of John, Origen continues to articulate the sa me characteristics for reflecti ng his charismatic ideology. Following a similar pattern as in Book 1, Origen describes that charismatic authority is an elected position given directly from God. Thus, in Origens opinion since this position is elected directly from God, then it should be recognized as an official position within the church. However, they hold different individual positions than the more traditional ecclesiastical hierarchy associat ed with the orthodox church. These two characteristics, God elects those with charismatic authority and only individuals can be given this authority, can be realized from his parallels of the apostle Paul and John the Baptist- For God announced his gospel before through the pr ophets. The prophets were his servants, and had an understanding of the through whom. And agai n, God gave Paul and the others grace and apostleship for the obedience of faith in all nations, and he gave it through Christ Jesus, the Savior, who had the through whom( Comm. Jn. 2:71). Here, Origen explains that the prophe ts, a category which John the Bap tist fits into as well as the apostle Paul, received their grace (charismatic authority ) directly from God. Also, both of these figures depict individual roles, but both wo rk toward one goal within Christianity, 34 which is mediating Gods word within the one body of the church. 34 Within the commentary, Origen depicts the concept that all within Christianity are participating in the one body of the church. This is especially apparent in Book 10.
21 Another example comes with an explan ation of John the Baptist: John was born as a gift from God indeed, from the memor y concerning God related to the oath of our God concerning the Fathers, to prepare f or the Lord a prepared people, to bring about the completion of the old covenant which is the end of the Sabbath observance ( Comm. Jn. 2:198). Thus, John was specifically elec ted by God in order to prepare the way for Jesus Christ, and in the process he represents an individual who has a specific job, but is still working toward one goal within Christianity. Incidentally, the church did not elect him to perform the task, God did. As in Book 1, Origen continues to use parallels with figures like the prophets, apostles, evangelists, and teachers as exampl es of charismatic authority that aid in mediating Gods word. Even so, according to Origen, it is still Gods decision to intervene and then to place those within particular leadership positions of the Christian church As demonstrated with the exampl es of Paul and John the Baptist above, God selected them to have charismatic author ity, which in turn places them in specific positions that mediate Gods word within the sy stem. Since Paul and John the Baptist are also recognized by others as having charismatic authority, Origen can use them as examples for his theological understanding. As briefly mentioned above, Origen continues to use these figures as examples throughout his commentary, and while doing so he defends their type of individual position within Christianity. For example, ...there are many grounds capable of producing faith. Sometimes some are not struck by one proof, but by another. Therefore, God has numerous inducements to present to men that they might accept that the God who is over all created thi ngs has become incarnate (Comm. Jn. 2:202). In the next few passages, he explains how important the prophe ts are to Christianity, not only because they predict the coming of Christ, but also because they demonstrate that God elects individuals in order to perfor m specific tasks within the chur ch. As he writes: ...He,
22 therefore, who maintains that there is no need for the prophetic witness to Christ wishes to deprive the choir of prophets of their greatest gift. For wh at would prophecy, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit, have that is so great, if one exclude from it those matters related to the dispen sation of our Lord ( Comm. Jn. 2:208). This passage may allude to his desire to depict that an intellectual inde pendent position exists within the church by Gods election. This position which contains all the characteristic of charismatic authority, comes directly through God, not fr om human mediation. If God elected the prophets, apostles, and then others who hold pos itions of charismatic authority, then in Origens line of thinking, no one may truly take it away. While God is believed to elect those w ith charismatic authority, those elected are not only responsible for working to receive it, they in turn are responsible for maintaining it as well as teaching others Gods message. As Origen explains: ...just as many of the genuine disciples of Christ were honored to be witnesses of Christ, so the prophets who have apprehended him have received the gi ft of God to announce Christ in advance, teaching not only those after the sojourn of Chri st what they must think about the Son of God...( Comm. Jn. 2:207). Here, Origen equates Christ ian disciples as being similar to the prophets. They both have received charis matic authority and in turn teach others Gods message. Even so, Origen provides some criteria for determining who is considered to really possess this authority. In another passage, for example, Origen explains: ...Every man, however, is not called a [man] of God, but only the one who is devoted to God (as Elias and the men of God recorded in the Scriptures). In the same way, every man can, in the more general sense, have been sent from God but, properly speaking, only the one who appears in life for the
23 divine ministry and service of salvation of the human race can be said to have been sent by God ( Comm. Jn. 2:183). In this passage, Origen appears to insinuate that there are levels of spirituality within Christianity. Within these levels, however, any man may receive charismatic authority, but in turn he/she has to demonstrate hi s/her devotion to God. As he explained, charismatic authority is recognized by appearing in life for the divine ministry and service of salvation for mankind. Therefore, one that receives this authority must act in such a way as to receive it and then in order to keep it, one has to serve within divine ministry and help others. Interestingly, in this book, Origen app ears to stress how those with charismatic authority have more of an in tellectual capacity for properly interpreting Gods word. For example, in passage 168, Origen defends his interpretation on Johns scripture: Now if someone thinks we have added what has not been written....But John wrote the words, The darkness did not overcome it, for thos e who have the intellectual capacity to understand the things that ar e commonly passed over subseq uent to what has been written...( Comm. Jn. 2:168). In this passage, Origen appears to defend his allegorical approach to interpret scriptur e. Consequently, he implies that his ability to interpret scripture comes directly from God because God elects individuals to have the intellectual charismatic authority to do so. As Origen ex plains: It is instead the life which is added to the Word which is completed in us when a share from the first Word is received....Once this life exists in us, it also becomes the foundation of the light of knowledge ( Comm. Jn. 2:156). This passage helps to depict the process toward receiving a charisma that allows one in to have the knowledge necessary to interpret scripture in order to teach the Word. And again in passage 161, Origen appears to compare those who have charismatic authority to those without it: For to walk in darkness indicates blameworthy action; and to hate ones own brother is to fall away
24 from that which is properly called knowle dge. But also because he who is ignorant of divine matters, by that very ignorance, walks in darkness...( Comm. Jn. 2:161). Here, he equates those who are ignorant with darkness and if one has darkness, then he/she will fall away from knowledge. Thus, depicting knowl edge or intellect as a desired goal. Consequently, while Origen continued his examination into the Gospel of John, he appears to also continue articulating his charismatic ideology in Book 2. God directly appoints those to have charis matic authority. Those who received it were able to maintain the position by mediating Gods Word. Included in the process of receiving the authority, Origen appears to believe that they have more of a natural capacity for properly interpreting Gods word. Thus, it is there job to mediate Gods words to others. Also, as Origen projects with his use of parallels of the prophet John the Ba ptist and the apostle Paul, those with charismatic authority not only recognize th eir authority, but also are recognized by others to have it. While they are recognized by ot hers to have it, they also have individual positions, but are still participating in the one body of the church.
