Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Homilies on the Psalms by Origen recovered

NEW DISCOVERY: The Rediscovery of Origen’s Homilies on the Psalms (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod.graec. 314) (Alin Suciu). "The Bavarian State Library in Munich announces that Origen’s homilies to the Psalms have been discovered in an 11th century Greek manuscript." Alin has more information here: Guest Post: Mark Bilby on the Recent Discovery of Origen’s Homilies on the Psalms. And Roger Pearse translates the German press release here and comments:
What else is out there??? What lies hidden by the wretched catalogues of most institutions, where none but the staff can browse casually?

It is not clear to me whether these homilies are entirely new or were already known from a Latin translation. But they are certainly new in the original Greek, and given that the Latin translations of Origen's works were generally pretty poor, tending toward paraphrase and bowdlerization, they are important either way. Some summary information on Origen's homilies is here. The author specifically bewails the loss of so many of the Psalms homilies.

This discovery is likely also to be important indirectly for ancient Judaism. Origen lived in Caesarea in the third century. He knew Hebrew and was in contact with the local rabbis, so his work is often influenced by contemporary Palestinian Jewish exegesis.

Bit by bit, a letter at a time, whatever it takes. Until we're done.

UPDATE (13 June): More here.