Origen update

I commissioned a translation of Origen’s fourteen homilies on Ezekiel earlier this year.  Today I had what must be very nearly the final versions of homilies 11-14, including translations of relevant Greek fragments from the catenas.  This means that the job is nearly done.  It also means, less pleasantly, that I need to start thinking about how to market these, in order to recover at least some of the money, so that I can then put them online.

The sermons are lost in the original Greek; what we are translating into English for the first time is St. Jerome’s Latin translation of them.  We’re using the GCS critical text.  In the Patrologia Graeca is a pre-critical version.  But also present is an excerpt from Origen’s Commentary on Ezechiel — also mostly lost — which is about a page in length.  We’ll do that as well.

In Migne there is also a collection of Selecta in Ezechielem.  These are fragments of Origen’s original Greek text, found mixed with excerpts from other authors in the medieval Greek commentaries or catenae.  The labelling of which father contributed which excerpt can be pretty erratic in the catenas, so not all his material labelled “Origen” is probably authentic.  Migne prints what there is, tho.

Translation of the Selecta has begun, and the fragments on chapters 1-3 of Ezekiel have been completed.  Interestingly the catena fragments are much more readable than Origen at full length.  Probably the brevity of the chunks has something to do with this, but I think people will find them interesting.  Here’s one on chapter 1, verse 3.  Origen writes:

“in the land of the Chaldaeans.”  “Chaldaean” is translated as “all work.” And these [i.e., Chaldaeans] are astrologers, who talk about fate, and are completely tied to perceptible things, and work hard among them, making them into gods.  The “land of the Chaldaeans” is the worst position and attitude.  Indeed, the Chaldaeans represent a symbol of those who are arrogant in impiety.

I smiled when I read this, since later Syriac fathers would identify with the Chaldaeans.  I think we may be sure that they never saw this comment when doing so!


3 thoughts on “Origen update

Leave a Reply