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Re: [XTalk] Re: Two Jesuses: the Provocative Parallels

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  • Theodore Weeden
    ... of Nazareth and the story of Jesus, son of Ananias(_J.W._, VI. 300- 309). It seems plausible that the later Jesus was an imitator of the earlier Jesus, and
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 1, 2005
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      Richard Fellows wrote:

      > I agree that there are close parallels between the stories of Jesus
      of Nazareth and the story of Jesus, son of Ananias(_J.W._, VI. 300-
      309). It seems plausible that the later Jesus was an imitator of the
      earlier Jesus, and took his name. This would account for the
      similarities in the stories, and might also account for some
      differences. Jesus, son of Ananias, endlessly repeated the same
      phrase, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem" which sounds very much like the act
      of a mimic who simply repeated the words of his predecessor. Such a
      person would be no great threat to the establishment and might well
      be considered a mad man and released by Albinus.<

      >I am suggesting that Jesus, son of Ananias, was influenced by Jesus
      of Nazareth. You did not consider this option in your original post
      (#12940), Ted, so I would be interested in your thoughts. If my
      suggestion is correct, Josephus's story of Jesus, son of Ananias,
      provides an independent account of how Jesus of Nazareth was
      remembered in the 60's.<

      Richard, please see my post, "Josephus' Jesus-Ananias & Mark's Jesus," which
      I just posted, and in which I respond to a question posed by Karel Hanhart,
      question almost identical to yours.

      Ted Weeden.







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    • fellows_richard
      ... Jesus ... the ... Jesus ... Jesus, which ... Hanhart, ... No, Ted. You have misread my suggestion. Please read it again. I am proposing that the
      Message 2 of 10 , Feb 1, 2005
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        > Richard Fellows wrote:
        >
        > > I agree that there are close parallels between the stories of
        Jesus
        > of Nazareth and the story of Jesus, son of Ananias(_J.W._, VI. 300-
        > 309). It seems plausible that the later Jesus was an imitator of
        the
        > earlier Jesus, and took his name. This would account for the
        > similarities in the stories, and might also account for some
        > differences. Jesus, son of Ananias, endlessly repeated the same
        > phrase, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem" which sounds very much like the act
        > of a mimic who simply repeated the words of his predecessor. Such a
        > person would be no great threat to the establishment and might well
        > be considered a mad man and released by Albinus.<
        >
        > >I am suggesting that Jesus, son of Ananias, was influenced by
        Jesus
        > of Nazareth. You did not consider this option in your original post
        > (#12940), Ted, so I would be interested in your thoughts. If my
        > suggestion is correct, Josephus's story of Jesus, son of Ananias,
        > provides an independent account of how Jesus of Nazareth was
        > remembered in the 60's.<
        >
        > Richard, please see my post, "Josephus' Jesus-Ananias & Mark's
        Jesus," which
        > I just posted, and in which I respond to a question posed by Karel
        Hanhart,
        > question almost identical to yours.
        >
        > Ted Weeden.

        No, Ted. You have misread my suggestion. Please read it again. I am
        proposing that the historical Jesus son of Ananias knew about the
        historical Jesus and consciously imitated him. That explains why
        there are strong parallels between the two Jesuses. The son of
        Ananias may simply have adopted the name "Jesus" in adult life,
        naming himself after Jesus of Nazareth. We require no theories of
        literary or oral dependencies. I may be wrong, but that is what I am
        suggesting. I find no discussion of this proposal in the archives,
        and that is why I am offering it now. The essay that you posted
        today does not address my point.

        Regards,

        Richard.
      • Bob Schacht
        ... No, he didn t misread it. The problem is, you are assuming historical details about the former Jesus that Weeden does not assume. ... But you are assuming
        Message 3 of 10 , Feb 1, 2005
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          At 07:13 PM 2/1/2005, fellows_richard wrote:

          > > Richard Fellows wrote:
          > >
          > > > I agree that there are close parallels between the stories of
          >Jesus
          > > of Nazareth and the story of Jesus, son of Ananias(_J.W._, VI. 300-
          > > 309). It seems plausible that the later Jesus was an imitator of
          >the
          > > earlier Jesus, and took his name. This would account for the
          > > similarities in the stories, and might also account for some
          > > differences. Jesus, son of Ananias, endlessly repeated the same
          > > phrase, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem" which sounds very much like the act
          > > of a mimic who simply repeated the words of his predecessor. Such a
          > > person would be no great threat to the establishment and might well
          > > be considered a mad man and released by Albinus.<
          > >
          > > >I am suggesting that Jesus, son of Ananias, was influenced by
          >Jesus
          > > of Nazareth. You did not consider this option in your original post
          > > (#12940), Ted, so I would be interested in your thoughts. If my
          > > suggestion is correct, Josephus's story of Jesus, son of Ananias,
          > > provides an independent account of how Jesus of Nazareth was
          > > remembered in the 60's.<
          > >
          > > Richard, please see my post, "Josephus' Jesus-Ananias & Mark's Jesus,"
          > which
          > > I just posted, and in which I respond to a question posed by Karel
          > Hanhart,
          > > question almost identical to yours.
          > >
          > > Ted Weeden.
          >
          >No, Ted. You have misread my suggestion. Please read it again.

