Univeristà Roma La Sapienza

Origen and the Origenian tradition on progress

Description and organization

Research project: La Wirkungsgeschichte di gnosi e origenismo in età moderna, Sapienza Università di Roma, resp. Gaetano Lettieri

Joint Conference between the “Dipartimento di Storia, Culture, Religioni” of Sapienza University of Rome and the ITN Project Marie Skłodowska-Curie “The History of Human Freedom and Dignity in Western Civilization”.

Deadline for proposals: 8 March 2018.

Προκοπή, profectus: in this category it is possible to encompass all the dynamic movement of the theology of Origen of Alexandria. This movement is the natural modality of man, in progress until the apokatastatic restoration of the protological dimension of the pure intelligence to God. Progress implies freedom and the multiple possibilities to convert to the good: the creature has multiple secular cycles to reach his goal, thanks to the universal goodness of the Father. The soul progresses from aeon to aeon due to the progressive divine revelation, which proposes three ascending grades to the limited freedom of man: the Law, the prophets and the Gospels. The progress of the revelation matches the hermeneutical progress, the duty of the believer, who has to progress from the letter to the Spirit. This corresponds to prayer: the true adoration is ad profectum Spiritus, a mystical outburst towards a God who is light and fire, a Beloved who reveals himself and eludes the grasp of the lover. Progress is hence in Origen the fundamental posture of man and of Biblical exegete. Even deeper, progress is the key to understanding the Origenian Trinity: the Son is the eternal movement of desire towards the Father.

This conference aims to develop and question this interpretative hypothesis, operating on two levels. A first session will be dedicated to the theme of progress in Origen, in its various nuances and in its relationship with the reflections of his time, with particular attention to the Gnostics. This synchronic analysis will be followed by a wide diachronic portrait, which will follow Origen’s Nachleben, his path throughout history. The conference aims to underline the productive power of cultural traditions which had found their stimulus and object in the Origenian speculative inheritance; our hypothesis is that this happened primarily in the sense of a continuous relativisation of dogma and in an endless moral and mystical acceleration. The specific object of analysis will be the continuation of the effort to combine Christian faith and Platonic metaphysics, which had had its highest elaboration in the Gnostic Alexandrian schools and in the proto-Catholic schools of Clement and Origen. Therefore, we will follow the powerful catholic recasting made by the Cappadocians in the East and the fortunes and misfortunes of Origen in the West, where he was to be the teacher of mystics and exegesis (just consider Bernard of Clairvaux) but who was also feared as a heretic. The Platonic combination of the Origenism works in history of modern Western thought as a positive metaphysical meta-dogmatic and optimistic option, against the pessimistic and fideistic lines of Augustinism, as the debate between Erasmus and Luther on the freedom of the will testifies. From Cusano to the Florentine Neoplatonism, from Bruno to the Socinians, from the Cambridge Platonists to Leibnitz, we endeavor to follow the Origenian inheritance until the present age, in its secularization from the theological to the philosophical.

All paper proposals should include the name, title, affiliation, and email address of the presenter; please submit title and abstract of 250 words maximum. The languages of the conference will be Italian and English. Proposals to be submitted to maria.fallica@uniroma1.it by 8 March 2018.


May 16, 2018

09:30 -13:00, Aula Organi Collegiali, Rettorato Chair Stefania Salvadori – HAB Wolfenbüttel – Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Elisa Bellucci – Martin Luther Universität Halle – Wittenberg „Ob die gleich mit solchem Worten in dem Symbolo Apostolico nicht stehet/ doch nicht gegen dasselbige sey « The Progressive Revelation as Hermeneutical Reason for Johann Wilhelm Petersen´s Doctrine of the Apokatastasis »

Elena Rapetti – Università di Milano Cattolica Origene ariano? Dibattiti tra cattolici, protestanti e antitrinitari nel XVII secolo

Joshua Roe – Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster Hamann and the Parody of Progress

Chair Elena Rapetti – Università di Milano Cattolica

Andrea Annese – Sapienza Università di Roma Origene e la tradizione alessandrina in Antonio Rosmini

Elisa Zocchi – Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster Origen as Hegel: the Concept of Aufhebung in Balthasar’s interpretation of Origen

Ludovico Battista – Sapienza Università di Roma Myth and Progress. Hans Blumenberg’s Reading of Origen of Alexandria


May 14, 2018

15:00 -18:00, Aula Organi Collegiali, Rettorato Chair Emanuela Prinzivalli, Director of the Department of “Storia Culture Religioni”- Sapienza Università di Roma

Gaetano Lettieri – Sapienza Università di Roma Progress: a Key Idea for Origen and its Inheritance

Peter Martens – Saint Louis University The Literary Soul: Origenian Anthropology and Greek Narrative

Anders-Christian Jacobsen – Aarhus University Transgression and Regress in Origen

Coffee break

Chair Anders-Christian Jacobsen, Network Coordinator Itn Project Marie-Curie “The History of Human Freedom and Dignity”

Francesco Berno – Sapienza Università di Roma Gnosticismo e mistica: una relazione equivoca

Patricia Ciner -National University of San Juan – Catholic University of Cuyo The Tradition of Spiritual Progress in the West: Plotinus’ and Origen’s Legacy for Contemporary Neuroscience

Ryan Haecker – Peterhouse College Cambridge On the First Principles of Origen’s Logic

May 15, 2018

9:00 – 13:00, Aula Organi Collegiali, Rettorato

Chair Francesca Cocchini – Sapienza Università di Roma Vito Limone – Università di Milano San Raffaele L’uso di “eros” nelle Omelie sul Cantico di Gregorio di Nissa

Paolo Bettiolo – Università di Padova Come i fiumi si perdono nel mare. Dottrina trinitaria ed escatologia negli scritti di Evagrio Pontico

Emiliano Fiori – Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari Keeping the Progress under Surveillance: Dionysius the Areopagite on Analogy and the Construction of Hierarchy

Coffee break

Chair Carla Noce – Università Roma Tre

Tobias Georges – Georg – August – Universität Göttingen From Reading to Understanding: Profectus in Abelard and Origen

Massimiliano Lenzi – Sapienza Università di Roma Ragione, libero arbitrio e predestinazione. Origene nel pensiero teologico di Tommaso d’Aquino

Pasquale Terracciano – Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento Misunderstanding Origen in the 16th Century: Dignity of Man, Metempsychosis and Succession of Countless Worlds

Lunch break

15:00 -18:00 Chair Pasquale Terracciano – Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento

Andrea Villani – Georg – August – Universität Göttingen Tra libero arbitrio e angelologia. Tracce origeniane nella Città di vita di Matteo Palmieri

Maria Fallica – Sapienza Università di Roma Progress in Erasmus as an Origenian Progress

Stefania Salvadori – HAB Wolfenbüttel – Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities Sebastiano Castellione e i tentativi di mediazione nella ricezione di Origene fra Umanesimo e Riforma

Coffee break

Douglas Hedley – Clare College Cambridge Re-Thinking Origen in the 17th-century West: Anne Conway and the Cambridge Platonists

Enrico Cerasi – Università di Milano San Raffaele L’apocatastasi nella teologia di Karl Barth



(Text by the organizers)



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