Origen: A Review1

James T. Dennison, Jr.

This is the inaugural volume in the publisher's new series labeled The Westminster Handbooks to Christian Theology. The goal is to provide "resources for the study of historic and contemporary theological movements and Christian theologians" compiled by scholarly experts in the field. The choice of McGuckin for the initial volume is felicitous. His expertise in Alexandrian Christianity (especially Christology) was displayed in his masterful volume St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy, its History, Theology, and Texts (1994). The latter work details the Nestorian-Cyrillian debates with the post-Chalcedonian aftermath. McGuckin's measured treatment of Nestorius ("he insisted that he had meant to teach that Christ was one, meaning that there was only one centre of personal action, will, and understanding in him formed of an intimate union of two distinct realities that had been perfectly harmonized in love") is as refreshing as his acknowledgement of Cyril's irascibility ("Cyril's synopsis of his opponent was inaccurate"). In the present volume, he contributes a scintillating survey of Origen's life and writings (pp. 1-44). The remainder of the book consists of topical articles on aspects of Origen's thought contributed by thirty-five scholars, several of whom are recognized as Origen specialists (Ronald Heine, Charles Kannengiesser, Frederick Norris). The absence of Mark Edwards is regrettable (see below). Individual articles range from "Allegory" to "Worship" and include reviews of "Apokatastasis," "Celsus," "Christology," Hexapla," "Origenist Crisis," "Philosophy," "Trinitarianism," inter alia. The whole is concluded by a select bibliography, yet a list that reflects all sources cited in the articles.

If this first-in-a-series is indicative of what will follow, the publisher is to be highly commended. As a mini-reference library on Origen, this volume is unsurpassed. And the presence of the bibliographies directs the lover of detail to further resources. With the present volume as the standard, future volumes should be equally welcome.

Origen's reputation has suffered tortuously—even as the poor body of the aged pater ecclesiae was tortured during the Decian persecution. Condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553),2 his works were suppressed, destroyed, expunged and his great name sullied beyond redemption in many quarters. Jerome cites his most devoted biographer, Eusebius of Caesarea,3 as estimating the bibliographical output of our subject at nearly 2000 titles. Epiphanius, an inveterate enemy of our subject, credited him with 6000 titles. By either measure, Origen remains nonpareil. The story of Origen's seven secretaries recording and copying the words of the peripatetic Alexandrian is justification for this prodigious output. But with their patron's fall from grace, alas their labors have vanished with the sources. Fragments of the corpus have been recovered in the 20th century (Toura/Tura in Egypt, ca. 20 miles south of Cairo, in 1941), others have been reassigned (74 homilies on the Psalms once attributed to Jerome have been restored to Origen by Vittorio Peri of the Vatican Library), but the bulk of this prolific church father's thought has disappeared—perhaps lost forever. All the more reason for caution in weighing the man, his theology and his influence. In the main, McGuckin's team displays this cautious irenicism that has marked the scholarly investigation of Origen since 1950. In that year, Henri de Lubac launched a new wave of Origen studies with a single remark: "Observe Origen at his work." Note, not "Observe Origen's reputation" (i.e., what others have said about him), but penetrate Origen's work—his corpus. And in a crescendo that has echoed and reechoed through the modern patristic revival, Origen's commentaries on the Bible have begun to be plundered in unparalleled fashion. Robert Wilken's, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God (2003) is indicative of this positive reconsideration of the fathers. It is not as philosophers per se4 or apologists (even philosophical apologists) per se that the fathers remain relevant, but as interpreters of Scripture. In the last half-century, we have been reminded (why did we ever forget?) that the fathers of the church were first of all lovers of the inspired Word of God. Here is Origen's own declaration of theopneustos (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16): "if the Holy Spirit has dictated them [the Scriptures] with a scrupulous accuracy by the mediation of the servants of the word . . . then the wisdom of God reaches the whole of scripture to the very last word" (Philocalia 2.4). And again: "the Scriptures themselves are divine, i.e., were inspired by the Spirit of God" (De Principiis 4.1).

