Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Think I Can Prove that Our Josephan Corpus Began Life as a Christian Forgery Only to be 'Corrected' in the Fourth Century

I think I have discovered something of earth shattering significance which hasn't been noticed by anyone before. 

I think I can prove that all the Alexandrian manuscripts of Josephus were of the 'Hegesippus' variety as such they were Christianized 'frauds' before being 'corrected' to look like an objective historical record. 

Let me first explain the origin of the name 'Hegesippus.' The form Hegesippus is an adaptation to the phonetics of Greek, to make the name sound Greek (not Latin). It is an artificial name made up by whoever edited this version of Josephus called Hegesippus. There are allegedly two different 'Hegesippus' figures in early Christianity. Hegesippus who lived in the second century who wrote about the Church and a Hegesippus whose name got attached to a Latin translation made in the fourth century. 

I think I can prove that the first Hegesippus is still connected to the writings of Josephus. It's just that scholars can't think out the box. They can't imagine a situation where Church Fathers would mistakenly think that a 'Joseph' lived in the second century and wrote about events during the Jewish war. 

A lot of people have noticed that Hegesippus's record of the destruction of the temple because of James the Just looks like the kind of historical record the Origen was citing was in his version of the Jewish Antiquities of 'Josephus.' But then a chorus of 'experts' came along and said that this Hegesippus wasn't the same as Josephus the author of the Jewish historical material because Josephus wrote in the late first century and Hegesippus wrote in the middle of the second century and was primarily concerned with a history of the Church. 

Well I was trying to dissect this quote from Clement of Alexandria which references Josephus:

Flavius Josephus the Jew, who composed the history of the Jews, computing the periods, says that from Moses to David were five hundred and eighty-five years; from David to the second year of Vespasian, a thousand one hundred and seventy-nine; then from that to the tenth year of Antoninus, seventy-seven. So that from Moses to the tenth year of Antoninus there are, in all, two thousand one hundred and thirty-three years.[Strom. 1.21]

Roger Pearse points out that "Hardwick says that this is a composite of Jewish War 6.435 ff. and Antiquities 8.61 ff; 7.389. Whealey agrees." I found the "from David to the second year of Vespasian, a thousand one hundred and seventy-nine" at the very end of Book Six of the Jewish War but the rest of the numbers don't appear in any source. 

Anyway, I was going through every book of Josephus trying to find all these numbers so every minute or so the words of the original citation in Clement would get drilled in my head. Then something just hit me. Why is Josephus calculating the tenth year of Antoninus's reign? That's impossible. Josephus couldn't have known that an Emperor would come along named Antoninus. He died at the turn of the second century long before Antoninus. 

So I went back to the original context in Clement just to make sure that Clement was saying that Josephus was saying that - in effect - "that from Moses to the tenth year of Antoninus there are, in all, two thousand one hundred and thirty-three years." 

Yes there is no mistake about it. 

Now most people's minds would just shut off at this point and say 'it's impossible; Josephus can't be saying this.' I, on the other hand, had already noticed that the figure cited by Eusebius as Hegesippus already cites the report that Origen attributes to Josephus (Hegesippus is a corruption of Josephus in Greek). Then I thought, is it possible that Clement thought that Josephus lived during the reign of Antoninus Pius like Eusebius imagines Hegesippus to have done?

Well I opened up Eusebius's Church History to Book IV and noticed that 'Hegesippus' is portrayed as coming to Rome in the thirteenth year of Antoninus's reign (three years later) after being in Corinth where it may be presumed that he delivered his ὑπομνήματα:

And the Church of the Corinthians remained in the true Word until Primus was bishop in Corinth; I made their acquaintance during my journey to Rome, and remained with the Corinthians many days, in which we were refreshed with the true Word. And when I was in Rome, I made a succession up to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. And in each succession, and in each city, all is according to the ordinances of the Law and the Prophets and the Lord. (Hegesippus in Euseb IV, 22)

Anicetus is traditionally understood to have begun his reign as Pope in the year 150 CE, three years after the ten year of Antoninus's reign the date Clement understands 'Josephus' (his namesake) to have made a calculation dating the distance of time that had elapsed since Moses.

When you take the material attributed to 'Josephus' from Clement and Origen together and compare them to what is preserved by Eusebius as belonging to 'Hegesippus' there can be absolutely no doubt - the Josephan corpus began its existence as a corrupt and highly Christianized text WITHIN THE CHURCH only to be 'corrected' and purified of its obvious corruptions in the fourth century by an author who want to make Christianity and the Church look like something other than a bunch of laughing stocks who used counterfeit historical texts.

I can't believe no one ever noticed this before. But I am tired. Maybe I am not seeing clearly. I can't even open my eyes.

Email stephan.h.huller@gmail.com with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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