FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Philosophy & Religious Studies > History of Abrahamic Religions & Related Texts
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 01:23 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-24-2013, 02:37 AM   #1
DCHindley
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Mondcivitan Republic
Posts: 2,550
Default Robert Eisler on Josephus' "Testimonium"

Spurred by Ken Olson's recent article on the Testimonium Flavianum, I've just spent a couple of days scanning and formatting the chapter in Robert Eisler's Messiah Jesus & John the Baptist in which he "reconstructs" the text of Josephus' testimony about Jesus (now found in Antiquities Book 18) for a couple of days.

For the sake of argument, and to see if John Meier, Alice Whealey and Ken Olson have really advanced the subject beyond what Eisler did back in 1930, as they seem to think, here is the received text of Josephus and Eisler's "reconstruction" side by side. I have 30+ OCDR'd pages (including Unicode Greek passages) available in a Word 2010 document if anyone wants to see them.

Received Text [Niece] English Eisler's Reconstructed Text English
[[Book 18 Section 63]] Γίνεται δὲ10 κατὰ τοῦτον11 τὸν χρόνον12 [[Section 63]] Now about this time arose 3. 3. [[Section 63]] ΓΙΝΕΤΑΙ1 ΔΕ ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΥΤΟΝ ΤΟΝ ΧΡΟΝΟΝ2 [[Section 63]] Now about this time arose
    ἀρχὴ νέων θορύβων3 (an occasion for new disturbances)
Ἰησοῦς,13 Jesus, ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΤΙΣ4 a certain Jesus,
σοφὸς ἀνήρ,14 a wise man, ΣΟΦιστὴΣ5 ΑΝΗΡ,6 a wizard of a man,
εἴγε ἄνδρα αὐτὸν λέγειν χρή.15 if indeed he may be called a man. ΕΙΓΕ7 ΑΝΔΡΑ ΛΕΓΕΙΝ ΧΡΗ ΑΥΤΟΝ,8 if indeed he may be called a man
    τὸν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἐξαισιώτατον,9 ὃν οἱ μαθηταὶ υἱὸν θεοῦ ὀνομάζουσιν,10 (who was the most monstrous of all men, whom his disciples call a son of God,
Ἦν γὰρ παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητής, For he was a doer of marvellous acts, τὸν οἷα οὐδέποτε ἐπεποιήκει ἄνθρωπος θαύματα ἐργασάμενον 11 . . . . . 12 as having done wonders such as no man hath ever yet done). . . .
διδάσκαλος16 ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἡδονῇ τἀληθῆ δεχομένων,17 a teacher of such men as receive the truth with delight. ΗΝ ΓΑΡ ΠΑΡΑΔΟΞΩΝ ΕΡΓΩΝ13 ΔΙΔΑΣΚΑΛΟΣ,14 ΑΝΘΡΩΠΩΝ ΤΩΝ ΗΔΟΝΗΙ Τ' ΑΗΘΗ15 ΔΕΧΟΜΕΝΩΝ16 . . . . . . 17 He was in fact a teacher of astonishing tricks to such men as accept the abnormal with delight.
[[Section 64]] καὶ πολλοὺς μὲν Ἰουδαίους,1 πολλοὺς δὲ καὶ2 τοῦ3 Ἑλληνικοῦ4 ἐπηγάγετο.5 [[Section 64]] And he won over to himself many Jews and many also of the Greek nation. [[Section 64]] ΚΑΙ ΠΟΛΛΟΥΣ ΜΕΝ18 ΙΟΥΔΑΙΟΥΣ, ΠΟΛΛΟΤΣ ΔΕ18 ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥ ἙΛΛΗΝΙΚΟΥ19 ΑΠΗΓΑΓΕΤΟ20 [[Section 64]] And he seduced many Jews and many also of the Greek nation,
Ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν.6 He was the Christ. καὶ (ὑπὸ τούτων)21 Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ εἶναι ἐνομίζετο22 and (was regarded by them as) the Messiah.
καὶ αὐτὸν ἐνδείξει7 τῶν πρώτων ἀνδρῶν παρ᾽ ἡμῖν8 σταυρῷ ἐπιτετιμηκότος Πιλάτου οὐκ9 ἐπαύσαντο10 οἱ τὸ11 πρῶτον12 ἀγαπήσαντες And when, on the indictment of the principal men among us, Pilate had sentenced him to the cross, still those who before had loved him did not cease (to do so). ΚΑΙ ΑΥΤΟΝ23 ΕΝΔΕΙΞΕΙ24 ΤΩΝ ΠΡΩΤΩΝ ΑΝΔΡΩΝ25 ΠΑΡ' HMIN26 ΣΤΑΥΡΩΙ ΕΠΙΤΕΤΊΜΗΚΟΤΟΣ27 ΠΙΛΑΤΟΥ ΟΥΚ ΕΠΑΥΣΑΝΤΟ θορυβεῖν28 ΟΙ ΤΟ ΠΡΩΤΟΝ ΑΓΑΠΗΣANTEΣ29. And when, on the indictment of the principal men among us, Pilate had sentenced him to the cross, still those who before had admired him did not cease (to rave).
ἐφάνη γὰρ αὐτοῖς τρίτην ἔχων ἡμέραν πάλιν13 ζῶν For he appeared to them on (lit. 'having') the third day alive again, ΦΑΝΗναι30 ΓΑΡ ΑΥΤΟΙΣ31 ἔδοξε32 ΤΡΙΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑΝ ΕΧΩΝ33 [θανάτου ΠΑΛΙΝ]34 ΖΩΝ, For it seemed to them that having been dead 1 for three days, he had appeared to them alive again,1
τῶν θείων προφητῶν ταῦτά τε14 καὶ ἄλλα μυρία περὶ αὐτοῦ θαυμάσια15 εἰρηκότων as the divinely-inspired prophets had told — these and ten thousand other wonderful things — concerning him. ΤΩΝ ΘΕΙΩΝ ΠΡΟΦΗΤΩΝ35 ΤΑΥΤΑ ΤΕ ΚΑΙ ΑΛΛΑ ΜΥΡΙΑ ΠΕΡΙ ΑΥΤΟΥ ΘΑΥΜΑΣΙA36 ΕΙΡΗΚΟΤΩΝ37. as the divinely-in- spired prophets had foretold — these and ten thousand other wonderful things — concerning him.
εἰς ἔτι τε16 νῦν τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀπὸ τοῦδε17 ὠνομασμένων18 οὐκ ἐπέλιπε19 τὸ φῦλον. And until now the race of Christians, so named from him, is not extinct. ΕΙΣ ΕΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΝΥΝ38 ΤΩΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΙΑΝΩΝ ΑΠΟ ΤΌΥΔΕ ΩΝΟΜΑΣΜΕΝΩΝ39 ΟΥΚ ΕΠΕΛΙΠΕ40 ΤΟ ΦΥΛΟΝ41, And even now the race of those who are called 'Messianists' after him is not extinct.
    3. 4: [[sect 65]] . . . . . . . . . . 42 Lost account
[[Section 65]] Καὶ ὑπὸ τοὺς αὐτοὺς χρόνους ἕτερόν τι δεινὸν ἐθορύβει τοὺς Ἰουδαίους [[Section 65]] About the same time, also, another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder; ΚΑΙ ΥΠΟ ΤΌΥΣ ΑΥΤΟΥΣ ΧΡΟΝΟΥΣ ΕΤΕΡΟΝ ΤΙ ΔΕΙΝΟΝ ΕΘΟΡΥΒΕΙ43 ΤΟΥΣ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΟΥΣ. About the same time, also, another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder;

