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Old 08-22-2001, 04:16 PM   #1
offa
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Post Reading Josephus

Josephus is misunderstood and this results in the
majority of biblical scholars rejecting him. If
these biblical scholars understood what
Josephus is saying, then, they would truly be
"scholars".

In Antiquities book 8, section 8, Josephus goes
into detail over truth and records. It is a story about
Solomon and Hiram, the king of Tyre and the Jewish
records. Here is what Josephus writes;

The copies of these epistles remain at this day, and
are preserved not only in our books, but among the
Tyrians also; insomuch that if anyone would know the
certainty about them, he may desire of the keepers of
public records of Tyre to show him, and he will find what
is there set down to agree with what we have said.


One would wonder, "Why in the hell would the record keepers
at Tyre (the island nation that Alexander the Great
destroyed) be keeping records for the Jews!" (BTW, Hiram
and Solomon both died in about 935 b.c.e., and I will
stand corrected if someone can find a more concise date).
-----------------------------------------------------------
Book 12, section 11 tells a story about a man named Hyrcanus
whose father, Joseph, was a citizen of Jerusalem (methinks
this would also qualify Hyrcanus as a Jew?). This Hyrcanus
became a rebel of sorts and an enemy of the citizens of
Jerusalem. Hyrcanus built a fort and named it Tyre and
its location was between Arabia and Judea, beyond the Jordan,
and not far from Heshbron. Hyrcanus eventually was cornered
by Antiochus the Great and committed suicide rather than
allow himself to be captured (this source is also Antiquities
and the dating is somewhere around 167 b.c.e.).
------------------------------------------------------------
Antiquities, book 13, section 2 tells about an Essene
seer named Judas (Judas the Essene) who prophesied the death
of prince Antigonas at Strato's Tower and this Antigonas
was assassinated in Jerusalem at a place called Strato's
Tower
(the real Strato's Tower is located on the
Mediterranean Sea). So, Josephus is letting the cat out of
the bag
. YOU CANNOT TRUST NAMES FOR LOCATIONS WHEN READING
SCRIPTURE!
-----------------------------------------------------------
Getting back to the records kept at Tyre. ... which Tyre?. In
a court of law could you call Josephus a liar if he was referring
to Qumran when he said the records were kept at Tyre? I may
be jumping to conclusions and jumping ahead, but caves are
explicitly mentioned in relationship to Hyrcanus and the fortress
he called Tyre.
------------------------------------------------------------
If you cannot trust names, can you trust dates or identities?
No, you cannot. However, you can cross-reference and discover
names, dates and places. A historian could dissect these books
of lore and discover a history. Barbara Thiering uses this
approach when she writes her books. Biblical scholars give her
a bad review and I feel it is because she is over their head.
------------------------------------------------------------
thanks, offa
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Old 08-22-2001, 09:36 PM   #2
Bill
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally posted by offa:
<STRONG>One would wonder, "Why in the hell would the record keepers at Tyre (the island nation that Alexander the Great destroyed) be keeping records for the Jews!" (BTW, Hiram
and Solomon both died in about 935 b.c.e., and I will stand corrected if someone can find a more concise date). </STRONG>
Well, Britannia.com has this to say about Hiram:
Quote:
Hiram
also called Huram, or Ahiram, Phoenician king of Tyre (reigned 969–936 BC), who appears in the Bible as an ally of the Israelite kings David and Solomon.

Hiram maintained friendly relations with Israel, supplying Solomon with men and materials for the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem and cooperating with him in Mediterranean and Red Sea trading voyages. Solomon gave him tribute and Galilean territory in return.
It's probably misleading to most people to call Tyre an "island nation," even though that is a correct description. In fact, the ruins of Tyre still exist to this day in Lebanon. Again, Britannica.com has this to say:
Quote:
Tyre
modern Arabic S ur, French Tyr, or Sour, Latin Tyrus, Hebrew Zor, or Tsor,
town on the Mediterranean coast of southern Lebanon, located 12 miles (19 km) north of the modern border with Israel and 25 miles (40 km) south of Sidon (modern Sayda). It was a major Phoenician seaport from about 2000 BC through the Roman period.

Tyre, built on an island and on the neighbouring mainland, was probably originally founded as a colony of Sidon. Mentioned in Egyptian records of the 14th century BC as being subject to Egypt, Tyre became independent when Egyptian influence in Phoenicia declined. It later surpassed Sidon as a trade centre, developing commercial relations with all parts of the Mediterranean world. In the 9th century BC colonists from Tyre founded the North African city of Carthage, which later became Rome's principal rival in the West. The town is frequently mentioned in the Bible (Old and New Testaments) as having had close ties with Israel. Hiram, king of Tyre (reigned 969–936), furnished building materials for Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem (10th century), and the notorious Jezebel, wife of King Ahab, was the daughter of Ethbaal, “king of Tyre and Sidon.” In the 10th and 9th centuries Tyre probably enjoyed some primacy over the other cities of Phoenicia and was ruled by kings whose power was limited by a merchant oligarchy.
Personally, I don't find it to be necessarily inconceivable that the "public records" of Tyre (probably a Library of some sort) would have written "records" (actually, copies of "epistles" might imply more literary works than accounting ledgers and so forth) from hundreds of years earlier. It was certainly the custom to copy important "records" (or documents of any sort) at regular intervals. A large portion of the recovered "authentic" records of the Roman Empire are, in fact, very mundane and ordinary documents that tell us little, but do provide input to the paleolithographers to argue for the dating (one way or the other) of disputed documents.

Then, the other Tyre is located someplace else. But is that really an unusual occurrance? I don't think so! In fact, it would appear that many small towns with grandiose ideas would name themselves after some far greater town of legendary strength and importance.

Josephus is hardly the only writer to confuse his modern readers with place names of this type. Many scholars assert that the "Damascus" to which Paul was headed when Paul had his "vision" of Jesus wasn't the Damascus we now know in Syria, but another small town much nearer to Jerusalem itself. The fact that Josephus makes clear that the two places called Tyre aren't the same is actually to his credit. Too many writers fail to make the proper distinctions.

As to the particular Tyre to which Josephus refers for the records of Hiram and Solomon, I think that in context it has to be the "real Tyre" (the nation formerly and allegedly ruled by Hiram).

Josephus isn't writing scripture! Josephus is a Roman citizen, writing a history of one of Rome's conquored peoples. Josephus writes with a typically Roman bias, but doesn't engage in the writing of scripture. Like most historians of his day, factual accuracy wasn't as highly prized as it is today. So, yes, there are obvious errors in his written accounts of one thing or another. He clearly reports some myths as the Gospel truth. But again, this is typical of Roman historians.

Barbara Thiering has an interesting theory about the Gospels, asserting that they can be decyphered as Peshar, using the recipe for that style of writing as discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. But it is clear that Josephus is NOT writing Peshar in any sense of that word. So, you cannot subject the writings of Josephus to the Peshar analysis of Qumran and expect to discern anthing resembling a valid picture. In fact, Josephus rejected the Essenes in general, and considered himself to be a Pharisee (and Pharisees were, in general, the enemies of the Essenes in general and the Qumran community in particular, from at least a religious and political standpoint). So, it is hardly likely that Josephus was even trained in the Peshar writing technique, and it is even less likely that, given his adoption into the Roman Imperial family, he would find cause to write in the Peshar technique.

It is an interesting thought, but at the end of the day, I'm forced to reject it as being illogical.

== Bill
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Old 08-23-2001, 06:15 PM   #3
offa
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I'm forced to reject it as being illogical.== Bill

Offa; That's great! I appreciate logical conclusions and I
am not the least bit offended if you disagree with me, thanks!


