Works on Origen and His Heritage

Prof. Dr. Dr. Fürst's collected writings on Origen and his heritage can be seen here.

REcent Publications

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The Sacramentality of the World and the Mystery of Freedom

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Reader of Origen

Hans Urs von Balthasar’s interest for Origen can be placed within the movement of Ressourcement: until the very end of his life, the Swiss theologian declares his preference for the Alexandrian, among the Church Fathers. This book offers the first in-depth study of the Alexandrian’s presence in the life of Balthasar. This is achieved not only considering his two specific books on Origen, Spirit and Fire and Le Mysterion d'Origène, but also analyzing specific Origenian ideas that played a decisive role in shaping Balthasar’s own theological building.
The book starts from a reconstruction of the context that brought Balthasar to study the Fathers and of the main polemical references in his interpretation, specifically facing the challenges posed by such movements as Neo-Scholasticism and the Idealistic interpretation of Neoplatonism. Balthasar’s study of Origen emerges not as a disinterested, ahistorical reading, but rather as connected to the main issues facing 20th-century Catholic theology. The task of a historical reconstruction is accomplished also through to the analysis of theologians who played a fundamental role in Balthasar’s interpretation of Origen: Henri de Lubac, Karl Rahner, and Karl Barth. The book moves then to analyzing the main theological elements traceable in the relationship between Origen and Balthasar: Eros, spiritual senses, freedom, and universal salvation. Throughout these ideas, Balthasar’s attitude towards Origen emerges as dynamic and multifaceted. Against the charge of uncritical retrieval, his approach can be schematically understood with the help of five categories: silence, critique, enthusiasm, appreciation, and inspiration. Each category is approached and explained in correspondence with certain works within Balthasar’s corpus. This dynamic approach to Origen, united to a familiarity with the Fathers that Lubac called “connaturality”, makes Balthasar an example of the possibility of rethinking the role of the Church Fathers today.

Elisa Zocchi, The Sacramentality of the World and the Mystery of Freedom. Hans Urs von Balthasar, Reader of Origen (Adamantiana 16), Münster: Aschendorff Verlag, 2021, 365 Seiten, 62,- €. ISBN 978-3-402-13741-3

© de Gruyter

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That Miracle of the Christian World

Origenism and Christian Platonism in Henry More

The present collection of essays is devoted to the Christian philosophy of the most prolific and most speculatively ambitious of the Cambridge Origenists, Henry More. Not only did More revere Origen, whom he extolled as a “holy sage” and “that miracle of the Christian world”, but he also developed a philosophical system which hinged upon the Origenian notions of universal divine goodness and libertarian human freedom. Throughout his life, More subscribed to the ancient theology of the pre-existence of souls and took issue with the early modern philosophies of Thomas Hobbes, René Descartes and Baruch de Spinoza. His vision of God’s goodness, experienced in his early school years at Eton, became the cornerstone of an Origenist rationalism which envisaged an extended world animated by divine thought and inhabited by self-moving rational agents. More’s philosophy is the crowning attainment of the early modern rediscovery of Origen as well as a neglected major rationalist system in its own right which went on to exert decisive influence upon all subsequent western metaphysics.
The essays collected in the first part provide a detailed introduction to More’s voluminous writings. After a comprehensive general overview of his metaphysical and ethical system, the essays expound More’s historical context and his philosophical development from his early poetry in the 1640s to his mature philosophical and theological prose works of the 50s, 60s and 70s. In addition, the reception of More and Origen in the later Cambridge Origenists and in Isaac Newton is outlined. The second part contains several excerpts from More’s influential Latin works first translated into English by the editor.

Christian Hengstermann (Hg.), That Miracle of the Christian World. Origenism and Christian Platonism in Henry More (Adamantiana 12), Münster: Aschendorff Verlag, 2020, 352 Seiten, 56,- €. ISBN 978-3-402-13727-7

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Condemnation of Origen

Emperor Justinian and the Council of Constantinople 553

At the instigation of the byzantine emperor Justinian I., Origen of Alexandria (185–253/54) was condemned to be a heretic in the sphere of the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople 553. This denunciation had extensive consequences for the further reception of his works, his theology and the picture future generations would get of him. The articles of the present volume analyse the church-political, monastic and theological backgrounds of the debates about Origen and the works attributed to him on the basis of the sources available. These sources are edited at the appendix of this volume with detailed annotations and german translations (mostly for the first time) as a tool for the future research concerning this subject.

