Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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

We continue with our section by section comparison of Pseudo-Hegesippus with the Jewish War. The next section in Pseudo-Hegesippus reads:

And so the leaders of the priests ascending the wall spoke to the Idumaeans from a tower, 'It to be a great wonder to them, that so quickly ensnared in a net of lies they were pursuing with arms causes with which they had not yet become acquainted, when it was proper for them first to be arbitrators of affairs rather than fighters of wars and for the future to learn the merits rather than take up arms, and arms against men of their own race, their own culture, their own solemnities. Upon none was more of injury inflicted than upon the Idumaeans, who were aroused into an association of such loathsome scoundrels. For what other was demanded from them except horrible crime against the citizens, sacrilege against the temple? It is not wont for different inclinations among themselves and different ways to come together. In fact the similarity of customs makes a fellowship of inclinations and and it binds to itself kindred inclinations. The most worthless men, who support themselves by brigandage, took to themselves that they should invite the Idumaeans to be associates to them, so greatly abhorring the proposal of those by whom they were asked, that they wage war against their country, you truly they implored to come as if to defend a foreign city. We who are not criminal have nothing in common with robbers, who are sober have nothing in common with drunkards. Would that that drunkenness was from wine and not from rage. Who when they addict themselves to disgraceful acts, by overthrowing proper successions, they steal the property of others and things evilly acquired they carelessly destroy, they throw away the worst. There is no limit to their thievery, because there are no bounds to their luxurious consumption. When they have filled themselves with wine and sated their drunkenness, they throw up the excessive drinking of affairs of state, and make themselves drunk again with our blood and mock the sacred religious duties, which have always been for us a reason for veneration and reverence. Drive off the parricidal assemblies and abandon sacrilegious ventures, forsake the assemblages of brigands. You have been summoned to a society of wickedness: you have come to the assistance of native land. We see a distinguished people whom it is fitting to come to ask in a public assembly that to the most outstanding city of the Jews, which is considered the mother-city of the entire race, it should be of assistance against the enemy. But if we fail in our aim, while we hope for peace and do not wish to quickly tire you, we who offered peace to the arousers of war, you however, who have come as if by divine judgment, take counsel avoiding both extremes and display judges of both sides. Inquire from whence arose the beginnings of the disorder, who sounded the trumpet call to a peaceful city, who poured out the blood of the most outstanding citizens, by what authorities was punishment exacted from uncondemned persons, who were a ruination to us before the Romans. Against the former we resolved on war and at the present time we suffer them as enemies. Whose friendship with the Romans is therefore an object of suspicion, those who championed the Romans or those who rejected the Romans? This is certainly more important to us than the strifes of the Romans. From the former we died on behalf of freedom, by the latter we are murdered as if for a crime. Crimes of treason against the innocent are pretended and after death calumnies are fabricated, although judicial judgment is accustomed to precede punishment, not punishment the judicial judgment. For what profits it the dead man to be absolved when already nothing is withheld of the judgment? For however we admit a lottery of this sort, that after death an inquiry is made about innocence and we also gladly conduct the case of our and the dead persons' innocence before you who are armed in the presence of the established adversaries. Thus no evidence is supplied the calumniators, so that they have also a more difficult case before you who so quickly believed them. For a good judge grieves that he was deceived with lies and is more disturbed by the deceiving than by having been courted, that he had been rashly urged to believe falsehoods he thought must be avenged. But let us therefore reserve the complete consideration for ourselves and collect the truth not from a putting together of disputations, but from an ordering of tasks. First of all why we might surrender our country to the Romans, whom we were able not to provoke, and perhaps it was necessary to be done, that we should not incite the conquerors of every people. But this is already not an item of deliberation of the present factions. It was a task of previous times to choose the path we should follow, now it is necessary to die in behalf of freedom. For it is best to die for one's country. It would have beat before the war to prefer peace to death, but because war is upon us, many of our brothers already captured, others killed, grief from those dead lamentations from those bound up, a voluntary death is more to elected than a life of servitude. Notwithstanding there is available to those about to die because of false charges the effacing of the infamy of the charge of treason. In your presence, the Idumaeans, we plead the cause: let them be brought forth, let the witnessing expounders be summoned into the midst of the witnesses. If they hold witnesses, let them be brought forth, if they do not hold witnesses, what complaints do they make and what empty suspicions do they bring as charges, which they themselves have composed for themselves. They ought not to make charges which they are not able to prove. But because they do not dare to make accusations they wish to spread accusations about among the multitude and thus they spring forth to war lest they be called into judgment. For in war there is a content of madness, in peace there is an examination of truth. Behold! we are first at hand, we of our own accord offer ourselves for punishment, if indeed an accuser comes forth. Or if ill-will is whirled about in the people's presence, diligently inquire what was the purpose in a public meeting. Is it not that troops drawn up are being prepared for war, so that every one may aid his country in behalf of freedom. Surely against the bandits themselves what had been considered except that peace should be concluded. The anguish of every individual had provoked the displeasure of the people, the blood of innocents, the lamentations of women, the duplicity about the laws of our fathers, made the groans of all men resound, because each feared similar things for himself. The sacerdotal offices were conferred upon the most unfit. They began to be sought by voice, they struck the people with stones, they killed with weapons. The publish anguish blazed out, they made a place of refuge for themselves in the temple of the bandits. And so a place of peace inspiring awe even for the tribes and the seat of sanctity was made the place of assembly of plunderers, and that place to which from all parts of the land it was flocked together for the honoring of a festal celebration, there are now certain stables of wild beasts flowing with human blood. It is permitted to you, or the armed men, to inquire after these things, without the stipulation of war however. There was generally a judicial investigation in the midst of arms and compassion set aside the instruments of war, the judgment of fairness held in check the war-trumpets. You are able to transform these weapons to the defence of the city, which you took up for its subversion. For it is permitted to enter without weapons, to hear and investigate everything. If you should discover anything negligent against the enemy, consider it treachery. But if you wish to present neither defenders nor witnesses, why do you wonder if the gates are not opened to armed men? They are not closed against kinsmen but against weapons. Put aside war and the gates will open.' [Pseudo-Hegesippus 

