Thursday, August 19, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 3 Chapter 26 or Bellum Judaicum Book 3 Chapter 10?

We continue our side by side comparison of Pseudo-Hegesippus and Jewish War with the next section in the Latin text:

For a very large bay of the lake itself, as if an extent of the sea, extends one hundred forty stadia in length, spreads out forty stadia in width, raising up a breeze with its sparkling waters to itself from its own self, from which it is called Gennesar from a Greek word as if producing a breeze for itself, of sweet water and suitable for drinking, accordingly as it does not receive anything thick or muddy of a marshy swamp, because it is surrounded on all sides by a sandy shore. And it is milder than the cold of a spring or river, it is colder however than the surface of a placid marsh, from the very fact that the water is not spread out in the manner of a lake, but the lake is frequently stirred up over great distances up by the blowing breezes. From which water drawn from it is both purer and softer for the use of drinking, and if anyone should wish to add spirit to the natural grace, as it appears in the summers suspended to the breezes in the nights by the custom of the inhabitants for drinking, it is considered to differ not at all from the usage of snow. The types also of fish are more outstanding in taste and appearance than in another lake. To finish things it seems good that we disclose the source of the Jordan which we promised elsewhere. For it was a matter of doubt of the previous generation, whether the Jordan arose from the lake to which is the name Gennesar, Philippus the tetrarch of the Trachonitidis region refuted the false belief and ended the error sending chaff into the Fiala which a river in Panium bubbled up. From which is established that the beginning of the Jordan is not in Panium but a river. For its source is not there, so that it began from it in the manner of other rivers, but it draws off from the Fiala to the same place by underground courses. There again as if its source it gushes up and emerging it is put forth. It is moreover from Fiala in the Trachonitidis region one hundred twenty intervening stadia all the way to the city of Caesarea. The name of Fiala moreover gives the appearance as expressing the character of a wheel, because it is so continuously full of water, that neither overflows nor again is understood to be drawn off by any lessening. The water drops away below by a certain amount and again bubbles up where Panium is, as is made evident by the resurfacing chaff. So the Jordan is revealed to have risen up again there where it was considered to come into existence by the men of previous times. Nor however was it the same at Panium from the beginning except for the natural beauty alone, but by the royal bountifulness of Agrippa richer and more splendid decoration having been added to the place, from whom we received a cave constructed and adorned with wonderful beauty through which the Jordan raises itself. From whence no longer by a hidden and concealed movement through the hollows of the earth but beginning with a visible and exposed river it pours itself through the lands, it cuts through lake Semechonitin and its marshes. From that place also directing its courses one hundred twenty stadia without any influx it goes forward all the way to the city which has the name Julias. Afterwards it crosses that lake which is called Gennesar flowing through its middle, from which places wandering about through much wilderness it is received by the Dead Sea and is buried in it. And so the victor over two lakes having entered in a third it sticks. The district Gennesar stretches over the lake of the same name, from which the district itself takes its name, with a wonderful favor of nature and appearance of beauty. For the richness of the soil furnishes voluntary crops, and prolific of woods it raises itself up voluntarily into all types of fruit bearing trees, and cleverness of cultivation having imitated nature in which revolves the use of the rich fertility it diverts thanks, so that there is nothing in that place which nature has denied, which cultivation has disregarded. The weather is suitable for everything and not unsuitable ever for any crops, whose temperateness is so great that it is appropriate for the differences of all growing things. In that place those things which are nourished by cold spread themselves out in many ways and those things which are favored by heat, there summer mixed with winter you may see at the same time northern nuts and dates unless in the very hottest places they do not know how to be grown. What shall I say of figs or olives, which a milder period of weather nourishes? They do not however equal those last. The former indeed and certain domestic crops are the chief products of Palestine and are more abundant there, the latter are almost equal and however although at long intervals very close. You might say a congenial competition of nature and circumstances: the former as a fruitful mother creates everything, the proper mixture