Author Topic: Origen and Tertullian  (Read 3977 times)

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Offline DavidH

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Origen and Tertullian
« on: December 14, 2005, 01:33:36 AM »
Christ is Among Us!
  I have read a lot of the early Christian writings and have always wondered about Origen and Tertullian. I know one had some pretty  unorthodox doctrines while the other ended up as a Montanist outside of the Church- yet they have the greatest body of preserved writings among the pre-Nicene writers. Any ideas as to why that might be? They must have continued to be admired in spite of their errors if their works were copied and preserved through the centuries but, given the later judgement of the Church concerning these men it still seems disproportionate.....

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Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2005, 08:19:35 PM »
Christ is Among Us!
ÂÂ  I have read a lot of the early Christian writings and have always wondered about Origen and Tertullian. I know one had some prettyÂÂ  unorthodox doctrines while the other ended up as a Montanist outside of the Church- yet they have the greatest body of preserved writings among the pre-Nicene writers. Any ideas as to why that might be? They must have continued to be admired in spite of their errors if their works were copied and preserved through the centuries but, given the later judgement of the Church concerning these men it still seems disproportionate.....

In Christ,
Rd. David

Sure, they were read a lot. Even though they did fall into heresy, they nonetheless provided a lot of Orthodox material. Just as Orthodox saints don't always get it right, so the non-Orthodox don't always get it wrong :)
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2013, 09:20:56 PM »
What is the correct title for Origen and Tertullian in Orthodox Church titles?

Is it "Doctor of the Church"?

I have read different opinions among Orthodox writers on whether they should be called "Doctor of the Church" Учитель Церкви.
http://www.lib.eparhia-saratov.ru/books/17s/sidorov/sidorov1/2.html

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2013, 09:33:34 PM »
I think the terms are heretic and schismatic respectively.  ;D

Actually, I love Origen's writings.  He does get very speculative, but it seems as if he means them to be more of a "thinking out loud" writing as opposed to a dogmatic teaching of doctrine. It is definitely not what you want to read as your first exposure to ante-Nicene writings, or you will come up with some really crazy ideas of what the Church believes.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 09:33:44 PM by TheTrisagion »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2013, 09:48:11 PM »
Interesting question. Not that I know the answer.

Regarding Origen, I agree. Though if you are too cautious to read his works outright, there is always the Philocalia, excerpts of his writings as put together by Sts. Gregory and Basil.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2013, 09:59:42 PM »
What is the correct title for Origen and Tertullian in Orthodox Church titles?

Is it "Doctor of the Church"?

I have read different opinions among Orthodox writers on whether they should be called "Doctor of the Church" Учитель Церкви.
http://www.lib.eparhia-saratov.ru/books/17s/sidorov/sidorov1/2.html


Well, I've not heard "doctor of the Church" used in an Eastern context No, they should not be referred to as that, because those are teachers of of the Church, that is, Fathers. And, as one became a heretic and the other is anathematized by an ecumenical council, they are not Fathers.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2013, 10:27:02 PM »
Shanghaiski,

Writers who are Orthodox and oppose calling Tertullian a Teacher of the Church give the reason you just mentioned as their justification for their opposition. They propose that he and such others be called Writers of the Church or Scholars of the Church. If you Google Translate the link I just gave it will explain the different views on this. I think it's common though in Orthodox writers in Russia at least to call Tertullian and others Church Teachers, and there are Russian articles that come up mentioning him that way.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2013, 10:32:23 PM »
And, as one became a heretic and the other is anathematized by an ecumenical council, they are not Fathers.

No ecumenical council anathematised Origen.  ;)

I think I'm too stupid to appreciate Origen the way most of my classmates did.  But I always felt bad for him that he was posthumously condemned way after he died in full communion with the Church, and I never understood it.  If he could die in good standing with the Church but later be condemned because of what others were doing with his teachings, many other people we revere could similarly be condemned.  But again, perhaps I'm too stupid.    
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2013, 10:37:56 PM »
Don't you dare(!) mention the good bishop from Hippo. Not a word!
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2013, 10:47:42 PM »
My Church hasn't anathematised either Origen or St Augustine.  ;)
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2013, 10:49:48 PM »
My Church hasn't anathematised either Origen or St Augustine.  ;)

You is good people.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2013, 10:55:12 PM »
My Church hasn't anathematised either Origen or St Augustine.  ;)

You is good people.

