Origen, Fragments on Proverbs – translation by Travis Fernald now online

Travis Fernald has been doing an MA at Pittsburg Theological Seminary, on Origen’s views on human wisdom as expressed in his Commentary on Proverbs (CPL 1430); or rather, on what now remains of it – some 17 columns in the Patrologia Graeca 13.  He wrote to tell me about this, and has very kindly made the translation available to us all online.  Here it is:

As may quickly be seen, it contains some interesting material, such as Origen’s answer to the question “what is a parable”:

Therefore a parable is a story about some event which did not literally happen, but could have happened and which figuratively shows matters through participation in the words of the parable. It did not really happen according to the words “A sower went out…” as we would say historical events do, but nevertheless it could have happened exactly as it is written.

All these little translations have value, and it is great to see people arranging for them to appear online.  Thank you, Mr. Fernald!


5 thoughts on “Origen, Fragments on Proverbs – translation by Travis Fernald now online

  1. Thank you very much! Always good to have translations of more Ante-Nikaian material.


  2. I’m confused where the translation begins or ends in that document (PDF). For example number 32 clearly includes an editorial comment referring to Origen by name. This made me doubt whose comments I was reading throughout the entire document. Any help here in figuring this out?

  3. 32. “He will be a friend to himself.”79 Origen does not entirely remember this verse. It is found in some manuscripts, but not the Septuagint or the others.

    All these “fragments” reach us as quotations in other texts, and so may be interfered with by the author quoting them, to a greater or lesser extent. Fragment 32 is partly a comment by the author of the other text: but that other author tells us something about what Origen said on this verse. So his comment is included in the fragments.

    Medieval Greek bible commentaries (“catenas”) consisted of chains of quotations from the fathers, strung together under each verse. This is the main source for such collections of fragments. Sometimes the author is wrong, too.

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