Monday, August 16, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 3 Chapter 17 or Bellum Judaicum Book 3 Chapter 8?

The next stage in our comparative analysis of the narratives of Pseudo-Hegesippus and Jewish War and we have really come to an interesting part in the study. There is very good reason to believe that the capture of Josephus took place much later than in Jotapata. This was merely created to shield Josephus from serious war crimes that took place in Gamala and Sepphoris. I suspect that the original capture narrative took place in the early stages of the Jerusalem siege - i.e. when all or most of the Jewish rebels had been chased out of Galilee.

To this end it is important to note that Pseudo-Hegesippus goes on to present a RIDICULOUSLY long speech from Josephus follows answering the accusations of the forty fellow Jews in the cistern:

To this Joseph responds: 'And who would wish to be a survivor of so much death? Who would choose to become the inheritor of sorrow? Who does not wish his soul to be freed from that corpse of death if it is permitted? But permission is not given to set free unless to him who has done the binding. The soul is joined to the body by the chains of nature. Who is the originator of nature if not omnipotent god? Who would dare to break up and separate this companionship pleasing to god of our soul and body? If anyone should take away the chain put upon his hands by the order of his master without the authority of his master, will he not be found guilty of having inflicted his master with a severe injury? We are a possession of god, we owe servitude to god, as servants we may expect commands, as conquered we may be held with chains, as the faithful we should watch over the goods entrusted to us. We may not refuse the gift of that life which he gave us, we may not run away from the heavenly gift. If you should reject the gifts of a man, you are insulting: how much more we ought to protect what we have received from our god? from him himself we have received what we are, therefore we ought to be his as long as he wishes that we should be. Each is the act of an ungrateful person to depart earlier than he [i.e. God] wishes and to live longer than he [i.e. God] himself has wished, who has granted the life. For what happened in the past when Abraham hastened? What in the past when Moses ascended Mount Abarim this was said to him: Ascend Mount Abarim?[Deut 32:48] However it was said ascend, and he ascended it and died. Like a good servant he awaited the command of the lord. It was Job himself who said: May that day perish on which I was born,[Job 3:3 LXX] However although placed in wounds and griefs he did not sever the chains of this life but asked that he should be freed saying: As how light is given in bitterness, life however in the grief of souls?[Job 3:20 LXX] He was praising death certainly when he said: death is rest for man,[Job 3:23 LXX] however he did not rip it away but asked as is written: I am shattered in all my members and inasmuch as I am wicked why am I not dead? [Job 9:28,29 LXX] Why did I not fall from the womb of my mother into the grave or why the brief period of my life? Allow me to rest a little.[Job 3.11,13 LXX] Also another holy man said: Lead out my soul from confinement.[Psalm 142.7] He sought to escape, he sought to be freed from this body as if from a prison. None however of the holy men usurps this himself for himself, none snatches (his own life) away. If to die is a gain, then it is theft to usurp it before it is expected, if it is a good thing to live, then it is sacrilege to reject (life) before it is demanded. But you think it glorious to die in battle. Nor do I deny that it is good to die in battle for your country, for the citizens. But by the law of war I offer the throat, if the enemy seeks it, if the Romans should sink the sword point, to whom from us god gave the victory, to whom because of our sins he adjudged us. Nor is it more attractive to me because they promised to spare me. If only they are lying! but I would consider this a gain that they so feared me that they would deceive me, or that I should return this vengeance because they break faith. To die by an evil villainy of theirs rather than by mine. It is villainy if I turn my hand against myself, a favor if the enemy does it. Therefore they can give that favor by putting and end to me, if they have thought it should be granted: because if they have been engaged in villainy they have it in their power that they should kill a captive. But you are promising me the service of your band of soldiers. A true killer has been lacking to us, so that we are dying by our own evil deed. I am unwilling to perish by my own, by your own evil deed, but what is more than by mine, I am unwilling by mutual. That is, that each of us inflict his hands against himself, pay the price of a substitute death, so that the evil deed should owe not only for its own but even for the blood of another. Truly the precedent of king Saul comes to mind, his certainly who was both chosen king against the divine will and merited the displeasure of god, whence even while he