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Old 08-28-2001, 09:41 PM   #21
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Okay, Earl's post is pretty much a side issue, but I would like to clarify a couple of his points.

Quote:
Originally posted by Earl:

EARL: Anti-Semitism has to be distinguished from anti-Judaism. The writers of the NT were anti-Jewish not anti-Semitic, although Matthew and John venture into the latter by talking negatively about the Jewish people rather than their religion.
This is, of course, total nonsense. The first Christians were Jews, as were the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes. The first Christians were against the relgion as practiced by the first two (and silent on that of the latter), so to equate any of these with actual Judaism (and especially to call only one of them the only true form of Judaism) is merely to beg the question. Suffice to say that Earl is, at best, over simplifying the matter considerably. To call Christians anti-Jewish, one would also have to call the Essenes anti-Jewish, and this is obviously ridiculous.

As for Paul's teaching that all Jews will be saved, he could not have been clearer:

Romans 11:25-29 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.

Quote:
EARL: There is nothing wrong with examining these generic similarities. The problem is what you think you've accomplished by doing so and the statements you've made to this effect. Earlier you said "My question at this point is whether or not the opening points are sufficiently addressed and refuted." Just what do you think you've "refuted"?
Once again, the point is that these "generic" similarities should not have been advanced in the first place, as they merely serve to cloud the larger argument. In other words, they do not strengthen the case for Luke using Josephus, and that is the question we are examining here.

Bottom line, simply showing that two works are of similar genres is irrelevant, unless the two works are unique in this sense. Showing that they were both written in the same language is equally pointless, unless only these two books were written in Koine Greek. Since for each of the examples offered, we can find a more plausible explanation for why Luke wrote as he did, positing that he did so because he was using Josephus as a model is lame argumentation. As I do not see you advancing a single supportive reason for why these arguments should have been offered (outside of telling us that they should have been offered, how curious), then I would like to move on. With luck there will be something more substatial in the other arguments, and that is what we are here to establish.

The question remains, did Luke use Josephus, and is this more plausible than the reverse, or that each used shared sources? With luck, by the end of the thread, we can each make a decision for ourselves.

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Old 08-28-2001, 11:04 PM   #22
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It is time now to examine the “Story Parallels” put forward by Mason and Carrier. As Carrier notes himself that some of which afford firm evidence of borrowing, some not this could be a bit of a tricky area, so I will only be addressing the arguments he puts forward for possible copying by Luke, and will dismiss the others as non-parallels. If anyone should like to explore the other examples in greater detail, I would be happy to do so. Failing that, I hope we can remain focused on the question before us as to how Luke may have copied from Josephus. This post will focus on the first such parallel:

The census under Quirinius (Luke 3:1[sic]; JW 2.117-8, JA 18.1-8).

Alright, Josephus spends quite a lot of time on this particular event (at least in Antiquities). Yet, as Carrier admits, Luke seems far less interested in the details specifically than that the census happened, than that it was the reason for Joseph and Mary to be in Bethlehem, as opposed to their native Nazareth. Here is what Luke says on the census:

Luke 2:1-3 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

The biggest problem with this part, of course, is that Luke (and also Matthew, more on this later) tell us that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod (Luke 1:5), who is known to have died in 4BC, while the census mentioned above was held in 6AD. The most probable resolution to this conflict is that Luke simply erred in his belief that Jesus was born during this census, and that His actual birth came some time before 4BC. This still leaves us with the question of whether or not it came from Josephus.

Given that the Jewish Wars were written in 79AD, and the most commonly ascribed date for Luke/Acts is c. 85AD, then it is quite plausible that Luke used the JW’s as a source. At the same time, this is by no means certain.

First, the Jewish Wars only talk about a tax being levied, and the resulting revolt lead by Judas the Galilean, not specifically about the census itself.

