The Statesian scholar, Reuben Kimelman, has analysed their comments and found five consistent differences between them, corresponding to five major issues which divided Christians and Jews at the time:
- Origen writes of a covenant mediated by Moses between God and Israel, that is, an indirect contact between the two, contrasted with the direct presence of Christ. Yohanan, on the other hand, refers to the covenant as negotiated by Moses, hence received by Israel direct from God, as the 'kisses from his mouth' (SºS 1:2). Yohanan emphasizes the closeness and love between God and Israel, whereas Origen sets up a distance between them.
- According to Origen the Hebrew scripture was 'completed', or 'superceded', by the New Testament. According to Yohanan scripture is 'completed' by the 'oral Torah', the interpretive traditions of the Rabbis.
- To Origen, Christ is the central figure, replacing Abraham, and completing the reversal of Adam's sin. To Yohanan, Abraham remains in place, and Torah is the 'antidote' to sin.
- To Origen, Jerusalem is a symbol, a 'heavenly city'. To Yohanan, the earthly Jerusalem retains its status as the link between heaven and earth, the place where God's presence will again be manifest.
- Origen sees the sufferings of Israel as the proof of its repudiation by God; Yohanan accepts the suffering as the loving chastisement and discipline of a forgiving father.
While I find the "Jews for Jesus" cooption of the Jewish symbolism to be so much guileful exegesis, in Origen's case, it doesn't have the same sting, I think, because he's not setting himself up as "Jewish" in the process.
for now . . .