          No, he didn't misread it. The problem is, you are assuming historical
          details about the former Jesus that Weeden does not assume.

          > I am proposing that the historical Jesus son of Ananias knew about the
          >historical Jesus and consciously imitated him.

          But you are assuming things about what Jesus-B knew about Jesus-A that Ted
          is not willing to assume. That is, you are assuming that there were
          specific facts about Jesus-A, unstated, that Jesus-B knew about and chose
          to imitate. What is partly at issue here is what were those specific facts
          about Jesus-A? Furthermore, Your focus is on the two Jesuses, while
          Weeden's focus is on the two *authors* of the texts that we have, who by
          all accounts wrote decades later than Jesus-A.

          It just seems to me that you are assuming a whole lot of things about the
          historical Jesus, and what others knew about him generations later, that
          Weeden is not willing to assume.

          >...I find no discussion of this proposal in the archives,
          >and that is why I am offering it now.

          Perhaps this is because you are willing to assume as fact a great many
          things that others on this list are not willing to assume.

          I'd like to take a slightly different tack. One possible problem with both
          your thesis and Weeden's is that both assume a relatively simple linear
          relationship between written sources. I'm not so sure, and I appeal to what
          I suppose to be Mark Goodacre's suggestion about the interactivity of text
          and oral culture-- to which I would like to add possible text evolution
          prior to our earliest known documents. Let me try to illustrate this with a
          "just so story", admitting in advance all the weaknesses of this approach.

          Suppose that the author of GJohn has, as Ted has suggested, access to some
          form of Mark (oral or written), and that he also has access to the texts of
          Josephus that Ted cites. He knows, or thinks he knows something of the
          external dialogues of the crucifixion from Mark, and he knows directly or
          indirectly that there were also dialogues inside the palace (I am using
          this term imprecisely) to which he doesn't have direct access. Suppose
          also for some reason he concludes that the dialogues inside the palace were
          of critical importance, for one reason or another. What to do? Resorting to
          outright invention would probably not be convincing enough to anyone who
          knew what went on in the palace in a general way. But he has Josephus'
          account of Jesus-B (Ananias). Reasoning by analogy, he thinks that if
          that's the kind of dialogue that went on in the case of Jesus-B, then maybe
          the inside dialogue in the case of Jesus A was similar. In other words, he
          uses the pattern from Josephus as a template. He notes, as Ted has, the
          interesting parallels of detail, and these convince him that other facets
          of their treatment were also parallel. So he weaves the stories together.
          In other words, we don't really have to choose between A and B; It may be
          that they are woven together.

          In a sense, this is not all that different in methodology with what
          Crossan does in his reconstruction of Jesus. Crossan proceeds by asking,
          what normally happened? He gathers data from various sources, many having
          no direct relationship to Jesus of Nazareth at all. Then, having created a
          normative pattern, he jumps to the conclusion that things "must have"
          happened the same way with Jesus. In some ways, I see fair similarities
          between what the author of GJohn does in his Passion narrative, and what
          Crossan does. The biggest differences I can see are that (a) Crossan has a
          wider range of material to use, and (b) "John" was not as committed to a
          secularist materialism as Crossan is, and is more willing to see God's hand
          at work.

          In any case, thanks Ted for sharing your work with us again. I hope the
          changes in your life have settled down and you are developing some sense of
          "normalcy" in your life since your move.

          Bob

          Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
          Northern Arizona University
          Flagstaff, AZ

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Theodore Weeden
          ... Jesus ... the ... Jesus, which ... Jesus ... TJW wrote on February 1, 2005 ... Hanhart, ... Richard wrote on February 2, 2005 ... proposing that the
          Message 4 of 10 , Feb 2, 2005
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            Richard Fellows wrote on January 31, 2005:

            > > I agree that there are close parallels between the stories of
            Jesus
            > of Nazareth and the story of Jesus, son of Ananias(_J.W._, VI. 300-
            > 309). It seems plausible that the later Jesus was an imitator of
            the
            > earlier Jesus, and took his name. This would account for the
            > similarities in the stories, and might also account for some
            > differences. Jesus, son of Ananias, endlessly repeated the same
            > phrase, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem" which sounds very much like the act
            > of a mimic who simply repeated the words of his predecessor. Such a
            > person would be no great threat to the establishment and might well
            > be considered a mad man and released by Albinus.<
            > Jesus-Ananias & Mark's
            Jesus," which
            > I just posted, and in which I respond
            > >I am suggesting that Jesus, son of Ananias, was influenced by
            Jesus
            > of Nazareth. You did not consider this option in your original post
            > (#12940), Ted, so I would be interested in your thoughts. If my
            > suggestion is correct, Josephus's story of Jesus, son of Ananias,
            > provides an independent account of how Jesus of Nazareth was
            > remembered in the 60's.<

            TJW wrote on February 1, 2005

            > Richard, please see my post, "Josephus' to a question posed by Karel
            Hanhart,
            > question almost identical to yours.

