The latest issue of Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses – 92/3 (2016) – includes the following article: “Origen’s Christology in Pre-Nicene Setting: The Logos as the Noetic Form of God” by Dragos Giulea, who helpfully uploaded it on academia.edu. Enjoy!
The article investigates Origen’s Christology from a less explored perspective, through the concept of morphē theoū, exclusively associated in his writings with Jesus Christ. The study argues that the concept should be understood in a third way in between anthropomorphism and the post-Nicene position of a perfectly formless divinity, namely, through the pre-Nicene theories on the noetic Form of God. While the post-Nicene writers interpreted morphē theoū in a programmatic way as the common essence of the Trinity, pre-Nicene theologians employed it exclusively in connection with the Son, and placed its discussion in the context of a hierarchical model of the Trinity which admits internal ontological degrees. Thus, although the Form of God is placed within the sphere of the divine, beyond the corporeal realm characterized by the categories of shape, colour, and measure, it is however more manifested than the perfectly invisible Father. The Form of God is contemplated in a noetic way as the divine glory on the mount of transfiguration and in the kingdom of God. By means of this concept, Origen elaborates a complex Christological vision theorizing on the pre-incarnate condition of the Logos, his incarnation and return to the first status as well as on the economy of salvation in which the Logos descends as Divine Image to reconstruct, according to his Form, those who once were created according to it. Likewise, the goal of human justified existence becomes the knowledge and contemplation of Christ’s Divine Form, while in the kingdom humans will be con-formed to this archetype and become its luminous imitations.