Eusebius (essay date c. 339?)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Book VI," in Ecclesiastical History, Vol. II, n. p., c. 339? pp. 51-95..

[In this excerpt, Eusebius, the first historian of the Church, defends Origen's reputation as an orthodox theologian against his detractors while reviewing his life and work.]

And so accurate was the examination that Origen brought to bear upon the divine books, that he even made a thorough study of the Hebrew tongue, and got into his own possession the original writings in the actual Hebrew characters, which were extant among the Jews. Thus, too, he traced the editions of the other translators of the sacred writings besides the Seventy; and besides the beaten track of translations, that...

(The entire section is 6155 words.)

Charles Bigg (lecture date 1886)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Origen," in The Christian Platonists of Alexandria: Eight Lectures, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1886, pp. 115-34.

[In this lecture, Bigg provides an overview of Origen's life and work in its various aspects: textual criticism, exegesis, and religious philosophy.]

Clement as we have seen is a philosopher of a desultory and eclectic type and so far as the needs of his tranquil spirit led him on. Egypt is his world, Gnosticism his one trouble. Origen had travelled to Rome in the West and Bostra in the East, and had found everywhere the clash of arms. But apart from this he was not one of those who discover the rifts in their harness only on the morning of the...

(The entire section is 6583 words.)

René Cadiou (essay date 1944)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Origen the Pagan," in Origen: Life at Alexandria, B. Herder Book Co., 1944, pp. 186-208.

[In this essay, Cadiou explains the purported identification of Origen 's thought with pagan Neoplatonism, the problems that follow upon such an identification, and the facts about Origen's reception of Neoplatonism.]

The comparative study of the two systems of thought justifies us in the assertion that the Platonism which Origen acquired at Alexandria in the beginning of the third century was the decisive factor in the development of his philosophy. Thirsting for its teachings on the origin of the soul, the hierarchy of spirits, the role of providence, and the genesis of...

(The entire section is 8453 words.)

Jean Daniélou (essay date 1955)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Origen's Theology of the Spiritual Life," in Origen, Sheed & Ward, 1955, pp. 293-309.

[In this essay, Daniélou examines Origen's contribution to the theology of the spiritual life or mystical theology that had an extensive influence in Western and Eastern monasticism, particularly through Origen's allegorical expositions of the Scriptures in which he traced the soul's pilgrimage back to union with God.]

Origen occupies a conspicuous position in the history of exegesis and was the most eminent theologian in the early Church. The part he played in working out the theology of the spiritual life is historically no less important. This side of him was for long...

(The entire section is 7804 words.)

Henry Chadwick (essay date 1966)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Illiberal Humanist," in Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition: Studies in Justin, Clement, and Origen, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1966, pp. 66-94.

[In this essay, Chadwick reviews Origen's life and teachings, showing in what ways Origen is different from Clement, his predecessor. Throughout are discussions of Origen's thinking on revelation, gnosticism, Christian philosophy, human sexuality, and the Incarnation.]

Origen is not a figure it is easy to see in accurate perspective. This difficulty is not caused merely by the massive dimensions of his work, nor because he is especially obscure, nor even because we do not possess the full...

(The entire section is 9797 words.)

Rev. H. Chadwick (essay date 1967)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Origen," in The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy, Cambridge at the University Press, 1967, pp. 182-92.

[In this essay, Chadwick generally discusses the ways in which Origen's theological and philosophical thinking as well as his principles of allegorical exposition of the Scriptures are distinct from those of his Jewish and pagan contemporaries and predecessors and how they were deeply influenced by them, showing that Origen's thought is a complex patchwork that has been controversial since the sixth century.]

Origen was born about 184-5 at Alexandria, probably of Christian parents (Porphyry and Eusebius contradict one another on...

(The entire section is 4462 words.)

Robert W. Smith (essay date 1974)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Spokesman for Truth (Continued): Christian Preachers," in The Art of Rhetoric in Alexandria: Its Theory and Practice in the Ancient World. Martinus Nijhoff, 1974, pp. 73-107.

[In this excerpt, Smith examines Origen's use of the homily and how in his hands it became an occasion for explaining the meaning of the Scriptures. Discussed as well is Origen' s theory and method of preaching. The editors have included only the footnotes that pertain to the part of the chapter devoted to Origen.]

The homily … as a speech form came into its own in the third to fifth centuries in the Byzantine church, but the idea originated centuries earlier. Aeschylus spoke of it...

(The entire section is 4204 words.)

P. M. O'Cleirigh (essay date 1980)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Meaning of Dogma in Origen," in Jewish and Christian Self-Definition, Vol 1. Fortress Press, 1980, pp. 201-16.

[In this essay, O'Cleirigh examines the teaching of Origen over against the teachings of Christian orthodoxy with a view to answering the question much in debate among scholars: Did Origen write from a comprehensive view of Christian theology or did he merely apply his philosophical mind to mystical ends?]

The distinct shape of Origen's achievement is a ground of debate among scholars. It is generally agreed, however, that his work established a model of Christian theology which was to predominate in later centuries.1 He accomplished...

(The entire section is 8997 words.)

Joseph W. Trigg (essay date 1981)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Charismatic Intellectual: Origen's Understanding of Religious Leadership," in Church History, Vol. 50, No. 1, March, 1981, pp. 5-19.

[In this essay, Trigg contends that Origen had succeeded in reconciling his two roles as intellectual or philosopher and as a faithful churchman by making churchmanship a function of intellectual achievement.]

Origen's vocabulary is quite definitely that of an intellectual; it owes little to daily life or to the vernacular of the time.… He seems … to manufacture his own language, often hermetic, abstract, or difficult to understand, the language of a man concerned above all with ideas, somewhat cut off...

(The entire section is 7067 words.)

Andrew Louth (essay date 1981)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Origen," in The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys. Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1981, pp. 52-74.

[In this essay, Louth examines the degree to which Platonism permeates Origen's theology, showing how Origen helped found the tradition of intellectual mysticism received by the Eastern Church and, more broadly, the whole of the Christian mystical tradition, having provided a framework within which mystical theology could develop.]

With Origen we begin to discuss specifically Christian mystical theology. So far we have discussed the Platonic background to such theology, and in doing that we may seem to have prejudged the...

(The entire section is 9328 words.)

Peter Brown (essay date 1988)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "'I Beseech You: Be Transformed': Origen," in The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity, Columbia University Press, 1988, pp. 160-77.

[In this excerpt, Peter Brown discusses how Origen in his exposition of Christian theology and his biblical interpretation understood and used the Platonism that permeated the Christian East of his day and how his understanding, profoundly Christian, was fundamentally different from that of his contemporary pagan Platonists.]

Between May 200 and the middle of 203, Laetus, the Augustal Prefect of Egypt, rounded up a group of Christians from Alexandria and from Egypt proper. The father of Origen...

(The entire section is 7361 words.)