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Anathema Iesous: Origen On The Ophite Cursing Of Jesus

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Chapter Summary

This chapter on Origen's claim touches upon the relationship between 1 Cor and the Ophite mythology since Origen connects the Ophite cursing of Jesus with 1 Cor 12:3. It assesses the veracity of Origen's claim by first exposing his rhetorical agenda, and then by searching for traces of negative images of Jesus both in Ophite and other "Gnostic" sources. Finally, a new proposal is put forth as to where Origen found the basis for his curious claim. Origen's other work referring to the cursing of Jesus is his commentary on 1 Corinthians (Catena fragment 47). There Origen also uses a cognate of the word, ἀνάθεμα, which Paul uses, and thus clearly connects the Ophites with 1 Cor 12:3, "There is a certain sect which does not admit a convert unless he pronounces anathemas (ἀναθεματίσῃ) on Jesus; and that . . . is the sect of the so-called Ophites".

Keywords: 1 Cor; Anathema Iesous; ophite cursing; Origen

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