A list of the works of Origen (Jerome, Letter 33)

A correspondent kindly sent me some extracts of a English translation of Henri Crouzel’s book on Origen.[1]  On p.37-38 I find an English translation of the list of Origen’s works, as given by Jerome in letter 33.  This is very useful information, and I reproduce it below.

On Genesis 13 books;[3] assorted homilies 2 books; on Exodus scholia; on Leviticus scholia; Stromateis 10 books; on Isaiah 36 books; also on Isaiah scholia; on Hosea about Ephraim 1 book; on Hosea a commentary; on Joel 2 books; on Amos 6 books; on Jonah 1 book; on Micah 3 books; on Nahum 2 books; on Habakkuk 3 books; on Zephaniah 2 books; on Haggai 1 book; on the beginning of Zechariah 2 books; on Malachi 2 books; on Ezekiel 29 books. Scholia on the Psalms from the first to the fifteenth;[4] also a book on each of the Psalms[5] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 24, 29, 38, 40. On Psalm 43, 2 books; on Psalm 44, 3 books; on Psalm 45 1 book; on Psalm 46, 1 book; on Psalm 50, 2 books; on Psalm 51, 1 book; on Psalm 51, 1 book; on Psalm 53, 1 book; on Psalm 57, 1 book; on Psalm 58, 1 book; on Psalm 59, 1 book; on Psalm 62, 1 book; on Psalm 63, 1 book; on Psalm 64, 1 book; on Psalm 65,1 book; on Psalm 68, 1 book; on Psalm 70, 1 book; on Psalm 71, 1 book; on the beginning of Psalm 72, 1 book; on Psalm 103, 2 books. On the Proverbs 3 books; on Ecclesiastes scholia; on the Song of Songs 10 books and two other volumes which he wrote in his youth; on the Lamentations of Jeremiah five volumes. Also the Monobibla;[6] four books On Principles;[7] two books On the Resurrection and two others on the Resurrection which are dialogues; a book on certain problems of the Proverbs; the dialogue against Candidus the Valentinian; a book on martyrdom.

Of the New Testament; on Matthew 25 books; on John 32 books;[8] scholia on certain parts of John, 1 book; on Luke 15 books; on the epistle of the apostle Paul to the Romans 15 books; on the epistle to the Galatians 15 books;[9] on the epistle to the Ephesians 3 books; on the epistle to the Philippians 1 book; on the epistle to the Colossians 2 books;[10] on the first epistle to the Thessalonians 3 books;[11] on the second epistle to the Thessalonians 1 book; on the epistle to Titus 1 book; on the epistle to Philemon 1 book.

Also homilies on the Old Testament: on Genesis 17;[12] on Exodus 8;[13] on Leviticus II;[14] on Numbers 28; on Deuteronomy 13; on Jesus, son of Nave (Joshua) 26; on the book of the Judges 9; on the Passover 8; on the first book of the Kings 4;[15] on Job 22; on the Proverbs 7; on Ecclesiastes 8; on the Song of Songs 2; on Isaiah 32; on Jeremiah 14;[16] on Ezekiel 12. A homily on Psalms 3, 4, 8, 12, 13; 3 on Psalm 15; on the Psalms 16, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27; 5 on Psalm 36; 2 on Psalms 37, 38, 39; 1 on Psalms 49, 51; 2 on Psalm 52; 1 on Psalm 54; 7 on Psalm 67; 2 on Psalm 71; 3 on Psalms 72 and 73; 1 on Psalms 74 and 75; 3 on Psalm 76; 9 on Psalm 77; 4 on Psalm 79; 2 on Psalm 80; 1 on Psalm 81; 3 on Psalm 82; 1 on Psalm 83; 2 on Psalm 84; 1 on Psalms 85, 87, 108, 110; 3 on Psalm 118; 1 on Psalm 120; 2 on Psalms 121, 122. 123,  124; 1 on Psalms 125, 127, 128, 129, 131; 2 on Psalms 132, 133, 134; 4 on Psalm 135; 2 on Psalm 137; 4 on Psalm 138; 2 on Psalm 139; 3 on Psalm 144; 1 on Psalms 145, 146, 147, 149, Scholia on the whole Psalter.

Homilies on the New Testament: on the Gospel of Matthew 25; on the Gospel of Luke 39; on the Acts of the Apostles 17; on the second epistle to the Corinthians 11[17] on the epistle to the Thessalonians 2;[18] on the epistle to the Galatians 7; on the epistle to Titus 1; on the epistle to the Hebrews 18. A homily on peace. A (homily) of exhortation to Pionia. On fasting. On cases of monogamy and trigamy[19] 2 homilies. At Tarsus[20] 2 homilies. Also scholia by Origen. Two books of letters from Firmilian,
Gregory and various persons: the epistles of the synods of Origen’s case are in Book II. Nine books of letters from him to various people; the letter in defence of his works is in Book II.

