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Origen, Bardaiṣan, and the Origin of Universal Salvation*

  • Ilaria L. E. Ramelli (a1)


Is Origen of Alexandria the inventor of the eschatological doctrine of apokatastasis— of the eventual return of all creatures to the Good, that is, God, and thus universal salvation? Certainly, he is one of its chief supporters in all of history, and he is, as far as we know, the first to have maintained it in a complete and coherent way, so that all of his philosophy of history, protology, and anthropology is oriented toward this telos.1 There are, however, significant antecedents to his mature and articulate theorization, at least some of which he surely knew very well, and there is even a possible parallel. For this conception did not appear ex nihilo, but in a cultural context rich in suggestions and premises, and in a philosophical framework of lively discussions concerning fate, free will, theodicy, and the eternal destiny of rational creatures.



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1 See most recently Panayiotis Tzamalikos, Origen: Philosophy of History and Eschatology (Leiden: Brill, 2007); Ilaria L. E. Ramelli, Apocatastasi (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2009); eadem, “Christian Soteriology and Christian Platonism: Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Biblical and Philosophical Basis of the Doctrine of Apokatastasis,” VChr 61 (2007) 313–56; eadem, “Origene ed il lessico dell'eternità,” Adamantius 14 (2008) 100–29.

2 On this category and the debate about it I limit myself to referring to recent assessments such as Jean-Claude Picard, “L'apocryphe à l'étroit,” Apocrypha 1 (1990) 69–117; Éric Junod, “‘Apocryphes du Nouveau Testament’. Une appellation erronée et une collection artificielle,” Apocrypha 3 (1992) 17–46; Angelo Di Berardino, “Gli apocrifi cristiani e il loro significato,” in Storia della teologia (ed. Angelo Di Beradino and Basil Studer; Casale Monferrato: Marietti, 1993) 1:273–303; Tobias Nicklas, “Écrits apocryphes chrétiens. Ein Sammelband als Spiegel eines weitreichenden Paradigmenwechsels in der Apokryphenforschung,” VChr 61 (2007) 70–95, with ample documentation.

3 Many studies have been devoted to the relationship between Clement and Origen in the context of the school of Alexandria, some of which question the very notion of a Christian “school of Alexandria”; see, e.g., Annewies van den Hoek, “The ‘Catechetical’ School of Early Christian Alexandria,” HTR 90 (1997) 59–87; Jutta Tloka, Griechische Christen, Christliche Griechen (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006) 112–24 with wide-ranging documentation (she notes that Eusebius himself employed different expressions to denote the so-called School of Alexandria in the days of Pantaenus and Clement); Anthony Grafton and Megan Williams, Christianity and the Transformation of the Book (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006) 78, who accept Eusebius's information about Origen as a disciple of Clement but think, as the majority of scholars do nowadays, that the διδασκαλεῖον should be interpreted in a much less institutional way; it was not an institution depending on the bishop of Alexandria from the very beginning. Origen obtained support for his study rather from private patronage (that of Ambrose). According to Emanuela Prinzivalli, “La metamorfosi della scuola alessandrina da Eracla a Didimo,” in Origeniana Octava (ed. Lorenzo Perrone; Leuven: Peeters, 2003) 911–37, it is possible to speak of private schools of Pantaenus and Clement and a public school from Origen onward. The difference between the situation before Origen and that of his day is due to the influence of the episcopal institution, which then associated itself with a didactic activity already existing in Alexandria in more independent forms.

4 See Dennis D. Buchholz, Your Eyes will be Opened: A Study of the Greek (Ethiopic) Apocalypse of Peter (Atlanta: SBL, 1988); The Apocalypse of Peter (ed. Jan N. Bremmer and István Czachesz; Leuven: Peeters, 2003), esp. Kristi Barrett Copeland, “Sinners and Post-mortem ‘Baptism’ in the Acherusian Lake,” 92–107; Das Petrusevangelium und die Petrusapokalypse (ed. Thomas J. Kraus and Tobias Nicklas; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2004) with an edition of the Akhmîm and Rainer fragments. Additional studies of Apoc. Pet. include: Richard John Bauckham, “The Apocalypse of Peter,” Apocrypha 5 (1994) 7–111; idem, The Fate of the Dead: Studies on the Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (Leiden: Brill, 1998); idem, “Jews and Jewish Christians in the Land of Israel at the Time of the Bar Kochba War, with Special Reference to the Apocalypse of Peter,” in Tolerance and Intolerance in Early Judaism and Christianity (ed. Graham N. Stanton and Guy G. Stroumsa; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) 228–38.

5 See Buchholz, Your Eyes, 388–98: It is a “low” Christology, “perhaps the most ancient of all.” It is Jewish-Christian, strongly focused on eschatology, so that Jesus' messiahship does not appear during his own life, but at his return in glory, a conception whose archaic traits are well shown, for example, also by Giorgio Jossa, Gesù Messia? (Roma: Carocci, 2006). On Christology in apocalyptic texts, see Richard Bauckham, “The Worship of Jesus in Apocalyptic Christianity,” NTS 27 (1981) 322–41.

6 It is included in the Muratorian Canon of the second century and in the Codex Claromontanus catalogue of the fourth to sixth centuries.

7 See Enrico Norelli, s.v. “Apocrifi cristiani antichi,” in Dizionario di omiletica (ed. Manlio Sodi and Achille M. Triacca; Torino: LDC/Leumann, 1998) 102–11.

8 The terminus post quem should be established on the basis of 4 Esdra dating to ca. 100 c.e., since it seems to be employed in the Apoc. Pet., ch. 3; also 2 Pet seems to be earlier than the Apoc. Pet. For the dating of this apocalyptic text and bibliography on it, see Ilaria Ramelli, “La colpa antecedente come ermeneutica del male in sede storico-religiosa e nei testi biblici,” RSB 19 (2007) 11–64.

9 Bauckham, The Fate of the Dead, 160–61; Paolo Marrassini, “L'Apocalisse di Pietro,” in Etiopia e oltre, Studi in onore di L. Ricci (ed. Yaqob Beyene; Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1994) 171–232; Enrico Norelli, “Pertinence théologique et canonicité. Les premières apocalypses chrétiennes,” Apocrypha 8 (1997) 147–64, at 157; Attila Jakab, “The Reception of the Apocalypse of Peter in Ancient Christianity,” in The Apocalypse of Peter (ed. Bremmer and Czachesz), 174–86, at 174; János Bolyki, “False Prophets in the Apocalypse of Peter,” in The Apocalypse of Peter, 52–62.

10 Eibert Tigchelaar argues against the supposed allusions to Bar Kochba in this Apocalypse (“Is the Liar Bar Kochba?” in The Apocalypse of Peter [ed. Bremmer and Czachesz] 63–77), mainly on the basis of the fact that they are not in the Greek fragments but in the Ethiopic translation, which is often inaccurate and full of textual problems.

11 Montague Rhodes James, The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1924) introduction.

12 Enrico Norelli has pointed out some typically Petrine themes in the three apocryphal texts that are related to the Petrine tradition: the Kerygmata Petri, the Apoc. Pet., and the Gospel of Peter (“Situation des apocryphes pétriniens,” Apocrypha 2 [1991] 31–38). There emerges an ancient Petrine tradition historically connected with Antioch. From the doctrinal point of view, see Michel Tardieu, “Hérésiographie de l'Apocalypse de Pierre,” in Histoire et conscience historique dans les civilisations du Proche-Orient ancien (Actes du colloque de Cartigny 1986; Leuven: Peeters, 1989) 33–39.

