Friday, August 20, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 4 Chapter 4 or Bellum Judaicum Book 4 Chapter 2?

We continue with our section by section comparison of the two surviving Josephan narratives - Pseudo-Hegesippus and Jewish War. In our last section of Jewish War we saw the insertion of a ridiculous narrative estimating the Mount Tabor to be over 18,000 feet high! We see the same silly story introduced in the parallel Hegesippus narrative AFTER what follows here - i.e. the story of a certain 'John' who became a rebel commander in Jerusalem:

Thus far Gischala alone from the parts of Galilaea had not turned the enemy against itself, since contented with their fruits the more peaceful natures of its inhabitants seeing that (they were) a rural people manifested nothing bellicose, but by the communion of many, who employed their life in brigandage, even the inclinations of the milder (persons) were corrupted by wicked practices. There was besides a man, Levis Iohannes by name, a native, a plague of (his) people, second to none of the cunning in craft, knowing no equal in depravity, to whom a disposition of doing harm never lacked, sometime however a want of means of exercising iniquity was an impediment--which however I shall define not at all plainly I know whether poverty made him or hindered him, cunning in fraud, skilled in deceiving, trained to seek trust through lies and to ally credulity to concord, who thinks deceit is a virtue and would consider (it) tasteful to cheat those dearest (to him), ready to conspire impetuous to daring vigorous in performing, a trouble maker in leisure a deserter in danger, arrogant of good looks accustomed to brigandage, which when he was unable to conform to he joined however for the sake of obtaining control. Therefore a restless disposition, ready boldness supported him rather than deliberation, and wealth for uniting a band of profligates. Hence Vespasian discovered the people of the mentioned city with his faction to be roused up to war, in order that he should not fatigue the whole army he directed (his) son Titus with one thousand horsemen accompanied by whom he should draw near the city. But when he saw the walls crowded with people, he said himself to be astonished because they followed their example to make war, from whose destruction they ought to have come to their senses. Be it so however that the first trials have something of a presumption, what did the destruction of the hope of everyone show? The hopes of liberty were certainly pardonable in the beginning, however perseverance is not attainable by entreaty in extreme and hopeless circumstances. For those who are not influenced by an example of human kindness, by diligent warning of words, against them not words but arms are necessary. Having confidence in walls as if they would protect anyone against the valor of the Romans. Whatever else those shut in are able to bring forward, are not the besiegers able to stretch out (before it) except that the foolhardy are in captivity? No one had the opportunity to speak. The predatory band had seized the entire circuit of the walls. Iohannes was on guard lest anyone should invite the Romans in a friendly parley. And so he himself snatched away a report of a conversation, saying freely that he himself had undertaken the management of common concerns and had not neglected making use of a trial, if perhaps he was persuaded of its usefulness, or was satisfied with those things which brought forward, but he was prohibited by the law of his country, since there remained a day of the sacred week, to treat of conditions of peace, because forbidden that he should move the arms, thus even it was not allowed to take measures about peace on holidays. For indeed (it is) sacrilege for those forced to address the task at least with words, and not unpunished those who did the forcing. Himself to ask the indulgence of one day, a postponement so small as not to be in any way an impediment. Nor indeed with the enemy surrounding them was flight possible for those shut in. Conditions of peace to be offered him? such an equable option that fear was absent, him to be urged in the meantime that it was not necessary for considerations of peace for those for whom it was a moral obligation to that the law of the country be prevaricated. Such a generous offering of peace was arrived at that he who beyond hope freely offered peace, lest anyone should make a test, reserved his own laws for any about to attempt escape. Considering these things binding without treachery Titus sounded acceptance and recalled from the walls those whom he had brought with him. Thus Johannes having obtained the opportunity of fleeing departed in the dead of night with most of his forces. The women besides followed him departing. But the farther the men progressed the more women and children were left behind and abandoned by their men the frightened women regarded the road. And when already they lost their own men from sight, they thought the enemy to be at hand, trembling at every sound, if anyone should run, the miserable women were turned back, themselves to be sought, fearing to be thrown into chains, as if those whom they feared were already present. Titus in accordance with the convention, the sun already pouring down, hastened to the city with the army. The gates are opened, The people come out with exultation and receive the Romans with joy and eagerness, rejoicing the pestilential man to have gone away. Him to have fled during the night, the opportunity of free judgment to have been given to themselves, themselves to pray pardon that his fleeing not be a crime upon themselves, whom they were not able to hold without their own destruction. He satisfied with the delaying of punishment and the swiftness of accomplishing the task forthwith sent a great many to seize Johannes, if by chance they could overtake him. He having entered the city content to manage disturbers of the peace more by threats than by punishment pardoned everyone, so that no one aroused by hatred or domestic tasks should lead the blameless into ill-will and should strike with the fierceness of a severe crime, since it is much more tolerable to leave to the conscience of a fearful participant that which is uncertain than to condemn an innocent. For often fear corrects the guilty, punishment however of the innocent is without any remedy of correction. And so Johannes was not found by those whom Titus had sent, but the children and women who were following him were discovered. Up to two thousand almost were killed, three thousand however of infirm age and sex, when satiety of killing was achieved, were sentenced to servitude. He assigned a military guard to the state. And so all of Galilaea was brought into Roman power. For even the mountain Tabyrius, whose altitude is thirty stadia, the very highest point of the level country lies at thirty three stadia, from scarcity of water deserted by some, pardon having been sought surrendered to the Romans by others, although by the valor also and diligence of Placidus, to whom this task had been committed by Vespasian, the entire crowd of refugees, he followed while going away and by cunning earnestly urged them to retrace their steps, surrounded in the middle of the plain lost their place of refuge, found death. [Pseudo-Hegesippus 4.4]