Pick away

DCH
DCHindley is offline  
Old 08-24-2013, 12:19 PM   #2
DCHindley
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Mondcivitan Republic
Posts: 2,550
Default J P Meier's reconstructed Testimonium

Here is the reconstruction of Josephus' Testimonium offered by John P. Meier:

Rev. John P. Meier, per A Marginal Jew vol 1 (1991) n21 The Greek text, with brackets supplied for those sections I consider Christian additions (see below), is as follows:
At this time there appeared18 Jesus, Γίνεται δὲ κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον Ἰησοῦς
a wise man, σοφὸς ἀνήρ,
[if indeed one should call him a man.] [εἴγε ἄνδρα αὐτὸν λέγειν χρή;]
For he was a doer of startling deeds, Ἦν γὰρ παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητής,
a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure.19 διδάσκαλος ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἡδονῇ τἀληθῆ δεχομένων,
And he gained a following both among many Jews and among many of Greek origin. καὶ πολλοὺς μὲν Ἰουδαίους, πολλοὺς δὲ καὶ τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ ἐπηγάγετο;
[He was the Messiah.] [Ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν.]
And when Pilate, because of an accusation made by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him previously did not cease to do so.20 καὶ αὐτὸν ἐνδείξει τῶν πρώτων ἀνδρῶν παρ᾽ ἡμῖν σταυρῷ ἐπιτετιμηκότος Πιλάτου οὐκ ἐπαύσαντο οἱ τὸ πρῶτον ἀγαπήσαντες;
[For he appeared to them on the third day, living again, [ἐφάνη γὰρ αὐτοῖς τρίτην ἔχων ἡμέραν πάλιν ζῶν
just as the divine prophets had spoken of these and countless other wondrous things about him.] τῶν θείων προφητῶν ταῦτά τε καὶ ἄλλα μυρία περὶ αὐτοῦ θαυμάσια εἰρηκότων.]
And up until this very day the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not died out.21 εἰς ἔτι τε νῦν τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀπὸ τοῦδε ὠνομασμένων οὐκ ἐπέλιπε τὸ φῦλον.
  Consult Feldman’s notes in the Loeb Library edition (pp. 48-50) for the major emendations suggested by editors. The translations in the text are my own.

Meier doesn't even attempt to imagine whether the original text might have been different, but seems to assume that the original was rather what is there now with a few added sentences.

DCH
DCHindley is offline  
Old 08-24-2013, 12:36 PM   #3
Grog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Oregon
Posts: 738
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCHindley View Post
Here is the reconstruction of Josephus' Testimonium offered by John P. Meier:

Rev. John P. Meier, per A Marginal Jew vol 1 (1991) n21 The Greek text, with brackets supplied for those sections I consider Christian additions (see below), is as follows:
At this time there appeared18 Jesus, Γίνεται δὲ κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον Ἰησοῦς
a wise man, σοφὸς ἀνήρ,
[if indeed one should call him a man.] [εἴγε ἄνδρα αὐτὸν λέγειν χρή;]
For he was a doer of startling deeds, Ἦν γὰρ παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητής,
a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure.19 διδάσκαλος ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἡδονῇ τἀληθῆ δεχομένων,
And he gained a following both among many Jews and among many of Greek origin. καὶ πολλοὺς μὲν Ἰουδαίους, πολλοὺς δὲ καὶ τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ ἐπηγάγετο;
[He was the Messiah.] [Ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν.]
And when Pilate, because of an accusation made by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him previously did not cease to do so.20 καὶ αὐτὸν ἐνδείξει τῶν πρώτων ἀνδρῶν παρ᾽ ἡμῖν σταυρῷ ἐπιτετιμηκότος Πιλάτου οὐκ ἐπαύσαντο οἱ τὸ πρῶτον ἀγαπήσαντες;
[For he appeared to them on the third day, living again, [ἐφάνη γὰρ αὐτοῖς τρίτην ἔχων ἡμέραν πάλιν ζῶν
just as the divine prophets had spoken of these and countless other wondrous things about him.] τῶν θείων προφητῶν ταῦτά τε καὶ ἄλλα μυρία περὶ αὐτοῦ θαυμάσια εἰρηκότων.]
And up until this very day the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not died out.21 εἰς ἔτι τε νῦν τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀπὸ τοῦδε ὠνομασμένων οὐκ ἐπέλιπε τὸ φῦλον.
  Consult Feldman’s notes in the Loeb Library edition (pp. 48-50) for the major emendations suggested by editors. The translations in the text are my own.

