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Origen on the Jews

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2016

John A. Mcguckin
Affiliation:
University of Leeds

Extract

This present study is a note added to what has already become an extensive bibliography concerning Origen’s doctrinal relation to Judaism in general, and the extent and significance of his awareness of Jewish exegetical procedures in particular. Among that list of previous studies on the theme, special reference ought to be made to the seminal work Origen and the Jews, by Professor Nicholas de Lange, which demonstrated Origen’s knowledge of rabbinic traditions in his exegeses. This present study will offer, firstly, a general contextual discussion of the question of Origen’s dependence on Jewish tradition, and, secondly, a small test-case analysis of his attitude to the Jewish question from observing his New Testament exegesis of those passages directly concerning the issue. From the latter some interesting biases will emerge that throw some light on his personal attitudes.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Ecclesiastical History Society 1992

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References

1 The full bibliographical details for most of the relevant studies can be found chronologically listed in Crouzel, H., Bibliographie critique d’Origene, suppl. 1—Instrumenta Patristica Villa (Steenbrugis, 1982).Google Scholar Here I will list the relevant works to 1982 with reference to that index, by author and year, with some of the pertinent articles that have appeared since that date: 1898, Ginzberg; 1925, Murawski; 1927, Ginzberg; 1928, Marmorstein; 1929, Ginzberg; 1941, Bieder; 1956, Baer; 1961, Taylor; 1968, Rotting; 1968, Roncaglia; 1968, Sim on-Benoit; 1969, Judant; 1970, Philippou; 1970, Roncaglia; 1971, Hruby; 1971, Urbach; 1971.de Lange; 1974, Bietenhard; 1975, Levine; 1975, de Lange; 1976, de Lange; 1976, Sgherri; 1977, Wasserstein; 1979, Judant. There is also a bibliography appended to de Lange, N., Origen and the Jews (Cambridge, 1976), pp. 20915:Google Scholar for other relevant studies listed in that source see entries for Bardy, Daniélou, Daube, Hanson, Krauss, Lachs, Liebermann, Loewe, and Wilde. A short relevant bibliography and discussion of the texts can also be found in Clarke, E. A., Ascetic Piety and Women’s Faith (New York, 1986), pp. 3912.Google Scholar Other recent and relevant works mentioned in or relevant to this present study include Halperin, D.J., ‘Origen, Ezekiel’s Merkabah, and the Ascension of Moses’, Church History, 50 (1981), pp. 26175 Google Scholar; Kimelman, R., ‘Rabbi Yohanan and Origen on the Song of Songs’, HThR, 73 (1980), pp. 56795 Google Scholar; McGuckin, J. A., ‘Origen on the Glory of God’, Studia Patristica, 21 (Louvain, 1989), pp. 31624 Google Scholar, and ‘Caesarea as Origen knew it’, in Origeniana Quinta (forthcoming, Louvain, 1992); Brooks, Roger, ‘Straw Dogs and Scholarly Ecumenism: the Appropria tejewish Background for the Study of Origen’, in Kannengiesser, C. and Petersen, W. L., eds, Origen of Alexandria (Notre Dame, Indiana, 1988), pp. 6395 Google Scholar; Blowers, Paul, ‘Origen, the Rabbis, and the Bible’, in ibid., pp. 96116;Google Scholar Rokeah, D., Jews, Pagans, and Christians in Conflict—Studia Post-Biblica, 33 (Jerusalem and Leiden, 1982)Google Scholar; Krauss, S., ‘The Jews in the works of the Church Fathers’, JQR, 5 (1983), pp. 139ff. (on Origen).Google Scholar

2 Lange, De, Origen and the Jews.Google Scholar

3 See Drijvers, H., ‘jews and Christians at Edessa’, JJS, 36 (1985), pp. 88102 Google Scholar; Baer, Y., ‘Israel, the Christian Church, and the Roman Empire from the time of Septimius Severus to the Edict of Toleration of A.D. 313’, Scripta Hieroslymita, 7 (1961), pp. 79149 Google Scholar; Bietenhard, H., Caesarea, Origenes und die Juden (Stuttgart, 1974)Google Scholar; Levine, L., Caesarea under Roman Rule (Leiden, 1975).Google Scholar

4 Levine, Caesarea under Roman Rule, pp. 86–106.

5 Bishop Alexander was a fellow student of Origen at Alexandria, and a personal friend. He died in the Decian persecution, at Caesarea, which also sentenced Origen to suffer torture (cf. Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica, GCS, 9:6.39.2).

