Open Theology (Jun 2021)

‘You Are Gods’ (Ps 81:6): Jerome and the Legacy of Origen’s Anthropology

  • Contini Sara

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 1
pp. 224 – 237


Read online

The paper discusses Jerome’s attack against the belief that human beings share the same substance as the heavenly powers and even as the Trinity, according to the dignity (dignitas) of the soul: in polemical texts such as Ep. 124.14, Jerome attributes this belief to Origen. Jerome’s intent clearly to demarcate the difference in nature between human and divine beings is also reflected in his exegetical writings, especially when dealing with Psalm 81, where human beings are addressed as “gods.” The paper investigates Jerome’s understanding of the dignitas of humanity as it emerges from his Homily on Psalm 81: the comparison with Origen’s own passages on Psalm 81 reveals that Jerome closely follows Origen’s exegetical argument. However, through a careful definition of human dignitas Jerome intentionally distances himself from Origen when it comes to associating human beings with immortal beings, most notably Christ.