13 See Ilaria Ramelli in collaboration with Marta Sordi, “Commodiano era di Roma?” RIL 138 (2004) 3–23.

14 According to Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2006), the term should be understood as “interpreter, translator” of Peter's words into Latin or Greek. For Papias, see The Apostolic Fathers (ed. Bart D. Ehrman; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003) 2:85–118. For the early tradition on the gospel of Mark, see Ilaria Ramelli, “Fonti note e meno note sulle origini dei Vangeli: osservazioni per una valutazione dei dati della tradizione,” Aevum 81 (2007) 171–85. On the “secret gospel of Mark,” attested by Clement of Alexandria and first studied by Morton Smith in 1973, see Scott G. Brown, Mark's Other Gospel (Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University, 2005); Hugh M. Humphrey, From Q to “Secret” Mark (London: T&T Clark, 2006); Henny F. Hägg, Clement of Alexandria and the Beginning of Christian Apophaticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006) 135–40; Peter Jeffery, The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007); Pierluigi Piovanelli, “L'Évangile secret de Marc trente-trois ans après,” RB 114 (2007) 52–72, 237–54; Allan Pantuck and Scott G. Brown, “Morton Smith as M. Madiotes,” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 6 (2008) 106–25. Within the Petrine tradition the Apoc. Pet. played a remarkable role; Peter is there the principal witness to Jesus' resurrection and the recipient of further revelations, which he authoritatively transmits, first of all to his disciple Clement (2 Clem. 5).

15 Jan Bremmer, “The Apocalypse of Peter: Greek or Jewish?” in The Apocalypse of Peter (ed. Bremmer and Czachesz), 1–14. The same mixture is found in the Testament of Orpheus, stemming from the same environment.

16 Respectively SEG 44.1279 and 38.1837. This connection is noted by Bremmer, “The Apocalypse,” 8.

17 On postmortem salvation in this document, for Dinocrates, Perpetua's brother, see Jeffrey A. Trumbower, Rescue for the Dead (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001) 76–90; Ilaria Ramelli, “Alle origini della figura dell'intercessore,” in Mediadores con lo divino en el Mediterráneo antiguo, Actas del Congreso Internacional de Historia de las Religiones, Palma 13–15.X.2005 (Palma de Mallorca: Universitat de les Illes Balears, 2009).

18 Regarding these motifs, see below.

19 See James Brooks, “Clement of Alexandria as a Witness to the Development of the New Testament Canon,” SCent 9 (1992) 41–55; Annewies van den Hoek, “Clement and Origen as Sources on ‘Noncanonical’ Scriptural Traditions,” in Origeniana Sexta (ed. Gilles Dorival and Alain Le Boulluec; Leuven: Peeters, 1995) 93–113.

20 Trumbower, Rescue, 91–107; Henryk Pietras, L'escatologia della Chiesa (Rome: Augustinianum, 2006) 37–46; for later developments (fourth to sixth cent.), see Rémi Gounelle, La descente du Christ aux enfers (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000).

21 The specific reference is to little children who have died and to their opportunity of receiving baptism and conversion even in the next life, according to a dynamic conception of deep continuity between the present and the future life. This will be expressed by Gregory of Nyssa in his De infantibus praemature abreptis (PG 46.161–192; ed. Hadwiga Hörner, GNO 3.2.65–97). Gregory also takes over the notion of the angels' role in this, already present in the Apoc. Pet. and in Origen. On this role in Origen and some Gnostics, see Riemer Roukema, “Les anges attendant les âmes des défunts,” in Origeniana Octava (ed. Lorenzo Perrone; Leuven: Peeters, 2003) 367–75.

22 It presents Peter's revelation to Clement concerning the world from creation to judgment. See Buchholz, Your Eyes, with status quaestionis, particularly 139–52 and 413–23 on the Akhmîm fragment, found in a Giza manuscript, preserved at Cairo. Two other short Greek fragments, concerning suffering in hell, are in a folio of a fifth-century manuscript in the Oxford Bodleian Library (Madan's Summary Catalogue, no. 31810). The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter in NHC VII 3 is different; see The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter (ed. Henrietta Wilhelmina Havelaar; Berlin: Akademie, 1999) edition with English translation and commentary.

23 Apart from a fragment preserved by Macarius of Magnesia, Apocr. 4.16, all the fragments transmitted by ancient authors have corresponding passages in the Ethiopic translation.

24 The reference to the Acherusian Valley and the Elysian Fields led, e.g., James to accept the suppositions of Norden and Dieterich that the sources of the eschatological vision of the Apoc. Pet. were pagan more than Jewish, and especially Orphic. See Bremmer, “The Apocalypse,” 1–8; Buchholz, Your Eyes, 98–118, who shows how subsequently the Jewish heritage in this writing and its relationship to Jewish texts, the Apostolic Fathers, etc., has been investigated with success.

25 I cite Buchholz's translation of the Ethiopic text in Your Eyes, 224–30.

26 See Montague Rhodes James, “The Rainer Fragment of the Apocalypse of Peter,” JTS 32 (1931) 270–79; Buchholz, Your Eyes, 152–55; James Keith Elliott, “The Apocalypse of Peter,” in The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993) 593–613; Caspar Detlef Gustav Müller, “Offenbarung des Petrus,” in Neutestamentliche Apokryphen (ed. Edgar Hennecke and Wilhelm Schneemelcher; 2 vols.; 5th ed.; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1989) 2:562–78; Richard Bauckham, “The Apocalypse of Peter: An Account of Research,” ANRW 2.25.6 (1988) 4713–50; idem, “The Conflict of Justice and Mercy,” in idem, The Fate of the Dead, 132–48. The text was published by Wesseley as a part of the Acts of Peter, in Patrologia Orientalis 18 (1924) 482–83, and again by Karl Prümm, “De genuino Apocalypsis Petri textu,” Biblica 10 (1929) 62–80, as a part of the Apoc. Pet., and by James, who has given the best edition of it. More recently, Kraus and Nicklas published Das Petrusevangelium und die Petrusapokalypse, which is not a complete critical edition, as Bart D. Ehrman remarks in his review in VC 61 (2007) 96–117, but includes all the Greek manuscripts of the Apoc. Pet. The editors question whether the second part of the Akhmîm fragment belongs not to the Apoc. Pet. but to the Gospel of Peter (on these texts, see also Enrico Norelli, “Situation des apocryphes pétriniens,” Apocrypha 2 [1991] 31–83). In any case, the editors offer the entire Akhmîm fragment of the Apoc. Pet., with detailed notes, together with the other two Greek fragments.

27 See Buchholz, Your Eyes, 228 and 345; Elliott, “The Apocalypse of Peter,” 609; James, “The Rainer Fragment,” 271 for the Greek text. This section corresponds to ch. 14 in the Ethiopic text, whereas the section is completely lacking in the Akhmîm fragment, which suggests that it belongs to a different recension. A detailed comparison between the Rainer fragment and the Ethiopic translation is provided by Buchholz, Your Eyes, 344–62. According to James, “The Rainer Fragment,” 278, the Rainer and the Bodleian fragments of this Apocalypse originally belonged not only to the same recension, but even to the same manuscript.

28 Buchholz, Your Eyes, 348; Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta, “Does Punishment Reward the Righteous? The Justice Pattern Underlying the Apocalypse of Peter,” in The Apocalypse of Peter (ed. Bremmer and Czachesz) 127–57, at 151–52.

29 See Buchholz, Your Eyes, 342–62; 425–26. The Ethiopic text is much longer than the Greek of the Akhmîm fragment, and includes a lengthy section on Christ's second coming and the final judgment (chs. 1–6) and a shorter one on the Ascension (ch. 17) which are absent from the Akhmîm fragment, as are the Ethiopic chs. 13–14. Furthermore, in the Ethiopic translation the description of the damned comes before that of the blessed, whereas in the Akhmîm fragment the opposite is the case. Moreover, in the Akhmîm fragment both descriptions are narrated as a vision, in the past tense, whereas in the Ethiopic only that of the blessed is such, while that concerning the damned is a prophecy. The Ethiopic expands much more on the description of the damned, the Greek on that of the blessed. The Ethiopic seems to translate the Greek from the Bodleian recension rather than from the Akhmîm recension. See ibid., 417–18.

