Recherches et tradition: Mélanges patristiques offerts à Henri Crouzel, S.J. (review)
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Reviewed by
André Dupleix, ed. Recherches et tradition: Mélanges patristiques offerts à Henri Crouzel, S.J. Théologie Historique 88. Paris: Beauchesne, 1992. Pp. xvi + 339.

Presented to Crouzel by the faculty of the Institut Catholique of Toulouse, where he has taught for thirty-five years, this collection of essays celebrates not only his work as theologian and historian, but also his concern for the concrete dimensions of ethics and spirituality, past and present. In a preface we are told by Jacques Dutheil, rector of the Institute, that Crouzel was, in addition to being a world-renowned patristics scholar, devoted to the ministry of practical charity as French national almoner for the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul from 1976 to 1981. His commitment to the interdisciplinary nature of theology at its best, to personal spiritual discipline and its center in the life of prayer, and to the translation of [End Page 64] Christian thought into the categories and thought-world of contemporary culture, have shaped Crouzel's interests as a churchman and helped to produce in him, André Dupleix reminds us, a devotion to research which is a true extension of tradition into present circumstances. Origen more than anyone came to personify for Crouzel these same qualities in a foundational figure of the past and has thus served as a model for the greatness, and the risk, of all courageous theology done in the service of the Church. For Crouzel the researcher, true faith is revealed, and doctrine is developed, and tradition is revivified, when the erudite scholar re-presents for today the riches of yesterday—hence, the title of this impressive collection and the preoccupation throughout with the practical and ecclesial orientation of much patristic thought.

A majority of the essays, as is to be expected, extend lines of argument developed by Crouzel in his work on Origen. Eric Junod spells out with remarkable lucidity a defence of the claim made by Rufinus of Aquileia, contra the later Jerome, that in the Apologeticus pro Origene he has translated a work which is in part written by the martyr-saint Pamphilus and which thus constitutes a witness of the highest value for Origen's orthodoxy. Pierre Nautin, following Jerome, has disputed Rufinus' claim, but Junod shows that Jerome is not to be trusted here, that indeed Rufinus and Eusebius before him (Crouzel would agree) are faithful in their handling of older sources. Gilles Pelland in a study of Origen's In Jn. 2.16-18, a text in which Origen describes the divinity of the Son as constituted by his ceaseless contemplation of the Father, agrees with Crouzel against much older work, such as that of René Arnou, that this christology is not subordinationist, but rather draws from Platonist cosmology legitimately in order to emphasize the dynamic nature of the divine sonship (a dynamism discussed in modern scholarship in terms of the Johannine descending-and-ascending motif). Josep RiusCamps discusses provocatively Photius' description of his Codex 8 of the De Principiis, in which the bibliographer gives hints of a manuscript tradition of this work extending back to Middle Eastern sources and reflecting the possibility that there existed different stages of composition from Origen of the work itself. The present state and structure of De Principiis are thus argued to be a relatively late revision of the work (by Rufinus?) in which some of Origen's original intentions are obscured. Rius-Camps' suggestions would certainly be relevant to Crouzel's contention that Origen was not a systematician in the strict dogmatic sense, but a thinker whose work was open-textured and always tentative.

From liturgical and exegetical perspectives, Robert Cabié explores Origen's thought for insight into the development in the Alexandrian church of the season of the great fifty days of Easter and the mystical eschatological significance of the Easter-Pentecost symbolism. Origen's elaboration of the concept of paschal time is seen as leading to the enhancement of the liturgical calendar and to Athanasius' focus on the "grande dimanche." Two essays, those of Maurice Jourjon and Jean-Jacques Fauconnet, are celebrations of the spiritual power and relevance for the lives of believers of the kind...


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