Nesterova Ol'ga

The origins and theological grounds of the Origen’s concept of the triple sense of Scripture. Part one: the critics of valentinian doctrine of three human races in Clement of Alexandria

Nesterova Ol'ga (2013) "The origins and theological grounds of the Origen’s concept of the triple sense of Scripture. Part one: the critics of valentinian doctrine of three human races in Clement of Alexandria ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2013, vol. 34, pp. 74-92 (in Russian).


The prominent Christian theologian Origen (AD 185–254) is rightly considered as a founder of a new method of biblical exegesis, based on the distinction of three senses of the Holy Scripture. The goal of our research, presented in the cycle of three articles, is to reveal the theoretical origins and the genuine content of this methodological doctrine, in demonstrating, that it was developed by Origen in a context of controversy between Valentinian and proto-orthodox Christians of Alexandria wherein both sides were claiming the apostle Paul’s authority. The first article deals with Valentinian soteriological teaching on the three human races possessing respectively three types of knowledge and its critics in the treatises of Clement of Alexandria, providing a starting point for further reasoning of Origen on the same subject. The second article shows the differences in the attitude of Clement of Alexandria and of Origen towards the Valentinian trichotomy as well as towards the texts of the Scripture involved into discussion. It also contains an analysis of Origen’s treatment of the stemming from Saint Paul opposition of Corinthians and Ephesians as alleged recipients of two different types of knowledge, corresponding to diff erent senses of Scriptural texts. The third article states, that the Origenian doctrine of three senses was founded upon a specific interpretation of the First Epistle to the Corinthians 2–3, where the opposition of the carnal/psychic Christians and the spiritual ones is bounded with the motif of the contrariety of milk and meat, representing two forms of teaching corresponding to the different grades of moral and spiritual progress of the believers.


Origen, Clemens of Alexandria, Valentinians, Bible, exegesis, three senses of Scripture


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Nesterova Ol'ga