Sunday, June 13, 2010

Marcus Julius Agrippa, the Messiah of Daniel and the Yosippon

I have noted that is likely that 'Marcion of Pontus' was from an original identification of him as 'Marcion of the Sea.'  I have also argued that ALL of the 'Marks' in the first and second century period go back to the historical figure Marcus Julius Agrippa, the last king of Israel.   I would like the reader to take note that Agrippa is implicitly identified as a naukleros at the end of his long speech in various texts of Josephus. I will cite the Hebrew Yosippon material sent to me by the world's leading expert on this text Professor Steve Bowman of the University of Cincinnati who sent me an early draft of the last paragraph of Agrippa's speech in ch. 60 of Flusser's edition.

And Agripas continued to speak many more words, which we have not written here. And again Agripas spoke, saying: "It is good for you, my friends, it is good for you as long as a ship stands in the harbor to protect your lives from the storm, for, when the ship enters the current of the sea, one cannot be protected against the tempest from the current of the sea or the waves in the current, for there is no haven to rest save tempests and fear of death." And he said: "Set in your heart love of your land and love of your sons and your wives and place in your heart love of your sanctuary and love of your priests and have pity upon them lest you destroy everything through your action, so pay attention to my words for I have spoken in your ears the salvation of your souls: the peace which I have chosen for myself with the Romans I have told you. If you listen and make peace, I am together with you, but if you choose war, you are alone by yourselves; if for peace you and I are together but if for war, without me."

The Yosippon has long been acknowledged to be a development or related to the Latin text of Pseudo-Hegesippus (4th century) which renders the same material as follows:

It is well, dearest ones, it is well, while the ship is still in port, to foresee the future storm, and that anyone not throw himself into threatening dangers, lest, when you have proceeded into the deep, already your are not able to avoid the shipwreck. And frequently certainly a sudden storm arises, and war follows, even though it is not inflicted; but it is better to attack an enemy that to ward him off. Not provoked he spares more, and necessity excuses insolence, when truly anyone plunges himself into abrupt danger, he is burdened with disgrace. He is not an enemy whom you are able to avoid by flight. Wherever you will go, danger follows, indeed you will surely find it. For all are friends of the Romans, and whoever is outside the friendship of the Romans is an enemy of everyone. May love of your country move you. If consideration of your hostages, of your wives does not call you back, let contemplation of the most sacred temple recall you, spare at least our religion, spare the consecrated priests, whom the Romans will not spare nor the temple itself, who regret that they spared them, inasmuch as for a long time all the nations wish to destroy our religion, Pompeius however spared it although he could have destroyed it. I have omitted nothing, I have warned of everything which pertains to our safety. I recommend to you what I choose for myself, you consider closely what is advantageous for yourselves. I wish for there to be peace with the Romans for you and me. If you reject it, you yourselves take away my association. Either there will be common good fortune, or peril without me."

In either case we have a reference to the same historical context - Mark is addressing the Jews and warning them that if they do not heed his words 'his association' with them will be 'cut off.' The narrative then ends with the narrator telling us that "saying this he wept, Beronice his sister also, for she herself was in the heights of Xystus."

Agrippa's self-reference to himself as a naukrleros is found in all surviving manuscripts of Josephus. The point is clearly that Agrippa is the 'ship' or the 'shipmaster' who is metaphorically 'still in the harbor' insofar as he is standing in front of the Jews making an appeal to them. Once the Jews reject him, the ship and the naukleros as the analogy goes, also leaves the harbor leading them to drown in the turbulent sea of their own designs. It is a messianic metaphor as I will show shortly.

I can't believe that people keep coming back to Josephus as if we are dealing with a factual account of the events of the Jewish War. Justus of Tiberias's parallel history of the war clearly demonstrated how fictitious most of Josephus's surviving material is. The reader should become aware once told that the entire 'history' is a development from Daniel's prophesy of the destruction of the temple after seventy sabbatical years.

It cannot be coincidence that Agrippa is identified as the messiah (Dan 9:26) in this same prophesy. It all develops out of a pseudo-historical treatment which is connected with the manufacture of the gospel by Mark too.

Note that Agrippa clearly declares in this speech that if he is rejected by the Jews he will in effect by 'cut off' from them. 'Cut off' in the original Hebrew of Daniel is yikkaret.

