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Old 03-20-2010, 02:01 PM   #11
PhilosopherJay
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Default John the Baptist Interpolation by Eusebius

Hi Apostate Abe,

By examining what Eusebius wrote on the passage, it is clear that he is responsible for some, if not all the passage on John the Baptist in Josephus:

In demonstratio evangelica, Book 9, chapter 5, Eusibius writes this about the passage:
Quote:
Such, then, I understand to be the reasons why John was a marvel to those who saw him; and therefore they hastened from all sides to the cleansing of the soul, of which he preached.
Josephus, too, records his story in the Eighteenth Book (431) of the Jewish Archeology, writing as follows:
"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army 1 came from God, and that very justly as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism. For so the washing would be (b) acceptable to Him."
Here Eusebius clearly states that John preached the "cleansing of the soul". If the statement about John preaching only a cleansing of the body had been in the work of Josephus, why would Eusebius directly contradict it and cut it out from his quotation? If it was in the Josephus passage he read that John did not do a cleansing of the soul, but only of the body, why would Eusebius quote a passage that would directly contradict his statement on this issue? The only reasonable or logical conclusion is that the type of baptism that John did (soul or body) was not included in the passage by Josephus at this time.

When, he writes his Church History, it is evident that he has thought about his statement that John preached a cleansing of the soul and has decided that he was wrong and John only preached a cleansing of the body. He puts this into the Josephus text. From Church History 1:11
Quote:
3. The same Josephus confesses in this account that John the Baptist was an exceedingly righteous man, and thus agrees with the things written of him in the Gospels. He records also that Herod lost his kingdom on account of the same Herodias, and that he was driven into banishment with her, and condemned to live at Vienne in Gaul.
4. He relates these things in the eighteenth book of the Antiquities, where he writes of John in the following words: It seemed to some of the Jews that the army of Herod was destroyed by God, who most justly avenged John called the Baptist.
5. For Herod slew him, a good man and one who exhorted the Jews to come and receive baptism, practicing virtue and exercising righteousness toward each other and toward God; for baptism would appear acceptable unto Him when they employed it, not for the remission of certain sins, but for the purification of the body, as the soul had been already purified in righteousness.
It is obvious that Eusebius has added his own ideas about what kind of purification (body or soul) John did to the text of Josephus.

It is most likely that he made both the original interpolation talking about John and the additional interpolation, talking about the purification of the body, to further distinguish John the Baptist from Jesus. Interpolating into an author to support his point was the methodology of Eusebius.

This evidence should be added to the numerous other arguments and evidence in favor of Eusebius producing the TF.

Warmly,

Philosopher Jay

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApostateAbe quoting Robert Price View Post
...
But I rather imagine Josephus would have edited out such extraneous information. I prefer to see the whole passage as an interpolation into Josephus by a Christian (or Baptist) who was trying to correct Mark by interpreting what he said about a "baptism for the forgiveness of sins" in a nonsacramental direction. (He may also have repudiated Mark's version of John's death, thinking that it let Herod Antipas off the hook, blaming the death on the scheming Herodias, and so offered a contrasting version, seen here.) My second reason for seeing it as an interpolation is the apparent presence of a redactional seam, a telltale sign of a copyist stitching in new material. Often an interpolation may be detected by parallel opening and closing sentences. This results from the copyist having to re-create the peg from which the continuation of the original narrative first hung. In this case, the passage begins with the words, "Now, some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly as a punishment of what he did against John." I am suggesting that this passage is the interpolator's paraphrase of the closing words of the passage: "Now, the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, as a mark of God's displeasure against him." The latter version would have been the original, speaking of Herod's general impiety, the former being the paraphrase that introduces John the Baptist by name, making the military defeat the punishment for John's ill treatment. So it may be that Josephus did not originally mention John at all.
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Old 03-20-2010, 03:55 PM   #12
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...
I have his book in my hands, a few years of amateur study, a high IQ, the backing of almost every other critical New Testament scholar with a Ph.D. who accepts far different conclusions, and the backing of the critical scholarly publishers who refused to print his material.
Who have you read besides Ehrman? Who refused to print Price and why?
I have read plenty of Ehrman, but also Van Voorst, much of the New Testament, about a third of Price's book, and thousands of posts in the BC&H.

