Origen the Pagan

Origen the Pagan (Greek: Ὠριγένης; fl. early 3rd century) was a Platonist philosopher who lived in Alexandria. He was a student of Ammonius Saccas and a contemporary of Plotinus in Ammonius's philosophy school in Alexandria. It is possible that he was the famous Christian philosopher and theologian Origen of Alexandria, who was educated by Ammonius Saccas.[1].

Origen is mentioned three times in Porphyry's Life of Plotinus,[2] where he is treated much more kindly than the Christian Origen, whom Porphyry disliked.[3] He is also mentioned several times by Proclus, and it is clear that Origen's fellow students Plotinus and Longinus treated him with respect.[3]

The only aspect of his philosophical views which are known is that he did not make the first principle of reality the One beyond intellect and being as Plotinus did, but rather the first principle was the supreme intellect and primary being,[4] which suggests that his views were that of traditional Middle Platonism, rather than the Neoplatonism of Plotinus.[5]


  1. Ramelli, "Origen and the Platonic Tradition"
  2. Porphyry, Life of Plotinus, chapters iii, xiv, and xx.
  3. Armstrong 1967, p. 198
  4. Proclus, In Platonis Theologiam, ii. 4
  5. Armstrong 1967, p. 199


  • A. H. Armstrong, (1967), The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy, Pages 198-199. Cambridge University Press.
  • Ilaria L. E. Ramelli, "Origen and the Platonic Tradition," Religions 8, no. 21 (2017), doi:10.3390/rel802002
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