Color photograph of the head and shoulders of a light skinned man with a beard and glasses, smiling at the camera while standing outside with a collegiate building behind him

Ryan Haecker

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Rome Prize
September 1, 2023–January 12, 2024
Research Fellow, Assistant Professor of Theology, University of Austin
Project title
Theology of Logic in Origen of Alexandria
Project description

Origen of Alexandria (fl. 184–253/4 CE) has been celebrated as the “Father of the Fathers” of early Christian theology. Although his formative influence on early Christian theology is evident, he has never yet been acknowledged for having contributed the first Christian theology of logic. Beginning in his systematic theology Peri Archon, Origen has interpreted logic as a simulation of speech in argument, which is eternally spoken in and by the divine Logos, communicated by Christ, in and for God as Trinity. He has, with his “spiritual sense” and continuing in his “spiritual hermeneutic,” shown how logic is virtually “interwoven” in all the philosophical sciences, and supremely through the mystical or “epoptic” science of theology. And he has, in contrast to secular, formal, and mathematical logics, indicated that logic is not a “fourth branch” of secular reason, but rather a gift of God that ever “knocks on wisdom’s door.” Origen’s logic should thus be read as he reads and is himself read by a spiritual hermeneutic for a theological interpretation of logic, that is, a “theology of logic.” Theology of logic asks the absolute theological questions not only of what logic is, and how logic can be used, but of why there is logic at all. From the absolute reflection of these higher questions, we can, with Origen, begin to show that logic is ontological, that ontology is theological, and that theology is trinitarian. As a Rome Prize Fellow, I will publish my doctoral dissertation Restoring Reason: Theology of Logic in Origen of Alexandria, edit for publication the book New Trinitarian Ontologies, and collaborate with an international network of theologians, philosophers, and religious studies scholars centered in Rome to prepare for a series of conferences and symposia on the theme of trinitarian ontology. The way in which we think of God is equally the way in which God speaks, and is spoken of, in the silent word of every thought.