of the latter as a good nurse brings up all things with a gentle warming. And so not only are produced satisfactorily varieties of fruits but they are even kept under observation, so that some chief kinds do not become unavailable during part of the year. All the rest are available during the entire period of the year all the way to the end. For both grapes and figs, which are in grafts of a certain royal favor, are numerous during ten months without any disappearance, and the remaining fruits of the branches, which willing farms have either brought into existence of their own will or human industry has produced, have not learned from a certain practice of those managing to give up their service, unless to new replacements. To this fruitfulness of nature and temperateness of the air is added also the favor of a spring, which irrigates the renowned region with a certain generative watering. Its name is Capharnaum, which some have considered not at all superfluously a branch of the Nile river, not only because it makes fat fields fruitful, but truly even because it produces a fish of such a type, that you would think it a coracinum which is found in the Alexandrine lake from the flooding of the Nile. The region also named from the name of the lake stretches out thirty stadia in length, twenty in width. Inasmuch as we have spoken about the nature of the region, we are going back to the conclusion of the battle. And so Vespasian placed a military troop on the rafts prepared according to his order, which pursued those who had avoided destruction by the flight of the boats. They could not discover therefore what they should do. No place of safety on the land, all things surrounded by the enemy, no opportunity of fleeing on the waters, inasmuch as the lake was closed off and surrounded on all sides by the Romans, no confidence of resisting even in the light naval vessels, what even could a few do against the many on the approaching rafts? Even the slow approach of these and the more effective charge of the boats, but without any wound to themselves only the rattling of shields the darts having been deflected back was heard. The Jews did not dare to approach, nor had any light boat approached nearer with impunity, since from close by it would either be easily pierced by the blows of darts or sunk by the rafts, and if anyone should have tried to swim out or escape, pierced by the dart of an arrow he would have laid down his wretched life in the waves. Nor were they able to resist longer, since they were being reduced by a different method. For the Romans gradually by the many rafts running together forced a great number of boats to the shore. And crowded together there they either leaped down onto the land and were killed there by the Romans, or they were cut down by those who pressed upon them from the rafts, or were treaded under by the running together of the rafts, or they threw themselves into the lake, when the enemy jumped into their boats. You would see the waters mixed with blood, the lake full of dead bodies. For no one was spared whoever was resisting. A terrible odor, a most foul stench of the region. Six thousand Jews, with those preceding however, and seven hundred killed in this battle. The victor Vespasian went back to Taricheas. There he was preparing to separate the people of the region from the city, so that those who were not the originators of the rebellion might be spared. But in the opinion of most, those who were such a great multitude, which could rouse again the recurring battles, they considered a foe of peace and harmful to the region -- for where indeed cast out from their country could they subsist? With what food would they sustain themselves without a share of anything unless they should live by plunder? -- he persuaded the opinion and the forgiveness of death having been implanted he ordered that they should go out by that gate which was in the direction of Tiberias and that they should take themselves to that city. They easily believed what they hoped for. They began to go out but all the route having being lined beforehand the troops shut off any deviation of the Jews and led them into the stadium of the city. Vespasian entered also and the age and strength of everyone having been looked at, whom he had ordered to be stood before him, he chose six thousand of the strongest young people, whom he sent to Nero on the Isthmus. However he ordered one thousand two hundred of the old and weak to be killed, thirty thousand four hundred of the rest he offered for sale. All however who were found to be from parts of the kingdom of Agrippa he granted to the king, whom the king in like manner the prize having been received transferred into the service of slavery. In addition the other people of the Trachonitidis and Gaulanitidis region and of Hippenus and Gadarita as the inciters of the war and disturbers of harmony, abandoning proper behavior and raiding foreign soil, who having taken up arms had violated the peace, paid the just and owed penalties according to what was merited for their crimes.[Pseudo-Hegesippus 3.26]