Second, Josephus himself was not born until 37AD, 30 years after the census was taken, and did not write about it until a further 40+ years had elapsed. Clearly he was not a witness to the events, and must have used a source for his story. Could it have been Luke? This is unlikely for the reasons that Carrier lists. Luke just does not offer us enough detail on the event to warrant such a belief. Luke does not even mention the rebellion triggered by this particular census and resulting taxation, while Josephus treats it as the main reason to mention it at all. But as for making the source for Luke Josephus, this is a rather arbitrary decision, since we cannot know if Luke did not use the same sources available to Josephus, and simply omitted the details as being extraneous to his story. For Josephus, the census and resulting rebellion were central to his story as a whole. For Luke, it is merely a device that helps to explain why Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem in the first place. At the same time, given the paucity of detail found in Luke’s Gospel, we have no reason to postulate that he used the even later Antiquities, so must rule this link as being unprovable.

The third reason to be cautious in saying that Luke must have used Josephus as a source, however, is that when Luke does get into considerable detail in his historical accounts (especially in Acts), his information could not have possibly come from Josephus (either in Wars, or Antiquities). The level of detailed knowledge is not only not found in any other source outside of Luke/Acts, but it is also close to unequalled in its level of accuracy as has been demonstrated by archaeology itself.

"The writer of Acts knew the correct titles and used them with varying precision. In the words of Ramsey: 'the officials with whom Paul and his companions were brought into contact are those who would be there. Every person is found just where he ought to be; proconsuls in senatorial provinces, asiarchs in Ephesus, strategoi in Philippi, politarchs in Thessolonica, magicians and soothsayers everywhere.' The Most remarkable of these titles is Politarch the ruler of the city used in Acts 17:6...previously this word had been completely unknown except for this passage in Acts. It has now been found in 19 inscriptions dating from he second century..."
(Stephen Neil, The Interpretation of the New Testament:1861-1961, [London: Oxford University Press, 1964], p.143).


This tells us that Luke had access to sources that Josephus did not (or that Josephus chose to ignore). On this basis, we cannot rule out the possibility that Luke acquired his information on the census of 6AD and resulting rebellion without ever having read a word written by Josephus.

Finally, one of the key details we do have in Luke regarding the census, namely that each family was compelled to return to their town of origin (as opposed to current residence) is not found in Josephus at all. This further casts doubt on Luke having used Josephus as a source. In fact, this detail has lead some to believe that Luke was in error on this point, but as we have already discovered from other evidence, it was not unknown for the Romans to demand just such a census from one of their provinces. A copy of an inscription of just such a census can be found here: Census Edict for Roman Egypt. This edict does not prove that Luke was right in his description of he census, but it certainly lays to rest the charge that Luke must have made it up merely to place Joseph and his betrothed in the town of Bethlehem. The point remains that in the one clear detail of the census offered to us by Luke, he could not have gotten it from either Jewish Wars or Antiquities. This must weigh against Josephus serving as a source for Luke’s account.

Carrier’s statement that Luke made the census the “the linchpin for God's salvation for the world, namely the birth of Christ (which also would result in destruction of the temple) can be treated as hyperbole. After all, it is the birth of Jesus the Christ that is the linchpin, not the census. At most, as I have said previously, the census is seen as a device to place His birth in Bethlehem, something Matthew completely ignored in his own Gospel. I will agree that it is unlikely that Luke got his information from Matthew, but for the reasons listed above, it is equally unlikely that he got it from Josephus either.

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Old 08-29-2001, 01:08 AM   #23
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Since I have Mason's book itself, I may be able to fill out some of the details left unmentioned in Carrier's review.

Nomad: "Bottom line, simply showing that two works are of similar genres is irrelevant, unless the two works are unique in this sense."

I think that the generic parallels are included merely as a form of hypothesis-testing. If it is true that Luke has modeled his work after Josephus, they would be of the same genre. They are of the same genre; thus, the hypothesis is not falsified when it might have been. This one case of non-falsification does not prove the point, but at least it is noteworthy.

There is one sense in which Josephus and Luke are in a genre all of their own. This is emphasized by Mason in his book.

"These and many other commonplaces situate Josephus and Luke-Acts squarely within the world of Hellenistic biography.

