Sunday, April 29, 2007

Origen of Alexandria

Either Benedict speaks extemporaneously in each language, not quite saying the same thing in each, or the translations are very loose. (Maybe they reassembled the original ICEL experts!) Last Wednesday, he spoke on another of the church fathers, Origin, the great biblical scholar of the early church. You will find the German and the English versions below with the links to the Vatican website which owns the copyrights to these versions.

Amy Welborn, in her Open Book blog, quotes extensively from the article on the audience. Her account and the AsiaNews account are both much longer than either the German or English versions. They contain an interesting phrase. His "'orated reading' of the Bible, [his] catechesis and coherence in 'moral' behaviour ... mark the life and works of the third century Origen..." Does "orated reading" of scripture come from orare to speak or pray (i.e. speaking to God.) Although it may be just a neologism accidentally created by a mauled translation from the Italian version of Benedetto's address (which is three to four times longer), I like it. We need scripture scholars who pray and live the scriptures. Ordinary folk too!

According to, Benedict concluded: "'Let us pray to God – ha [sic] concluded - that he gift [sic] us philosophers, theologians and thinkers today, capable of finding this multi-level dimension, this permanent actuality in their reading of the Sacred Scriptures. Let us pray that the Lord help us to read the Scriptures correctly, so it may nurture and feed us with the true bread of life and of his Word'."

The Holy Father likes him so much, maybe he will finally declare him a saint. If his Holiness should pray to Origin for the conversion of biblical scholars and succeed, he would have the requisite miracles!



St Peter's Square
Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Origen of Alexandria

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Our catechetical journey through the early Church brings us to the remarkable figure of Origen of Alexandria. This great teacher of the faith was highly esteemed by his students not only for his theological brilliance, but also for his exemplary moral conduct. His father, Leonides, was martyred during the reign of Septimius Severus. Though Origen himself always had a deep yearning to die a martyr’s death, he decided that the best way to honour his father and glorify Christ was by living a good and upright life. Later, under the emperor Decius, he was arrested and tortured for his faith, dying a few years later. Origen is best known for his unique contribution to theology: an “irreversible turn” which grounded theology in Scripture. He emphasized an allegorical and spiritual reading of the word of God, and demonstrated how the three levels of meaning—the literal, the moral, and the spiritual—progressively lead us to a deeper prayer life and closer relationship with God. Origen teaches us that when we meditate on God’s word and conform our lives to it, we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us to the fullness of truth. May we follow Origen’s example by praying with scripture, always listening attentively to God’s word.

Und auf deutsch:



Mittwoch, 25. April 2007

Liebe Brüder und Schwestern!

In der heutigen Katechese wenden wir uns dem Leben und dem Werk des Origenes zu, des fruchtbarsten Kirchenschriftstellers der ersten drei christlichen Jahrhunderte. Origenes wirkte als bekannter Lehrer in seiner Heimatstadt Alexandrien und dann in Cäsarea in Palästina. Während der Christenverfolgung unter Kaiser Decius im Jahre 250 erlitt er schwerste Torturen, an deren Folgen er wenige Jahre später nicht ganz siebzigjährig starb. Sein umfangreiches Werk, von dem jedoch nur ein Bruchteil überliefert ist, stellt eine unumkehrbare Wende in der Entwicklung des christlichen Denkens dar, die in der gelungenen Symbiose von Theologie und Exegese gründet. Origenes bemühte sich um einen zuverlässigen Text der biblischen Bücher, wovon die Hexapla, eine sechsspaltige Synopse des hebräischen Textes und der griechischen Übersetzungen des Alten Testaments, Zeugnis gibt. Vor allem aber widmete er sich der systematischen Auslegung der Heiligen Schrift in Kommentaren und Homilien. Dabei unterschied er den wörtlichen, den moralischen und den geistigen Schriftsinn. Diese Differenzierung hilft dem Leser, das Wort Gottes tiefer zu verstehen und im Glauben zu wachsen. So gelingt es Origenes auch, die Einheit von Altem und Neuem Testament aufzuzeigen und die lebendige, stets neue Kraft des Wortes Gottes für die Gläubigen zu erschließen.

© Copyright 2007 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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