30 This is rightly noted by Copeland, “Sinners,” 98.

31 See Ilaria Ramelli and David Konstan, Terms for Eternity (Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias, 2007); Heleen Maria Keizer, Life, Time, Entirety: A Study of AIWN in Greek Literature and Philosophy and Philo (Ph.D. diss., Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1999). This is why the supposed disagreement between the Rainer fragment and the rest of the Greek Apocalypse of Peter in regard to the eternity of punishment noted by Peter van Minnen, “The Greek Apocalypse of Peter,” in The Apocalypse of Peter (ed. Bremmer and Czachesz), 15–39, at 32 seems to be misguided: κόλασιϛ αἰώνιοϛ does not mean “eternal punishment.” (According to van Minnen, the Rainer fragment, with its notion of the cessation of the punishment of the damned, “is completely out of tune with the rest of the text, even with what little remains of the Greek, because the punishments are clearly eternal.”)

32 Documentation in Ramelli, Apocatastasi.

33 E.g., at 14.2 behind the Ethiopic “eternal Kingdom” there lies αἰωνία βασιλεία, which in fact is attested in the Rainer fragment (in other Greek texts we have αἰώνιοϛ βασιλεία).

34 See Ramelli and Konstan, Terms for Eternity, 37–70.

35 The kind of death that is at stake here is not simply bodily death, which will be overcome by universal resurrection, but the sinners' spiritual death, the resurrection from which coincides with salvation. This is also the case in Origen, where “death” and “life” bear multiple meanings, illustrated, e.g., in his Dialogue with Heraclides. A good parallel to this passage from the Apoc. Pet. is provided, in my view, by a scene in the synoptic gospels in which it is salvation, not only resurrection, to which Jesus refers when he declares that everything is possible for God (Matt 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27).

36 This is well demonstrated by Buchholz, Your Eyes, 387–98.

37 In fact, when sinners arrive at their punishment, they cannot realize that it is eternal, but they know perfectly well that it is the punishment of the other world. Likewise, in 7.11 they say: “We didn't know that we would come to this ‘eternal’ place of punishment,” where the Greek Vorlage had τόποϛ αἰώνιοϛ, which means, not “eternal place,” but “other-worldly place.”

38 On which, in addition to Buchholz, see Monika Pesthy, “Thy Mercy, O Lord, is in the Heavens, and thy Righteousness Reaches into the Clouds,” in The Apocalypse of Peter (ed. Bremmer and Czachesz), 40–51. Pesthy is concerned only with the Ps. Clementine work entitled The Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection of the Dead, edited by Sylvain Grébaut in ROC 15 (1910) 198–214, 307–23, 425–39. Both this work and another Ps. Clementine text that follows it, The Mystery of the Judgment of Sinners (ed. Sylvain Grébaut in ROC 12 [1907] 139–51, and 13 [1908] 285–87) are considered to contain Origenistic elements by Gianfrancesco Lusini, “Tradizione origeniana in Etiopia,” in Origeniana Octava, 1177–84. That these two writings form one whole is claimed by Roger W. Cowley, “The Ethiopic Work Which is Believed to Contain the Material of the Ancient Greek Apocalypse of Peter,” JTS 36 (1985) 151–53.

39 See Buchholz, Your Eyes, 376–81.

40 See Ilaria Ramelli, “Origen's Exegesis of Jeremiah: Resurrection Announced throughout the Bible and its Twofold Conception,” Augustinianum 48 (2008) 59–78.

41 A strong supporter of universal salvation, Gregory of Nyssa, however, was not in the least touched by this concern, and preached the doctrine of apokatastasis everywhere, even expounding it (including the salvation of the devil!) in Oratio Catechetica 26, among the fundamental Christian doctrines to be taught by catechists.

42 See David T. M. Frankfurter, Elijah in Upper Egypt: The Apocalypse of Elijah and Early Egyptian Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997); also Giovanni Maria Vian, “L'escatologia nel Giudaismo ellenistico,” ASE 16 (1999) 21–34; Edmondo Lupieri, “Escatologia nel Giudaismo apocalittico,” ASE 16 (1999) 35–43.

43 “The just will contemplate sinners in their sufferings, and those who have persecuted, betrayed, or handed them [to hostile people].” The sinners “will contemplate the place where the just will be living, and will take part in Grace. In that day the just will be granted that for which they will often have prayed,” that is, salvation for the sinners (23.11–24.12). In H. P. Houghton, “The Coptic Apocalypse, III, Akhmimite: The Apocalypse of Elias,” Aegyptus 39 (1959) 179–210. That the Apocalypse of Elijah was based on that of Peter was already supposed by James, whose hypothesis is accepted by Buchholz, Your Eyes, 60–61.

44 For an Asiatic context in the second century c.e., see Alistair Stewart-Sykes, “The Asian Context of the New Prophecy and of Epistula Apostolorum,” VChr 51 (1997) 416–38; see also Charles E. Hill, “The Epistula Apostolorum,” JECS 7 (1999) 1–53, who places the Epistle in Asia Minor in the first half of the second century, probably soon after 120 c.e., or at the latest in the Forties of the second century, on the basis of parallels with works of the same area and the possible social contextualization of its group, and the historical circumstances reflected in the document; Julian Hills also takes the document to reflect early-second-century traditions: Hills, Tradition and Composition in the Epistula Apostolorum (2d ed.; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006).

45 The very expression in the Apocalypse of Elijah here occurs in Jesus' words: “The just are sorry for the sinners, and pray for them.… And I shall listen to the prayer of the just, which they utter for the sinners.” Editions: Epistula Apostolorum, nach dem äthiopischen und koptischen Texte (ed. Hugo Duensing; Bonn: Adolph Marcus und Eduard Weber, 1925); Manfred Hornschuh, Studien zur Epistula Apostolorum (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1965); Buchholz, Your Eyes, 47–48; C. Detlef G. Müller, trans., “Epistula Apostolorum,” in New Testament Apocrypha (ed. Edgar Hennecke and Wilhelm Schneemelcher; trans. R. Mcl. Wilson; Louisville: John Knox, 2003) 1:249–84.

46 These Oracles as a whole are a collection of texts from different epochs, from the second century b.c.e. to the fourth century c.e. Editions: Sibyllinische Weissagungen (ed. Alfons Kurfess and J. D. Gauger; Düsseldorf-Zürich: Artemis, 1998); Peter Dronke, Hermes and the Sibyls: Continuations and Creations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Thomas H. Tobin, “Philo and the Sibyl,” StudPhilon 9 (1997) 84–103.

47 See Emil Schürer et al., The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (3 vols.; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1986) 3/1:645; Sibyllinische Weissagungen (ed. Alfons Kurfess and Jörg-Dieter Gauger) 418–19. According to Jane L. Lightfoot, The Sibylline Oracles (Oxford: University Press, 2007) 150, the author of books 1–2 is a second-century Christian.

48 See Gerard J. M. Bartelink, “Die Oracula Sibyllina in den frühchristlichen griechischen Schriften von Justin bis Origenes,” in Early Christian Poetry (ed. Jan Den Boeft and Anton Hilhorst; Leiden: Brill, 1993) 23–33.

49 So James, The Apocryphal New Testament, 521–24; Elliott, “The Apocalypse of Peter,” 613.

50 There will be no seasons or days, no marriage or death, but a single long day—beyond time.

51 Vv. 332–38 run as follows: ἐκ μαλεροῖο πυρὸϛ καὶ ἀθανάτων ἀπὸ βρυγμῶν / ἀνθρώπουϛ σῶσαι δώσει· καὶ τοῦτο ποιήσει· / λεξάμενοϛ γὰρ ἐσαῦθιϛ ἀπὸ ϕλογὸϛ ἀκαμάτοιο / ἄλλοσ’ ἀποστήσαϛ πέμψει διὰ λαὸν ἑαυτοῦ / εἰϛ ζωὴν ἑτέραν καὶ αἰώνιον ἀθανάτοισιν / ’Hλυσίῳ πεδίῳ, ὅθι οἱ πέλε κύματα μακρά / λίμνηϛ ἀενάου ’Αχερουσιάδοϛ βαθυκόλπου. For their connection to the Apoc. Pet., see Trumbower, Rescue, 49–54.

