By Nicholas De Lange
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Extra resources for Origen and the Jews: studies in Jewish-Christian relations in third-century Palestine
19)' 2 2 The repetition of the word `law' here is surely no coincidence, but shows that Origen is limiting himself consciously to a particular kind of Jew in giving this answer. 2 3 The rabbis, like the Fathers, were on the whole strict in their condemnation of any practices or ideas which might give rise to a suspicion of idolatry or of polytheism, 2 4 and this conditioned their attitude to powers and angels. 2 5 Jewish powers and angels are prominent in the magical papyri, and it is likely that the angels which appear in the Christian tradition, and which Origen frequently mentions, have a Jewish origin.
S 1 Whether or not he had access to written Jewish commentaries (and if so whether these were in Greek or Hebrew) is impossible to say for certain. There was strong rabbinic opposition to the writing down of the oral Torah, but we know of certain exceptions, and it was in Origen's time that the Mishnah and some of the so-called halakhic commentaries were committed to writing. In several places Origen refers to Jewish aporrheta and apocrypha, some of which may have been rabbinic-type commentaries.
This solution was proposed by D. Vallarsi76 as long ago as 1735, but never seems to have been taken up by subsequent scholars. 7 7 It might be argued that Huillus or bulbs was patriarch of the Jewish community of Alexandria, since according to Eusebius7 8 the commentaries on the early part of the Psalter were composed there. Again, the tradition ascribed to the `learned Hebrew' in the passage of the letter to Africanus just mentioned is also reproduced by Jerome,7 9 who purports to be quoting from Book X of the Stromateis, a work dated by Eusebius8 ° to the Alexandrian period on the authority of an autograph note by Origen himself.
Origen and the Jews: studies in Jewish-Christian relations in third-century Palestine by Nicholas De Lange