The parallel section in Jewish War reads:

Now no place of Galilee remained to be taken but the small city of Gischala, whose multitude yet were desirous of peace; for they were generally husbandmen, and always applied themselves to cultivate the fruits of the earth. However, there were a great number that belonged to a band of robbers, that were already corrupted, and had crept in among them, and some of the governing part of the citizens were sick of the same distemper. It was John, the son of a certain man whose name was Levi, that drew them into this rebellion, and encouraged them in it. He was a cunning knave, and of a temper that could put on various shapes; very rash in expecting great things, and very sagacious in bringing about what he hoped for. It was known to every body that he was fond of war, in order to thrust himself into authority; and the seditious part of the people of Gischala were under his management, by whose means the populace, who seemed ready to send ambassadors in order to a surrender, waited for the coming of the Romans in battle-array. Vespasian sent against them Titus, with a thousand horsemen, but withdrew the tenth legion to Scythopolis, while he returned to Cesarea with the two other legions, that he might allow them to refresh themselves after their long and hard campaign, thinking withal that the plenty which was in those cities would improve their bodies and their spirits, against the difficulties they were to go through afterwards; for he saw there would be occasion for great pains about Jerusalem, which was not yet taken, because it was the royal city, and the principal city of the whole nation, and because those that had run away from the war in other places got all together thither. It was also naturally strong, and the walls that were built round it made him not a little concerned about it. Moreover, he esteemed the men that were in it to be so courageous and bold, that even without the consideration of the walls, it would be hard to subdue them; for which reason he took care of and exercised his soldiers beforehand for the work, as they do wrestlers before they begin their undertaking.

Now Titus, as he rode ut to Gischala, found it would be easy for him to take the city upon the first onset; but knew withal, that if he took it by force, the multitude would be destroyed by the soldiers without mercy. (Now he was already satiated with the shedding of blood, and pitied the major part, who would then perish, without distinction, together with the guilty.) So he was rather desirous the city might be surrendered up to him on terms. Accordingly, when he saw the wall full of those men that were of the corrupted party, he said to them, - That he could not but wonder what it was they depended on, when they alone staid to fight the Romans, after every other city was taken by them, especially when they have seen cities much better fortified than theirs is overthrown by a single attack upon them; while as many as have intrusted themselves to the security of the Romans' right hands, which he now offers to them, without regarding their former insolence, do enjoy their own possessions in safety; for that while they had hopes of recovering their liberty, they might be pardoned; but that their continuance still in their opposition, when they saw that to be impossible, was inexcusable; for that if they will not comply with such humane offers, and right hands for security, they should have experience of such a war as would spare nobody, and should soon be made sensible that their wall would be but a trifle, when battered by the Roman machines; in depending on which they demonstrate themselves to be the only Galileans that were no better than arrogant slaves and captives.