Who refused to print Price? He apparently started his own journal for himself (and other hyperskeptics) when he couldn't find a publisher for his more unlikely propositions. "Journal of Higher Criticism," he called it, as you must be aware.
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Everything is wrong.

it is an accepted principle of Biblical scholarship, following from a sociological principle,

There is no such sociological principle. It is generally assumed in Biblical scholarship and otherwise that earlier works are more likely to be historically accurate. But when you assume that the Bible was written as history you are assuming what you are trying to prove.

that earlier records are less likely to reflect theological prejudices than later records,

But everything in the Bible has a theological basis.

because earlier records generally reflect a more accurate picture of events, whereas later records generally contain greater corruptions from biases emerging from years of rhetorical debate

Earlier works do not necessarily reflect an accurate picture of events if they were written as fiction or as theology to start with. Again, you are assuming what you are trying to prove.
EVERYTHING is wrong? Oh dear.

"It is generally assumed in Biblical scholarship and otherwise that earlier works are more likely to be historically accurate. But when you assume that the Bible was written as history you are assuming what you are trying to prove."

The doctrine that "earlier works are more likely to be historically accurate" does not mean we are assuming "Bible was written as history." If there is ambiguity about whether or not the Bible was written as history, then it is just as true that earlier works are more likely to be historically accurate. The conclusion that there was a historical core to the New Testament is not an arbitrary assumption; it follows largely from this pattern of the early Christian writings: later documents contain elements that are apparently favorable to Christians, early documents contain elements that are apparently not favorable to Christians, and there seems to be no good way to explain those unfavorable elements except with historical truth. Or, like Price, you can take seriously speculative explanations with hardly any evidence at all.

But, that isn't really the point. The point is that Price wrote like the relative ambivalence of Mark is something especially unexpected by mainline Biblical criticism:
Mark seemingly had little enough trouble with a repenting Jesus. He appears not to have regarded himself 'stuck' with the notion.
He takes that as evidence against the idea that Jesus being baptized by John was embarrassing according to the earliest source. And he gives his own goofy explanation:
Anyone who saw nothing amiss in it could have made it up if there were something useful in the story and there was. As some have suggested, the story may simply have originated as a cultic etiology to provide a paradigm for baptism: "Are you able to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"
He never indicates that any other plausible explanation exists, and he proceeds to treat his own weird explanation as the only game in town.

"But everything in the Bible has a theological basis."

And you are accusing me of having an unjustified assumption? Can we really ascribe a theological basis to EVERYTHING in the Bible? If we find embarrassing but historically-plausible claims in earlier sources that are either omitted or positively spun in later sources, then it is reasonable to conclude that those elements do not have a theological basis, unless there is an explanation that wasn't just pulled out of someone's hiney.

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Originally Posted by Toto View Post
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... I don't even know who Derrida is.
<facepalm>

Derrida for Beginners (or via: amazon.co.uk)
Thanks. Take care.
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by PhilosopherJay View Post
Hi Apostate Abe,

By examining what Eusebius wrote on the passage, it is clear that he is responsible for some, if not all the passage on John the Baptist in Josephus:

In demonstratio evangelica, Book 9, chapter 5, Eusibius writes this about the passage:
Quote:
Such, then, I understand to be the reasons why John was a marvel to those who saw him; and therefore they hastened from all sides to the cleansing of the soul, of which he preached.
Josephus, too, records his story in the Eighteenth Book (431) of the Jewish Archeology, writing as follows:
"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army 1 came from God, and that very justly as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism. For so the washing would be (b) acceptable to Him."
Here Eusebius clearly states that John preached the "cleansing of the soul". If the statement about John preaching only a cleansing of the body had been in the work of Josephus, why would Eusebius directly contradict it and cut it out from his quotation? If it was in the Josephus passage he read that John did not do a cleansing of the soul, but only of the body, why would Eusebius quote a passage that would directly contradict his statement on this issue? The only reasonable or logical conclusion is that the type of baptism that John did (soul or body) was not included in the passage by Josephus at this time.

When, he writes his Church History, it is evident that he has thought about his statement that John preached a cleansing of the soul and has decided that he was wrong and John only preached a cleansing of the body. He puts this into the Josephus text. From Church History 1:11


It is obvious that Eusebius has added his own ideas about what kind of purification (body or soul) John did to the text of Josephus.

