Symbolic Drama of Passage

Envisioning Scriptural Interpretation as a Symbolic Act with Origen of Alexandria

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Author: Kyeil Kwak
Origen envisioned scriptural interpretation as a symbolic drama of passage with the Logos-Christ, reuniting what is originally one.
During the first three centuries C.E., σύμβολον (symbol) became a prominent term along with αἴνιγμα (enigma) and ἀλληγορία (allegory) in forming a cosmic formula popular across the Mediterrnean world: symbol encodes the divine mystery in enigmatic forms and allegory decodes them. Having considered Scripture as full of divine symbols, Origen envisioned and practiced allegorical interpretation of Scritpure as a symbolic act of bringing, comparing, and matching its letters under the divine paideia of the Logos-Christ. In seeking three levels of scriptural meaning, Origen construed the cosmos as a tripartite reality and defined the essence of Christianity as a symbolic drama of passage. For Origen, the main actor of this drama is the Logos-Christ in the divine action of gradually leading his bride (i.e., the church) from the visible reality through the invisible reality to the divine reality.

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