"Yet it is even more noteworthy that these two authors share a certain distance from that world -- they are in it but not of it. Numerous other Hellenistic histories have survived, but most of them are products of the dominant Greco-Roman culture. They deal with the major political theme of the day: the rise of Roman power and the various conflicts along the way. But neither Josephus (in his later works) nor Luke writes political history in the same way. They were what might be called apologetic history, indented to publicize and legitmize their own subcultures within the larger world. Therefore, although they use the common conventions, they use them as 'aliens' who are trying to help their own causes." (_Josephus and the New Testament_, pp. 196-197)

"Yet Josephus and Luke also stand out from all other Hellenistic historians because they are both aliens, pleading with selected insiders for recognition of their causes. For this purpose, the points that they need to make are similar: they must show that their groups are worthy of respect because, contrary to first impressions, they are well established in remotest antiquity, possess enviable moral codes, and pose no threat to Roman order. In the event, both writers will lay claim to the great heritage of Judaism. But to explain popular misconceptions, they must also drive a sharp wedge between true representatives of the tradition and the troublesome renegades who have created bad impressions. For Josephus, the trouble-makers are those who rebelled against Rome: they betrayed the heritage of their nation. For Luke, and this is his boldest claim, it is those Jews who do not believe in Christ (the vast majority, whom Josephus was defending!) who have departed from the tradition." (_Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 204)

There is one detail of the prologue in which Josephus and Luke coincidentally agree. Josephus calls Epaphroditus by the same form of address that Luke uses for Theophilus, "noblest" or "most excellent" (Life 430; Ag. Ap. 1.1). (noted in _Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 190)

Nomad: "Luke keeps his address strictly to 'most excellent Theophilus' without a hint as to believing Theophilus will even find it worthy of wider dissemination."

Mason writes: "Although Luke addresses him as if he were the book's sole recipient, we should probably assume that Luke is also writing for all who, like Theophilus, are interested in the truth about Christianity." (_Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 191)

I would go beyond Mason here. I think that Luke's dedication to Theophilus may be fictive. As a fictive name, Theophilus is suitable, for it means generally "lover of God." Mason notes that the patronage angle would "make his history seem like part of the stablished social order" (_Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 192). It could be just something that the author of Luke-Acts included because Josephus had a patron and because our author is modeling his work, to some extent, on Josephus.

Nomad: "Josephus takes no fewer than 1,656 words in four chapters in his preface, while Luke spends 79 on his introduction. Maybe Luke is just more succinct. On the other hand, if he is trying to present his history as being like Josephus’, then perhaps he did not understand the Roman need for long winded introductions. In either case, it does not look like Luke saw Josephus as a good role model here."

In line with my previous speculation, it seems that the very inclusion of a prologue may have been influenced by Josephus and thus it is not to be expected that the author of Luke-Acts elaborates on something that is not his own idea to begin with. The author of Luke-Acts also does not have to worry about his work being purchased on perusal, as it was likely to have been distributed among churches by volunteer scribes, while in ancient times the preface was the equivalent of a dust jacket in the purpose of selling scrolls.

Nomad, on the Jerusalem connection: "I found this to be a curious arguments. While it is true that both men are striving to present their religion as being very ancient (something the Romans took very seriously), Carrier’s argument does not carry quite the same force if the Temple is long destroyed by the time of Luke. After all, in reading Luke/Acts, one can hardly argue that the Temple in Jerusalem is the centre of action or worship. In fact, in many cases the actions associated with the Temple put it in a very bad light (i.e. Luke 19 and the casting out of the money changers by Jesus; Luke 21 where Jesus does his final prayers not in the Temple, but in the Garden of Gesthemane; Acts 21 where Luke recounts the arrest of Paul). In fact, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus does not even appear in the Temple until shortly before His arrest, trial and execution! I call this argument trying to have it both ways. After all, I am sure that Carrier sides with those that tell us that Luke is anti-Semitic in his presentation and writings. Once can then hardly turn around and claim that Luke is connecting his teachings to an ancient religion based on Temple Judaism."

First, note an error: "In fact, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus does not even appear in the Temple until shortly before His arrest, trial and execution!"

Luke 2:46 (RSV)
"After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions;"

Second, note that there is a way to claim that Luke is anti-Semitic and that he had an emphasis on the importance of Jerusalem: if Luke claimed to represent the true Israel and thus claimed that other "Jews" were not part of the true Jewry, who believe in Christ. Luke's emphasis on Jerusalem is an emphasis on the continuity of Christianity with its Jewish past, which Luke is claiming for his sect over against so-called "Jews."

