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G. Hermanin de Reichenfeld
The Spirit, the World and the Trinity: Origen’s and Augustine’s Understanding of the Gospel of John

approx. 300 p., 156 x 234 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58991-6
Languages: English
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This book is a comparative study of two major pneumatological paradigms of Patristic times: the theologies of Origen of Alexandria and Augustine of Hippo

In a renowned and controversial passage Origen writes: “Of the subsistence of the Holy Spirit, no-one could have even a suspicion, except those who profess a belief in Christ” (De Principiis, 1,3). But how come that ancient Christian authors elaborated a theology of the Holy Spirit? This innovative study tackles this question by analysing how the exegesis of the Gospel of John shaped the Trinitarian and soteriological agency of the Holy Spirit in the theologies of two of the most important Christian authors of all times: Origen and Augustine. In particular, the Johannine Father-Son-Spirit relation and the dichotomy between God and the world represent the foundation on which Origen and Augustine built their pneumatologies. At a closer look, one even realises that they both conceived the God-man relationship through a Johannine lens.

The heuristic comparison proposed in this book is focused on the three large themes, towards which Origen and Augustine represent opposite approaches: the understanding of the immanent Trinity, the dualism between God and the world and the proper role of the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, Origen put forward a paradigm of participation to explain the oneness and Threeness of God. On the other, Augustine understands God’s self-relation through a paradigm of identity. These two Trinitarian constructions are shaped by a different understanding of the Gospel of John: while Origen’s theology mostly smooths the gospel’s dualism by interpreting God’s salvific act as a gradual spiritualisation of the world, Augustine tends to accentuate the Gospel’s dichotomies by radicalising the Johannine dualism. This study will therefore clarify the two specific paradigms in the two authors’ theologies: participation/transformation in Origen and identity/separation in Augustine, showing also how these paradigms are patterned after their different understanding of the fourth Gospel.
Dr. Giovanni Hermanin de Reichenfeld completed his PhD at the University of Exeter in 2019 and is currently Adjunct Lecturer at the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum (Rome, Italy). He has published several articles on Trinitarian theology and biblical interpretation in both Greek and Latin patristic authors.
Interest Classification:
Religion (including History of Religion) & Theology
Judaeo-Christian Bible : texts criticism & exegesis
New Testament
Christian Theology & Theologians
Eastern Fathers
Western Fathers (c. 160-735)

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