25 Chapter 6 Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John: Book 6 Book 6 of Origens commentary also con tinues to reflect his charismatic ideology in all the same categories as found in Books 1 and 2. However, in the beginning, his tone and focus shifts and appears to stress that t hose elected are done so directly by God to serve as types of mediators. As mediator s, they may actually serve Christianity in slightly individual ways, but still act as one through th e one body of the church. According to Origen, the individual roles work ing together are absolutely necessary in order for the one body of the church to be a so lid unit without fractions. For example, in passage 1, Origen provides a metaphor: Every House, in order to be bui lt as solidly as possible, is built in fair and calm weather that nothing may prevent it from being bodily constructed. The purpose is to make it capable of withstanding the rush of flood, the onslaught of river, and all the other things which are apt to test the weak parts of buildings when a storm occurs, and show those which have been constructed with the excellence proper to them (Comm. Jn. 6:1). Here, Origen appears to equate the house w ith the church, and the structure should be built without any difficulties between those responsible for the structure. By doing so, then the church will be able to withstand complications from outside sources. However, if those within are in conflict, then the c hurch will be weak and subject to fall.
26 Following Paul, Origen appears to imply that the one body of the church must be formed without any disagreement between th e individuals who are working within. If there is turmoil among those working within, then the one body of the church is not possible, since the individuals are at odds with one another. As Origen states: ...Such a structure is certainly built when the soul is experiencing the peace which passes all understanding, and is calm, and separated from all trouble, and is by no means tossed by waves. At such a time God correctly coope rates in building w ith the one who has proposed to complete this most excellent work ( Comm. Jn. 6:2). In this example, Origens articulation of his charismatic ideol ogy comes when he explai ns that God elects those individuals, who have sought and maintained their charismatic authority by working to complete Gods work. Thus, the charismatic individuals who help to maintain a calm environment, receive Gods cooperation in building a strong structure, which is the Christian church. Hence, those who have received charisma tic authority are expected to use their abilities for mediating Gods word. Incide ntally, one method of mediating Gods word for Origen is with the prope r interpretation of scripture. As he states, Although the storm at Alexandria seemed to oppose us we dictated the words whic h were given us as far as the fifth book, since Jesus rebuked the wi nds and the waves of the sea. But after we had proceeded for a while in the sixth book we were rescued from the land of Egypt, when the God who led the people from Egypt delivered us ( Comm. Jn. 6:8). Here, Origen appears to apply the story of Gods deliverance of the Jews from Egypt as a metaphor for his own situation between him and the Bishop of Alexandria Demetrius, which resulted in Origens relocation to Caesarea. While Origen appears to desire to have others like De metrius recognize his authority, Origens reason for the departure may be due to his interpretation of scripture, which so far in his Commentary on the Gospel of John regularly appears to articulate
27 Origens charismatic ideology. As Origen explains above, we dictated the words, referring to his interpretation of scripture, which according to him, the authority comes from God. The storm at Al exandria (Bishop Demetrius) di d not seem to agree with Origens method and/or theology; thus, resulti ng in his relocation to Caesarea. Even so, Origen believes his charismatic authority ha s been given to him directly from God; therefore, no one has the power to take it aw ay. And, since God elects those to have the authority, Origen places his present situation as well as the eventual outcome into the hands of God. For example, in passage 11, Origen prays: May God give ear to our pr ayer, that the body of the whole discourse can be unite d, and that misfortune, which can cause a break of any kind in the sequence of the Scripture, no longer interrupt And be aware that I make this second beginning of the si xth book very eagerly because what we dictated previously in Alexandria, for some reason or other, has not been brought ( Comm. Jn. 6:11). In this passage, Origen alludes to his ch arismatic ideology by praying that God, who elected him as an individual to interpret scripture, will allow him to continue and help others through his interpreta tion of the Gospel of John even though he has not been recognized by Demetrius to do so. Thus, Orig en recognizes his char ismatic authority, but has not yet convince a ll within the church. Frequently, as in Book 1 and 2, Origen relies on parallels with the prophets and apostle for depicting his charismatic ideology. One depiction is w ith individuals found within Christianity, like the prophets or apostles, who hold di fferent levels of spirituality within the one body of the church. According to Origen, these levels allow for different methods and perspectives to be used, but endi ng in the same realization of Gods Word. Because of this, different levels of understa nding exist. For example, Origen writes:
28 This much was revealed to the prophets. But the things which will be have not been revealed in the same manner to those who understand but do not see what is prophesied accomplished, as to those who see their fulfillment with their own eyes. This happened in the case of the apostles. For in their way, in my opinion, they understood the events no more than the fathers and the prophets. It is true of them, however, that what in other ge nerations was not revealed as it has now been revealed to the apostles and prophets, that the gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and participants in the promise in Christ, insofar as the apostles understand the mysteries and perc eive the self-evident truth through the completed event ( Comm. Jn. 6:28). Here, Origen is comparing examples of the prophets and apostle who appear to show characteristics of charismatic authority. Firs t, in this passage, prophets and apostles represent an elected position by God because th ey are the ones in which God reveals the information. The prophets who existed befo re the coming of Christ still had the capability of understanding, due to God. Thus, Origen appears to depict the prophets and apostles as having charismatic authority, wher e their job is to mediate Gods word with the authority provided. Incide ntally, many within Christiani ty respect the prophets and apostle; thus, in turn they may respect curre nt prophets or apostle charismatic figures, like Origen for example. When individuals within Christianity, like Demetrius perhaps, recognize those with charismatic authority, th en there will be peace within the one body of the church. Another example Origen uses for indivi duals who are recognized by others as having charismatic authority is with John the Ba ptist. In fact, Origens depiction of him
29 appears to dominant the second half of Book 6. Often times John is described as also having the charismatic authority for mediati ng Gods word. For example, Just as he who is the Son of God strictly speaking uses a word when he is none other than the Word (for he himself was the Word in the begi nning, the Word with God, the Word which was God), so John, the servant of that Word, uses his voice to point to the Word when he is none other than the voice if we unders tand Scripture in the proper sense ( Comm. Jn. 6:94). Hence, similar to Jesus, John the Bap tist is selected indivi dually by God in order to perform a specific task within Christiani ty. Therefore, he appears to hold an charismatic type of position w ithin the one body of the church. Thus, as in Book 1 and 2, Origen conti nues to articulate his charismatic ideology throughout Book 6. Charismatic authority is described as being an elected position given to individuals directly from God. Those w ho have received it, sought and worked to maintain it, either through teaching, prophesizi ng, or interpreting scripture. While it is important for one to recognize for himself that he has charismatic authority, it remains important for other individuals within Christianity to recogn ize it as well. If not, then Origen probably would not spend so much time arguing how individual positions exist and function within the one body of the church.
