Books 13-32 ISBN 9780813200897
This volume contains what remains of Books 13-32 of Origen's "Commentary on the Gospel According to John", and thus completes the publication of this full English translation of this work. Ronald Heine introduces his translation with a discussion of the times and circumstances within which the commentary was composed. He also provides a survey of the major theological questions with which the commentary is concerned. These include Origen's thoughts on the nature of God, the person and work of Christ, his relation to the Father and to the created order, his teaching on the Holy Spirit, the Resurrection and eschatology and his ideas on the devil. Beginning with the conversation between Christ and the Samaritan woman at the well and ending with Christ's discourse to his disciples at the Last Supper, the commentary displays Origen's attention to the literal meanings of the passages, but moves beyond them to try to grasp their spiritual significance, providing us with the opportunity to examine Origen's mystical thought.
He also refutes the gnostic reading of the Gospel presented by Heracleon, but this polemic is subordinate to Origen's own investigations of the theological, philosophical, historical and etymological questions raised by the Gospel. Because it treats many of the same passages of the Gospel of John upon which Augustine also comments (Volume 88 of "The Fathers of the Church"), this volume should provide a useful companion to it and invites a comparison of the thoughts of these two great exegetes upon what both regarded as the greatest of the Gospels.
Books 1-10 : pbk ISBN 9780813210292
Origen composed at least thirty-two books of a commentary on the Gospel according to John, at the request of St. Ambrose of Milan. Of these, only nine books are extant in almost complete form, although we have selections of others persevered in other collections of the works of Origen. The commentary proceeds verse by verse, and is particularly notable for its emphasis on the spiritual meaning of the Gospel. This volume contains books 1,2,6, and 10, and fragments of books 4 and 5. Origen's main interest is the allegorical interpretation of the Gospel according to John, which makes this an important work in the study of Origen's mystical thought. A secondary interest is the refutation of Valentinian gnosticism. According to Eusebius, Ambrose had been a Valentinian before his conversion by Origen, and Origen refers to the Gnostic writer Heracleon regularly throughout the commentary in order to refute his views. Although the refutation of Heracleon may have been a stimulus for the composition of this work, Origen moved beyond this goal in order to present a commentary on the Gospel which would appeal to the growing number of educated Christians who wanted a scientific exegesis. The author's writing covers a wide range of historical, theological, philosophical and etymological topics, all focused on this Gospel of ""spiritual food."" ""We might dare to say,"" Origen says as he begins his commentary, ""that the Gospels are the first-fruits of all Scriptures, but that the first-fruits of the Gospels is that according to John. How great must be our understanding, that we may be able to understand in a worthy manner the word which is stored up in the earthen treasures of paltry language."" The Spirit-led exegete can thus draw out of the words and symbols a higher level of insight. This ""spiritual gospel"" is the reality of which Christ's acts were symbols; it is the secrets hidden in the mysteries of Christ's words.
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