Monday, August 16, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? A Narrative Found Only in Bellum Judaicum Book 2 Chapter 21

Any claim that Hegesippus is a Latin translation of the received Greek text disappear when we move through the narrative. The received text moves on from the last point in our discussion to two paragraph description of Simon bar Giora ('bar Giora' being a name which never appears as far as I can see in Hegesippus) which - like its extensive 'John of Gischala' subplot - does not appear in Hegesippus:

And thus were the disturbances of Galilee quieted, when, upon their ceasing to prosecute their civil dissensions, they betook themselves to make preparations for the war with the Romans. Now in Jerusalem the high priest Artanus, and do as many of the men of power as were not in the interest of the Romans, both repaired the walls, and made a great many warlike instruments, insomuch that in all parts of the city darts and all sorts of armor were upon the anvil. Although the multitude of the young men were engaged in exercises, without any regularity, and all places were full of tumultuous doings; yet the moderate sort were exceedingly sad; and a great many there were who, out of the prospect they had of the calamities that were coming upon them, made great lamentations. There were also such omens observed as were understood to be forerunners of evils by such as loved peace, but were by those that kindled the war interpreted so as to suit their own inclinations; and the very state of the city, even before the Romans came against it, was that of a place doomed to destruction. However, Ananus's concern was this, to lay aside, for a while, the preparations for the war, and to persuade the seditious to consult their own interest, and to restrain the madness of those that had the name of zealots; but their violence was too hard for him; and what end he came to we shall relate hereafter.

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 2.21.1,2]

I don't know how those who claim that Hegesippus is merely a copy or even a 'summary' of our received text of Jewish War. There are absolutely no similarities in this section. One would presume a 'copy' would show signs of copying. But then again I bet no one actually did a systematic comparison of the two texts like we are engaged in. Belief was enough to sustain our predecessors.

An even better question is how a first person 'eye witness' narrative of Josephus should be thought to include details regarding Simon's exploits. But then again most of these bozos think Mark wrote a gospel having no firsthand knowledge of the events in question. Why not Josephus then? Anything goes I guess ...

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