ואינו He is not there.
ואין לו He disappears, he has disappeared.

Daniel has the second expression, not the first. The point is that what is represented here is the exact English equivalent of the Hebrew. I put both down for comparison.

The first expression is used of Enoch. “He walked with the angels (ha-Elohim). And he was not (he was not there any more); for God (Elohim) took him (had taken him)”. In Biblical Hebrew ואיננו (ve-enénnu) is the equivalent of ואינו (ve-enó).

The distinction is like this. The first means he she or it does not exist or does not exist any more. Of a person, it could mean he has died, but only if something is added. In the case of Enoch it means he was transported (to Heaven, not to America). If said of an empire, it would mean it no longer exists. The second means he is no longer present, he has vanished, he is off the scene. It does not mean he has died. His whereabouts might be well known, but he is not HERE or ACTING IN THIS CONTEXT.

The verb yikkaret does not mean he will die. Everyone says it does, but it does not. If the context allows AND DEMANDS IT, it can mean he will be killed, as the Peshitta translates it. But the meaning without preconceptions is that he will stop acting in his function. THIS VERB IS NOT NORMALLY USED OF PEOPLE. It is used of dynasties, for example. Its use in relation to a person is not normal. It is JARRING. The meaning can only be that he stops acting as Anointed Leader. The sentence says (over-translating) “The OFFICE of Anointed Leader will terminate. He will disappear from the scene”.

I’m not fully satisfied with this but it will do for the moment.

A bit more. There is one common use of the Biblical Hebrew narrative future of KRT in the feminine passive (ve-nichreta ונכרתה) in reference to a person. I am sure that someone will raise this as an objection, so here is the answer. In several places in the Torah, it says that if a soul (nefesh, feminine) does some defined thing or does not do some defined thing, that soul “will be cut off” from its (her) people. Rabbinic exegesis on the superficial level says this means death before the age of fifty. (This is why in John it is objected by someone that Jesus is not yet fifty. He has not ye proven his genuineness).

If you look more carefully, what is meant is that death before that age can be a sign of this having happened, but not everyone in this category dies before fifty and not everyone that dies before fifty is in this category. The Rabbinic Hebrew noun is karet. Look this up in Jastrow. The meaning of karet is separation of the individual soul from its group identification. Note carefully that it does not in itself mean death. It means the end of adhesion of the individual soul to the group, and the ending of its share in the salvation of the group. The most salient offence [sic] causing karet is not to keep the Sabbath, but there are others.

Otherwise, KRT refers to the end of a dynasty.

Oversimplifying, ve-enó means he no longer exists or is no longer on this earth or at least no-one knows if he is still on this earth. Like when some intelligence official says they knew exactly what had become of Bin Laden. Reliable intelligence informed that he was alive in Afghanistan, or otherwise was dead in Afghanistan or was alive in some other country.

On the other hand, ve-en lo means he vanishes rather than disappears. His whereabouts might be still be well known and he might still be active. So Daniel says (paraphrasing): (a) “The office of Anointed Leader will be terminated (like the termination of a dynasty). There is no longer any office of Anointed Leader”; OR (b) “The individual Anointed Leader will be separated off (from “the Jews” in the sense the expression has in the NT). He won’t be there doing the job (though he will be alive and well as king, and he MIGHT EVEN STILL BE ANOINTED LEADER, but “the Jews” have no share in it)”. I will see what the Yosippon has as the wording in Agrippa’s speech.

If the final editing of Daniel was before the time of Agrippa, then the first meaning was intended. Agrippa interpreted the words in the second meaning. This is important. We don’t have to say the final editing of Daniel was in the time of Agrippa. This gets rid of a difficulty.

So let's get back to the Yosippon and the understanding of Agrippa as the messiah connected with the destruction of the temple. According to Flusser, there is an original text and later additions. “Later” means “added later”, but not necessarily later in origin, as far as I can make out, though I haven’t read the introduction in detail yet.

The Temple was destroyed in the last year of Agrippa II on the 9th Av but Agrippa and Monobaz were executed by Vespasian, who was deceived by wicked persons into thinking Agrippa and Monobaz were plotting against him. This was 1,290 days before the destruction of the Temple. The Tamid offering ended three and a half years before the destruction. (This must mean Agrippa and Monobaz were executed a week after the Tamid ended). The two events are implicitly related to each other and both are explicitly connected to Daniel IX.