Meier doesn't even attempt to imagine whether the original text might have been different, but seems to assume that the original was rather what is there now with a few added sentences.

DCH
What would cause us to consider whether the original text might have been different than the received text?

If there was an original text different than the received text, I think problems of transmission are introduced, right? Carrier discusses this in his critique of Whealey.

Isn't the easiest solutin that there was one insertion containing the wholenTF? To me, this solution easily does away with the problems, for example the clear interruption beteween the previous and folloowing paragraohs.
Grog is offline  
Old 08-25-2013, 07:25 AM   #4
Tenorikuma
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Japan
Posts: 156
Default

I suppose they think Mormons are named after John Smith.
Tenorikuma is offline  
Old 08-25-2013, 08:27 AM   #5
DCHindley
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Mondcivitan Republic
Posts: 2,550
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCHindley View Post
Here is the reconstruction of Josephus' Testimonium offered by John P. Meier:

N/A

Meier doesn't even attempt to imagine whether the original text might have been different, but seems to assume that the original was rather what is there now with a few added sentences.

DCH
What would cause us to consider whether the original text might have been different than the received text?

If there was an original text different than the received text, I think problems of transmission are introduced, right? Carrier discusses this in his critique of Whealey.

Isn't the easiest solutin that there was one insertion containing the wholenTF? To me, this solution easily does away with the problems, for example the clear interruption beteween the previous and folloowing paragraohs.
Meier is actually quite open and forthcoming about possibilities for the TF. The following excerpts have been reformatted a bit to make the options being discussed easier to digest. I also have removed the citations of secondary literature themselves, referring the interested reader to speak up for them or check Meier's book out from the local library.
[59] If we judge this short passage about James to be authentic, we are already aided in the much more difficult judgment about the second, longer, and more disputed text in Ant. 18.3.3 §63-64. This is the so-called Testimonium Flavianum (i.e., the “testimony of Flavius Josephus”). Almost every opinion imaginable has been voiced on the authenticity or inauthenticity of this passage. Four basic positions can be distilled.13
(1) The entire account about Jesus is a Christian interpolation; Josephus simply did not mention Jesus in this section of The Antiquities.
(2) While there are signs of heavy Christian redaction, some mention of Jesus at this point in The Antiquities — perhaps a pejorative one — caused a Christian scribe to substitute his own positive account. The original wording as a whole has been lost, though some traces of what Josephus wrote may still be found.
(3) The text before us is basically what Josephus wrote; the two or three insertions by a Christian scribe are easily isolated from the clearly non-Christian core. Often, however, scholars will proceed to make some modifications in the text after the insertions are omitted.
(4) The Testimonium is entirely by Josephus.

With a few exceptions, this last position has been given up today by the scholarly community.14
The first opinion has its respectable defenders but does not seem to be the majority view.15
Most recent opinions move somewhere within the spectrum of the second and third positions.16 [p 59]

[66] Finally, a definite advantage of the position I propose [#3] is its relative [67] simplicity. Too many of the other proposals we have reviewed indulge in rewriting the Greek text, sometimes on flimsy grounds.

This holds all the more for those who would rewrite Josephus to turn his statement into a hostile attack on Jesus.53 In contrast, I have simply bracketed the clearly Christian statements, What is remarkable is that the text that remains — without the slightest alteration — flows smoothly54 coheres with Josephus’ vocabulary and style, and makes perfect sense in his mouth.

A basic rule of method is that, all things being equal, the simplest explanation that also covers the largest amount of data is to be preferred.55 Hence I submit that the most probable explanation of the Testimonium is that, shorn of the three obviously Christian affirmations, it is what Josephus wrote. [pp. 66-67]
13 As Ernst Bammel shrewdly notes ... it is not always clear whether a particular scholar judges the Testimonium spurious or whether he simply thinks that it is impossible to reconstruct the original form of what Josephus said about Jesus.

14 But see the (mostly uncritical) position of Franz Dornseiff... [who] maintains that the received Testimonium Flavianum in the Greek manuscripts of Josephus is entirely authentic, yet Josephus remained a Jew, not a Christian. [A] second article is written against Felix Scheidweiler ... who accepts a basic core as original, while suggesting that the received form may come from the circle of Paul of Samosata. A. Feuillet ... states that at least the greater part of the Testimonium is authentic; however, his comments on the individual “Christian interpolations” seem to favor authenticity of the entire text.