52 At the assertion that the damned will be removed from the torments, the scholiast says: “It is completely false, because the fire will never cease to torment the damned. I may pray that this be the case, since I am marked by the deep scars of transgressions that are in need of the greatest Grace. But shame be on Origen for his mendacious words, who claims that there will be an end to the torments.” Likewise, in the manuscript tradition of Gregory of Nyssa's De anima et resurrectione glosses are scattered throughout endeavoring to explain that Gregory did not really hold Origen's heretical doctrine of universal salvation, and that passages referring to purifying fire and the like should be understood in reference to purgatory. Origen himself lamented that his writings were interpolated already during his life, and Rufinus attests to this also for the subsequent period in his De adulteratione librorum Origenis.

53 See Daniel A. Bertrand, La vie grecque d'Adam et d'Ève (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1987); I. Michael Stone, A History of the Literature of Adam and Eve (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992).

54 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, lat. 3832, edited by Jean-Pierre Pettorelli, “Vie latine d'Adam et d'Ève. La recension de Paris, BNF, lat. 3832,” Archivum Latinitatis Medii Aevi 57 (1999) 5–52.

55 In Christian Greek, οἰκονομία precisely means God's saving action toward humans. When it refers to Christ, in the Greek Fathers the expression (ἔνσαρκοϛ) οἰκονομία indicates the salvific plan of his incarnation, his permanence on earth up to his death, e.g., in Maximus the Confessor. See Massimo il Confessore, Ambigua (ed. Claudio Moreschini; Milan: Bompiani, 2003) 154. Whereas Christ's divine nature is often called θεολογία by the Greeks, his human nature is called οἰκονομία. In the Bible, in Gal 4 and Eph 1 there decidedly emerges the meaning of salvific economy linked to God's government in history; in the classical world, instead, οἰκονομία means service, economy, order—especially in rhetoric—or government, mainly in philosophy, among the Stoics, in Plato, in Philo. The biblical meaning was inherited by the Fathers, who focus this economy on the incarnation, beginning with Ignatius in his Epistle to the Ephesians, then Polycarp, Athenagoras, and above all Justin, and Irenaeus, who uses this term in an anti-gnostic meaning in the context of his doctrine of the ἀνακεϕαλαίωσιϛ of all in Christ. See Giulio Maspero, “Storia e salvezza: il concetto di oikonomia fino all'inizio del secolo III,” in Pagani e cristiani, 239–60.

56 See Samuel Fernández Eyzaguirre, “El carácter cristológico de la bienaventuranza final,” in Origeniana Octava, 641–48; Tzamalikos, Origen: Philosophy of History, 65–116; Ilaria Ramelli, “The Universal and Eternal Validity of Jesus' High-Priestly Sacrifice,” in A Cloud of Witnesses: The Theology of Hebrews in Its Ancient Contexts (ed. Richard J. Bauckham et al.; Library of New Testament Studies 387; London: T&T Clark, 2008) 210–21; eadem, “La dottrina dell'apocatastasi eredità origeniana nel pensiero escatologico del Nisseno,” in Ilaria Ramelli, Gregorio di Nissa. Sull'anima e la resurrezione (Milan: Bompiani, 2007), with new edition, essays, and commentary on this dialogue.

57 Tantam esse vim crucis Christi et mortis huius… asserimus, quae ad sanitatem et remedium non solum praesentis et futuri, sed etiam praeteritorum saeculorum, et non solum humano huic nostro ordini, sed etiam caelestibus virtutibus ordinibusque sufficiat.

58 John R. Sachs, “Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology,” ThSt 54 (1993) 617–40, esp. section 1 on Clement; complete demonstration with further arguments in Ramelli, Gregorio di Nissa Sull'Anima 833, 843, 849, 883–900.

59 E.g., in Strom.; 2.14–15.60–71; 5.14.136; indeed, like Origen, he asserted this of every rational creature, including the devil, who was not forced by nature to choose evil (1.17.83–84). In 2.3 he maintains the freedom of human will in polemic against the Valentinians (also in 1.20.115–16) and Basilides.

60 E.g., in Strom. 2.15.69–71;–3;–3 regarding the πῦρ αἰώνιον, which is not “eternal” but “of the other world.” See Ramelli, Apocatastasi. Clement also regarded this world as a place of instruction, a παιδευτήριον.

61 Compare to Peter's description of the ἀποκατάστασιϛ πάντων as ἀνάψυξιϛ in Acts 3:20–21, a passage Origen, and probably Clement, read as referring to the eventual universal restoration.

62 See Ilaria Ramelli, “Philosophical Allegoresis of Scripture in Philo and Its Legacy in Gregory of Nyssa,” SPhilo 20 (2008) 55–99.

63 See Ramelli, “Christian Soteriology”; eadem, “Origen's Interpretation of Hebrews 10:13, the Eventual Elimination of Evil and the Apokatastasis,” Augustinianum 47 (2007) 85–93; eadem, “In Illud: Tunc et Ipse Filius… (1Cor 15,27–28): Gregory of Nyssa's Exegesis, Some Derivations from Origen, and Early Patristic Interpretations Related to Origen's,” seminar paper delivered at the 2007 Oxford Patristic Conference, forthcoming in StPatr.

64 On Bardaiṣan, see, among others, Han J. W. Drijvers, Bardaiṣan of Edessa (Assen: van Gorcum, 1966), with an overview on the sources concerning Bardaiṣan; Ilaria Ramelli, “Linee generali per una presentazione e per un commento del Liber legum regionum, con traduzione italiana del testo siriaco e dei frammenti greci,” Rendiconti dell'Istituto Lombardo, Accademia di Scienze e Lettere 133 (1999) 311–55; eadem, “Bardesane e la sua scuola tra la cultura occidentale e quella orientale: il lessico della libertà nel Liber legum regionum (testo siriaco e versione greca),” in Pensiero e istituzioni del mondo classico nelle culture del Vicino Oriente (ed. Rosa Bianca Finazzi and Alfredo Valvo; Alessandria: Dell'Orso, 2001) 237–55, with further documentation; eadem, Bardesane Kata Heimarmenēs (Bologna: ESD, 2009).

65 See, e.g., Tloka, Griechische Christen, 47–50 and 64–76, 79–85.

66 The heresiological accounts on Bardaiṣan, after Drijvers, have been further investigated by Alberto Camplani, “Rivisitando Bardesane. Note sulle fonti siriache del Bardesanismo e sulla sua collocazione storico-religiosa,” CNS 19 (1998) 519–96; on the Origenistic controversy, see especially Elizabeth A. Clark, The Origenist Controversy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992) and Emanuela Prinzivalli, Magister Ecclesiae. Il dibattito su Origene fra III e IV secolo (SEA 82; Rome: Augustinianum, 2002).

67 For Origen's polemic against the gnostics, see below; he also constantly opposed the Marcionites, who separated the ot and the nt, their respective divinities, and justice and mercy in God. For Bardaiṣan's refutations of gnostics and Marcionites the main sources are Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4.30; Jerome, Vir. ill. 33; Epiphanius, Pan. 56, and Moses of Chorene, Patmut‘iwn Hayoc‘ 2.66.

68 For Gregory's polemic against astrology, see, e.g., Beatrice Motta, “L'astrologia nel Contra fatum di Gregorio di Nissa,” in La cultura scientifico-naturalistica nei Padri della Chiesa (XXXV Incontro di studiosi dell'antichità cristiana, Rome, 4–6.V. 2006; SEA 101; Rome: Augustinianum, 2007) 677–84. Above all, Gregory adopted Origen's defense of free will and doctrine of apokatastasis: see Ramelli, Gregorio di Nissa Sull'anima, first integrative essay.

69 E.g., Drijvers, Bardaiṣan; idem, “Bardaiṣan of Edessa and the Hermetica,” JEOL 21 (1970) 190–210; Taeke Jansma, Natuur, lot en vrijheid. Bardesanes, de filosoof der Arameërs en zijn images (Cahiers bij het Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 6; Wageningen: Veenman, 1969); Albrecht Dihle, “Liberté et destin dans l'Antiquité tardive,” RTP 121 (1989) 129–47; Javier Teixidor, Bardesane d'Édesse: la première philosophie syriaque (Paris: Cerf, 1992); John F. Healey, “The Edessan Milieu and the Birth of Syriac,” Hugoye 10 (2007) §§ 1–34, who describes Bardaiṣan's writings as “philosophical works in Syriac” (§ 31).

