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Old 08-18-2001, 06:12 AM   #1
Bill
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Exclamation You Can't Tell Your Messiahs Without A Program!

One of the things which has been long noted by students of the Roman conquest, occupation, and eventual destruction of Judea and Samaria is the proliferation of messianic characters among the Jews while all of this is going on. And in fact, each of the two Jewish wars with Rome are caused, either directly or indirectly, by Jewish Messiahs. The second war even takes it's name from the Jewish messiah who led the Jews to near-total destruction in that war, as it is frequently referred to as the "Bar Kochba War" (or some such name). Josephus blames the First Jewish War on the followers of an earlier Jewish messiah, whom Josephus referrs to "Judas the Galilean." In this regard, Josephus was a first hand observer, as Josephus himself was a leader of the Jews during that war.

I will have more to say about "Judas the Galilean" in a separate topic, which will address the parallels between that person and the character of Jesus in the Gospels. In this topic, I would like to consider yet-another messiah discussed by Josephus, this one mysteriously referred to as "the Egyptian." The purpose of this exposition is to demonstrate the reliance of the author of Luke/Acts on the writings of Josephus, a question that frequently arises when attempting to date Luke/Acts (and yet again, please keep in mind that it is highly improbable that Luke/Acts as we have it now is the work of a single author; it is most likely an early such work that was substantially redacted on one or more subsequent occasions by other writers).

My text for today's sermon comes to us from the Gospel according to Robert Eisenman, which is more commonly known as James the Brother of Jesus:
Quote:
The Gospel of Matthew, even more than the other Gosepls, has long been recognized as a collection of Messianic and other scriptural proof-texts taken out of context and woven into a gripping narrative of what purports to be the life of Jesus. In describing an early flight by Jesus' father 'Joseph' to Egypt to escape Herod - a la Joseph in Egypt and Moses' escape from Pharaoh in the Bible - not paralleled in the other Gospels, Matthew uses this passage, 'I have called my son out of Egypt' (3:15). Whether this passage applies to Jesus is debatable.

In its original Old Testament context (Hos. 11:1), it obviously refers to the people of Israel as a whole. However, it does have very real relevance to a character in the mid-50s, whom Josephus - followed it would appear by the Book of Acts - actually calls 'the Egyptian', but declines to identify further. This Messianic pretender, according to the picture in Josephus, first leads the people 'out into the wilderness' and then uses the Mount of Olives as a staging point to lead a Joshua-style assault on the walls of Jerusalem.{footnote: War 2.261-3/Ant. 20.169-71.} But the Mount of Olives was a favorite haunt, according to Gospel narrative, of Jesus and his companions. We will note many such suspicious overlaps in the data available to us.{Emphasis mine.}

For his part, Josephus, predictably obsequious, applauds the extermination of the followers of this Egyptian by the Roman Governor Felix (52-60 CE). The Book of Acts, too, is quick to show its familiarity with this episode, including Josephus' tell-tale reticence in supplying his name. Rather it somewhat charmingly portrays the commander of the Roman garrison in the Temple as mistaking Paul for him ({Acts} 21:38).

{From the Introduction, pages XXIV-XXV.}

...

This Egyptian escapes only to be mistaken for Paul in Acts 21:38, but 400 of his followers are butchered by the Roman Governor Felix (52-60 CE). For Acts the number grows to 4000 and his followers are specifically called 'Sicarii'. The latter will be extremely important terminology, not only where Jesus' supposed betrayer, Judas Iscariot is concerned, but also for a complex of related problems.

{Pages 122-123.}
As I emphasize, above, there are many instances in Luke/Acts which appear to draw their substance from Josephus. And while the references to "the Egyptian" (another "false" Messiah, of course) appear in both The Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews, at least some of those references do appear to draw only from Antiquities, which would tend to indicate a very late date indeed for Luke/Acts (Antiquities was published in Rome circa 92 CE).

In any case, even crediting the greatly disputed notices in Josephus of Jesus and his brother, James, all of these other Messiah characters receive vastly more attention from Josephus than does Jesus, thereby implying that Jesus was, at best, merely one of many such Messiahs from the time of the founding of the Fourth Philosophy (as Josephus calls it) through the ultimate destruction by Hadrian after his victory over Bar Kochba.

You really cannot tell your Messiahs without a program, here!

== Bill
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Old 08-18-2001, 05:01 PM   #2
godfry n. glad
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Greetings, Bill...

