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Re: Flavius and Luke

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... I ve just read J.P. Meier s chapter on Josephus in A Marginal Jew: Vol. one, and he very well disposes of this idea. Josephus was very likely in
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 1, 1999
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      At 05:26 PM 12/30/98 -0400, Tom Simms wrote:
      >On Wed, 30 Dec 1998 12:47:59 +0000, jwest@... writes:
      >>At 06:39 PM 12/30/98 +0100, you wrote:
      >>>Dear all,
      >>>any DIRECT conections between this two writers?
      >>I think the similarities are merely coincidental. Both wrote at around the
      >>same time and so it is no surprise that their styles are similar. Like
      >>modern romance novels, or westerns, or sit coms on tv sound vaguely similar
      >>because they are composed at the same relative time.
      > Once I got it in my head that Acts was mostly composed before 62 CE
      > it made it much easier to consider that J borrowed from Luke rather than
      > v.v. Just like I've swung from Exile anmd post exile comp of the
      > MT to post 132 CE for a final editing...

      I've just read J.P. Meier's chapter on Josephus in A Marginal Jew: Vol.
      one, and he very well disposes of this idea. Josephus was "very likely" in
      Jerusalem when James the Just was deposed (p.87), and would have had no
      need to rely on Luke as a source for Ant. 20.9.1 #200. As for Ant. 18.3.3.
      #63-64, the famous Testimonium Flavianum, about which every conceivable
      opinion has been expressed, Meier makes a good case that except for three
      interpolated phrases, the bulk of the passages comes straight from
      Josephus. The interpolated phrases are
      1. "if indeed one should call him a man"
      2. "He was the Messiah"
      3. "For he appeared to them on the third day, living again, just as the
      divine prophets had spoken of these and countless other wondrous things
      about him."

      These interpolations differ in style and language from Josephus' usual,
      whereas the remaining text is quite typically Josephan, according to Meier.
      So your Luke hypothesis would have two parts: was the Josephan material
      based on Luke, or, was the non-Josephan material based on Luke? Neither
      appears likely (See Meier, pp.67f.) The Josephan part of the Testimonium
      uses distinctively non-Christian language. If Josephus had access to Luke,
      he deliberately chose to ignore its most significant passages, and also
      chose to significantly change the language of the significant passages so
      as to render them unrecognizable as Lukan.

      In brief, Meier considers Josephus an independent witness.

      Robert Schacht
      Northern Arizona University

      "This success of my endeavors was due, I believe, to a rule of 'method':
      that we should always try to clarify and to strengthen our opponent's
      position as much as possible before criticizing him, if we wish our
      criticism to be worth while." [Sir Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific
      Discovery (1968), p. 260 n.*5]
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