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  #21  
Old 03-29-2016, 02:00 PM
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Quick question as I am putting together some thoughts: Do you have a direct reference to Origen's comments on ensoulment? It's not very practical to discuss a commentary (Gorman) which itself says that it is "difficult to ascertain the specifics of his actual position." It seems a very important point and I would rather refer back to the original material if we are going to let it have weight in the discussion.
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  #22  
Old 03-29-2016, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Salah_ad_Din View Post
Quick question as I am putting together some thoughts: Do you have a direct reference to Origen's comments on ensoulment? It's not very practical to discuss a commentary (Gorman) which itself says that it is "difficult to ascertain the specifics of his actual position." It seems a very important point and I would rather refer back to the original material if we are going to let it have weight in the discussion.
https://oniehlibraryofgreekliteratur...and-exodus.pdf

Homily X on Exodus 21:22 begins on page 346.

You will note the use of both formed, and unformed, and the rather clear implications before Origen goes off-road into allegory with that assumption in play.
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  #23  
Old 03-29-2016, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Origen View Post
https://oniehlibraryofgreekliteratur...and-exodus.pdf

Homily X on Exodus 21:22 begins on page 346.

You will note the use of both formed, and unformed, and the rather clear implications before Origen goes off-road into allegory with that assumption in play.
Thank you I am reading it now.
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  #24  
Old 03-29-2016, 02:44 PM
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So, smack dab in the 2nd and 3rd century, we have one of the greatest theologians and exegetes saying exactly what Augustine said later on. Gorman tries to pawn it off on Origen's pagan influences, and I'm not trying to conceal that.
I can't comment on Gorman's interpretation having not read it, but having now read Origen's comments, several important points are apparent:

1)Origen is not putting forth the concept of "formed" and "unformed" fetus. He is quoting directly from the Septuagint, which uses those terms in the passage. So he is only saying the same thing that Augustine said in the sense that he uses the terms found in the scripture in his discussion.

2) "Formed" and "Unformed" are not the same as "ensouled" and "unensouled" it is simply a matter of observation of physical development. Nowhere does Origen make any application of this to ensoulment. So, this is probably completely off topic if we are going to focus tightly on ensoulment.

3)Origen himself says that he cannot really make sense of the passage in a physical sense, and so he turns it into an allegory of arguments over scripture. In no sense does he make anything like a ruling on the nature of babies, he very much avoids that in fact.

I am working on a reply to other points, which may have to wait until tomorrow.
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  #25  
Old 03-29-2016, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Salah_ad_Din View Post
I can't comment on Gorman's interpretation having not read it, but having now read Origen's comments, several important points are apparent:

1)Origen is not putting forth the concept of "formed" and "unformed" fetus. He is quoting directly from the Septuagint, which uses those terms in the passage. So he is only saying the same thing that Augustine said in the sense that he uses the terms found in the scripture in his discussion.

2) "Formed" and "Unformed" are not the same as "ensouled" and "unensouled" it is simply a matter of observation of physical development. Nowhere does Origen make any application of this to ensoulment. So, this is probably completely off topic if we are going to focus tightly on ensoulment.
Salah, I still think you're equivocating a little on the concept of ensoulment. A lot of the early church fathers didn't accept dualism in the sense it's often used now.

Origen was a monist (or close.) I don't believe he had a concept of separation of life from ensoulment. When the infant developed to the point of form, in the Platonic sense, it was then considered alive. As I mentioned with Aristotle above, this is an attempt at understanding the starting point of life, not of a dualistic change in character.

I think formed and unformed, as Origen used them, is directly relevant to the question.
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  #26  
Old 03-29-2016, 09:16 PM
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In Judaic law, a civil penalty and a fine were imposed upon a man for striking a pregnant woman and causing a miscarriage. Rather than blood for blood, and life for life, a fine is adjudicated. Judaism has never sounded like Christianity in regards to either abortion or the ensoulment/personhood of a fetus.
Thank you. It's important to make that distinction.

Many of the early Christian writers were specifically attempting to distance themselves from Judaism, which may be why they didn't look to Jewish sources.
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  #27  
Old 03-29-2016, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Salah_ad_Din View Post
I can't comment on Gorman's interpretation having not read it, but having now read Origen's comments, several important points are apparent ...
https://books.google.com/books?id=CG...Gorman&f=false

Page 59.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salah_ad_Din View Post
1)Origen is not putting forth the concept of "formed" and "unformed" fetus. He is quoting directly from the Septuagint, which uses those terms in the passage. So he is only saying the same thing that Augustine said in the sense that he uses the terms found in the scripture in his discussion.

