Origen: Homilies 1-14 on Ezekiel
Before he launched into his own career as an interpreter of Scripture, St. Jerome (345-420) was encouraged by St. Gregory Nazianzen to immerse himself in the writings of the Greek Fathers and especially in those of Origen of Alexandria (185-254), considered to be the most important ancient exegete. Jerome strove to assimilate Origen┐s hermeneutical perspective and make it his own, translating several of Origen┐s works into Latin. The Homilies on Ezekiel were among the most important of St. Jerome┐s translations. In these homilies Origen endeavors to show his audience in the church of Caesarea how the text of Ezekiel points to and prefigures Jesus Christ and the church. Following in the footsteps of St. Paul (Rom 15.4: ┐For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction┐┐) and Hebrews (10.1: ┐For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come┐┐), Origen looks for the reality of Christ symbolized in the shadowy words of the prophet Ezekiel. The result is a deeply moving, reverent, and edifying exposition of the Old Testament prophet in a manner that doubtless would have been received with pleasure by St. Paul himself. The homilies are of intrinsic interest on important Christian themes such as persecution and martyrdom, purification, justification, progress, Church unity, God┐s passionate love for humanity, Catholic versus heretical doctrine, and freedom of the will. The present volume offers the first published English translation of the fourteen homilies, along with Jerome┐s preface.
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