I imagine the footnotes that Crouzel gives are also useful:

3. Eusebius says 12: HE VI. XXIV, 2.
4. Perhaps it should be to the twenty-fifth: cf. Eusebius’s Iist below.
5. The psalms are numbered according to the Greek, not the Hebrew, system.
6. Etymologically: books (or Bible) only. We have no idea what that meant.
7. The famous Peri Archon or De Principiis.
8. 22 according to Eusebius HE VI, XXIV, 1: but we have Books XXVIII and XXXII.
9. This figure is certainly wrong. The von der Goltz codex only speaks of five volumes
covering the whole of the epistle and notes the verses commented on in each volume. See E. von der Goltz, Eine textkritische Arbeit des zehnten bezw. sechsten Jahrhundert. Texte und Untersuchungen XVII 4. Leipzig, 1899. p. 95. Jerome also mentions five books in Letter 112 to Augustine, §4.
10. In reality 3 books of which the von der Goltz codex notes the verses on which each
comments: see previous note.
11. A long passage of the third book is quoted in Latin translation by Jerome in Letter 119 to Minervius and Alexander, §§9-10 .
12. Sixteen homilies are usually reproduced but a Homily XVII is given in PG 13. 253-262: its text is the same as that of part of the De Benedictionibus Pamarchorum of Rufinus and it is eliminated as unauthentic for that reason, a faker being thought to have made up a homily of Origen out of that passage of Rufinus. I confess myself sceptical about this solution and think the opposite equally plausible: the early Fathers having no idea of literary etiquette – shown in numerous cases, the typical examples being Ambrose of Milan – Rufinus may well have sent to Paulinus of Nob who was asking for a treatise one which began by reproducing a homily by Origen which Rufinus had himself translated. In Letter 72 to Evangelus Jerome mentions a homily on Melchisedec which is no longer extant.
13. We have 13 of them.
14. We have 16 of them.
15. That is of Samuel.
16. These are the 14 that Jerome translated, but we have 22 and also in the Philocalia fragments of homilies 21 and 39.
17.  Perhaps we should read the ‘first epistle’, for we have numerous fragments on it published by Cl. Jenkins in the Journal of Theological Studies IX-X, 1908-1909.  Jerome says in Letter 48 to Pammachius §3 that Origen gave long expositions of this epistle. On the other hand we have no fragments on 2 Corinthians.
18. First or second?
19. These words mean in the primitive Church those who have been married once and
those who have been married three times successively. Three simultaneous marriages would have been illegal in the Greco-Roman world .
20. There is no other evidence of a stay by Origen in Tarsus. From this point on we
reproduce the text as corrected by P. Nautin.

Isn’t it odd that nobody has ever thought it worthwhile to produce an English translation of all of Jerome’s letters?  This awkward, difficult man stands at the foot of all western biblical studies, and is of incredible importance for the history of Christianity in the west.  Yet the majority of his works – written in simple Latin – remain untranslated.

  1. [1]H. Crouzel, Origen, tr. A.S. Worrall, T&T Clark, 1989.

Jerome’s Letter 33, listing the works of Origen

In my last post about the new find of homilies of Origen on the Psalms, I quoted a letter by Lorenzo Perrone.  He states that Dr Marina Molin Pradel “noticed that the list of the other homilies corresponded to a large extent to that presented by Jerome in his Letter 33 to Paula, the most important group being the series of nine homilies on Psalm 77.”

No complete translation of this letter from ca. 384 AD seems to be online.  I have therefore taken the partial 19th century Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers translation, and added to it the detailed list of the works of Origen from the Latin.[1]  The conditions under which I am working are far from ideal; errata would be gratefully accepted.

It makes interesting reading.  Not merely does it give a list of the works of Origen, which, however, must be incomplete since it doesn’t mention Contra Celsum or the Dialogue with Heracleides.  It gives a list of the Latin works of Varro also.


1. Antiquity marvels at Marcus Terentius Varro, because of the countless books which he wrote for Latin readers; and Greek writers are extravagant in their praise of their man of brass, because he has written more works than one of us could so much as copy. But since Latin ears would find a list of Greek writings tiresome, I shall confine myself to the Latin Varro. I shall try to show that we of today are sleeping the sleep of Epimenides, and devoting to the amassing of riches the energy which our predecessors gave to sound, if secular, learning.