Thanks for the engaging musings on the proliferation of messianic contenders in 1st century Palestine. There is a caveat I'd like to interject, though. You should note that the Josephean text which has come down to us does not make any explicit references to a messiah, with two exceptions, both of them regarding Jesus. One of these is the infamous "Testimonium Flavium" in book 18, which has been accepted as a later, christian interpolation by all but the most rigid of fundamentalist christians. The second is the passing reference in book 10, where the Greek equivalent of "Jesus, called the Christ" is used as an identifier for the otherwise unknown James. This later usage is, so far as I know, largely accepted as genuine by the bulk of New Testament scholars.

If we eliminate the obviously interpolated reference in the TF, we are left with one, and only one, usage of the term "Christos" in the entirety of the Josephean corpus. It seems that Josephus assiduously avoided reference to the messiah concept in all his works in Greek. All of the other contenders were not referred to by Josephus as messiah or christ, despite their displaying many of the "messianic characteristics". Why?

If we look to Josephus' _Jewish Wars_, specifically to 5.4.3, I think we'll find why. There, Josephus describes a Jewish popular belief about one who would come out of Judea to become the "ruler of the world",
which he believes the Jews got all wrong, thinking it would be one of their own, rather than the real subject of the oracle (in his opinion): Vespasian. As I understand it then, Josephus names Vespasian as the christ, the messiah, even though even in this passage he does not use the explicit term, "Christos".

Keep in mind that the term messiah is an anglicization of the Hebrew term "mesach" and is, in the English language, a functional equivalent to the term "christ", from the Greek "christos". If you plumb the meaning of these terms in their language, you'll find that messiah carries the meaning of "the anointed", as in anointed with oil. This anointing, in ancient Hebrew parlance, was evidence of authority, particularly divine authority, and came to designate one who was considered to speak and act in an authoritative manner for the god of the Hebrews, whether there was an actual anointing or not...witness the designation of Cyrus of Persia as the messiah. However, the term "Christos", a Greek word meaning "ointment" was introduced with the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Tanak, as the best equivalent the translators could find. Amongst the Greacophonic Jewish community, "christos" was "the anointed". Outside that community, it probably still meant just "ointment" or "linament"... until the arrival of the Christian communities.

Please note here that the Jewish meaning of the "anointed", clear into the late 1st century, if we accept Josephus' attestation with JW 5.4.3, backed by the recent findings amongst the DSS (where the expectation is for TWO messiahs, one kingly and one preistly), is that this expected messiah was to be fully human; a human general who would drive the heathens from the promised land and come to rule the world in the name of the Jewish god....

That's one huge difference from the christ described by Paul. Thus, if we accept Paul's corpus of written work to come from the 50s and 60s, and Josephus' works spanning from the mid-70s to the 90s, we have two very widely varying concepts of what "christ" entailed. Paul's was spiritual and otherworldly, Josephus' was distinctly incarnate.

So, where and why did the term metamorphose?

godfry

P.S. - Please note that I consider the _Jewish Antiquities_ reference to James' brother as "Jesus, called the Christ" to be a later interpolation. As far as I'm concerned, Josephus _never_ mentioned Jesus.
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Old 08-18-2001, 09:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by godfry n. glad:
<STRONG>If we look to Josephus' _Jewish Wars_, specifically to 5.4.3, I think we'll find why. There, Josephus describes a Jewish popular belief about one who would come out of Judea to become the "ruler of the world",
which he believes the Jews got all wrong, thinking it would be one of their own, rather than the real subject of the oracle (in his opinion): Vespasian. As I understand it then, Josephus names Vespasian as the christ, the messiah, even though even in this passage he does not use the explicit term, "Christos". </STRONG>
Here, you are referring to what Eisenman calls the "Star Prophecy," the most powerful myth in Judaism, at least it was from the rising of the Maccabees through the revolt of Bar Kochba, a period of roughly three centuries (roughly, 167 BCE through 136 CE). During that time, every pretender to power over the Jews would claim, in one way or another, to be the person referred to by that prophecy.

Yes, Josephus used the "Star Prophecy" on Vespasian, and it was wildly successful for him. Vespasian did go on to "rule the world," and Josephus achieved Roman citizenship in the grandest manner possible: direct adoption into the family of the Emperor. Is it any wonder that Josephus, writing his Jewish War so soon after these events, wouldn't dare to even hint that somebody other than Vespasian was the "anointed one" of Jewish myth?

I am somewhat surprised that, writing three decades later in Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus didn't mellow out a bit on that point. But Eisenman seemingly makes it clear that Josephus calls every last man of them all a "false prophet," presumably to ensure his continued existence in the household of the Emperor of Rome.

