"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Strange Bedfellows?

Interest in Origen of Alexandria, as I have noted repeatedly, remains high. His influence is to be found in rather unlikely places such as the work of the post-revolutionary French political thinker Joseph de Maistre. I am in the midst of reading Marc Froidefont's fascinating recent book Théologie de Joseph de Maistre (Paris: Éditions Classiques Garnier, 2010).

Froidefont lays out in elaborate detail just how indebted Maistre was to Origen, including some of the latter's rather dodgier bits of eschatology. This will surely be disconcerting to certain "traditionalist" Catholics who assume, usually without having read him, that someone as reportedly revanchist as Maistre, stout defender Du Pape, must be impeccably orthodox and totally reliable. Maistre was heavily influenced by not only Origen but also illuminism and Masonry and other things that would surely give people pause today. Origen's influence especially, Froidefont says, has left a "soupçon d'hétérodoxie...sur l'oeuvre de Maistre."

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