            Richard wrote on February 2, 2005

            > No, Ted. You have misread my suggestion. Please read it again. I am
            proposing that the historical Jesus son of Ananias knew about the
            historical Jesus and consciously imitated him. That explains why
            there are strong parallels between the two Jesuses. The son of
            Ananias may simply have adopted the name "Jesus" in adult life,
            naming himself after Jesus of Nazareth. We require no theories of
            literary or oral dependencies. I may be wrong, but that is what I am
            suggesting. I find no discussion of this proposal in the archives,
            and that is why I am offering it now. The essay that you posted
            today does not address my point.<

            Richard, I apologize for not dealing specifically with your proposal that
            Jesus son of Ananias may have modeled himself upon the historical Jesus. Let
            me address that proposal here. First, I am not sure that there ever was a
            Jesus son of Ananias. The story of Jesus-Ananias is the last of eight dire
            omens of divine warnings against Jewish rebellion against Rome, ominous
            warnings from God of forthcoming judgment upon Judea, warnings which
            Josephus regretfully declares went unheeded. The first seven of these dire
            omens are (_War_, VI, 288-289: (1) the appearance of a star in the form of
            a sword hanging over Jerusalem, (2) the year-long appearance of a comet, (3)
            a brilliant light at midnight appearing around the altar and sanctuary of
            the Temple at Passover, (4) a cow giving birth to a lamb at the same
            Passover, (5) the strange opening of the massive gate of the inner court of
            the Temple at the same Passover, (6) the appearance of chariots and armed
            forces in the clouds before sunset following the Feast of Booths, and (7)
            priests, upon entering the Temple's inner court at night to perform their
            priestly duties during the Feast of Pentecost, overhearing heavenly voices
            declaring their departing from the Temple. The most realistic event of the
            lot, the eighth and final omen was the appearance of Jesus-Ananias at the
            Feast of Booths and his seven-plus years of prophecy of doom. Given the
            historically incredible and unrealistic nature of the first seven warnings,
            it raises the question in my mind as to whether the story of Jesus son of
            Ananias may not be equally fictitous. I could see it as a stiory created
            by survivors of the War who sought to pronounce "I told you so" on a Judean
            populace that either cooperated with the Jewish rebellion or failed to raise
            their voice against it, even when they had qualms about it. In this
            respect, the story of Jesus son Ananias provides prophetic realism of the
            foreshadowing of divine jdugment against Judea, prophetic realism made
            credible by type-casting Jesus son of Ananias as a latter-day Jeremiah. If
            fictitous, I do not think Josephus invented the story.

            If Jesus son of Ananias was a real person who did pronounce prophetic
            judgment against Jerusalem, its Temple and its people, there is little in
            the story that I think has historical basis. First, who among those present
            at his Jewish and Roman hearings, particularly the Roman hearing, would have
            considered what happened in those proceedings to be of sufficient import to
            report out details of the hearings such as are presented in the story.
            Second, the story tells us that during the Roman siege of Jerusalam
            Jesus-Ananias "was making his rounds and shouting in a piercing voice from
            the wall [of the city]," when he was felled by a Roman missile discharged by
            a catapult. The story ends with Ananias' son pronouncing one last woe
            against the city, its Temple and its people, and then a final woe against
            himself as he drew his last breath. I find thats final, personal woe to be
            a fictitous creation of the story teller. For with the siege of Jerusalem
            taking place who would have risked their life to be present with
            Jesus-Ananias as he made his rounds and heard his final woe against himself?
            The woe against himself makes a great tragic conclusion to the story. But
            that conclusion defies credible, historical realism.

            Now with respect to the possibility that Jesus-Ananias was a historical
            figure and, modeling himself after Jesus of Nazareth, took upon himself the
            adopted name "Jesus," I find such a proposal to be less than convincing for
            these reasons. First, there are no discernible Christian elements in the
            story itself, which would suggest that it had a Christian origin or that the
            story teller knew of the link between Jesus-Ananias and Jesus of Nazareth.
            Second, while Jesus-Ananias' prophecy against Jerusalem, the people and the
            Temple is very close to the prophecy of doom attributed to Jesus in Q (Lk.)
            13:34-35a --- "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and
            stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your
            children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were
            not willing! See, your house is left to you"--- I do not think the
            historical Jesus ever said that.