And there is an emphasis in Luke-Acts on the city of Jerusalem:

"unlike the other Gospel writers, he begins his story in Jerusalem, which was famous aroudn the world as the national home of the Jews. The renowned Jewish temple is where the Christian story takes shape (Luke 1:8). Now Luke's sources tell him that Jesus spent most of his career away from Jerusalem, in the villages of Galilee, and came down to the great city only in the final days of his life (cf. Mark 11:1; Matt 21:1). But Luke gets around this problem by regularly introducing Jerusalem into the narrative before its time. He has Jesus' family visit the temple regularly (Luke 2:41-51), and he has Jesus 'set his face toward Jerusalem' early in the narrative (9:51), long before Jeuss actually goes there. Indeed Jesus remains in Galilee for most of the story, as in the other Gospels (cf. 19:28), but this author keeps reminding the reader that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem all the while (9:51; 13:33; 17:11; 19:11).

"After Jesus' resurrection, similarly, Luke departs from Mark and Matthew by insisting that the disciples stayed in Jerusalem for Jesus' appearances (Luke 24:13, 18, 33). They are explicitly told to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit is given, for the gospel will go out from Jerusalem to the ends of the world (Luke 24:47, 52; Acts 1:8, 12). In Acts, Jerusalem is indeed the church's headquarters. The apostles who reside there, having been chosen by Jesus himself, oversee the church's affairs (Acts 8:1, 14; 9:26; 11:22; 15:2; 16:4; 21:17-18). Although Christianity might seem to observers in Rome or Asia Minor as a shadowy and secretive movement, Luke forthrightly claims that it has both a geographical center and an authorized leadership." (_Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 199)

Just a few observations.

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Old 08-29-2001, 01:18 AM   #24
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I forgot to mention something.

I noted the story of Jesus in the Temple.

Luke 2
41
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.
42
And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom;
43
and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it,
44
but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances;
45
and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions;
47
and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48
And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously."
49
And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
50
And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.
51
And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
52
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.

Note the similar story in the Life of Josephus.

Life 2. Now, my father Matthias was not only eminent on account of is nobility, but had a higher commendation on account of his righteousness, and was in great reputation in Jerusalem, the greatest city we have. I was myself brought up with my brother, whose name was Matthias, for he was my own brother, by both father and mother; and I made mighty proficiency in the improvements of my learning, and appeared to have both a great memory and understanding. Moreover, when I was a child, and about fourteen years of age, I was commended by all for the love I had to learning; on which account the high priests and principal men of the city came then frequently to me together, in order to know my opinion about the accurate understanding of points of the law.

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Old 08-29-2001, 07:31 AM   #25
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Hello Peter

Thanks for the catch on Luke 2. That was definitely my bad, and I apologize. I will correct my statement to say that Luke does not have Jesus as teaching in the Temple during His adult ministry until at the very end of that ministry. Clearly Jerusalem plays a minor role (non-central) in Jesus' Ministry as presented in the Gospel of Luke over all, making an argument that the Temple is central to his gospel rather difficult to establish. It certainly does not approach the importance attached to it in Josephus' works (or 1st Century Judaism as a whole). More on this later no doubt.

I will address your other points when I have time. Right now, it is a travel day for me, and my in-laws are in through the weekend, so I will not be able to post until next week.

Thanks again, and be well.

Nomad

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Old 08-29-2001, 10:37 AM   #26
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Nomad - please take your time. We're close to the Labor Day weekend in the US, and I hope to have a copy of Mason's book soon.

I think that your discussion of the census misses what I thought was the strongest point about the census from Carrier's review: that "no other author did or was even likely to have seen this census as particularly noteworthy," making Luke's use of the census "peculiar".

In any case, the significance of the census is that it is one of a series of coincidences. You could go through each one and say "so what", or that Luke could have used another source, but you would be missing the overall pattern, as if you chopped down a forest one tree at a time, and then claimed that there had never been a forest.
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Old 09-01-2001, 05:21 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by peterkirby:

Nomad: "Bottom line, simply showing that two works are of similar genres is irrelevant, unless the two works are unique in this sense."