It is most likely that he made both the original interpolation talking about John and the additional interpolation, talking about the purification of the body, to further distinguish John the Baptist from Jesus. Interpolating into an author to support his point was the methodology of Eusebius.

This evidence should be added to the numerous other arguments and evidence in favor of Eusebius producing the TF.

Warmly,

Philosopher Jay
Philosopher Jay, you always have the most elaborate arguments, and most of the time it is a lot of work to rebut them. Lucky for me, this is not one of those cases, because Origen circa 240 CE wrote, "...Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist..." Therefore, it is unlikely that Eusebius interpolated the passage, in addition to the unlikelihood that any Christian interpolated the passage for the reasons I gave in the OP.
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Old 03-20-2010, 07:06 PM   #14
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Who have you read besides Ehrman? Who refused to print Price and why?
I have read plenty of Ehrman, but also Van Voorst, much of the New Testament, about a third of Price's book, and thousands of posts in the BC&H.
You have barely touched the subject. You don't know what you don't know. That's a very dangerous position to be in.

Quote:
Who refused to print Price? He apparently started his own journal for himself (and other hyperskeptics) when he couldn't find a publisher for his more unlikely propositions. "Journal of Higher Criticism," he called it, as you must be aware.
And you assume that the reason he started his own journal was that other journals refused to publish his work? <facepalm>

Look at the references in Price's published works on theology.

Quote:
EVERYTHING is wrong? Oh dear.

"It is generally assumed in Biblical scholarship and otherwise that earlier works are more likely to be historically accurate. But when you assume that the Bible was written as history you are assuming what you are trying to prove."

The doctrine that "earlier works are more likely to be historically accurate" does not mean we are assuming "Bible was written as history."
It doesn't? Are earlier fictional works more likely to be historical??

Quote:
If there is ambiguity about whether or not the Bible was written as history, then it is just as true that earlier works are more likely to be historically accurate.
No, it is not just as true.

Quote:
The conclusion that there was a historical core to the New Testament is not an arbitrary assumption; it follows largely from this pattern of the early Christian writings: later documents contain elements that are apparently favorable to Christians, early documents contain elements that are apparently not favorable to Christians, and there seems to be no good way to explain those unfavorable elements except with historical truth
.

This is unique, and wrong. But you need to be more specific, and perhaps write this up for a peer reviewed journal, since no one else seems to have made this argument. The alternate explanation is that earlier documents contain earlier theological views, which can become disfavored by later writers. This does not make the earlier views historically valid.

Quote:
Or, like Price, you can take seriously speculative explanations with hardly any evidence at all.
You will find that most NT writers engage in this sort of speculation, since there is hardly any real evidence.

Quote:
But, that isn't really the point. The point is that Price wrote like the relative ambivalence of Mark is something especially unexpected by mainline Biblical criticism:
Mark seemingly had little enough trouble with a repenting Jesus. He appears not to have regarded himself 'stuck' with the notion.
He takes that as evidence against the idea that Jesus being baptized by John was embarrassing according to the earliest source. And he gives his own goofy explanation:
Anyone who saw nothing amiss in it could have made it up if there were something useful in the story and there was. As some have suggested, the story may simply have originated as a cultic etiology to provide a paradigm for baptism: "Are you able to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"
He never indicates that any other plausible explanation exists, and he proceeds to treat his own weird explanation as the only game in town.
Price is not writing a survey of all possible explanations (that would take an encyclopedia.) I don't find his treatment goofy, and he is hardly the only writer who has observed that Mark does not find the baptism by John to be embarrassing in the least.

Quote:
"But everything in the Bible has a theological basis."

And you are accusing me of having an unjustified assumption? Can we really ascribe a theological basis to EVERYTHING in the Bible? If we find embarrassing but historically-plausible claims in earlier sources that are either omitted or positively spun in later sources, then it is reasonable to conclude that those elements do not have a theological basis, unless there is an explanation that wasn't just pulled out of someone's hiney.
Yes, everything in the Bible has a theological basis of some sort. It is, after all, a work of theology, of sacred literature.

If you claim to have read lots of posts in BCH, you seem to have missed the many threads that demonstrated that the criterion of embarrassment is useless for determining history. Most mainstream scholars have quietly abandoned it as its flaws have been demonstrated. And you will notice that scholars are careful to speak only of evidence of an "early tradition," not evidence of actual history.

