by Mark E. Therrien
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-8132-3531-8 | Paper: 978-0-8132-3530-1
Library of Congress Classification BR1720.O7
Dewey Decimal Classification 270.1092

ABOUT THIS BOOK | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Even though the theology of Origen of Alexandria has shaped the Christian Tradition in almost every way, the controversies over his legacy have been seemingly endless. One major interpretative trend, for example, has suggested Origen’s theology is really akin to the heterodox Gnostics against whom he wrote than the actual teaching of the Gospel, since he (supposedly) had a disdainful attitude towards Creation and ultimately saw little redemptive meaning in the Passion.

In Cross and Creation: A Theological Introduction to Origen of Alexandria, Mark Therrien offers an original interpretation of Origen’s theology. Focusing on some of Origen’s most important works (especially On First Principles and the Commentary on John, but ultimately making reference to his writings more broadly), this book retrieves and examines some of the foundational pillars of Origen’s theology through close readings and re-examinations of those texts. It examines eight of these theological foundations: God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the end, the soul, the world, the cross, and deification. Moreover, by showing the connections between Origen’s understanding of these foundational pillars, it also shows the coherence of his theology as a whole. Taken collectively, what emerges from these eight chapters is that two doctrines specially shape Origen’s theology: Cross and Creation. As Therrien shows, Origen did not hold contempt for Creation. Rather, Origen thinks that Creation emerges from the very life of God as eternally foreknown and provided for in the person of Christ, the Wisdom of God the Father. Moreover, he also holds that, though fallen, Creation will be restored according to its original, eternal intention in God precisely through the Passion of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The Cross is thus not minimalized in Origen’s theology; it is rather its very center.

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