Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why Don't People Read What 'Jewish War' Says Was Its 'Literary Purpose'?

So I want to reinforce to those reading this post that I not only (a) accept the fourth century revisions of the text but (b) posit that all previous studies of Josephus have mistakenly sought to connect the Jewish War tradition DIRECTLY with a first century original. This is misguided and show a lack of subtlety on the part of the scholars that perpetuated this interpretation.

As I have demonstrated already with what amounts to being only a limited examination of the original parallels between Hegesippus and Jewish War the grandfather text was established exactly when Clement tells us it was written - i.e. 147 CE - only a few years after the disastrous Jewish rebellion of bar Kochba. When read correctly - AND IN THE CONTEXT OF THE PREFACE TO THE RECEIVED TEXT OF JEWISH WAR (but not found in Pseudo-Hegesippus, the Slavonic, the Yosippon etc. - this context is explicitly confirmed:

I have proposed to myself, for the sake of such as live under the government of the Romans, to translate those books into the Greek tongue, which I formerly composed in the language of our country, and sent to the Upper Barbarians (viz. the Parthians and Babylonians, and remotest Arabians) ... [as a warning to] those Jews also who were for innovations ... [those who] were also in a flourishing condition for strength and riches, insomuch that the affairs of the East were then exceeding tumultuous, while some hoped for gain, and others were afraid of loss in such troubles; for the Jews hoped that all of their nation which were beyond Euphrates would have raised an insurrection together with them. [Jewish War i.3]

The witness of Clement that Jewish War derives from a second century chronology written long after the original events and the death of 'first century Josephus' is on very solid ground. All that it requires of us is to accept that the synergoi were not commissioned by this historical Josephus but editors working in the second century ONLY PRETENDING to be 'working with him.' The reality is that the text was being established to send out a message to contemporary Jews and Jewish sympathizers living in the aftermath of the bar Kochba revolt. 

This is a far more rational proposition GIVEN ALL OF THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE than merely accepting the mythology perpetrated by these texts which acknowledge falsification by Greek speaking 'assistants.'

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