> There seem to be two possibilities
> i/ Origen castrated himself and later regretted it.
> ii/ The story of his self-castration is not historical and is a product
> of the malice of his opponents. This possibility is discussed here.
The above online article got me to thinking. Among other things, the
author (Henry Karlson) states that:
"His teacher, St Clement of Alexandria, taught him to use the best
aspects of pagan philosophy as tools for theological analysis."
Since Origen is often said to have studied under Ammonius Sacchus,
I wondered to what extent he might have been said to have also
studied under Clement. What I get from my pre-critical readings is
that in the year 202 (when Origen was 17), several things happened,
all connected with a local persecution which may or may not have been
sanctioned by the Roman Emperor Severus:
1. Origen's father Leonides was martyred. Reportedly, Origen also
wanted to be martyred, but was prevented from doing so by his
mother. Also reportedly, he wrote to his father in prison urging him
on to martyrdom.
2. Clement left Alexandria, never to return.
3. Origin was appointed by Bishop Demetrius to take Clement's place
as head of the Catechetical School in Alexandria.
Although some scholars have questioned whether Origen studied
under Clement, ISTM unlikely that Origen would have been appointed
to succeed Clement at such a young age had he not previously have
had any connection with the Catechetical School. On the other hand,
ISTM that his connection with Clement cannot have been extensive
at that young age.
What we seem to know about the two is that Clement wrote against
asceticism, but that Origen practiced it. The traumatic events of 202
would seem to have been a natural backdrop for a zealous teenage
to have done something drastic. And it has to be said that Eusebius,
who was a fan of Origen and not of Demetrius, accepted the Demetrius'
claim as true. To which might be added the question of why Demetrius
never made Origen a presbyter when he was in his good graces.
Nevertheless, even if the self-castration claim is false, there are reports
of Origen engaging in other ascetic practices, such as always sleeping
on the floor, and (as I recall) limiting his sleep severely.
Just some random thoughts trying to relate the title items to each other.
In my readings, I came across the info that Clement wrote something
called 'Hypotyposeis', not extant, which may have included some stuff
considered by others to be dangerously heterodox. Guessing that the
title of Stephen's blog derived from that, I found confirmation at:
... which indicates that even as early as 2001, Stephen had an interest
in Clement long-preceding his now-famous book on Secret Mark.