Origen (The Early Church Fathers) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK.
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Origen (The Early Church ... has been added to your Basket
Trade in your item
Get a £4.26
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Origen (The Early Church Fathers) Paperback – 27 Aug 1998

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, 27 Aug 1998
£21.18 £15.00

Trade In Promotion

Frequently Bought Together

Origen (The Early Church Fathers) + On First Principles
Price For Both: £42.98

Buy the selected items together

Trade In this Item for up to £4.26
Trade in Origen (The Early Church Fathers) for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £4.26, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

Joseph W. Trigg is Rector of Christ Church (Episcopal), Port Tobacco Parish, La Plata, Maryland. His books include Origen: the Bible and Philosophy in the Third-century Church (Atlanta 1983) and Biblical Interpretation in the series Message of the Fathers of the Church (Delaware 1988).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
We know Origen mainly through his thought. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.co.uk.
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
The Bible Through a Different Glass 28 Jan. 2001
By E. T. Veal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Origen (c. 185 - c. 250) is, with Tertullian, one of the two prolific ante-Nicene Christian authors who is not recognized as a saint. That verdict on Tertullian, an apostate to the Montanist sect, is not surprising. Origen, however, was the most prominent Christian teacher and scholar of his day, remained steadfastly loyal to the Church, died as a martyr and was admired fervently by such great and unquestionably orthodox theologians as Gregory of Nyssa. Notwithstanding such credentials, his ideas fell under suspicion soon after his death, and "Origenism" has since borne a taint of heresy.
Joseph Trigg, an Episcopal clergyman and author of a previous life of Origen ("Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third-century Church" (1983)), would like to restore his subject's reputation and introduce him to contemporary Christians. To that end, he has assembled this anthology of a dozen selections: seven Biblical commentaries, four homilies and a letter to St. Gregory the Wonder Worker. Most of these are excerpts from, or fragments of, longer works, but each is substantial in itself. None will be familiar to the non-specialist. Not included are Origen's best known treatise (the source of many later doubts about his orthodoxy), "Peri Archon" ("On First Principles"), and his apologia "Contra Celsum", both readily found elsewhere and neither typical of the author's work.
Origen's great subject was the interpretation of Scripture. These texts illustrate his approach, which differs strikingly from that of any modern commentator. The underlying theory is that, because God is the author of the Bible, every word of the text is significant. But, because God is supremely subtle, that significance is not evident to the untutored reader. The plain, obvious meaning is, to Origen's mind, usually the least important. The deepest, spiritual truths can be uncovered only through learned scholarship, augmented by prayer.
These principles lead to minute, painstaking analysis. Book I of the commentary on John's Gospel, 46 pages in this edition, is devoted to discussing two words. The conclusions reached through this effort can be unexpected and may often look arbitrary, as when Jeremiah's lamentations over Jerusalem are construed as an allegory of the mission of the Apostles or Jesus's washing of his disciples' feet is taken as symbolic of Christian pedagogy.
Because this way of reading Scripture is so foreign to our habits, these writings, if perused quickly and carelessly, are more likely to bewilder than enlighten. Origen's method and assumptions obviously bear no resemblance to modern Biblical scholarship, despite his sedulous care to establish the most accurate possible text. Nor can he be grouped with the fundamentalists. He agrees with them that the Bible is the very Word (and words) of God. From that premise, the draws the unfundamentalist conclusion that statements of fact are frequently not to be taken literally and that ordinary Christians get little out of Scripture without expert guidance.
To read Origen as more than an historical curiosity requires, then, the adoption of an unfamiliar perspective on the Bible. Fr. Trigg's introduction, while offering a useful account of Origen's career and posthumous reputation, unfortunately pays little attention to furnishing equipment for such a feat of intellectual imagination. A work like James Kugel's "The Bible As It Was", dealing with the very similar ancient Jewish hermeneutics, may help supply this need.
Origen is one of the most famous names in early Christian history, and this collection, though not fare for a casual Sunday afternoon, is the best available way for laymen to see a great mind at work in its most characteristic mode.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Important New Translation of Origen 19 Aug. 2000
By Cindy C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This introduction to and translation of Origen appears in a highly respected series of key selected texts by the major Greek and Latin Fathers of the Church. Joseph Trigg, who is one of the foremost interpreters of Origen, provides fascinating and profound insights into Origen's life and writings in his introduction. He analyzes the principal influences that formed Origen as a Christian, his emergence as a mature theologian, and his controversial legacy. The translation is fresh and clear. Moreover, the book includes some writings by Origen that have not been available previously. This is an exciting book that I'd recommend to anyone -- scholar or not -- who wishes to explore the thought of one of the greatest and most influential Christian thinkers before Augustine.
Cynthia B. Cohen, Ph.D., J.D. Senior Research Fellow, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University Washington, D.C.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Indispensable Introduction to Origen 10 Feb. 2008
By Theophilus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another reviewer aptly wrote, "For more than four centuries, Alexandria was the intellectual center of the Roman Empire, and later the Pharos of Oriental Christianity. Its Bishop Athanasius played a vigorous part in defining basic Christian belief, while Cyril was the benchmark of Orthodox Christology. One of the most remarkable mystical traditions of early Christianity, monastic life, began in Egypt in the third and into the fourth centuries. For the first six centuries, until the advent of Islam, Alexandria was the leader in Christian thought, theological doctrine, and liturgical innovation. In mid fifth century, after the schismatic council of chalcedon, became then partially isolated by Byzantine- Roman church politics, even before the Arab conquest. The Christian Church in Egypt has preserved many early features down to the present day Coptic Orthodox Church."