30 Chapter 7 Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John: Book 10 Book 10 of Origens Commentary continues to reflect his charismatic ideology as seen in the previous books. First, charis matic authority is an elected position given directly from God. This position has b een sought and maintained by the elected individuals. While God elects those individuals w ith charismatic authority in order for them to mediate Gods message, they shoul d be recognized by ot her individuals as having charismatic authority. Incidentall y, only individuals may have charismatic authority, but since it exists w ithin the one body of the churc h, it remains all one entity. However, while Origen continues to arti culate all of these characteristics, his focus appears to shift somewhat with more of a depiction on how individuality works within the one body of the church. For exam ple, he states: Both, however, (I mean the temple and Jesus body) according to one interpre tation, appear to me to be a type of the Church, in that the Church, being called a t emple, is built of living stones, becoming a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being the chief corner stone ( Comm. Jn. 10:228). Here, Origen uses his allegorical method for depicting how th e church becomes the new temple. It is not just a material building, but a living breathing entity, bui lt of living stone meaning Christians. The church is to be a spiritu al house where those elected by God to have charismatic authority, should continue to s eek and maintain God s word through the one body of the church.
31 As may also be inferred from this passa ge, Origen implies that Jesus, prophets, and the apostles held positions similar to t hose who have charismatic authority during Origens time. According to him, they are the foundation, thus allowing the current elected (holy priesthood) with au thority to continue building the spiritual house (church). Incidentally, he appears to present himself and those like him to be a part of this one body. For example, he wrote a commentary on the Gospel of John, and he does appear to have an intellectual ability to study and interpret scripture al legorically. By doing so, he and others can better mediate Gods word for others to understand and become members of the church. As he explains: If the body of Jesus is said to be his temple, it is worth asking whether we must take this in a singular manner, or must endeavor to refer to each of the things recorded about the temple anagogically to the saying about the body of Jesus, whether it be the body which he receiv ed from the Virgin, or the Church, which is said to be his body, since we too are cal led members of his body by the apostle ( Comm. Jn. 10:263). Thus, it is up to him and others lik e him, who have charismatic authority to use the allegorical method for unders tanding and mediating Gods word. Origens allegorical method appears key to his understanding and defense against the discrepancies found within scripture. Acco rding to Origen, it serv es to keep all one within the one body of the chur ch. As Origen explains: For the teaching concerning them, being different than themselves, can, since it is stored up in the mysteries of Scripture, be named figura tively feet of the lamb. We must also not abstain from the entrails and the inner and hidden parts. We must, however approach all the Scripture as one body, and not break or cut through the most vigorous and firm bonds in the harmony of its total composition.
32 This is what they have done who have, so far as it is in their power, broken the unity of the Spirit in all the Scripture ( Comm. Jn. 10:107). Here, Origen argues for scriptur e to be kept and read as on e whole spiritual entity. In order to accomplish this task, one must look at the mysteries of Scripture (allegorical) so that one may examine it as one body. If one gets to caught up in the literal meaning and/or gets caught up in the c ontradictions, then one may fail to realize the power is with the harmony of its total composition. Therefore, while one who has charismatic authority may mediate Gods word through scri pture, he/she has some requirements in the process. By properly interpreting script ure, one with charismatic authority will not only maintain his/her authority, but will also allow for others to recognize the authority. Origen continues using scripture as an example for individuality and spiritual levels within the one body of the church. For example, in passage 15: But to grasp some notion of the evangelists intention concerning such matters, we must also say the following. Assume that God, his words to the saints, and his presence, which is present with them when he reveals himself at special times in their progress, are set before certain people who see in the Spirit. Since th ere are several and they are in different places, and by no means all receive the same benefits, assume that each one individually reports what he sees in the Spirit about God, his words, and his manifestations to the saints... ( Comm. Jn. 10:15). In this passage, Origen articulates all of the same characteristics of his charismatic ideology. First, God elects certain people to have charismatic authority because he reveals himself at special times in their prog ress. Thus, individuals are selected at
33 particular times within their spiritual jour ney to mediate Gods word. By mediating Gods word, they maintain their position. In terestingly, Origen also appears to believe that those with charismatic authority may progr ess to different spiritual levels. This may be concluded when he states th at God reveals himself at speci al times in their progress. By progressing to different spir itual levels, it allows for indi vidual perspectives of Gods message; therefore, allowing for the di fferentiation found within scripture. Consequently, it also allows for th e differentiation between members found within the one body of the church. As Orig en continues to explain with passage 15: The result would be that one man would report about these things which were said and done by God to this just man at this place, and another would report about the things that were prophesied and accomplished for another, and another would want to teach us about a third man besides the two previously mentioned. And assume that there is also a fourth man who acts in a way that is analogous to the three concerning something. Now let these four men agree with one another concerning certain things suggested to them by the Spirit, and let them differ a little concerning other things, so that their accounts are like th is: God appeared to so-and-so at this time in this place, and he has done these things to him as follows; he appeared to him in a form such as this, and led him to this place where he did these things ( Comm. Jn. 10:15). Therefore, one may see and interpret Gods word from different perspectives, and let them differ a little concerning other things. However, one still remains united through the one body of the church,le t these four men agree with one another concerning certain things suggested to them by the Spirit.