More recently, the authenticity of the full Testimonium has been defended by Etienne Nodet, ... His thesis labors under two difficulties:
(1) ho christos houtos ēn must be read as “he was Christ [taken purely as a proper name, not as a set title of the Messiah].” The main problem with this interpretation is the definite article ho, which makes the titular sense (“the Messiah”) the more likely interpretation, especially with the predicate nominative thrown before the copulative verb.
(2) All the other phrases that many interpreters judge to be “too Christian” are said to be simply ambiguous, and intentionally so in the mind of Josephus. The neutral tone of Josephus may indeed be purposely ambiguous or guarded; but some of the Christian phrases, especially those referring to the appearance of the living Jesus after his death and the testimony of the divine prophets, are too straightforward to be explained in this way.
The thesis is not helped by the further claim (p. 524) that Josephus carefully arranged the material in Book 18 of The Antiquities for a polemical purpose: to separate John the Baptist from Jesus and thus to deprive the Baptist of his status as the forerunner of Jesus.
In Nodet’s view, Luke responded to Josephus’ polemic in the Third Gospel and the Acts.
A great deal is made to hang from very thin threads.

For a precritical defense of total authenticity, see William Whiston, “The Testimonies of Josephus Concerning Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, and James the Just, Vindicated,” Josephus. Complete Works (Grand Rapids: Kregel, I960; 1st ed. 1737) 639-47. '

15 Representative of total rejection—in the line of A. von Harnack, F. C. Burkitt, and E. Norden—is Conzelmann ... who claims that the passage “is constructed in accord with a pattern of the Christian kerygma (and indeed the Lukan one)” ... Unfortunately, he does not go on to substantiate his claim.
One is left wondering what a short summary of Jesus’ life by a Jew at the end of the 1st century would look like instead.
Walter Pōtscher rejects Conzelmann’s claim ...
Pötscher points out the similarities between the Testimonium and “paradoxographic” authors like Apollonius, who wrote similar summaries of the careers of Epimenides and Hermotimus.
The whole Testimonium is also rejected as an interpolation by Léon Herrmann, ...; one is not reassured, however, when one discovers that both the passage on John the Baptist and the mention of James in The Antiquities are likewise declared to be interpolations (pp. 99-104).
Also in favor of a complete interpolation, though somewhat tentative in his judgment, is J. Neville Birdsall ...
Similarly, Bilde ... claims that, “at best, the text is partly genuine and most likely a thoroughly secondary Christian fabrication ...
It is wise to remember that Catholic as well as Protestant scholars were once given to total rejection of the Testimonium;
Carlo M. Martini ... reminds us that both P. Battifol and M.-J. Lagrange judged the whole inauthentic ...

Perhaps symbolic of the shift from the total skepticism of the 19th century to the yes-but approach of the 20th century was the change of opinion by the former “prince” of Josephan scholars, Thackeray.
He had earlier held that the Testimonium was a complete forgery; he later came to believe that a core of authentic material could be reconstructed by removing or reformulating Christian interpolations.
For the expression of his later view, see his “Josephus and Christianity,” 125-53. One regrets that, under the heady influence of the contemporary work of Eisler, Thackeray adopted some emendations on the basis of the Slavonic Josephus, leaning in the direction of Eisler’s [depiction of] Jesus the Political Rebel. Nevertheless, Thackeray does not accept Eisler’s views in toto, and Feldman indicates that Thackeray recanted his pro-Eisler views before his death (Josephus and Modem Scholarship, 52).
For another expression of the shift from complete skepticism to partial acceptance, see F. J. Foakes Jackson, [who offers a] curious view on why Josephus might have inserted the Testimonium into The Antiquities.
Granted the notable swing away from total skepticism, it is surprising to read the claim of Michael J. Cook: “The overwhelming consensus among scholars today ... is that Josephus’ celebrated testimony about Jesus is spurious” ... [although] Cook may be including judgments of partial inauthenticity in his sweeping statement.

16 In his review of the literature, Feldman ... says flatly: “. . . the great majority of modern scholars have regarded it [the Testimonium] as partly interpolated, and this is my conclusion as well.”
C. Martin ... is likewise of the opinion that scholars increasingly favor the judgment of partial interpolation ...
Some critics hold to the view that some parts of the Testimonium come from Josephus and other parts from an interpolator, but consider any attempt to reconstruct the genuine text as sheer speculation; so Zvi Baras ...
For the view that originally the Testimonium contained a hostile reference to Jesus that can no longer be reconstructed, see Clyde Pharr ...
For the view that the Testimonium originally made some unfavorable mention of Jesus at this point in The Antiquities, and that we can at least attempt a reconstruction, see Bammel ...

53 For example, by changing sophos anēr to sophistes (used of leaders of factions Josephus dislikes) or talēthē to taēthē (the unusual, the abnormal, the bizarre) see Eisler ...; [see also] S. G. F. Brandon ... [and] similarly, Smith ...; Pōtscher, ...

Baras (“The Testimonium Flavianum and the Martyrdom of James," 340) correctly observes that if the original text of the Testimonium had been derogatory or ironic, it would have called forth a strong denunciation from Origen. Hence I am also very skeptical of the theory that originally the Testimonium had a derogatory reference to Jesus’ virginal conception;
for such a position, which in my view fails for lack of any direct evidence, see Pharr ...
For an attempt to bolster Pharr’s suggestion by appealing to the 4th-century pseudo-Hegesippus (and even this demands reading into the evidence), see Albert A. Bell, Jr ...

Bammel (“Zum Testimonium Flavianum,” 20-22) thinks that the Testimonium originally expressed a negative view of Christians (less so of Christ), but that good method demands that the modern scholar keep conjectural emendations to a minimum. However, his own corrections (apatēthentes or autous apatōntes for agapisantes, apēgageto for epēgageto, the omission of ēn after ho christos houtos, and the insertion of phaskontes hoti) are based on tenuous arguments, and even they are much more complicated than the simple procedure of bracketing the three obviously Christian statements.