Peter: I think that the generic parallels are included merely as a form of hypothesis-testing. If it is true that Luke has modeled his work after Josephus, they would be of the same genre.
Actually, this is an especially peculiar argument to make Peter. In other examples of obvious copying (Mark 16:9-20 copying from the Gospel of Luke, and the Protoevangelium of James copying from Luke) we see instances where the genres are very different, yet the copying is quite obvious. The Epistle of James uses considerable material from "Q", yet is not a Gospel in the sense that the Synoptics are. Further, as Luke and the other Gospels are of different genres themselves (note that Luke never refers to his work as a Gospel), his copying from Mark demonstrates that similar genres cannot be used as any kind of hypothesis testing.

Quote:
They are of the same genre; thus, the hypothesis is not falsified when it might have been.
How? The need to be similar genres is not even an argument that can or should be advanced in this question.

Quote:
There is one sense in which Josephus and Luke are in a genre all of their own. This is emphasized by Mason in his book.

{Snip quote} (_Josephus and the New Testament_, pp. 196-197)

{Snip quote} (_Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 204)
Here Mason is trying to make the argument that Luke and Josephus are offering apologetic material to their Roman patrons. In the case of Josephus himself, he is making an argument in his own defense, as he WAS one of those rebels, and a general no less. For Luke, if he was writing at a time of persecution of Christians by the Romans (i.e. mid 80’s AD under Domitian), then his motivation is equally obvious. Trying to make a link by saying that Luke could have gotten his idea from Josephus is merely begging the question here. After all, if Josephus wants to defend himself and his faith, then why shouldn’t the same idea occur to Luke as well?

Quote:
There is one detail of the prologue in which Josephus and Luke coincidentally agree. Josephus calls Epaphroditus by the same form of address that Luke uses for Theophilus, "noblest" or "most excellent" (Life 430; Ag. Ap. 1.1). (noted in _Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 190)
And yet again this proves nothing, as Luke also calls Felix “most excellent” (Acts 24:3) as well as Festus (26:25). If anything, this title appears to be an honourary convention in addressing people of high station, similar to “Your Grace” or “Noble Sir” has been a convention in the past.

My posts are focused on the means by which we can most confidently determine whether or not copying has been done between two or more works. The observance of conventions by two authors with similar backgrounds writing to similar types of audiences should not be given much weight in such a discussion.

Quote:
Nomad: "Luke keeps his address strictly to 'most excellent Theophilus' without a hint as to believing Theophilus will even find it worthy of wider dissemination."

Mason writes: "Although Luke addresses him as if he were the book's sole recipient, we should probably assume that Luke is also writing for all who, like Theophilus, are interested in the truth about Christianity." (_Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 191)

I would go beyond Mason here. I think that Luke's dedication to Theophilus may be fictive. As a fictive name, Theophilus is suitable, for it means generally "lover of God." Mason notes that the patronage angle would "make his history seem like part of the stablished social order" (_Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 192). It could be just something that the author of Luke-Acts included because Josephus had a patron and because our author is modeling his work, to some extent, on Josephus.
Josephus is clearly using a patron to help him with the expense of producing his work, and this patron is a noble Roman. Luke appears to be doing the same thing, relying upon the graces of his “Theophilus” to have the means to produce his books. Remember that writing is and was a very expensive business, and one needs money to produce published works. In the case of the ancients, even a private document would be expensive, and unless you wish to posit that Luke had the means to produce the document on his own, we should expect acknowledgement of his patron somewhere in the book.

As for Mason’s assumption that Luke expected a wider audience for his work, that is pretty reasonable, but as I noted in my post, Josephus is careful to make sure that his patron understands that everyone is going to read his books. Luke does not. If anything, we could take this to mean that Josephus used Luke as his model, and simply made sure that what Luke implied was made explicit in Josephus’ prologue. One could hardly point to this as any kind of proof that Luke used Josephus, and that remains my central point in this thread. Uncovering other possible links is my only objective.

Quote:
Nomad: "Josephus takes no fewer than 1,656 words in four chapters in his preface, while Luke spends 79 on his introduction. Maybe Luke is just more succinct. On the other hand, if he is trying to present his history as being like Josephus’, then perhaps he did not understand the Roman need for long winded introductions. In either case, it does not look like Luke saw Josephus as a good role model here."

