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John Cassian and the Christology of Romans 8,3

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This paper focuses on Cassian’s characterisation of Christ ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ (Romans 8,3) and argues that it forms a dual reception of the treatment of the same text found in the work of Origen and Augustine of Hippo. Inasmuch as Augustine’s exegesis constitutes a reception of Origen, Cassian’s reproduction of their shared thought forms a silent judgment on the impact and importance of the first Origenist Controversy in the Latin West. Further, whilst Origen and Augustine situate their Christological exegesis of the passage within a coherent account of the origin and transmission of sin, Cassian does not. Consequently, this paper questions recent scholarly attempts to re-evaluate Cassian’s capacities as a synthetic theologian, by arguing that he prioritised a distinct theological tradition and its authoritative representatives over a tight theological coherence in his work.

Affiliations: 1: Keble College Oxford, OX1 3PG UK, Email:


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