Monday, August 16, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 3 Chapter 6 or Bellum Judaicum Book 3 Chapter 3?

Next comes the topographic description of ancient Palestine. First in Pseudo-Hegesippus:

Syria and Phoenice touch each Galilaea and Ptolomais with the boundaries of its territory and Mount Carmelus limits them on the west, Mount Carmelus which previously belonged to the Galilaeans, but now is joined to the territory of the Tyrians, to which is joined the state Gabaa, which at one time was a great source of mischief for the Jews. On the east Ippene and Gadara cut it off with their territories; moreover the same boundaries were prescribed in ancient times to the Gaulanitidian region and to the kingdom of Agrippa. On the southern flank Scythopolis and Samaria with their own territories intercept each and they are not allowed to extend beyond the river Jordanis. Its northern parts Tyrus shuts off on the right side and all the territory of the Tyrians, by whose interposition the territories of Galilaea are delimited. Between themselves however they are distinguished by this only, that lower Galilaea so-called extends in length from the city of Tiberias all the way to the city which has the name Zabulon above the maritime boundaries of Ptolomais. Its width however extends not at all doubtfully from the village Xaloth which is in the great plain all the way to Bersaben. From which even the beginning of upper Galilaea is uncovered, which extends as far as to the boundaries of the village Bachathe; moreover by this very village even the boundaries of the land of Tyria are fixed. Also the beginning of its length is the village Thalla, Roth is the end. Thalla borders upon the Jordan. It is given to be understood from this, how far the territories of upper Galilaea stretch themselves, whose beginning is the Jordan, or its limit. Therefore by this assessment of its size each Galilaea is distinguished. The land however is fertile, abounding in grass, supporting itself by diverse types of agriculture, studded with trees, so that its attracts anyone whatever to his satisfaction and invites and excites anyone avoiding labor to the pursuit of agriculture. Finally no part of the land in that place however small is idle, it is crowded with many inhabitants. Many cities, numerous towns, an innumerable multitude of men, so that a small town in his district might have fifteen thousand inhabitants. Each Galilaea is surrounded also by foreign races poured around, and thus a warlike race of men, from the earliest age trained in battle exercises, abundant in number, ready in daring, and prepared in all the arts of war. The Perea region however is preeminent in size, which from thence had received the designation, which we told above. This greater but more useful Galilaea, all of which is cultivated, nor is any part of it unfruitful of crops but all its land is rich and productive, Perea however is more extended but in the greater part deserted which does not know to be softened by plowing nor to subdue easily the rougher furrows. But again a part of it is easy for cultivation, fertile for use, pleasant in aspect, mild for exercising, useful for fruit trees by grafting, producing everything, so that trees separated in front border its fields, in the middle they generally beautify and protect the crops from too much sun or cold, and especially a field covered with olive trees interwoven with vines, or distinguished with palm trees. It is indescribable how charming it is when the rows of palm trees driven by the wind make sounds and the pleasant odors of the dactyls are poured forth as usual. It is no wonder if all of this is thanks to the greenness, when the overflowed field is watered by the pleasant wanderings of the streams running down from the high peak of the mountains, bubbling over with snowy fountains it is seized with envy, wished for with thanks. Its length is from Macheruntis all the way to Pella, that is from the south to the north, its width however is from Philadelphia all the way to the river Jordan that is on the east it is bordered by the fields of Arabia, in the west however it is seen to extend all the way to the Jordan river. Also the Samaritan region lies midway between Iudea and Galilaea, beginning from the village which has the name Eleas, ending in the land of the Acrabattenians, of a very similar nature and not differing in any respect from Judaea. For each is mountainous and level according to the difference of locations, neither is everything spread out in plains nor is its broken up by the cliffs of mountains in all places, but it has the loveliness of each characteristic. For the practice of agriculture the loose and softer land and from that useful for grains and as for the fertility of the soil almost second to none, certainly for the maturity of the crops earlier than all. For while in other places they are still sowing grain, here they are reaping. The appearance also and the very nature of the grain is by no means considered more outstanding in any place else. The water is sweet, good in appearance, agreeable for drinking, so that according to the pleasures of the elements the Jews considered it that land promised to their fathers flowing milk and honey, when he promised them preference of resurrection. And indeed divine goodness had gathered each, if they had kept the faith, but with disloyal souls each snatched away by the yoke of captivity, there in the bonds of sin. A well-wooded region and therefore rich in cattle and flowing with milk. Finally nowhere so full of milk, the cattle bear udders, the woods fruits or grafted things above the amounts of all regions, each filled full however with a multitude of men from Samaria or Judaea, so that the Jews seem to me to have interpreted from this place that which is written that there was nothing among these sterile and unfruitful, since the law directed this about the fecundity of the well-deserving and about the fruitfulness of courage. The beginning of Samaria (is) from the boundaries of Arabia from the village which has the name Jordan, it ends in the north at the village Borceus. the breadth however of Judaea (extends) from the river Jordan all the way to Iopen. For it begins at the sources of the Jordan and from Mount Libanus and extends all the way to the lake of Tiberias. Also from the village Arfa (there is) the beginning of its length which extends all the way to the village Iuliadis, in which (there is) the joint habitation equally of Jews and Tyrians. In the middle however the city of Judaea as if the center of the entire region, is called Jerusalem, as pleased the sensible. A region abounding with inland resources but not cheated of the maritime, because it extends all the way to Ptolomais and it fringes upon all that sea with its shores. (There are) many cities but among all these Jerusalem stands out, and just as the head in the body does not overshadow its limbs but rules and is beauty and a protection for them. About Judaea and the neighboring regions, although an abridgment is advantageous, we have not omitted those things which should have been pointed out. [Pseudo-Hegesippus 3.6]