Such pre-critical 'ignorance' could only be regarded as 'unenlightened' in an era dominated by philosophy (i.e., 18th-20th centuries when the gospel was recast in the guise of Rationalism, German Idealism, Existentialism and Linguistic Analysis). But Origen reminds us, in principle, of the Protestant formal principle—sola Scriptura. And having asked to be evaluated by that principle, all lovers of Scripture may judge Origen by his own canon. Where he falls short, he may be corrected, even rejected; where he displays the mind of God in Christ Jesus, he may be warmly embraced.

"He who was in the form of God emptied Himself, that His name might be as ointment emptied out, that He might no longer dwell only in light unapproachable and abide in the form of God; but that the Word might be made flesh, and so these maiden souls at the beginning of their progress might not only love Him, but might draw Him to themselves. For every soul draws and receives to itself the Word of God according to the measure of its capacity and faith. But when souls have thus drawn the Word of God to themselves, and have ingrafted Him into their minds and understandings, and have experienced the pleasantness of His sweetness and odour, when they have received the fragrance of His ointments and have grasped at last the reason for His coming, the motives of the Redemption and Passion, and the love whereby He, the Immortal, went 'even to the death of the cross' for the salvation of all men, then these maiden souls, attracted by all this as by the odours of a divine and ineffable perfume and being filled with vigour and complete alacrity, run after Him and hasten to the odour of His sweetness, not at a slow pace, nor with lagging steps, but swiftly and with all the speed they can" (ACW 26:75-76).

Origen's Life

McGuckin's superb synopsis of Origen's career benefits from the major biographies of Jean Daniélou (1948/1955), Pierre Nautin (1977), Joseph Trigg (1983), Henri Crouzel (1985/1988), as well as innumerable specialty studies.

McGuckin passes over the slur suggested by Epiphanius (Origen was "by race an Egyptian") to concur with the learned consensus that Origen was born in Alexandria about 185/186 A.D. This is seventeen years prior to the persecution unleashed on Christians by the Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211) in 202. Origen's father fell victim to this persecution. The fact that Leonides was beheaded indicates his social prominence in the (Roman) Egyptian world. Martyrdom meant confiscation of property by the state treasury, so that the fatherless firstborn son was now the sole provider for his mother and six brothers. Accordingly, Origen launched a grammar school in Alexandria and quickly gained prominence as a Grammatikos. Origen's intellectual interests (and gifts) are evident even in these critical teenage years. His father had urged him to memorize the Scriptures (LXX) as a child and this, in part, may have commended him to Bishop Demetrios/Demetrius of Alexandria (d. ca. 232). At age eighteen (ca. 203), he became a catechist in the church at Alexandria. Contra Eusebius, McGuckin cautions that this does not make him the successor of Clement of Alexandria (ca. 160-215) in the catechetical school. In fact, the question of whether Origen was a student of Clement or just a "fellow Churchman" remains undetermined. Intellectual (i.e., rhetorical) and spiritual factors are integral to Origen's personality by the time he is twenty years of age.

Into this emerging portrait enters the shadowy figure of a 'Hebrew' or Jewish Christian in Alexandria. Does this Hebrew mentor impact Origen's thinking before or after his pursuit of 'philosophy'? That Origen studies philosophy in the schools of Alexandria is not doubted. But did he come to philosophy based on his faith; or did philosophy become the vehicle of his nascent faith? The question is of no small importance in Origen's development. Most patristic texts argue that Origen is a philosopher first and a Christian second; at least, they imply that Origen was dominated by philosophy more than Scripture. This unfortunate polarization is reminiscent of the perennial faith versus reason debate. For most, Origen favors reason, philosophically defined. However, the Scripture memorization and the catechetical tutoring argue the primacy of faith (or at least, the integration of faith and reason synthetically). Mark Edwards has suggested that for Origen "knowledge must rest on faith" (Origen Against Plato, 19). The mysterious Hebrew tutor may therefore be regarded as more influential than the schools of the philosophers whom Origen eventually visited. And that reinforces Harnack's famous remark about Origen: "there has never been a theologian in the church who was so exclusively a Biblical exegete." The 'actuality' of Origen from his childhood is dominated by the divinely-inspired Scriptures, not philosophy.

