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Re: Ian's Law and Bernard's Deli

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  • joe baxter
    ... To which I noted in my post: Bernard s summary slightly misses it mark. Aretas s grudge was not about JB. Still, I understood his point . . . . ...
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 1, 1998
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      Ian writes:
      >Regarding the perennial debate that may have petered out between Bernard and
      >myself, Joe thinks he can conclude:
      >
      >>Back to Aretas. Given how long lasting *this* argument has been, over a few
      >>lines of ambiguous text two thousand years old, and given the deepness of
      >>the emotional wounds probably created by Herod's divorce of Aretas'
      >>daughter, I think Ian's law has been disproved.
      >
      >I wasn't following the silliness of such terminology. What was Ian's Law?

      Ian's Law is quoted in my post. Bernard hath written:

      >You based your very late dating
      >on the assumption that anyone cannot have a long lasting (more
      >than "months") grudge against someone who murdered a very popular
      >figure. Let's call that "Ian's Law" from now on.

      To which I noted in my post:

      Bernard's summary slightly misses it mark. Aretas's grudge was not about JB.
      Still, I understood his point . . . .

      My post continued:

      >
      >>In any case, most wars have financial and territorial ("who had a quarrel
      >>with him about their boundaries at GamalikEi") considerations behind them,
      >>and the cited grounds are usually pretextual.

      Ian replies:
      >
      >Josephus is quite plain on the matter: he places the repudiation of the
      >daughter of Aretas by Herod Antipas as the fundamental reason for the strife
      >between Herod and Aretas. Why on earth are you now deciding he was wrong?

      Josephus does not place " the repudiation of the daughter of Aretas by Herod
      Antipas as the fundamental reason for the strife between Herod and Aretas."
      Not at least in my Whiston translation. What he says is that "Aretas made
      this the first occasion of his enmity between him and Herod . . . ." What
      seems suggested is that *Aretas* may have declared this as his reason for
      going to war. Like wrapping himself in a flag.

      Now I ask you, Ian, is it your habit to believe the reasons which are cited
      by a country as the real reasons which the country has for going to war?
      Would you agree with me that most wars have financial and territorial ("who
      had a quarrel with him about their boundaries at GamalikEi") considerations
      behind them, and the cited grounds are usually pretextual? Are you in the
      habit of believing politicians? Do you still (or did you ever) believe
      America's cited reasons for going to war with North Viet Nam? How about
      Hitler's reasons for invading Poland? How about Russia's cited reasons for
      invading Czechoslovakia? How about Kenneth Starr's reasons for going at Bill
      Clinton? If Aretas' real reasons for going to war were abjectly territorial,
      would you expect him to declare his reasons?

      I recognize, Ian, that the cited passage is ambiguous. Still, it is my
      experience that gold, land, and self protection are behind most wars. I do
      not trust the reasons given by Aretas.

      My post continues:
      >
      >>Thus Josephus, by itself, does not provide any real evidence of the date of
      >>John the Baptist's death.

      Thus Ian asks:

      >Does this mean too that you believe that Josephus had no reason for
      >connecting the death of John the Baptist with the war between Aretas and Herod?

      One senses in Josephus that he may have believed that divine forces were
      somewhat ostensible. Thus he says:

      "It was also reported, that when Aretas heard of the coming of Vitellius, to
      fight him, he said upon the consulting his diviners, that it was impossible
      that this army of Vitellius' could enter Petra; for that one of the rulers
      would die, either he that gave orders for the war . . . ."

      Thus Tiberius died, Aretas received fate's protection, and Herod received a
      fate due him. That is the sense I get from Josephus. But you read far too
      much into this to suggest a date for JB's death. Fate has its way of
      catching up to people, but it works at its own inexorable rate.

      With kind regards,

      Joe
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