My reference to Josephus talking about records kept at Tyre, I
took it as the records being there, yet, in c. 90 CE. You tied
Tyre with Lebanon and I have this sense that Lebanon (the mountainous
part) was never part of David's kingdom nor was it ever part of
Rome. I feel that it was the Parthia where Josephus writes
ANT 14.119 So when Crassus had settle all things as he himself
pleased, he marched into Parthia, where both he and his army perished,

I feel he is talking about modern day Lebanon. Josephus uses pseudo-
names for rivers. I wonder if modern day historians can verify
exactly where Crassus met his Waterloo without referring
to Josephus?
----------------------------------------------------------------
There is more to the Lebanon story, i.e., king Ahab's wife Jezebel.
I believe the king of Tyre who was her daddy was a Hebrew from
the Qumran area. I was disappointed in The Bible Unearthed
because I believe David's kingdom was no more than about 25 miles
in circumference, if even that! It's called the power of the pen.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Much of the history of our kind (mankind) has been channeled through
the assassination of a king because he took a foreign wife. Peter
Green (Alexander of Macedon) writes that Alexander was given
poison wine under the machinations of Aristotle (p. 476). The cause of
Alexander's misfortune was having his soldiers take Persian brides.
Another famous assassination is that of Julius Caesar and his down-
fall was the Greek (not Egyptian, she was Greek) Cleopatra. It is
unlikely that kings took foreigners as wives. Ahab and Jezebel
were probably related.
------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephus was an Essene (took the schooling) at one time. I am
convinced that he did not understand the Jubilee Calendar
because he does not say much about it. The Book of Jubilees
was discovered (in fragments) alongside the Dead Sea Scrolls,
that is, to my understanding and those writings seem alien to the
Old Testament, whereas, Josephus follows the Old Testament.
The books that were recovered and given to Josephus are of the same
gender as those books we grew up with but the Book of Jubilees
and the other writings discovered at Qumran are foreign to us.
------------------------------------------------------------------
In finishing, our ancient histories are distorted because of the
bible. The hell with the Flood, take Moses out of Egypt. Make
David's kingdom the right size.

thanks, Offa
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Old 08-23-2001, 06:42 PM   #4
Bill
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Arrow

As far as I know, what we know as modern day Lebanon was never part of David's kingdom, as you surmise. But it was most certainly part of the Roman Empire! The Roman Empire extended over through Syria, being restrained at various times by the borders of Persia. The Romans never successfully conquored the Persians, and the land that Rome took from Persia was among the first land to fall away from Rome, not long after. But of course Lebanon was on the seacoast, and thus close to the military might of Rome.

Here is what Encyclopedia.Com has to say about Parthia:
Quote:
Parthia
Pronounced As: pärth , ancient country of Asia, SE of the Caspian Sea. In its narrowest limits it consisted of a mountainous region intersected with fertile valleys, lying S of Hyrcania and corresponding roughly to the modern Iranian province of Khorasan. It was included in the Assyrian and Persian empires, the Macedonian empire of Alexander the Great, and the Syrian empire. The Parthians were famous horsemen and archers and may have been of Scythian stock. In 250 B.C., led by Arsaces, they freed themselves from the rule of the Seleucids and founded the Parthian empire. At its height, in the 1st cent. B.C., this empire extended from the Euphrates across Afghanistan to the Indus and from the Oxus to the Indian Ocean. Defeating Marcus Licinius Crassus in 53 B.C., the Parthians threatened Syria and Asia Minor, but they were turned back by Ventidius in 39-38 B.C. Under Trajan the Romans advanced (A.D. 114-16) as far as the Persian Gulf, but they withdrew in the reign of Hadrian and were never again so successful against the Parthians. Then began the decline of the empire, which in A.D. 226 was conquered by Ardashir I (Artaxerxes), the founder of the Persian dynasty of the Sassanids. The chief Parthian cities were Ecbatana, Seleucia, Ctesiphon, and Hecatompylos. Such expressions as "a Parthian shot were suggested by the Parthian ruse in which mounted men used their arrows effectively while in simulated flight.
I think it's fairly clear that Crassius wasn't anywhere near Lebanon when he lost his famous battle. Frankly, it makes a great deal of sense, because Persia and Parthia were just beyond the frontier of what Rome could effectively control with it's armies.