Of course, Josephus wasn't the only Jewish leader to apply the "Star Prophecy" to Vespasian. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zacchai, the founder of modern Rabbinical Judaism, escaped from Jerusalem while Vespasian had it under seige, and upon being brought before Vespasian, he too used the "Star Prophecy" to win for himself a grant of the first rabbinical school. Rabbi Yohanan then proceeds to assist the other remaining Jewish scholars in settling the ultimate content of the Jewish scriptures (now called the "Old Testament"). With these settled, he begain to accumulate a new set of non-scriptural writings, which we now call the Talmud.
Quote:
<STRONG>Keep in mind that the term messiah is an anglicization of the Hebrew term "mesach" and is, in the English language, a functional equivalent to the term "christ", from the Greek "christos". If you plumb the meaning of these terms in their language, you'll find that messiah carries the meaning of "the anointed", as in anointed with oil. This anointing, in ancient Hebrew parlance, was evidence of authority, particularly divine authority, and came to designate one who was considered to speak and act in an authoritative manner for the god of the Hebrews, whether there was an actual anointing or not...witness the designation of Cyrus of Persia as the messiah. However, the term "Christos", a Greek word meaning "ointment" was introduced with the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Tanak, as the best equivalent the translators could find. Amongst the Greacophonic Jewish community, "christos" was "the anointed". Outside that community, it probably still meant just "ointment" or "linament"... until the arrival of the Christian communities.

Please note here that the Jewish meaning of the "anointed", clear into the late 1st century, if we accept Josephus' attestation with JW 5.4.3, backed by the recent findings amongst the DSS (where the expectation is for TWO messiahs, one kingly and one preistly), is that this expected messiah was to be fully human; a human general who would drive the heathens from the promised land and come to rule the world in the name of the Jewish god....

That's one huge difference from the christ described by Paul. Thus, if we accept Paul's corpus of written work to come from the 50s and 60s, and Josephus' works spanning from the mid-70s to the 90s, we have two very widely varying concepts of what "christ" entailed. Paul's was spiritual and otherworldly, Josephus' was distinctly incarnate.

So, where and why did the term metamorphose? </STRONG>
The reasoning behind this seems to cut directly to the core of Eisenman's hypothesis, which is:
Quote:
<STRONG>In historical writing, it is an oft-stated truism that the victors write the history. This is true for the period before us. Paul, for instance, would have been very comfortable with this proposition, as he makes clear in I Corinthians, where he announces his modus operendi of making himself 'all things to all men' and his philosophy of 'winning' and 'not beating the air' (9:24-27). So would his younger contemporary, the Jewish historian Jospehus (c. 37-96 CE), who in the introductions to his several works als shows himself to be well aware of the implications of this proposition without being able to avoid its inevitiable consequences.

There is in this period one central immovable fact, that of Roman power. This was as elemental as a state of nature, and all movements and individual behavior must be seen in relation to it. But the unsuspecting reader is often quite unaware of it, when inspecting documents that emanate from this time or trying to come to grips with what was actually a highly charged and extremely revolutionary situation in Palestine. </STRONG>

{Eisenman goes on to describe the distortions in viewpoints that the writer for a Roman audience must necessarily embrace.}

<STRONG>The same can be said for the scenes picturing the vindictiveness of the Jewish mob. These are obviously included to please not a Jewish audience, but a Roman or a Hellenistic one. This is also true of the presentation of the Jewish Messiah - call him 'Jesus' - as a politically disinterested, other-worldly (in Roman terms, ergo, harmless), even sometimes pro-Roman itinerant, at odds with his own people and family, preaching a variety of Plato's representation of the Apology of Socrates fo the Pax Romana.

Josephus, whose own works suffer from many of these same distortions, was himself a defector to the Roman cause. Much like Paul, he owed his survival, as well as that of his works, to this fact. ...

That historical portions of the New Testament suffer from the same defects should be obvious to anyone with even a passing familiarity with them. But the Dead Sea Scrolls do not, for the simple reason that they did not go through the editorial processes of the Roman Empire. The opposite; they were probably deposited in caves expressly to avoid it. The fact of Roman power, too, was probably the principal reason why no one ever returned to retrieve them. No one could have, because no one survived. It was that simple. </STRONG>
James the Brother of Jesus, pages XX-XXII
Eisenman later asserts that the only realistic and successful way to sort out all of the plethora of sects and parties in the first century is to focus solely upon whether or not they were "pro-Roman" or "anti-Roman" in their overall outlook. Then, by considering this point of bias as influencing what was said and how it was said, something of a better estimate of the truth can be obtained.

