Conduct: Moral Inquiry

Peter W. Martens

in Origen and Scripture

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199639557
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738135 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Conduct: Moral Inquiry

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This chapter examines how the moral character and conduct of the Christian philologist shaped scriptural interpretation. It begins with Origen's account of how the worthy moral life helped form expectations about the scriptural message. When challenged by especially difficult passages, Origen repeatedly underscored the need for ideal interpreters to study Scripture with a range of exegetical virtues, and should discouragement over an unyielding passage follow, to exercise an abiding trust that an underlying sense resided in Scripture. The worthy life, exegetical virtues, and the exercise of faith all facilitated independent scriptural study. But they also rendered the interpreter worthy of divine aid when Scripture proved impenetrable. To an interpreter who cultivated such a moral profile, especially one who prayed for this divine aid, God, the Word, and the Holy Spirit were willing to offer exegetical aid.

Keywords: Origen; character; conduct; moral life; exegetical virtues; faith; divine aid

Chapter.  17531 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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