Yes, Josephus took Essene schooling, as he did the schooling of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (he took all three; then he decided he would be a Pharisee). There is no reason to believe that Josephus had anything at all to do with the "Fourth Philosophy," which was that of the Zealots (whom Eisenman takes to be the same folks who wrote the scrolls at Qumran and who were, in some way, connected to the early Christians). Frankly, given that the Pharisees were Roman accomodationists in the first place, it's no real surprise that Josephus "turned his coat" and became a Roman intelligence officer when the Jewish War got going good. Again, Eisenman makes the point that the best way to discern the biases of first century sources is to understand whether the author was "pro-Rome" or "anti-Rome." Little of the latter survived anywhere but in the Qumran scrolls.

Eisenman makes an interesting point when he discusses "the Egyptian" (who is apparently a rabble-rouser in Jerusalem for whom St. Paul is mistaken in Acts). To the Jews in Jerusalem, "Egypt" was as close as Gaza (as it was in modern times, until the Israelis took over Gaza from Egypt and kept it, eventually turning it over to the Palestinians, at least to some degree). There is no good reason to believe that when the Israelis were "in Egypt," they were actually very far from where Jerusalem is today (at least, according to Eisenman). Of course, the business about the "parting of the Red Sea" is pious myth.

== Bill
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Old 08-23-2001, 07:04 PM   #5
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Bill, I was not prepared for such an expedient and researched reply. What I would like to know, what is encyclopedia.com's source for the demise of Crassus. Is there any other source than Josephus? Also, I mentioned the mountainous parts of Lebanon, not the sea coast. A misconception is Alexander's empire, he captured the sea coast
ports (by capturing the ports he disabled the Navy) and the major cities. He never controlled the mountain tribes. In turn, the Romans, like Alexander, controlled the main arteries and they discovered, just as we did in Viet Nam and the Russians discovered in Afghanistan, there is a lot more to conquering a nation than just taking its capitol.

thanks, offa
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Old 08-23-2001, 08:03 PM   #6
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Sorry, but I'm not paying for access to their site in order to examine their bibliography for that one article.

However, I'm reasonably certain that an exit as substantial as that of Crassus is recorded in several history texts of the day, not just Josephus (who had no real need to write about him in any case, and who is almost certainly relying on some other Roman historian of his day for the information he presents).

If you recall, Crassus was a member of the First Triumverate, along with Julius Caesar and Pompey. It was Crassus who balanced the egos of Caesar and Pompey, and his death caused the Triumverate to disintegrate and civil war (between Caesar and Pompey) to break out. This was an event of singular importance in the history of Rome because after Caesar defeated Pompey, he was left in sole control of the Roman Empire (a fact that eventually led to Caesar's own assassination). Given the importance of the death of Crassus to this whole tale, I'd bet that there would hardly be a Roman historian worthy of that title ("historian") who would not have written about the death of Crassus. Thus, there must be a plethora of sources upon which to rely.

== Bill
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Old 08-23-2001, 11:00 PM   #7
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The most comprehensive treatment of Crassus' life was done by the Roman historian Plutarch titled, simply,Crassus, in which we find a description of his final battle, surrender, and rather comical/tragic death:

