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Origen and the History of Justification: The Legacy of Origen’s Commentary on Romans 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0268041281
ISBN-10: 0268041288
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is a marvelous book. The standard wisdom when it comes to the doctrine of justification by faith has been that the writers of the early church fell short of its primary meaning: which was Paul’s true intention. . . . Thomas Scheck challenges this construction by looking carefully at how Rufinus’ Latin version of Origen’s Commentary on the Romans was received and interpreted by Augustine, Erasmus, Luther, and several writers from the post-reformation in the seventeenth century.”
(Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology)

“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)

“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)

“Scheck’s work makes an important contribution to our understanding of the great third-century exegete, his influence on later interpreters, and his enduring significance for the church as it reads Romans today.”
(Pro Ecclesia)

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 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: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,721,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a must have book for anyone seeking to solidify their understanding of importance the letter to the Romans has played throughout history. The author does a terrific job of presenting a wide array of understanding not only from ancient fathers but the views of more contemporary authors. Scheck appropriately shifts focus to at least two characters (Origen and Melanthon) that general views of history tend to overlook; he more than sufficiently demonstrates the importance of taking the Augustine/Pelagius dispute back to Origen and the Gnostics as a truer genesis to understanding the history of justification.
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