The Commentaries of Origen and Jerome on St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians

The Commentaries of Origen and Jerome on St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians

The Commentaries of Origen and Jerome on St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians

The Commentaries of Origen and Jerome on St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians


This important study provides the first English translation of both the surviving fragments of Origen's Commentary on Ephesians and of the complete text of Jerome's Commentary on Ephesians. The two translations are placed parallel to one another where they treat the same texts in Ephesiansthus showing Jerome's extensive dependence on Origen's commentary. By using collateral texts from other works of Origen, Jerome, and Rufinus, the author is able to show Jerome's dependence on Origen in numerous passages in his commentary where the Greek text of Origen's commentary is lost. Thetranslation is accompanied by Heine's illuminating commentary and a substantial introduction sets the works in their historical context. The book makes a significant contribution not only to scholarship on Origen and Jerome, but also to the wider question of the interpretation of scripture in theearly Christian centuries.


The loss of so much of Origen's exegetical work is one of the tragedies of ancient Church history. This is especially true of his exegesis of the Pauline epistles for, from what can be surmised from the pieces that remain of this exegesis, he seems to have applied allegorical interpretation, which most modern exegetes find distasteful in his work, sparingly to Paul's epistles and to have concentrated more on philological issues, moral questions, and, of course, theological speculation.

Two of Origen's Pauline commentaries have survived in somewhat extensive Greek excerpts and Latin translations. One is the commentary on Romans, where there are extensive Greek excerpts from chapters 3-5 in the Tura papyrus along with scattered excerpts in catenae plus the rather full Latin translation of the commentary by Rufinus. The other is Origen's commentary on Ephesians. There are fairly extensive Greek excerpts in a catena commentary which can be supplemented by the more or less free translation of most parts of the work in Jerome's Latin commentary on the same epistle. There is no such conjunction of Greek and Latin witnesses for any of Origen's other Pauline commentaries. This book, which brings the two witnesses to Origen's commentary on Ephesians together in English translation, is a step in an attempt to recover as much as possible of Origen's Pauline exegesis.

During the approximately five years in which I have been working on this book I have written several essays, parts of which now form portions of the Introduction: 'Recovering Origen's Commentary on Ephesians from Jerome', JTS (2000), 478-514, 'In Search of Origen's Commentary on Philemon', HTR (2000), 117-33, 'Evidence for the Date of Origen's Commentary on Ephesians', ZAC (2000), 149-57, 'The Prologues of Origen's Pauline Commentaries and the Schemata Isagogica of Ancient Commentary Literature', SP (Leuven, 2001), 421-39.

I wish to express special thanks to Francesco Pieri for providing me with a copy of his new (provisional) critical text for Jerome's commentary on Ephesians. My translation of Jerome's commentary is based on this

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