Monday, August 23, 2010

Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 4 Chapter 5 Another Critical Section ONLY FOUND in Pseudo-Hegesippus

We continue our section by section comparison of the two narratives and stumble onto something which caught me by complete surprise. Pseudo-Josephus preserves what must be considered another very early part of the narrative which represents nothing short of the original 'glue' used by the synergoi to hold together the narrative. Laqueur and Cohen have often speculated that Jewish War was developed from a text related to Vita. Vita ends its narrative in 67 CE. I have always suspected that Jewish War is a composite of this 'hypomnema' and a reworking of Justus of Tiberias's Chronicle. This lost section found now only in Hegesippus seems to imply that the editors are using a new source after the end of Galilean campaign. We read:

Up to this point it has been permissible to wander about, while we occupy our pen with the contagion of the sacred temple founded by our ancestors and of the sacred law and with those fleeing around other cities. But already it is time that we take up those things that were done at Jerusalem relying not upon memory, but so that we do not seem to have denied the administration of the law of our fatherland, or of the pain of our ancient culture. There will be perhaps in these a shadow not truth, but however the shadow points out the track of the truth. For the shadow has the features of the picture, it does not have the brightness, nor is it carried out to perfection, but it portrays the future to those observing carefully.And thus the less the image charms, the more it attracts thanks. Whence it was decided by a witness of things to destroy the old things, to found new things so that they should follow the truth who did not follow the phantoms of faithlessness through difficulties. [Pseudo-Hegesippus 4.5]

This newly discovered passage (new to me at least) does more to challenge the authority of 'Josephus' than anything written in the study of the Josephan corpus in history. The writer is CLEARLY indicating that his use of ONE SOURCE has ended at this point and he is using SOMETHING ELSE which is considered BY HIS OWN ADMISSION something less reliable - i.e. (according to my estimation) something NOT WRITTEN by Josephus but by a less authoritative source. 

My guess is that this source is Justus of Tiberias Chronicle greatly (and imaginatively) modified for a specific purpose. 

Email with comments or questions.

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