Thursday, October 25, 2012

Origen, Homilies & Hermeneutics

"While he was not the first Christian to write commentaries on the books of the Bible, the scope of his achievements in this area was unmatched in the ancient Church. His are not the earliest Christian homilies preserved, but the size of the corpus of his homilies makes them the earliest that can be studied in breadth and depth. They reveal him as an accomplished preacher of the Bible and a concerned pastor of the Church. He seems, moreover, to have been the first Christian to conceptualize the hermeneutical process. He devotes a large portion of the fourth book of On First Principles to how the Bible should be interpreted. This issue is also raised in his homilies.5 His approach to the Bible prevailed in the Church among both his followers and his antagonists for centuries. Beryl Smalley has said, "To write a history of Origenist influence on the west would be tantamount to writing a history of western exegesis.6"
Origen, "Homilies on Genesis and Exodus." Page 2.

5. See, for examples, Ex. Hom. 5.1.
6. The Study of the Bible in the Middles Ages, 2nd ed. 1952 (reprint ed. Notre Dame, In., 1964), 14.

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