Info

exegesis of Philo Judaeus.67 His major works are the Protrepticus ('Exhortation to the Greeks'), intended to convert pagans to Christianity, the Paeda-gogus ('Christ the educator'), a hortatory work addressed to Christians, and the Stromata ('Miscellanies'), intended for 'Gnostic' Christians who wish to go beyond simple faith and attain to a higher knowledge.68 Clement takes over the term 'Gnostic' from the heretics, and distinguishes between 'true' and 'false' gnosis.69

Origen, to whom Eusebius dedicates most of book 6 of his Historia ecclesi-astica, was born in 185 or 186, reared as a Christian, and given a good education. Upon the martyrdom of his father Leonides in 202, he became a teacher (didaskalos) to support his family. Later he was given the patronage of a wealthy Christian woman, and drew many to his lectures. One of the most prolific writers of antiquity, Origen devoted all of his writings to the promotion of Christian faith, and can be regarded as the greatest scholar and theologian of the ancient church. He travelled and lectured widely, and, after a falling out with bishop Demetrius, left Alexandria for good around 234 for Caesarea, where he became even more productive. Imprisoned and tortured during the Decian persecution, he died in Tyre sometime after 251.70

Like Clement, Origen was a Platonist and was heavily influenced by Philo in his scriptural exegesis.71 Most of his writings are exegetical (commentaries, homilies); his most important commentary, the one on John, was begun in Alexandria and completed in Caesarea. His impressive synopsis of the Old Testament (the Hexapla written in columns with the Hebrew text plus Greek translations by Aquila, Symmachus, the LXX, Theodotion and two others), of which only fragments remain, was a masterpiece of Alexandrian text-critical work.72 His work Deprincipiis ('On first principles'), composed in Alexandria, marks Origen as the church's first systematic theologian. His greatest apologetic work is his treatise Contra Celsum (Against Celsus'), composed towards the end of his life in Caesarea. His Trinitarian theology and his Christology were especially influentual in the subsequent development of Alexandrian theology. More controversial was his doctrine of the pre-existence (but not transmigration!) of the human soul. Much of Origen's huge output is lost,

67 Van den Hoek, Clement of Alexandria; Runia, Philo, 132-56.

68 Other works of Clement are listed in the bibliography of primary sources (p. 596). On lost writings see Euseb. HE 6.13.1-3. On Clement see Méhat, 'Clemens'.

69 Méhat, "Vraie" et "fausse" gnose'.

70 On Origen see Williams, 'Orígenes'; Nautin, Origene; Crouzel, Origen.

71 Runia, Philo, 157-83.

72 On this work see esp. Nautin, Origene, 303-361. Origen may have expanded an already existingJewish synopsis (Nautin, Origene, 333-41).

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment