Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 13. Ecclesiastical Literature of the Ante-Nicene Age, and Biographical Sketches of the Church Fathers.” sec. 159-204.
§ 187. Origen.
Schaff provides a robust annotated bibliography for Origen. He then introduces Origen as “one of the most remarkable men in history for genius and learning, for the influence he exerted on his age, and for the controversies and discussions to which his opinions gave rise” (Schaff 2014, loc. 22507). He was raised in a Christian home in Alexandria and trained by his father, “probably a rhetorician.” At the age of 18 he took a position as the head of the Alexandrian catechetical school, after Clement’s flight under persecution (Schaff 2014, loc. 22517). Origen studied and traveled extensively.
Origen was known for a strict asceticism, refusing earthly goods which were not absolutely necessary. Schaff says he went so far as to emasculate himself, an act of which he later repented (Schaff 2014, loc. 22531).
Origen developed a reputation, by the year 231, of “corrupting Christianity by foreign speculations” (Schaff 2014, loc. 22536). Two councils demanded he be stripped of his office and responsibilities in the church. While Rome agreed, other regions did not. Origen stepped down willingly and started a new school in Palestine (Schaff 2014, loc. 22546). He continued in teaching, travel, and exhortation until his torture under Decius, which resulted in his later death, age 69, in 253 or 254 (Schaff 2014, loc. 22551).
Origen had a reputation as a brilliant theologian and scholar (Schaff 2014, loc. 22561). He did follow some deviant theological views, which were normally not shared by his students. His attempts to reconcile Christianity with human reason, according to Schaff, was probably at the heart of his theological deviances (Schaff 2014, loc. 22570). Schaff considers Origen to be the best exegetical mind in Christianity until he was surpassed by Chrysostom (Schaff 2014, loc. 22585). However, he had a tendency to seek mystical meanings hidden underneath the text. This pulled him away from sound orthodox teaching.