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

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  • Theodore Weeden
    ... Jesus ... the ... Jesus, which ... Jesus ... TJW wrote on February 1, 2005 ... Hanhart, ... Richard wrote on February 2, 2005 ... proposing that the
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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