The parallel passage in Jewish War reads:

Now, by this crafty speech, John made the zealots afraid; yet durst he not directly name what foreign assistance he meant, but in a covert way only intimated at the Idumeans. But now, that he might particularly irritate the leaders of the zealots, he calumniated Ananus, that he was about a piece of barbarity, and did in a special manner threaten them. These leaders were Eleazar, the son of Simon, who seemed the most plausible man of them all, both in considering what was fit to be done, and in the execution of what he had determined upon, and Zacharias, the son of Phalek; both of whom derived their families from the priests. Now when these two men had heard, not only the common threatenings which belonged to them all, but those peculiarly leveled against themselves; and besides, how Artanus and his party, in order to secure their own dominion, had invited the Romans to come to them, for that also was part of John's lie; they hesitated a great while what they should do, considering the shortness of the time by which they were straitened; because the people were prepared to attack them very soon, and because the suddenness of the plot laid against them had almost cut off all their hopes of getting any foreign assistance; for they might be under the height of their afflictions before any of their confederates could be informed of it. However, it was resolved to call in the Idumeans; so they wrote a short letter to this effect: That Ananus had imposed on the people, and was betraying their metropolis to the Romans; that they themselves had revolted from the rest, and were in custody in the temple, on account of the preservation of their liberty; that there was but a small time left wherein they might hope for their deliverance; and that unless they would come immediately to their assistance, they should themselves be soon in the power of Artanus, and the city would be in the power of the Romans. They also charged the messengers to tell many more circumstances to the rulers of the Idumeans. Now there were two active men proposed for the carrying this message, and such as were able to speak, and to persuade them that things were in this posture, and, what was a qualification still more necessary than the former, they were very swift of foot; for they knew well enough that these would immediately comply with their desires, as being ever a tumultuous and disorderly nation, always on the watch upon every motion, delighting in mutations; and upon your flattering them ever so little, and petitioning them, they soon take their arms, and put themselves into motion, and make haste to a battle, as if it were to a feast. There was indeed occasion for quick despatch in the carrying of this message, in which point the messengers were no way defective. Both their names were Ananias; and they soon came to the rulers of the Idumeans.

Now these rulers were greatly surprised at the contents of the letter, and at what those that came with it further told them; whereupon they ran about the nation like madmen, and made proclamation that the people should come to war; so a multitude was suddenly got together, sooner indeed than the time appointed in the proclamation, and every body caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis; and twenty thousand of them were put into battle-array, and came to Jerusalem, under four commanders, John, and Jacob the son of Sosas; and besides these were Simon, the son of Cathlas, and Phineas, the son of Clusothus.