            In my full length manuscript ("Two Jesuses: Provocative Parallels,
            Imaginative Imitation, I have proposed that it was (to quote myself) a "Q
            scribe who framed the oracle of Q 13:34-35a [by drawing] upon both II Chr.
            24 and the Jesus-Ananias oracle as hypotexts for the creation of his
            hypertext oracle. I posit that proposal based upon what a number of Q
            scholars have concluded with regard to the character and orientation of Q
            13:34-35a, as well as with regard to the profile of the final redactor of Q
            and his purpose in his redaction. With respect to the character and
            orientation of Q 13:34-35a, Odil Steck (_Israel und Das Gewaltsame Geschick
            der Propheten_ , 26-58, 222-239) finds that Lk. 11:49-51 and 13:34-35 are
            texts that subscribe to and present the deuteronimistic view of history
            (58), a view of history that goes back, at least to the Deuteronomists of
            the seventh century BCE. The Deuteronomists, and those who continued their
            theological interpretation of history, thereafter, interpreted history as a
            recurring pattern of events, a pattern which begins each time with God's
            people disobeying God, which leads to God sending prophets to summon God's
            disobedient people to repentance and renewed obedience, only to have the
            recalcitrant people kill the messengers of judgment and repentance, a
            hostile response which, in turn, provokes God to punish God's disobedient
            people. That Deuteronomistic perspective is reflected in particular
            clarity in Lk. 11:49-51 in the references to (1) God sending prophets, (2)
            the killing and persecution of prophets, (3) the reoccurring cycle of
            killing prophets from the beginning of creation (from Abel to Zechariah),
            and (4) the divine punishment which will be inflicted on the present
            generation for its culpability."



            "With respect to the oracle of Lk. 13:34-35a specifically, Steck thinks that
            the oracle reflects the state of fear which gripped Jerusalem at the time of
            the Roman siege of the city, as Josephus has described it. As a
            consequence, Steck dates the oracle between 66-70 CE. Because of the date
            he assigns to Lk. 13:34-35, Steck (283, n.1) does not consider the oracle to
            have been produced by a Q scribe --- nor does he consider the oracle to be a
            Q text --- since Steck dates the final redaction of Q earlier than the
            Roman-Jewish War."



            "Dieter Luehrmann, advancing the Deuteronomistic interpretation of Lk.
            11:49-51 and 13:34-35, contended, contrary to Steck, that these texts are,
            in fact, the work of the redactor of Q who created them at the time of the
            Roman Jewish War (66-70 CE), and who interpreted the rejection of Jesus by
            "this generation," as well as its dismissal of the message of Q, as the
            actualization of the Deuteronomistic view of history (Q 11:49-51) which
            culminates in God's avenging judgment on God's people and God's abandonment
            of the Temple (Q 13:35a; for a description of Luehrmann's position see James
            M, Robinson, "The Sequence of Q: The Lament over Jerusalem," in _Von Jesu
            zum Christos: Christologische Studien_, 248f.). Robinson ("Sequence of Q,"
            244), for his part, allows for the possibility that Q 13:35a may be, in
            fact, a *vaticuu, ex eventu*, that is, the reference to God forsaking God's
            house may actually be a reference to an event that from the perspective of
            the real time of the Q redactor has already taken place. And Paul Hoffmann
            in the same vein states with respect to Q 13:35a: 'The saying . . . looks
            back to the vain efforts on Israel's behalf and reflects the imminently
            expected, or perhaps already completed (?), destruction of Jerusalem in the
            framework of the deuteronomistic view of history as the consequence of the
            rejection of the envoys . . . .' (see Robinson)."



            "Paul offmann, consequently, dates the redactor's creation of the oracle at
            around 70 CE. And John Kloppenborg Verbin (_Excavating Q_), in weighing the
            pros and cons of a pre-war or post-war date for the final redaction of Q
            allows that "Hoffmann's conjecture is not far off" (86; cf. 85f.).
            Robinson (244), also, appears to be open to a post-war date, and Matti
            Myllykoski ('The Social History of Q and the Jewish War," in _Symbols and
            Strata_, ed. R. Uro, 199) posits a date for the final redaction of Q as 75
            CE."



            "What is apparent to me, from this brief review of the on-going efforts of
            scholars to understand the import and purpose of Q 11:49-51 and 13:34-35, is
            that a growing number of Q scholars are interpreting Q 13:35a, in
            particular, as reflecting the devastating state of affairs in Jerusalem
            during or even just after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the
            Temple. I wish to press forward in that hermeneutical direction by
            proposing that the oracle is, in fact, a *vaticuum, ex eventu* by the Q
            final redactor as he, in the aftermath the Roman-Jewish War, looks back in
            retrospect upon the disastrous events of 70 CE when Jerusalem was razed and
            the Temple destroyed. " I submit, then, that the Q redactor derived part of
            his Jesus-oracle from Jesus-Ananias' woes against Jerusalem, its people and
            its Temple.


