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 illuminate 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 will find flashes of insight in this new volume.
Barbara J. Bruce is Adjunct Professor at the M. Christopher White School of Divinity, Gardner-Webb University. Cynthia White is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Arizona.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
“Barbara Bruce and Cynthia White have placed students of Origen in their debt by providing us with a translation of Origen’s very important homilies. The significance of these brief sermons is increased when we remember the difficult OT text they explicate.”?Thomas P. Scheck, Adamantius
“In her expert and elegant introduction, translator Barbara J. Bruce succinctly covers an array of issues relating to Origen’s approach to the biblical text, the place of these homilies in his life and career, the varying appraisals and reappraisals to which Origen and his work have been subjected, and the value of Rufinus’s work as witness to Origen’s original. Bruce’s careful and cautious judgment that Rufinus can in general be relied upon is crucial to the entire enterprise represented by this volume. Her well-phrased and annotated translation should appeal to specialists and general readers alike.”?Leonard J. Greenspoon, Religious Studies Review
“The Latin text is rendered in a solid, unambiguous English, and the notes are helpful and clear. The introduction is informative, briefly discussing Origen’s life, his career, his publications, the reception of his writings, and Rufinus’ work as translator.”?Michael Kaler, Laval Theologique et Philosophique
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