2) "Formed" and "Unformed" are not the same as "ensouled" and "unensouled" it is simply a matter of observation of physical development. Nowhere does Origen make any application of this to ensoulment. So, this is probably completely off topic if we are going to focus tightly on ensoulment.
I don't know anyone who thinks the words "formed" and "unformed" are just observational words. I'm almost at a loss as to where to start on this. If you really want me to do a link dump, I can, but I would suggest you Google the phrase "Aristotle formed unformed," and just dip your toe in the literature on the subject. There are theological sources, scientific sources, historical sources.

Start from the Wiki, and move outward.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ensoulment

Quote:
Aristotle's epigenetic view of successive life principles ("souls") in a developing human embryo—first a vegetative and then a sensitive or animal soul, and finally an intellective or human soul, with the higher levels able to carry out the functions also of the lower levels — was the prevailing view among early Christians, including Tertullian, Augustine, and Jerome. [This is from the Dictionary of Ethics, Theology and Society By Paul A. B. Clarke, Andrew Linzey]
There is actually some reason to believe that the Christians got the view about life beginning from conception from the Pythagoreans:

Quote:
As early as the time of Tertullian in the third century, Christianity had absorbed the Pythagorean Greek view that the soul was infused at the moment of conception. Though this view was confirmed by St. Gregory of Nyssa a century later, it would not be long before it would be rejected in favour of the Septuagintal notion that only a formed fetus possessed a human soul. While Augustine speculated whether "animation" might be present prior to formation, he determined that abortion could only be defined as homicide once formation had occurred. Nevertheless, in common with all early Christian thought, Augustine condemned abortion from conception onward.
Wouldn't that be a hoot if your view actually came from Greek pagans, and Augustine was actually going back closer to the Biblical text of Exodus?

To use a parallel example you will be quite familiar with:

When you read the first chapter of the Gospel of John in Greek, and you encounter the word "logos," you know that doesn't just means "word," right?

The word "logos" is fraught with meaning in the Greek, and a direct one-to-one word translation actually loses a lot of that meaning. I bet you've even preached on some of the meanings of the word "logos," haven't you?

Similarly, words like "formed" and "unformed" are part of a very large, ancient philosophical vocabulary.

The translators of the Septuagint didn't choose those words by accident.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salah_ad_Din View Post
3)Origen himself says that he cannot really make sense of the passage in a physical sense, and so he turns it into an allegory of arguments over scripture. In no sense does he make anything like a ruling on the nature of babies, he very much avoids that in fact.
You're fighting this a little too hard. I'm not asking you to accept Origen's view of ensoulment. I'm trying to show you that Augustine's ideas didn't just pop up out of thin air. They came from the Hebrew Bible. They came, yes, from streams of thought flowing down from Aristotle, and possibly the Neo-Platonists, which influenced the translators of the Septuagint and many of the Early Church Fathers. And they were held by earlier Christians, of which Origen was one. This wonderland of pure Christian doctrine unpoisoned by the ideas of the world never happened.
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  #28  
Old 03-29-2016, 09:39 PM
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Thank you. It's important to make that distinction.

Many of the early Christian writers were specifically attempting to distance themselves from Judaism, which may be why they didn't look to Jewish sources.
Is it accurate to say that the formed/unformed distinction was introduced in the Septuagint, and that the original Hebrew didn't contain that distinction?
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  #29  
Old 03-29-2016, 09:51 PM
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Many of the early Christian writers were specifically attempting to distance themselves from Judaism, which may be why they didn't look to Jewish sources.
Origen appears to be referencing a Jewish source, Philo of Alexandria.

Special Laws III, 108-109

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philo
(108) But if any one has a contest with a woman who is pregnant, and strike her a blow on her belly, and she miscarry, if the child which was conceived within her is still unfashioned and unformed, he shall be punished by a fine, both for the assault which he committed and also because he has prevented nature, who was fashioning and preparing that most excellent of all creatures, a human being, from bringing him into existence. But if the child which was conceived had assumed a distinct Shape in all its parts, having received all its proper connective and distinctive qualities, he shall die; (109) for such a creature as that is a man, whom he has slain while still in the workshop of nature, who had not thought it as yet a proper time to produce him to the light, but had kept him like a statue lying in a sculptor's workshop, requiring nothing more than to be released and sent out into the world.
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  #30  
Old 03-29-2016, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Archaelos View Post
Origen appears to be referencing a Jewish source, Philo of Alexandria.

Special Laws III, 108-109
Which part?

The Greek text of the Septuagint introduces the formed/unformed distinction:

http://biblehub.com/sep/exodus/21.htm

That's an English literal translation of the Septuagint.
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