70 Ute Possekel, “Bardaiṣan of Edessa: Philosopher or Theologian?” ZAC 10 (2007) 442–61.

71 On Origen as fully philosopher and fully Christian and the polemics that this identity ignited among both pagans and Christians, see Ilaria Ramelli, “Origen, Patristic Philosophy, and Christian Platonism: Re-Thinking the Christianization of Hellenism,” VC 63 (2009) 107–50.

72 See, most recently, Tloka, Griechische Christen, ch. 2, with my review in Adamantius 14 (2008) 641–45; Christoph Markschies, Origenes und sein Erbe (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007), also with a review of mine forthcoming in Adamantius.

73 Even if we assume that the Liber legum regionum, as we have it in Syriac, is the product of a disciple, it is probable that it faithfully reflects his master's thought, expressed in his Περὶ εἱμαρμένηϛ, or better, according to Epiphanius and Theodoretus, Κατὰ εἱμαρμένηϛ. See Ramelli, Bardesane kata heimarmenēs, with thorough argument and documentation.

74 ’Εν οἷϛ ἐστιν καὶ ὁ πρὸϛ ’Αντωνῖνον ἱκανώτατοϛ αὐτοῦ Περὶ εἱμαρμένηϛ διάλογοϛ ὅσα τε ἄλλα ϕασὶν αὐτὸν προϕάσει τοῦ τότε διωγμοῦ συγγράψαι. Under Marcus Aurelius's persecution several Christian apologies were written. On this persecution, see Marta Sordi, I Cristiani e l'Impero romano (2d ed.; Milan: Jaca Book, 2004) 103–16; Ilaria Ramelli, “Montanismo e Impero Romano nel giudizio di Marco Aurelio,” Contributi dell'Istituto di Storia Antica dell'Università Cattolica di Milano 25 (1999) 81–97; eadem, “Protector Christianorum,” Aevum 76 (2002) 101–12. On the connection between this persecution and Bardaiṣan's dialogue, see eadem, Bardesane kata heimarmenēs.

75 Pan. 56: Άπολλωνίῳ δὲ τῷ τοῦ ’Αντωνίνου ἑταίρῳ ἀντῆρε παραινουμένῳ ἀρνήσασθαι τὸ Χριστιανὸν ἑαυτὸν λέγειν, ὁ δὲ σχεδὸν ἐν τάξει ὁμολογίαϛ κατέστη, λόγουϛ τε συνετοὺϛ ἀπεκρίνατο, ὑπὲρ εὐσεβείαϛ ἀνδρείωϛ ἀπολογούμενοϛ, θάνατον μὴ δεδιέναι ϕήσαϛ, ὃν ἀνάγκη ἔσεσθαι, κἂν τε τῷ βασιλεῖ μὴ ἀντείποι (Apollonius, Antoninus's friend, exhorted him to deny that he was a Christian, but Bardaiṣan resisted and almost joined the number of the confessors. He replied with intelligent discourses, courageously defending piety, and said that he did not fear death, since it would necessarily come, even if he had not opposed the emperor.)

76 Porphyry, De Styge, fr. 376 Smith (ap. Stob. 1.3.56 = 1.66.24–70.13 Wachsmuth), places the composition of Bardaiṣan's work on India at the time of the emperor “Antoninus from Emesa,” i.e., Elagabalus; the same is indicated by Moses of Chorene, PH 2.66, who locates Bardaiṣan's floruit under “the last Antoninus.” Elagabalus's name was Varius Avitus. Now, Bardaiṣan's interlocutor in the Liber is Avidā, the Syriac transposition of Avitus. In the initial frame he is presented as a heathen who is philosophically interested in Christian monotheism and theodicy. Moreover, the other interlocutor is the young Philip, who might even be M. Julius Philippus “the Arab,” from Bostra, who was either a Christian or not hostile to Christianity; see Ramelli, “Linee generali,” 315–18. Origen's letters to Philip and his wife in defense of his own orthodoxy (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 16.36.3–4) and the hostility of all pagan sources to Philip may suggest that he was a Christian, as is implied by Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6.34, who mentions that a bishop forbade him to take part in the church's prayers on Easter's eve before penitence for his crimes (cf. Jerome, Vir. ill. 54). John Chrysostom, Bab. 6 identifies that bishop with Babylas of Antioch, who died during Decius's persecution, which was a reaction to Philip according to Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6.39.1. Philip's contemporary, Dionysius of Alexandria, a disciple of Origen, in a letter speaks of emperors who were said to have been publicly Christian (οἱ λεχθέντεϛ ἀναϕανδὸν Χριστιανοὶ γεγονέναι, ap. Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 1.7.10), which cannot but refer to Philip. On Philip, see Pat Southern, The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine (London: Routledge, 2001) 71–74. Favorable to the theory that he was a Christian are John M. York, Philip the Arab, the First Christian Emperor of Rome (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1965), Dissertation Abtracts 25 (1965) 5230–31 and Sordi, I Cristiani, 135–39. In any case, Philip was not at all hostile to Christianity.

77 Healey, “The Edessan Milieu,” quotations from §32.

78 Steven K. Ross, Roman Edessa: Politics and Culture in the Eastern Fringe of the Roman Empire (London: Routledge, 2001); Ilaria Ramelli, “Abgar Ukkama e Abgar il Grande alla luce di recenti apporti storiografici,” Aevum 78 (2004) 103–8.

79 When Origen moved to Caesarea, Bardaiṣan had already died, but his school was still alive and well: His followers continued to exist for centuries.

80 Origen studied the customary curriculum of the “Greek disciplines” (τῇ τῶν ἐγκυκλίων παιδείᾳ… τῶν ‘Ελληνικῶν μαθημάτων), which were crowned by philosophy, and after his father's death he deepened his knowledge of them (Hist. eccl. 6.2.15). Many learned pagans who had received a philosophical education (τῶν τε ἀπὸ παιδείαϛ καὶ ϕιλοσοϕιαϛ) were won over by his teaching (6.3.13). Even after handing the teaching of the στοιχεῖα to Heraclas (6.15.1), Origen did not stop teaching philosophy, and “many renowned philosophers” attended his classes “in order to be instructed not only in the divine things, but also in pagan philosophy,” consisting not only in the liberal arts, but also in the doctrines of the various philosophical sects (6.17.2–3). Origen himself in a letter claims that while he was studying Scripture, he was approached by heretics, philosophers, and experts in “Greek disciplines” (‘Ελληνικὰ μαθήματα), and thus he had “to examine both the heretics' opinions and what the philosophers claimed to say concerning the truth.” He adduces Pantaenus and Heraclas, Christian philosophers in Alexandria, whom he imitates (ap. Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6.19.12–14).

81 He was taught the Greek paideia together with king Abgar the Great, as Epiphanius attests in Pan. 56: “In his youth he was friends with Abgar, king of Edessa, a very pious and learned man; he shared his Greek education and collaborated with him” (Αὐγάρῳ δὲ τῷ τῶν ’Εδεσσηνῶν δυνάστῃ ἀνδρὶ ὁσιωτάτῳ καὶ λογιωτάτῳ ἐξοικειούμενοϛ τὰ πρῶτα, καὶ συμπράττων τε ἅμα καὶ τῆϛ αὐτοῦ μετασχὼν παιδείαϛ). He received a Greco-Roman instruction, and also knew Greek very well.