            With respect to the name "Jesus" and whether the son of Ananias might have
            adopted the name in his attempt to be like Jesus, "name 'Jesus,'" (to quote
            again from my manuscripy, "appears to be a fairly common name given to male
            children in Jesus' time. Josephus, alone, cites in his writings thirteen
            different persons with the name "Jesus" who lived in the first century CE.
            I list below these Jesuses in the order in which they appear in the General
            Index of the Loeb Classical Library edition of _Ant.__ (XX. 279f.), along
            with where Josephus initially cites each of these Jesuses in his various
            works, per the LCL General Index:


            (1) Jesus, son of Se‘ (_Ant._, XVIII. 341.

            (2) Jesus, called Christ (_Ant.., XX. 200).

            (3) Jesus, son of Damneaus (_Ant_., XX. 203)

            (4) Jesus, son of Gamaliel (_Ant_., XX. 223).

            (5) Jesus, son of Sapphas (_J. W._, II. 566).

            (6) Jesus, the chief priest (_J.W._, VI. 114).

            (7) Jesus, son of Gamalas (_J. W._, IV. 160).

            (8) Jesus, the brigand chief (_Life_, 105-111).

            (9) Jesus, son of Sapphias (_J.W._, II. 599) and likely the same Jesus
            Josephus refers to in Life, 246 (so indicated by the editors of the General
            Index) .

            (10) Jesus, brother of Chares (_Life_, 178).

            (11) Jesus, a Galilean (Life_, 200).

            (12) Jesus, son of Thebuthi (_J.W._VI. 387-389).

            (13) Jesus, son of Ananias (_J.W._, VI. 300-309).



            Given that number of persons with the name "Jesus" which Josephus cites,
            plus the strong likelihood that there were many more Jesuses in the
            first-century not cited by Josephus, i would not be unusual for the name
            "Jesus" to have been Jesus Ananias' given name, and not his adopted name.

            I hope this adequately addresses the issue that you posed to me in your
            post.

            Best regards,

            Ted
          • Stephen C. Carlson
            ... I think that either of the first two omens (and possibly even the third) relate to the regular reappearance of Comet Halley in February and March of 66 CE
            Message 5 of 10 , Feb 2, 2005
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              At 10:33 AM 2/2/2005 -0500, Theodore Weeden wrote:
              >The story of Jesus-Ananias is the last of eight dire
              >omens of divine warnings against Jewish rebellion against Rome, ominous
              >warnings from God of forthcoming judgment upon Judea, warnings which
              >Josephus regretfully declares went unheeded. The first seven of these dire
              >omens are (_War_, VI, 288-289: (1) the appearance of a star in the form of
              >a sword hanging over Jerusalem, (2) the year-long appearance of a comet, (3)
              >a brilliant light at midnight appearing around the altar and sanctuary of
              >the Temple at Passover, (4) a cow giving birth to a lamb at the same
              >Passover, (5) the strange opening of the massive gate of the inner court of
              >the Temple at the same Passover, (6) the appearance of chariots and armed
              >forces in the clouds before sunset following the Feast of Booths, and (7)
              >priests, upon entering the Temple's inner court at night to perform their
              >priestly duties during the Feast of Pentecost, overhearing heavenly voices
              >declaring their departing from the Temple. The most realistic event of the
              >lot, the eighth and final omen was the appearance of Jesus-Ananias at the
              >Feast of Booths and his seven-plus years of prophecy of doom. Given the
              >historically incredible and unrealistic nature of the first seven warnings,
              >it raises the question in my mind as to whether the story of Jesus son of
              >Ananias may not be equally fictitous.

              I think that either of the first two omens (and possibly even the third)
              relate to the regular reappearance of Comet Halley in February and March
              of 66 CE according to modern astronomical calcuations and contemporary
              ancient Chinese observations.

              That being said, I think that the collection of these omens is an editorial
              selection of various traditions by Josephus, so the historical value, if
              any, of each one has to be assessed independently. In other words, the
              credibility of the Jesus ben Ananias account does not stand or fall with
              either the comet omen or the bizarre cow story.

              As for Jesus ben Ananias, I cannot help but wonder whether Josephus was
              colored by the case of Jesus of Nazareth in choosing which details to
              highlight and which ones to suppress. It is hard to do history when
              there is only one source for an event, and a second source would allow
              us to assess whether and how much the first source spun an earlier event.
              Sometimes the spin is so great that what actually happened is unrecognizable.

