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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.45 n.2-3 Pretoria Jun. 2011




Origen's theological and mystical approach to the Scriptures in the introduction to his commentary on John's Gospel


Die teologiese en mistieke benadering van die Skrif in die inleiding tot Origenes se Johannes-kommentaar



P.B. Decock

School of Religion and Theology. University of KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg; St. Joseph's Theological Institute, Cedara. E-mail:




This article explores Origen's approach to interpreting John's Gospel as can be seen in the introduction to his commentary. It deals with the points which were usually discussed in the introductions to Aristotle and Plato. It was this educational aim of the philosophical tradition that was Origen's chief concern in commenting on the Scriptures; an aim which was not seen as merely becoming skilled or well-informed. Rather, it was about developing in virtue, in wisdom, in conversion to the Good (Plato); or as Origen understood it, development in love for God. Origen perceived the development of love for God in three basic steps: moral purification, by which the person is enabled to appreciate moral values; enlightenment, by which the person recognises God as the supreme and absolute value; and finally, union with God in love, which is never fully achieved in this life. The New Testament together with the Old Testament (understood in the light of the New Testament), reveals the power of the Gospel "in mirror darkly" while the "eternal gospel" will be the full revelation of it at the eschaton. John's Gospel is the clearest expression of the divine Logos; but no one can understand the text fully as expression of the Logos unless one becomes like John - who was intimately related to the Logos, as the Logos is related to the Father (John 13:23, 25; 1:18).


Die artikel ondersoek die wyse waarop Origenes die Johannes-evangelie benader soos dit tot uitdrukking kom in die inleiding van sy kommentaar. Hier bespreek hy dieselfde vrae wat gewoonlik in die inleidings tot die werke van Aristoteles of Plato behandel word. Hierdie opvoedkundige bedoeling van die filosofie was die sentrale oorweging vir Origenes in sy kommentaar op die Skrif. Dit gaan nie bloot om ingelig of geskoold te wees nie, maar om te groei en te ontwikkel in wysheid en deugsaamheid, jou tot die Goeie (Plato) te bekeer, of soos Origenes dit beskou het, om liefde vir God te ontwikkel. Origenes beskou die groei in die liefde vir God as bestaande uit drie stappe: eers kom die morele suiwering wat die persoon in staat stel om morele waardes op prys te stel; dan kom die verligting waardeur die persoon God as die allerhoogste en absolute waarde herken; en uiteindelik, die vereniging met God in die liefde wat nie in hierdie lewe ten volle tot vervulling kom nie. Die Nuwe Testament, asook die Ou Testament (verstaan in die lig van die Nuwe Testament), maak die Evangelie "deur 'n spieël in 'n raaisel" bekend, maar die "ewige evangelie" sal in die eschaton tot volle openbaring kom. Die Johannesevangelie is die mees duidelike openbaring van die goddelike Logos, maar 'n mens verstaan die teks as openbaring van die Logos slegs in die mate waarin jy soos Johannes word, wie intiem met die Logos verenig was soos die Logos met die Vader verenig is (Joh. 13:23, 25; 1:18).



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