In short, what seems embarrassing to Matthew was not embarrasing to Mark - but this is only evidence of their different viewpoints, not of an underlying bit of history.
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Old 03-20-2010, 07:20 PM   #15
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Hi Apostate Abe,

I don't know, I find my arguments simple and as straightforward as can be, not elaborate at all.

The OP gives general reasons and does not take into account the specific situation I am citing. It is a little bit as if I gave you a signed confession by a boy that he committed a crime and you answered, "Oh that can't be true, he is generally such a nice boy."

Can you explain why Eusebius says that John cleansed the soul, when the statement in Josephus says directly that he did not cleanse the soul but only the body?

When we look at Origen's works, we should remember that Eusebius inherited them. he had control over them and so Origen cannot be looked upon as a source independent from Eusebius.

Celsus says specifically this:
Quote:
I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew as accepting somehow John as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins, is related by one who lived no great length of time after John and Jesus.
How is it that Origen reads the passage in Josephus which says that John did not baptize for the remission of sins and comes away with the same proposition as Eusebius that he did baptize for the remission of sins?

How is it that both writers read the same passage and came away with the identical opposite conclusion from the passage?

The simplest suggestion to answer that is that this Origen passage was interpolated into Against Celsus by Eusebius before he changed his mind about John's baptism. An alternative is that Josephus originally had the opposite of what we find in him now, that John the Baptist did purify souls. Origen and Eusebius in DE had it right, but Eusebius corrected it to say that he did not purify souls because he realized that if souls could be purified through baptism, the whole sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was a pointless exercise.

Warmly,

Philosopher Jay





Quote:
Originally Posted by ApostateAbe View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilosopherJay View Post
Hi Apostate Abe,

By examining what Eusebius wrote on the passage, it is clear that he is responsible for some, if not all the passage on John the Baptist in Josephus:

In demonstratio evangelica, Book 9, chapter 5, Eusibius writes this about the passage:


Here Eusebius clearly states that John preached the "cleansing of the soul". If the statement about John preaching only a cleansing of the body had been in the work of Josephus, why would Eusebius directly contradict it and cut it out from his quotation? If it was in the Josephus passage he read that John did not do a cleansing of the soul, but only of the body, why would Eusebius quote a passage that would directly contradict his statement on this issue? The only reasonable or logical conclusion is that the type of baptism that John did (soul or body) was not included in the passage by Josephus at this time.

When, he writes his Church History, it is evident that he has thought about his statement that John preached a cleansing of the soul and has decided that he was wrong and John only preached a cleansing of the body. He puts this into the Josephus text. From Church History 1:11


It is obvious that Eusebius has added his own ideas about what kind of purification (body or soul) John did to the text of Josephus.

It is most likely that he made both the original interpolation talking about John and the additional interpolation, talking about the purification of the body, to further distinguish John the Baptist from Jesus. Interpolating into an author to support his point was the methodology of Eusebius.

This evidence should be added to the numerous other arguments and evidence in favor of Eusebius producing the TF.

Warmly,

Philosopher Jay
Philosopher Jay, you always have the most elaborate arguments, and most of the time it is a lot of work to rebut them. Lucky for me, this is not one of those cases, because Origen circa 240 CE wrote, "...Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist..." Therefore, it is unlikely that Eusebius interpolated the passage, in addition to the unlikelihood that any Christian interpolated the passage for the reasons I gave in the OP.
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:42 PM   #16
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The gobsmackingly obvious solution is that Josephus really wrote it, and he sourced the information from the followers of John the Baptist.
I agree this is a simple approach. Now apply the same methodology to James.

