Origen is one of the most prominent and misunderstood figures in the history of the Church. Much of his work has been lost or destroyed. A prominent Eastern Orthodox scholar, Father John Behr has provided a new translation and more accurate arrangement of Origen’s (arguably) most important work On First Principles . The hefty price of $160 might chase most readers away, but it is probably a great investment for those who have an interest in the Church Fathers. Fortunately Behr has supplied a concise summary on one of Origen’s most controversial theological reflections – the preexistence of the soul. The article is available over at the always fantastic blog Eclectic Orthodoxy:
by Fr John Behr, Ph.D.
After using for several decades G. W. Butterworth’s translation of Origen’s On First Principles (the standard translation used in the English speaking world for the better part of a century), I became convinced that not only was a new translation needed but a new critical edition. Crouzel’s edition for Sources Chrétiennes, and other more recent editions, are a great improvement over that of Koetschau (used by Butterworth), but there are still issues with regard to the structure of the work as presented in their editions. In the introduction to my edition and translation, Origen: On First Principles, I argue that the work is structured differently than how it has been presented to us. There are various significant implications to be drawn from this (see the book for more details!), but perhaps none are more striking than how it challenges our picture of Origen’s…
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