              Stephen Carlson

              --
              Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
              Weblog: http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/hypotyposeis/blogger.html
              "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
            • Theodore Weeden
              ... Good insight. I need to check that out. ... True. But I think the stories are told to make the point that God gave sufficient, and more than sufficient,
              Message 6 of 10 , Feb 2, 2005
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                Stephen Carlson wrote on February 2, 2005:



                > At 10:33 AM 2/2/2005 -0500, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                >>The story of Jesus-Ananias is the last of eight dire
                >>omens of divine warnings against Jewish rebellion against Rome, ominous
                >>warnings from God of forthcoming judgment upon Judea, warnings which
                >>Josephus regretfully declares went unheeded. The first seven of these
                >>dire
                >>omens are (_War_, VI, 288-289: (1) the appearance of a star in the form
                >>of
                >>a sword hanging over Jerusalem, (2) the year-long appearance of a comet,
                >>(3)
                >>a brilliant light at midnight appearing around the altar and sanctuary of
                >>the Temple at Passover, (4) a cow giving birth to a lamb at the same
                >>Passover, (5) the strange opening of the massive gate of the inner court
                >>of
                >>the Temple at the same Passover, (6) the appearance of chariots and armed
                >>forces in the clouds before sunset following the Feast of Booths, and (7)
                >>priests, upon entering the Temple's inner court at night to perform their
                >>priestly duties during the Feast of Pentecost, overhearing heavenly voices
                >>declaring their departing from the Temple. The most realistic event of
                >>the
                >>lot, the eighth and final omen was the appearance of Jesus-Ananias at the
                >>Feast of Booths and his seven-plus years of prophecy of doom. Given the
                >>historically incredible and unrealistic nature of the first seven
                >>warnings,
                >>it raises the question in my mind as to whether the story of Jesus son of
                >>Ananias may not be equally fictitous.
                >
                > I think that either of the first two omens (and possibly even the third)
                > relate to the regular reappearance of Comet Halley in February and March
                > of 66 CE according to modern astronomical calcuations and contemporary
                > ancient Chinese observations.

                Good insight. I need to check that out.

                > That being said, I think that the collection of these omens is an
                > editorial
                > selection of various traditions by Josephus, so the historical value, if
                > any, of each one has to be assessed independently. In other words, the
                > credibility of the Jesus ben Ananias account does not stand or fall with
                > either the comet omen or the bizarre cow story.

                True. But I think the stories are told to make the point that God gave
                sufficient, and more than sufficient, warning of God's impending judgment if
                the Judeans pursued their rebellion against Rome. So the historicity of any
                of these omens is not at issue for the story teller(s) who first formulated
                them nor for Josephus. As I noted in my post to Bob Schacht tonight on the
                genre of the story of Jesus son of Ananias. I think that the story of
                Jesus-Ananias was fabricated to conform to the wisdom tale genre, with
                Isaianic suffering servant features, a Deuteronomistic hermeneutical
                creation produced after, and as a result of, the fall Jerusalem.
                >
                > As for Jesus ben Ananias, I cannot help but wonder whether Josephus was
                > colored by the case of Jesus of Nazareth in choosing which details to
                > highlight and which ones to suppress. It is hard to do history when
                > there is only one source for an event, and a second source would allow
                > us to assess whether and how much the first source spun an earlier event.
                > Sometimes the spin is so great that what actually happened is
                > unrecognizable.

                Stephen, I am not sure I fully understand your point here. Could you help
                me?

                Thanks.

                Ted.
              • fellows_richard
                Ted, thanks for responding to my suggestion that Jesus, son of Ananias, modeled himself on Jesus of Nazareth. Your arguments are predicated on certain
                Message 7 of 10 , Feb 2, 2005
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                  Ted,

                  thanks for responding to my suggestion that Jesus, son of Ananias,
                  modeled himself on Jesus of Nazareth. Your arguments are predicated
                  on certain assumptions, but I accept their logic.

                  However, it seems to me that in refuting my proposal, you may have
                  undermined your own thesis, to some extent.

                  You correctly point out that Jesus was a common name, so we have no
                  strong reason to suppose that Jesus son of Ananias named himself
                  after Jesus of Nazareth. Fine. But this observation also undermines
                  your own point that the common name is a parallel between the two
                  accounts.

                  You also suggest that the "woe to Jerusalem" spoken by the son of
                  Ananias could have been a fiction invented after the war. But if
                  that were the case then it is equally plausible that similar sayings
                  attributed to Jesus were independently invented after the war for
                  similar reasons, and in that case you loose one of your supposed
                  parallels. If the invention of such things was common, as you
                  suggest, it is not so significant that they are ascribed to both
                  Jesuses.

                  Incidentally, my suggestion does not require that particular details
                  about Jesus are historical. I only require that the traditions about
                  Jesus of Nazareth that are reminiscent of the story of Jesus-Ananias
                  were current in Jerusalem in the 60's. That is to say, I am
                  suggesting that Jesus-Ananias modeled himself on some traditions of
                  Jesus of Nazareth, which also found their way into the gospels.

                  >First, there are no discernible Christian elements in the
                  > story itself, which would suggest that it had a Christian origin
                  or that the
                  > story teller knew of the link between Jesus-Ananias and Jesus of
                  Nazareth.

                  I am not suggesting that Jesus-Ananias was a Christian.

                  Richard.
                • Stephen C. Carlson
                  ... Thanks. ... I d like to review the chronology. Josephus states that the Jesus ben Ananias incident started during Sukkot about four years before the war
                  Message 8 of 10 , Feb 3, 2005
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                    At 11:09 PM 2/2/2005 -0500, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                    >Good insight. I need to check that out.

