Saturday, March 15, 2008

Amazon review: Origen: An Exortation to Martyrdom, Prayer, and Selected Works

"Origen is not an easy thinker. Condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council for his differing views on the resurrection, the pre-existence of souls, and universalism, he was heavily influenced by Platonic and gnostic thought. However, his views were influential in the early church (anyone who has been condemned by an ecumenical council has certainly had influence) and he and his views likewise offer insights into a transitional period in the early church.

Since Origen is not easy to grasp, the preface and introduction in this volume are helpful for understanding what follows. The introduction is concise, well-written, and easy to follow.

Some volumes of early Fathers are daunting because the translation is less than helpful. This is not true for this volume. The English is well-turned out, easy to read, and clear.

Finally, the selection of works (An Exhortation to Martyrdom, On Prayer, On First Principles, Book IV, Prologue to the Commentary on the Song of Songs, and Homily XXVII on Numbers) gives a good overview for the beginner. I am certainly a beginner, having never read any of Origen's works, but I felt that this volume gave me a beginning in understanding Origen's thought, influence, and life."

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