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Origen: An Exhortation to Martyrdom, Prayer, and Selected Works Paperback – December 12, 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press; First Edition edition (December 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809121980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809121984
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Wesley L. Janssen VINE VOICE on June 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
These selected works from the writings of Origen (c. 185-254) will give the reader much to contemplate and are complex enough to perhaps frustrate the reader without some foundation in the material. Do not read Origen without first reading the preface (Hans Urs von Balthasar) and the foreword and introduction (Rowan Greer). These are valuable insights into the second and third centuries and the early history of Christian thought. The writings of Origen generated several centuries of controversy in the early church. His ardent admirers included Eusebius, Gregory of Nissa and the Cappadocian Fathers, and Jerome. His ardent detractors included Epiphanius, Theophilus, Jerome (persuaded to change his mind), and the Emperor Justinian. One of the so-called "Four Fathers" of the Christian church, "Origen was as towering a figure as Augustine and Aquinas. . . his overt and hidden influence has proved no less far-reaching than theirs," says Hans Urs von Balthasar as he begins his preface. "Whoever seeks access from merely dogmatic faith into that inward realm where we see with the inner eye of faith enters a world of mystery demanding not only intellectual reverence but personal holiness as well. . . Perhaps it can be said that [Origen's] simultaneous viewing of prayer and exegesis . . . of exact philology . . . and the search for the spiritual sense, is the most important aspect of Origenistic spirituality for our present situation. . . . the underlying attitude remains exemplary for us, perhaps more than ever before."

Jesus said, "wisdom is proved right by her actions," and "by their fruit you will recognize them," and "the good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him." These thoughts commend to us the influences of Origen.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
Origen (c. 185--254) was not only one of the four great Church Fathers (Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian), but also one of the founders of the philosophy Neoplatonism. He was a fellow student of Plotinus, the credited Founding Father of Neoplatonism. They were pupils under the legendary Platonist teacher Ammonius Saccas in Alexandria, Egypt. This outstanding volume begins with "An Exortation To Martyrdom," which describes indepthly Origen's beliefs about martyrdom to his two friends, Ambrose and Protoctetus. Time and again he takes parables from the Bible and mixes them within his own eclectic exegesis and Neoplatonic theories. It's quite outstanding, to say the least. The next work is "On Prayer," in which Origen lays out with mental precision "The Lord's Prayer"--breaking it down into sections and explaining them. At the end he brilliantly says how we ought to pray and what we should pray for. "On First Principles: Book IV" is my favorite. Here it is. "Chapter One: That The Scriptures Are Divinely Inspired"; "Chapter Two: That Many By Not Understanding The Scriptures Spiritually And By Badly Understanding Them Fall Into Heresies"; "Chapter Three: Examples From The Scriptures Of How Scripture Should Be Understood"; and "Chapter Four: A Summary Concerning The Father, The Son, And The Holy Spirit And Other Matters Previously Discussed." In the magnificent "The Prologue To The Commentary On The Song Of Songs," Origen explains Solomon's only surviving psalm and its allegorical meanings. He goes on at length about the three Books of Solomon's: Proverbs (moral or ethical), Ecclesiastes (natural or physics), Song Of Songs (contemplative or enoptics). He describes Solomon's transformation and "Divine" wisdom throughout.Read more ›
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mike on February 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This volume contains a good overview of the works of Origen, including "An Exortation to Martyrdom," "On Prayer," and selections from "On First Principles," "The Homily on Numbers," and more. The Translation is in clear, contemporary English. The introductory material is well writen and thorough, with plentiful notes. The text is annotated with cross references and biblical citations. This volume is exelently produced, as is the entire series.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Greg on June 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Origen's legacy for Christianity has certainly been mixed. Many reading his works today, as many did in his time, would no doubt find what he 'found' in the Bible bizarre, heretical and perhaps even blasphemous. Indeed he was condemned as such by Church councils some centuries after his death, and as a result many of his works were lost.

However, it also must be acknowledged that Origen was one of the faith's most brilliant and original minds. Asides from his remarkable theories about 'what really happened' before and after the fall of human beings and angels, and the creation of the universe itself, his remarkable penetration and allegorising of scripture and seeing the 'spirit' in the letter are rarely equalled by any other Church father. Few Christian thinkers ever had such brilliant talents in speculative theological power, exegetical skill, mystical insight and creativity and daring to try and wrest such deep insights as Origen found, which were in many ways far ahead of his time.

It is true Origen's genius was also in many ways his downfall, and it can be rightly said many of his interpretations of scripture are too speculative or in better words, go so high into the clouds any vision of the concrete ground is lost. Yet one must also admire his determination to set Orthodox Christianity on an intellectual and speculative par with the main rivals for thinking seekers of the time, Gnosticism and Neo-Platonism. To this day his influence resounds through Christian mysticism, and his view of the Bible as an infinitely deep wellspring of Godly wisdom which originated from the Logos itself, is a refreshing counterpoint to the literal and one-sided fundamentalism which holds so much in our own time.
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