And then the parallel passage in Jewish War:

NOW Phoenicia and Syria encompass about the Galilees, which are two, and called the Upper Galilee and the Lower. They are bounded toward the sun-setting, with the borders of the territory belonging to Ptolemais, and by Carmel; which mountain had formerly belonged to the Galileans, but now belonged to the Tyrians; to which mountain adjoins Gaba, which is called the City of Horsemen, because those horsemen that were dismissed by Herod the king dwelt therein; they are bounded on the south with Samaria and Scythopolis, as far as the river Jordan; on the east with Hippeae and Gadaris, and also with Ganlonitis, and the borders of the kingdom of Agrippa; its northern parts are hounded by Tyre, and the country of the Tyrians. As for that Galilee which is called the Lower, it, extends in length from Tiberias to Zabulon, and of the maritime places Ptolemais is its neighbor; its breadth is from the village called Xaloth, which lies in the great plain, as far as Bersabe, from which beginning also is taken the breadth of the Upper Galilee, as far as the village Baca, which divides the land of the Tyrians from it; its length is also from Meloth to Thella, a village near to Jordan.

These two Galilees, of so great largeness, and encompassed with so many nations of foreigners, have been always able to make a strong resistance on all occasions of war; for the Galileans are inured to war from their infancy, and have been always very numerous; nor hath the country been ever destitute of men of courage, or wanted a numerous set of them; for their soil is universally rich and fruitful, and full of the plantations of trees of all sorts, insomuch that it invites the most slothful to take pains in its cultivation, by its fruitfulness; accordingly, it is all cultivated by its inhabitants, and no part of it lies idle. Moreover, the cities lie here very thick, and the very many villages there are here are every where so full of people, by the richness of their soil, that the very least of them contain above fifteen thousand inhabitants.

In short, if any one will suppose that Galilee is inferior to Perea in magnitude, he will be obliged to prefer it before it in its strength; for this is all capable of cultivation, and is every where fruitful; but for Perea, which is indeed much larger in extent, the greater part of it is desert and rough, and much less disposed for the production of the milder kinds of fruits; yet hath it a moist soil [in other parts], and produces all kinds of fruits, and its plains are planted with trees of all sorts, while yet the olive tree, the vine, and the palm tree are chiefly cultivated there. It is also sufficiently watered with torrents, which issue out of the mountains, and with springs that never fail to run, even when the torrents fail them, as they do in the dog-days. Now the length of Perea is from Macherus to Pella, and its breadth from Philadelphia to Jordan; its northern parts are bounded by Pella, as we have already said, as well as its Western with Jordan; the land of Moab is its southern border, and its eastern limits reach to Arabia, and Silbonitis, and besides to Philadelphene and Gerasa.

Now as to the country of Samaria, it lies between Judea and Galilee; it begins at a village that is in the great plain called Ginea, and ends at the Acrabbene toparchy, and is entirely of the same nature with Judea; for both countries are made up of hills and valleys, and are moist enough for agriculture, and are very fruitful. They have abundance of trees, and are full of autumnal fruit, both that which grows wild, and that which is the effect of cultivation. They are not naturally watered by many rivers, but derive their chief moisture from rain-water, of which they have no want; and for those rivers which they have, all their waters are exceeding sweet: by reason also of the excellent grass they have, their cattle yield more milk than do those in other places; and, what is the greatest sign of excellency and of abundance, they each of them are very full of people.

In the limits of Samaria and Judea lies the village Anuath, which is also named Borceos. This is the northern boundary of Judea. The southern parts of Judea, if they be measured lengthways, are bounded by a Village adjoining to the confines of Arabia; the Jews that dwell there call it Jordan. However, its breadth is extended from the river Jordan to Joppa. The city Jerusalem is situated in the very middle; on which account some have, with sagacity enough, called that city the Navel of the country. Nor indeed is Judea destitute of such delights as come from the sea, since its maritime places extend as far as Ptolemais: it was parted into eleven portions, of which the royal city Jerusalem was the supreme, and presided over all the neighboring country, as the head does over the body. As to the other cities that were inferior to it, they presided over their several toparchies; Gophna was the second of those cities, and next to that Acrabatta, after them Thamna, and Lydda, and Emmaus, and Pella, and Idumea, and Engaddi, and Herodium, and Jericho; and after them came Jamnia and Joppa, as presiding over the neighboring people; and besides these there was the region of Gamala, and Gaulonitis, and Batanea, and Trachonitis, which are also parts of the kingdom of Agrippa. This [last] country begins at Mount Libanus, and the fountains of Jordan, and reaches breadthways to the lake of Tiberias; and in length is extended from a village called Arpha, as far as Julias. Its inhabitants are a mixture of Jews and Syrians. And thus have I, with all possible brevity, described the country of Judea, and those that lie round about it.
[Jewish War 3.3.1 -4]

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.