Alfons Fürst/Thomas R. Karmann (Hg.), Verurteilung des Origenes. Kaiser Justinian und das Konzil von Konstantinopel 553 (Adamantiana 15), Münster: Aschendorff Verlag, 2020, 396 Seiten, 65,- €. ISBN 978-3-402-13739-0

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Freedom as a Key Category in Origen and in Modern Philosophy and Theology

Freedom is a key category of concepts of God and men in modern philosophy and theology. In German idealism of the 17th and 18th centuries as well in 20th-century theologies, different concepts of libertarianism between determinism and compatilism were presented. The first to forge a libertarian concept of freedom was Origen of Alexandria. The volume aims at discussing modern ideas of freedom against the backdrop of the paths of thinking which were opened up by Origen in late antiquity.

Alfons Fürst (Hg.), Freedom as a Key Category in Origen and in Modern Philosophy and Theology (Adamantiana 14), Münster: Aschendorff Verlag, 2019, 295 Seiten, 49,- €. ISBN 978-3-402-13731-4

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Origen's Philosophy of Freedom in Early Modern Times

Debates about Free Will and Apokatastasis in 17th-Century England and Europe

The articles of this volume shed new light on the reception of Origen’s concepts of free will and universal salvation in 17th-century England and Europe. The Cambridge Platonists took up the Alexandrian’s libertarian concept of freedom and discussed his core ideas within the new philosophical developments of their own time. In continental Europe, the Dutch Arminians, Jean Le Clerc and the Pietist couple Johanna Eleonora and Johann Wilhelm Petersen dealt with questions related to Origenism.

Alfons Fürst (Hg.), Origen's Philosophy of Freedom in Early Modern Times. Debates about Free Will and Apokatastasis in 17th-Century England and Europe (Adamantiana 13), Münster: Aschendorff Verlag, 2019, 304 Seiten, 54,- €. ISBN 978-3-402-13729-1

© VdG

Origen - The Homilies on Jeremiah

Origen's homilies on Jeremiah make up a very valuable part of his writings. Beside the homilies on 1 Sam 28, they are the only homilies handed down in Greek and therefore give an impression of the original sound of the preacher Origen. Furthermore, the book Jeremiah was not often interpreted in early Christianity, and the vigour and spirit of Origen's exegesis of the prophet were nowhere else reached. Origen identified his experiences as a preacher with the fate of the prophet Jeremiah, who was rejected by his recipients, and thus found a very personal approach to this biblical text. Moreover, the numerous antijudaic comments and exegeses in which Origen's critical attitude toward the Jews of his time becomes apparent, are noteworthy.
The volume provides a new German translation along with detailed explanations in the footnotes. The handed down fragments are included, too, even though their authenticity is not undubitable. The most important facts of the transmission and the content of the sermons are outlined in the introduction.

Origenes, Die Homilien zum Buch Jeremia. Eingeleitet und übersetzt von Alfons Fürst und Horacio E. Lona (Origenes Werke mit deutscher Übersetzung 11), Berlin/Boston 2018, 726 Seiten, gebunden, Leinen, 119,95€, ISBN 978-3-11-028605-2

Prof. Dr. Dr. Christoph Auffarth wrote a readable review on this OWD-volume. It can be read here.

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Adamantiana 11 - Origenes Cantabrigiensis

Ralph Cudworth, Sermon preached before the Honourable House of Commons and other writings

Ralph Cudworth's sermon preached before the Honourable House of Commons in 1674 is written in the spirit of Origen's philosophical thinking and contains a determined appeal for doctrinaire openness and religious tolerance. The articles of the present volume analyse this document of Cambridge Origenism which can be seen as pioneering within the context of the political and ecclesiastical confusions of the English Civil War. The volume offers beside the gently modernised text und the first german translation further letters and poems of the young Cudworth, and a sermon of 1664. These texts are vivid documents of his platonic-origenean "Philosphy of Religion" and of his irenic Christianity of interiority in practical ethos of universal love.
Alfons Fürst/Christian Hengstermann (Hg.), Origenes Cantabrigiensis. Ralph Cudworth, Predigt vor dem Unterhaus und anderen Schriften (Adamantiana 11), Münster: Aschendorff Verlag, 2018, 311 Seiten, gebunden, 54,- €. ISBN 978-3-402-13725-3

© Hiersemann

Sound biography on Origen by Alfons Fürst

The early Christian theologian Origen of Alexandria (185-253/4) put as a Greek thinker with excellent erudition and yet as a convinced Christian his broad scholarship into the service of the exegesis of the bible. Fürst examines basic aspects of this brilliant thinker like his relaptionship with Gnosticism, Judaism, exegesis and philosophy, and points out his role as one of the founders of Christian philosophy. This systematic biography on Origen ends with a chapter about the reception history.
Alfons Fürst, Origenes. Grieche und Christ in römischer Zeit (STAC 9), Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann Verlag, 2017, 237 Seiten, Paperback, 44,-€.
ISBN 978-3-7772-1723-9