                    Thanks.

                    >Stephen Carlson wrote on February 2, 2005:
                    >> That being said, I think that the collection of these omens is an
                    >> editorial
                    >> selection of various traditions by Josephus, so the historical value, if
                    >> any, of each one has to be assessed independently. In other words, the
                    >> credibility of the Jesus ben Ananias account does not stand or fall with
                    >> either the comet omen or the bizarre cow story.
                    >
                    >True. But I think the stories are told to make the point that God gave
                    >sufficient, and more than sufficient, warning of God's impending judgment if
                    >the Judeans pursued their rebellion against Rome. So the historicity of any
                    >of these omens is not at issue for the story teller(s) who first formulated
                    >them nor for Josephus. As I noted in my post to Bob Schacht tonight on the
                    >genre of the story of Jesus son of Ananias. I think that the story of
                    >Jesus-Ananias was fabricated to conform to the wisdom tale genre, with
                    >Isaianic suffering servant features, a Deuteronomistic hermeneutical
                    >creation produced after, and as a result of, the fall Jerusalem.

                    I'd like to review the chronology.

                    Josephus states that the Jesus ben Ananias incident started during
                    Sukkot about four years before the war started, so we're looking at
                    66-4 = 62 (autumn). After the incident, Jesus ben Ananias continued
                    to mutter "Woe to Jerusalem," especially at festivals, for another
                    7 years and five months, which takes us to spring of 70. When the
                    thing started, however, Josephus either on his way to Rome or in
                    Rome and did not return to Jerusalem until 65. The war started in
                    66, and Josephus was appointed to a military position in Galilee,
                    where he was captured in July 67. After some political maneuvering,
                    Josephus ended up being a translator for Titus and arrived at
                    Jerusalem on May 1, just in time for one of the Romans to kill
                    the guy with some kind of catapult attack.

                    Josephus was not in Jerusalem when the whole thing started, so
                    he had no personal knowledge of what happened at any trial. He
                    did have first-hand knowledge of this guy muttering "Woe to
                    Jerusalem" when Josephus was at Jerusalem in 65/66 and 70, and
                    it looks like this picqued his curiosity and Josephus asked
                    around and got an account or accounts of the 62 trial at least
                    second-hand. Josephus was politically connected, so his sources
                    were reasonably well placed, but I doubt that Josephus relied
                    on written records for this information but relied on his oral
                    inquiries probably under very informal circumstances.

                    It really seems unlikely to me that the Jesus ben Ananias is a
                    complete fabrication. The man's behavior was too public and
                    Josephus was too close to it for the complete fabrication
                    scenario to explain why Josephus would be making this up.

                    The way Josephus described Jesus ben Ananias, it just looks
                    to me that the latter was mentally ill (a "madman" as what
                    Josephus tells us about Albinus's concluded ). Interpreting
                    Jesus ben Ananias as an omen about the destruction of Jerusalem
                    can only be ex post facto, by one with a pro-Roman apolegetical
                    interest. This was Josephus's Tendenz in War, and I have to
                    think that this interpretation as a bad omen was largely invented
                    by Josephus. I think we see the Josephus's spin in the other
                    omens. For example, I doubt Comet Halley was thought of before
                    the War as a bad omen for the Jews, but as a bad omen against
                    the Romans. Frankly, I doubt that any Jew in Jerusalem except
                    for Jesus actually interpreted these as bad omen against them.
                    It's just post-war spin for Josephus.

                    The next question to consider is where did the seemingly Christian
                    details in the account come from. I suppose there are a couple
                    of possibilties. For example, Josephus deliberately shaped the
                    telling of account to being out the parallels between Jesus of
                    Nazareth and the madman Jesus and possibly discredit Jesus in the
                    process. As another example, Josephus wanted to relate a trial
                    scence but did not have any real detais, so he took it from Mark
                    or Luke. Alternatively, one could flip it arround and argue that
                    Mark or Luke shaped their accounts of the trial around those of
                    Jesus ben Ananias. A final possibility is that when Josephus asked
                    about Jesus ben Anaaias's trial, his source got confused and
                    told him the details for another trial of a Jesus--i.e., Jesus
                    of Nazareth -- or the two trial accounts were already conflated
                    in the ppopular imagination by the time Josephus inquired about
                    it. I like the last possibility the best.

                    >> As for Jesus ben Ananias, I cannot help but wonder whether Josephus was
                    >> colored by the case of Jesus of Nazareth in choosing which details to
                    >> highlight and which ones to suppress. It is hard to do history when
                    >> there is only one source for an event, and a second source would allow
                    >> us to assess whether and how much the first source spun an earlier event.
                    >> Sometimes the spin is so great that what actually happened is
                    >> unrecognizable.
                    >
                    >Stephen, I am not sure I fully understand your point here. Could you help
                    >me?

                    I'm having trouble understanding my point too. I'll be happy to
                    help once I figure what I was aiming at. Don't hold your breath,
                    though.