Now this exit of the messengers was not known either to Ananus or to the guards, but the approach of the Idumeans was known to him; for as he knew of it before they came, he ordered the gates to be shut against them, and that the walls should be guarded. Yet did not he by any means think of fighting against them, but, before they came to blows, to try what persuasions would do. Accordingly, Jesus, the eldest of the high priests next to Artanus, stood upon the tower that was over against them, and said thus: "Many troubles indeed, and those of various kinds, have fallen upon this city, yet in none of them have I so much wondered at her fortune as now, when you are come to assist wicked men, and this after a manner very extraordinary; for I see that you are come to support the vilest of men against us, and this with so great alacrity, as you could hardly put on the like, in case our metropolis had called you to her assistance against barbarians. And if I had perceived that your army was composed of men like unto those who invited them, I had not deemed your attempt so absurd; for nothing does so much cement the minds of men together as the alliance there is between their manners. But now for these men who have invited you, if you were to examine them one by one, every one of them would be found to have deserved ten thousand deaths; for the very rascality and offscouring of the whole country, who have spent in debauchery their own substance, and, by way of trial beforehand, have madly plundered the neighboring villages and cities, in the upshot of all, have privately run together into this holy city. They are robbers, who by their prodigious wickedness have profaned this most sacred floor, and who are to be now seen drinking themselves drunk in the sanctuary, and expending the spoils of those whom they have slaughtered upon their unsatiable bellies. As for the multitude that is with you, one may see them so decently adorned in their armor, as it would become them to be had their metropolis called them to her assistance against foreigners. What can a man call this procedure of yours but the sport of fortune, when he sees a whole nation coming to protect a sink of wicked wretches? I have for a good while been in doubt what it could possibly be that should move you to do this so suddenly; because certainly you would not take on your armor on the behalf of robbers, and against a people of kin to you, without some very great cause for your so doing. But we have an item that the Romans are pretended, and that we are supposed to be going to betray this city to them; for some of your men have lately made a clamor about those matters, and have said they are come to set their metropolis free. Now we cannot but admire at these wretches in their devising such a lie as this against us; for they knew there was no other way to irritate against us men that were naturally desirous of liberty, and on that account the best disposed to fight against foreign enemies, but by framing a tale as if we were going to betray that most desirable thing, liberty. But you ought to consider what sort of people they are that raise this calumny, and against what sort of people that calumny is raised, and to gather the truth of things, not by fictitious speeches, but out of the actions of both parties; for what occasion is there for us to sell ourselves to the Romans, while it was in our power not to have revolted from them at the first, or when we had once revolted, to have returned under their dominion again, and this while the neighboring countries were not yet laid waste? whereas it is not an easy thing to be reconciled to the Romans, if we were desirous of it, now they have subdued Galilee, and are thereby become proud and insolent; and to endeavor to please them at the time when they are so near us, would bring such a reproach upon us as were worse than death. As for myself, indeed, I should have preferred peace with them before death; but now we have once made war upon them, and fought with them, I prefer death, with reputation, before living in captivity under them. But further, whether do they pretend that we, who are the rulers of the people, have sent thus privately to the Romans, or hath it been done by the common suffrages of the people? If it be ourselves only that have done it, let them name those friends of ours that have been sent, as our servants, to manage this treachery. Hath any one been caught as he went out on this errand, or seized upon as he came back? Are they in possession of our letters? How could we be concealed from such a vast number of our fellow citizens, among whom we are conversant every hour, while what is done privately in the country is, it seems, known by the zealots, who are but few in number, and under confinement also, and are not able to come out of the temple into the city. Is this the first time that they are become sensible how they ought to be punished for their insolent actions? For while these men were free from the fear they are now under, there was no suspicion raised that any of us were traitors. But if they lay this charge against the people, this must have been done at a public consultation, and not one of the people must have dissented from the rest of the assembly; in which case the public fame of this matter would have come to you sooner than any particular indication. But how could that be? Must there not then have been ambassadors sent to confirm the agreements? And let them tell us who this ambassador was that was ordained for that purpose. But this is no other than a pretense of such men as are loath to die, and are laboring to escape those punishments that hang over them; for if fate had determined that this city was to be betrayed into its enemies' hands, no other than these men that accuse us falsely could have the impudence to do it, there being no wickedness wanting to complete their impudent practices but this only, that they become traitors. And now you Idumeans are come hither already with your arms, it is your duty, in the first place, to be assisting to your metropolis, and to join with us in cutting off those tyrants that have infringed the rules of our regular tribunals, that have trampled upon our laws, and made their swords the arbitrators of right and wrong; for they have seized upon men of great eminence, and under no accusation, as they stood in the midst of the market-place, and tortured them with putting them into bonds, and, without bearing to hear what they had to say, or what supplications they made, they destroyed them. You may, if you please, come into the city, though not in the way of war, and take a view of the marks still remaining of what I now say, and may see the houses that have been depopulated by their rapacious hands, with those wives and families that are in black, mourning for their slaughtered relations; as also you may hear their groans and lamentations all the city over; for there is nobody but hath tasted of the incursions of these profane wretches, who have proceeded to that degree of madness, as not only to have transferred their impudent robberies out of the country, and the remote cities, into this city, the very face and head of the whole nation, but out of the city into the temple also; for that is now made their receptacle and refuge, and the fountain-head whence their preparations are made against us. And this place, which is adored by the habitable world, and honored by such as only know it by report, as far as the ends of the earth, is trampled upon by these wild beasts born among ourselves. They now triumph in the desperate condition they are already in, when they hear that one people is going to fight against another people, and one city against another city, and that your nation hath gotten an army together against its own bowels. Instead of which procedure, it were highly fit and reasonable, as I said before, for you to join with us in cutting off these wretches, and in particular to be revenged on them for putting this very cheat upon you; I mean, for having the impudence to invite you to assist them, of whom they ought to have stood in fear, as ready to punish them. But if you have some regard to these men's invitation of you, yet may you lay aside your arms, and come into the city under the notion of our kindred, and take upon you a middle name between that of auxiliaries and of enemies, and so become judges in this case. However, consider what these men will gain by being called into judgment before you, for such undeniable and such flagrant crimes, who would not vouchsafe to hear such as had no accusations laid against them to speak a word for themselves. However, let them gain this advantage by your coming. But still, if you will neither take our part in that indignation we have at these men, nor judge between us, the third thing I have to propose is this, that you let us both alone, and neither insult upon our calamities, nor abide with these plotters against their metropolis; for though you should have ever so great a suspicion that some of us have discoursed with the Romans, it is in your power to watch the passages into the city; and in case any thing that we have been accused of is brought to light, then to come and defend your metropolis, and to inflict punishment on those that are found guilty; for the enemy cannot prevent you who are so near to the city. But if, after all, none of these proposals seem acceptable and moderate, do not you wonder that the gates are shut against you, while you bear your arms about you." 
[Jewish War 4.4.1 - 3]

