Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another Example of the Paradigm of Saul Governing 'the Law of the Jews' in an Earlier Section of Pseudo-Hegesippus

I only discovered the 'key' to make sense of the second century origin of Jewish War in our systematic section by section comparison of Pseudo-Hegesippus. It was revealed then that a critical section was removed or changed in our received text of Jewish War where the forty Jews 'remind' Josephus that 'the law of the Jews' and the command of the god of the Hebrew is for Jews to follow the para-suicidal example of their king Saul (1 Sam 31). We have noted that once this speech is reintegrated into the narrative the whole text betrays its fabulous origins. It is not history, it is a second century warning against Jewish extremism developed from Josephus's lost account of the first revolt against Rome.

We continued to find examples exhibiting the contemporary Jewish interest in para-suicidal activity throughout the narrative which followed the restored speech of the forty Jews. I just noticed another a little earlier in the narrative.

I only started our section by section analysis of the Josephan narrative at the beginning of references to Josephus in the third person. But now I see I have to go back once we are through and comb through the earlier references too. For just before Josephus appears to run Galilee for the revolutionary government there is an important example of Simon, a man specifically identified as 'Simon bar Giora' in Jewish War earlier in the same narrative, although that specific name is never used in Hegesippus.

In Jewish War it is clear that this Simon is NOT Simon bar Giora as his self-murder is placed long before the reference to Simon bar Giora attacking Cestius at the beginning of the unrest. Jewish War writes of a figure named 'Simon the son of Saul' (I hope alarms are going off in everyone's head at this point' of whom it is said:

It will deserve our relation what befell Simon; he was the son of one Saul, a man of reputation among the Jews. This man was distinguished from the rest by the strength of his body, and the boldness of his conduct, although he abused them both to the mischieving of his countrymen; for he came every day and slew a great many of the Jews of Scythopolis, and he frequently put them to flight, and became himself alone the cause of his army's conquering. But a just punishment overtook him for the murders he had committed upon those of the same nation with him; for when the people of Scythopolis threw their darts at them in the grove, he drew his sword, but did not attack any of the enemy; for he saw that he could do nothing against such a multitude; but he cried out after a very moving manner, and said, "O you people of Scythopolis, I deservedly suffer for what I have done with relation to you, when I gave you such security of my fidelity to you, by slaying so many of those that were related to me. Wherefore we very justly experience the perfidiousness of foreigners, while we acted after a most wicked manner against our own nation. I will therefore die, polluted wretch as I am, by nine own hands; for it is not fit I should die by the hand of our enemies; and let the same action be to me both a punishment for my great crimes, and a testimony of my courage to my commendation, that so no one of our enemies may have it to brag of, that he it was that slew me, and no one may insult upon me as I fall." Now when he had said this, he looked round about him upon his family with eyes of commiseration and of rage (that family consisted of a wife and children, and his aged parents); so, in the first place, he caught his father by his grey hairs, and ran his sword through him, and after him he did the same to his mother, who willingly received it; and after them he did the like to his wife and children, every one almost offering themselves to his sword, as desirous to prevent being slain by their enemies; so when he had gone over all his family, he stood upon their bodies to be seen by all, and stretching out his right hand, that his action might be observed by all, he sheathed his entire sword into his own bowels. This young man was to be pitied, on account of the strength of his body and the courage of his soul; but since he had assured foreigners of his fidelity [against his own countrymen], he suffered deservedly. [Jewish War 2.18.4]

Clearly the only 'Saul' that this person was originally understood to be an offshoot was 'king Saul' the para-suicidal embodiment of the law of the Jews. We have uncovered this in our study of Book Three. 