The parallel narrative in Jewish War reads:

Now this lake of Gennesareth is so called from the country adjoining to it. Its breadth is forty furlongs, and its length one hundred and forty; its waters are sweet, and very agreeable for drinking, for they are finer than the thick waters of other fens; the lake is also pure, and on every side ends directly at the shores, and at the sand; it is also of a temperate nature when you draw it up, and of a more gentle nature than river or fountain water, and yet always cooler than one could expect in so diffuse a place as this is. Now when this water is kept in the open air, it is as cold as that snow which the country people are accustomed to make by night in summer. There are several kinds of fish in it, different both to the taste and the sight from those elsewhere. It is divided into two parts by the river Jordan. Now Panium is thought to be the fountain of Jordan, but in reality it is carried thither after an occult manner from the place called Phiala: this place lies as you go up to Trachonitis, and is a hundred and twenty furlongs from Cesarea, and is not far out of the road on the right hand; and indeed it hath its name of Phiala [vial or bowl] very justly, from the roundness of its circumference, as being round like a wheel; its water continues always up to its edges, without either sinking or running over. And as this origin of Jordan was formerly not known, it was discovered so to be when Philip was tetrarch of Trachonitis; for he had chaff thrown into Phiala, and it was found at Paninto, where the ancients thought the fountain-head of the river was, whither it had been therefore carried [by the waters]. As for Panium itself, its natural beauty had been improved by the royal liberality of Agrippa, and adorned at his expenses. Now Jordan's visible stream arises from this cavern, and divides the marshes and fens of the lake Semechonitis; when it hath run another hundred and twenty furlongs, it first passes by the city Julias, and then passes through the middle of the lake Gennesareth; after which it runs a long way over a desert, and then makes its exit into the lake Asphaltitis.

The country also that lies over against this lake hath the same name of Gennesareth; its nature is wonderful as well as its beauty; its soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow upon it, and the inhabitants accordingly plant all sorts of trees there; for the temper of the air is so well mixed, that it agrees very well with those several sorts, particularly walnuts, which require the coldest air, flourish there in vast plenty; there are palm trees also, which grow best in hot air; fig trees also and olives grow near them, which yet require an air that is more temperate. One may call this place the ambition of nature, where it forces those plants that are naturally enemies to one another to agree together; it is a happy contention of the seasons, as if every one of them laid claim to this country; for it not only nourishes different sorts of autumnal fruit beyond men's expectation, but preserves them a great while; it supplies men with the principal fruits, with grapes and figs continually, during ten months of the year and the rest of the fruits as they become ripe together through the whole year; for besides the good temperature of the air, it is also watered from a most fertile fountain. The people of the country call it Capharnaum. Some have thought it to be a vein of the Nile, because it produces the Coracin fish as well as that lake does which is near to Alexandria. The length of this country extends itself along the banks of this lake that bears the same name for thirty furlongs, and is in breadth twenty, And this is the nature of that place.

But now, when the vessels were gotten ready, Vespasian put upon ship-board as many of his forces as he thought sufficient to be too hard for those that were upon the lake, and set sail after them. Now these which were driven into the lake could neither fly to the land, where all was in their enemies' hand, and in war against them; nor could they fight upon the level by sea, for their ships were small and fitted only for piracy; they were too weak to fight with Vespasian's vessels, and the mariners that were in them were so few, that they were afraid to come near the Romans, who attacked them in great numbers. However, as they sailed round about the vessels, and sometimes as they came near them, they threw stones at the Romans when they were a good way off, or came closer and fought them; yet did they receive the greatest harm themselves in both cases. As for the stones they threw at the Romans, they only made a sound one after another, for they threw them against such as were in their armor, while the Roman darts could reach the Jews themselves; and when they ventured to come near the Romans, they became sufferers themselves before they could do any harm to the ether, and were drowned, they and their ships together. As for those that endeavored to come to an actual fight, the Romans ran many of them through with their long poles. Sometimes the Romans leaped into their ships, with swords in their hands, and slew them; but when some of them met the vessels, the Romans caught them by the middle, and destroyed at once their ships and themselves who were taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they lifted their heads up above the water, they were either killed by darts, or caught by the vessels; but if, in the desperate case they were in, they attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands; and indeed they were destroyed after various manners every where, till the rest being put to flight, were forced to get upon the land, while the vessels encompassed them about [on the sea]: but as many of these were repulsed when they were getting ashore, they were killed by the darts upon the lake; and the Romans leaped out of their vessels, and destroyed a great many more upon the land: one might then see the lake all bloody, and full of dead bodies, for not one of them escaped. And a terrible stink, and a very sad sight there was on the following days over that country; for as for the shores, they were full of shipwrecks, and of dead bodies all swelled; and as the dead bodies were inflamed by the sun, and putrefied, they corrupted the air, insomuch that the misery was not only the object of commiseration to the Jews, but to those that hated them, and had been the authors of that misery. This was the upshot of the sea-fight. The number of the slain, including those that were killed in the city before, was six thousand and five hundred.