was living he received his successor. An excellent example of a man to whom the favor of god was wanting. Yet also he wanted to die, because he could no longer live. He wanted moreover that his companion should kill him, but the latter thought it a sin, he refused the service. Not therefore making use of his plan but lacking a helper he accomplished, that he should turn his sword upon himself. If fearful he accomplished that he should not bring ridicule upon himself, how do you praise what is the result of fear? If he feared not, why did he first choose another? I do not fear the Romans either speaking mockingly or lying. Saul alone killed only himself, not Ionathas, not anyone else in our scriptures. Is it a wonder if he was able to kill himself, who was able even to kill his son? Aaron stood between the living and the dead, and this is an act of valor, not of daring. For he did inflict death upon himself, but he did not fear death, who thrust it away from his body and was an obstacle to the serpent against everything. Indeed I am not Aaron but however I am not unworthy of him behold! I offer my hands, let them strike who will. If I can fear their hands, I am deserving that I should perish at my own hands. If they show consideration for an adversary, why should I not show consideration for myself? If you seek why they should wish to show consideration, even among the enemy they may admire valor. For so great is the esteem of valor, that frequently even it delights an enemy. For you yourselves know how great the destruction I inflicted upon the Romans, how I turned aside the victors over all races from the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the long lasting siege of the obscure city of Iotapata. I played a game of dice at the risk of a small loss of the entire war. All the others learned from my attempt to choose peace. Perhaps we are spared for this that the others are not discouraged but challenged. But you assert that it is pleasant to die for freedom. Who indeed denies that? However it is sweet to live with freedom. For who is offering friendship, is promising freedom. But if he should impose servitude, then certainly there will be a more suitable purpose in dying, if it should be fitting to die. Now however they offer life, they do not want to kill. He is cowardly however who does not wish to die when it is necessary, and wishes to when it not necessary. For who does not know that to wish to die, not that you may die, is a woman's freedom and a woman's fear? In fact fearful women, when they have learned some danger hangs over them, are wont to give themselves to the precipice. With a poor intellect they are not able to support the burden of terror and the fear of death. A man on the other hand is more enduring, who does not fear the present and reflects on the future, knows not to tremble when there is no fear. Finally it is written that the spirits of the effeminate will hunger for the sustenance of courage which not having they are hungry, and so they hasten to death before its time. Nor indeed filled with food does he ask for the hand of spiritual grace upon himself, since it is written that the mouth of the foolish invokes death. And again scripture says: he who does not take regard for himself in his works is the brother of him who puts himself away. Therefore he is condemned who kills himself. For what even is so against the law of nature? For what is against the nature of all living things? For it is innate in all creatures, whether wild beasts or peasants, to love themselves. For it is a strong law of nature to wish to live and not to aspire to death for oneself. And finally all families of living beings are not able to be armed against themselves with a sword even if they wished it. Men have found the noose of death hideous, wild beasts do not know it. But the jaws of wild beasts are weapons, their teeth are swords. When however has anyone heard, that some wild beast has deprived itself of a limb with its own jaws? Against others they use the weapons of their jaws, against themselves (they use) their mouths. As for us what is so sweet as life, what so unwelcome as death? Lastly he who will have defended life is a protector, he who will have tried to seek death is an ambusher. What therefore we detest in others, if they should assail us, we ourselves wish to inflict upon us? And although we exact something from others as a punishment, we ourselves invite this upon us as a favor? And although we take revenge on the helmsman if he strikes the ship entrusted to him upon a rock, we destroy with a sword the helm of our body entrusted to us and assign it to a voluntary shipwreck? But you throw before me an early death, when I shall have been led into the power of the enemy, I should receive it as a benefit, if what I fear from the enemy I myself shall bring upon me, when it can happen that what you are persuading me to do the enemy will not do? It is as if the helmsman seeing there is about to be a storm should sink the ship beneath the waves for the benefit of avoiding the storm. And because the enemy will demand the most severe punishments, you