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Second Century B.C. - First Century A.D.

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Online Text for Orphica

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Information on Orphica

James Charlesworth writes: "During the second or first century B.C. some Jewish poems falsely attributed to Orpheus were composed that bear resemblances to the Jewish pseudepigraphical testaments (cf. N. Walter, no. 1183a, p. 260), because the setting is Orpheus' parting testament to his son Musaeus (en to diathekai epigraphomeno biblio; Ps-Just, de Mon. 2). These poems are now lost except for qoutations preserved by Pseudo-Justin, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, and others. The Greek fragments have been reprinted by A.-M. Denis (no. 23, pp. 163-67; cf. O. Kern, Orphicorum Fragmenta. Berlin: Weidmann, 1922; esp. pp. 255-66). The major questions remain unanswered due to the lack of data and published research. It is possible, however, that these poems reflect the missionary efforts of Alexandrian Jews, since the effort to have Orpheus reject his polytheistic ideas and proclaim one true God, perhaps 'one of the boldest forgeries ever attempted' (E. Schürer, History, 2d. Div., vol. 3, p. 300), may be an example of hellenistic Jewish propaganda (A. Hausrath claimed that the Alexandrian Aristobulus composed these Orphic verses; History...The Time of the Apostles, 2d. ed., vol. 1, pp. 110-13. Schürer claimed that the poems were composed by Pseudo-Hecataeus; cf. his History, 2d. Div., vol. 3, p. 296. P. Dalbert's silence on this claim is disappointing; the comments by F. Münzer in Pauly-Wissowa n.B. 18.1 (1939) cols. 1313-16; and by K. Ziegler in Pauly-Wissowa n.B. 18.1 (=18.2) [1942] cols. 1398-1400.)." (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, pp. 167-168)

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