Tradition and religious authority: On a neglected Christian parallel to 'Mishna Abot' (I,1-10)

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    Abstract

    An Arabic catena containing selected patristic commentaries on the Pentateuch, is prefaced by an introduction that is commonly attributed to Hippolytus. This introduction is exceptional for its intimate knowledge of rabbinic traditions. Because of its uncertain authorship and relative inaccessibility to scholars of Judaism, the importance of this patristic text has never been given its due and scholars of patristics have generally confined their interest exclusively to the question of the catena's fragments' authorship. The catena's introduction, however, has never been investigated independently. The introduction contains, inter alia, a'chain of authority' stretching from the time of Moses to the era of the New Testament. It includes a considerable number of postbiblical characters who are known solely through rabbinic literature, e.g., in Mishna Abot and more elaborated in Seder Tannaim weAmoraim. No attempt has hitherto been made to analyse the text in detail or investigate its theological outlook as ultimately Christian. The aim of this article is to give a fresh translation of this text, to point out the rabbinic parallels and to map out the theological slant behind the catena's introduction. Numerous thematic affinities with Syriac literature point to the Syriac milieu as the text's 'Sitz im Leben'
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-201
    JournalHEBREW UNION COLLEGE ANNUAL, VOL 66
    Volume66
    Publication statusPublished - 1996

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