Even McGuckin is forced to admit that "he was driven, perhaps above all else, by his close reading of the Scriptures" (p. 5, n. 32). While reconstructing Origen as a Middle Platonist, scholars run up against the adamantine Origen, i.e., he is a biblicist not a sophist. If philosophy is pursued, it is for apologetical or antithetical purposes. Mark Edwards is the leader of a small group of Origen contrarians—they are absolutely persuaded he is not a Platonist (Middle, Neo- or otherwise). And they are absolutely persuaded that Origen is fundamentally an exegete.

Then why does Origen enroll or frequent the schools of the philosophers? and specifically, the school of Ammonius Saccas, the Platonist teacher of Plotinus, founder of Neoplatonism? Again, Mark Edwards, who argues (JEH 44/2 [1993]: 169-81) that scholars have failed to distinguish two Ammoniuses in Alexandria (one a pagan and one a Christian), as well as two Origens (one a pagan and one a Christian).5 The Christian Ammonius is the tutor of the Christian Origen; hence Origen was not a pupil in the (pagan) school of Ammonius Saccas. In the article on "Philosophy" in our handbook, David Runia agrees (p. 172). Porphyry, biographer and promoter of Plotinus, states that "Origen" was "always consorting with Plato." This does not describe Origen, the Christian. The latter's familiarity with Plato is not in question—only why he was familiar with Plato. The answer is a plain as it is straightforward: to confute and refute pagan Hellenistic philosophy. Origen trumps pagan systems of philosophy with "our Philosophy," i.e., Christianity. True philosophy is what has been revealed in Scripture and supremely in the Logos—Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Before continuing our outline of Origen's life, we must address the notorious tale of his self-mutilation or castration. This apocryphal tidbit has been the favorite of anti-Origenists for centuries and is still regarded as credible by Crouzel, of all people! Even the inveterate Origen hater, Epiphanius, confesses the report may be a myth. But the most damning indictment of this misrepresentation comes from a primary document—Origen's Commentary on Matthew (15.1-5). Origen here rejects the literal meaning of Matthew 19:12 commenting instead that the 'eunuch' is one not titillated by evil.6 It is therefore inconceivable that he could literally apply the passage to himself when "only an idiot would consider" actual self-mutilation the directive of Christ (McGuckin, p. 6).

The conflict with his bishop, Demetrios, is therefore not due to extremism. McGuckin suggests that it arises from jealousy over the recognition Origen amasses. As a sidelight, episcopacy in third century Alexandria is described as a recent innovation. Prior to the Severan persecution (202), Alexandria was the locus of only presbyters (with one, perhaps, primus inter pars). Persecution was the catalyst for the emergence of a monarchical episcopate in Egypt as it was in Carthage under Cyprian (ca. 200-258). But now, the singular power of the episcopal chair in Alexandria was liable to threat from a rising intellectual star. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

Origen relinquished his school to his (at the time) friend Heraclas in order to become an itinerant Didaskalos ('Teacher'). He also began work on the first Christian systematic theology text, Peri Archôn (=De Principiis="First Principles")7. He then embarked upon a sojourn to the (foreign) schools of the philosophers. Perhaps the episcopal temperature in Alexandria was becoming too hot for the budding theologian. About 212, he disembarked in Rome where he visited the Sophists, reportedly heard Hippolytus (ca. 170-236) preach and encountered 'Pope' Zephyrinus (ca. 198-217). Back to Egypt, only to be summoned to (Roman) Arabia (=Jordan) the following year (213) by a prefect interested in learning about Christianity firsthand from an 'expert'. This was likely the initial occasion on which he visited the sacred sites of the Old and New Testaments (his reflections on etymologies and locations have been invaluable to commentators through the years). Back to Egypt, only to leave again when Emperor Antoninus Caracalla (211-217) ordered the massacre of students in Alexandria who had mocked or insulted him (215). Origen returned to Palestine, settled in Caesarea and began to duplicate the famous library at Alexandria. Between trips as a peripatetic 'book collector', he was invited to deliver "discourses" on Scripture by Bishop Theoctis (d. ca. 260) of Caesarea and Bishop Alexander (fl. 202-250) of Jerusalem. McGuckin notes that the "discourses" (some have suggested "public lectures") may not technically have been sermons, since preaching was reserved to ordained clergy and Origen was as yet a layman. But Bishop Demetrios of Alexandria was not amenable to the "fine line" articulated by his eastern counterparts. He protested Origen's usurping the place of the ordained clergy. The eastern bishops were not cowed by their Egyptian peer and justified Origen's addresses as "good" for the people.