2. Varro’s writings include:

45 books of antiquities, 4 concerning the life of the Roman people, 15 on Images, 76 “Logistorikwn”, 15 on the Latin Language, 9 of disciplines, 5 on Latin speech, 5 of Plautine questions, 3 of Annals, 3 on the origin of the Latin language, 3 of poetry, 3 on the origins of the stage, 3 on the actions of the stage, 3 on the acts on the stage, 3 on descriptions, 3 on the propriety of writers, 3 on libraries, 3 on readings, 3 on the similarity of words, 3 on embassies, 3 of “suasiones”, 3 on Pompey, 10 “singulares”, 3 on persons, 15 on the civil law, an epitome in 9 books from the 42 books of antiquities, an epitome in 4 books from the 15 books on Images, an epitome in 9 books from the 15 books on the Latin language, 9 books on the principles of numbers, 3 books on rustic matters, 1 book on preventative health, 3 books on his own life, 3 books on the form of philosophy, 3 books on urban matters, 150 books of Menippean satires, 10 books of poetry, 22 books of orations, 6 books of pseudo-tragedies, 4 books of satires and many others, which it would be wearisome to enumerate. I have barely listed half of the index, and it is overwhelming to the readers.

3. But by contrast our age has learned men, and they know in which waters fish were born, and on what shore an oyster grew. We have no doubts concerning the flavour of thrushes, Paxamus and Apicius are ever in our hands, our eyes on our possessions, our senses on the plates, and, if one of the philosophers or Christians, who are the true philosophers, with worn cloak and grubby tunic fails to pay attention to the reading, he is thrown out with a jeer as if mad.

4. But why, you ask me, have I thus mentioned Varro and the man of brass? Simply to bring to your notice our Christian man of brass, or, rather, man of adamant — Origen, I mean— whose zeal for the study of Scripture has fairly earned for him this latter name. Would you learn what monuments of his genius he has left us? The following list exhibits them. His writings comprise:

13 books on Genesis, 2 books of mystical homilies, excerpta[2] Exodus, excerpta on Leviticus, 10 books of “Stromata”, 36 books on Isaiah, likewise excerpta on Isaiah, 1 book on Hosea concerning Ephraim, commentary on Hosea, 2 books on Joel, 6 books on Amos, 1 book on Jonah, 3 books on Micaiah, 2 books on Nahum, 3 books on Habakuk, 2 books on Wisdom, 1 book on Haggai, 2 books on the beginning of Zechariah, 2 books on Malachi, 28 books on Ezekiel, excerpta on the Psalms from the start to [Psalm] 15, again 1 book on Psalm 1, 1 book on Psalm 2, 1 book on Psalm 3, 1 book on Psalm 4, 1 book on Psalm 5, 1 book on Psalm 6, 1 book on Psalm 7, 1 book on Psalm 8, 1 book on Psalm 9, 1 book on Psalm 10, 1 book on Psalm 11, 1 book on Psalm 12, 1 book on Psalm 13, 1 book on Psalm 14, 1 book on Psalm 15, 1 book on Psalm 16, 1 book on Psalm 20, 1 book on Psalm 24, 1 book on Psalm 29, 1 book on Psalm 38, 1 book on Psalm 40, 2 books on Psalm 43, 3 books on Psalm 44, 1 book on Psalm 45, 1 book on Psalm 46, 2 books on Psalm 50, 1 book on Psalm 51, 1 book on Psalm 52, 1 book on Psalm 53, 1 book on Psalm 57, 1 book on Psalm 58, 1 book on Psalm 59, 1 book on Psalm 62, 1 book on Psalm 63, 1 book on Psalm 64, 1 book on Psalm 65, 1 book on Psalm 68, 1 book on Psalm 70, 1 book on Psalm 71, 1 book on the beginning of Psalm 70 part 2 (?), 2 books on Psalm 103. 3 books on Proverbs, excerpta on Ecclesiastes. 10 books on the Song of Songs, and 2 other books (tomos), which he wrote on this in his youth, 5 books (tomos) on the Lamentations of Jeremiah, likewise 4 books “Monobibia, Periarchon”, 2 books on the resurrection and two other dialogues on the resurrection, 1 book on various questions on Proverbs, dialogue against Candidus the Valentinian, a book on martyrdom.