82 See Ilaria Ramelli, “La coerenza della soteriologia origeniana: dalla polemica contro il determinismo gnostico all'universale restaurazione escatologica,” in Pagani e cristiani alla ricerca della salvezza (Atti del XXXIV Incontro di Studiosi dell'Antichità Cristiana, Rome 5–7 May, 2005; SEA, 96; Rome: Augustinianum, 2006) 661–88, and George Boys-Stones, “Middle Platonism on Fate and Human Autonomy,” in Greek and Roman Philosophy 100 BC–200 AD (ed. Richard Sorabji and Robert W. Sharples; London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2007) 431–47. Also see Alain Le Boulluec, “La place de la polémique antignostique dans le Peri Archôn,” in Origeniana (Bari: Edipuglia, 1975) 47–61; Albrecht Dihle, “Die Vorstellung philosophischer Lehren vom Schicksal und Freiheit in der Frühchristlichen Theologie,” JAC 30 (1987) 14–28; Henri Crouzel, “Theological Construction and Research: Origen on Freewill,” in Scripture, Tradition and Reason (ed. Benjamin Drewery and Richard Bauckham; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988) 239–65; Enrico Norelli, “Marcione e gli gnostici sul libero arbitrio e la polemica di Origene,” in Il cuore indurito del Faraone, Origene e il problema del libero arbitrio (ed. Lorenzo Perrone; Genova: Marietti, 1992) 1–30; Josep Rius Camps, “Orígenes frente al desafío de los gnósticos,” in Origeniana Quinta (Leuven: Peeters 1992) 57–78; Hendrik S. Benjamins, Eingeordnete Freiheit. Freiheit und Vorsehung bei Origenes (Leiden: Brill, 1994).

83 See Clark, The Origenist Controversy, 195–96.

84 Rather than “gnostic” tout court. Of course, when speaking of “Gnosticism,” it is always necessary to be aware of the often puzzling complexity of this category. See Karen L. King, What Is Gnosticism? (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003); Ilaria Ramelli, review of King's book, Invigilata Lucernis 25 (2003) 331–34; eadem, “Gnosticismo,” in Nuovo Dizionario Patristico e di Antichità Cristiane (ed. Angelo Di Berardino; Genoa: Marietti, 2007) 2:2364–80.

85 Full demonstration in Ramelli, “La coerenza,” 661–88, where, on the basis of Princ. 3 and other evidence, it is hypothesized that Origen elaborated the doctrine of apokatastasis in opposition to Valentinian predestinationism and Marcionite division of justice and mercy in God, which parallels the separation of the two Testaments.

86 Dei iustitiam defendere et respondere contra eos qui vel fato vel casu cuncta moveri dicunt… Dei iustitiam defendere cupientes… bonae illi et incommutabili ac simplici naturae Trinitatis convenire ut omnem creaturam suam in fine omnium restituat in hoc quod ex initio creata est et post longa et spatiis saeculorum exaequata supplicia finem statuat aliquando poenarum.

87 Bardaiṣan often uses theological passives, just as the Bible and Origen do.

88 Remarkably, the language is exactly the same as in Origen: “Movement” here indicates an act of will. See, e.g., Princ. 3.3.5: “Freewill is always moved to good or evil by the soul's movements; our rational faculty, that is, our mind or soul, never can be without any movement, either good or evil. These movements constitute the rationale for deserts” (motibus suis [animae] … libertas arbitrii vel ad bona semper vel ad mala movetur, nec umquam rationabilis sensus, is est mens vel anima, sine motu aliquo esse vel bono vel malo potest, quos motus causas praestare meritorum).

89 Patrologia Syriaca, ed. François Nau, 2.608–11. [My translation; emphasis mine].

90 As documented by Ramelli, “Origen's Exegesis of Jeremiah” for Origen, and idem, Bardesane kata heimarmenēs for Bardaiṣan.

91 For this notion in Origen, see Ramelli, “La coerenza.”

92 Documentation in Ramelli, Apocatastasi and, for Gregory of Nyssa, eadem, Gregorio di Nissa, integrative essay 2.

93 All these testimonia de Bardesane are collected and discussed at length by Ramelli, Bardesane kata heimarmenēs, including a strong valorization of Porphyry's fragments from Bardaiṣan, thus far widely neglected in the reconstruction of his thinking. On the cross in early Christian thinking (Ps. Barnabas, Gospel of Peter, Justin, Oracula Sibyllina, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Origen), see Jean-Marc Prieur, La croix chez les Pères (Strasbourg: Université Marc Bloch, 2006).

94 On the cosmic Christ and cross, see Werner Thiede, Wer ist der kosmische Christus? (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001); Ramelli, Gregorio di Nissa sull'anima, 783–86.

95 For the christological foundation of Gregory's doctrine of apokatastasis, see Steven R. Harmon, “The Work of Jesus Christ and the Universal Apokatastasis,” in Jesus Christ in St. Gregory of Nyssa's Theology (ed. Ēlias Moutsoulas; Athens: Eptalophos, 2005) 225–43, with very partial, but correct, argumentation; much more complete argumentation in Ramelli, “La dottrina”; see also eadem, “In Illud… Gregory of Nyssa's Exegesis.”

96 Τὴν ἀληθῆ τῆϛ μακαρίαϛ σῴζοντεϛ διδασκαλίαϛ παράδοσιν.

97 For this aspect, see the lengthy essay devoted to the testimonia in Ramelli, Bardesane kata heimarmenēs.

98 See Ilaria Ramelli, “La Chiesa di Roma in età severiana: cultura classica, cultura cristiana, cultura orientale,” Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia 54 (2000) 13–29; Grafton-Williams, Christianity, ch. 2.

99 See Ilaria Ramelli, “Edessa e i Romani tra Augusto e i Severi,” Aevum 73 (1999) 107–43, at 135–36, and eadem, “La Chiesa.” On Julius, see also Tiziana Rampoldi, “I Kestoi di Giulio Africano e l'imperatore Severo Alessandro,” ANRW 2.34.3 (1997) 2451–70, and, more for his chronicle than for his Kestoi, Julius Africanus und die christliche Weltchronistik (ed. Martin Wallraff; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2006); Iulius Africanus, Chronographiae (ed. Martin Wallraff et al.; GCS 15; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007), also with biography of Africanus and relevant testimonia. On Africanus's stay in Edessa, see W. Adler, “Sextus Julius Africanus and the Roman Near East in the Third Century,” JTS 55 (2004) 520–50, esp. 530–39.

100 Here he presents him as a Syrian “who had reached the highest expertise in the Chaldaic doctrine” (ἐπ’ ἄκρον τῆϛ Χαλδαξ03ΧΑ; κῆϛ ἐπιστήμηϛ ἐληλακότοϛ).

101 For, immediately after, Eusebius reports that Bardaiṣan, after abandoning the Valentinian sect, turned to writing refutations of the gnostics (see below). This is Eusebius's account: “Under the same reign there were plenty of heresies. In Mesopotamia Bardaiṣan, an excellent man and very well versed in the Syriac language, composed and published in his own language and alphabet dialogues against Marcionites and other supporters of different doctrines, in addition to a great many other works of his. His disciples—very numerous, as he strongly attracted them by means of words and argument—translated them from Syriac into Greek” (’Επὶ δὲ τῆϛ αὐτῆϛ βασιλείαϛ, πληθυουσῶν τῶν αἱρέσεων, ἐπὶ τῆϛ Μέσηϛ τῶν ποταμῶν Βαρδεσάνηϛ, ἱκανώτατόϛ τιϛ ἀνὴρ ἔν τε τῇ Σύρων ϕωνῇ διαλεκτικώτατοϛ, πρὸϛ τοὺϛ κατὰ Μαρκίωνα καὶ τιναϛ ἑτέρουϛ διαϕόρων προξ03ΧΑ; σταμένουϛ δογμάτων διαλόγουϛ συστησάμενοϛ τῇ οἰκείᾳ παρέδωκεν γλώττῃ τε καὶ γραϕῇ μετὰ καὶ πλείστων ἑτέρων αὐτοῦ συγγραμμάτων· οὓϛ οἱ γνώριμοι [πλεῖστοι δὲ ἦσαν αὐτῷ δυνατῶϛ τῷ λόγῳ παρισταμένῳ] ἐπὶ τὴν ‘Ελλήνων ἀπὸ τῆϛ Σύρων μεταβεβλήκασι ϕωνῆϛ).

102 Ḗric Junod, “L'apologie pour Origène de Pamphile et la naissance de l'origénisme,” in StPatr 26 (Leuven: Peeters, 1993) 267–86; Grafton and Williams, Christianity, 179–93.