Quote:
I figure Price simply wants to minimize the historicity of Jesus.
I really don't think so. Price is actively involved in the church and has come to his positions based on the evidence. He is a professor of theology and has been reluctant to give up Christianity in spite of his conclusions (and refers to himself with the bizarre title of "Christian atheist"). To the extent he has a dog in the fight, it's fighting for Jesus.
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:46 PM   #17
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I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
I overlooked that quote until now, but it seems to be striking evidence that Jesus was subordinate to John the Baptist in the earliest Christian traditions (I take Q to be earlier than Mark).
If this was well known, there would have been little motive to record it. The better explanation is that Jesus cultists wrote that to undermine the authority of the competing John cult. The gospels are religious propaganda first and foremost. To the extent they record actual history, it's happenstance.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:42 AM   #18
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Just to be clear, even though Price's conclusions are driven by activism at the expense of probability, his book gives plenty of useful information to an amateur audience. For example, on page 110, he makes a point about John the Baptist according to Jesus as quoted in Matthew 11:11 and Luke 7:28, which are sourced from the gospel of Q:
I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
This may mean:
I tell you, among those born of women [and outside the kingdom of God] there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
ie Jesus and his true disciples are within the kingdom of God and hence greater (in some sense) than John.

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Old 03-21-2010, 07:17 PM   #19
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Hi Apostate Abe,

I don't know, I find my arguments simple and as straightforward as can be, not elaborate at all.

The OP gives general reasons and does not take into account the specific situation I am citing. It is a little bit as if I gave you a signed confession by a boy that he committed a crime and you answered, "Oh that can't be true, he is generally such a nice boy."

Can you explain why Eusebius says that John cleansed the soul, when the statement in Josephus says directly that he did not cleanse the soul but only the body?

When we look at Origen's works, we should remember that Eusebius inherited them. he had control over them and so Origen cannot be looked upon as a source independent from Eusebius.

Celsus says specifically this:
Quote:
I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew as accepting somehow John as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins, is related by one who lived no great length of time after John and Jesus.
How is it that Origen reads the passage in Josephus which says that John did not baptize for the remission of sins and comes away with the same proposition as Eusebius that he did baptize for the remission of sins?

How is it that both writers read the same passage and came away with the identical opposite conclusion from the passage?

The simplest suggestion to answer that is that this Origen passage was interpolated into Against Celsus by Eusebius before he changed his mind about John's baptism. An alternative is that Josephus originally had the opposite of what we find in him now, that John the Baptist did purify souls. Origen and Eusebius in DE had it right, but Eusebius corrected it to say that he did not purify souls because he realized that if souls could be purified through baptism, the whole sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was a pointless exercise.

Warmly,

Philosopher Jay
Simplest? Seriously? Your model seems far more complex than it needs to be. If the passage in Josephus was interpolated by Eusebius, then we expect a consistency, not a difference, in the accounts of why John baptized. If you explain the citation of Origen as yet another interpolation, then you are doubling down on the unlikelihood. And then you think Eusebius changed his mind between interpolating Josephus and Origen. It is something like what happens when evidence mounts against any unlikely theory--ad hoc explanations upon ad hoc explanations.

It is all based on a somewhat unnecessary set of interpretations. Neither the citation in Origen nor the citation in Eusebius imply that Josephus believed that John baptized for the remission of sins. Origen and Eusebius each state their own beliefs about John, which are reflected in Mark 1:4, and then they bring up Josephus to corroborate. Of course, yes, they forget to mention that Josephus believed something a little different about John the Baptist--these people were Christian apologists, after all.

My model does not involve interpolations. Interpolations should be the explanation when they have evidence and it is probable, as they so often are. They should not be the explanation when a simpler and more intuitive explanation is easily available.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:41 PM   #20
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Hi Apostate Abe,

Thank you for this response. This scenario that you give was actually the first one that I thought of. Eusebius simply felt differently about John the Baptist's purification than Josephus. I gave it a little thought and realized that it was silly.

Eusebius is going to state that John the Baptist baptized for sins and then he is going to refer his readers to the one historical source he has for John the Baptist that directly contradicts him and says that John baptized not for sins.

Imagine me saying "George Washington was not the first president of the United States. Here is a list of presidents on Wikipedia." When you go there it says that George Washington was the first president of the United States.

Or imagine someone saying, "There is no such thing as global warning. Go see the movie, "An inconvenient Truth"."

Or someone saying, "D.H. Lawrence never wrote about sex. He wrote the novel "Lady Chatterley's Lover"."

Or someone saying, "Rosario Dawson is really a man. Go see the movie "Alexander."

We may assume that Eusebius was insane for this to be the case, or we can more charitably say that he was drunk when he cited a source that contradicted his one statement about John the Baptist.