Peter: In line with my previous speculation, it seems that the very inclusion of a prologue may have been influenced by Josephus and thus it is not to be expected that the author of Luke-Acts elaborates on something that is not his own idea to begin with.
Again I am left to wonder why we would suspect Luke to be getting this idea from Josephus, rather than the other way around. Further, as both authors are clearly serving patrons, why should we be surprised that they are both acknowledging this support in the openings to their works? If anything, I would have been surprised if they had not done this.

Quote:
The author of Luke-Acts also does not have to worry about his work being purchased on perusal, as it was likely to have been distributed among churches by volunteer scribes, while in ancient times the preface was the equivalent of a dust jacket in the purpose of selling scrolls.
On what textual basis to you assume that his works would have been distributed by the Churches and volunteer scribes? Private collections were not unknown to the ancients, and if Theophilus was a real person (certainly not an impossibility) then we cannot rule out that Luke was merely writing for this man and his family and friends. The idea it would be copied cannot be found in the text, but with Josephus it is assumed from the outset. Once again the case for copying is weakened.

Quote:
…note that there is a way to claim that Luke is anti-Semitic and that he had an emphasis on the importance of Jerusalem: if Luke claimed to represent the true Israel and thus claimed that other "Jews" were not part of the true Jewry, who believe in Christ. Luke's emphasis on Jerusalem is an emphasis on the continuity of Christianity with its Jewish past, which Luke is claiming for his sect over against so-called "Jews."
If this argument is valid, then it serves only to widen the gap between Luke an Josephus. I would argue that Luke is not an anti-Semite at all, nor is his Gospel and Acts. But Carrier’s argument is that the Jews did break with their Scriptures (according to Luke) by rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. Once again this creates a problem, however, for the theory that Luke is using Josephus, as the latter specifically tells us explicitly in his prologue that he is connecting the events he is recording to Hebrew Scriptures. Luke never does this, and if he is using Josephus as a source, this refusal to follow Josephus’ lead is inexplicable.

Quote:
And there is an emphasis in Luke-Acts on the city of Jerusalem:

"unlike the other Gospel writers, he begins his story in Jerusalem, which was famous aroudn the world as the national home of the Jews. The renowned Jewish temple is where the Christian story takes shape (Luke 1:8). Now Luke's sources tell him that Jesus spent most of his career away from Jerusalem, in the villages of Galilee, and came down to the great city only in the final days of his life (cf. Mark 11:1; Matt 21:1). But Luke gets around this problem by regularly introducing Jerusalem into the narrative before its time. He has Jesus' family visit the temple regularly (Luke 2:41-51), and he has Jesus 'set his face toward Jerusalem' early in the narrative (9:51), long before Jeuss actually goes there. Indeed Jesus remains in Galilee for most of the story, as in the other Gospels (cf. 19:28), but this author keeps reminding the reader that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem all the while (9:51; 13:33; 17:11; 19:11).
First, Luke is simply relating a fact. Jews who lived in Palestine prior to the destruction of the Temple made regular visits to Jerusalem to visit that Temple.

Second, of course Luke wants to remind his readers of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. This is where the climax of the story will take place (arrest, trial, execution, Resurrection). What we do not see from either GLuke or Acts is Jerusalem or the Temple as the focus of the story. Jesus remains the theological focus throughout, and this is certainly unlike anything written by Josephus (or any other Jew prior to 70AD).

Quote:
"After Jesus' resurrection, similarly, Luke departs from Mark and Matthew by insisting that the disciples stayed in Jerusalem for Jesus' appearances (Luke 24:13, 18, 33). They are explicitly told to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit is given, for the gospel will go out from Jerusalem to the ends of the world (Luke 24:47, 52; Acts 1:8, 12). In Acts, Jerusalem is indeed the church's headquarters. The apostles who reside there, having been chosen by Jesus himself, oversee the church's affairs (Acts 8:1, 14; 9:26; 11:22; 15:2; 16:4; 21:17-18). Although Christianity might seem to observers in Rome or Asia Minor as a shadowy and secretive movement, Luke forthrightly claims that it has both a geographical center and an authorized leadership." (_Josephus and the New Testament_, p. 199)
Once again we have a critical difference in focus that is missing in Mason’s analysis. Jerusalem is, at best, a backdrop, as is the Temple itself. Jesus is the focus of the story, as is Christianity. More than once Luke has critical events take place away from Jerusalem, even when the characters themselves could easily have been placed in the city, or even the Temple.

