Carl W. Griffin and David L. Paulsen have shown that anthropomorphism, one of the most popular and equally biblical tenets of ancient Christianity, was spread out not only among the simpliciores (the simple) of the early ecclesia but also among its eruditi (its educated members), particularly such docti (learned) in Stoicism like Tertullian. Following previous researchers, Griffin and Paulsen have also argued that Christian Platonizing authors, starting with Origen in the East and Marius Victorinus in the West, developed a sturdy campaign of promoting the doctrine of an incorporeal God. At a time when the clergy itself was largely conceiving God as a corporeal entity, the Christian Platonists were heavily employing the rhetoric of erudition in order to uphold an anti-anthropomorphist agenda. Other scholars have noticed that Origen of Alexandria was the first (or among the first) to relate the anthropomorphist position to the uneducated members of the Christian community, the simpliciores. Later on, Cassian, Socrates, Sozomen, and Palladius will communicate the events of the Origenist debate by means of the same distinction between simpliciores and eruditi. As Elizabeth A. Clark observes:
According to several fifth-century Christian writers—Socrates, Sozomen, and Palladius, all of whom sided with the alleged Origenists—the simple desert Monks were outraged by Theophilus of Alexandria's Festal Letter of 399 that championed God's incorporeality, a position in accord with that of Alexandria's most important theologian, Origen.
Griffin and Paulsen equally find several Augustinian pages in which the bishop of Hippo asserts that the “Church's educated men
)” cannot embrace anthropomorphism, and he prefers to portray the less educated Christians as “whimpering babies,” “children,” or possessing a “childishness of mind.”