6 For further details see McGuckin, ‘Caesarea Maritima as Origen knew it’.

7 Knauber, A., ‘Das Anliegen der Schule des Origenes zu Caesarea’, Munchener Theologische Zeitschrift, 19 (1968), pp. 182203.Google Scholar See also Crouzel, H., ‘L’École d’Orignée à Césarée’, Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique, 71 (1970), pp. 1527.Google Scholar

8 St Gregory Thaumaturgus, The Oration and Panegyric Addressed to Origen, tr. Salmoned, S. D. F.Ante Nicene Christian Library, 20 (Edinburgh, 1871).Google Scholar

9 Origen, Homily on Jeremiah, 12.13, PG 13, col.395; see also Commentariorum in Evangelium secundum Matthaeum 15, PG 13, col. 1621. For a fuller discussion see Levine, Caesarea under Roman Rule, chs 5 and 7.

10 de Lange, Cf., Origen and the Jews, pp. 6373, for a detailed discussion of the relevant passages in the Contra Celsum.Google Scholar

11 Origen, Epistle to Africanus, 6-8, tr. in Ante-Nicene Christian Library, 10 (Edinburgh, 1869), pp. 376–7. Cf. Bardy, G., ‘Les Traditions juives dans l’œuvre d’Origene’, RBen, 34 (1925), pp. 2213;Google Scholar de Lange, , Origen and the Jews, pp. 1537;Google Scholar Levine, , Caesarea under Roman Rule, p. 205, nn. 20912.Google Scholar

12 For references see de Lange, , Origenand the jews, pp. 1547, 1123-31;Google Scholar Levine, , Caesarea under Roman Rule, pp. 7980, 205.Google Scholar

13 Kimelman, R., ‘Rabbi Yohanan of Tiberias; aspects of the social and religious history of third century Palestine’ (Yale University dissertation, 1977).Google Scholar

14 See works cited in nn. 2-3, above.

15 Halperin, D.J., ‘Origen, Ezekiel’s Merkabah, and the Ascension of Moses’, Church History, 50 (1981), pp. 26175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

16 De Lange, , Origen and the jews, p.134.Google Scholar

17 Crouzel, H., Origen, Eng. tr. (Edinburgh, 1989), p. 78.Google Scholar

18 Torjesen, K.J., Hermeneutical Procedure and Theological Method in Origen’s Exegesis (Berlin and New York, 1986).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

19 Homily I on Psalm 36, PC 7, col. 1321: cited Bardy, ‘Les Traditions juives’, p. 227.

20 Cf. McGuckin, , ‘Origen on the Glory of God’, pp. 31624.Google Scholar

21 Brooks, , ‘Straw Dogs and Scholarly Ecumenism’, pp. 6395.Google Scholar

22 Blowers, , ‘Origen, the Rabbis, and the Bible’, pp. 96116.Google Scholar

23 Brooks, ‘Straw Dogs and Scholarly Ecumenism’, p. 94. He goes on to say (p. 95): ‘In an attempt to lay the foundations for modern rapprochement between Jews and Christians, scholars have rendered far too positive an evaluation of Origen’s relationship to, and reliance upon, Rabbinism.’

24 Blowers, , ‘Origen, the Rabbis and the Bible’, p. 116.Google Scholar

25 Cf. McGuckin, ‘Origen on the Glory of God’.

26 Acts 2. 29; 2. 34; 2. 23; 2. 38; 3.2517. 3517. 42; 7. 51-2; 13. 17; 13. 46; 28. 26-8.

27 Hebrews 3. 3:7. 12; 7. 18 (none of these three texts is cited in the extant works of Origen); 10. 1 (69 citations by Origen); 12. 24 (1 citation by Origen).

28 The Origen citation-instances are listed in Biblia Patristica, 3, Centre d’Analyse et de Documentation Patristiques (Paris, 1980).

29 Acts 3. 26; 13. 17.

30 Acts 7. 51-2; 13. 46.

31 See n. 26, above.

32 Hebrews 3. 3; 7. 12; 7. 18 (entirely neglected); and 12. 24 (only 1 citation).

33 Romans 1. 17; 3. 2; 9. 3; 10. 1; 12. 15; 12. 28.

34 Romans 3.2.

35 See Blowers, ‘Origen, the Rabbis and the Bible’, p. 103.

36 Mishnah, B. Sanhedrin, 58b

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