Sermon on the Mount, sources section

Origen and the Sermon on the Mount

Origen Adamantius, c. 185–254, is one of the better known teachers of the early church, though often only because of an incident, known to us from his staunch advocate Eusebius (McGuckin 2004, 26). Eusebius claims that, taking Matt 19:12 literally, the youthful Origen had himself castrated. However, in later life this scholar was renowned for producing commentaries on most of the books of the bible and using his knowledge of Hebrew to produce a corrected version of the Septuagint. Originally based in Alexandria, he was later expelled for accepting a disputed ordination. Thereafter he based himself in Caesarea Maritima, where he developed a centre of study. Some centuries later, at the Fifth Ecumenical Council of 553 C.E., aspects of Origen’s theology were considered anathema, particularly because of the way in which his successors had developed them (O’Keefe 2004, 196).

The passages cited by Origen, either in his commentary on Matthew or in On First Principles, are fairly evenly spread across the Sermon and may be summarised visually as follows (the same information is presented in full below so those with non visual browsers should skip this):

Matt 5:1-7:27.
Ch 5: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 Ch 6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34 Ch 7: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.

Origen’s commentary, as one of the most ancient to survive, provides some of the earliest citations of the Sermon on the Mount. Unfortunately Books 1 and 2 are known only from fragments and 3 to 9 are missing. The references to the Sermon are distributed amongst the extant works as follows:

References to the Sermon are also found in Origen’s On First Principles. The citations given below are to the Roberts and Donaldson (1867) edition.