Origen (ca. 184–ca. 253) is considered the most important biblical scholar and theologian of the early Greek Church, and some have even called him the finest scholar of the first millennium of Christianity. He fits into a legacy of prominent figures from the Alexandrian Church, which was under persecution during his time. His father was martyred when he was seventeen, and several of the students whom he converted to Christianity also went on to martyrdom.
On First Principles was one of Origen’s earliest and most significant writings. Another was his Hexapla, an enormous edition of the Old Testament arranged in six columns of Hebrew and Greek text. It is known as a colossal landmark in the study of Scripture. Many of his homilies were also recorded, and are widely read today.
Near the end of his life, Origen was tortured by civil authorities in an effort to make him apostatize. While they did not succeed, Origen died a confessor from related causes a few years later.