34 However, while individuality exists in one form or another, all are united through belief in Jesus, whose body Origen equates with the church. According to Origen, this concept is crucial for keeping Christianity in synchronization and/or balanced with its members and also within the world. As Origen states: And then the many members will be one body, when all who are the many members of the body become one body. It is the prerogative of God alone, who will mix the body together, to make the distinction of foot and hand and eye and hearing and sense of sme ll of those who complete the head in the one case, and the f eet in the other, and the rest of the members, the weaker and humbler, and the shameful and the honorable ( Comm. Jn. 10:237). Once again, Origen uses a Pauline metaphor for depicting how all are one within the church. As with a body, there are individual parts, but thos e parts all work for one body. In a similar way, members of the church may play different roles, but are all working within the same entity. All individuals within the church/body work separately, but also do not work outside of the church/body. Thus if an arm/member is removed, then it would cease to work on its own. It also woul d cease to work for the whole entity, which may very well weaken the body. Therefore, making it very important for all the parts/members to remain whole. Thus, along with Origens charismatic id eology, which allows for individuality, is Origens belief that all ar e still one through the whole body of Jesus, his holy Church ( Comm. Jn. 10:304). As mentioned pr eviously, Origen conti nues incorporating Jesus metaphorically within his unders tanding and explanation, Just as the perceptible body of Jesus has been crucified, burie d, and afterwards raised up, so the whole body of the saints of Christ have been crucified with Christ and now no longer live. Fo r each of them, like
35 Paul, boasts in nothing else than in the cross of our Lord Christ Je sus, through whom he has been crucified to the world and the world to him ( 1 Peter 2:9; Comm. Jn. 10:230). And again, We learn from Peter that the Church is a body and a house of God built from living stones, a spiritual house for a holy priesthood ( Comm. Jn. 10:266). All of these provide examples into how Origens charismatic ideology work s within the whole framework of Christianity. As seen before Origen uses Jesus, Paul, and Peter as examples of individuals with all of the characteristics requi red for those who were elected by God as charismatic authorities. They all sought and maintained Gods elected position by holding similar, but slightly different roles in mediating Gods word. And, while all three are recognized by others within Christian ity as having this authority, they also all have maintained their own individuality within the one body of the Church. In conclusion, Book 10 of Origens commentary continues to reflect his charismatic ideology, even though there are variations in his message. As mentioned above, in this book, Origen appears to focus mo re on how all within Christianity are one through the one body of the church. Again, he uses parallels, metaphor s, and allegory as tools for his conclusions, but al so while doing so, depicts his ideology. First, God elects those to have charismatic authority. Thos e who are elected sought and maintain their position. While they should recognize their authority, other individuals should also recognize it. When God provides charismatic authority, those elected should in turn mediate Gods word. Charismatic authority can only be held by individuals. These individuals are individuals, w ho may provide slightly different perspectives, as seen with scripture, but they are all one th rough the one body of the church.
36 Chapter 8 Interpretation of Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 Now that Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 have been analyzed and compared with the five characteristics used for measuring Origens charismatic ideology, an interpretation of the findings can occur. As may already be rea lized, it does appear that Origen projected a charismatic ideology in some form or another while he was writing his Commentary on the Gospel of John. However, questions still arise, su ch as to what degree or level does his charismatic ideology exist within his overa ll perspective for religious leadership in Christianity? And also, can his interpretation on the Gospel of John depict his larger historical disagreement between him and the bishop Demetrius of Alexandria? In other words, since Origen wrote his Commentary on the Gospel of John during his conflict with Demetrius, then perhaps the conflict influenced Origens interpretation of the gospel. Thus, this analysis may help provide some insight into Origens and Demetrius conflict. The analysis may or may not suppor t the conclusion that Origens charismatic ideology was a factor in hi s relocation to Caesarea. Incidentally, as demonstrated in the prev ious four chapters, all five charismatic ideological characteristics are depicted thr oughout all four books. However, as may be expected, they are used contex tually. For example, in Book 1, the first characteristic, in which charismatic authority must be given dir ectly from God, appears to be stressed more than in the other books. Then, in Book 10, the last characteristic in which only individuals can receive and have charismatic authority but are stil l one whole collective unit in the church, appears to dominate th e theme. Why is this? Once again, the questions arise, could there be a link to his interpretation on the Gospel of John with the
37 historical backdrop of Christianity during this time? Did Origens argument with Demetrius regarding religious leadership infl uence Origens interpretation on the Gospel of John, especially since he wrote part of it before his relocation to Caesarea and then the other part afterward? Thus, by investigating his commentary it may in turn reflect this influence, therefore providing an insight into the controvers y. And again, did Origen and Demetrius disagree so intently on religious leadership that it lead to Origens relocation from Alexandria to Caesarea? The tension between bishop Demetrius and Origen appear to ha ve reached a point of no return between the years of 230-34 C.E. 35 As mentioned earlier this is the period where Origen was writing his Commentary on the Gospel of John This was also during the time of Origen relocation from Alexandria to Caesarea. Consequently, it is believed that one of the disagreements between Origen and Demetrius was over religious leadership within the church. 36 Joseph Trigg, a Origen scholar, sums up the difference as- Ultimately it was a conflict betw een organizer and an intellectual. 37 He explains that Demetrius held an hierarchal understan ding toward religious authority contrary to Origens charismatic understanding of religious authority. 38 Demetrius used his position as bishop for making claims and decisions with in the church, in other words he was the source for the power and authority wi thin the church of Alexandria. 39 Typically, he did not have to answer to anyone, except maybe other bishops, like Pontain of Rome. 40 He was interested in the standardization of doctrine according to the rule of faith, 41 versus Origens seemingly free spirit ed (allegorical) orientation toward doctrine. In other 35 Joseph W. Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1983), 130 Also see, Joseph W. Trigg, Origen (London: Routledge, 2002), 155. 36 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 13046 Trigg also mentions several other issues between them, but thinks that th e controversy over religious leadership was crucial. 37 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 130. 38 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 14041. 39 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 140. 40 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 138. 41 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 132.
