Monday, August 16, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 3 Chapter 14 or Bellum Judaicum Book 3 Chapter 7?

We continue with our section by section comparison of Pseudo-Hegesippus with our received text of Jewish War. We want to determine if there is any incontrovertible proof that Hegesippus is a copy or a summary of our text which purports to be 'direct' (or almost direct - viz. the admission of the involvement of 'synergoi' Contr. Apion 1.50 looms large now) from the hand of 'first century Josephus.'

The next section of Pseudo-Hegesippus reads:

Nor were the Samaritans exempt from these miseries. For when according to their custom assembled together they had ascended their mountain Garizim, which was sacred to them, where they were accustomed to worship, and in the Gospel the Samaritan woman says: Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, and the answer to her is: the hour will come, when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the father. For it was owed that superstition should cease and the true religion follow, the shade be purged, the truth come, so that no longer on the mountain like the Samaritans, not in Jerusalem three times in the year like the Jews, but in spirit in every place lifting clean hands each man should pay homage to god and in the name of Jesus should bend at the knee--, when therefore, as we said above, they remain assembled on the mountain according to their rites, the very appearance of the congregation puts forth threats of war or their sense, who were not recovering from evil neighbors, they were disturbed much more however through dislike by the triumphal successes of the Romans and things were near to an uproar, and it was considered most prudent for them to take precautions lest they should sally forth into a greater ruin. The commander of the fifth legion having been summoned, Vespasian sent him with three thousand men of each military service. But he considered that to ascend the mountain at the very beginning was dangerous, for there were at the same time joined a multitude of frightened people and the rugged places of nature, he surrounded the borders of the mountain with the army and for the entire day he made care be taken that no one should descend the mountain for water. When therefore he had harassed such a great crowd of people with thirst, which more and more was exasperated by the heat, and many preferred to offer themselves to slavery or even death lest they should die from hunger or thirst, Cerealis, for this was the name of the commander, judging that all of those coming down were exhausted surrounded the mountain with the military column, promising safety if they put down their arms, he ordered those refusing killed. And so eleven thousand six hundred men were killed in that place. [Pseudo-Hegesippus 3.14]

And the parallel section in Jewish War:

Nor did the Samaritans escape their share of misfortunes at this time; for they assembled themselves together upon file mountain called Gerizzim, which is with them a holy mountain, and there they remained; which collection of theirs, as well as the courageous minds they showed, could not but threaten somewhat of war; nor were they rendered wiser by the miseries that had come upon their neighboring cities. They also, notwithstanding the great success the Romans had, marched on in an unreasonable manner, depending on their own weakness, and were disposed for any tumult upon its first appearance. Vespasian therefore thought it best to prevent their motions, and to cut off the foundation of their attempts. For although all Samaria had ever garrisons settled among them, yet did the number of those that were come to Mount Gerizzim, and their conspiracy together, give ground for fear what they would be at; he therefore sent I thither Cerealis, the commander of the fifth legion, with six hundred horsemen, and three thousand footmen, who did not think it safe to go up to the mountain, and give them battle, because many of the enemy were on the higher part of the ground; so he encompassed all the lower part of the mountain with his army, and watched them all that day. Now it happened that the Samaritans, who were now destitute of water, were inflamed with a violent heat, (for it was summer time, and the multitude had not provided themselves with necessaries,) insomuch that some of them died that very day with heat, while others of them preferred slavery before such a death as that was, and fled to the Romans; by whom Cerealis understood that those which still staid there were very much broken by their misfortunes. So he went up to the mountain, and having placed his forces round about the enemy, he, in the first place, exhorted them to take the security of his right hand, and come to terms with him, and thereby save themselves; and assured them, that if they would lay down their arms, he would secure them from any harm; but when he could not prevail with them, he fell upon them and slew them all, being in number eleven thousand and six hundred. This was done on the twenty-seventh day of the month Desius [Sivan]. And these were the calamities that befell the Samaritans at this time. [Jewish War 3.7.32]

I strongly suspect Josephus killed these Samaritans rather than Vespasian. It follows a pattern of slaughtering traditional enemies of the Jewish people.

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