Now none of the populace durst not only make a reply, but durst not so much as get upon the wall, for it was all taken up by the robbers, who were also the guard at the gates, in order to prevent any of the rest from going out, in order to propose terms of submission, and from receiving any of the horsemen into the city. But John returned Titus this answer: That for himself he was content to hearken to his proposals, and that he would either persuade or force those that refused them. Yet he said that Titus ought to have such regard to the Jewish law, as to grant them leave to celebrate that day, which was the seventh day of the week, on which it was unlawful not only to remove their arms, but even to treat of peace also; and that even the Romans were not ignorant how the period of the seventh day was among them a cessation from all labors; and that he who should compel them to transgress the law about that day would be equally guilty with those that were compelled to transgress it: and that this delay could be of no disadvantage to him; for why should any body think of doing any thing in the night, unless it was to fly away? which he might prevent by placing his camp round about them; and that they should think it a great point gained, if they might not be obliged to transgress the laws of their country; and that it would be a right thing for him, who designed to grant them peace, without their expectation of such a favor, to preserve the laws of those they saved inviolable. Thus did this man put a trick upon Titus, not so much out of regard to the seventh day as to his own preservation, for he was afraid lest he should be quite deserted if the city should be taken, and had his hopes of life in that night, and in his flight therein. Now this was the work of God, who therefore preserved this John, that he might bring on the destruction of Jerusalem; as also it was his work that Titus was prevailed with by this pretense for a delay, and that he pitched his camp further off the city at Cydessa. This Cydessa was a strong Mediterranean village of the Tyrians, which always hated and made war against the Jews; it had also a great number of inhabitants, and was well fortified, which made it a proper place for such as were enemies to the Jewish nation.

Now, in the night time, when John saw that there was no Roman guard about the city, he seized the opportunity directly, and, taking with him not only the armed men that where about him, but a considerable number of those that had little to do, together with their families, he fled to Jerusalem. And indeed, though the man was making haste to get away, and was tormented with fears of being a captive, or of losing his life, yet did he prevail with himself to take out of the city along with him a multitude of women and children, as far as twenty furlongs; but there he left them as he proceeded further on his journey, where those that were left behind made sad lamentations; for the farther every one of them was come from his own people, the nearer they thought themselves to be to their enemies. They also affrighted themselves with this thought, that those who would carry them into captivity were just at hand, and still turned themselves back at the mere noise they made themselves in this their hasty flight, as if those from whom they fled were just upon them. Many also of them missed their ways, and the earnestness of such as aimed to outgo the rest threw down many of them. And indeed there was a miserable destruction made of the women and children; while some of them took courage to call their husbands and kinsmen back, and to beseech them, with the bitterest lamentations, to stay for them; but John's exhortation, who cried out to them to save themselves, and fly away, prevailed. He said also, that if the Romans should seize upon those whom they left behind, they would be revenged on them for it. So this multitude that run thus away was dispersed abroad, according as each of them was able to run, one faster or slower than another.

Now on the next day Titus came to the wall, to make the agreement; whereupon the people opened their gates to him, and came out to him, with their children and wives, and made acclamations of joy to him, as to one that had been their benefactor, and had delivered the city out of custody; they also informed him of John's flight, and besought him to spare them, and to come in, and bring the rest of those that were for innovations to punishment. But Titus, not so much regarding the supplications of the people, sent part of his horsemen to pursue after John, but they could not overtake him, for he was gotten to Jerusalem before; they also slew six thousand of the women and children who went out with him, but returned back, and brought with them almost three thousand. However, Titus was greatly displeased that he had not been able to bring this John, who had deluded him, to punishment; yet he had captives enough, as well as the corrupted part of the city, to satisfy his anger, when it missed of John. So he entered the city in the midst of acclamations of joy; and when he had given orders to the soldiers to pull down a small part of the wall, as of a city taken in war, he repressed those that had disturbed the city rather by threatenings than by executions; for he thought that many would accuse innocent persons, out of their own private animosities and quarrels, if he should attempt to distinguish those that were worthy of punishment from the rest; and that it was better to let a guilty person alone in his fears, that to destroy with him any one that did not deserve it; for that probably such a one might be taught prudence, by the fear of the punishment he had deserved, and have a shame upon him for his former offenses, when he had been forgiven; but that the punishment of such as have been once put to death could never be retrieved. However, he placed a garrison in the city for its security, by which means he should restrain those that were for innovations, and should leave those that were peaceably disposed in greater security. And thus was all Galilee taken, but this not till after it had cost the Romans much pains before it could be taken by them. 
[Jewish War 4.2.1 - 5]

It is difficult to understand why Pseudo-Hegesippus would only introduce John of Gischala at the very end of the Galilean campaign. This is especially bizarre when John appears almost from the beginning of Vita and Jewish War. Pseudo-Hegesippus must be closer to the original hypomnema. Vita was reworked to not only include John but make him more prominent than even Simon. 