Since Luke’s treatment of the disciples post Resurrection is closer to what we find in the Gospel of John, we could just as easily postulate John as Luke’s source (or vice versa). After all, John has the disciples in Jerusalem immediately following the crucifixion, yet no one is claiming that John got his information from Josephus. A better probability is that the pre-Gospel traditions included these details, and both men were relating them in their own way. Offering Josephus as a source or inspiration or source on these points, at least, is unwarranted.

Thank you again for your thoughts Peter. Once again, I am interested only in examining the question as to how likely it is that Luke used Josephus as a source. Quite honestly, outside of Mason, I have never heard any serious scholar treat this question seriously, and therefore never gave it much thought prior to this. But as I have examined the evidence, I have found his theories increasingly wanting. Personally, I think that new theories must be subjected to very rigorous examination, especially when those theories have never been given serious treatment by their peers in the past. This does not make the novel wrong automatically, of course, but it does require them to offer proofs beyond mere speculation and hypothesis building. A means of falsifying the claim must be available, and right now I am in the process of seeing how well the evidence stands up in support of Mason’s arguments. Thus far it has not looked good.

My posts will address each parallel in turn, and do so in as much depth as the members here feel is warranted. At the same time, I hope to examine genuine cases of parallels found in Luke’s Gospel (and other works), and show how we can be confident that one source copied from the other. Such a contrast should help to serve to examine more speculative theories (like Mason’s), and allow us to remain focused on actual evidence for copying and source use. After all, given the obvious parallels between the Gospels of Luke and Matthew in the infancy narratives, we could easily theorize copying between one or the other, yet we do not, and with good reason. If the reasons to reject Mason’s ideas are sound, then we should rightly reject them.
If I may explain my reasoning by way of an example, if Mason’s evidence is better than what we have supporting Lucan dependence on Matt (or vice versa), then we should treat it seriously, and possibly accept it.

I hope you find such a standard to be acceptable. If not, I would be interested in hearing your reasons why you reject Luke’s dependence on Matthew, then why you do not use similar reasoning in rejecting Lucan dependence on Josephus.

Be well,

Nomad

[ September 01, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
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Old 09-01-2001, 05:36 PM   #28
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Originally posted by Toto:

I think that your discussion of the census misses what I thought was the strongest point about the census from Carrier's review: that "no other author did or was even likely to have seen this census as particularly noteworthy," making Luke's use of the census "peculiar".
The problem here is that this argument is especially weak. If Luke was using Josephus as his source on the census, then he would have known that it took place well after the death of King Herod. Further, he would have had no reason to claim (as he does in Luke 2:1) that this census was part of a wider world wide enrollment commanded by Augustus. Finally, he would not have had any reason for believing that it required people to travel to "their own town". Josephus tells us none of these details, suggesting strongly that Luke learned of this census from a different source than did Josephus.

Given that the census of 6AD led to rebellion and the overthrow of a governor, its fame would have been well known to people of the first century in Palestine. Given that it lead to the birth of the Zealot movement (that was destroyed in the even more famous war of 66-73AD), the reasons to equate it with other important events is quite obvious. Personally, I tend to see the census as a device used by Luke to place Jesus' birth in Bethlehem rather than his native Nazereth. Given that he clearly was not using the information on the census as described by Josephus to do this, I see no reason to postulate that Luke depended on Antiquities or Jewish Wars as a source for this information.

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In any case, the significance of the census is that it is one of a series of coincidences. You could go through each one and say "so what", or that Luke could have used another source, but you would be missing the overall pattern, as if you chopped down a forest one tree at a time, and then claimed that there had never been a forest.
In the past you have criticized me for not addressing a question in sufficient depth. Perhaps you feel I should be offering multipage replies to Carrier's essay, but I would prefer to treat each argument on its own. After all, a strong proof of dependence does not depend on coincidences, but specific examples where copying is very probable. As I have said previously, I will also be offering examples where scholars accept that actual copying DID take place (i.e. Lucan dependence on Mark and Q, but not Matthew), and by way of contrast we can see just how strong the presumed parallels happen to be. This is known as testing a theory's falsifiability, and if Mason's theories cannot be falsified to your satisfaction, then I do not blame you for accepting them. For myself, I am reserving judgement, but from what I have seen thus far, the case is extremely weak, and not getting much better.

