Origen On First Principles

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2018-02-07
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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On First Principles by Origen of Alexandria, written around 220-230 AD, is one of the most important and contentious works of early Christianity. It provoked controversy when written, provoked further debate when translated into Latin by Rufinus in the fourth century, and was the subject, together with its author, of condemnation in the sixth century. As a result, the work no longer survives intact in the original Greek. We only have the complete work in the Latin translation of Rufinus, and a few extensive passages preserved in Greek by being excerpted into the Philokalia of Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus.

John Behr provides a new edition and translation of one of the most important texts from early Christianity. He includes an invaluable introduction, which provides a clear structure of the work with significant implications for how the text is to be read and for understanding the character of theology in the early Christian tradition.

Author Biography

John Behr is the Dean of St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary and Professor of Patristics and Metropolitan Kallistos Chair in Orthodox Theology at Vrije Universiteit. His previous publications include Asceticism and Anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement (2000), The Case Against Diodore and Theodore: Texts and Their Contexts (2011), and Irenaeus of Lyons: Identifying Christianity (OUP, 2013). He is also the co-editor of The Role of Life in Death: A Multidisciplinary Examination of Issues pertaining to Life and Death (Wipf and Stock, 2015; with C. Cunningham).

Table of Contents

1. Origen and his On First Principles
I. Origen in Alexandria
II. On First Principles
2. The structure of On First Principles
I. The Two Cycles
II. The Division into Chapters
III. Theology and Economy
IV. The Apostolic and the Ecclesiastical Preaching
V. Scripture, Book Four, and the Purpose of On First Principles
VI. Conclusion and the Context of On First Principles
3. Theology
I. An Eternal Creation?
II. The 'Foundation' of the World
4. Economy
I. Incarnation
II. The 'Pre-existence' and Incarnation of Christ
5. 'In My End is My Beginning'
Text and Translation
Origen, On First Principles
Manuscripts and Other Sources, Abbreviations and Sigla
1. Rufinus' Translation
I. Manuscripts
II. Indirect Witnesses
III. Editions
2. The Philocalia
I. Manuscripts
II. Editions
3. Abbreviations and Sigla
Rufinus' Preface
Part I: Theology
I. The Apostolic Preaching
II. The Church's Preaching
Part II: Economy
I. The Apostolic Praching
II. The Church's Preaching
Part III: The Inspired Scripture
Appendix I Chapter Titles in the Latin Manuscripts
Appendix II Koetschau's Fragments
Index of Ancient Sources
Index of Modern Authors Cited

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