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Philosophia Christi

Volume 20, Issue 2, 2018

Travis Dumsday
Pages 463-479
DOI: 10.5840/pc201820245

Origen on Demonic Ignorance
And Why It Might Still Matter for the Theology of World Religions

Historically it has been common for theologians to understand demons as basically on a par with angels in terms of intelligence and access to knowledge (excluding direct communications from God). Yet on this point Origen dissents, suggesting instead that demons might be qutie ignorant, at least with respect to spiritual truths. I explore some of the justifications available to him for entertaining this idea, and consider whether it could contribute to current discussions concerning the theology of world religions. Specifically, I argue that Origen's account of demonic ignorance provides the key ingredients for a plausible (at least for those already open to the reality of the demonic) explanatory model of one root cause of religious diversity: paranormal and “religious” experiences delivering incompatible propositional content.