Saturday, August 28, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 4 Chapter 14 or Bellum Judaicum Book 4 Chapter 7?

We return to our side by side comparison of Pseudo-Hegesippus and Jewish War. The next section in Pseudo-Hegesippus reads:

And so Vespasian was begged that he should come to (their) assistance, because of which (their) destruction was feared. He hastened to Gadara, where very many rich persons, who because of their paternal estates more and more feared the traps and assaults of the brigands and therefore secretly sent to Vespasian that he should come to them, by whom the state should be rescued from the brigands. The Roman army was at hand, seeing which the Gadarensians had a desire of fleeing, but by what route that would be without death for them they did not discover, so that the faction would not rise up against them departing and kill them all. Naturally conscious of his delegation, that Vespasian had been invited by a delegation of Gadarensians did not escape the attention of the chief of the city Dolesus by name. Capturing whom they killed, and having avenged their injury and left the city they took themselves into hiding and better protection. Gadara is surrendered to the Romans and Vespasian is received with great applause.[Pseudo-Hegesippus 4.14]

The parallel passage in Jewish War reads:

These things were told Vespasian by deserters; for although the seditious watched all the passages out of the city, and destroyed all, whosoever they were, that came thither, yet were there some that had concealed themselves, and when they had fled to the Romans, persuaded their general to come to their city's assistance, and save the remainder of the people; informing him withal, that it was upon account of the people's good-will to the Romans that many of them were already slain, and the survivors in danger of the same treatment. Vespasian did indeed already pity the calamities these men were in, and arose, in appearance, as though he was going to besiege Jerusalem, but in reality to deliver them from a [worse] siege they were already under. However, he was obliged first to overthrow what remained elsewhere, and to leave nothing out of Jerusalem behind him that might interrupt him in that siege. Accordingly, he marched against Gadara, the metropolis of Perea, which was a place of strength, and entered that city on the fourth day of the month Dystrus [Adar]; for the men of power had sent an embassage to him, without the knowledge of the seditious, to treat about a surrender; which they did out of the desire they had of peace, and for saving their effects, because many of the citizens of Gadara were rich men. This embassy the opposite party knew nothing of, but discovered it as Vespasian was approaching near the city. However, they despaired of keeping possession of the city, as being inferior in number to their enemies who were within the city, and seeing the Romans very near to the city; so they resolved to fly, but thought it dishonorable to do it without shedding some blood, and revenging themselves on the authors of this surrender; so they seized upon Dolesus, (a person not only the first in rank and family in that city, but one that seemed the occasion of sending such an embassy,) and slew him, and treated his dead body after a barbarous manner, so very violent was their anger at him, and then ran out of the city. And as now the Roman army was just upon them, the people of Gadara admitted Vespasian with joyful acclamations, and received from him the security of his right hand, as also a garrison of horsemen and footmen, to guard them against the excursions of the runagates; for as to their wall, they had pulled it down before the Romans desired them so to do, that they might thereby give them assurance that they were lovers of peace, and that, if they had a mind, they could not now make war against them. [Jewish War 4.7.3]

The only thing of interest here is that Dolesus is just said to be the chief of the city of Gadara in the Pseudo-Hegesippus account. Jewish War feels compelled to make the narrative more interesting and so has him killed by the revolutionaries. Not a very interesting narrative.

Email with comments or questions.

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