January 15, 2021
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v2.1 Reference

Homilies on the Psalms

Codex Monacensis Graecus 314

By Origen
Translated by Joseph W. Trigg
In 2012 Dr. Marina Marin Pradel, an archivist at the Bayerische Stattsbibliotek in Munich, discovered that a thick 12th-century Byzantine manuscript, Codex Monacensis Graecus 314, contained twenty-nine of Origen's Homilies on the Psalms, hitherto considered lost. Lorenzo Perrone of the University of Bologna, an internationally respected scholar of Origen, vouched for the identification and immediately began work on the scholarly edition that appeared in 2015 as the thirteenth volume of Origen's works in the distinguished Griechische Christlichen Schrifsteller series. In an introductory essay Perrone provided proof that the homilies are genuine and demonstrated that they are, astonishingly, his last known work. Live transcripts, these collection homilies constitute our largest collection of actual Christian preaching from the pre-Constantinian period.

In these homilies, the final expression of his mature thought, Origen displays, more fully than elsewhere, his understanding of the church and of deification as the goal of Christian life. They also give precious insights into his understanding of the incarnation and of human nature. They are the earliest example of early Christian interpretation of the Psalms, works at the heart of Christian spirituality. Historians of biblical interpretation will find in them the largest body of Old Testament interpretation surviving in his own words, not filtered through ancient translations into Latin that often failed to convey his intense philological acumen. Among other things, they give us new insights into the life of a third-century Greco-Roman metropolis, into Christian/Jewish relations, and into Christian worship.

This translation, using the GCS as its basis, seeks to convey, as faithfully as possible, Origen's own categories of thought. An introduction and notes relate the homilies to the theology and principles of interpretation in Origen's larger work and to that work's intellectual context and legacy.

About the Authors

Joseph W. Trigg is an independent scholar.


"The recent discovery of a long-lost substantial collection of sermons on the Psalms by Origen is perhaps the most momentous discovery for early Christian studies in the last few decades.  Here we encounter the most mature work of the greatest Greek Christian writer of the early centuries; and this book presents the sermons in a translation of exemplary clarity and accessibility. Joseph Trigg, who is one of the leading scholars of Origen in the English-speaking world, has done a unique and indispensable service both to the specialist and to the interested general student, introducing the texts with wide learning and sympathy and rendering the Greek in a fluent, readable English.  This is a wonderful addition to the shelves, offering a welcome new perspective on a great mind."—Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, 2002-2012

"These homilies allow the reader to observe at close range and in fine detail, in the springtime of the Church's history, how one of the great teachers of the early centuries went about the task of expounding the Scriptures before a Christian congregation. It is a book to be read slowly and reverently, with an eye for the unexpected."—First Things

"The new homilies represent an important new source permitting a richer, more precise understanding of the status of Psalms in early Christian literature and piety... [and] add many valuable precisions to our knowledge of Origen's standing at the confluence of diverse social, ethnic, cultural, intellectual, and religious worlds."—Tablet

"The introduction will be accessible to a wide audience: it tells of the circumstances of the discovery; the arguments in favor of attributing these homilies to Origen; situates them at the heart of his activities as the preacher and the grammarian that was Origen; shows how he employs the principles of interpretation that are his, and above all, explains what these "new" homilies tell us about his theological thought, his milieu, and the Biblical texts to which he had access."—Revue d'Histoire Ecclesiastique

"Trigg cross-references some other homilies in this monograph, indicating he possesses a mastery of the whole, and the work ethic to draw out their relationship. Unlike some other modern translations of Origen, this collection with its translator's footnotes are a good introduction and starting point to study Origen and his work, as well as being of inestimable value to advanced scholars."—The Global Anglican

"As translator Joseph Trigg brings out in his ample and attentive introduction, Homilies on the Psalms constitutes Origen's last-known work and brings the total number of homilies we possess from 21 to 50. It is also the earliest work of Christian preaching, and so, for all these reasons, a truly rare and exciting discovery."—Cistercian Studies Quarterly

"These fascinating homilies are full of new insights into the thought of one of the most exciting and influential early Christian teachers. By producing this precise and erudite translation, Joseph Trigg has done a great service to all who are interested in Origen's work."—Catholic Historical Review

"Scholars and students of Origen will welcome this translation of Origen's rediscovered work. Others interested in the history of preaching, Christian doctrine, and Christian spirituality will find Trigg's translation an accessible way into Origen's third-century world."—Restoration Quarterly

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480 Pages
$45.00 USD

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