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Origen and the History of Justification: The Legacy of Origen's Commentary on Romans Hardcover – April 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0268041281 ISBN-10: 0268041288 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0268041288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268041281
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,540,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“An important work in patristics, biblical interpretation, and historical theology, Origen and the History of Justification establishes the formative role played by Origen’s Pauline exegesis, while also contributing to our understanding of the theological issues surrounding justification in the western Christian tradition.” —Vigiliae Christianae

“. . . This book . . . deserves to be described as a work of mature scholarship. It focuses on Origen’s interpretation of what St. Paul said about justification in his Letter to the Romans. . . . Scheck has convincingly shown that Origen’s exegesis of Romans and his interpretation of Paul on justification are well worth the attention of scholars and serious students engaged in those disciplines.” —Religious Studies Review


“. . . This book is to be applauded for its boldness: any study courageous enough to attempt to survey a doctrine as controversial as justification in the western tradition and which makes that attempt via largely self-contained analyses of some of the West’s major theological thinkers and writers is bound—almost by definition—to be a contribution to the field. Second, this book provides a service for scholars by assembling such a significant portion of the essential primary evidence for the crucial issue of justification into one volume.” —Augustiniana

“In Origen and the History of Justification Thomas Scheck provides a valuable and well-researched study of an important topic. I find this work very helpful for both students of Christian historical theology, especially in medieval and reformation studies, and for an ongoing ecumenical dialogue. . . . Thomas Scheck prepares us to find Origen as a living partner in a dialogue about grace and divinization that is of both historical and contemporary significance.” —Sixteenth Century Journal

About the Author

Thomas P. Scheck is assistant professor in pastoral theology at Ave Maria University. He is the first English translator of Rufinus’s Latin edition of Origen’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Quentin D. Stewart on June 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an extremely helpful discussion of Origen's problematic, but significant role in the development of Western theology with regards to the all important understanding of what exactly did St Paul mean by "justification." Much of the spade work is done for you by the author and scholars who have gone before him so if you dont have a copy of Origen's Romans Commentary or Pelagius's or Jerome's or Augustine's many works handy you benefit greatly.

Origen is particulary significant because he is not only insightful and brilliant, but because he is writing his Romans commentary in anti-Gnostic context. Augustine, for instance, will still find many of his insights into original sin and what not helpful in his battle with Pelagius who was also readig Origen's work. By the time of Augustine much of the discussion with Pelagius hinged on what it meant to be justified "apart from the works of the Law." Origen, according to the author, had a more nuanced understanding of how Paul uses the term "Law" in Romans whereas Augustine took a simplistic route and considered "works of the Law" to refer to both the ceremonial and moral law of the Old Testament. And this is where the rubber hits the road, for it was on this point that Augustine diverges drastically from Pelagius and later Roman Catholic thought. Augustine's position would later be incorportated into Protestant thought whereas the medieval Catholic and Tridentine position would tend towards Origen's understanding of justification and the works of the Law.

Overall a great resource for Catholics, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox who are interested in our commonalities and whence arise our differences.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas P. Scheck on July 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The following comments are excerpted from reviews of the book that have appeared since its publication in 2008.

"Thomas P. Scheck's Origen and the History of Justification: The Legacy of Origen's Commentary on Romans fills a major gap in the study of Origen's exegesis and influence. Scheck has given us a superb work of scholarship that should inspire others to mine the riches of the Church Fathers for Christian wisdom that will transform our own age." -- Saint Austin Review

"As the first English translator of Origen's Romans Commentary, Scheck carries the credentials to back up his argument. In clear and readable prose, he makes accessible not only to patristic scholars but also to other theologians, biblical scholars, and interested lay readers the exegetical questions at stake and the history of reception that marks Origen's influence down through the centuries." Conrad Grebel Review

"A generation ago, Krister Stendahl wrote that `Paul's great insight into justification by faith was forgotten' until the time of Augustine,' an assumption which has gone largely unchallenged until very recently. ... No one ... has done more to challenge this assumption than Thomas Scheck. ... Scheck's book renders a valuable service in drawing attention to the recent recovery of Origen's exegetical legacy and highlighting the longevity of certain of his ideas, particularly the notion that justification stands in synecdoche for the life of grace-infused virtue. This is a real contribution, and not to be lightly overlooked.
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