"But Crassus answered, that if he had the least concern for his life, he would never have intrusted himself in their hands, but sent two brothers of the name of Roscius to inquire on what terms and in what numbers they should meet. These Surena ordered immediately to be seized, and himself with his principal officers came up on horseback, and greeting him, said, "How is this, then? A Roman commander is on foot, whilst I and my train are mounted." But Crassus replied, that there was no error committed on either side, for they both met according to the custom of their own country. Surena told him that from that time there was a league between the king his master and the Romans, but that Crassus must go with him to the river to sign it, "for you Romans," said he, "have not good memories for conditions," and so saying, reached out his hand to him. Crassus, therefore, gave order that one of his horses should be brought; but Surena told him there was no need, "the king, my master, presents you with this;" and immediately a horse with a golden bit was brought up to him, and himself was forcibly put into the saddle by the grooms, who ran by the side and struck the horse to make the more haste. But Octavius running up, got hold of the bridle, and soon after one of the officers, Petronius, and the rest of the company came up, striving to stop the horse, and pulling back those who on both sides of him forced Crassus forward. Thus from pulling and thrusting one another, they came to a tumult, and soon after to blows. Octavius, drawing his sword, killed a groom of one of the barbarians, and one of them, getting behind Octavius, killed him. Petronius was not armed, but being struck on the breastplate, fell down from his horse, though without hurt. Crassus was killed by a Parthian, called Pomaxathres; others say by a different man, and that Pomaxathres only cut off his head and right hand after he had fallen. But this is conjecture rather than certain knowledge, for those that were by had not leisure to observe particulars, and were either killed fighting about Crassus, or ran off at once to get to their comrades on the hill. But the Parthians coming up to them, and saying that Crassus had the punishment he justly deserved, and that Surena bade the rest come down from the hill without fear, some of them came down and surrendered themselves, others were scattered."

One final note on Crassus' fate:

The severed head of Crassus was brought to the Parthian court and was used for a realistic representation of the final scene in Euripede's Bacchae. But this bad joke originated with a Greek actor, not the Parthian king. Vindictiveness was not a Parthian fault.
(M. Cary, H.H. Scullard, A History of Rome, [London: MacMillan Press Ltd., 1979]pg. 620 n. 18)


Nomad

P.S. This was just an FYI. Personally I do not buy offa's theories (go figure), and find myself in the rather unusual position of actually agreeing with most of what Bill has said here. I'm sure it won't happen again Bill.
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Old 08-24-2001, 01:16 PM   #8
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Thanks Bill and Nomad. I seached for info on Crassus about ten years ago and about the best I could do was the Encylopedia Britainica and I was disappointed in the results. I will spend a little time on Plutarch. Again, thanks, offa
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Old 08-28-2001, 05:22 PM   #9
offa
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I am more than pleased to read about Crassus
and his debacle in Parthia. Thanks Nomad.

I am a bit appalled by my inability to get
relevant information off the internet. It
seems to me that the sources change. I was
shocked to being advised that Josephus
was available online. My previous source went offline and I thought it was because of plagarism. Also, I once found The Book
of Jubilees
on line and that source went
bottoms up!

As I have written many times before, I WRITE MY OWN STUFF, and even though my probing on Parthia became meager, I learned. My problem with the Parthians was not so much from Crassus' era but more from about 42 b.c.e.
when king Herod fled Palestine. Again, you
have redirected me and I am appreciative.

Thanks, Offa

BTW, I was having one hell of a time using
the Internet until I discarded my old faithful Netscape. I so much wanted Netscape
to work!
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Old 08-28-2001, 11:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by offa:
I am more than pleased to read about Crassus
and his debacle in Parthia. Thanks Nomad.
My pleasure offa. I'm glad I could help.

Quote:
I am a bit appalled by my inability to getrelevant information off the internet. It seems to me that the sources change. I was shocked to being advised that Josephuswas available online. My previous source went offline and I thought it was because of plagarism. Also, I once found The Book
of Jubilees
on line and that source went
bottoms up!
You can find the Book of Jubilees (and a discussion on it) here and a good number of other ancient texts at can also be found at The Christian Classics Ethereal Library. It is one of my favorite online resources.

Quote:
As I have written many times before, I WRITE MY OWN STUFF, and even though my probing on Parthia became meager, I learned.
I also like to write much of my own material, but typing quotes from a book can be very tedious, and prone to errors, so I like to copy and paste when possible. I agree however, that reading the sources is the best way to learn about the subject itself.

Peace,

Nomad

P.S. Sorry about the problems with Netscape. I have only ever used MSIE and have never had a problem with it. Perhaps you just needed to upgrade your version to Netscape 6.1? I honestly do not know.
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