C.H.Turner on Origen’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians

Editions of the fragments of Origen’s commentaries on Ephesians and 1 Corinthians were published from the catenas in early issues of the Journal of Theological Studies.  Unfortunately the editors chose not to include translations, thereby guaranteeing oblivion to their work.

In JTS 10 C. H. Turner commented on some of the newly published texts:

Certain it is that these commentaries [on Ephesians and 1 Corinthians] contain many interesting things which appear so far to have escaped the notice of Church historians.  A reference to the inconsistencies between the duty of a Christian and the duty of a soldier (on I Cor. v I I) has escaped even Harnack’s encyclopaedic knowledge of early Christian literature. The summary of the Eucharistic service as the ‘invocation of the name of God and of Christ and of the Holy Spirit over the elements (on I Cor. vii 5) is absent from Mr Brightman’s collection of liturgical passages from the Egyptian fathers. And I myself, when writing on Patristic commentaries on St Paul (in the supplementary volume to Hastings’s Dictionary of the Bible p. 489), ought to have cited Origen’s distinct allusions to a predecessor or predecessors in the exegesis of the same epistle: … (on I Cor. vii 24), … (on I Cor. ix 20).

Note further the information about Ophites (on xii 3), about Montanists (on xiv 34), about heretics who used the Creed (on xv 20), about parts of the Old Testament unsuitable for Church lessons (on xiv 7, 8), about a Pauline citation found in Aquila and the other interpreters but not in the LXX text (on xiv 21 ), about Apollos being bishop of Corinth (on xvi 12).

Any fragments of the original Greek of Origen’s work on the New Testament are worth all that we can devote to them of loving and patient study.

They do sound interesting, don’t they!  If I didn’t have so much on the go already, I might be tempted to commission a translation.


22 thoughts on “C.H.Turner on Origen’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians

  1. Roger,

    Just a quick comment to mention this in case you didn’t know about it – I just stumbled across the 1940s-1960s CUA Fathers of the Church series online at the Internet Archive. Search there for publisher:”Fathers Of The Church, Inc.”

    You might try variations or related searches in case they didn’t get the publisher exactly the same for every volume.

    Cheers –


  2. Roger,
    The fragments of Origen’s commentary on 1 Corinthians have been ably translated into English by Bradley K. Storin, as his master’s thesis at the Candler School of Theology. I do not know what he plans to do with it, but it’d be worth contacting him.

  3. I should have added that Origen’s fragments of the commentary on Ephesian have been published: R. E. Heine, The Commentaries of Origen and Jerome on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians (Oxford 2002).

  4. Thank you very much, Mark, for these details! This saves me from commissioning translations of them (since I want to work with untranslated stuff if possible).

    Brad Storin seems to be at Indiana University. I’ve written to him, asking if he’d consider slipping me a copy of his thesis, and whether he’d consider placing the translation online. It would be nice if he did!

    Thanks also for the info on Ephesians. My translator of the homilies on Ezechiel has suggested to me that we do Jerome’s commentary on Ezechiel as well, since Jerome seems to use Origen extensively. I’ve resisted (mainly due to poverty) but it seems that this is something of a trend.

  5. Yes, these limited previews are annoying, but can be very illuminating. I’ve certainly ordered books that I came on by accident in Google books, and decided I must read.

  6. I did contact Brad Storin (at Indiana university), but he’s trying to get it published at the moment so naturally didn’t want to send me a copy.

  7. I’ve been working on a commentary on 1 Corinthians in Spanish, and have lamented the lack of a translation of Origen’s homilies. Nevertheless, I just noticed that large portions are included in Kovacs, Judith L., ed., 1 Corinthians interpreted by early Christian commentators, Church’s Bible, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2005. She seems to have translated the JTS 1909-10 Greek text herself, also including translations of relevant passages from Theodoret of Cyrus, Augustine, Ecumenius, Severiano, Clement, Cyril, etc., and of course Chrysostom.

    The few passages that I’ve checked seem to be accurate. Nevertheless, Kovacs skips over parts; also, the reader does not have the reference to the JTS text on the page, but must look in the back of the book to find out where it comes from – important in the case of Origen, because some sections marked “Origen” come not from the 1 Cor Homilies, but from Contra Celsum, Principiis, other homilies. The 1 Cor Homilies are not long, it’s a shame she didn’t include the full text.

    The format of The Church’s Bible is in some ways preferable to Ancient Christian Commentary by Gerald Bray, since CB gives longer selections. I notice that there is a Song of Songs volume, also Isaiah (see http://www.eerdmans.com/Products/CategoryCenter.aspx?CategoryId=SE!CB)

  8. Is there any update on the availability of Bradley Storin’s translation?


  9. Has Bradley K. Storin translation of Origen’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians become publicly available? If not, please send me his email address so that I can encourage him, or assist him in finding a publisher.

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