The "pro-Roman" side consisted of (obviously) the Romans themselves, the Pharisees (who were in the pay of the Romans or their puppet kings, the Herodians), the Herodians themselves, Josephus, Paul, and the rest of the "Gentile" Christians.

The "anti-Roman" side consistef of (obviously) the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Sadducees, the Essenes, the folowers of the "Fourth Philosophy" (sometimes called "Zealots" or "Sicarii"), James, the followers of James, and probably Jesus, Peter, and the rest of the so-called "Jewish Christians" (to the extent that any of these people are "real people").

Thus, the "Star Prophecy" as viewed by this latter group (the "anti-Romans") called for a fully-human Messiah-general to come and toss the Romans out on their ears. To the "Pro-Roman" group, the "Star Prophecy" either applied to the person of the Roman Emperor (such as Vespasian himself) or to a Hellenicized myth-character, must as Jesus is described in the New Testament.

Since it is the victors who write the histories, it's obvious which image was passed down to us by history. Were it not for the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the job of identifying the vanquished and their beliefs would be a whole heck of a lot more difficult.

Thus, the metamorphosis occurred when the "pro-Roman" groups took the Jewish "Star Prophecy" and re-worked it away from something that would justify revolution against Rome and into something that would justify going along with Rome. In the case of Josephus and Rabbi Yohanan, their motivations for doing this were obvious: their own personal survival. The real question, and one that bedevils Christianity to this day, is exactly what was Paul's motivation for doing this.

Eisenman makes much of Paul's two-year stay as a "guest" of the Roman Governor, Felix. Eisenman considers this to be the rough equivalent of an "intelligence debriefing." Paul was at least (by his own claim) a Roman citizen, and Eisenman believes that Paul also asserts (and Eisenman believes that he otherwise proves) that Paul is a relative of the Herodian ruling family. It seems clear (at least, by Paul's own claim) that Paul had connections high into Nero's court back in Rome.

Whether or not Paul was being paid to effect this metamorphosis of the "Star Prophecy" into a harmless Hellenized myth or not has been the subject of some serious (scholarly) books. The view of Paul as a paid Roman spy has enlivened the whole debate over the origins of Christianity as a religious movement. I personally don't know what to think about all of this, but I do agree that there are reasonable grounds for strong suspicions.

If you adopt Eisenman's thesis that the central fact around which all else rotates is this business of the propagation or termination of Roman power over Israel, then if Paul was not being paid-off by the Romans, they could hardly have had a more fortuitious turn of events than to have Paul himself appear on the scene.

In any case, I do believe that I've answered your question to the best of my ability.

== Bill
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Old 08-19-2001, 04:51 AM   #4
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ACT 05:36 For before these days rose up Theudas,
boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men,
about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and
all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to
nought.

offa; The way I read the above verse "Theudas was slain"
and not the four hundred.

In War 2.261/263 the Egyptian led 30,000 men from
the wilderness to the Mount of Olives. When Felix
confronted them the Egyptian ran away. There are not any
numbers of slain, just general statements like destroyed
and taken captive. Myself, I read it as a demonstration
that was broken up by Felix's soldiers.


ACT 21:38 Art not thou that Egyptian, which before
these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the
wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?


Offa;
You have to be careful when reading numbers like 4,000
(3,000 and 5,000) when reading Scripture. For instance, the
Feeding of 4,000 or the Feeding of 5,000 may
refer to just one person in each occasion with that person
representing 4,000 or 5,000 followers.

The Egyptian may well have been Theudas (44 CE)
because in my reading of Scripture, Egypt was located in
the Wilderness. In other words, the Jews were never in the
real Egypt. Barbara Thiering writes Theudas was the
leader of the Egyptian Therapeutae
, Jesus and the
Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls
, p.396. She also writes
that Apollos was his successor and it was Apollos (Egyptian)
that staged the demonstration in the winter of 57/58. This
Apollos will later be captured and become the accuser of
St. Paul that results in Paul's arrest.

Yes, you have to be suspect when reading Josephus. He went
out of his way to please Vespasian. You will also note
Josephus outright prejudices (especially against
Samaritans) while you read him. About Eisenman in regards
to Jesus? Isn't Eisenman a Jew?

thanks, offa
P.S. The reason for editing is that I neglected to
mention Antiquities 20.97/98 where Josephus
mentions Theudas staging a demonstration intending
to divide the Jordan river. In these two verses it
tells that Theudas was captured alive and then beheaded.

