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.
The purpose of the volume is to explore how specific historical and socio-cultura conditions of late antiquity shaped the development of Christian thought.
The authors of the volume analyse various aspects of these conditions, particularly those of a textual and institutional nature, as they are reflected in the hermeneutic and philosophical principles of Christian discourse. This focus sheds new light on unexplored features of Christian literature, such as the influence of manuscript culture, early church institutions and practices, exegetical techniques, and philosophical curricula.