Another later addition. Josephus speaking in the first person expresses his satisfaction at finding favour with Vespasian as soon as Agrippa and Monobaz were executed. (He doesn’t say anything about the truth or falsehood of the charges against them, only that Vespasian believed the charges and this was useful to him. [Bastard!].

Notice that in the previous insertion the evidence is explicitly said to be deliberate slander by wicked persons. The first insertion and the second must have different origins.

It’s hard to tell from the wording in the Yosippon whether the Abomination of Desolation is to be dated to the death of Agrippa or to just before the destruction of the Temple. The only grounds for my choice of the second possibility as more probable is that the reference in the “Little Apocalypse” in Mark and Matthew is to some object set up in the sanctuary. I will sort this out later.

Whichever reading is right, the Yosippon is emphatic that the erection or appearance of the Abomination is the direct consequence of the execution of Agrippa on false evidence. The Abomination and Agrippa are inseparable, according to this text.

I’m trying to work out precisely which offering the Yosippon refers to as having ended a week exactly after the judicial murder of Agrippa. The Rabbinic texts always say it was the Tamid, the daily offering, but the word in the Yosippon is more specific, “Minh.a” מנחה, which is an offering of flour with olive oil kneaded through it. Either way, if the precise form was the Sabbath offering, which was slightly more elaborate, and Agrippa was executed on a Sabbath, then the nefarious consequences would have come about immediately, but again would only have been evident a week later, on the next Sabbath.

So here is my proposed solution to the contradictions. First, p. 398 of the Yosippon (Venice ed. ch. XCII), which interprets the Anointed in Daniel IX: 26 as the Anointed High Priest. The speaker is said to be Josephus. Second, p. 450 (in an appendix; Venice ed. ch. LXXVII) which seems to identify the Anointed Leader in v. 25 with the Anointed in v. 26, and sets the execution of Agrippa and Monobaz three and a half years before the destruction and one week before the end of the Tamid. The speaker is the anonymous author of the whole book. Third, p. 296 (Venice ed. ch. LXV), which speaks of the destruction of the Temple in the twentieth and last year of Agrippa. The speaker is again the anonymous author. We could suppose multiple sources. (a) One passage is not in the recension edited by Flusser. This might mean it is an insertion, but it might mean it was removed as being too explicit in its interpretation of Daniel. It could have been removed by whoever wrote the passage attributed to Josephus on p. 398. (b) The passage on p. 398, by Josephus, identifying the Anointed with the High Priest doesn’t seem to be lifted from Sa’adya: it’s too well integrated. It does, however, contradict the otherwise unanimous Jewish tradition. Also, it is artificial, as can be seen if you read vv. 25 and 26 together. I therefore take it to be an invention intended to hide the traditional interpretation. Sa’adya uses it to deny that Jesus is mentioned in Daniel. I think its original purpose could have been to deny that Jesus was the High Priest of the new order. (c) The passage on p. 296 is integral to the chronological scheme in its context of a list of kings; but the passage on p. 450 fits better in the book as a whole and is part of a long cohesive passage on the disastrous folly and misanthropy of the Jews, and goes well the long speech by Agrippa (ten pages of print!) starting on p. 277, which warns the Jews against these traits of theirs.

I conclude that the passage on p. 450 is ancient and probably (though not certainly) an original part of the book. The passage on p. 296 is probably original to the book and can be attributed to the use of irreconcilable data, or better, to simplification in one place for the purpose of the list of kings. The passage on p. 398 could be old, but it doesn’t fit well into the book. If it is original to the book, it shows the use of irreconcilable data. The avoidance of any mention of Agrippa would actually fit the historical Josephus.

I conclude that the Yosippon is a condensation of Justus with a condensation of Josephus, the two joined by some re-writing. On top of this there are some borrowings from otherwise unknown sources. I think the passage on p. 450 and the long narrative context is so much incompatible with the Greek Josephus that it must be from Justin. Note that this passage is immediately followed by an alternative narrative attributed to Josephus which is utterly irreconcilable with it.

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