In order to gain a better understanding of the theology behind early Christian biblical interpretation and preaching, we must go beyond mere intellectual factors, and investigate the phenomena that informed those practices. One such cultural phenomenon that can help us with such endeavors is the use or role of texts within communities. Early Christian biblical exegesis, especially as performed in the act of preaching, was intimately linked to a community's identity formation. Brian Stock employed the term "textual communities" to encapsulate how emerging communities were formed around particular understandings of texts. This paper will apply this theoretical model to Origen's Fourth Homily on Psalm 77(78), in order to determine its utility in understanding Origen's preaching activity. I will show how Origen's concern to alter the behavior of his Caesarean audience informed his interpretation of the "manna" from Psalm 77. In conclusion, this model provides us with valuable insights into Origen's attempt to form a Christian culture in the third-century church.


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pp. 417-442
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