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George Rusts Darstellung der Geschichte des ersten Origenismusstreits im "Letter of Resolution"

Lossl, Josef ORCID: 2013. George Rusts Darstellung der Geschichte des ersten Origenismusstreits im "Letter of Resolution". Fürst, Alfons and Hengstermann, Christian, eds. Die "Cambridge Origenists". Georg Rusts "Letter of Resolution Concerning Origen and the Chief of His Opinions", Adamantiana, vol. 4. Münster: Aschendorff, pp. 59-83.

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The "Letter of Resolution Concerning Origen and the Chief of His Opinions", published anonymously in 1661, but soon attributed (on good grounds) to the Cambridge Platonist George Rust (1628-1670), was a controversial and at the time risky commitment to the heretical doctrines of the early Greek Church Father Origen of Alexandria (185-254). It discussed topics such as the pre-existence of the soul, universal salvation and the cyclical nature of the history of the universe. Welcomed by some - Henry More (1614-1687), for example, recommended it warmly to the philosopher Anne Conway (1631-1679) - the "Letter" was officially put under censorship. Had Rust declared himself to be its author, it is doubtful whether he could have continued in his career as an Anglican clergyman. He later went on to become the bishop of Dromore in Ireland. The present chapter explores not so much the doctrinal content of the "Letter" but its representation of the earliest controversy about Origen's teaching, which erupted ca. 400, nearly 150 years after Origen's death. The chapter investigates which sources the "Letter" is using to reconstruct this debate and whether its positive stance towards Origen's authentic teachings influenced its representation of those alleged teachings which were later subsumed under the label of "Origenism". The chapter finds that although the author of the "Letter" seems to have had access to some excellent recent works of ecclesiastical history (published not long before 1660), his own historical knowledge has clear limitations and is not up to the standards even of his own time. Part of the problem is the partiality with which Origen's position is being represented, which looks for favourable attitudes to Origen and his teachings among early Church Fathers (e. g. Jerome), where they do not really exist. The "Letter of Resolution" is nevertheless an interesting document that can help to understand working methods and peculiarities of intellectual history writing in the seventeenth century.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Publisher: Aschendorff
ISBN: 9783402137147
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 13:33

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