"At what age, he wonders, did Origen castrate himself?"

Public DomainOrigen - Credit: wikicommons

Origen, born in Alexandria in 185AD, went on to become a prominent theologian and philosopher, whose writings exercised great influence on early Christian thought.  It is widely rumoured (largely based on the word of the Roman historian, Eusebius) that Origen castrated himself in his youth, so he could teach women their catechism free from the risk of scandal. Eusebius claimed the castration took place because Origen took the passage in Matthew 19:12 literally. Although there is no definitive evidence Origen's castration happened, many scholars claim self-castration was a feature of early Christianity.