Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 4 Chapter 9 or Bellum Judaicum Book 4 Chapter 4?

We continue with our section by section comparative study of Pseudo-Hegesippus and Jewish War. The next section in Pseudo-Hegesippus reads:

Hearing these things Jesus retired considering himself to be resisting to no purpose with the will of god opposed, and indeed hostile forces were resounding within and without, and the state was being attacked from two sides. The Idumaeans were complaining because they were shut out, those located in the temple were plotting how they should be joined with the Idumaeans. Fear tormented the latter that the Idumaeans might go away before the accomplishment (of their purpose), the shame the intention of withdrawing tortured the former. And already almost distrust had arisen when suddenly at night there arises a terrible windstorm, a black tempest. The winds howl, the sky begins to tremble, the violence of the heavy rains pours forth strongly, there are dreadful flashes of lightning, monstrous thunderings, such rumblings of the earth that the world is thought to be dissolving. Who would think that this would more injure those located within the city than those existing outside the city, since the first were protected by roofed structures, the latter were exposed to the pouring rains? But the fear of injury frightened more than the injury itself. Finally those who had no refuge of roofed structures covered themselves with shields remaining on duty and not dispersing. Those about their homes and those who scattered gave opportunity that the gates should be opened by those who were within the temple. The opinions of the people were wavering and diverse. Some thought that the great offended god had moved the storms against the Idumaeans because they had come armed against their fellows. Ananus and the more profound abilities of the elders conjectured that the Idumaeans by the insult of themselves were more aroused to the destruction of their allies. Finally more disturbed than other nights Ananus that night remissly not from fatigue of the body but more from despair of the mind yielded to the circumstances flowing against him and the storms fighting for his and the world's destruction, he thought that the watches need not be looked to, as if he gave permission to disperse wherever and to whomever there was the desire. Having gotten which opportunity those who had taken refuge in the temple rising up cut the bars of the city gates. The din of the heavens worked with them so that the sound of the saws was not heard and the noise of those going out. Next coming to the wall they opened the gate near the crowds of Idumaeans. It would have been the last day for the entire people if they had not thought to go straightway to the temple before a place of concealment in the city. But because those who were being held shut in within the temple fearing for themselves and, the entrance of the Idumaeans having been recognized, fearing that an attack of the surrounding people might be made against themselves, that those about to die might demand vengeance, they asked that they themselves be taken away first for execution, then afterwards themselves and kindred men having been set free that they be sent forth among the people, to turn aside to those who had sent delegates asking assistance of safety, as soon as the price of the unexpected breakin should be paid to its originators chiefly by this service. For when things proceeded in accordance with their wish, all having poured forth from the temple like from a certain fortress in an extended battle line, they killed in every street whomsoever they met with, some sleeping, some terrified. Nothing availed prayers, nothing tears, nothing the insignia of public office, tokens of no merits, all were indiscriminately slain. Finally seeing the monstrous bestiality in these follow-ups, because none were spared, they themselves ensnared themselves, by a more wretched means as it seems to me, than if they had been killed by an enemy, because the suicide will be ascribed to cruelty, the knot of the hideous noose is given even to the upright. But what is the place for deliberation, when the fear of executions was so great, when each feared not death but torture before death, to which death would be a remedy. Blood overflowed everywhere and especially around the temple, because there were collected those who were guarding those shut in. Finally there were found that day of the killed eight thousand five hundred men. Afterwards turning against the city they killed in this way like a certain herd of cattle whatever men they encountered in their path. It was a lamentable sight for war to be waged within the city that was previously reverenced by all, for ruin to be brought upon the poor and feeble. Indeed the young and stronger were shut into prison, who were considered suitable for the faction, but with great courage the majority preferred to undergo every suffering rather than associate themselves with the morally lost. Nor was there any limit or sense of decency, so raged the madness of the monstrousness. Later when these (things) were seen to be madness, with the progress of time they began to pretend to themselves reasons for those slain, that they had brought the guilty to justice, not that justice was sought for, but that cruelty was aroused. [Pseudo-Hegesippus 4.9]

The parallel section in Jewish War reads:

And now did the Idumeans make an acclamation to what Simon had said; but Jesus went away sorrowful, as seeing that the Idumeans were against all moderate counsels, and that the city was besieged on both sides. Nor indeed were the minds of the Idumeans at rest; for they were in a rage at the injury that had been offered them by their exclusion out of the city; and when they thought the zealots had been strong, but saw nothing of theirs to support them, they were in doubt about the matter, and many of them repented that they had come thither. But the shame that would attend them in case they returned without doing any thing at all, so far overcame that their repentance, that they lay all night before the wall, though in a very bad encampment; for there broke out a prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and very strong winds, with the largest showers of rain, with continued lightnings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men, when the system of the world was put into this disorder; and any one would guess that these wonders foreshowed some grand calamities that were coming.