Why was this? It is difficult to say but the fact that Hegesippus only introduces John AT THE LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT and in an otherwise forgettable narrative is quite perplexing. Gischala or Gush Halav as it is known in rabbinic sources WAS NOT destroyed by the Romans. This is very important as 'Josephus' can't get around the fact that Gush Halav offered no resistance to the Romans. Archaeological evidence suggests that the town continued to exist for at least another millennium. 

What we do see instead is a stupid story about a 'John' that is known only to the Josephan narrative. 'John' pretends to observe the Sabbath but really only uses it as a pretext to escape from the Romans. Does anyone really believe that the Romans would be this courteous? Rather it is the editors of Josephus who need to pin the blame for the destruction of the temple on someone else. Why not Simon? I think Josephus and Simon were brothers. But more on that later. 

It is also noteworthy that Jerome contradicts a source as important as Acts and declares that Paul's family came from Gischala in Galilee and moved to Tarsus (Comm. ad Philem. 23; De vir. illus. 5). He is clearly reconciling two contradictory traditions. Is it likely that two towering figures from the same age would come from the same insignificant village? I think there is some subtext here I just can't put my finger on yet.

And one other thing. I hadn't compared the two Mount Tabor narratives in my last post but aside from some basic similarities and both of them claiming that it was 18,000 feet tall and there can be no doubt that they both developed from separate literary traditions. Not only do they appear in different parts of Book Four we see Hegesippus write:

And so all of Galilaea was brought into Roman power. For even the mountain Tabyrius, whose altitude isthirty stadia, the very highest point of the level country lies at thirty three stadia, from scarcity of water deserted by some, pardon having been sought surrendered to the Romans by others, although by the valor also and diligence of Placidus, to whom this task had been committed by Vespasian, the entire crowd of refugees, he followed while going away and by cunning earnestly urged them to retrace their steps, surrounded in the middle of the plain lost their place of refuge, found death.

And the parallel narrative WHICH APPEARS EARLIER in Jewish War reads:

And these were the hard circumstances that the people of Gamala were in. But now Vespasian went about other work by the by, during this siege, and that was to subdue those that had seized upon Mount Tabor, a place that lies in the middle between the great plain and Scythopolis, whose top is elevated as high as thirty furlongs and is hardly to be ascended on its north side; its top is a plain of twenty-six furlongs, and all encompassed with a wall. Now Josephus erected this so long a wall in forty days' time, and furnished it with other materials, and with water from below, for the inhabitants only made use of rain water. As therefore there was a great multitude of people gotten together upon this mountain, Vespasian sent Placidus with six hundred horsemen thither. Now, as it was impossible for him to ascend the mountain, he invited many of them to peace, by the offer of his right hand for their security, and of his intercession for them. Accordingly they came down, but with a treacherous design, as well as he had the like treacherous design upon them on the other side; for Placidus spoke mildly to them, as aiming to take them, when he got them into the plain; they also came down, as complying with his proposals, but it was in order to fall upon him when he was not aware of it: however, Placidus's stratagem was too hard for theirs; for when the Jews began to fight, he pretended to run away, and when they were in pursuit of the Romans, he enticed them a great way along the plain, and then made his horsemen turn back; whereupon he beat them, and slew a great number of them, and cut off the retreat of the rest of the multitude, and hindered their return. So they left Tabor, and fled to Jerusalem, while the people of the country came to terms with him, for their water failed them, and so they delivered up the mountain and themselves to Placidus.

Hegesippus also gives very specific numbers about the numbers of people killed at Gischala:

And so Johannes was not found by those whom Titus had sent, but the children and women who were following him were discovered. Up to two thousand almost were killed, three thousand however of infirm age and sex, when satiety of killing was achieved, were sentenced to servitude. He assigned a military guard to the state. 

Jewish Wars does as well but they are again very different from Hegesippus:

they also slew six thousand of the women and children who went out with him, but returned back, and brought with them almost three thousand. 

We have demonstrated a consistent pattern of differing numbers between the two texts. Hegesippus and Jewish War represent separate traditions from a lost original 'second century' Josephan grandfather text.

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