Skip to comments.Vatican Reports Discovery of Ancient Documents (Origen)
Posted on 06/12/2012 4:08:10 PM PDT by nickcarraway
The Vatican newspaper reported Tuesday that 29 previously unpublished homilies said to be the work of one of the most important and prolific early church fathers have been discovered in a German library.
The 3rd Century theologian Origen of Alexandria is considered to have played a critical role in the development of Christian thought. Pope Benedict XVI, himself a theologian, dedicated two of his 2007 weekly church teaching sessions to the importance of Origen's life and work.
Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said that despite Origen's importance, few of his original texts remain in part because he was condemned by the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 553.
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
wait for it.....now what made the church throw it out, possibly a condemnation of society? Hmmmmmmm..
He was a brilliant theologian, famed for his work against the heresies circulating at that time and also for his ascetical practice and holiness of life. But perhaps he was a little too removed from the real world of dispute and deceit.
Origen was one of the first to employ widespread allegorical interpretation. He even proposed that texts many times had meanings on multiple levels.
Before one elevates the early Church fathers to a pedestal one only has to note that Paul and Peter were fighting heresy and poor interpretation techniques from the first century. The earliest Church leaders usually did not even have the full canon at their disposal since it doesn’t seem to have been compiled and adopted until around 250 AD at the earliest.
Thanks for the info. “Little extreme”? Anyone that castrates himself is indeed quite extreme. :-)
Interesting. I’d love to know the content of these texts.
On an off note, I’m fascinated by Dante’s work. I often wonder if it wasn’t secretly based upon some of the texts that were left out of what we know as our current Bible.
Here is a free online source for a couple of works by Origen:
Christian Classics Ethereal Library is an interesting site for ancient texts.
> ...he promoted some strange ideas that had no Scriptural basis (like cutting one’s nards off ... which he did latter admit was a bad idea... ).
Not that I’m recommending it, but there’s Mark 9:47, “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire” — different part, small basic idea. The preceding verses mention the hand and foot.
“small basic idea” should be “same basic idea”
Dante’s work was more based on Catholic theological ruminations, Christian folklore, and Greek mythology than it was on “missing” parts of the Bible.
“He even proposed that texts many times had meanings on multiple levels.”
And he was right. There are four “levels”.
There were many Christian folk-tales circulating in Europe in the Middle Ages. Some of them were drawn from the Apocryphal Gospels, which were essentially compilations of the other Gospels mixed with odd stories (the Child Jesus cursing his playmates and making them die because he was annoyed at them during a game, for example!). These are not part of the canon, even though there may have been bits of them that were true.
Some of the folk tales may, however, have been narrative tradition relating to things that were not important enough to have been passed along in such a form that they became part of the Gospels but were known to people who witnessed them and then sank into popular tales.
Much Nativity (Christmas) lore is based on these accounts.
The Church at all times, however, was vigilant in keeping some things to the level of personal devotion and artistic expression, permitting others to be canonically affirmed - and completely eliminating others altogether. The latter were things that might have been harmful to the faith or sensibilities of the people.
“Quite extreme” was what everybody else thought at the time, too, and it was one of the things that really gave him a bad rep.
Yes, he took those verses from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), as well as Mark, but he should have easily understood the Lord wasn't preaching self-slicing. Lust for women (not their wives) is a common affliction/sin of heterosexual men. The admonishment was to purge this sin nature from the inside through prayer and help of the Holy Spirit. Not to hack off body members... The Sermon on the Mount was to change the focus from the flesh and to expose our spiritual sins. I.e., lust for a woman not your wife being equivalent to adultery in God's eyes; anger against a brother without a cause being equivalent to murder, and so on...
So I understand Mr. Origen's Scriptural interpretation -- but he had to ignore the context of the Sermon on the Mount which exhorted the listener to focus on the Spiritual and less so on the flesh. One shouldn't rip Scripture out of its context.
Yes, but you have to read those verses metaphorically, since we know that evil doesn’t originate in our hands, or feet, or even in our testicles, so cutting them off will do nothing to correct the situation:
20And He was saying, That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.
The context is full of other extreme statements just like that one.
I think there’s a “Scriptural basis” (to use El Cid’s term) for many practices in the Bible, some inconsistent with others, so that people have to choose which passages to heed. Maybe that passage doesn’t mean what it seems to mean. If not, though, how odd that it would be expressed that way at such great length and so emphatically. In any case I can easily see how Origen would think that the words mean what they seem to say.
Speaking on his behalf, Origen's work in making the Old Testament acceptable to the Church was inestimable.