Pseudo-Hegesippus places this very same narrative associated with a 'Simon' at the closing section of Book Two. Jewish War by contrast places this narrative in chapter 18 of a 22 chapter Book Two. It has the following stories about 'Simon bar Giora' FOLLOW the para-suicide of Simon 'the son of Saul.' First Simon bar Giora's attack against Cestius:

When the front of the Jewish army had been cut off, the Jews retired into the city; but still Simon, the son of Giora, fell upon the backs of the Romans, as they were ascending up Bethoron, and put the hindmost of the army into disorder, and carried off many of the beasts that carded the weapons of war, and led Shem into the city. But as Cestius tarried there three days, the Jews seized upon the elevated parts of the city, and set watches at the entrances into the city, and appeared openly resolved not to rest when once the Romans should begin to march. And now when Agrippa observed that even the affairs of the Romans were likely to be in danger, while such an immense multitude of their enemies had seized upon the mountains round about, he determined to try what the Jews would agree to by words, as thinking that he should either persuade them all to desist from fighting, or, however, that he should cause the sober part of them to separate themselves from the opposite party. So he sent Borceus and Phebus, the persons of his party that were the best known to them, and promised them that Cestius should give them his right hand, to secure them of the Romans' entire forgiveness of what they had done amiss, if they would throw away their arms, and come over to them; but the seditious, fearing lest the whole multitude, in hopes of security to themselves, should go over to Agrippa, resolved immediately to fall upon and kill the ambassadors; accordingly they slew Phebus before he said a word, but Borceus was only wounded, and so prevented his fate by flying away.[Jewish War 2.19.2,3]

A reference to 'Simon bar Giora' appears as the closing narrative of Jewish War's Book Two:

But as for the Acrabbene toparchy, Simon, the son of Gioras, got a great number of those that were fond of innovations together, and betook himself to ravage the country; nor did he only harass the rich men's houses, but tormented their bodies, and appeared openly and beforehand to affect tyranny in his government. And when an army was sent against him by Artanus, and the other rulers, he and his band retired to the robbers that were at Masada, and staid there, and plundered the country of Idumea with them, till both Ananus and his other adversaries were slain; and until the rulers of that country were so afflicted with the multitude of those that were slain, and with the continual ravage of what they had, that they raised an army, and put garrisons into the villages, to secure them from those insults. And in this state were the affairs of Judea at that time. [Jewish War 2.22.2]

Now how different the manuscripts of Pseudo-Hegesippus and Jewish War are in this respect. In Pseudo-Hegesippus, 'Simon' (no reference to him being 'bar Giora) appears again in the narrative of the original assault against the Romans:

Simon also drove off the ascending Romans in the vicinity of the city from their baggage, whence Cestius held himself in the region for three days. The enemy surrounded during this delay and situated on higher ground advanced and watched everyone, lest anyone should break in with impunity. Considering that without much loss on either side nothing could be attempted, king Agrippa sent his men Borcius and Phoebus, who were to say to the people that whatever of outrage had been committed by them against the Romans was pardonable, if only in the future their arms having been put down they would take counsel for themselves, reckoning what he believed that it would either be persuaded to all that they should reject war, or that part would be plucked away from the rest. But the mutinous to the contrary, from fear that the second of these might happen, attacked the ambassadors and killed Phoebus. Borcius however having received a wound was barely able to escape.[Pseudo-Hegesippus 15]

Then Book Two of Pseudo-Hegesippus omits any reference to 'Simon' being alive and ravaging Idumea and instead places the story of the suffering of Simon now finally identified as 'Simon the son of Saul':