38 words, while Origen also wanted an instituti on based on rule of faith, he also desired for the intellectual and spiritual 42 to remain within the churc h. Therefore, standardization of scripture would be to claust rophobic and perhaps too soon fo r Origen at this particular time within Christian history. For Origen, too many questions remain within doctrine for standardization to occur with in Christianity. Thus, Origen may very well have believe d that those with ch arismatic authority should remain within the larger framework of the church. If they remain, then work could continue toward a better more clar ified understanding of Gods word. For Demetrius, however, this concept may have appeared very dangerous to either the stability of the church and/or his position w ithin. Incidentally, Trigg chooses to sum it up as a disagreement between an organizer a nd an intellectual, placing Origen in the intellectual category and Demetrius in the organizing category. Interpreting this statement probably depends on how one understa nds and defines the terms intellectual and organizer. At first gl ance, it may appear that Origen sits on top an intellectual plateau, high above the leaders of the church during his time. However, I do not think this was the case. Demetrius could not have been stuck in some cave with no intellectual ability whatsoever. I have no doubt that he also was very intelle ctual, but basically disagreed with someone like Origen, especi ally on the matter of standardization. Incidentally, I agree with Tri ggs category of organizer for Demetrius. This is because his role and function within hist ory as the Bishop of Alexandria helped form and organize the church in the traditional sense. He work ed for standardization, which helped organize 42 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 131 I believe these two terms intellectual and spiritual are used to reflect Origens charismatic ideology versus a more traditional ideology. Intellectual as I understand the term used here reflects Origens continual desire to seek and study doctrine for better understanding Gods word. Spiritual as I understand the term used here reflects Origens seemingly free thinker. I say seemingly, b ecause Origen still appears to have qualifications for charismatic authority. Even so, the term spiritual for Origen may be a term to describe someone who does not require as much structure and physical objects. Perhaps someone who may be capable of letting go, as they say. For example, someone who may be able to sky dive without too much thought or worry about lost of life. Or perhaps someone who does not necessarily need to actually touch or feel something in order to believe. For example, someone who can believe that there is a Santa Clause without actually seeing him.
39 and bring stability within the structure of the church. Standardization, however, may have been too rigid for Origen, who seems to believe that the church was not yet ready for such structure. Be that as it may, it appears that the tw o Christians disagreed. Demetrius actions display a leader who may have very well felt that Origens charismatic ideology was just too vague, in which allowed for too much s ubjectivity within the system. In turn, Origens actions and his writings depict an individual who believed in the church, but desired a continuing investiga tion into Gods word, and in particular for Origen, an investigation into scripture. Consequently, a person who is capable of performing this task, in Origens opinion, is one who has ch arismatic authority. This authority is not without qualification, in fact, it appears to be an intellectual process, where one must meet the five specific characteristics which ha ve already been examined in the previous chapters of this thesis. 43 As mentioned above, these five characteri stics necessary for Origens charismatic ideology appear in all four books examined. Ho wever, varies characte ristics appear to be stressed over another on certain occasions. While variation is expected due to content of the gospel of which he was writing his commen tary. The question still remains as to whether or not his controversy with Demetrius affected his interpretation on the Gospel of John? Consequently, I am choosing to ex amine how Origen uses his characteristics for charismatic authority within the four books of his commentary. By measuring how he persistently uses these charac teristics along with his relocation to Caes area, then perhaps one of the elements regardi ng their controversy may be relevant in their feud. 43 This may be why Trigg used the term intellectual fo r Origen in his analysis of the controversy between Origen and Demetrius. However, instead of just the term intellectual, I see it as more of an intellectual process. This is because it appears that Origen believes in seeking G ods message through scripture rather than simple just having faith.
40 As mentioned above and may be inferred in chapter four, in Book 1, Origen appears to stress the first characteristic th at God confers those who have charismatic authority over the other four. Being chosen directly by God gives those with charismatic authority, authority over all in terms of their gift, even the bishop. Therefore, they answer to no one and technical ly no one can change this fact or. Consequently, while this characteristic appears more definite in Book 1, it still remains an important element within all of the books. Theref ore, Origen may very well ha ve desired those against his charismatic ideology (Demetrius, for example) to know that in his line of thinking, no one, except God, could really control anyone w ho held charismatic authority. Because of this, one with charismatic authority may seem out of the ordinary at times, but they should be allowed a free rain since they are direct mediators of Gods word. Book 2 continues with Origen stressing the first characteristic necessary for charismatic authority. As mentioned above, th is characteristic remains a strong element throughout all four books. Be that as it may, a part of characteristic number five appears to become strong within his interpretation of this book. Number fives criterion is that charismatic authority may only be held by indi viduals, which in turn may be considered one through the one body of the church. Ho wever, while the second part of this characteristic appears within Origens expl anations, the first part seems applied more than others, and many times it is intertwined within the first characteristic. He accomplishes this by using parallels with th e apostle Paul and John the Baptist for examples of those who have charismatic au thority. For example, Origen writes about John the Baptist John was born as a gift from God indeed, from the memory concerning God related to the oath of our God concerning the Fathers, to prepare for the Lord a prepared people, to bring about the completion of the old covenant which is the end of the Sabbath observance ( Comm. Jn. 2:198). Here, John is individually elected by God to perform a specific task in preparations for Christianity. Thus, he represents an
41 individual with a specific function and role, who works within the system and helps build a collective society. And, since John the Ba ptist and the apostle Paul are respected individuals within Chri stianity during this time period, Or igen can use them as examples in order to help defend his pos ition that individual ideas a nd roles may still exist within the one body of the church. Incidentally, Book 6 also stresses the importance of individual roles within the structure of the church. Howe ver, he brings in the charac teristic that those elected directly by God to have charismatic authority are expected to serve as mediators of Gods word. While these mediators may have indivi dual roles within the church, they can be placed into one entity since, in Origens opinion, all Christians are considered one through the church. Also, as seen before, Or igen uses parallels of the prophets and apostles for depicting his ideology. Conseque ntly, John the Baptist is used and appears as a dominant figure throughout the second ha lf of the book. As mentioned in the analysis of Book 6 of chapter 6 in this thesis, John is an in dividual Christian figure who is elected by God with the distin ct purpose to mediate Gods word. As Origen explains, Just as he who is the Son of God strictly speaking uses a word when he is none other than the Word (for he himself was the Word in the beginning, the Word with God, the Word which was God) so John, the servant of that Word, uses his voi ce to point to the Word when he is none other than the voi ce if we understand Scripture in the proper sense ( Comm. Jn. 6:94). Here, Origen depicts John as being similar to Jesus in the sense that John is an individual who was elected to serve as a mediator of Gods word. However, while John is depicted as being similar to Jesus, he is still an individual and worked individually in order to further the cau se of Christianity. Consequently, in the prologue of Book 6, Origen also appears to st ress characteristic number three, in which an individual with charismatic authority not only needs to rec ognize this ability for his/herself, but also by other individuals within the church. This factor may have