Well hold on now...we haven't anathematised the new calendar either.  Are we still good people?  :P
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2013, 11:00:21 PM »
My Church hasn't anathematised either Origen or St Augustine.  ;)

You is good people.

Well hold on now...we haven't anathematised the new calendar either.  Are we still good people?  :P

"We admire your life, but we do not altogether approve your doctrine." - St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 41.8

Vague enough?  ;D
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2013, 11:18:32 PM »
Thanks, that's quite useful!
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2013, 12:32:46 AM »
I just wouldnt bother with them

Rather spent time reading other fathers than risk getting a heretical doctrine in your head
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2013, 12:35:36 AM »
I just wouldnt bother with them

Rather spent time reading other fathers than risk getting a heretical doctrine in your head

LOL, by that logic don't even think about reading Scripture. 
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2013, 12:47:51 AM »
I just wouldnt bother with them

Rather spent time reading other fathers than risk getting a heretical doctrine in your head

LOL, by that logic don't even think about reading Scripture.  

The Scripture has not been deemed heretical, so i dont know what your talking about
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 12:48:02 AM by Gunnarr »
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2013, 12:58:12 AM »
here read this about Origen and the anathema:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/const2.asp
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2013, 01:26:37 AM »
The Scripture has not been deemed heretical, so i dont know what your talking about

All the heretics based their teachings on their reading of Scripture.  If they could read it and come up with false doctrines, maybe it's better not to read it, lest we do the same and be led astray.   
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2013, 01:35:51 AM »
The Scripture has not been deemed heretical, so i dont know what your talking about

All the heretics based their teachings on their reading of Scripture.  If they could read it and come up with false doctrines, maybe it's better not to read it, lest we do the same and be led astray.   

No, that makes no sense and I don't see how that in any way has anything to do with the condemned origen. Although It is probably better to read commentary on the bible from a saint than to read it alone without any help. Was it not true that most only knew the bible from it being spoken in the church?

Read my post again:

"I just wouldnt bother with them

Rather spent time reading other fathers than risk getting a heretical doctrine in your head"

I said that I would not bother reading origen. Why would I not bother reading origen? Because he was condemned

"IF anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their impious writings, as also all other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid four Holy Synods and [if anyone does not equally anathematize] all those who have held and hold or who in their impiety persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned: let him be anathema."

Saint Gregory Palamas says one can read pagan writings as well, but carefully. That does not mean I would read them either, why? Because there is a risk



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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2013, 01:43:35 AM »
The Scripture has not been deemed heretical, so i dont know what your talking about

All the heretics based their teachings on their reading of Scripture.  If they could read it and come up with false doctrines, maybe it's better not to read it, lest we do the same and be led astray.   

No, that makes no sense...

I agree, it makes no sense.  That's why I'm criticising your logic.  :)
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2013, 01:54:35 AM »
Christ is Among Us!
ÂÂ  I have read a lot of the early Christian writings and have always wondered about Origen and Tertullian. I know one had some prettyÂÂ  unorthodox doctrines while the other ended up as a Montanist outside of the Church- yet they have the greatest body of preserved writings among the pre-Nicene writers. Any ideas as to why that might be? They must have continued to be admired in spite of their errors if their works were copied and preserved through the centuries but, given the later judgement of the Church concerning these men it still seems disproportionate.....

In Christ,
Rd. David

Sure, they were read a lot. Even though they did fall into heresy, they nonetheless provided a lot of Orthodox material. Just as Orthodox saints don't always get it right, so the non-Orthodox don't always get it wrong :)


+1


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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2013, 01:56:03 AM »
The Scripture has not been deemed heretical, so i dont know what your talking about

All the heretics based their teachings on their reading of Scripture.  If they could read it and come up with false doctrines, maybe it's better not to read it, lest we do the same and be led astray.    

No, that makes no sense...

I agree, it makes no sense.  That's why I'm criticising your logic.  :)

So, do you disagree to not read him, even though that council says anathema to those who do not say anathema to origen and his writings? Do you agree that it is better to read commentary on a bible rather than the bible itself since it is safer?

