Saturday, 2 May 2015

Vito Limone: Origen, exegete and preacher. A comparison between his Homilies and his Commentary on the Song of Songs.Origen, exegete and preacher. A comparison between his Homilies and his Commentary on the Song of Songs

Origen’s exegesis of Song of Songs was one of the most important, documented topics of IV century controversy. The main of this paper is to reconstruct the most remarkable differences between Origen’s Commentary on the Song of Songs, translated into Latin by Rufinus, and his two Homilies, translated by Jerome, focusing on their different strategies of argumentation and their different literary styles. With regard to the first essay, although Origen’s exegetical method is the same in both works, we will concentrate on two main distinctions: 1) in the Commentary Origen makes a list of the ancient testamentary songs which is different from the list he makes in his first Homily, because of a different interpretation of Is 5,1; 2) in the Commentary he interprets the relation among Christ, the Jews and the Church of Heathens differently from the relation he speaks about in his Homilies, because of his polemic against the Gnostics. Regarding the second essay, the style of the Homilies is conditioned by the presence of the audience. Then, 1) in the Homilies Origen omits those topics which are shocking for his audience, e.g. the idea that the wisdom of the Heathens depends on the Ancient Testament – topics which in his Commentary he insists on; 2) in order to interest his audience in the content of the Song, in his Homilies Origen performs the plot, so that the Song’s characters are performed by Origen and his audience and the Homilies have a theatrical format, differently from the Commentary.

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