103 See Robert M. Grant, “Eusebius and His Lives of Origen,” in Forma Futuri. Studi in onore del Card. Pellegrino (Torino: Bottega d'Erasmo, 1975) 635–49; Manlio Simonetti, “Eusebio e Origene. Per una storia dell'Origenismo,” Augustinianum 26 (1986) 323–34; Emanuela Prinzivalli, “Per un'indagine sull'esegesi del pensiero origeniano nel IV secolo,” Annali di Storia dell'Esegesi 11 (1994) 433–60; Holger Strutwolf, “Der Origenismus des Euseb von Caesarea,” in Origeniana Septima (ed. Wolfgang A. Bienert and Uwe Kühneweg; Leuven: Peeters, 1999) 141–48; Grafton and Williams, Christianity, 133–232.

104 So Ramelli, “In Illud:… Gregory of Nyssa's Exegesis.”

105 On Didymus's Origenism, see Emanuela Prinzivalli, “La metamorfosi della scuola alessandrina da Eracla a Didimo,” in Origeniana Octava, 911–37; Michael Ghattas, “Die Epinoia-Lehre bei Origenes und Didymos dem Blinden von Alexandria,” in Origeniana Septima, 525–30; Richard A. Layton, “Judas Yields a Place for the Devil: The Appropriation of Origen's Commentary on Ephesians by Didymus of Alexandria,” Origeniana Septima, 531–43.

106 Michael Gronewald, Didymos der Blinde. Psalmenkommentar (Tura-Papyrus), Teil III (Bonn: Habelt, 1969) 182–84 = p. 181, ll. 7–9 of the papyrus: “Bardaisan lived in the past, in the day of Antoninus, the emperor of the Romans. At first he belonged to the Valentinian school, but he passed to the church and became a presbyter” (διῆγεν δὲ ὁ Βαρτησάνηϛ ἐν τοῖϛ ἔμπροσθεν χρόνοιϛ ἐν ταῖϛ ἡμέραιϛ ’Αντωνίνου τοῦ βασιλέωϛ ‘Rωμαίων. Οὗτοϛ δὲ κατ’ ἀρχὴν τῆϛ σχολῆϛ ἦν Οὐαλεντίνου, μετέστη εἰϛ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, γέγονεν πρεσβύτεροϛ). See Sebastian Brock, “Didymus the Blind on Bardaiṣan,” JTS 22 (1971) 530–31.

107 “At first he belonged to the Valentinian school, but then he condemned it and refuted a great many Valentinian mythological constructions. He believed he had passed to orthodoxy; yet he did not liberate himself quite completely from the dirtiness of his old heresy” (῏Hν δὲ οὗτοϛ πρότερον τῆϛ κατὰ Οὐαλεντῖνον σχολῆϛ, καταγνοὺϛ δὲ ταύτηϛ πλεῖστά τε τῆϛ κατὰ τοῦτον μυθοποιίαϛ ἀπελέγξαϛ, ἐδόκει μέν πωϛ αὐτὸϛ ἑαυτῷ ἐπὶ τὴν ὀρθοτέραν γνώμην μετατεθεῖσθαι, οὐ μὴν καὶ παντελῶϛ γε ἀπερρύψατο τὸν τῆϛ παλαιᾶϛ αἱρέσεωϛ ῥύπον).

108 Addai Scher edition, CSCO Syri 26.2.307, lines 24–26.

109 Apol. 16 (René Amacker and Éric Junod, Pamphile et Eusèbe de Césarée. Apologie pour Origène [2 vols; Paris: Cerf, 2002] 1.54.3–6, in Rufinus's translation): “Some even dared to write against him and, with the publication of booklets, derogate this great man, who for so many years was a teacher of the Church and grew old inside the catholic Church.” (Quidam etiam conscribere adversus eum ausi sunt, et libellis editis derogare ei viro, qui per tot annos magister Ecclesiae fuit, qui in Ecclesia catholica senuit.)

110 “His great brilliance and keenness in discussion are celebrated by the Syrians. He wrote infinite works against almost all heretics who sprouted in his day, among which the most famous and vigorous book On Fate that he presented to Marcus Antoninus, and many other volumes on the occasion of the persecution. His followers translated them from Syriac into Greek—at least if translations maintain all the force and splendor that we guess there were in the original language.” (Ardens eius a Syris praedicatur ingenium et in disputatione vehemens; scripsit infinita adversus omnes paene haereticos, qui aetate eius pullulaverant, in quibus clarissimus est et fortissimus liber, quem Marco Antonino de fato tradidit, et multa alia super persecutione volumina, quae sectatores eius de Syra lingua verterunt in Graecam, si autem tanta vis est et fulgor in interpretatione quantam putamus in sermone proprio.) All the sources mentioned are collected and discussed in Ramelli, Bardesane kata heimarmenēs.

111 Methodius in his Symposium, inspired by the homonymous Platonic dialogue, devotes a long section to the defense of free will (8.13.161B–17.173C) and to polemic against determinism, above all in its astrological form, just as Bardaiṣan too did in the Liber. He also wrote a work on free will, where, however, as observed by Claudio Moreschini, Storia della filosofia patristica (Brescia: Morcelliana, 2004) 178, the theme is treated at much less depth than by Origen. Methodius, at any rate, was deeply influenced by Origen, although he disagreed with him, or with what he thought Origen maintained, on some points, especially concerning the resurrected bodies. But he finally retracted his attack and wrote a dialogue in praise of Origen, the Xenon (Socrates, Hist. eccl. 6.13; Photius, Bibl., cod. 235 also mentions this lost dialogue of Methodius); above all, he did share the doctrine of apokatastasis with Origen, and with Bardaiṣan. See Ilaria Ramelli, “L'Inno a Cristo-Logos nel Simposio di Metodio,” in Motivi e forme della poesia cristiana antica tra Scrittura e tradizione classica (XXXVI Incontro di studiosi dell'Antichità cristiana, Rome, 4–6.V. 2007; SEA 108; Rome: Augustinianum, 2008) 257–80.

112 Rufinus's translation is found in the edition of Vinzenz Buchheit, Tyranii Rufini Librorum Adamantii Origenis adversus haereticos interpretatio (Munich: Beck, 1966); the Greek is available in the edition of W. Hendrik van de Sande Bakhuyzen, Dialog des Adamantius (GCS 4; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1901); a recent commentary and translation is provided by Robert A. Pretty, Dialogue on the True Faith in God: De recta in Deum fide (ed. Garry W. Trompf; Leuven: Peeters, 1997).

113 For Bardaiṣan's view on the resurrection, see Ute Possekel, “Bardaisan of Edessa on the Resurrection: Early Syriac Eschatology in Its Religious-Historical Context,” Oriens Christianus 88 (2004) 1–28; eadem, “Expectations of the End in Early Syriac Christianity,” Hugoye 11 (2008) 1–26, on Bardaiṣan's refraining from apocalyptic eschatology, but with no mention of apokatastasis.

114 Of course, it is by no means certain that we ought to ascribe this position to Bardaiṣan himself.

115 We may add the intriguing detail that a passage in the Dialogue is almost identical to a passage from Methodius's writing On Freewill reported by Eusebius in his Praep. ev., but Eusebius ascribes it to a work entitled On Matter by a certain Maximus who lived far earlier than Methodius, in the days of Commodus and Septimius Severus, that is, precisely the epoch of Bardaiṣan. It was not by chance, I believe, that Methodius, a follower of Origen, probably took and adapted Maximus's piece, precisely in his discussion on free will, a theme that is central to both Bardaiṣan's and Origen's reflection. This is all the more noteworthy in that this Maximus, according to Eusebius (Hist. eccl. 5.27.1), polemicized against the gnostics, just as Origen and Bardaiṣan did in the same days. Eusebius attests that Maximus belonged to the church—he lists him among the “men of the church” (ἐκκλησιαστικοὶ ἄνδρεϛ), who included the presbyters Origen and Bardaiṣan—and that in his writings he treated the problems of whether matter has been created (περὶ τοῦ γενητὴν ὑπάρχειν τὴν ὕλην) and the origin of evil (περὶ τοῦ πολυθρυλήτου παρὰ τοῖϛ αἱρεσιώταιϛ ζητήματοϛ τοῦ πόθεν ἡ κακία), which were also addressed by Bardaiṣan, as is evident from both the Liber and many attestations concerning him collected by Drijvers (Bardaiṣan, 60–76; 167–85) and further analyzed by Camplani (“Rivisitando,” 521–26). One may even wonder whether Maximus was a follower of Bardaiṣan's or a double of Bardaiṣan himself, possibly a translator into Greek of Bardaiṣan's works (we know from Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4.30, that Bardaiṣan's disciples translated his Syriac works into Greek). The author of the Dialogue of Adamantius, a follower of Methodius (?), proves to know the works of Bardaiṣan and his school—at least the Liber, of which he knows the character Marinus/Bar Yammâ and surely the discussion on free will, and the work of Maximus, who seems to be somehow related to Bardaiṣan. This also confirms that the intellectual context was rich in discussions.