This writing is condemned as heretical, therefore do not read it.

then you try to mimic the logic and say,

Heretics get heresy from the bible, therefore do not read it. (implying heresy originates from the bible)


I think you are not using the same logic as I am. I am saying, to be safe, only to read verified saint's writings. You say, to be safe, do not read the bible. That makes no sense and it is not using my logic, since the bible is verified to be sacred scripture, while origens writing is not required to know the faith nor is it sacred scripture.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 01:56:36 AM by Gunnarr »
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2013, 02:00:27 AM »
Whatever we read, hear, or see should always be filtered through the sieve of Orthodox Teaching and Tradition. That's the difference between the Orthodox and the Protestant. The Protestant uses the sieve of his logic - which is fallible - to understand Scripture. But we use the sieve of the Church, whose Teachings and Traditions are divinely preserved from error. Therefore, we can read Tertullian, Origen, Holy Scripture, etc. and learn much without falling prey to erroneous doctrines.



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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2013, 02:29:04 AM »
So, do you disagree to not read him, even though that council says anathema to those who do not say anathema to origen and his writings?

Whether or not one agrees with the anathema against Origen is not the point.  For most people, it might be better to avoid writings that can confuse.  But there will always need to be some people who are able to read such writings, if only to explain why they are in error, if they are in error.  So no, I don't agree with a blanket prohibition on reading certain things. 

Quote
Do you agree that it is better to read commentary on a bible rather than the bible itself since it is safer?

No.  Read Scripture.  Read Scripture with the Church, of course.  But read Scripture.  Many Orthodox focus more on the patristic writings, liturgical texts, or even the letters and sayings of their favourite monks and all but ignore Scripture.  How backwards and unpatristic.     

Quote
This writing is condemned as heretical, therefore do not read it.

then you try to mimic the logic and say,

Heretics get heresy from the bible, therefore do not read it. (implying heresy originates from the bible)


I think you are not using the same logic as I am. I am saying, to be safe, only to read verified saint's writings. You say, to be safe, do not read the bible. That makes no sense and it is not using my logic, since the bible is verified to be sacred scripture, while origens writing is not required to know the faith nor is it sacred scripture.

You said:

I just wouldnt bother with them

Rather spent time reading other fathers than risk getting a heretical doctrine in your head

My comment was directed toward this. 

It's not like the Fathers had two thousand years' worth of Christian writings accessible through the internet and extensive libraries enabling them to have instant recourse to legitimate and approved sources other than Scripture so that they could teach and "sound Orthodox".  Their exposition of the faith is rooted in Scripture (as it should be), even if they refer to other fathers and teachers: it starts from the Scriptures, and at every level of its unfolding they refer back to the Scriptures.  But the heretics of those days also did the same.  They went to Scripture and found support for their ideas. 

If reading something that may involve the risk of "getting a heretical doctrine in your head" is reason enough to avoid reading it (as you said above), then one can argue that the Bible shouldn't be read.  That it is God's word is not the point: my point is that people read it and often risk "getting a heretical doctrine in their head" because of their misunderstanding or stubbornness.  Just because it is God's word doesn't mean that every reader gets it right...many times they get it dead wrong.  But that is not a reason to stay away from Scripture.  And it's not a reason to stay away from Origen, or St Augustine for that matter.  Read whatever you read with your eyes, ears, and mind open.  Don't read it blindly because the author is a saint or something like that.  Read with understanding.  Accept and retain what is good, pass over for the moment what you don't understand, and if there is anything bad, forget it.  But just because a council hurls an anathema at someone doesn't mean that everything they said and wrote was untouchable.  A council judges and condemns Origen two centuries or so after he dies in communion with the Church and suddenly he's no good?  Tell that to Ss Basil and Gregory.   
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Offline Punch

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2013, 09:22:42 AM »
I think the terms are heretic and schismatic respectively.  ;D

Actually, I love Origen's writings.  He does get very speculative, but it seems as if he means them to be more of a "thinking out loud" writing as opposed to a dogmatic teaching of doctrine. It is definitely not what you want to read as your first exposure to ante-Nicene writings, or you will come up with some really crazy ideas of what the Church believes.

It was the reading of Origen's works while I was a Lutheran that led me to the Orthodox Church.  Believe me, I get FAR more crazy ideas of what the Church supposedly believes here than I ever got from Origen.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2013, 09:35:47 AM »
It was the reading of Origen's works while I was a Lutheran that led me to the Orthodox Church.  Believe me, I get FAR more crazy ideas of what the Church supposedly believes here than I ever got from Origen.

:)
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2013, 11:37:17 AM »
And, as one became a heretic and the other is anathematized by an ecumenical council, they are not Fathers.

