Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Josephus' omens (was: Re: [XTalk] Re: Two Jesuses: the Provocative Parallels)

Expand Messages
  • Ken Olson
    ... 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      On 4 February, David Hindley wrote:

      >>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.<<

      David et al.,

      I think Stephen was probably correct in saying that Josephus combined
      various
      sources and traditions in composing his list of omens in BJ 6.288-300. The
      seventh omen from Ted's list reads like this in Thackeray's Loeb
      translation:

      >>Moreover, at the feast which is called Pentecost, the priests on entering
      >>the inner court of the temple by night, as their custom was in the
      >>discharge of their ministrations, reported that they were conscious, first
      >>of a commotion and a din, and after that a voice as of a host, "We are
      >>departing hence."<<

      It seems to me that what's being described here may have originated as Roman
      propaganda during the war. In the Roman ritual of _evocatio_, the Romans
      "called out" the gods of an enemy city and asked them to come and dwell in
      Rome. Whether such a ritual was carried out for Jerusalem or not, it seems
      that the Romans understood the psychological effects of circulating claims
      that enemy cities had been abandoned by their gods. However, the secondary
      sources I've seen give differing accounts of on whether _evocatio_ was
      performed before or after the defeat of an enemy. It may have been either.
      I haven't looked up the primary sources yet.
      If anyone on the list has some insight into this, I'd be interested in
      hearing it.

      Best Wishes,

      Ken
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.