Friday, August 13, 2010

Fine Tuning My Theory About 'Second Century Josephus'

What I am saying is that Clement of Alexandria allows us to clear a bit of the fog to see that in the late second century the textual tradition called 'Hegesippus' by fourth century writers and editors was actually identified as 'Josephus.' The wrinkle is that they didn't think that they were reading the original work of 'Josephus the son of Matthias' but that of a second century Josephus who was also Jewish but who had come over to Christianity after the bar Kochba revolt. 

I am not saying that the text which now is identified as 'Hegesippus' is the exact same as Clement's variant Josephus written in the middle of the second century nor am I saying that it is identical with Eusebius's Hegesippus. I can't say that because there are obvious differences. 

What I am saying though is that it bears one striking similarity with that whole tradition - the preserving of a 'second Josephus' figure from a much later period who claims to be guiding us through what he claims is the something more than Josephus's original history of the Jewish War. He adds theological explanations to an original work which he acknowledges was mostly a collection of speeches. 

The question before us is whether 'second century Josephus' is just taking a copy of our received text of Jewish War and just adding stuff to it. The answer is clearly no. Hegesippus's narrative is not simply a recycling of our manuscripts of Josephus. There are uncanny similarities a lot of the time but it has a slightly different ancestor. 

Just compare the material I just cited. The introductions are totally different and then at the very beginning of the narrative we read:

Nor did Antiochus remain calm who resented his army to have been an object of mockery to Simon the father of Ionathas ... [H]

And now Antiochus was so angry at what he had suffered from Simon ... [J]

... and desiring to quench the beginnings of Ionathas yet rising, coming with a great band, he besieged Jerusalem and Hyrcanus.[H]

... that he made an expedition into Judea, and sat down before Jerusalem and besieged Hyrcanus [J]

... Hyrcanus fended him off with gold, which he was not able to do with weapons, and the tomb of David having been opened, as Josephus is our source, he dug up three thousand talents of gold, from which he counted out three hundred to Antiochus, so that he should abandon the siege, bought off by this price he went away.[H]

... but Hyrcanus opened the sepulcher of David, who was the richest of all kings, and took thence about three thousand talents in money, and induced Antiochus, by the promise of three thousand talents, to raise the siege.[J]

--- [H]

Moreover, he was the first of the Jews that had money enough, and began to hire foreign auxiliaries also.[J]

I don't think that Hegesippus is simply our Josephus + Christian references. No one else thinks it is that simple either. What I am trying to suggest is that our Josephus is rather a shrinking of a second century text which was similar to but not exactly like this surviving Hegesippus. 

This will become especially clear when we get to the parts in the narrative where OUR Josephus speaks about himself and his actions in the third person. A narrative like Hegesippus which begins ALWAYS speaks about Josephus in the third person seems closer to the original text behind our heavily edited Josephus narrative. 

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