Now the opinion of the Idumeans and of the citizens was one and the same. The Idumeans thought that God was angry at their taking arms, and that they would not escape punishment for their making war upon their metropolis. Ananus and his party thought that they had conquered without fighting, and that God acted as a general for them; but truly they proved both ill conjectures at what was to come, and made those events to be ominous to their enemies, while they were themselves to undergo the ill effects of them; for the Idumeans fenced one another by uniting their bodies into one band, and thereby kept themselves warm, and connecting their shields over their heads, were not so much hurt by the rain. But the zealots were more deeply concerned for the danger these men were in than they were for themselves, and got together, and looked about them to see whether they could devise any means of assisting them. The hotter sort of them thought it best to force their guards with their arms, and after that to fall into the midst of the city, and publicly open the gates to those that came to their assistance; as supposing the guards would be in disorder, and give way at such an unexpected attempt of theirs, especially as the greater part of them were unarmed and unskilled in the affairs of war; and that besides the multitude of the citizens would not be easily gathered together, but confined to their houses by the storm: and that if there were any hazard in their undertaking, it became them to suffer any thing whatsoever themselves, rather than to overlook so great a multitude as were miserably perishing on their account. But the more prudent part of them disapproved of this forcible method, because they saw not only the guards about them very numerous, but the walls of the city itself carefully watched, by reason of the Idumeans. They also supposed that Ananus would be every where, and visit the guards every hour; which indeed was done upon other nights, but was omitted that night, not by reason of any slothfulness of Ananus, but by the overbearing appointment of fate, that so both he might himself perish, and the multitude of the guards might perish with him; for truly, as the night was far gone, and the storm very terrible, Ananus gave the guards in the cloisters leave to go to sleep; while it came into the heads of the zealots to make use of the saws belonging to the temple, and to cut the bars of the gates to pieces. The noise of the wind, and that not inferior sound of the thunder, did here also conspire with their designs, that the noise of the saws was not heard by the others.

So they secretly went out of the temple to the wall of the city, and made use of their saws, and opened that gate which was over against the Idumeans. Now at first there came a fear upon the Idumeans themselves, which disturbed them, as imagining that Ananus and his party were coming to attack them, so that every one of them had his right hand upon his sword, in order to defend himself; but they soon came to know who they were that came to them, and were entered the city. And had the Idumeans then fallen upon the city, nothing could have hindered them from destroying the people every man of them, such was the rage they were in at that time; but as they first of all made haste to get the zealots out of custody, which those that brought them in earnestly desired them to do, and not to overlook those for whose sakes they were come, in the midst of their distresses, nor to bring them into a still greater danger; for that when they had once seized upon the guards, it would be easy for them to fall upon the city; but that if the city were once alarmed, they would not then be able to overcome those guards, because as soon as they should perceive they were there, they would put themselves in order to fight them, and would hinder their coming into the temple.

THIS advice pleased the Idumeans, and they ascended through the city to the temple. The zealots were also in great expectation of their coming, and earnestly waited for them. When therefore these were entering, they also came boldly out of the inner temple, and mixing themselves among the Idumeans, they attacked the guards; and some of those that were upon the watch, but were fallen asleep, they killed as they were asleep; but as those that were now awakened made a cry, the whole multitude arose, and in the amazement they were in caught hold of their arms immediately, and betook themselves to their own defense; and so long as they thought they were only the zealots who attacked them, they went on boldly, as hoping to overpower them by their numbers; but when they saw others pressing in upon them also, they perceived the Idumeans were got in; and the greatest part of them laid aside their arms, together with their courage, and betook themselves to lamentations. But some few of the younger sort covered themselves with their armor, and valiantly received the Idumeans, and for a while protected the multitude of old men. Others, indeed, gave a signal to those that were in the city of the calamities they were in; but when these were also made sensible that the Idumeans were come in, none of them durst come to their assistance, only they returned the terrible echo of wailing, and lamented their misfortunes. A great howling of the women was excited also, and every one of the guards were in danger of being killed. The zealots also joined in the shouts raised by the Idumeans; and the storm itself rendered the cry more terrible; nor did the Idumeans spare any body; for as they are naturally a most barbarous and bloody nation, and had been distressed by the tempest, they made use of their weapons against those that had shut the gates against them, and acted in the same manner as to those that supplicated for their lives, and to those that fought them, insomuch that they ran through those with their swords who desired them to remember the relation there was between them, and begged of them to have regard to their common temple. Now there was at present neither any place for flight, nor any hope of preservation; but as they were driven one upon another in heaps, so were they slain. Thus the greater part were driven together by force, as there was now no place of retirement, and the murderers were upon them; and, having no other way, threw themselves down headlong into the city; whereby, in my opinion, they underwent a more miserable destruction than that which they avoided, because that was a voluntary one. And now the outer temple was all of it overflowed with blood; and that day, as it came on, they saw eight thousand five hundred dead bodies there.

