CFP: Call For Papers - Gendered Allegories: Origen of Alexandria and the Representation of the Feminine in Patristic Literature

Submission deadline: April 30, 2024

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for a topical issue of Open Theology



"Open Theology” ( invites submissions for the topical issue "Gendered Allegories: Origen of Alexandria and the Representation of the Feminine in Patristic Literature," edited by Lavinia Cerioni (Aarhus University, Denmark).


   In the last six decades, gender studies have progressively gained importance across various academic disciplines, and Patristics is not an exception. This escalating scholarly interest has engendered a prolific body of research scrutinizing the experiences of women historically relegated to the periphery within early Christianity. Considerable attention has been paid to the way in which early Christian theologies and the Church Fathers understood women’s social and ecclesiastical roles and, in the rare occurrences where the sources allowed it, to Christian women’s self-perception. Nonetheless, the figure of Origen of Alexandria is conspicuously absent from these scholarly investigations. This volume undertakes the ambitious endeavor of bridging this scholarly lacuna while at last affording due scholarly attention to the figure of Origen of Alexandria.

   By approaching Origen’s work from a gender-focused perspective, the following studies aim to significantly enhance our comprehension of the nuanced portrayals of women and their corresponding archetypal manifestations in Christian exegesis. A fundamental premise that undergirds the following articles is the assertion that theological depictions of women and female personas in Christian exegesis were undeniably influenced by the prevailing social and cultural paradigms governing the roles ascribed to women in the third century. Concurrently, these theological representations exerted a reciprocal influence, subsequently shaping the evolving perceptions of women across successive centuries. This is particularly relevant because of Origen’s vast success in the following centuries.

   On one hand, Origen’s portrayal of women and the feminine exhibits a conformity to the deeply entrenched patriarchal expectations inherent to the third century. On the other hand, intriguing glimpses of a different perception emerge wherein women and the feminine are afforded a distinct and occasionally divergent consideration, particularly manifest when the salient attributes traditionally attributed to the female gender are harnessed as elucidatory conduits for expounding upon the intricate dynamics characterizing the relationship between the divine and the human.

   We invite researchers to submit papers that contribute to the reflection about Origen of Alexandria and the use of gendered allegories. Please note that the thematical issue is mainly interested in feminine allegories and not so much masculine metaphors and allegories.

   Especially welcomed are papers that:

· explore the use of metaphors related to the sphere of women’s bodies and sexuality,

· investigate the use of female characters from the gospels and the Hebrew Bible as theological metaphors,

· compare Origen’s use of feminine imagery with other Christian and non-Christian authors who employ similar metaphors,

· trace the sources of Origen’s use of specific feminine metaphors,

· explore the influence of Origen’s feminine metaphors up to Late Antiquity.

Because "Open Theology" is published under an Open Access model, as a rule, publication costs should be covered by Article Publishing Charges (APC), paid by authors, their affiliated institutions, funders or sponsors. Authors without access to publishing funds are encouraged to discuss potential discounts or waivers with Managing Editor of the journal Katarzyna Tempczyk ([email protected]) before submitting their manuscripts.


Submissions will be collected until April 30, 2024, via the on-line submission system at 

Choose as article type: Gendered Allegories

Before submission the authors should carefully read the Instruction for Authors, available at: 

All contributions will undergo critical peer-review before being accepted for publication.

Further questions about content for this thematic issue can be addressed to Dr Lavinia Cerioni at [email protected]. Financial questions should be directed to journal Managing Editor Katarzyna Tempczyk at [email protected]. In case of technical problems with submission please write to [email protected].

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