This title was first published in 2002.Origen (AD 185 - 254) is regarded as one of the figures chiefly responsible for the contamination of biblical theology with pagan philosophy in the early church. Edwards argues that Origen set out to construct a Christian philosophy, yet he did so with the intention of preserving theology from the infiltration of pagan thought. Examining the question of philosophical influence on Christian thought, Edwards argues that scholars have often leapt to unjustified conclusions based simply on common vocabulary or parallel development. This book advances new interpretations of the early Christian systems which are generally called 'Gnostic', and the Doctrine of the Trinity in Origen's 'Platonist' teacher Clement of Alexandria. Edwards concludes that Origen's hermeneutics, eschatology, cosmology and Trinitarian theology are all related to his understanding of human nature, which is radically opposed to that of Platonism.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Origen among Christians, Jews and Gnostics; The God of Origen and the Gods of Plato; The doctrine of the soul in Origen; The Interpretation of scripture; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
'Mark Edwards presents a scholarly case for Origen as a Christian theologian... There is little doubt that Origen was harshly treated by his condemnation, 300 years after his death. This book is a welcome contribution to the long process of his rehabilitation.' Church Times 'Dr Edwards brings to this book consummate classical learning...' Theology 'The excellence of this book is two-fold. First it demonstrates that the conclusions which Origen reached were those of a Christian not a Platonist and that he did not hold the views for which he was condemned. Second, and equally important, the book indicates the need for revision of method in patristic studies... Dr Edwards's book is to be warmly commended both for its content and for its method.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History '... this is an epochal study of Origen which deserves a wide readership. Anyone interested in the relationship of the history of Christian thought to intellectual culture will want to read this book, patristic scholars should unquestionably do so, and libraries in universities and seminaries should certainly add it to their collections. It is warmly recommended.' Calvin Theological Journal 'Edwards' book provides a fitting and timely reminder of what is so inspiring in both this early Christian's attempt to write a philosophical theology and in his piety.' Modern Theology 'Professor Mark J. Edwards is a total communicator. His last book on Origen against Plato is a marvel in the proper sense... Origen against Plato is a masterpiece in theological hermeneutics, discussing topics of urgent interest for all the students of early Christianity... There is not a single page in Edwards' thoroughly engaging book from which serious students in Classics, Patristics, systematic theology or history of religion will not feel the need to take extensive notes. Therefore, I recommend the urgent reading of this tome, written by a true knower of late Antiquity.' Archaeus 'Since Henri de Lubac elaborated Histoire et Esprit five decades ago, there has not been as probing a challenge to Origenian scholarship as Edwards delivers in this brief volume.' Theological Studies 'The primary sources and the scholarly traditions concerning Origen of Alexandria's career are examined in Edwards's study with sharpness and accuracy. The author's distinctive mark is a concise style occasionally peppered with dry humour, his wit transforming dense arguments into an entertaining narrative. Nothing comparable has been published in recent decades.' Adamantius