The problem is that we also have to assume the Origen was insane and/or drunk when he did the same thing, cited a source that directly contradicted his one statement on John the Baptist.

My theory does not rely on Eusebius being drunk or insane, but simply changing his mind on an important issue to himself. The issue of what John baptized for must have been important or it would not have been the most significant thing he mentions about John.

Thus we get this simple scenario that accounts for all the evidence in the simplest fashion.

Eusebius says John baptized for sins.
He interpolates the first lines about John in Josephus.

He is afraid that someone will catch his forgery, so he interpolates the same statements in Origen. (Note: also the discussion of John in Origen lacks sense in the position it is in) and he has Origen also citing Josephus in the exact way that he did, which proves that Origen saw it in Josephus. This is Eusebius' defense if anyone accuses him of forgery.

Later, because nobody, in fact has caught him, while writing his Church history, he goes to add the part about John baptized for sins. However he thinks about it, finds it theologically wrong and decides to say the opposite that John didn't baptize for sins.

Incidentally, it also seems to me that Eusebius, emboldened by the fact that nobody has caught his previous John forgery, adds the TF and even does a bit of tweaking of the James passage by adding (brother of the Lord) to help his theory that James was Jesus' brother).

Logically, this makes sense and is more reasonable to believe than that someone would cite a source against his own judgment about such an important issue. (Important because it is the one thing that Eusebius, Origen and Josephus says about John the Baptist - the meaning of his baptism).

As far as this being ad hoc, one might say that any deduction to the most logical choice is always ad hoc. In the movie, "the Maltese Falcon," it is hard to believe that Brigid O'Shaughnessy bumped off Sam Spade's partner Miles, as she is the most innocent looking of the desperate suspect that Sam meets. However, once he eliminates the other suspects, she is the only possible one left and so Sam can be sure that he is correct when he pins the murder on her, although he was not there to see it.

Warmly,

Philosopher Jay



Quote:
Originally Posted by ApostateAbe View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilosopherJay View Post
Hi Apostate Abe,

I don't know, I find my arguments simple and as straightforward as can be, not elaborate at all.

The OP gives general reasons and does not take into account the specific situation I am citing. It is a little bit as if I gave you a signed confession by a boy that he committed a crime and you answered, "Oh that can't be true, he is generally such a nice boy."

Can you explain why Eusebius says that John cleansed the soul, when the statement in Josephus says directly that he did not cleanse the soul but only the body?

When we look at Origen's works, we should remember that Eusebius inherited them. he had control over them and so Origen cannot be looked upon as a source independent from Eusebius.

Celsus says specifically this:

How is it that Origen reads the passage in Josephus which says that John did not baptize for the remission of sins and comes away with the same proposition as Eusebius that he did baptize for the remission of sins?

How is it that both writers read the same passage and came away with the identical opposite conclusion from the passage?

The simplest suggestion to answer that is that this Origen passage was interpolated into Against Celsus by Eusebius before he changed his mind about John's baptism. An alternative is that Josephus originally had the opposite of what we find in him now, that John the Baptist did purify souls. Origen and Eusebius in DE had it right, but Eusebius corrected it to say that he did not purify souls because he realized that if souls could be purified through baptism, the whole sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was a pointless exercise.

Warmly,

Philosopher Jay
Simplest? Seriously? Your model seems far more complex than it needs to be. If the passage in Josephus was interpolated by Eusebius, then we expect a consistency, not a difference, in the accounts of why John baptized. If you explain the citation of Origen as yet another interpolation, then you are doubling down on the unlikelihood. And then you think Eusebius changed his mind between interpolating Josephus and Origen. It is something like what happens when evidence mounts against any unlikely theory--ad hoc explanations upon ad hoc explanations.

It is all based on a somewhat unnecessary set of interpretations. Neither the citation in Origen nor the citation in Eusebius imply that Josephus believed that John baptized for the remission of sins. Origen and Eusebius each state their own beliefs about John, which are reflected in Mark 1:4, and then they bring up Josephus to corroborate. Of course, yes, they forget to mention that Josephus believed something a little different about John the Baptist--these people were Christian apologists, after all.

My model does not involve interpolations. Interpolations should be the explanation when they have evidence and it is probable, as they so often are. They should not be the explanation when a simpler and more intuitive explanation is easily available.
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