Why was Demetrios alarmed? Perhaps the long-simmering jealousy was a factor. That seems more likely than McGuckin's speculations. Demetrios was concerned about Origen's "theological speculations and exegesis" (p. 10), alleges our editor. But then we learn from McGuckin that "what Demetrios's real objections were has not survived in the written record." Strange! McGuckin resorts to what he alleges Demetrios does. He guesses—speculates about motive—without one shred of documentary evidence.

Origen obeyed the summons from his home bishop to return to Alexandria. With him, he carried a Hebrew scroll found in an earthen jar near Jericho. The latter would be incorporated into his justly famous Hexapla; and it has led to suggestions that Origen tapped the Dead Sea Scrolls before their discovery in 1947. Encouraged by his wealthy patron, Ambrose, whom he had converted from Valentinian Gnosticism, Origen set to work with his seven stenographers. But Demetrios harried him still.

In 231/232, Origen left Alexandria for good.8 The date is also the tenth year of the Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235). Origen first goes to Athens, perhaps to buy books for the library at Caesarea.9 On arrival once more in that burgeoning cultural and religious center, Bishops Theoctis and Alexander ordained him a presbyter. Perhaps, as McGuckin suggests, the furor over Origen's doctrine of apokatastasis arose from this period. The Greek word means "restoration". Origen was accused of teaching universal salvation for all moral creatures, including the Devil. His protests in the Letter to his Friends in Alexandria10 fell on deaf ears then as they have been ignored down through the centuries. It remains a standard textbook misrepresentation of Origen's position. But "Origen had explicitly insisted that the devil would not be saved" (Frederick Norris, "Apokatastasis," p. 61).11

Bishop Demetrios responded by convening the first known Egyptian Synod in Alexandria (231/232). The purpose was to condemn Origen and negate his ordination. The condemnation was ratified in Rome, but rejected in Palestine, Syria, Greece and Arabia. Origen remained the favorite of the church east (and north) of the Nile.

Ordination in hand, books increasing on the shelves, Origen proceeds to establish a Christian school at Caesarea. Here Alexandrian culture as it were replicates itself: Christianity flourishes; Hellenistic philosophy possesses a part of the intellectual community; and a school of the rabbis fosters Jewish exegesis destined to be gathered into the Mishnah. The interface of all these stimuli fosters the (later) Byzantine cultural mandate, i.e., Christian institutions such as schools and libraries (as well as churches) promoting the mission of the church in the culture.

Origen was busy preaching every Wednesday and Friday in Caesarea. Eusebius alleges he refused to permit the sermons to be copied down until he was 60 years old (the homilies on Luke excepted). Thus, the sermonic remains of Origen date from the final decade of his life and represent his mature preaching, content and style. This idyllic life was violently disrupted in 235. In that year, the Emperor Alexander Severus was murdered by members of the Roman army and Maximus Thrax ("the Thracian") was elevated to the throne. Maximus (235-238) inaugurated a pogrom against the friends of his predecessor. Christians who were caught in the drag net were executed on account of their (former) ties to the imperial family, not on account of their Christianity. Origen went into hiding, no doubt because of his prominence as a Christian leader in the Severan era. The Eastern Church argues that the 'Augustine' of the third century sojourned in Cappadocia to escape the imperial wrath. McGuckin argues (persuasively) for closeting in Caesarea proper. In any event, Origen went underground for the duration of the three-year blood letting (235-238).