Josephus also writes that Fadus slew many of them
and took many of them alive. I read Josephus in
a special light. Theudas (the Egyptian) is a member of
a sect referred to as the many (as opposed to
the sect of the All). Josephus is telling us
that the many that were taken captive and the
many that were slain is one person, i.e.,
Theudas.

[ August 19, 2001: Message edited by: offa ]
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Old 08-19-2001, 07:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by offa:
<STRONG>About Eisenman in regards to Jesus? Isn't Eisenman a Jew? </STRONG>
Yes, Eisenman is a Jew. But I could not tell you if he is a secular or religious Jew (the distinction being those who are ethnically Jews but who no longer practice the Jewish religion are still Jews, but are the "secular" variety). Here is a snapshot of Eisenman's CV:
Quote:
Chairman of the Department of Religious Studies and Professor of Middle East Religions at California State University in Long Beach. BA Physics and Philosophy, Cornell University, 1958. MA Hebrew and Near Eastern Studies, New York University, 1966. PhD Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, Columbia University, 1971. External Fellow, University of Calabria. Lecturer Islamic Law, Islamic religion and culture, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Christian origins, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Fellow in Residence, William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem, 1986-87. Visiting Senior Member, Linacre College, Oxford. Visiting Scholar, Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies.
More may be gleaned from Professor Eisenman's own web site, where the following quote from a 1998 interview appears:
Quote:
The James book is the key. In the James book we did cut 500 pages relating to the Scrolls out. But we still have that as a second volume waiting if we can get the publishers, depending on how the first volume goes. We cut a lot out because it is too controversial. The public have been totally confused by all the varying interpretations of the Scrolls and they donšt know who to turn to and they don't know who to rely on. What that does is undermine their confidence in the significance of any of them, because they don't dare depend on someone who is labeled a maverick or speculative or something along those lines. And so we put all that aside so that we wouldn't have to base our theories on that.

...

I think that this is very exciting for people looking for a new direction, a new Jesus, someone who they can really relate to - not some cardboard Christmas carol person - something that a thinking person in the twentieth century; who is on the internet, who wants to be intellectually challenged, wants to get into things, can really get his or her teeth into, and you donšt have to be an expert or a supernatural scholar to get your teeth into this. Very often the experts and these superduper scholars would not assent to new evidence even if it were presented right in front of their nose. My book is for the amateur as well as for the specialist. I really am directing it to the amateur because I feel that the amateur is more open to new ideas than the academic jury who I have already described, as dominating these fields.
The above, of course, refers to James the Brother of Jesus.

== Bill
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Old 08-19-2001, 10:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill:
<STRONG>One of the things which has been long noted by students of the Roman conquest, occupation, and eventual destruction of Judea and Samaria is the proliferation of messianic characters among the Jews while all of this is going on. And in fact, each of the two Jewish wars with Rome are caused, either directly or indirectly, by Jewish Messiahs. The second war even takes it's name from the Jewish messiah who led the Jews to near-total destruction in that war, as it is frequently referred to as the "Bar Kochba War" (or some such name). Josephus blames the First Jewish War on the followers of an earlier Jewish messiah, whom Josephus referrs to "Judas the Galilean." In this regard, Josephus was a first hand observer, as Josephus himself was a leader of the Jews during that war.

I will have more to say about "Judas the Galilean" in a separate topic, which will address the parallels between that person and the character of Jesus in the Gospels. In this topic, I would like to consider yet-another messiah discussed by Josephus, this one mysteriously referred to as "the Egyptian." The purpose of this exposition is to demonstrate the reliance of the author of Luke/Acts on the writings of Josephus, a question that frequently arises when attempting to date Luke/Acts (and yet again, please keep in mind that it is highly improbable that Luke/Acts as we have it now is the work of a single author; it is most likely an early such work that was substantially redacted on one or more subsequent occasions by other writers).

My text for today's sermon comes to us from the Gospel according to Robert Eisenman, which is more commonly known as James the Brother of Jesus: As I emphasize, above, there are many instances in Luke/Acts which appear to draw their substance from Josephus. And while the references to "the Egyptian" (another "false" Messiah, of course) appear in both The Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews, at least some of those references do appear to draw only from Antiquities, which would tend to indicate a very late date indeed for Luke/Acts (Antiquities was published in Rome circa 92 CE).