Origen is yet another fruit of early Egyptian Christianity. As one of the most prolific and groundbreaking early Christian writers, Origen is oftentimes difficult to understand, a fact compounded by the dichotomy between advanced seers and common believers in early Alexandrine Christianity. Oftentimes, Origen's commentary was directed to the common believer while offering hidden mysteries to the advanced seer.

This book is a wonderful introduction to this prolific Early Church Father on several levels. It offers a basic introduction to those who are just beginning a comprehensive study of Origen while offering helpful in-depth analyses of Origen's texts to the intermediate and advanced scholars. Moreover, it places Origen's life and writings in constant social context to help the reader better understand the different motivations behind Origen's beliefs and writings.

Although Origen is not considered a saint in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, he is nonetheless one of many gems of early Egyptian Christanity.
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A Readable Translation of Previously Un-Translated Texts 21 Feb. 2006
By Eros Faust - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am hoping as much to address the writer as to counsel the reader. To the reader I would say that this is a very reader-friendly translation. I like the fact that some modern expressions and idioms are used when it clarifies the text. If you are fascinated about the early church, or simply ancient history, these writings are full of issues which will stimulate thought.

To the writer, Mr. Trigg, I would ask that future volumes (for I assume you are still writing and translating) include a more extensive index for readers like me who would like to explore Origen by topic. The index to biblical verses, which is 12 pages long, and which you painstakingly prepared, is extensive and well done. But the topic and name index of just 6 pages is too short. If one wants to search for Origen's teachings on a particular topic, it could be easier.

I would also say this. You keep yourself in the background of this book, I am sure out of modesty. But I'd like to know where you found these texts. Are you working from the original texts or from copies. What condition are the original texts after over 1700 years. How did they come to be spread across Europe. How are they preserved? Were you permitted to photocopy the texts to translate them back in the U.S. or did you have to work there. You mention that much of Origen's writings were lost, but that much remains to be translated. How much is there? What are we missing?

Finally, I would ask the question, "Was Origen a Moral, Vituous Man?" What can we learn from his life? What is the lesson of his self-castration? What is the lesson of the austerity of his lifestyle? He addresses Gregory as "his son." Did he literally adopt him, was he merely a favored student, or did Origen not fully castrate himself? Were the rifts he caused among the early Christian churches the result of pridefulness or spite, or was he the innocent victim of jealous peers.

I have this feeling that Origen will be "re-discovered" someday soon and ordinary people (Christians and closet academics) will again want to know about him. Books like The Da Vinci Code make me believe that there is a thirst for knowledge about the early church that will only become more intense with time (and with release of the movie). I think we are at the beginning of a great upwelling of interest in this topic, and I think that your books will help to satisfy that need.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know