After this fight was over, Vespasian sat upon his tribunal at Taricheae, in order to distinguish the foreigners from the old inhabitants; for those foreigners appear to have begun the war. So he deliberated with the other commanders, whether he ought to save those old inhabitants or not. And when those commanders alleged that the dismission of them would be to his own disadvantage, because, when they were once set at liberty, they would not be at rest, since they would be people destitute of proper habitations, and would he able to compel such as they fled to fight against us, Vespasian acknowledged that they did not deserve to be saved, and that if they had leave given them to fly away, they would make use of it against those that gave them that leave. But still he considered with himself after what manner they should be slain for if he had them slain there, he suspected the people of the country would thereby become his enemies; for that to be sure they would never bear it, that so many that had been supplicants to him should be killed; and to offer violence to them, after he had given them assurances of their lives, he could not himself bear to do it. However, his friends were too hard for him, and pretended that nothing against Jews could be any impiety, and that he ought to prefer what was profitable before what was fit to be done, where both could not be made consistent. So he gave them an ambiguous liberty to do as they advised, and permitted the prisoners to go along no other road than that which led to Tiberias only. So they readily believed what they desired to be true, and went along securely, with their effects, the way which was allowed them, while the Romans seized upon all the road that led to Tiberias, that none of them might go out of it, and shut them up in the city. Then came Vespasian, and ordered them all to stand in the stadium, and commanded them to kill the old men, together with the others that were useless, which were in number a thousand and two hundred. Out of the young men he chose six thousand of the strongest, and sent them to Nero, to dig through the Isthmus, and sold the remainder for slaves, being thirty thousand and four hundred, besides such as he made a present of to Agrippa; for as to those that belonged to his kingdom, he gave him leave to do what he pleased with them; however, the king sold these also for slaves; but for the rest of the multitude, who were Trachonites, and Gaulanites, and of Hippos, and some of Gadara, the greatest part of them were seditious persons and fugitives, who were of such shameful characters, that they preferred war before peace. These prisoners were taken on the eighth day of the month Gorpiaeus (Elul). 
[Jewish War 3.10.7 - 10]

The first thing to notice is the source for the dimensions of the lake (140 x 40 stadia) is Pliny (Nat. Hist. 5, 15.71). This would also necessarily demonstrate that the composition of the original text behind Jewish War was necessarily later than Natural History which was published c. 79 CE. The idea that the historical Josephus was combing through this Greek encyclopedia seems particular silly. It makes much more sense to suppose that it was the synergoi who used Pliny to augment Josephus's original hypomnema.
I find the manner in which the narrative unfolds in each tradition interest too. In Pseudo-Hegesippus the author clearly doesn't know why the lake is called Gennesaret - " ... raising up a breeze with its sparkling waters to itself from its own self, from which it is called Gennesar from a Greek word as if producing a breeze for itself ..." The original author knew it was a Greek word but didn't seem to know WHY it was called that. In Jewish War we have a very different situation. We read " ... this lake of Gennesaret is so called from the country adjoining to it." Again no explanation of what the name means. 

The original name is Hebrew - kinneret. The form in Pliny is Gennesara. One would expect gospel variants of this Hebrew name but there are no variant; all reading strangely agree with Josephus.

What I find so puzzling is that these are Hebrew names which always end up garbled in various Greek writers yet it at least seems to me that Josephus and the gospels always walk in lockstep with how these crazy names. It's very peculiar.

I don't see a lot of variation from the gospel. It's as if the Greek version of the Hebrew names had become standardized in the period the texts were written which they weren't. When you look at an Aramaic dictionary at Greek words being rendered into Semitic languages there's always variation. Even Herod has two spellings.

I think the two traditions were established at the same. Not 'first century Josephus' and gospels written by 'first century' apostles but a 'second century' Josephus text and what Trobisch calls 'the final edition of the New Testament' - i.e. a 'set' of authoritative Christian writings.

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