54 I have purposely not spent any time on the objection that the Testimonium breaks the thread of the narrative in Book 18; if one is interested in such a line of argumentation, one should see Thackeray ... here, in my view, he is much too dependent on Eisler.
Perhaps the best insight in Thackeray’s whole explanation is the simple observation: “Josephus was a patchwork writer” (p. 141),
Cohen is blunter: “We have emphasized another aspect of Josephus’ work: his inveterate sloppiness. Texts suitable for tendentious revision as well as passages which contradict his motives are sometimes left untouched. The narrative is frequently confused, obscure, and contradictory” ...
In the present case, one wonders whether any greater link need exist for Josephus than the fact that the account of Jesus (who is crucified by Pilate) is preceded by a story about Pilate in which many Jews are killed (Ant. 18.3.2 §60-62) and is followed by a story in which tricksters are punished by crucifixion (Ant. 18.3.4 §65-80).
Hence I think the lengthy attempt of Bammel ... to explain the connections with what precedes and follows the Testimonium is beside the point.
For a detailed refutation of Norden’s claim that the Testimonium supposedly disrupts the narrative flow and thematic unity of the larger context, see Martin ...

55 As Thackeray observes, in view of the pervasive Josephan vocabulary and style, “alterations should be reduced to a minimum” ... In my view, Thackeray himself undertook too many alterations.
Meier, who on one hand I love because his endnotes are about three times as long as the chapter itself, on the other hand has this unfortunate habit of always finally deciding on a non-controversial explanation that miraculously preserves all tenets of Christian faith.

DCH
DCHindley is offline  
Old 08-25-2013, 05:51 PM   #6
Grog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Oregon
Posts: 738
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCHindley View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog View Post

What would cause us to consider whether the original text might have been different than the received text?

If there was an original text different than the received text, I think problems of transmission are introduced, right? Carrier discusses this in his critique of Whealey.

Isn't the easiest solutin that there was one insertion containing the wholenTF? To me, this solution easily does away with the problems, for example the clear interruption beteween the previous and folloowing paragraohs.
Meier is actually quite open and forthcoming about possibilities for the TF. The following excerpts have been reformatted a bit to make the options being discussed easier to digest. I also have removed the citations of secondary literature themselves, referring the interested reader to speak up for them or check Meier's book out from the local library.
[59] If we judge this short passage about James to be authentic, we are already aided in the much more difficult judgment about the second, longer, and more disputed text in Ant. 18.3.3 §63-64. This is the so-called Testimonium Flavianum (i.e., the “testimony of Flavius Josephus”). Almost every opinion imaginable has been voiced on the authenticity or inauthenticity of this passage. Four basic positions can be distilled.13
(1) The entire account about Jesus is a Christian interpolation; Josephus simply did not mention Jesus in this section of The Antiquities.
(2) While there are signs of heavy Christian redaction, some mention of Jesus at this point in The Antiquities — perhaps a pejorative one — caused a Christian scribe to substitute his own positive account. The original wording as a whole has been lost, though some traces of what Josephus wrote may still be found.
(3) The text before us is basically what Josephus wrote; the two or three insertions by a Christian scribe are easily isolated from the clearly non-Christian core. Often, however, scholars will proceed to make some modifications in the text after the insertions are omitted.
(4) The Testimonium is entirely by Josephus.

With a few exceptions, this last position has been given up today by the scholarly community.14
The first opinion has its respectable defenders but does not seem to be the majority view.15
Most recent opinions move somewhere within the spectrum of the second and third positions.16 [p 59]

[66] Finally, a definite advantage of the position I propose [#3] is its relative [67] simplicity. Too many of the other proposals we have reviewed indulge in rewriting the Greek text, sometimes on flimsy grounds.

This holds all the more for those who would rewrite Josephus to turn his statement into a hostile attack on Jesus.53 In contrast, I have simply bracketed the clearly Christian statements, What is remarkable is that the text that remains — without the slightest alteration — flows smoothly54 coheres with Josephus’ vocabulary and style, and makes perfect sense in his mouth.

A basic rule of method is that, all things being equal, the simplest explanation that also covers the largest amount of data is to be preferred.55 Hence I submit that the most probable explanation of the Testimonium is that, shorn of the three obviously Christian affirmations, it is what Josephus wrote. [pp. 66-67]
13 As Ernst Bammel shrewdly notes ... it is not always clear whether a particular scholar judges the Testimonium spurious or whether he simply thinks that it is impossible to reconstruct the original form of what Josephus said about Jesus.

14 But see the (mostly uncritical) position of Franz Dornseiff... [who] maintains that the received Testimonium Flavianum in the Greek manuscripts of Josephus is entirely authentic, yet Josephus remained a Jew, not a Christian. [A] second article is written against Felix Scheidweiler ... who accepts a basic core as original, while suggesting that the received form may come from the circle of Paul of Samosata. A. Feuillet ... states that at least the greater part of the Testimonium is authentic; however, his comments on the individual “Christian interpolations” seem to favor authenticity of the entire text.

More recently, the authenticity of the full Testimonium has been defended by Etienne Nodet, ... His thesis labors under two difficulties:
(1) ho christos houtos ēn must be read as “he was Christ [taken purely as a proper name, not as a set title of the Messiah].” The main problem with this interpretation is the definite article ho, which makes the titular sense (“the Messiah”) the more likely interpretation, especially with the predicate nominative thrown before the copulative verb.
(2) All the other phrases that many interpreters judge to be “too Christian” are said to be simply ambiguous, and intentionally so in the mind of Josephus. The neutral tone of Josephus may indeed be purposely ambiguous or guarded; but some of the Christian phrases, especially those referring to the appearance of the living Jesus after his death and the testimony of the divine prophets, are too straightforward to be explained in this way.
The thesis is not helped by the further claim (p. 524) that Josephus carefully arranged the material in Book 18 of The Antiquities for a polemical purpose: to separate John the Baptist from Jesus and thus to deprive the Baptist of his status as the forerunner of Jesus.
In Nodet’s view, Luke responded to Josephus’ polemic in the Third Gospel and the Acts.
A great deal is made to hang from very thin threads.