With the death of Maximus, Origen traveled to Athens once more where he spent considerable time writing: his Commentary on Ezekiel was completed here (between 238 and 244) and his remarkable Commentary on the Song of Solomon (Jerome regarded it as his finest work) was begun here. Back in Caesarea, he enjoyed relative tranquility through the reign of Emperor Philip the Arab (244-249). But Decius's assassination of his predecessor unleashed the infamous Decian persecution of the church (249-251). As the most prominent eastern theologian, Origen was arrested about 250 and tortured. He was stretched on the rack, locked in the "iron collar" and harangued to repudiate his faith in Christ. The goal of his tormentors was a prominent apostate, not a dead martyr. They failed, but the racked and pummeled body of aged Origen was crippled permanently. Though released with the death of Decius on the succession of the Emperor Trebonianus Gallus (251-253), Origen was alleged to have died from his ordeal in 252. Eusebius (EH 7.1) indicates that he was 69 years old at death. This places the event ca. 255—beyond the end of Gallus's reign. McGuckin presents the more likely case for Origen's demise in 254, i.e., early in the reign of the Emperor Valerian (253-260).

The sleep of death put Origen beyond the reach of his tormentors, but not beyond the animus of his detractors. Perhaps history (and our handbook) is balancing the record at last.

Two Articles

The 77 articles that follow (pp. 49-218) address specific aspects of Origen's thought. We will sample two: "Scriptural Interpretation" (pp. 193-97) and "Trinitarianism" (pp. 207-9). Both articles address vexed issues in Origenism.

Origen was prolific. He wrote commentaries on nearly all the books of the Bible. And he preached—hundreds of sermons on the Bible. The bulk of this corpus is lost, but enough has survived to delineate the mind of the Alexandrian interpreter. Our article posits the standard (allegedly Pauline) tension in Origen between spirit and letter. The literal sense, or most basic and elementary meaning of the text, is superseded by the spiritual (or mystical) reading. This dichotomy sounds strangely Gnostic—doubly strange in being assigned to the radically anti-Gnostic Origen. Our article proceeds to assign this twofold distinction (literal/spiritual) to Greek trichotomist psychology (man consists of body, soul and spirit). But then our author acknowledges that "Origen himself does not rigidly apply a tripartite system" in his exegesis. Strange again! Has Origen forgotten himself or is the modern scholar not penetrating deeply enough into the profound mind of Origen. In other words, Origen suggests a threefold hermeneutic, but does not follow through. Scholars "find it difficult to grasp what Origen meant." Indeed! Perhaps scholars should cease reading Origen through their biased Platonic glasses, discard their theory (which by their own admission makes no sense out of Origen) and look elsewhere for resolution in Origen's biblical hermeneutic.

Next our article brings in "allegory" as the solution to the beyond-the-literal (i.e., spiritual) meaning of the text. Comparing the article on "Allegory" (pp. 49-50) in our handbook, we learn that history is meaningless to Origen. For is that not what allegory, a la Pilgrim's Progress, is—ahistorical? Strange again, for the third time! This Alexandrian who labors over the historical accuracy of the Word of God—even becomes the early church's premier textual critic in order to establish the history of the original text—allegedly dissolves all real meaning in Scripture to "allegory."12 A real historical student of a real historical Savior abandons real historical identification for "allegory". Surely, this is a fundamental misreading of the Scripture and of Origen.

In fact, we have here the application of critical-fundamentalist canons to Origen's hermeneutics. The proper reading of the Bible, according to enlightened critics, is to find no supernatural meaning in it, to reduce it to the religious philosophy/ideas/feelings of the Jews or Christians and to deconstruct it in the image of modern and post-modern man. On the contrary, "allegory" is Origen's way of understanding what F.F. Bruce labeled 'this is that' or what Herman Ridderbos categorized as 'promise/fulfillment'. In other words, any New Testament writer indicating the meaning of an Old Testament text is as guilty of "allegory" as Origen. No modern Biblical critic will allow this. The text of the Bible has no other meaning than the bare letter contextualized to its time (and that era only as reconstructed by modern scientific/philosophical methods). This asinine and arrogant elitism infects even those who read the Fathers. Any "higher sense" or "spiritual meaning" or "Christian (i.e., "in Christ") identification" is anathema. Thus the caricatures—allegorizing, precritical reading, typologizing, etc.—hurled at Origen.