In any case, even crediting the greatly disputed notices in Josephus of Jesus and his brother, James, all of these other Messiah characters receive vastly more attention from Josephus than does Jesus, thereby implying that Jesus was, at best, merely one of many such Messiahs from the time of the founding of the Fourth Philosophy (as Josephus calls it) through the ultimate destruction by Hadrian after his victory over Bar Kochba.

You really cannot tell your Messiahs without a program, here!

== Bill</STRONG>
Meta =&gt; You have your causality backwards. The reason that Luke seems to use Jospehus is because Jo and Luke both use a common source. This has been proven through statistical analysis of the texts involved, they both use the L source. Jospehus' used the L source for his historical background on Jesus.

Now what in the world would Luke get out of using Jospehus for his sorce in Acts?
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Old 08-19-2001, 11:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
In any case, even crediting the greatly disputed notices in Josephus of Jesus and his brother, James, all of these other Messiah characters receive vastly more attention from Josephus than does Jesus, thereby implying that Jesus was, at best, merely one of many such Messiahs from the time of the founding of the Fourth Philosophy (as Josephus calls it) through the ultimate destruction by Hadrian after his victory over Bar Kochba.

You really cannot tell your Messiahs without a program, here!

== Bill[/QB]
MEta =&gt; But Jesus is also the onlyone for whom he actually uses the word "Christ."
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Old 08-19-2001, 11:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Meta =&gt;The reason that Luke seems to use Jospehus is because Jo and Luke both use a common source. This has been proven through statistical analysis of the texts involved, they both use the L source. Jospehus' used the L source for his historical background on Jesus.
Meta I think you've overstepped the evidence considerably in this remark. The hypothetical "L" source, otherwise known as the Lukan travel narrative of 9:51 - 18:14, was probably culled from collections of parables still circulating in the oral tradition and organized by Luke into a narrative framework. Not only is Josephus' Testimonium (Antiq. 18:63) far too small of a sample size to be useful in any sort of statistical analysis with the Lukan travel narrative, but it bears witness to events which had nothing to do with the L material. Needless to say, I don't understand what this "proof" to which you refer could be. Could you elaborate a little or provide the citation which led you to this conclusion?
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Old 08-19-2001, 11:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
MEta =&gt; But Jesus is also the only one for whom he actually uses the word "Christ."
Of course this point is moot when we realize that the reference to Anointed is an interpolation and not original with Josephus.
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Old 08-19-2001, 11:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Metacrock:
<STRONG>

MEta =&gt; But Jesus is also the onlyone for whom he actually uses the word "Christ."</STRONG>
The "he" being Josephus, wrote in Greek, for a Graecophonic audience. That audience would have been literate members of Roman society. The word he used was "Christos" and was limited by a Greek phrase which has alternately been translated into English as "called the" or "the so-called", and the phrase is a dependent clause which acts to identify one James, who is the victim of judicial murder at the direction of the recently appointed high priest, Ananus. The entire reference to Jesus is a passing dependent clause...not very much to hang one's hat upon.

If Josephus used the term only once and the term's religious significance was known only amongst the Jewish and Christian communities (and with variant definitions even amongst them), where is the definitional explanation to make the term clear to the Graecophonic Roman readers? A Roman reader would have come across the term in _AotJ_ 20.200 and could very well have thought, "Christ...what's that mean? Is he saying that this James had a brother that people called "Ointment"? What a strange name...And, just _who_ was it that called him that?"

In short, the definition has not been provided in Josephus' works. Ergo, I tend to agree with G.A. Wells' speculation that the phrase was a later interpolation from a marginal gloss sometime before the 3rd century CE. The thing is, it needn't even be an interpolation by a Christian scribe. A non-Christian scribe, exposed to the claims of Christians that one James was one of the founders of their sect and that he was Jesus' brother, could have placed a marginal note to the effect that perhaps this victim James may have been the James who was the brother to the reputed founder of the Christian sect...the "so-called Christ." Later scribes then incorporated the marginal gloss into the text.

It's speculation, but a far better scenario that assuming that Josephus introduced a new, undefined and, if known to his Roman readers, a highly inflammatory term so that he could relate James to someone else. If that's the only reference to Jesus, why introduce this singular reference to him just to place James, as it then begs a reference to place the meaning of "the Christ" in his reader's minds?

Again, Josephus _never_ mentioned Jesus in any of his works. Both mentions in modern translations are later interpolations, Christian or otherwise.

godfry
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