For a precritical defense of total authenticity, see William Whiston, “The Testimonies of Josephus Concerning Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, and James the Just, Vindicated,” Josephus. Complete Works (Grand Rapids: Kregel, I960; 1st ed. 1737) 639-47. '

15 Representative of total rejection—in the line of A. von Harnack, F. C. Burkitt, and E. Norden—is Conzelmann ... who claims that the passage “is constructed in accord with a pattern of the Christian kerygma (and indeed the Lukan one)” ... Unfortunately, he does not go on to substantiate his claim.
One is left wondering what a short summary of Jesus’ life by a Jew at the end of the 1st century would look like instead.
Walter Pōtscher rejects Conzelmann’s claim ...
Pötscher points out the similarities between the Testimonium and “paradoxographic” authors like Apollonius, who wrote similar summaries of the careers of Epimenides and Hermotimus.
The whole Testimonium is also rejected as an interpolation by Léon Herrmann, ...; one is not reassured, however, when one discovers that both the passage on John the Baptist and the mention of James in The Antiquities are likewise declared to be interpolations (pp. 99-104).
Also in favor of a complete interpolation, though somewhat tentative in his judgment, is J. Neville Birdsall ...
Similarly, Bilde ... claims that, “at best, the text is partly genuine and most likely a thoroughly secondary Christian fabrication ...
It is wise to remember that Catholic as well as Protestant scholars were once given to total rejection of the Testimonium;
Carlo M. Martini ... reminds us that both P. Battifol and M.-J. Lagrange judged the whole inauthentic ...

Perhaps symbolic of the shift from the total skepticism of the 19th century to the yes-but approach of the 20th century was the change of opinion by the former “prince” of Josephan scholars, Thackeray.
He had earlier held that the Testimonium was a complete forgery; he later came to believe that a core of authentic material could be reconstructed by removing or reformulating Christian interpolations.
For the expression of his later view, see his “Josephus and Christianity,” 125-53. One regrets that, under the heady influence of the contemporary work of Eisler, Thackeray adopted some emendations on the basis of the Slavonic Josephus, leaning in the direction of Eisler’s [depiction of] Jesus the Political Rebel. Nevertheless, Thackeray does not accept Eisler’s views in toto, and Feldman indicates that Thackeray recanted his pro-Eisler views before his death (Josephus and Modem Scholarship, 52).
For another expression of the shift from complete skepticism to partial acceptance, see F. J. Foakes Jackson, [who offers a] curious view on why Josephus might have inserted the Testimonium into The Antiquities.
Granted the notable swing away from total skepticism, it is surprising to read the claim of Michael J. Cook: “The overwhelming consensus among scholars today ... is that Josephus’ celebrated testimony about Jesus is spurious” ... [although] Cook may be including judgments of partial inauthenticity in his sweeping statement.

16 In his review of the literature, Feldman ... says flatly: “. . . the great majority of modern scholars have regarded it [the Testimonium] as partly interpolated, and this is my conclusion as well.”
C. Martin ... is likewise of the opinion that scholars increasingly favor the judgment of partial interpolation ...
Some critics hold to the view that some parts of the Testimonium come from Josephus and other parts from an interpolator, but consider any attempt to reconstruct the genuine text as sheer speculation; so Zvi Baras ...
For the view that originally the Testimonium contained a hostile reference to Jesus that can no longer be reconstructed, see Clyde Pharr ...
For the view that the Testimonium originally made some unfavorable mention of Jesus at this point in The Antiquities, and that we can at least attempt a reconstruction, see Bammel ...

53 For example, by changing sophos anēr to sophistes (used of leaders of factions Josephus dislikes) or talēthē to taēthē (the unusual, the abnormal, the bizarre) see Eisler ...; [see also] S. G. F. Brandon ... [and] similarly, Smith ...; Pōtscher, ...

Baras (“The Testimonium Flavianum and the Martyrdom of James," 340) correctly observes that if the original text of the Testimonium had been derogatory or ironic, it would have called forth a strong denunciation from Origen. Hence I am also very skeptical of the theory that originally the Testimonium had a derogatory reference to Jesus’ virginal conception;
for such a position, which in my view fails for lack of any direct evidence, see Pharr ...
For an attempt to bolster Pharr’s suggestion by appealing to the 4th-century pseudo-Hegesippus (and even this demands reading into the evidence), see Albert A. Bell, Jr ...

Bammel (“Zum Testimonium Flavianum,” 20-22) thinks that the Testimonium originally expressed a negative view of Christians (less so of Christ), but that good method demands that the modern scholar keep conjectural emendations to a minimum. However, his own corrections (apatēthentes or autous apatōntes for agapisantes, apēgageto for epēgageto, the omission of ēn after ho christos houtos, and the insertion of phaskontes hoti) are based on tenuous arguments, and even they are much more complicated than the simple procedure of bracketing the three obviously Christian statements.

