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Death of JB [was Re: More Bernard]

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  • Marco Rotman
    In discussion with Bernard Muller, Ian Hutchesson wrote: [snip] ... It seems not impossible to me that some of the Jews is in the first place a literary
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 1998
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      In discussion with Bernard Muller, Ian Hutchesson wrote:
      > Josephus links the prime cause of the trouble between Aretas and Herod > to the outbreak of the war, at least that's what his text implies. The > "Jews" linked Herod's loss to the death of JB, but, for such a
      > connection to have been made, one cannot hope for a long period
      > between JB's death and the loss, otherwise the death would have lost
      > relevance to the events which followed.
      > (We are both following the assumption that JB's death was attributed
      > to his criticism of Herod Antipas's marital activities, though
      > Josephus doesn't give any indication that that was concerned: he
      > attributes the death to his crowd appeal.)

      It seems not impossible to me that "some of the Jews" is in the first
      place a literary invention. Divine retribution for good and evil conduct
      is one of the major themes of the Antiquities. The account of JB fits
      this theme too well. In my own words: it seems to be Aretas who is
      punishing Herod for his marital affairs, but IN FACT it was God
      punishing Herod for his unrighteous conduct in putting a man to death
      who was "a good man" and who "had exhorted the Jews to lead righteous
      lives, to practise justice towards their fellows and piety towards God"
      Is Josephus' remark that to "some of the Jews the destruction of Herod's
      army seemed to be divine vengeance, and certainly a just vengeance"
      historical? Maybe. We'll never know. But in any case Josephus wants his
      readers to believe that it was a just divine vengeance.

      Therefore: IF JB died in 27 CE, it is by no means impossible that
      Josephus linked the JB account to the war between Herod and Aretas in 36
      CE. Especially not if JB critized Antipas' marital affairs, as you both
      (and also I) assume.
      If the Jews actually made this connection is not important. JOSEPHUS
      made the connection.

      I am NOT trying to defend a 27 CE date of JB's death in Josephus. I
      still think we have two conflicting accounts (GMark: 27 CE; Josephus: 36
      CE). To date JB's death in 27 CE leaves us still with the problem of the
      eight years delay between Antipas' marital affairs and the war of 36 CE.
      What I AM trying to say is that in my opinion the argument quoted is not
      a valid argument for a 36 CE date. We cannot conclude either date just
      on the basis of Josephus linking the account of JB with the war.

      Hoping you will forgive me, as a non-specialist, for interrupting your


      Marco Rotman
      Centrum voor Bijbelonderzoek [Center for Biblical Research]
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