Origen and the History of Justification: The Legacy of Origen's Commentary on Romans

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University of Notre Dame Press, Apr 1, 2008 - Religion - 297 pages
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Standard accounts of the history of interpretation of Paulís Letter to the Romans often begin with St. Augustine. As Thomas P. Scheck demonstrates, however, theCommentary on the Epistle to the Romansby Origen of Alexandria (185-254 CE) was a major work of Pauline exegesis which, by means of the Latin translation preserved in the West, had a significant influence on the Christian exegetical tradition.†

Scheck begins by exploring Origenís views on justification and on the intimate connection of faith and post-baptismal good works as essential to justification. He traces the enormous influence Origenís Commentary on Romans had on later theologians in the Latin West, including the ways in which theologians often appropriated Origenís exegesis in their own work. Scheck analyzes in particular the reception of Origen by Pelagius, Augustine, William of St. Thierry, Erasmus, Cornelius Jansen, the Anglican Bishop Richard Montagu, and the Catholic lay apologist John Heigham, as well as Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, and other Protestant Reformers who harshly attacked Origenís interpretation as fatally flawed. But as Scheck shows, theologians through the post-Reformation controversies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries studied and engaged Origen extensively, even if not always in agreement. † An important work in patristics, biblical interpretation, and historical theology,Origen and the History of Justificationestablishes the formative role played by Origenís Pauline exegesis, while also contributing to our understanding of the theological issues surrounding justification in the western Christian tradition. † ďThomas Scheck'sOrigen and the History of Justificationis first of all invaluable for increasing readers' exposure to a primary text of an exegete and theologian who will always be very relevant for the churchóOrigen. Second, this work is invaluable for presenting all sides of the debate today on the meaning of justification. All who weigh in on the doctrine of justification must consult this work in order to understand the seismic quakes that still affect Christians' balance on this issue. And third, since this book focuses on Origen'sRomanscommentary, it must be read by all Romans students who want to be able to discern the magnetic fields that still powerfully pull readers of Paul's letter in different directions.Ē óMark Reasoner, Bethel University † ďThe interpretation of Paulís Letter to the Romans has been a central and continuing preoccupation in the western Christian tradition. Origenís contribution to its interpretation was seminal, subtle, and suggestive. But the expansiveness of OrigenísCommentary on Romans, combined with later controversies about Origenís views, appears to have inhibited scholars from tracing the reception of Origenís commentary in the West. Thomas P. Scheckís book ably and admirably remedies this oversight.ď óTheodore de Bruyn, University of Ottawa † ďThomas Scheck demonstrates the range of Origen's influence and establishes his as the real alternative to the Augustinian understanding of the divine operation in Christians. His study raises again the questions posed by Robert O'Connell of Augustine's appropriation of and dissent from Origen. In each chapter, Scheck both reports and advances the existing scholarship on Origen's influence.Ē óPatout Burns, Vanderbilt Divinity School † †

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Chapter 2
Augustines Reception of Origens Exegesis of Romans

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Aldus Manutius Aleander Ambrosiaster apostle Arminianism assertion Augus Augustine Augustine's Augustinian Bammel baptism Basilides believe Cassiodorus Catholic Centuries of Magdeburg chapter Christ Christian Chrysos Church Church Fathers circumcision cited comment on Rom commentary condemnation Contra Celsum Cornelius Jansen Council of Trent divine divine grace Epistle Erasmus Erasmus of Rotterdam Erasmus's Esau evil exegesis of Romans exegetical faith alone Fathers fide Fifth Ecumenical Council flesh gen's Gentiles gift Gnostic God handed God's gospel grace Greek Gregory of Nazianzus Heither heresy heretical Holy Spirit human interpretation of Paul interpretation of Rom Irenaeus iustitiae Jacques Merlin Jerome Jesuit Jesus Jews John Colet Judaism justification by faith Latin law and gospel Luther Lutheran Manichaean Marcion Marcionite Marsilio Ficino Melanchthon merit Merlin Migne Mosaic law NPNF ofOrigen's Origen Origen and Pelagius Origen says Origen's CRm Origen's doctrine Origen's exegesis Origen's interpretation Origen's Pauline original sin passage patristic patrologist Paul's Pauline exegesis peccatum Pelag Pelagian Pelagius Pelagius's Peter Lombard Pope Gelasius postbaptismal predestination prevenient grace Protestant Reformation quod Rabil Richard Montagu righteousness Romans Rufinus Rufinus's Sadoleto salvation scholasticism Scripture Sedulius Scottus seems semi-Pelagian sola fide soul Spirit synecdoche Tertullian theologians theological tion Valentinus Verfaillie virtues William William of St words writes

About the author (2008)

Thomas P. Scheckis assistant professor in pastoral theology at Ave Maria University. He is the first English translator of Rufinusís Latin edition of OrigenísCommentary on the Epistle to the Romans.

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