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Usage of the Word Παρουσία in Origen of Alexandria’s Comment

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Usage of the Word Παρουσία in Origen of Alexandria’s Comment

Postby Bernd Strauss » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:54 am

Origen of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of John, book 1, section 26 (extract from section 6 in Philip Schaff’s series): “Εἰ δὲ τὰ Παύλου εὐαγγέλιον ἦν, ἀκόλουθον λέγειν ὅτι καὶ τὰ Πέτρου εὐαγγέλιον ἦν καὶ ἁπαξαπλῶς τὰ συνιστάντα τὴν Χριστοῦ ἐπιδημίαν καὶ κατασκευάζοντα τὴν παρουσίαν αὐτοῦ ἐμποιοῦντά τε αὐτὴν ταῖς ψυχαῖς τῶν βουλομένων παραδέξασθαι τὸν ἑστῶτα ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν καὶ κρούοντα καὶ εἰσελθεῖν βουλόμενον εἰς τὰς ψυχὰς λόγον θεοῦ.”

Ronald E. Heine’s translations from The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation, Volume 80: “But if the writings of Paul were gospel, it is consistent with that to say that Peter's writings also were gospel and, in general, those which present the sojourn of Christ and prepare for his coming and produce it in the souls of those who are willing to receive the Word of God who stands at the door and knocks and wishes to enter their souls.”

Based on what is stated in the Greek text, does the word παρουσία refer to Christ’s second coming, or is it used with reference to Jesus’ coming into the souls of those who are willing to receive him?
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Re: Usage of the Word Παρουσία in Origen of Alexandria’s Com

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:33 pm

Considering especially the allusion to Rev 3:20, I think it refers to Jesus coming to the individual.
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Re: Usage of the Word Παρουσία in Origen of Alexandria’s Com

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:38 pm

Is Origen's statement here simply amillenialist or a statement that he didn't expect a physical return at all?
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Re: Usage of the Word Παρουσία in Origen of Alexandria’s Com

Postby Bernd Strauss » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:40 pm

Considering especially the allusion to Rev 3:20, I think it refers to Jesus coming to the individual.


Compare how the text is rendered in another English translation which is in Philip Schaff’s series: “But if what Paul wrote was gospel, it follows that what Peter wrote was also gospel, and in a word all that was said or written to perpetuate the knowledge of Christ’s sojourn on earth, and to prepare for his second coming, or to bring it about as a present reality in those souls which were willing to receive the Word of God as he stood at the door and knocked and sought to come into them.”

The English translator understood the word παρουσία as referring to the second coming. Are there any clues in the structure and meaning of the Greek text which can help to see what coming is implied?

Is Origen's statement here simply amillenialist or a statement that he didn't expect a physical return at all?


I am not acquainted enough with Origen’s beliefs on Jesus’ coming. But it seems that he understood Christ’s coming basically in the same and usual way as the later writers, such as John Chrysostom, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Theodoret of Cyrus.
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Re: Usage of the Word Παρουσία in Origen of Alexandria’s Com

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:18 pm

Bernd Strauss wrote:
Considering especially the allusion to Rev 3:20, I think it refers to Jesus coming to the individual.


Compare how the text is rendered in another English translation which is in Philip Schaff’s series: “But if what Paul wrote was gospel, it follows that what Peter wrote was also gospel, and in a word all that was said or written to perpetuate the knowledge of Christ’s sojourn on earth, and to prepare for his second coming, or to bring it about as a present reality in those souls which were willing to receive the Word of God as he stood at the door and knocked and sought to come into them.”

The English translator understood the word παρουσία as referring to the second coming. Are there any clues in the structure and meaning of the Greek text which can help to see what coming is implied?

Is Origen's statement here simply amillenialist or a statement that he didn't expect a physical return at all?


I am not acquainted enough with Origen’s beliefs on Jesus’ coming. But it seems that he understood Christ’s coming basically in the same and usual way as the later writers, such as John Chrysostom, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Theodoret of Cyrus.


Yes, and the context of Origen might well indicate that Schaff is right. But as the text stands above, it indicates to me a personal spiritual encounter rather than the second coming. But I am certainly no Origen expert, beyond the normal handbook intro that one acquires when studying such things.
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Re: Usage of the Word Παρουσία in Origen of Alexandria’s Com

Postby Bernd Strauss » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:44 pm

the context of Origen might well indicate that Schaff is right.


The following is more context. I did not include it because it seems to be irrelevant to the subject of Christ’s coming, although the last paragraph mentions the “sojourn of the good Father in his Son with those who are willing to receive him.” The text may be referring to the future second coming, but also saying that the second coming can also in a certain sense be experienced at present by Christ’s coming into the souls of those who are willing to receive him. It is still unclear whether the second paragraph in the quotation refers to the second coming.

