Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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An aeon (αἰών; aevum) in patristic authors is a long period, an age, or this world or the world to come, according to the biblical usage. Only in reference to God does αἰών mean “eternity.” Aeon is divine life or a divine being or emanation only in “gnostic” writings (Gnosis/Gnosticism).

Origen, Didymus the Blind, the Cappadocians, the Antiochenes, and Pseudo-Dionysius are the patristic thinkers who most reflected on the meaning of αἰών and its cognate adjective, αἰώνιος. Origen provided the Christian definition of αἰών: “The tim…

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Ramelli, Ilaria L.E., “Aeon”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 01 October 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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