A very slight shift from the rationalistic approach to Origen and the Fathers is beginning to reveal the crack in this (hermeneutical) monolith. We can only encourage the widening of the crack and the collapse of the edifice so that an accurate reading of the hermeneutics of the Fathers may rise from the rubble. That day may be approaching.13 Scholars are actually reading Origen's Biblical materials (at last!), not imposing their philosophical agendas upon him. Our article has not graduated to that liberation as yet, but it evidences some discomfort with the traditional analysis of Origen's hermeneutic. Note, the church has "an historical link to ancient Israel;" but perhaps this too is merely "allegory" as per the initial article in our handbook.

What our article overlooks and omits is Origen's Christocentric exegesis and interpretation.14 This alone would be grounds for Origen saying to our author, "You have not even begun to understand how I think—how I interpret divine revelation! For me, all divine revelation brings me to Christ Jesus, my Savior."

And there is the rub. Few modern scholars believe in revelation—that God in heaven actually speaks from his eternal mind and arena into time and space history. The Kantian revolution has made such a pre-critical presupposition unenlightened, turned on its head by autonomous subjectivism, i.e., 'revelation' is an 'inner human phenomenon', not an objective from-without phenomenon. But praise God, Origen was born before 1784. He believed in supernatural revelation, an objective communication from God himself to the creature, manifest in time and space but drawing the recipient/the hearer into the spiritual dimension of the mind and heart of God. This is the reason his exegesis searches out the mind of Christ, the life of Christ, the Christocentric meaning in the text of Scripture ("Christ was the word of God in Moses and the prophets," Preface, De Principiis). In fact, this is quite simply what he means by the 'spiritual' sense. It is the meaning of the text that draws the believer into the life of God through his Son by the illumination of his Spirit (precisely this is the point of his commentary and homilies on the Song of Solomon). That is why the literal meaning is insufficient for Origen; it is only the stepping-stone to the revealed mind and life of God in the Son. Call it typology; call it figural exegesis; call it whatever—Origen wants to have the mind of God which was in Christ Jesus in his mind (and heart).

How Origen must yearn for the day when modern scholars will read his biblical materials unshackled by the rationalistic methodology that has blinded theological studies from the late 17th century to the present. The 'scientific method' makes all the Biblical writers as well as the church Fathers little Kantians, Hegelians, Bultmannians, whateverians. Origen demands/deserves to be read without modernist, anti-supernatural, anti-revelational presuppositions.

Finally, Origen's doctrine of the Trinity has been controverted since Athanasius championed his formulation against the Arians. Modern scholars (especially R.P.C. Hanson) have continued the controversy. Our handbook's article on the issue is keenly aware of the advocacy for Origen by pro-Nicene and anti-Nicene elements in the history of the church. But our article leaves Origen in more of a muddle than Origen himself leaves us.

There is one God, not three gods or many gods, according to Origen. There are three persons in this one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Origen labels these three persons hypostases ("we consider therefore that there are three hypostases, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," Commentary on John, 2.6; ANF 10:328). Later orthodoxy will equate persona ("person") with hypostasis; Origen anticipates that equation. The Son of God is as eternal as the Father (and the Holy Spirit): "never at any time non-existent" (De Principiis 1.2.9; ANF 4:249).15 Co-eternality means deity: "he remains always ("at all times") God" (Commentary on John, 2.2; ANF 10:323). Does this constitute the Son one substance (in Greek, homoousios) with the Father?16 Origen's commentary on Hebrews (according to Rufinus's Latin translation of passages from Origen's lost work cited in Pamphilus's Apology) states: "Concerning the books of the epistle to the Hebrews, how the Son is homoousios with the Father, i.e., one substance with the Father, but different (alien) from the substance of the creature."17 Surely, this is proto-Nicene language and Athanasius is vindicated in his interpretation of his Alexandrian predecessor. Arius and all modern neo-Arians (Hanson) may cavil that Origen belongs to them, but the primary documents (read in an unbiased manner) repudiate their claim. Even our handbook concludes: "the development of Trinitarian theology in all parts of the church over the two centuries following him did little other than develop the schema he himself had first sketched out" (p. 209). That should suffice to commend Origen as himself essentially orthodox to orthodox believers and scholars.


