Origen and the Story of the Mother and Her Seven Sons : Reimagining Third-Century Caesarean Horizons

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Rafael , A L 2021 , ' Origen and the Story of the Mother and Her Seven Sons : Reimagining Third-Century Caesarean Horizons ' , Open Theology , vol. 7 , no. 1 , pp. 555-573 . https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2020-0180

Title: Origen and the Story of the Mother and Her Seven Sons : Reimagining Third-Century Caesarean Horizons
Author: Rafael, Anna Liisa
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology
Date: 2021
Language: eng
Number of pages: 19
Belongs to series: Open Theology
ISSN: 2300-6579
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/336428
Abstract: This article employs Galit Hasan-Rokem's notions of vertical and horizontal axes of transmission for the study of biblical reception history, presenting the reception of the story of the mother and her seven sons in Origen's writings as a case study. I suggest that Hasan-Rokem's vertical axis of intergenerational transmission corresponds to reception history: it also involves us and thus demands our critical awareness. The horizontal axis of intergroup transmission, then, calls for our sensitivity toward the diverse interpersonal and intercultural exchanges that reception history presents less frequently as authoritative or even manifest. My analysis scrutinizes Origen's pronouncedly bookish relation to the story of the mother and her seven sons, and I provide a reading of this relation as entailing both (inter)personal and intercultural encounters. I use both Eusebius' biography of Origen and recent studies on late antique rabbinic discourse as means by which to broaden our perspective on Origen's horizon of expectation. In conclusion, I suggest that Origen's portrayal of the mother indicates some ambivalence toward this figure: her words of wisdom have undisputed authority over Origen, while her embodied wisdom makes him reserved. Thus, the reception of the story of the mother and her seven sons in Origen's writings could strengthen the prospect that the story was a living reality for Origen as well as for others in third-century Palestine.
Subject: biblical reception
Eusebius
Maccabees
martyrdom
miraculous birth
mother and her seven sons
motherhood
Origen
Origen's childhood
Origen's Exhortation to Martyrdom
614 Theology
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