The Cambridge Origenists (Münster, 2013)

Alfons Fürst und Christian Hengstermann, eds. The Cambridge Origenists. George Rust’s Letter of Resolution Concerning Origen and the Chief of His Opinions. Adamantiana, 4. Münster, 2013.

Not only are the years between 1658–1662 an era of important political change, but also “an Origenist moment in English theology” (Sarah Hutton). Besides a major edition of Origen’s highly influential Contra Celsum, Cambridge Platonism at that time produced entire religious philosophies informed by Origen’s metaphysical genius, culminating in the works of Henry More and his pupils at Christ’s College and Ragley Hall. Undoubtedly, the crowning achievement of Cambridge Origenism is the later bishop George Rust’s Letter of Resolution Concerning Origen and the Chief of His Opinions, which, published anonymously in 1661, sparked heated discussions on the soul’s pre-existence and fall and the restoration of all things at once. It offers both the first sustained defence of Origenism ever and a daring manifesto of the Cambridge Platonists’ liberal early modern moral and religious philosophy. To this end, Rust, engaging in a critical dialogue with the new philosophies of René Descartes and Thomas Hobbes and Calvinistic theology throughout, adopts basic insights of Origen’s theology, elaborating upon them in the light of the crucial controversies of his day. The fourth volume of the Adamantiana series gives a systematic reappraisal of Cambridge Origenism at large as well as an in-depth study of its key work, the anonymous Letter of Resolution. Its historical introduction and its six treatises on Origen’s “chief doctrines” are all analyzed in detail and with regard both to the use of sources and the systematic merit in the fields of ethics and metaphysics. Moreover, the volume includes a representative selection of key texts of the leading Cambridge Origenists Henry More, George Rust and Joseph Glanvill, which are given both in modernized spelling and with first German translations.

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