This paper explores the conceptualization of the body in the work of Evagrius Ponticus in terms of his anthropological, cosmological and soteriological framework and the range of ascetic practices he prescribes. Overall, Evagrius’ perspective on the body is shown to be unified and integrated with soul and mind.
Maximus the Confessor develops an account of human emotion in Quaestiones ad Thalassium, drawing on the earlier ascetical tradition. In what follows, I demonstrate how Maximus conceives of the passions and the misreading of Scripture as symptoms of the same sickness of original sin. I then show how Christ heals human passibility according to Maximus. I describe the role healed human passibility plays in Maximus’s eschatology and healthy communication with God on earth.
This study of the philosophical and patristic texts of the second–fifth centuries, explores Christian theories of reproduction in the context of Hellenic dualist discourse and embryology. I argue that due to the specific metaphysical principles of Christian doctrine, the church fathers were bound to balance the dualist lexicon, which they often used, with holistic anthropological and Christological statements. Patristic theories of reproduction represent a vivid example of the balanced Christian holistic thought, which imbibed plenty of Hellenic concepts, yet remained true to the fundamental principles of Christian doctrine.
This paper explores the soul-body relation in the homilies of the fourth century Syrian writer known as Pseudo-Macarius or Macarius-Symeon. Through a close study of Macarius’ understanding and use of metaphor, I aim to partially unearth the conceptual and philosophical framework underlying his ascetic theology.
This contribution outlines the main stages of what seems to me to be Gregory of Nyssa’s coherent and original anthropological narrative.
After a brief methodological introduction, it sets out the influence of the biblical doctrine of creation on the conception of the union of body and soul.
The idea that concupiscence depends ontologically on sin and not on the body allows Gregory to reread the doctrine of the passions as a divergence from what we could call an original and natural desire, here interpreted in a Trinitarian, i.e. relational, key.
The aim of this paper is to analyse how Maximus the Confessor understands the unity between the body and soul, and how he fits this unity in the general framework of the fivefold divisions or distinctions that exist in the world.
This essay will argue that Origen theorised the unity of soul and body, primarily through his rejection of the doctrine of metensomatosis, and that Gregory of Nyssa followed him. I shall point out differences and similarities between Origen’s anthropology and that of the first “pagan” Neoplatonists; later Neoplatonists came somehow closer to Origen’s ideas concerning the soul-body relation. I shall investigate how Origen differentiated levels of corporeality and how Gregory of Nyssa (like Maximus) did not criticise Origen’s anthropology, contrary to what is regularly assumed, and grasped Origen’s “emendation” of the doctrine of metensomatosis into his own doctrine of “ensomatosis”, which, unlike the former option, entailed the unity of soul and body in the earthly life and afterwards.
Following biblical texts such as the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, there was broad agreement in the Greek patristic tradition that the soul cannot repent after death. Nonetheless, a closer look reveals some complications. One is that at least some such souls did repent, namely those who responded favorably to Christ’s preaching in Hades. Another is that the precise reason why souls cannot repent remained unclear; there was general agreement that the reason has to do with the soul’s bodiless condition, but little consensus as to precisely why this is decisive. This paper traces the development of patristic thought on these topics and what it reveals about patristic views of the relationship of soul and body.
This article traces the emergence of a combined reading of Gen 1:26f. and Gen 2:7 in the Christian literature of the second century. It presents and discusses pertinent passages from 1 Clement, Justin, Pseudo-Justin, Irenaeus, Theophilus and Tertullian. In these authors we find an exegesis that applies both verses to one and the same act of creation, including man’s soul as well as his body. This understanding yields consequences for several dogmatic topics such as creation, anthropology, resurrection, but also Christology, soteriology and the understanding of God and his relation to the Logos.
The present article aims to study the relationship between rational creatures and matter in eschatology, according to Origen’s On First Principles. Firstly, the article reviews two preliminary issues, 1) the correspondence between beginning and end in Origen’s theology, and 2) the meaning of the expression “pre-existence of the soul” in modern scholarship. Secondly, the paper examines 3) the question regarding the initial relationship between mind and matter, namely, whether rational creatures had bodies from the beginning of their existence, and 4) the same problematic relationship in eschatology, namely, whether the bodies, after the resurrection, would be destroyed or transformed when the rational creatures reached the last stage of contemplation. Finally, 5) the article suggests that although Origen considered the final status of resurrected bodies to be an open question, he supported the hypothesis of the final transformation of matter, not its dissolution.