Spiritual Life and Philosophical Reason: Features of Philosophical Exegesis in Origen’s Commentary on John

In: Christian Discourse in Late Antiquity
Author:
Alfons Fürst
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Abstract

Origen’s Commentary on John is one of the most impressive monuments of the combination of exegesis and philosophy in early Christianity. The philosophical exegesis displayed therein consists, first, of a hermeneutical and methodological approach by which the interpretation of a text is organized; secondly, of a philosophical analysis of the notions and concepts in the text; and thirdly, of a metaphysics of freedom by which Origen contributed substantially to the development of Western philosophy. In the present article, attention is drawn to these aspects by means of a close reading of the first two books of the Commentary on John. I maintain that Origen drew on the philological techniques and philosophical developments in Hellenistic and Roman Alexandria, and, in so doing, inaugurated a pattern of Christian exegesis and philosophy that bolstered the formation of Christian discourse in Late Antiquity.

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Christian Discourse in Late Antiquity

Hermeneutical, institutional and textual perspectives

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