“Ἔστι δὲ προσαχθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν ὑπὸ Παύλου λεγομένων περὶ τοῦ πᾶσαν τὴν καινὴν εἶναι τὰ εὐαγγέλια, ὅταν που γράφῃ· «Κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου»· ἐν γράμμασι γὰρ Παύλου οὐκ ἔχομεν βιβλίον εὐαγγέλιον συνήθως καλούμενον, ἀλλὰ πᾶν, ὃ ἐκήρυσσε καὶ ἔλεγε, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἦν. Ἃ δὲ ἐκήρυσσε καὶ ἔλεγε, ταῦτα καὶ ἔγραφε· καὶ ἃ ἔγραφεν ἄρα εὐαγγέλιον ἦν.

Εἰ δὲ τὰ Παύλου εὐαγγέλιον ἦν, ἀκόλουθον λέγειν ὅτι καὶ τὰ Πέτρου εὐαγγέλιον ἦν καὶ ἁπαξαπλῶς τὰ συνιστάντα τὴν Χριστοῦ ἐπιδημίαν καὶ κατασκευάζοντα τὴν παρουσίαν αὐτοῦ ἐμποιοῦντά τε αὐτὴν ταῖς ψυχαῖς τῶν βουλομένων παραδέξασθαι τὸν ἑστῶτα ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν καὶ κρούοντα καὶ εἰσελθεῖν βουλόμενον εἰς τὰς ψυχὰς λόγον θεοῦ.

Τί δὲ βούλεται δηλοῦν ἡ «εὐαγγέλιον» προσηγορία, καὶ διὰ τί ταύτην ἔχει τὴν ἐπιγραφὴν ταῦτα τὰ βιβλία, ἤδη καιρὸς ἐξετάσαι. Ἔστι τοίνυν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον λόγος περιέχων ἀπαγγελίαν πραγμάτων κατὰ τὸ εὔλογον διὰ τὸ ὠφελεῖν εὐφραινόντων τὸν ἀκούοντα, ἐπὰν παραδέξηται τὸ ἀπαγγελλόμενον· οὐδὲν δ' ἧττον ὁ τοιοῦτος λόγος εὐαγγέλιόν ἐστιν, ἂν καὶ πρὸς τὴν σχέσιν τοῦ ἀκούοντος ἐξετάζηται. Ἢ εὐαγγέλιόν ἐστι λόγος περιέχων ἀγαθοῦ τῷ πιστεύοντι παρουσίαν ἢ λόγος ἐπαγγελλόμενος παρεῖναι ἀγαθὸν τὸ προσδοκώμενον.

Πάντες δὲ οἱ προειρημένοι ἡμῖν ὅροι ἐφαρμόζουσι τοῖς ἐπιγραφομένοις εὐαγγελίοις. Ἕκαστον γὰρ εὐαγγέλιον, σύστημα ἀπαγγελλομένων ὠφελίμων τῷ πιστεύοντι καὶ μὴ παρεκδεξαμένῳ τυγχάνον ὠφέλειαν ἐμποιοῦν, κατὰ τὸ εὔλογον εὐφραίνει, διδάσκον τὴν δι' ἀνθρώπους τοῦ πρωτοτόκου πάσης κτίσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ σωτήριον αὐτοῖς ἐπιδημίαν. Ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅτι λόγος ἐστὶν ἕκαστον εὐαγγέλιον διδάσκων τὴν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ πατρὸς ἐν υἱῷ τοῖς βουλομένοις παραδέξασθαι ἐπιδημίαν, παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι σαφές.”

Ronald E. Heine’s translations from The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation, Volume 80: “Now it is possible to introduce evidence from Paul's words on our point that the whole New Testament is the gospel when he writes somewhere, "according to my gospel." For among Paul's writings we do not have a book called a "gospel" in the usual sense, but everything which he preached and said was the gospel. And the things which he preached and said he also wrote. What he wrote, therefore, was "gospel."

But if the writings of Paul were gospel, it is consistent with that to say that Peter's writings also were gospel and, in general, those which present the sojourn of Christ and prepare for his coming and produce it in the souls of those who are willing to receive the Word of God who stands at the door and knocks and wishes to enter their souls.

What is a "gospel"?

It is now time, however, to examine what the term "gospel" means, and why these hooks have this title. The gospel, therefore, is a discourse containing a report of things which, with good reason, make the hearer glad whenever he accepts what is reported, because they are beneficial. Such a discourse is no less gospel should it also be examined with reference to the hearer's attitude. The gospel is either a discourse which contains the presence of a good for the believer, or a discourse which announces that an awaited good is present.

All the definitions which we have already mentioned fit those books entitled the gospels. For each gospel brings cheer with good reason. Each is a composition of declarations which are beneficial to the one who believes them and does not misconstrue them since it produces a benefit in him. Each gospel teaches about the saving sojourn with men of Christ Jesus, "the firstborn of every creature," a sojourn which occurred on account of men. But it is also dear to everyone who believes, that each gospel is a discourse which teaches about the sojourn of the good Father in his Son with those who are willing to receive him.”
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