42 something to do with his relocation to C aesarea, especially since he was defending himself against Demetrius. Also, now more than ever Origen may have felt that he needed to establish his authority in his new location as well as defend it in Alexandria. In book 10, Origen focuses on demonstrati ng how individuality works within the one body of the church. This can be noticed with the example, Both, however, (I mean the temple and Jesus body) according to one in terpretation, appear to me to be a type of the Church, in that the Church, being called a temple, is built of living stones, becoming a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being the chief corner stone ( Comm. Jn. 10:228). As mentioned in the analysis of this book, Origen uses an allegorical method fo r depicting his vision and understanding of how Christian members fit into the church as one entity. All are one through their communal belief in Jesus. However, while all are one, Origen proposes the idea that all have individual roles to play for the process of building and strengthening the Church. Incidentally, those who have charismatic authority are a part of the process. In this example, Origen once again uses indi viduals like Jesus, a postles, and prophets as having charismatic authority; therefore, those with it currently also work individually, but through the belief and actions of Jesus all Christians are still one entity. And, as mentioned in chapter seven, Origen appears to imply that he and others like him, who study and interpret scripture allegorically, have been given charismatic authority directly from God; and therefore, fulfill the requirement to mediate Gods word. This role is done on an individual basis and may not fall into the standard more traditional leadership roles within the church during Origens time. He nce, a possible reason for Origen to defend his position on charismatic ideology. Consequently, in examining these four books for a charismatic ideology against the historical backdrop of Origens and Bi shop Demetrius controversy in mind, it does seem to hold some possible coincidences, wh ich may reflect their differences over the
43 structure of the church. First, Origen appear s very persistent in articulating his ideology, especially the first characteristic, where God elects those to have ch arismatic authority. As mentioned above, this characteristic appe ars fairly consistent throughout all four books. Even so, it is stressed in Book 1 above all the rest. Then in Book 2, the first part of the fifth characteristic, in which this au thority may only be held individually, appears as the dominant projected element. Book 6 a ppears to stress individual roles along with the fourth characteristic, in which those w ith charismatic authority are responsible for mediating Gods word becomes the major focu s. However, in the beginning of Book 6, the third characteristic in which others within the church need to r ecognize an individual who holds charismatic authority, carries a sense of urgency. Then, in Book 10, Origen appears to stress how individuality, in which he seems to categorize those with charismatic authority into, can exist and function within the one body of the church. Thus, while Origen does appear to arti culate a charismatic ideology through his Commentary on the Gospel of John the question remains as to whether or not his controversy with Bishop Demetrius was an infl uence in his interpretation? Consequently, there does appear to be some type of correlation between the commentary and the controversy between the two Chri stians. In Book 1, for example, Origen appears to stress the fact that God elects those to have charismatic authority. This gives those who hold this authority over all others. Therefore, someone who has this authority may seem or be hard to control. As Trigg mentions, this factor may have seemed very threatening to someone like Demetrius, who wanted to control or oversee what members did within his church. 44 Then, in Book 2, Origen stresses that this authority may only be held by individuals. Thus, someone who has this authority may perform or be performing a 44 Joseph W. Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Or igens Understanding of Religious Leadership, Church History 50, no. 1 (March 1981): 5 Also see Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 138.
44 completely different role within the churc h. For example, Origen was a teacher, who used an allegorical method in his interpretation of scripture. This t ype of role and method was not necessarily used by all within the church, thus placing Origen into the category of an individual. Even so, since he was elec ted directly by God to do so, then it should be acceptable within the church. As mentioned above, Origen used parallels of Christian figures like John the Baptist, to depict how individual roles may apply to a communal atmosphere such as the Christian church. However, individuality may have seemed a threatening concept to the current leaders, like Demetrius, of Christianity during Origens time. Even so, leaders of Origens time ofte n struggled with the difficult concept of faith and intellect for many prospect members as well as members within Christianity. This could be especially true when so meone from the Greco-R oman culture would question Christian beliefs and the conflicting accounts found in scripture. Thus, someone was needed who could connect both concepts and defend Christian be liefs in the larger Greco-Roman world. Trigg explains that the church and its leaders, Demetrius included, needed Origen for his ability to attract the Greco-Roman intellectual world, which Origen tended to do with his allegorical method. 45 However, church leaders, especially Demetrius, wanted to have control over th e interpretation in order to move toward standardization. 46 But, Origen did not think that this was possible at this particular time because in his opinion more examinati on of scripture was necessary before standardization could occur. Consequently, Demetrius may have felt threatened and accused Origen of being too much of an individu al in his role within the Christian church. Thus, while interpreting Book 2, Origen may be reflecting this disa greement by stressing how individual roles may exist wi thin the one body of the church. 45 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Unders tanding of Religious Leader ship Especially see, Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 13846. 46 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 132.
45 As mentioned earlier, Books 1 and 2 were written before Origens relocation to Caesarea and during Origens controversy w ith Demetrius. In 232, Demetrius wrote a letter to the Bishop Pontian of Rome, compla ining of the bishops of Palestine appointing Origen as a member of their congregation. 47 Demetrius claimed that Origen was a eunuch and therefore, this action was against the standard ecclesiasti cal method. Also, he claimed that Origen was a heretic, in which he mentioned some of Origens friendships with Gnostics and pagan philosophers. 48 Consequently, Origen successfully defends himself, but in the end it leads to his relocation to Caesarea in 234. 49 After Origens relocatio n, he writes Book 6 of his Commentary on the Gospel of John. In the prologue of this book, Origen appears to explicitly confront his feud with Demetrius which ended in his relocation to Ca esarea. One of his famous comparisons is when he explains that his re location is similar to that of Gods deliverance of the Jews from Egypt, Although the storm at Alexandria seemed to oppose us we dictated the words which were given as far as the fifth book, since Jesus rebuke d the winds and the waves of the sea. But after we had proceed ed for a while in the sixth book we were rescued from the land of Egypt, when th e God who led the people from Egypt to delivered us (Comm.Jn. 6:8). Hence, Origen depicts the situation between him and Demetrius as a storm which seemed to oppose us; however, Origen claims to have dictated the words which were given up to the fifth book. Thus, Origens interpretation of the Gospel of John, which he feels is dict ated to him by God, appears to have been a part of his controversy with Demetrius. A nd as seen so far in this thesis, Origen continually depicts his charismatic ideol ogy within his commentary. Consequently, it appears that Demetrius was opposed to Origens dictation of scripture, which depicts this ideology; therefore, presenti ng one possible reason for Origen s relocation to Caesarea. 47 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 138. 48 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 138. 49 Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 139.
