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Journey Back to God


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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter 1: Theodicy as Navigation: Toward a Theoretical Paradigm Chapter 2: Framing Questions: God and Evil in Paradox Chapter 3: Paradise Lost: Pre-existence, the Fall, and the Origin of Evil Chapter 4: The Physician of Souls: Suffering as Remedial Punishment Chapter 5: Theology of Ascent: The Journey of the Soul to Perfection Chapter 6: Journey's End: The Triumph of Good and Universal Salvation Conclusion Bibliography

About the Author

Mark S. M. Scott is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Thorneloe University.


"Scott's book on Origenian theodicy constitutes an important instrument for the study of this fascinating area and the religious phenomenon more broadly, for which the author should be wholeheartedly congratulated" -- Doru Costache, St Cyril's Coptic Orthodox Theological College, The Journal of Religious History "Journey Back to God frames the systematic study of Origen's theodicy within a broader theory of theodicy as navigation, which signifies the dynamic process whereby we impute meaning to suffering. It unites the logical and spiritual facets of his theodicy, and situates it in its third-century historical, theological, and philosophical context, correcting the distortions that continue to plague Origen scholarship."--Reading Religion "[T]he great achievement of this book is found in how he [Scott] skillfully holds together the pastoral and speculative dimensions of his [Origen's] thought throughout. Those interested in patristic studies or the problem of evil will find this book worthwhile. But the true merit of this book reaches much further, for this study penetrates to the very heart of Origen's theology This is, indeed, a welcomed and much needed study"--Studies in Religion/Science Religieuses "Scott's volume makes a contribution to both Origen studies in particular and to theological studies in general. A critical engagement with Origen's thought and a lucid style make the book a good introduction"--Journal of Early Christian Studies "Theologically astute and historically informed... [S]tudents in both theology and patristics will find the book informative and worthwhile."--Religious Studies Review "Journey Back to God focuses...on the manner in which one of the early church's greatest intellectuals vindicated God amidst the horrors of evil and suffering...[The book] is an argument crafted not only out of history but also out of generous measures of theory and philosophy...Scott helps us understand how a towering figure in the Greek patristic tradition wrestled with the same conundrum." --Marginalia Review of Books "An erudite review... Scott himself achieves more originality when he defines theodicy as a navigation for which the charts are furnished by experience... Scott is none the less better than his word." --Journal of Theological Studies "Mark Scott focuses upon the problem of evil as an instructive perspective from which to assess the full range of Origen's views. Placed in a speculative and cosmic narrative they are primarily designed as pastoral guidance, and they are not so much a solution to the problems of human suffering and sinfulness as a set of speculations enabling humans to navigate their way toward God with hope and freedom." --Rowan A. Greer, Professor of Anglican Studies Emeritus, Yale Divinity School "By arguing that Origen does not so much explain away our pain and suffering as provide a spiritual map that helps us move forward through it, Mark Scott gives us a book on a major early Christian theorist on a topic of perennial value that will be of great interest to a wide variety of readers." --Paul R. Kolbet, author of Augustine and the Cure of Souls: Revising a Classical Ideal "Scott skillfully navigates his way through Origen's treatment of the complex issues surrounding the presence of evil, suffering, and death in a world held to be created by a good, omniscient, and omnipotent God. He shows that Origen, one of the most important and controversial figures of the early Church, uses an overarching framework of pedagogy to hold all these elements together, not without tension and ambiguity, but in a way that provides insights still valuable today." --V. Rev. Dr. John Behr, Dean, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary "This volume offers a well-written and clear tracing of Origen's treatment of the problem of evil...[it] rewards the attentive reader far beyond expectation" --Heythrop Journal

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