Monday, August 16, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 3 Chapter 4 or Bellum Judaicum Book 3 Chapter 1?

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. Here are the two sections when compared side by side. 

First the account of Pseudo-Hegesippus:

But in fact the Periatian Niger and the Babylonian Sylas and Johannes Essaeus, collecting all that were in Judaea of strong young men, attacked Ascalonis, large however and a city defended by strong walls, but in want of aid and assistance, which was separated from the city of Jerusalem by 720 stadia and by great hatreds. Therefore the Jews wishing to destroy a city hostile to themselves rushed upon it with their collected troops. Antonius was in charge of the city with a lesser number of Roman troops than he considered to be able to resist the Jews. But a man of acute judgment and an equally experienced soldier he allowed them scattered and trusting more upon number than valor, his cavalry having been led out, to cross to the city, then he attacked those in advance, harassed those following, scattered those crowded together, put the disordered to flight and pursued those straggling over the entire plain. Others turned about are driven against the walls all possibility of flight cut off, others seek different ways but surrounded by the horsemen they are cut to pieces. Many fall down upon themselves and in turn scatter themselves in their impetuosity. And so until evening slaughtered they lost out of their troops ten thousand men, their leaders Johannes and Sylas as well killed. Few however of the Romans were wounded in that battle. The rashness of the Jews however was not restrained but inflamed. For grief aroused their daring and the disgrace called out eagerness of avenging themselves. They are armed therefore with greater by far fury and the wounds of the injured not yet healed and more having been collected than the first time they rush in to attack, but them having been caught by arranged ambushes, before they came into hand to hand combat, Antonius cut them off surrounded by cavalry, and surrounded ordered them to be destroyed. Once more eight thousand were killed, the rest [p. 192] having been put to flight. Niger himself having slipped away betook himself into a fortification. There was a tower, enclosed on all sides by strong rock, the Romans because they were not able to destroy it encompassed it with set fires. Them having been lighted having crossed over from the tower into a certain cave he lay hidden from the enemy, he escaped the fire, and untroubled by the Romans because he himself should have been consumed by the conflagration, after the third day his own troops searching for his body for burial, he is restored alive and flourishing. And so with great joy saved from the enemy he is presented to the Jews. [Pseudo-Hegesippus 3.4]

While the received text has a completely narrative save for the fact that both describe the organization of the Jewish resistance:

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.

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