46 Incidentally, in Book 6, Origen also stress es the fourth characteristic necessary for those with charismatic authority, which is th e responsibility to mediate Gods word. As mentioned above, Origen explains that he di ctates the words which were given to him, even though there are those who oppose it. This is because Origen appears to believe that he has charismatic authority and therefore they should continue to mediate Gods word: May God give ear to our pr ayer, that the body of the whole discourse can be un ited, and that misfortune, which can cause a break of any kind in the sequence of the Scripture, no longer interr upt. And be aware that I make this second beginning of the si xth book very eagerly because what we dictated previously in Alexandria, for some reason or other, has not been brought ( Comm. Jn. 6:11). As explained in the chapter which analyzed Book 6, here Origen prays to God, who elected him to have charismatic authority, to help him continue interpreting scripture, even though he has been inte rrupted due to the controvers y in Alexandria. In an interesting observation in Book 6, Origens t one and focus seems almost desperate for the recognition of others within Christianity. This may very well be due his disagreement with Demetrius. First, he had to defe nd his theology against Bishop Demetrius and others within the church of Alexandria. His almost seemingly continual defense in Alexandria came to a climax when he ultimate ly had to explain himself to the Bishop of Rome so as to avoid excommunication from the church. Then, after relocating to Caesarea, he seems to feel as though he shoul d defend his controversy with Demetrius to the members of the church. He may also most likely have felt somewhat defensive in presenting himself to a new Christian congregation. Hence, Book 6 appears to reflect Origen s controversy with Demetrius more so than the others. This is especially true for the prologue where he is defensive in his
47 actions in interpreting scripture. According to him, he has been elected by God in order to mediate Gods word through scripture. While doing so, his allegorical method may place him into an individual category differe nt than a bishops, but still one through the church because he is working for the Christian community as one whole unit. He, Origen, recognizes his authority to do so, but is struggling to get others, Demetrius, within the church to also recognize it. Be that as it may, he explains that he will continue to interpret scripture as God dictates it to him because in his opinion God, who is above all others in authority, has elected him to do so. In Book 10, Origen still articulates his charismatic ideology, but does not appear as defensive in his explanations. Be that as it may, he does appear to focus on depicting how individuality works within the one body of the church. All Christians are one through their communal belief in Jesus Christ even though they may appear to have individual roles within the church. This idea should be in mind when reading the discrepancies between scripture because differences are present. Even so, the differences are not meant to break members apart, but to bring different inte rpretation together. Thus, scripture and members mimic each othe r because just as scripture has slight differences so too do Christians who may have different roles within the church. This is how all of the differences within Christianity can still come together an be one entity. Incidentally, this idea of individualit y still being communal within Christian society also mimics Origen in thought and action. Origen has a charismatic ideology in which appears in his interpretation of the Gosp el of John. However, not all those within, Demetrius for example, appear to agree with his ideology. Therefore, even though Origen has a feud with Demetrius, he still does follow his belief that all Christians should continue to work toward being one thr ough the church. Thus, he does relocate to Caesarea as his bishop wanted. His action depicts his respect for the authority of the current leaders of the church as well as his belief in the importance of keeping the church
48 together as one institution. However, he still maintains his belief that there is room for a slightly separate authority, one which may follow categories such as the charismatic authority characteristics, in which co ncentrates on mediating Gods word. In conclusion, the conflict between Or igen and Bishop Demetrius does appear to be articulated within Origens Commentary of the Gospel of John As mentioned above, the prologue of Book 6 appears to depict th e controversy explicitly, especially when Origen compares his situation as being like th at of the Exodus. However, the other three books appear to depict the controversy in an implicit manner. For example, in all four Books, Origen articulates his charismatic id eology, but his focus appears to change. Incidentally, this change app ears to possibly be influenced by his conflict w ith the Bishop Demetrius. Book 1, for example, stresses how God confers charismatic authority. Then, Book 2, stresses how those who have charisma tic authority, which was given to them directly from God, can only have it on an i ndividual bases. Hence, an individual has it directly from God, and then that individua l works within the Christian system; thus, being one unit through that individuals acti ons. However, it does not work in the opposite direction. The church does not hold it as a communal element in which they (the leaders) dictate who has it and what is interpreted regard ing scripture. As mentioned above, this may very well have made Origen s charismatic ideology seem dangerous to leaders of the church, such as Demetrius for example. Thus, Book 1 and 2 appear to implicitly de pict elements of conflict in Origens and Bishop Demetrius controversy. Incide ntally, the two particular characteristics regarding charismatic ideology in which Or igen stresses in Book 1 and 2 seem to coincide with Origens role and position w ithin the church of Alexandria. And, as mentioned above, this charismatic authoritative position would probably have been
49 threatening to leaders such as Bishop Demetrius. 50 Therefore, providing a reason for Origen to articulate and defend hi s charismatic ideology within his Commentary on the Gospel of John. The beginning of Book 6, explicitly depi cts Origens controversy with Bishop Demetrius and appears to reflect Origens frustration as well as need to be accepted from others within the community of the church in Alexandria as well as in his new location Caesarea. Consequently, he demonstrates that there have been those within Christianitys history, like John the Baptist fo r example, whom held individual roles and displayed charismatic type of behavior, but still worked for the one body of the church. Thus, they are still involved in the Christian society as one unit, because thei r individual role works for the whole community as one complete unit. Even so, the Bishop may very well have believed this to be dangerous since the one who held this position was under no human supervision; thus, allowing for too much free dom in the interpretati on of scripture which could lead to too many fractions within the church. In Book 10, Origen still articulates his charismatic ideology, but focuses his attention onto how individuality works within the one unit of the church. Incidentally, while this particular book continues to refl ect Origens charismatic ideology, he does not appear to be as defensive in his writing. Th is may very well reflect that the feud between Bishop Demetrius and Origen had subsided and therefore while Origen continues to articulate his beliefs on charismatic authority, it is not reflected in the shadow of the controversy between him and Demetrius. Thus the need to defend his role and position was perhaps not so critical during this time, but while the process of standardization was occurring, Origen was arguing against it, especially since he did not feel that interpretation of scripture wa s finished during his time. 50 Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Origens Unders tanding of Religious Leader ship Also see Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church 1386.