The suffering of Simon bitter to see and pitiable to hear drives an explanation, but it was remarkable from the strangeness of the thing. He was among the people of the Jews born of Saulus a not at all ignoble father, gifted with boldness of mind and strength of body, both of which he used in the destruction of his fellow tribesmen, who killed very many of the people coming in from outside in the frequent attack of the Jews, as if perhaps the conspirators were present, alone he was accustomed to hold out against the battle array and to rout the massed forces, he was the bond of the whole and a troop in war, and generally the savior in desperate circumstances. He demonstrated this to the citizens against his own people serving the forces of the Scythopolitans, but not for long to a kinsman was the vengeance owed to the blood lacking. For when, the good faith having broken, the surrounding Scythopolitans, who out of a peaceful situation had taken themselves to the grove, began to threaten with war and to press in, a mob even having killed the sons and parents of Simon although beyond reach of the rest they attacked with missiles and darts. Simon seeing the innumerable multitude superior in an easy task, since he was not able to bear it longer, drew his sword and having turned against the enemy shouted saying: I am receiving the proper return for my acts, who threatened with the death of kinsmen rather than yours and demonstrated good will and gave fraternal blood a pledge of peace to you, for which treachery is justly assigned. Now while I grant a pledge to foreigners I have sent against my family. I have betrayed my children and parents, whom however to be killed by you was not necessary, if you consider the reward of wickedness. I die therefore but angry at all, a friend to none, who have assailed my own people, with my own hands I will first seek retribution from myself. I have killed associates of my religion and sharers of my faith, I recognize what is owed for my wickedness. I will pay for the parricide suited for such a great sacrilege, that it may be both the penalty for the outrage and the glory for courage, lest anyone else should boast about a wound of mine, my own right hand will afterwards be turned against me myself, that it may be seen to be of fury that I die, not of weakness. Lest anyone should mock the dying, that madness should be a protector of parricide, parricide of sacrilege. Having spoken this he turned his gaze upon his children and parents and with indignant eyes, since already pathos mixed with anger was following, he transfixed his father snatched from the crowd with his sword, after him the mother is drawn lest there should be any who might appear as descendents. His wife voluntarily offers herself in succession lest dislodged from such a great husband she might survive. The sons run up, lest in death itself they should be judged unworthy of such a great father. He hastened with a swift blow to forestall the enemy. And therefore all his family having been killed he stood firm in the middle of his corpses and as though they were triumphing over their domestic sufferings because he saw no one of his to perish by an alien sword, he raised his right hand so that all should see and exposing to all the terrifying death for himself victorious he transfixed himself with his own sword. A remarkable young man because of his strength of body and greatness of mind, but because he bestowed trust upon foreigners rather than upon his own, he was worthy of such a death.[Pseudo-Hegesippus 2.18]

I strongly suspect that this Simon described originally as "gifted with boldness of mind and strength of body" is identical with the common description of Simon bar Giora in Jewish War. We read in Book Four that "here was a son of Giora, one Simon, by birth of Gerasa ...superior in strength of body and courage." [Jewish War 4.9.3] The exact same subplot manifests itself with regards to this Simon as we see of 'Simon the son of Saul.' Simon the son of Saul is away and members of his family fall into hands of zealots. Simon bar Giora later has his wife fall victim to the same set of circumstances:

This success of Simon excited the zealots afresh; and though they were afraid to fight him openly in a fair battle, yet did they lay ambushes in the passes, and seized upon his wife, with a considerable number of her attendants; whereupon they came back to the city rejoicing, as if they had taken Simon himself captive, and were in present expectation that he would lay down his arms, and make supplication to them for his wife; but instead of indulging any merciful affection, he grew very angry at them for seizing his beloved wife; so he came to the wall of Jerusalem, and, like wild beasts when they are wounded, and cannot overtake those that wounded them, he vented his spleen upon all persons that he met with [Jewish War 4.9.8]

The narrative in Pseudo-Hegesippus is very similar again as we shall see but the whole idea is absurd. The Romans are clearly attacking the rebels everywhere in Judea and Galilee and then you have this Homeric narrative only with a guy named Simon and his wife captured behind the walls of Jerusalem threatening to destroy the very walls of Jerusalem to get her back IN THE MIDDLE OF ANOTHER WAR WITH THE MOST POWERFUL ARMY IN THE WORLD!!!!

It's entirely mythical. The suicide of Simon MUST be connected with the fate of Simon called 'bar Giora' in Jewish War. It must have also have appeared in the final capture of Jerusalem. The reason it was removed is also obvious - it's too campy, too obvious that this is all an imaginary narrative about how crazy Judaism is for following the irrational suicidal example of Saul.

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