Theology sampler II

Thomas

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For those who support the idea of reincarnation, Origen is cited again and again as an early Christian theologian who upheld a doctrine of reincarnation, and was condemned by the Church for so doing.

Origen's teaching of reincarnation is put forward in "Reincarnation in Christianity", by the theosophist Geddes MacGregor in 1978, and again in "Out On A Limb" by Shirley MacLaine in 1984.

A glance at Google returns "about 35,800" entries. Not all of these will support the thesis, of course, but enough to make the point that many people assume he did.

Sites like The Reluctant Messenger state:
"Despite the edict of the Emperor Justinian and the counter reaction to Origen, there is firm and explicit testimony for preexistence in both the Old and the New Testament."
and
"Indeed, the ban against Origen notwithstanding, contemporary Christian scholarship acknowledges preexistence as one of the elements of Judeo-Christian theology."

The site then goes on, at great length, to offer its own exegesis of Scripture, thus making sweeping claims implying the support of orthodoxy without offering one shred of evidence to support it.

+++

Near Death.com says:
"During the period from A.D. 250 to 553 controversy raged, at least intermittently, around the name of Origen, and from this controversy emerged the major objections that orthodox Christianity raises against reincarnation. Origen of Alexandria, one of Christianity's greatest systematic theologians, was a believer in reincarnation."

Just not true. At best we must assume the owner has copied data without checking his sources (if indeed any are referenced in the source he copied) or he's just lying, on the assumption that no one will check.

Often the claim is made that Origen said so in one of his books, with no exact reference to precisely where, on the assumption that no-one's going to wade through Against Celsus and On First Principles to make sure.

Indeed, when pushed, Geddes MacGregor stated that because there is no reference of Origen ever having taught reincarnation, that does not mean he didn't, therefore we can assume he did.

Someone on this very forum, responding to a question of definitions, posted the comment "everybody knows that ... " and then offered a completely spurious definition of the term as if that was the common and 'orthodox' definition.

So, for a start, by 'authority' then, I propose:
1 Someone who doesn't make things up as he goes along;
2 Someone who does not lie to put forward his own cause;
3 Someone who does not assume anything without checking;

There's a start.

Appendix:
A good example of proper scholarship is found at this site which shows the spurious nature of these so-called attributions.

Thomas
 
On these matters I am in full agreement with you Thomas. One shouldn't presume based on previously unsubstantiated rumor in the guise of evidence, a fault of my own I still deal with on occasion. And as with Occam's razor, one should not play fast and loose with the maxim "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
 
Thomas said:
Origen's teaching of reincarnation is put forward in "Reincarnation in Christianity", by the theosophist Geddes MacGregor in 1978, and again in "Out On A Limb" by Shirley MacLaine in 1984.
Ok, but these two claimed to have done all three of the things you listed:

1 Someone who doesn't make things up as he goes along;
2 Someone who does not lie to put forward his own cause;
3 Someone who does not assume anything without checking;

I'll go ahead then throw Watchman Nee in there with them.

juantoo3 said:
On these matters I am in full agreement with you Thomas. One shouldn't presume based on previously unsubstantiated rumor in the guise of evidence, a fault of my own I still deal with on occasion. And as with Occam's razor, one should not play fast and loose with the maxim "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
Definitely agree.
 
l thought that is why he was posthumously charged with heresy? - his 'doctrine of multiple ages' [internet enc of philosophy], that 'all rational souls have existed from eternity' [pg 96 Maurice Wiles 'the Christian Fathers' 1966]. Granted he was influenced by neo-platonism ipso facto gnosticism -the bane of the apostolic church and hence the division ultimately [post Arius] of the Egyptian & Antioch/greek churches from the Roman one. Its such a shame that his massive output was not here for posterity just because it didnt fall in line with the 'rule of faith' built up by the hegemony of orthodoxy. His allegorical interpretations were bound to be influenced by the Alexandrian school [Philo the jew comes to mind]; 'if by 'Catholic' we mean the church of doctrine and of law, then the Catholic church had its origin in the struggle with gnosticism' [Harnack 'what is christianity' CEEL}- they only went underground and its fair to say that hermeneutics is in the eye of the beholder hence reinterpreatations ad infineum of the scriptures. sometimes we need the other to define more precisely.
 
Hi nativeastral —

I assume we're talking about Origen?

I am a staunch defender of Origen round these parts, and you've raised a number of points which deserve clarification, so I have started a new thread. Hope to see you there ...

Thomas
 
don't mention plato, or nick will be in here telling us how origen didn't chop his nob off, he only threw it out of the cave so simone had something to stick on needleman's barbecue.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
don't mention plato, or nick will be in here telling us how origen didn't chop his nob off, he only threw it out of the cave so simone had something to stick on needleman's barbecue.

b'shalom

bananabrain
BB, you're a funny man.:D:D earl
 
<vicreevesbignightout>you wouldn't let it lie...
i would have let it lie...
but you should have let it lie...
you wouldn't let it lie!!</vicreevesbignightout>

pan fight! pan fight!

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
My dear BB,
Should Origen and I ever meet in a happier place, and God willing we shall, and I should discover that there is some substance to the rumour — or should I perhaps say the absence of a particular substance is evidence of its veracity — then rest assured the first question I will ask is, "what the hell were you thinking?"

And perhaps when you and I meet (and please God this may occasion lie in our most distant futures ... ) then I shall acknowledge 'it's my round.' But watch your back at the bar, I enjoyed those pan moments, too!

Thomas
(ps: you'll allow me the freedom to suggest to Origen that should he bump into you, then he should expect a merciless ribbing ... )
 
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