1 John A. McGuckin, ed. The Westminster Handbook to Origen. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2004. 228 pp. Paper. ISBN: 0-664-22472-5. $34.95.

2 The Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople is also known as the 'Three Chapters' Council. Extracts of the acts and sentences are found in NPNF2 14:297-323. The anathemas against Origen appear on pages 318-20.

3 Book 6 of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History (EH) is devoted to Origen; cf. NPNF2 1:249-92. McGuckin notes the other extant biographical sources: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Panegyric; Pamphilus, Apology for Origen; Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 5; Epiphanius, Panarion, 64; Photius, Bibliotheca.

4 "So, then, the Bride of Christ enquires for His noonday resting-places and asks God for the plenitude of knowledge, lest she appear to be as one of the schools of the philosophers, which are said to be veiled, because with them the plenitude of truth is hidden and veiled. But the Bride of Christ says: 'But we behold the glory of God with open face,'" Origen: The Song of Songs, Commentary and Homilies (Ancient Christian Writers, v. 26), trans. R.P. Lawson (New York, NY: Newman Press, 1957) 127; hereafter ACW 26.

5 This is an echo of the opinion of August Neander, General History of the Christian Religion and Church (Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1852) 1:698, n. 1.

6 PG 13:1254-67. Compare, "I think that this same Ethiopian eunuch is said to be a eunuch because, 'He made himself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven,' or even because he had in himself no seed of wickedness" (ACW 26:104).

7 The first four books were finished between 220 and 230.

8 McGuckin disagrees with those who date Origen's final departure to 234. He also maintains that Origen was ordained a priest in Caesarea at this time (231/232).

9 McGuckin reverses the order recorded by Eusebius, EH 6.23.

10 Found in Rufinus, Liber de adulteratione librorum Origenis (PG 17.624-26).

11 Norris cannot resist his own un-Origenistic theologizing by adding—how on earth does he know?!—that 'pastoral' Origen would have left the question of the final salvation of the damned 'open' on account of the love and benevolence of God. Poor Origen! He is still conformed to the image of those who want him to fit their agendas.

12 "The actual term allhgoria is not used so frequently in Origen," writes J.N.B. Carleton Paget, "Christian Exegesis in the Alexandrian Tradition," in Magne Saebo, ed., Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, Volume I, From the Beginnings to the Middle Ages (Until 1300) (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996) 526, n. 286.

13 Cf. the work of John David Dawson, Mark Edwards, Joseph Lienhard and Karen Torjesen.

14 "[T]he things delivered through Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself [have] been set in true gold and in solid silver. For this likeness of gold with silver inlays, made by the friends of the Bridegroom [S.S 1:11-12], is not permitted to last for ever; its time is fixed for it by the speakers themselves as being 'till the King recline at His table.' For when He has laid Him down and slept 'as a lion and as a lion's whelp,' and afterwards the Father has aroused Him, and He has risen from the dead, if then there be such as have been made conformable to His resurrection, they will continue no longer in the likeness of gold, that is, in the pursuit of bodily things, but will receive true gold from Him. For what they seek and hope for is not things visible, but things invisible; not things on earth, but things in heaven where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God" (ACW 26:155).

15 "For we do not say, as the heretics suppose . . . that there once was a time when He [the Son of God] did not exist" (De Principiis 4.1.28; ANF 4:376).

16 The Latin text of Origen, In Canticum Canticorum (translated by Rufinus) reads: Idem namque ipse, qui ibi Trinitas propter distinctionem personarum, hic unus Deus intelligitur pro unitate substantiae ("For that which in the former place is understood of the Trinity because of the distinction of Persons, is here understood as the One God by reason of the unity of Substance," ACW 26:226). For the Latin text, cf. W.A. Baehrens, Homilien zu Samuel I, zum Hohelied und zu den Propheten, Kommentar zum Hohelied in Rufinus und Hieronymus' Übersetzungen (Origenes Werke, vol. 8 [Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1925) 214. This may be compared with PG 13:177.

17 Latin translation by this author from the citation in M.J. Edwards, "Did Origen Apply the Word Homoousios to the Son?" JTS 49/2 (October 1998): 639.