54 I have purposely not spent any time on the objection that the Testimonium breaks the thread of the narrative in Book 18; if one is interested in such a line of argumentation, one should see Thackeray ... here, in my view, he is much too dependent on Eisler.
Perhaps the best insight in Thackeray’s whole explanation is the simple observation: “Josephus was a patchwork writer” (p. 141),
Cohen is blunter: “We have emphasized another aspect of Josephus’ work: his inveterate sloppiness. Texts suitable for tendentious revision as well as passages which contradict his motives are sometimes left untouched. The narrative is frequently confused, obscure, and contradictory” ...
In the present case, one wonders whether any greater link need exist for Josephus than the fact that the account of Jesus (who is crucified by Pilate) is preceded by a story about Pilate in which many Jews are killed (Ant. 18.3.2 §60-62) and is followed by a story in which tricksters are punished by crucifixion (Ant. 18.3.4 §65-80).
Hence I think the lengthy attempt of Bammel ... to explain the connections with what precedes and follows the Testimonium is beside the point.
For a detailed refutation of Norden’s claim that the Testimonium supposedly disrupts the narrative flow and thematic unity of the larger context, see Martin ...

55 As Thackeray observes, in view of the pervasive Josephan vocabulary and style, “alterations should be reduced to a minimum” ... In my view, Thackeray himself undertook too many alterations.
Meier, who on one hand I love because his endnotes are about three times as long as the chapter itself, on the other hand has this unfortunate habit of always finally deciding on a non-controversial explanation that miraculously preserves all tenets of Christian faith.

DCH
I think it is precisely Norden's rebuttal here that has not been answered. I don't have access to that, however, and have only read it described, not the original argument.

Also, while the association of Josephus' perceived "sloppiness" with this being an example of his "patchwork" style is often asserted, but I haven't seen a strong demonstration of it. Does Josephus digress? Did he write in a period before footnotes? Yes, of course, to both of those. However, I find it typical in Josephus that when he does digress he provides indicator to his reader that he has done so or that he is going to do so. He provides road signs. In both the case of the TF and the case of the John the Baptist passage, he does not do so. Here we have two passages, both supportive more or less of the Christian story, and both are clean breaks from what precedes and what follows. That's two for two.

The evidence does not add up on the side of any part of the TF being original to Josephus.
Grog is offline  
Old 08-25-2013, 07:51 PM   #7
spin
Contributor
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: nowhere
Posts: 15,747
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog View Post
while the association of Josephus' perceived "sloppiness" with this being an example of his "patchwork" style is often asserted, but I haven't seen a strong demonstration of it. Does Josephus digress? Did he write in a period before footnotes? Yes, of course, to both of those. However, I find it typical in Josephus that when he does digress he provides indicator to his reader that he has done so or that he is going to do so. He provides road signs. In both the case of the TF and the case of the John the Baptist passage, he does not do so. Here we have two passages, both supportive more or less of the Christian story, and both are clean breaks from what precedes and what follows. That's two for two.
I think it's one out of two. Yes, we get digressions and sign posts.

In the case of the TF the linkage to what comes before is the most generic possible: "About this time..." (18.63). That would allow the passage to be inserted almost anywhere. Compare that with 18.65, "About this time another [= other of two] outrage threw the Jews into an uproar...". This time marks a second terrible problem for the Jews and where was the first terrible problem? 18.55-62 with Pilate dipping into the temple treasury to fund an aqueduct. The quaint little christian testimony of 18.63-64 unhooks the second outrage narrative from the first and has nothing to do with Jewish outrages at all.

The second outrage is delayed in the text, signaled in 18:65 but held up until 18.81. Yet Josephus is clear in 18.65, "I shall first give... and shall come back to the fate of the Jews...", always keeping in mind the theme.

As a matter of discourse analysis the TF simply doesn't fit because it is unrelated in subject matter and it interrupts a complex linkage of signposts used by Josephus to let the reader know what he intends to talk about. They hold his narrative together... at least, they did until the TF interrupted the flow of the narrative.

When we come to the passage about John the Baptist (18.116-119), it certainly interrupts the chronology of the narrative, but the signposting is typical of the author, specifically relating the passage with what came before, "But to some of the Jews the destruction of Herod's army seemed to be divine vengeance..." and finishes just as specifically, "yet the verdict of the Jews was that the destruction visited upon Herod's army was a vindication of John, since god saw fit to inflict such a blow to Herod."

At the same time, while the TF was a nugget of christian material, the John passage did not reflect gospel ideas at all. There seems to be good reason to consider the TF as a candidate for christian production, but it doesn't seem to be the case with the John passage.
spin is offline  
Old 08-25-2013, 09:33 PM   #8
Grog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Oregon
Posts: 738
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by spin View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog View Post
while the association of Josephus' perceived "sloppiness" with this being an example of his "patchwork" style is often asserted, but I haven't seen a strong demonstration of it. Does Josephus digress? Did he write in a period before footnotes? Yes, of course, to both of those. However, I find it typical in Josephus that when he does digress he provides indicator to his reader that he has done so or that he is going to do so. He provides road signs. In both the case of the TF and the case of the John the Baptist passage, he does not do so. Here we have two passages, both supportive more or less of the Christian story, and both are clean breaks from what precedes and what follows. That's two for two.
I think it's one out of two. Yes, we get digressions and sign posts.

In the case of the TF the linkage to what comes before is the most generic possible: "About this time..." (18.63). That would allow the passage to be inserted almost anywhere. Compare that with 18.65, "About this time another [= other of two] outrage threw the Jews into an uproar...". This time marks a second terrible problem for the Jews and where was the first terrible problem? 18.55-62 with Pilate dipping into the temple treasury to fund an aqueduct. The quaint little christian testimony of 18.63-64 unhooks the second outrage narrative from the first and has nothing to do with Jewish outrages at all.

The second outrage is delayed in the text, signaled in 18:65 but held up until 18.81. Yet Josephus is clear in 18.65, "I shall first give... and shall come back to the fate of the Jews...", always keeping in mind the theme.