116 Castelletti is correct to note the close affinities between the ordeals described by Achilles and Bardaiṣan. Porfirio, Sullo Stige (ed. and trans. Cristiano Castelletti; Milan: Bompiani, 2006) 272–73.

117 F376 Smith = 7 Castelletti (ap. Stob. 1.3.56). Wide-ranging documentation in Castelletti, Porfirio, 245–80.

118 See also Wayne A. Meeks, “The Image of the Androgyne: Some Uses of a Symbol in Earliest Christianity,” HTR 13 (1974) 165–208.

119 Camplani (“Rivisitando,” 522 n. 6) argues for the direct dependency of Achilles on Bardaiṣan, as does Franz Boll, “Zum griechischen Roman,” Philologus 66 (1907) 1–15. Drijvers (Bardaiṣan, 175) who dates Achilles to the second half of the third century, hypothesizes a dependence either on Bardaiṣan or on Porphyry, which, however, is less probable because Achilles conserves typically Indian details, such as a tablet hanging from the neck of the accused person (as noted by Boll), which are absent in Porphyry and must derive from the Indians whom Bardaiṣan met.

120 Castelletti (Sullo Stige, 274) hypothesizes Achilles' dependence either on Bardaiṣan or on a common source, in that he dates the novel to the second century on the basis of its papyri dating to the late second and third century. See Graham Anderson, “Perspectives on Achilles Tatius,” in ANRW 2.34.3 (1997) 2278–99, at 2295–96. See also Garnaud's edition of Achilles' Le roman de Leucippé et Clitophon (ed. with commentary by Jean-Philippe Garnaud; Paris: PUF, 1991), which takes into account the Robinson-Cologne papyrus, reviewed by Graham Anderson, Classical Review42 (1992) 439. But the dating to the second century is uncertain and the final redaction of the novel is assigned to the third (see Achille Tazio, Leucippe e Clitofonte [ed. Federica Ciccolella; Alessandria: Dell'Orso, 1999], with introduction and bibliography on 43–56; Ilaria Ramelli, I romanzi antichi e il Cristianesimo [Madrid: Signifer, 2001] ch. 4). It is relevant to our argument that the parts preserved by the papyri do not include the passages drawn from Bardaiṣan. Franz Winter, Bardesanes von Edessa über Indien (Innsbruck: Thaur, 1999) 88–96, rejects the hypothesis of a dependency of Bardaiṣan on Achilles, given that the Edessan scholar depends on the Indian ambassadors. But this very fact refutes also Winter's hypothesis of a common source: if Achilles or the final redactor of the novel lived in the second century—the motive adduced for doubting the novelist's dependence on Bardaiṣan—how could he possibly know what the ambassadors reported to Bardaiṣan at the beginning of the third? We should be forced to give the lie to Bardaiṣan or Porphyry and imagine that he did not draw his information from the Indians, but from a written source, which is an unnecessary complication. The Antoninus in whose days, according to Porphyry, Bardaiṣan met the Indians might even be not the “Antoninus of Emesa,” but Marcus Aurelius: Porphyry may have easily confused the two, since Elagabalus too was made emperor under the name of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and Bardaiṣan in his work on India probably did not specify under which Antoninus he met the Indians. A date under Marcus Aurelius would perfectly fit both Bardaiṣan's lifetime (we have seen that Jerome identifies with Marcus Aurelius the dedicatee of Bardaiṣan's On Fate, simply called “Antoninus” by Eusebius) and the dating of Achilles to the second century.

121 Pan. 56: “He was fluent in both languages, Greek and Syriac” (Λόγιόϛ τιϛ ὢν ἐν ταῖϛ δυσὶ γλώσσαιϛ, ‘Ελληνικῇ τε διαλέκτῳ καὶ τῇ τῶν Σύρων ϕωνῇ).

122 We cannot know with certainty whether Porphyry was a Christian at that time—as Socrates suggests in Hist. eccl. 3.23, drawing his information from Eusebius's refutation of Porphyry—but he is certainly not mistaken when he identifies our Origen with a disciple (ἀκροατήϛ, ap. Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6.19.6) of Ammonius Saccas.

123 These readings were Plato, Middle-Platonists, Neo-Pythagoreans, and two Roman Stoics who allegorized Greek and barbarian myths. See now Ramelli, “Origen, Patristic Philosophy,” also with previous bibliography.

124 A less probable, but nevertheless possible, alternative may be that Porphyry's source concerning Origen's philosophical formation and readings was his master Plotinus, who was a fellow disciple of Origen's at Ammonius Saccas's school in Alexandria. Our Origen, in fact, may even be the homonymous neoplatonist repeatedly mentioned by Porphyry also in his Vita Plotini, but on this see my “Origen, Patristic Philosophy.”

125 In his Eusebian fragment on Origen, Porphyry states that he met Origen in his own youth. Porphyry was born in 232/3 c.e., and Origen died toward 255 c.e. (He was between 69 and 70 when he died, according to Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 7.1. Since he was not yet seventeen when he lost his father during Septimius's persecution in 202 c.e.—the tenth year of his reign according to Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6.2.2—he was born in 186 c.e.; hence, he was 69 in 255, when he died, no later than 256 c.e.). Therefore, Porphyry was twenty-two or younger when he met Origen.

126 They are likely to be those located under the Antoninus of Emesa in De Styge, but who may have met Bardaiṣan in the days of his namesake Marcus Aurelius as well (see above): “What concerns them runs as follows, as Bardaiṣan wrote; he was a man coming from Mesopotamia, who lived in the time of our fathers, and met the Indians who partook in Dandamis' expedition to Caesar.” (“Εχει δὲ τὰ κατ’ αὐτοὺϛ τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον, ὡϛ Βαρδησάνηϛ ἀνὴρ Βαβυλώνιοϛ, ἐπὶ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν γεγονώϛ, καὶ ἐντυχὼν τοῖϛ περὶ Δάνδαμιν πεπεμμένοιϛ ’Iνδοῖϛ πρὸϛ τὸν Καίσαρα, ἀνέγραψεν.)

127 See Ramelli, “Christian Soteriology”; eadem, Apocatastasi; and Tzamalikos, Origen: Philosophy of History.

128 See the essay on Gregory's In Illud. Tunc et Ipse Filius in Ramelli, Gregorio di Nissa Sull'anima; eadem, “In Illud.… Gregory of Nyssa's Interpretation.” On “Arianism” I refer to Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and Its Legacy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) who challenges several assumptions on Nicene and Arian theology, and to the discussion of his study in HTR 100 (2007) 125–241, especially the frame provided by Sarah Coakley's introduction at 125–38. Interesting novelties are also proposed by Henryk Pietras, Lettera di Costantino alla Chiesa di Alessandria e Lettera del sinodo di Nicea agli Egiziani (325)—i falsi sconosciuti da Atanasio?” Gregorianum 88 (2008), who argues that the two letters cited in the title, which most stress the condemnation of Arius, were unknown to Eusebius and Athanasius because they are apocryphal. I am very grateful to Henryk Pietras for letting me read his study before its publication.

* This article is a signifcantly revised and expanded version of a paper I delivered at the SBL International Meeting, Vienna; 22-26 July, 2007. I am very grateful to all colleagues and friends who discussed it with me at various stages and to the anonymous readers of HTR, who offered helpful suggestions.


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