With this publication, English readers now have available to them the complete homilies of Origen of Alexandria on the book of Joshua. These homilies were among the last Origen gave before his torture and death during the Decian persecution, around 254.
With the saga of the Israelites entering and possessing their promised land, Origen unfolds the story of the Christian life from baptism to resurrection. He exhorts his hearers to persevere in their own struggles to overcome the enemies of their souls and obtain their own inheritance. Their leader is Jesus, the Son of God, who is prefigured in Jesus (Joshua), the son of Nun. All battles, victories, and defeats happen within the individual; all aspects of the Law and temple become but shadows of the fulfilling work of God in Jesus Christ. The story brims with allegory and passion, a passion for the people and for their priests who, "standing near the blazing fire of the altar, " must illumine the path for others.
As Origen exhorted, others wrote down his words, words he had asked the people to pray for and the Spirit to supply. Most of the original writings in Greek were lost during the centuries when Origen was officially defamed. What we have today is the Latin translation by Rufinus, the basis of the translation in this volume. In the Introduction, Barbara J. Bruce discusses and affirms the reliability of the Latin text, and briefly looks at Origen's ministry, his concept of the nature of Scripture, and his method of interpretation.
Those who recognize the value of praying the Scripture through lectio divina, those who want to understand more about early Christianity, and those who seek to borrow fire from an elder brother willfind flashes of insight in this new volume.