Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Theology, Ministry, Missions (GST)

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Jeff Childers

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Fred Aquino

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Christopher Hutson


This thesis explores Celsus’s and Origen’s differing understandings of what it means to be “pious” (ὅσιος). Celsus conceived of tradition as the norm for determining piety. On the other hand, Origen maintained that the true norm was found in the Logos and Wisdom of God—i.e., Jesus. This dichotomy of understanding is consistent with the backdrop of the religious revolution happening in the Roman world during the early centuries CE proposed by scholars like Guy Stroumsa.

While this thesis does not aim to prove or fully expound on the religious revolution, it will use the shift in religious thought as a heuristic tool for analyzing Against Celsus, in order to show that Celsus’s and Origen’s dialogue proves to be an apt illustration of the religious revolution. Celsus focuses on maintaining tradition in order to uphold the foundations of society, whereas Origen focuses on the individual’s heart in the matter of proper piety and the upholding of society. This dichotomy of village/state versus individual outlook for religion is in line with the proposed religious revolution and thus lends some credence to the proposal.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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