in Origen and the Life of the Stars

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780198263616
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682612 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies


Show Summary Details


Examination of the starry heavens is usually regarded as an impractical use of the intellect. But the study of the impractical has far-reaching implications and the astronomical advances of a few Ionians had a profound philosophical and religious impact in their day. Plato recognized that their astronomical discoveries had been a source of intellectual and social chaos. The impact of this approach on subsequent Greek philosophy and religion was enormous, and lasted down to Origen's day. Origen's assessment of the stars' proper place in the world was complicated by his interest in traditions outside of the traditional Hellenistic schools. While agreeing with pagan thought that the stars had a significant impact on terrestrial life, he limited his influence to the regulation of the natural order. The modern age no longer believes that the stars have souls, but astronomical progress has not robbed them of their power.

Keywords: Plato; Origen; Ionians; Greek philosophy; Greek religion; Hellenistic schools; stars

Chapter.  1060 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.