N.1/2021 Gaudeamus Igitur!

Origene a Cambridge nel Seicento: Henry More e Genesi 1,1

Vito Limone

Published in June, 2021

Origen in Cambridge in the seventeenth century: Henry More and Genesis 1,1



As is well known, the reception of Origen of Alexandria plays a key role in the formation of the so-called “Cambridge Platonism” at the University of Cambridge during the seventeenth century. The chief objective of this paper is to explore further the presence of Origen’s doctrines and writings in this context, with particular attention to the case of one of the main intellectual personalities of “Cambridge Platonism”, namely, Henry More. In this respect, the paper focuses on More’s exegesis of Gen. 1,1 and demonstrates that it is deeply influenced by his reading of Origen. This paper consists of three main sections: first, it formulates an overview of “Cambridge Platonism” and outlines its interest in the theology of the Alexandrine; then, it considers Origen’s interpretation of Gen. 1,1, in particular of “heaven”, “earth”, and the “beginning”, which is contained in the first of his homilies on Genesis, as transmitted in the Latin translation of Rufinus; finally, it examines More’s reading of Gen. 1,1 in his Conjectura Cabbalistica, originally published in 1653, and evidences the debts of his reading to Origen’s interpretation.


University of Cambridge, Origen of Alexandria, Henry More, Genesis 1,1, Cambridge Platonism