Friday, December 23, 2011

Why Isn't the Kingdom of Agrippa Counted as a Jewish Kingdom

I noticed this reference in the History of Physicians written by Ibn Abi Usaibia sometime in the thirteenth century quoting some Byzantine chronicle by a certain 'Andronicus':

The period of the Greek kingdom, from Alexander to the first of the Roman rulers who bore the title of Emperor, lasted 272 years. The first Roman ruler who bore the title of Emperor was Julius Gaius Caesar. He ruled the kingdom for four years and two months. He was succeeded by the Emperor Augustus, who reigned for fifty-six years and six months. In the forty-third year of his reign the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. The sum total of years from Adam to the birth of Christ was 5,504. After Augustus the Emperor Tiberius reigned for twenty-three years, and in the fifteenth year of his reign, Christ was baptised in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. In the nineteenth year of Tiberius' reign, Christ was crucified. This was on Friday, March 24th. On Sunday, March 26th, he rose from the dead, and forty days later he ascended to heaven in the sight of the disciples. After Tiberius Julius Gaus II reigned for four years. He was murdered in his palace. After him, the Emperor Claudius Germanicus reigned for fourteen years. Thereafter, the Emperor Nero, Claudius' son, reigned for thirteen years or, according to Andronicus, fourteen years. It was he who murdered Peter and Paul in prison because he relapsed into idolatry after having been a believer. He was murdered during a time of sickness Andronicus states in his "History" that after Nero, Galba reigned for seven months, Vitellius for eight months and Otho for three months. Thereafter, the Emperor Vespasian reigned for ten years. In the latter part of his rule, he undertook a campaign against Jerusalem, sacked the city and transferred all the vessels of the Temple to Constantinople [!]. This was the end of the Jewish kingdom and prophecy, [p.145] which, as God had decreed, was to take place upon the coming of the Messiah. Thereafter, the Jews were never to revert to their former status — that kingdom was the last of those which God had promised them. After Vespasian, his son Titus ruled for two years. In a shorter ancient book of Roman history, I have read that Vespasian was succeeded by Titus, in whose days Pliny, the sage, lived, and that Titus was succeeded by his brother Domitian. According to the same source, Vespasian ruled for fifteen years, and in his time Mani appeared and the town of Ra's al-`Ain was sacked.

How do we know that this is a Christian chronicle?  The appearance of Christ 5500 years from Adam is a dead giveaway.  Yet notice also the (mis)use of Daniel - the destruction of Jerusalem "was to take place upon the coming of the Messiah" "this was the end of the Jewish kingdom and prophesy."

Yet whoever was re-interpreting the Seventy Weeks prophesy of Daniel was developing the most implausible arguments to fit 'Jesus' into the original formula.  The original understanding was that king Agrippa was the anointed one who was 'cut off.'  The earliest Jewish and Christian source agree.  The later Christian chroniclers kept repeating the most implausible interpretations of Daniel until they seemed quite normal - i.e. Jesus crucifixion 35 years before the destruction of the temple becomes the 'half week.'  My question has always been - why doesn't anyone notice that the Jewish kingdom of Agrippa didn't end in 66 CE (or whatever point he was understood to have been 'cut off').  Agrippa and his sister Berenice had nothing short of a 'golden age' in the years following the destruction of the Jewish temple.  Why isn't anyone else interested in investigating or even speculating what happened to the Jewish religion during their cultural renaissance?

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.