On two occasions Origen quotes from a work entitled 'The Prayer of Joseph'.1 On the former occasion he describes it as 'one of the apocrypha current among the Hebrews'; and this would seem to identify it with 'The Prayer of Joseph' mentioned in the lists of apocryphal books.2 Yet this work can hardly be identical with our Joseph and Aseneth inasmuch as: (1) neither of Origen's quotations (and the first is of some length) occur in any known recension of Joseph and Aseneth, and (2) the long prayer in the middle of Joseph and Aseneth (chaps. xii-xiii) is a prayer of Aseneth and not of Joseph.
The first certain notice of Joseph and Aseneth in the West is to be found in the Speculum of Vincent of Beauvais (c.1250). At the appropriate point in his narrative in the Speculum Historiale3 Vincent gives a Latin version of the story, introducing it with the words 'Ex historia Assenech'. This Latin version was reprinted by Fabricius in the first volume of his Codex Pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti4 and in his second volume5 he added a fragmentary Greek text (corresponding to something like the first third of Vincent's Latin version), which had been copied for him by J.-C. Wolff from the mutilated Bodleian Cod. Gr. Barocc. 148.
To-day some twenty or more MSS containing the Greek text are known: they date from the 10th to the 19th cents; and in all of them Joseph and Aseneth appears as one of a number of miscellaneous items -- mostly lives of saints and passions. Two quite distinct Latin versions have come to light, and it seems that Vincent's extract represents an abridgement of one of them. A Syriac version____________________