As a matter of discourse analysis the TF simply doesn't fit because it is unrelated in subject matter and it interrupts a complex linkage of signposts used by Josephus to let the reader know what he intends to talk about. They hold his narrative together... at least, they did until the TF interrupted the flow of the narrative.

When we come to the passage about John the Baptist (18.116-119), it certainly interrupts the chronology of the narrative, but the signposting is typical of the author, specifically relating the passage with what came before, "But to some of the Jews the destruction of Herod's army seemed to be divine vengeance..." and finishes just as specifically, "yet the verdict of the Jews was that the destruction visited upon Herod's army was a vindication of John, since god saw fit to inflict such a blow to Herod."

At the same time, while the TF was a nugget of christian material, the John passage did not reflect gospel ideas at all. There seems to be good reason to consider the TF as a candidate for christian production, but it doesn't seem to be the case with the John passage.
I agree that there seems to be less motive to create the John the Baptist passage. I also agree that internally there is more to connect the passage. But that could have just been a more clever attempt to massage the passage in. I certainly think the case of the TF interpolation is much more secure, but my reading of this passage goes like this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josephus18
.. So Herod wrote about these affairs to Tiberius, who being very angry at the attempt made by Aretas, wrote to Vitellius to make war upon him, and either to take him alive, and bring him to him in bonds, or to kill him, and send him his head. This was the charge that Tiberius gave to the president of Syria.

(John the Baptist paragraph)

So Vitellius prepared to make war with Aretas, having with him two legions of armed men; he also took with him all those of light armature, and of the horsemen which belonged to them, and were drawn out of those kingdoms which were under the Romans, and made haste for Petra, and came to Ptolemais.
Read this without John the Baptist. It is a clean, clear progression. There is no indication in the passage that follows that Josephus ever strayed. "This was the charge that Tiberius gave to the president of Syria. So Vitellius prepared to make war with Aretas..."

"So" follows "This was the charge...," and has nothing to do with the John the Baptist passage.
Grog is offline  
Old 08-25-2013, 11:36 PM   #9
Vorkosigan
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Barrayar
Posts: 11,866
Default

Grog, the awesome Roger Viklund summarizes some of Norden's arguments here:

http://rogerviklund.wordpress.com/20...it-in-context/
Vorkosigan is offline  
Old 08-26-2013, 02:24 AM   #10
spin
Contributor
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: nowhere
Posts: 15,747
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by spin View Post
I think it's one out of two. Yes, we get digressions and sign posts.

In the case of the TF the linkage to what comes before is the most generic possible: "About this time..." (18.63). That would allow the passage to be inserted almost anywhere. Compare that with 18.65, "About this time another [= other of two] outrage threw the Jews into an uproar...". This time marks a second terrible problem for the Jews and where was the first terrible problem? 18.55-62 with Pilate dipping into the temple treasury to fund an aqueduct. The quaint little christian testimony of 18.63-64 unhooks the second outrage narrative from the first and has nothing to do with Jewish outrages at all.

The second outrage is delayed in the text, signaled in 18:65 but held up until 18.81. Yet Josephus is clear in 18.65, "I shall first give... and shall come back to the fate of the Jews...", always keeping in mind the theme.

As a matter of discourse analysis the TF simply doesn't fit because it is unrelated in subject matter and it interrupts a complex linkage of signposts used by Josephus to let the reader know what he intends to talk about. They hold his narrative together... at least, they did until the TF interrupted the flow of the narrative.

When we come to the passage about John the Baptist (18.116-119), it certainly interrupts the chronology of the narrative, but the signposting is typical of the author, specifically relating the passage with what came before, "But to some of the Jews the destruction of Herod's army seemed to be divine vengeance..." and finishes just as specifically, "yet the verdict of the Jews was that the destruction visited upon Herod's army was a vindication of John, since god saw fit to inflict such a blow to Herod."

At the same time, while the TF was a nugget of christian material, the John passage did not reflect gospel ideas at all. There seems to be good reason to consider the TF as a candidate for christian production, but it doesn't seem to be the case with the John passage.
I agree that there seems to be less motive to create the John the Baptist passage. I also agree that internally there is more to connect the passage. But that could have just been a more clever attempt to massage the passage in.
Here's the problem: when the attempt is just cleverer than the ones you find convincingly failed attempts, you stop having any tangible indication that there is a case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog View Post
I certainly think the case of the TF interpolation is much more secure, but my reading of this passage goes like this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josephus18
.. So Herod wrote about these affairs to Tiberius, who being very angry at the attempt made by Aretas, wrote to Vitellius to make war upon him, and either to take him alive, and bring him to him in bonds, or to kill him, and send him his head. This was the charge that Tiberius gave to the president of Syria.

(John the Baptist paragraph)

So Vitellius prepared to make war with Aretas, having with him two legions of armed men; he also took with him all those of light armature, and of the horsemen which belonged to them, and were drawn out of those kingdoms which were under the Romans, and made haste for Petra, and came to Ptolemais.
Read this without John the Baptist. It is a clean, clear progression. There is no indication in the passage that follows that Josephus ever strayed. "This was the charge that Tiberius gave to the president of Syria. So Vitellius prepared to make war with Aretas..."

"So" follows "This was the charge...," and has nothing to do with the John the Baptist passage.
There is no "so" in the Greek text. In fact, looking into the Greek we find a different indicator, that is often left untranslated, δε.
Vitellius δε got himself ready for war...
The normal place for δε is the second element in the clause. It has a number of conjunctive uses, but one seems most relevant here according to L&S, see II.2
to resume after an interruption or parenthesis
which is what is to be expected if the narrative is interrupted by the John detail. There would be no need for the δε had there been no interruption. I don't think there is anything supporting an insertion of the John material.
spin is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:44 AM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.