50 Chapter 9 Conclusion This thesis has analyzed Books 1, 2, 6, and 10 of Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John along with five characteristics Trigg has used for describing a charismatic ideology. The results show that his charis matic ideology was used consistently, thus allowing for the conclusion that Origen did articulate a charismatic ideology in his commentary. The next step was to examine the evidence against the historical backdrop of Bishop Demetrius and Origens controversy. As mentioned in the previous chapter, Origen wrote Books 1 and 2 while still located in Alexandria during his controversy with Bishop Demetrius. Then he wrote Book 6 and 10 after his relocation to Caesarea. As shown in previous chapters, Book 1 and 2 display all five of Origens characteri stics for charismatic authority. In Book 1, the first characteristic which God confers charis matic authority is stressed. Then, in Book 2, the fifth characteristic in which only indivi duals may receive and have this authority becomes the main focus. These two characte ristics combined depict a possible reason for Demetrius to view Origen as a threat in his organizing process of th e Alexandrian church. Origen, feeling this pressure of organization as well as standardization in regards to the interpretation of scripture, appears to be articulating his ch arismatic ideology in these two chapters more so than the others. Conse quently, he appears to have stressed two characteristics which would continue to give him authority over Demetrius. For example, if God confers charismatic authority and give s it only to individuals, then technically no one but God could control that individual with in the church. Thus, someone like Origen could continue to interpret scripture in the manner he/she feels is dictated to them by
51 God. Therefore, Demetrius, who worked toward standardization of sc ripture as well as ecclesiastical organization, would most likely not have appreciated Origens charismatic ideology, thus providing a pr obable cause for Demetrius desire for Origen to be excommunicated. 51 After Origens relocation to Caesarea, there is no doubt about Origens distress over his controversy with Demetrius. Even so, he still holds onto his charismatic ideology and continues to reflect it thr oughout his commentary. Consequently, his argument appears a little weakened by the relocation; therefore, Origen appears defensive in his writing. For example, he seems to e xpress the charismatic characteristic in which one with this authority should mediate Gods wor d. In doing so, he also appears to desire for others within the church to recognize his charismatic authority. Thus, Origen may feel weakened from his feud, and therefore refl ects these two characteristics more so than the others which in turn may demonstrate his need for being defensive over the matter. Soon after the prologue in Book 6, Origen st resses the characteristic in which one with an individual charismatic authoritative role still works collectively within the one body of the church. Thus, Origen may have been defending his role as a teacher and interpreter of scripture, which may appear as an individual or isol ated role within the church. This defense would have been n eeded, especially since one of Demetrius accusations against Origen to th e Bishop of Rome was that he was a heretic. Heretics are those who go against the mainstream, and since Demetrius felt that he could not control Origen in his interpretation of scripture, then he must have felt Or igen should be branded as a heretic. Therefore, Origen needed to defend his seemingly individual role and interpretation of scripture. Even tho ugh he successfully defended himself from excommunication, he still had to relocate to Caesar ea and most likely still felt a need for 51 Joseph W. Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-Century Church (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1983), 16 Origen faced excommunication from the church, but he successfu lly defended himself. However, he was relocated to Caesarea, which may be regarded as a kind of punishment.
52 explaining his beliefs; thus, resulting in his projection of a defensive tone in Book 6 of his commentary. In Book 10, however, Origens tone seems even-handed in his articulation of his charismatic ideology. He focuses on how indi viduality may exist in the one body of the church. As mentioned previously in this thesis, in Book 10, Origen confronts the discrepancies found among the four gospels Origen explains that even though differences occur, all may still be included through the communitys belief in Jesus. Incidentally, according to Origen, this also should be the case in regards to leadership roles within the church. Lead ers with charismatic authority are chosen on an individual bases directly from God, and then their work helps to build the one body of the church. Thus, leaders who may seem independent in thei r actions, may still be included as long as they hold a communal belief in Jesus and work for the one body of the church. Incidentally, as mentioned above, while Or igen is still reflecting his charismatic ideology in Book 10, his tone does not seem as defensive. Because of this, one may argue that Origens and Demetrius controve rsy had subsided, thus allowing him to argue for his belief, but do so in more of a relaxe d manner; therefore, presenting a more relaxed tone in his beliefs. Be that as it may, overall Origen still app ears to reflect his beli ef that the leaders within the church should have charismatic au thority. Consequently, Origen appears to remain firm in this belief throughout his Commentary on the Gospel of John. However, in Book 6, Origen becomes defensive in his articulation of charismatic authority. Also, instead of all the clergy having charismatic auth ority as a prerequisite for their position, Origen now appears to be presenting an argumen t that there is room for clergy to either have it or not. This may reflect Origens attempt to provide a possible resolution over how someone with charismatic authority, like Origen perhaps, ma y reside alongside one with more of a standard or traditional claim to aut hority, like Demetrius.
53 Thus, by analyzing Origens Commentary on the Gospel of John in light of the five characteristics provided by Joseph Trigg, 52 it appears that Origen clearly held onto a charismatic ideology during his time in prot o-orthodox Christianitys history. Origens charismatic ideology projected his belief in Books 1 and 2 that the clergy should have a charismatic authority versus the more traditi onal standard authority associated with the church. For example, charismatic authority is appointed by God rath er than appointed by another leader, like the bishop appointing another bishop, etc. Even so, he does appear to compromise in Books 6 and 10 and instead pr ojected his belief that there was room for both types of leaders in the chur ch. In Origens case, he appe ars to present himself as an individual who has charismatic authority in order to interpret scri pture allegorically. Since God appointed this authority to him, then no one else, including Bishop Demetrius, can control him; hence, making him a possibl e threat to Demetriu s organization and standardization process in prot o-orthodox Christianitys histor y. Eventually, the structure of the church will become more firm in its st ructure as well as in its standardization of scripture resulting in a formation which may be considered more like the traditional orthodox church; however, during the organization process ther e does appear to be at least one individual, Origen, within proto-or thodox Christianity who desired a different formation of the church, one which included a charismatic authoritative role for the structure of the church. 52 Joseph W. Trigg, The Charismatic Intellectual: Or igens Understanding of Religious Leadership, Church History 50, no. 1 (March 1981): 5.
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