I can't figure out where the quote in Pseudo-Hegesippus begins but it really doesn't matter because it is quite evident how utterly false this 'history' really is. It is a marked change from the Galilean narrative. Beyond the question of how it is at all possible that any of these details made their way to Josephus, the motivation here for developing this absurd narrative is all too obvious. Ananus, Jesus and the priests become the 'good portion' of the Jews vainly struggling against those who wish to 'pervert' the ancestral religion. They want to surrender to the Romans but chaotic revolutionaries won't let them.

All of this is about as historical as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The only interesting nugget I can extract from Hegesippus is the continued interest of the second century editor in righteous 'para-suicidal behavior' - viz. "a voluntary death is more to elected than a life of servitude" and Jewish War clearly manifesting that it is a further 'polishing' of the original manuscript almost completely removing any historical reference to the REAL leader of the revolt Simon bar Giora. Indeed while Hegesippus simply references 'John' and 'Simon' Jewish War does its best to blame the war on a completely fictitious and unknown list of characters: 

whereupon they ran about the nation like madmen, and made proclamation that the people should come to war; so a multitude was suddenly got together, sooner indeed than the time appointed in the proclamation, and every body caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis; and twenty thousand of them were put into battle-array, and came to Jerusalem, under four commanders, John, and Jacob the son of Sosas; and besides these were Simon, the son of Cathlas, and Phineas, the son of Clusothus.

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