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Sin in Origen's Commentary on Romans

BAGBY, RICHARD,STEPHEN (2013) Sin in Origen's Commentary on Romans. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Origen is a critical third century voice in seeking to articulate a cogent doctrine of sin. His magisterial Commentary on Romans opens a unique window to understanding his mature thought on the subject. In this thesis I argue that Origen’s teaching on original and volitional sin demonstrates divergence from and continuity with the prevailing theological tradition. Here he conceives of the preexistent fall of souls as encapsulated in a mystical, yet historical, fall of Adam in the Garden. The taint of this sin is shared by all humanity ab initio and expresses itself through the loss of the image of God and the spread of death and dominion. His defense of infant baptism further recognizes the inheritance of sin from Adam. Origen’s understanding of volitional sin is situated within the context of his polemic against the Gnostic doctrine of natures. Thus his tripartite anthropology seeks to offer the parameters of a cogent doctrine of sin: the soul is free to choose between body/flesh (vice) and spirit (virtue). Sin is a misappropriation of the individual’s tripartite makeup, a situation where God’s law—natural law, Mosaic law, or gospel—is breached through the soul’s lack of moderation. This is caused when the lower element of the soul usurps the higher element and gives undue attention to the ephemeral needs of the body.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Sep 2013 12:49

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