Origen: On First Principles (A Reader's Edition) Author: Origen of Alexandria
Translator: John Behr
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 offers a 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.
Table of Contents: Introduction 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' Translation Origen, On First Principles Manuscripts and Other Sources, Abbreviations and Sigla
Origen of Alexandria (185-253 A.D.), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an early Christian scholar, ascetic, and theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria, Egypt. He was a prolific writer who wrote roughly 2,000 treatises in multiple branches of theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, homiletics, and spirituality. He was one of the most influential and controversial figures in early Christian theology, apologetics, and asceticism. He has been described as "the greatest genius the early church ever produced".
John Behr (1966-Present), 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 John the Theologian and his Paschal Gospel: A Prologue to Theology (2019), 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 (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).
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