Manuscript discovered containing (most likely!) homilies of Origen

Many will have already heard the news from other sources (id est, here or here) that researchers in Europe believe they have uncovered a manuscript containing lots of material from Origen’s Homilies on the Psalms. 

This is really big news.  Caution is still warranted:  the results of the inquiry thus far are preliminary; however, it does appear that there are plenty of reasons to be excited.  For those unaware, Origen was easily one of the most influential and important thinkers of the early Church (he died around 250).  His output was enormous, and included philosophical/theological works, exegesis, and plenty else.  He influenced many of the other important early Christian thinkers (Eusebius of Caesarea, the Cappadocians, Chrysostom, Jerome, etc.), but because of some of his more "speculative" thoughts he was thrown into disrepute because these ideas didn’t mesh with later standards of orthodoxy.  Thus, we have but a fraction of his work at all, and less in the original Greek.  Thus, it will be a treat to see more of what Origen had to say on the Psalms, and also see how other people used/abused/re-worked it in their own work. 

The manuscript itself, according to the library catalog, is a 12th century codex.  Like Roger Pearse, I am greatly excited to see that the German library responsible for the work has placed images of the manuscript online.  What is more, you can download a PDF of the entire manuscript, rather than simply use their web interface!  This truly is "Digital Humanities" at its best: free and open access like this make it possible for scholars (and wanna-be scholars like me) to see the manuscript for ourselves, rather than waiting for a select few to hand down their thoughts.  I hope more libraries follow their lead!

I’ve been looking at the manuscript myself:  it’s a joy to read.  The scribe’s spelling and accent placement are fantastic, which makes reading it much easier than most of the other mss at which I’ve looked.  The Greek itself isn’t too bad either.  Fortunately, exegetical works, by their nature, tend to be easier than other genres. 

I’ll post a little bit of transcription and translation soon.  I more or less flipped around in the manuscript until I found the start of a homily: this bit will be his comments on the end of Psalm 77, where the “waters have seen God, and fear him.” In it, the author discusses the nature of these waters, and their relationship to the three heavens.  I’m not at all an Origen expert, but it is consistent with what I’ve read about him. 

ἐν αὐτῷ,


One thought on “Manuscript discovered containing (most likely!) homilies of Origen

  1. Wow brother! This is very big news for Early Church History! You are a scholar in my eyes my friend (albeit a young one). Great synopsis, and thanks for sharing!

    ἐν αὐτῷ,

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