think it should be thus prevented? Or because you think it quick, that we ourselves should use the sword against us? But that is the refuge of weakness, not a sign of courage, to grasp the benefit of the punishments. To this therefore we hold fast, that it neither has the marks of bravery, nor the profit of usefulness? To which I may add that the religion of the dead person is dishonored? Omnipotent god has given us the best treasure, and included and sealed it in this vessel of clay he entrusted to us to be guarded by us, until it shall please him to ask it back. Is it not a crime in both, either to refuse the trust him who has given it not demanding it back, or to refuse it to him demanding it back? If it incurs the penalty of dishonor to violate that entrusted by a man, how much worse to violate that entrusted by god? That entrusted by god is the soul in this body, a soul that is not within the capacity of that death. For it is not bound and grasped by any fetters of death, but seems to produce death, when it is freed from the body and separated from the cohabitation committed to it. Why therefore before the thing entrusted is requested back are we asking for death and sending back the soul as if useless to us and excluding it from our home and are releasing the body into the earth without dignity and thanks? Why are we not awaiting the command of going forth from here? A soldier expects a signal, a slave a command. If any of these should leave without an order, the one is a deserter, the other a runaway slave. Who flees a man is liable to punishment although he may have fled a wicked master. Are not we fleeing the best of all things able to be bound by the shameful act of irreverence? For indeed that goes beyond our opinion, that god placed an angel near to the neighborhood of those fearing him? It is he therefore who prohibits unless he has received an order. If there is no order, there is no provision for a journey. And how do we arrive without provision for a journey? Who will accept us in that unsoiled and secret place? Who will admit us to that community of blessed souls? Adam hid himself, because he violated an order of god, he was excluded from paradise, because he did not keep a command. It was said to him: Adam, where are you? as if to him who had fled, as if to him whose presence is not before god? Will it not be said to me: where are you, who have come contrary to an order, whom I have not loosed from natural chains? Lift him up into the outer darkness, in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. We have received not only this disease of men but prohibitions with laws. For some order them to be thrown out unburied who have thrust a sword into themselves. It is indeed fitting that those who have not awaited the command of the father should be deprived, as if of the bosom of his mother, of a grave of earth. Others cut off the right hand of the dead person, so that there is separated from the limbs of his body that which in a mad rage made war against his body. But this consequence of sacrilege suffer either traitors or murderers of their parents. Who in truth do not acknowledge their father nor recognize themselves. Thus they are prohibited to be buried at all, or are not buried entire. Paradise also does not receive back their souls but the darkness of hell and fierce sufferings. To me reflecting on these things, although all things might be taken away, they are things only for fear and panic, that I should not impose upon myself, which even the enemy will not be able to impose, nor should I take away the things of paradise, which a Roman as yet has not been able to take away -- certainly he will be able to hasten it, he will not be able to take it away -- which things alone I impatiently long for. For not any desire of this life holds me, in which neither in the citizens nor in the enemy have I grasped what would give delight. The former denied me peace, the latter took away my homeland. Among so many disasters what can survive of charm in this life? You only, omnipotent father, who are the originator and judge of nature, grant an honorable death, you break this natural bond, return my soul to its haunts. Although my people may be extinguished, justice snatched away, freedom crushed, I will not however transgress your law that I might die unbidden. I await that you command, I await that you liberate one willing. You have many assistants, I await a command from you, and service from an assistant. It is good to die, but if I die as a Jew, not as a robber, not as a murderer, not as an enemy. Granted that I have been defeated in war, I will remain however what I was born, so that I will not desert the inheritance of father Abraham. I will not go over into the number of the enemy, so that I am my own destroyer. Expose me to the enemy to be killed without loss of loyalty, I am not able to turn my hands against the enemy for myself without sin. And in truth there is fear, that it is not fitted to us to live according to the law? In fact there is now great freedom for those to whom it is not permitted to die according to law.' [Pseudo-Hegesippus 17]