The question remains, did Luke use Josephus as a source. In order to accept this theory, we need to show clear cases of parallels and/or copying. We must then establish that Luke could not have reasonably gotten his information from another source, nor that Josephus used Luke as his own source, and finally, that we do not have a genuine case of coincidence. It is a high evidentiary hurdle to clear, but given the fact that Mason's ideas are quite new, he should welcome such a standard, and be willing to meet it.

Peace,

Nomad

[ September 01, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
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Old 09-04-2001, 02:48 PM   #29
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Originally posted by Nomad:
<STRONG>
. . .
In the past you have criticized me for not addressing a question in sufficient depth.
. . .
</STRONG>
I would never accuse you of such a thing, Nomad.

I hope you are not waiting for a refutation of your above points before you proceed. I think that Carrier addresses them all in his recently revised essay on The Date of the Nativity in Luke.

On the idea that Luke would have known that Herod had died before the census, Carrier agrees with Mark Smith:

Quote:
Mark Smith has composed a good article explaining in his own terms why attempts to reconcile Luke and Matthew fail, while concluding with strong support for the accuracy of Luke as against Matthew ("Of Jesus and Quirinius," The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 62:2; April, 2000; pp. 278-93). He argues that Luke may have meant by "Herod the King" not "Herod the Great" but "Herod the Ethnarch," in other words Archelaus, Herod's successor (ibid. pp. 285-6).
Carrier discusses your problem with the world wide enrollment issue in his section entitled Luke's Description of the Census. He notes that one possibility is that Luke is mistaking the details from the census of 74 AD for the earlier one.

As for the other details, the author of Luke may have made them up for theological purposes, or simply borrowed them from some other census that he or she was familiar with.

So you have not shown that it is impossible for the author of Luke to have used some details from Josephus in this particular case, although it is possible that he used some other source.

So please proceed with your discussion. But please stop using terms like "falsifiability" when you obviously do not know what they mean.
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Old 09-04-2001, 03:25 PM   #30
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Carrier discusses your problem with the world wide enrollment issue in his section entitled Luke's Description of the Census. He notes that one possibility is that Luke is mistaking the details from the census of 74 AD for the earlier one.
You appear to continue in missing the point Toto. The question remains, is it most probable or plausible that Luke used Josephus as a source, in this case for the census held in 6AD. Given that Josephus himself must have used a source (remember, her was born 30 years after the fact, and wrote over 70 years after the census), and that Luke differs from Josephus on critical points (in fact, they only agree that it happened during the time of Quirinius and that Judas of Galilee led a revolt because of it), positing Josephus as the probable source for Luke is quite a stretch.

Why do you rule out a simpler explaination that Luke and Josephus simply used an earlier source? Obviously such a thing must have existed.

Quote:
As for the other details, the author of Luke may have made them up for theological purposes, or simply borrowed them from some other census that he or she was familiar with.
Further complicating the question of why we need think that the information came from Josephus.

You are aware that Luke and Matthew share far more information than do Luke and Josephus I would hope. Yet I have not heard a credible case made that either used the other as a source. I assume that you reject that Matt used Luke, and vice versa, so why do you give credence to the idea that Luke used Josephus?

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So you have not shown that it is impossible for the author of Luke to have used some details from Josephus in this particular case, although it is possible that he used some other source.
Hmm... so the standard is one of impossibility as opposed to probability or plausibility? I cannot prove that it was impossible for Luke to use Matthew, yet I do not believe that he did (nor, so far as I am aware does Carrier or Mason). Do not set up standards which you would not apply to other questions Toto. Let us remain in the realm of what is most probable.

Quote:
So please proceed with your discussion. But please stop using terms like "falsifiability" when you obviously do not know what they mean.
LOL! Tell me Toto, what would it take to convince you that Luke did not use Josephus as a source?

Finally, patience Toto. I have not forgotten this thread, but I did think that it would be alright to see if Peter, you, or anyone else had any questions after the long weekend before moving on. For you I can see that you have none, and so far as I can tell, nothing is going to convince you that I am right in rejecting Mason's arguments. My hope is that others will at least keep an open mind.

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