Original Research

Origen’s theological and mystical approach to the Scriptures in the introduction to his commentary on John’s Gospel

P.B. Decock
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 45, No 2/3 | a34 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v45i2/3.34 | © 1970 P.B. Decock | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 June 2011 | Published:

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P.B. Decock, School of Religion and Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, PIETERMARITZBURG, St. Joseph’s Theological Institute, CEDARA

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Abstract

This article explores Origen’s approach to interpreting John’s Gospel as can be seen in the introduction to his commentary. It deals with the points which were usually discussed in the introductions to Aristotle and Plato. It was this educational aim of the philosophical tradition that was Origen’s chief concern in commenting on the Scriptures; an aim which was not seen as merely becoming skilled or well-informed. Rather, it was about developing in virtue, in wisdom, in conversion to the Good (Plato); or as Origen understood it, development in love for God. Origen perceived the development of love for God in three basic steps: moral purification, by which the person is enabled to appreciate moral values; enlightenment, by which the person recognises God as the supreme and absolute value; and finally, union with God in love, which is never fully achieved in this life. The New Testament together with the Old Testament (understood in the light of the New Testament), reveals the power of the Gospel “in mirror darkly” while the “eternal gospel” will be the full revelation of it at the eschaton. John’s Gospel is the clearest expression of the divine Logos; but no one can understand the text fully as expression of the Logos unless one becomes like John – who was intimately related to the Logos, as the Logos is related to the Father (John 13:23, 25; 1:18).

Keywords

Church; Fathers Exegesis; History; Gospel Of John Origen

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