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Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity

Ed. by Brennecke, Hanns Christof / Drecoll, Volker Henning / Heil, Uta / Markschies, Christoph

Together with Elm, Susanna / Gemeinhardt, Peter / Meier, Mischa / Perrone, Lorenzo / Pollmann, Karla / Riedweg, Christoph / Schöllgen, Georg / Williams, Rowan / Wischmeyer, Wolfgang

CiteScore 2018: 0.21

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.130
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.563

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Volume 23, Issue 1


The nature, function, and destiny of the human body—Origen’s interpretation of 1 Cor 15

Anders-Christian Jacobsen
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  • Department of Theology, Aarhus University, Frederik Nielsens Vej 3, building 1453 8000 Aarhus C Aarhus, Denmark,
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Published Online: 2019-04-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac-2019-0003


In this article, I will investigate Origen’s use of two metaphors: The seed metaphor and the clothing metaphor. Both metaphors are found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, which Origen uses as his biblical foundation in the passage from On First Principles that will be analyzed in this article. My focus will be on how Origen understands the nature, the function, and the destiny of human beings and especially of human bodies. According to Origen, the nature of the human body is changeable and unstable. This is because the bodily matter has merely been added to the rational beings at a certain time and will disappear again when its function is fulfilled. The function of the human body is to clothe the rational being on its way through fall and spiritual progress towards perfection. Thus, the body allows the rational being to be punished and educated. The destiny of the human body is eventually to disappear, but this will only happen when the body has gone through many stages of fall and progress in its service of the rational being.

Keywords: Origen of Alexandria; body; clothing metaphor; seed metaphor; First Principles; 1 Cor 15; punishment; spiritual progress; spiritual education

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Published Online: 2019-04-02

Published in Print: 2019-04-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity, Volume 23, Issue 1, Pages 36–52, ISSN (Online) 1612-961X, ISSN (Print) 0949-9571, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac-2019-0003.

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