                    Stephen

                    --
                    Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                    Weblog: http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/hypotyposeis/blogger.html
                    "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
                  • David Hindley
                    ... in the account come from. I suppose there are a couple of possibilities. For example, Josephus deliberately shaped the telling of account to being out the
                    Message 9 of 10 , Feb 3, 2005
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                      Stephen Carlson says:

                      >>The next question to consider is where did the seemingly Christian details
                      in the account come from. I suppose there are a couple of possibilities.
                      For example, Josephus deliberately shaped the telling of account to being
                      out the parallels between Jesus of Nazareth and the madman Jesus and
                      possibly discredit Jesus in the process. As another example, Josephus
                      wanted to relate a trial scene but did not have any real details, so he took
                      it from Mark or Luke. Alternatively, one could flip it around and argue
                      that Mark or Luke shaped their accounts of the trial around those of Jesus
                      ben Ananias. A final possibility is that when Josephus asked about Jesus
                      ben Ananias's trial, his source got confused and told him the details for
                      another trial of a Jesus--i.e., Jesus of Nazareth -- or the two trial
                      accounts were already conflated in the popular imagination by the time
                      Josephus inquired about it. I like the last possibility the best.<<

                      Those seemingly Christian parallels ("details" suggests a connection that is
                      to be proved, not assumed) are pretty vague. Interrogation by a governor,
                      scourging and reviling, it would seem to me, may be the norm for all trials
                      of this sort. His continued laments may have caused fears among the
                      Jerusalem (Jewish) elite that the Romans might interpret them as
                      instigations to revolt or at least a potential cause of major unrest.
                      Josephus' portrayal of events makes it appear that the Jewish elites did not
                      think much of the man, but that is part of the ironic plot of the story.
                      Still, I would think that they really had no choice but to send him to the
                      governor, if he were indeed real, or risk recriminations.

                      The governor releasing him as nothing more than a madman may be a true event
                      (the prospect of the Jewish temple and city being destroyed was not a likely
                      one at the time, and perhaps even laughable to the Roman ruling class or
                      their soldiers, who were fully aware of and/or resentful of the significant
                      privileges accorded to Jews and their temple state), but may also again be
                      an intentional ironic plot twist. Like a lot of modern 3rd world nations or
                      areas, a good roughing up is meant as a "wake up call" for those who engage
                      in such behaviors lightly, or whose caretakers (and let's assume JbA had
                      some family) did not restrain them. Josephus is using him as a metaphor for
                      the Jerusalem elite who had not paid close enough attention to signs of the
                      impending disaster of the revolt.

                      BTW, I think your scenario for how Josephus could have heard the story about
                      this character, assuming it is not entirely made up, is quite reasonable. It
                      would be similar to "coffee table" or cocktail party small-talk talk among
                      certain crowds today.

                      As for Josephus' ability to fabricate pretty fantastic stories, how about
                      the one where the gates of the temple swing open on their own? If anything
                      like this actually happened, it may have been that the door somehow opened
                      unexpectedly (e.g., strong wind, earth movement, etc). The meaning he gave
                      to the event was secondary, of course, and pure spin, although here he at
                      least acknowledges that the wise men understood the true implications and
                      tried to warn the populace. Same with the omens preceding it.

                      Sincerely,

                      David Hindley
                      Cleveland, Ohio USA

                      Jwr 6:290-300 290 Thus also, before the Jews' rebellion, and before those
                      commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds
                      to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month of
                      Xanthikos [Nisan], (Niese: April 25, Capellus: April 8) and at the ninth
                      hour of the night, so great a light shone around the altar and the holy
                      house, that it appeared to be bright daytime; which lasted for half an hour.
                      291 This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskilful, but was so
                      interpreted by the sacred scribes as to portend those events that followed
                      immediately upon it. 292 At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was
                      led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst
                      of the temple. 293 Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the]
                      temple, which was of brass, and extremely heavy, and had been with
                      difficulty shut by twenty men, and fastened with iron-bound bars, and had
                      bolts sunk very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire
                      stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the
                      night. 294 Now, those who kept watch in the temple, came hereupon running
                      to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up there,
                      and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. 295 This
                      also appeared to the common people to be a very happy prodigy, as if God
                      thereby opened to them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning
                      understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its
                      own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies.
                      296 So these publicly declared that the signal predicted the desolation that
                      was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the
                      twenty-first day of the month of Artemisios [Iyyar], (Niese: June 8,
                      Capellus: May 21) 297 a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon
                      appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not
                      related by those who saw it, 298 and were not the events that followed it
                      of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before
                      sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen 299
                      running about among the clouds, and surrounding the cities. Moreover, at
                      that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into
                      the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their
                      sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a
                      quaking, and heard a great noise, 300 and after that they heard a sound as
                      of a great multitude, saying, "We are departing from here." [Loeb
                      translation, via BibleWorks]
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