The article describes a context analysis of terms σUμβολον and τUπος in Origen’s treatise Contra Celsum. The Christian, Gnostic and pagan types of symbolism are distinguished as they are introduced by Origen and his opponent. Each type has its speciﬁ c understanding of symbol in the ontological area, which then is projected onto exegesis of authoritative texts of each tradition. Christian symbolism is traced through various examples of Origen’s commentaries on the Bible to distinguish σUμβολον from τUπος, which are treated as representing “vertical” and “horizontal” relations between referent and denotation. Pagan symbolism is built up from concepts of pagan gods’ veneration and theurgy, with the latter related to the theory of universal sympathy. Gnostic conception of symbols is based on the metaphysical goal of human souls to escape from the fallen universe using symbols (extracted primarily from the text of New Testament and authoritative Gnostic texts) as a ‘key’ or ‘password’ for not to be seized by guarding spirits. Finally, a more subtle distinction is proposed to underline ontologic diﬀerence between symbol and allegory as they are based on diﬀerent types of referent– denotation link. As a result, a generalized outline of Origen’s symbolism is formulated as a series of features distinguishing it from concurrent types of symbolism as well as from typology and allegory in Christian discourse.
Origen, Celsus, Symbol, Type, Typology, Allegory, Tropology, Exegetics, Hermeneutics, School of Alexandria, Patristics, Bible studies, Semiotics
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