The parallel speech in Jewish War reads:

As soon as they said this, they began to thrust their swords at him, and threatened they would kill him, if he thought of yielding himself to the Romans. Upon this Josephus was afraid of their attacking him, and yet thought he should be a betrayer of the commands of God, if he died before they were delivered. So he began to talk like a philosopher to them in the distress he was then in, when he said thus to them: "O my friends, why are we so earnest to kill ourselves? and why do we set our soul and body, which are such dear companions, at such variance? Can any one pretend that I am not the man I was formerly? Nay, the Romans are sensible how that matter stands well enough. It is a brave thing to die in war; but so that it be according to the law of war, by the hand of conquerors. If, therefore, I avoid death from the sword of the Romans, I am truly worthy to be killed by my own sword, and my own hand; but if they admit of mercy, and would spare their enemy, how much more ought we to have mercy upon ourselves, and to spare ourselves? For it is certainly a foolish thing to do that to ourselves which we quarrel with them for doing to us. I confess freely that it is a brave thing to die for liberty; but still so that it be in war, and done by those who take that liberty from us; but in the present case our enemies do neither meet us in battle, nor do they kill us. Now he is equally a coward who will not die when he is obliged to die, and he who will die when he is not obliged so to do. What are we afraid of, when we will not go up to the Romans? Is it death? If so, what we are afraid of, when we but suspect our enemies will inflict it on us, shall we inflict it on ourselves for certain? But it may be said we must be slaves. And are we then in a clear state of liberty at present? It may also be said that it is a manly act for one to kill himself. No, certainly, but a most unmanly one; as I should esteem that pilot to be an arrant coward, who, out of fear of a storm, should sink his ship of his own accord. Now self-murder is a crime most remote from the common nature of all animals, and an instance of impiety against God our Creator; nor indeed is there any animal that dies by its own contrivance, or by its own means, for the desire of life is a law engraven in them all; on which account we deem those that openly take it away from us to be our enemies, and those that do it by treachery are punished for so doing. And do not you think that God is very angry when a man does injury to what he hath bestowed on him? For from him it is that we have received our being, and we ought to leave it to his disposal to take that being away from us. The bodies of all men are indeed mortal, and are created out of corruptible matter; but the soul is ever immortal, and is a portion of the divinity that inhabits our bodies. Besides, if any one destroys or abuses a depositum he hath received from a mere man, he is esteemed a wicked and perfidious person; but then if any one cast out of his body this Divine depositum, can we imagine that he who is thereby affronted does not know of it? Moreover, our law justly ordains that slaves which run away from their master shall be punished, though the masters they run away from may have been wicked masters to them. And shall we endeavor to run away from God, who is the best of all masters, and not guilty of impeity? Do not you know that those who depart out of this life according to the law of nature, and pay that debt which was received from God, when he that lent it us is pleased to require it back again, enjoy eternal fame; that their houses and their posterity are sure, that their souls are pure and obedient, and obtain a most holy place in heaven, from whence, in the revolutions of ages, they are again sent into pure bodies; while the souls of those whose hands have acted madly against themselves are received by the darkest place in Hades, and while God, who is their Father, punishes those that offend against either of them in their posterity? for which reason God hates such doings, and the crime is punished by our most wise legislator. Accordingly, our laws determine that the bodies of such as kill themselves should be exposed till the sun be set, without burial, although at the same time it be allowed by them to be lawful to bury our enemies [sooner]. The laws of other nations also enjoin such men's hands to be cut off when they are dead, which had been made use of in destroying themselves when alive, while they reckoned that as the body is alien from the soul, so is the hand alien from the body. It is therefore, my friends, a right thing to reason justly, and not add to the calamities which men bring upon us impiety towards our Creator. If we have a mind to preserve ourselves, let us do it; for to be preserved by those our enemies, to whom we have given so many demonstrations of our courage, is no way inglorious; but if we have a mind to die, it is good to die by the hand of those that have conquered us. For nay part, I will not run over to our enemies' quarters, in order to be a traitor to myself; for certainly I should then be much more foolish than those that deserted to the enemy, since they did it in order to save themselves, and I should do it for destruction, for my own destruction. However, I heartily wish the Romans may prove treacherous in this matter; for if, after their offer of their right hand for security, I be slain by them, I shall die cheerfully, and carry away with me the sense of their perfidiousness, as a consolation greater than victory itself." [Jewish War 3.8.4,5]

Once again we have two very different speeches and Pseudo-Hegesippus is much longer and contains some very eye-opening material - Josephus claiming to be an equal to Aaron the original high priest! The idea that Moses's death on Mt Nebo resembled a divine suicide was also noted by Goethe. Yet something which no one has noticed before of course is that 'Hegesippus' is clearly citing from the LXX which necessarily means that the section in Latin is a translation of a Greek original. 

The key line here is "death is rest for man" which only appears in the LXX version of Job. The significance of this cannot be overstated. Yes, to be sure everyone would acknowledge that there was a Greek original behind Pseudo-Hegesippus but the assumption always was that the Latin Pseudo-Hegesippus - which dated to the last generation of the fourth century - was a translation, summary or condensation of something like the received text of Jewish War with all the additions and curiosities being added to the text by the Latin translator.

The clear use of the LXX in a variant section which totally disagrees with the parallel material in Jewish War might be very significant. It might help confirm that the material here might go back to a Greek original. 

The second confirmation that he is using the LXX comes from the line that immediately follows:

He [Job] was praising death certainly when he [Job] said: death is rest for man, however he [Job] did not rip it away but asked as is written:I am shattered in all my members and inasmuch as I am wicked why am I not dead? Why did I not fall from the womb of my mother into the grave or why the brief period of my life? Allow me to rest a little.

"I am shattered in all my members and inasmuch as I am wicked why am I not dead?" is a shortening of the LXX "I quake in all my limbs for I know that thou wilt not leave me alone as innocent, but since I am ungodly (asebes) why have I not died?" (Job 9:28,29 LXX Brenton translation). The Hebrew reads "I am afraid of all my pains, I know that Thou wilt not hold me guiltless. I shall be condemned; why then do I labour in vain?" 

In short we have two confirmations that this variant section was originally written in Greek. I bet we will find many more before we're through ...

UPDATE - I want to make clear that the use of the LXX by a Latin Father proves nothing in itself. John Cassian writing around the same time uses the LXX too "And so when death has been brought upon a saint, we ought not to think that an evil has happened to him but a thing indifferent; which is an evil to a wicked man, while to the good it is rest and freedom from evils. "For death is rest to a man whose way is hidden." [Conferences 7] The point however is that it is impossible to imagine that three citations of very large amounts of variant text which happens to use the LXX could have been added to the Pseudo-Hegesippus by the editor. Why would he have - supposedly - removed the received tradition only to add this stuff? The point is that this material is very old and demonstrates that the Hegesippus tradition is at least as old as Eusebius.

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