Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 3 Chapter 23 or Bellum Judaicum Book 3 Chapter 10?

And now to continue again with our side by side comparison of Pseudo-Hegesippus and Josephus and yet another example of the Latin text actually providing more information and different information than the received Greek text of Jewish War. 

The material which immediately follows our last citation from Pseudo-Hegesippus reads:

From there he sought Taricheas with the army watchful and prepared, for the reason that very many of the rabble had collected at that very city because of the fortification of the place. And because Josephus had surrounded it with a wall, by which it was made inaccessible to foot soldiers, it was washed by the waves of lake Gennesarus, thus boats having been collected they clamored for a two front war: if a land battle should grow worse against them, they should flee to the ships, if they should yield in a naval contest, they should go back to the city and defend themselves by the encircling walls. The protection was similar in all respects in both places either in the city of Tiberias or Taricheas, but at Taricheas the natural disposition was better, the wall was stronger at Tiberias, but the fury of Taricheorans was more manifest, so that if it should be necessary that they could mix up everything, naval battles with land ones, land battles with fleet engagements. At worst blockaded by an enemy battle line since they would would act more boldly with resources, nor would any foolhardiness whatsoever move forward against the management of the Roman activity or also the valor of the veteran army, before they should undergo anything of destruction, overthrown into flight, they flew together to the ships. Who were pressed together as if they were fighting in a packed battle line, as if it were being fought hand to hand on land. And also in the plain an innumerable multitude awaited the enemy. Having learned that, Vespasian sent his son with selected horsemen.[Pseudo-Hegesippus 3.23]

And the parallel section in Jewish War reads:

And now Vespasian pitched his camp between this city and Taricheae, but fortified his camp more strongly, as suspecting that he should be forced to stay there, and have a long war; for all the innovators had gotten together at Taricheae, as relying upon the strength of the city, and on the lake that lay by it. This lake is called by the people of the country the Lake of Gennesareth. The city itself is situated like Tiberias, at the bottom of a mountain, and on those sides which are not washed by the sea, had been strongly fortified by Josephus, though not so strongly as Tiberias; for the wall of Tiberias had been built at the beginning of the Jews' revolt, when he had great plenty of money, and great power, but Tarichese partook only the remains of that liberality, Yet had they a great number of ships gotten ready upon the lake, that, in case they were beaten at land, they might retire to them; and they were so fitted up, that they might undertake a Sea-fight also. But as the Romans were building a wall about their camp, Jesu and his party were neither affrighted at their number, nor at the good order they were in, but made a sally upon them; and at the very first onset the builders of the wall were dispersed; and these pulled what little they had before built to pieces; but as soon as they saw the armed men getting together, and before they had suffered any thing themselves, they retired to their own men. But then the Romans pursued them, and drove them into their ships, where they launched out as far as might give them the opportunity of reaching the Romans with what they threw at them, and then cast anchor, and brought their ships close, as in a line of battle, and thence fought the enemy from the sea, who were themselves at land. But Vespasian hearing that a great multitude of them were gotten together in the plain that was before the city, he thereupon sent his son, with six hundred chosen horsemen, to disperse them.[Jewish War 3.10.1]

The two sections are rather similar again. Jewish War specifies a specific number of chosen horsemen (600) where Pseudo-Hegesippus does not. There are some other notable differences. As aforementioned 'Jesus' makes his way over to Taricheae in Jewish War but absent in Pseudo-Hegesippus. Jesus is here identified as being involved with 'disrupting' the Roman armies building a wall around their camp. The wall built by Josephus at Tarichaea is said to have been inferior to the one in Tiberias in both accounts but Jewish War adds the bit about Josephus running out of money to complete the walls surrounding the former city. 

It is also worth noting that only Pseudo-Hegesippus says that the walls around Tarichaea "made it inaccessible to foot soldiers." Pseudo-Hegesippus also emphasizes that the topography made Tarichaea easier to defend; something not found in Jewish War. It also retains what must be regarded as the original theme of the second century narrative - namely that an irrational "fury" was present in the Taricheorans which led them to contemplate a two front war - i.e. opening up sea battles with the Romans. These original details have been expunged from Jewish War.

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