On the New Testament: 25 books on Matthew, 32 books on John, 1 book of excerpta on various parts of John, 15 books on Luke, 15 books on the letter of the apostle Paul to the Romans, 25 books on the letter to the Galatians, 3 books on the letter to the Ephesians, 1 book on the letter to the Philippians, 2 books on the letter to the Colossians, 3 books on the 1st letter to the Thessalonians, 1 book on the 2nd letter to the Thessalonians, 1 book on the letter to Titus, 1 book on the letter to Philemon.
Again homilies on the Old Testament: 17 homilies on Genesis, 8 homilies on Exodus, 11 homilies on Leviticus, 28 homilies on Numbers, 13 homilies on Deuteronomy, 26 homilies on Joshua son of Nun, 9 homilies on the book of Judges, 8 homilies on the passover [=Easter?], 4 homilies on the 1st book of Kings, 22 homilies on Job, 7 homilies on Parables, 8 homilies on Ecclesiastes, 2 homilies on the Song of Songs, 32 homilies on Isaiah, 14 homilies on Jeremiah, 12 homilies on Ezekiel.

On the Psalms: 1 homily on Psalm 3, 1 homily on Psalm 4, 1 homily on Psalm 8, 1 homily on Psalm 12, 3 homilies on Psalm 15, 1 homily on Psalm 16, 1 homily on Psalm 18, 1 homily on Psalm 22, 1 homily on Psalm 23, 1 homily on Psalm 24, 1 homily on Psalm 25, 1 homily on Psalm 26, 1 homily on Psalm 27, 5 homilies on Psalm 36, 2 homilies on Psalm 37, 2 homilies on Psalm 38, 2 homilies on Psalm 39, 1 homily on Psalm 49, 1 homily on Psalm 51, 2 homilies on Psalm 52, 1 homily on Psalm 54, 7 homilies on Psalm 67, 2 homilies on Psalm 71, 3 homilies on Psalm 72, 3 homilies on Psalm 73, 1 homily on Psalm 74, 1 homily on Psalm 75, 3 homilies on Psalm 76, 9 homilies on Psalm 77, 4 homilies on Psalm 79, 2 homilies on Psalm 80, 1 homily on Psalm 81, 3 homilies on Psalm 82, 1 homily on Psalm 83, 2 homilies on Psalm 84, 1 homily on Psalm 85, 1 homily on Psalm 87, 1 homily on Psalm 108, 1 homily on Psalm 110, 3 homilies on Psalm 118, 1 homily on Psalm 120, 2 homilies on Psalm 121, 2 homilies on Psalm 122, 2 homilies on Psalm 123, 2 homilies on Psalm 124, 1 homily on Psalm 125, 1 homily on Psalm 127, 1 homily on Psalm 128, 1 homily on Psalm 129, 1 homily on Psalm 131, 2 homilies on Psalm 132, 2 homilies on Psalm 133, 2 homilies on Psalm 134, 4 homilies on Psalm 135, 2 homilies on Psalm 137, 4 homilies on Psalm 138, 2 homilies on Psalm 139, 3 homilies on Psalm 144, 1 homily on Psalm 145, 1 homily on Psalm 146, 1 homily on Psalm 147, 1 homily on Psalm 148, excerpta on the whole psalter.

Homilies on the New Testament: 25 homilies on the gospel “kata Matqaion”, 39 homilies on the gospel “kata Loukan”, 17 homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 11 homilies on the 2nd letter to the Corinthians, 2 homilies on the letter to the Thessalonians, 7 homilies on the letter to the Galatians, 1 homily on the letter to Titus, 18 homilies on the letter to the Hebrews.

1 homily on peace, an exhortation to Pionia, [a homily] on fasting, 2 homilies on monogramy and trigamy, 2 homilies on Tarsus, by Origen, Firmianus and Gregory, likewise 2 books of excerpta of letters by Origen and by others to him — the letter of Hesiphodorus on the case of Origen in 2 books — 9 books of his letters to various people, 2 books of other letters, likewise a letter in 2 books as an apologia for his works.

5. So, you see, the labors of this one man have surpassed those of all previous writers, Greek and Latin. Who has ever managed to read all that he has written? Yet what reward have his exertions brought him? He stands condemned by his bishop, Demetrius, only the bishops of Palestine, Arabia, Phenicia, and Achaia dissenting. Imperial Rome consents to his condemnation, and even convenes a senate to censure him, not— as the rabid hounds who now pursue him cry— because of the novelty or heterodoxy of his doctrines, but because men could not tolerate the incomparable eloquence and knowledge which, when once he opened his lips, made others seem dumb.

6. I have written the above quickly and incautiously, by the light of a poor lantern. You will see why, if you think of those who today represent Epicurus and Aristippus.

  1. [1]Latin text in CSEL 54, p.252 f, online here, partial NPNF translation here.
  2. [2]‘excerpta’=notes.