But the rage of the Idumeans was not satiated by these slaughters; but they now betook themselves to the city, and plundered every house, and slew every one they met; and for the other multitude, they esteemed it needless to go on with killing them, but they sought for the high priests, and the generality went with the greatest zeal against them; and as soon as they caught them they slew them, and then standing upon their dead bodies, in way of jest, upbraided Ananus with his kindness to the people, and Jesus with his speech made to them from the wall. Nay, they proceeded to that degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies without burial, although the Jews used to take so much care of the burial of men, that they took down those that were condemned and crucified, and buried them before the going down of the sun. Ishould not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city, and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their high priest, and the procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their city. He was on other accounts also a venerable, and a very just man; and besides the grandeur of that nobility, and dignity, and honor of which he was possessed, he had been a lover of a kind of parity, even with regard to the meanest of the people; he was a prodigious lover of liberty, and an admirer of a democracy in government; and did ever prefer the public welfare before his own advantage, and preferred peace above all things; for he was thoroughly sensible that the Romans were not to be conquered. He also foresaw that of necessity a war would follow, and that unless the Jews made up matters with them very dexterously, they would be destroyed; to say all in a word, if Ananus had survived, they had certainly compounded matters; for he was a shrewd man in speaking and persuading the people, and had already gotten the mastery of those that opposed his designs, or were for the war. And the Jews had then put abundance of delays in the way of the Romans, if they had had such a general as he was. Jesus was also joined with him; and although he was inferior to him upon the comparison, he was superior to the rest; and I cannot but think that it was because God had doomed this city to destruction, as a polluted city, and was resolved to purge his sanctuary by fire, that he cut off these their great defenders and well-wishers, while those that a little before had worn the sacred garments, and had presided over the public worship; and had been esteemed venerable by those that dwelt on the whole habitable earth when they came into our city, were cast out naked, and seen to be the food of dogs and wild beasts. And I cannot but imagine that virtue itself groaned at these men's case, and lamented that she was here so terribly conquered by wickedness. And this at last was the end of Ananus and Jesus.

Now after these were slain, the zealots and the multitude of the Idumeans fell upon the people as upon a flock of profane animals, and cut their throats; and for the ordinary sort, they were destroyed in what place soever they caught them. But for the noblemen and the youth, they first caught them and bound them, and shut them up in prison, and put off their slaughter, in hopes that some of them would turn over to their party; but not one of them would comply with their desires, but all of them preferred death before being enrolled among such wicked wretches as acted against their own country. But this refusal of theirs brought upon them terrible torments; for they were so scourged and tortured, that their bodies were not able to sustain their torments, till at length, and with difficulty, they had the favor to be slain. Those whom they caught in the day time were slain in the night, and then their bodies were carried out and thrown away, that there might be room for other prisoners; and the terror that was upon the people was so great, that no one had courage enough either to weep openly for the dead man that was related to him, or to bury him; but those that were shut up in their own houses could only shed tears in secret, and durst not even groan without great caution, lest any of their enemies should hear them; for if they did, those that mourned for others soon underwent the same death with those whom they mourned for. Only in the night time they would take up a little dust, and throw it upon their bodies; and even some that were the most ready to expose themselves to danger would do it in the day time: and there were twelve thousand of the better sort who perished in this manner.
 [Jewish War 4.4.5 - 4.5.3]

Both Pseudo-Hegesippus and Jewish War continue to present the 'good side' within the temple promoting the correct sublimation of the para-suicidal impulse - i.e. to voluntarily offer oneself up for one's fellow man:

fearing that an attack of the surrounding people might be made against themselves, that those about to die might demand vengeance, they asked that they themselves be taken away first for execution

The second century editor creates a scenario where Jerusalem is understood to fall owing to the irrational suicidal or parricidal impulse of the Jews - viz. "seeing the monstrous bestiality in these follow-ups, because none were spared, they themselves ensnared themselves, by a more wretched means as it seems to me, than if they had been killed by an enemy, because the suicide will be ascribed to cruelty, the knot of the hideous noose is given even to the upright."

Jewish War describes the death of Ananus here and makes it the very cause of the destruction of the temple (we know that the earlier copies of Hegesippus associated this with death of James the brother of Jesus. Pseudo-Hegesippus saves the discussion of the death of Ananus and Jesus for the beginning of Book 5 but the understanding is still the same - viz. "there lay dead in you unburied Ananus and Jesus the foremost of the priests, and they not long since clothed in the priestly garments, which were objects of veneration even to foreigners, they have lain with disfigured body, the food of birds and the devouring of dogs, dismembered and scattered over the entire city, so that the appearance of former sanctity was seen to lament such a great affront of the sacred name and the degradation of the public office. But you yourself made for yourself the beginning of this vileness, who killed the prophets in the middle of your bosom, who stoned the blessed ones of the lord. Zacharias lay lifeless before the temple, he lay unburied. Here therefore blood bathes him. But what cause of death was there for Ananus except that he upbraided your people, because it did not rise up in defense of the temple, because he complained about the surrendered freedom, the forsaken courage, the trampled relics of ancient religious rites, the polluted altars?" [Pseudo-Hegesippus 5.2]

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