No ecumenical council anathematised Origen.  ;)

I think I'm too stupid to appreciate Origen the way most of my classmates did.  But I always felt bad for him that he was posthumously condemned way after he died in full communion with the Church, and I never understood it.  If he could die in good standing with the Church but later be condemned because of what others were doing with his teachings, many other people we revere could similarly be condemned.  But again, perhaps I'm too stupid.    

Theodore of Mopsuestia also died in communion with the Church.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2013, 11:56:28 AM »
Theodore of Mopsuestia also died in communion with the Church.

Touché!  :) 
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Offline Romaios

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2013, 12:06:08 PM »
Theodore of Mopsuestia also died in communion with the Church.

Touché!  :) 

And his Mystagogical Catecheses are soul-useful reading too.

Offline lovetzatziki

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2013, 03:47:47 PM »
I heard that Origen is considered Orthodox and that he was not anathemised but some of his teachings are and some that there were wrongly attributed to him(?). He is considered Orthodox because he defended Orthodox doctrines and because he didn't meant to teach heresy as something separated from the Church, more he said that if any of his teachings are wrong let him be forgiven by the Church. Afaik, Origen also put the basics of Philokalia and monasticism, and some people say that "he lived as he spoke and spoke as he lived" . Some say Origen went too far with his theology of the "personal opinion" with the way he allegorise things, but he himself apparently said that if he is wrong let him be refuted by the Church. And yes I think Origen died in communion with the Church.

Offline Punch

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2013, 11:38:55 AM »
I think that the biggest problem that the Church has with Origen is that, following Scripture, his one eyed wonder worm caused him to sin, so he removed some of the parts of his body that he believed were the causes of the sin.  The Church seems to often have problems with those that follow what is written rather than what is conveniently interpreted.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2013, 02:24:18 PM »
I think that the biggest problem that the Church has with Origen is that, following Scripture, his one eyed wonder worm caused him to sin, so he removed some of the parts of his body that he believed were the causes of the sin.  The Church seems to often have problems with those that follow what is written rather than what is conveniently interpreted.

"One eyed snake" I've heard before, but never "wonder worm" until today. 
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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2013, 07:01:48 PM »
It is my understanding that the rumors of castration may or may not be accurate.  It doesn't seem to fit Origen's style.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2013, 09:33:48 PM »
Is castration really any man's style? 
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2013, 09:37:02 PM »
Is castration really any man's style? 

Are you sure you want an answer to that?  :-X
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2013, 09:38:10 PM »
Why not?  I'm not receiving Communion tomorrow, and all the breast talk yesterday ruined it for me today, so why get all pious now?  :P
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 09:38:26 PM by Mor Ephrem »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #37 on: September 15, 2013, 09:50:33 PM »
Walt told Jesse about...  [spoilers edited]... I'm not sure I am in any state to be posting right now...  >:( :'(
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2013, 09:53:00 PM »
Walt told Jesse about...  [spoilers edited]... I'm not sure I am in any state to be posting right now...  >:( :'(

No worries.  I don't think I ever posted from Pennsylvania either. 
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2013, 12:58:18 AM »
Walt told Jesse about...  [spoilers edited]... I'm not sure I am in any state to be posting right now...  >:( :'(

No worries.  I don't think I ever posted from Pennsylvania either. 

Link.

Origen wasn't such a bad guy, I don't think.
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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #40 on: September 16, 2013, 03:09:43 AM »
Tertullian, on the other hand, I've never much liked. Even when he was Catholic he wasn't orthodox, or vice versa. Definitely my least favorite of ante-anti-Nicene fathers. And he was (a) Latin, so he couldn't have been all that good anyway.
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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #41 on: September 16, 2013, 05:03:46 AM »
Tertullian, on the other hand, I've never much liked. Even when he was Catholic he wasn't orthodox, or vice versa. Definitely my least favorite of ante-anti-Nicene fathers. And he was (a) Latin, so he couldn't have been all that good anyway.

Specifics? Just curious about what in particular you don't like. I don't really know enough about him to have an opinion.


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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #42 on: September 16, 2013, 07:24:39 PM »
Evagrius of Pontus beats Origen and Tertullian any day, single-handedly.
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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #43 on: September 16, 2013, 08:50:51 PM »
Evagrius of Pontus beats Origen and Tertullian any day, single-handedly.

And he's a saint! 
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Re: Origen and Tertullian
« Reply #44 on: September 16, 2013, 10:45:58 PM »
Do either have a special title in Orthodoxy? I read that Tertullian is called the Founder of Western Theology. But maybe that is just Wikipedia picking up what a handful of modern writers called him?