Re: [XTalk] Re: Marian Hillar on the Testimonium Flavianum
- Hm. The discussion gives a lot of attention to the
treatment and use of Josephus in the time from his
writing to a much later period.
It tends to focus mainly on the content and themes
in the disputed passage, and in the related passages
in Josephus, and the way these motifs are used in
later writers, which is fair enough.
What it does not do is look at the stylistic evidence.
The TF is either interpolated or completely spurious
but which? By taking successive short phrases of a
few words at a time one can see which of these phrases
uses a linguistic pattern which reappears a) in the
rest of the extensive works of Josephus b) in an even
larger quantity of early Christian texts.
The result is that the phrases which are unproblematic
in their content in the TF do reappear elsewhere in
Josephus, and those which are more suspect do not.
Also the first set of these phrases do not appear
in the very large quantity of early Christian texts
available in digital form since the early TLG disc came out.
Eusebius does elsewhere use some of the phrases in question.
But then Eusebius cites the TF. So it is possible that
E repeated elsewhere phrases from an already interpolated
TF. (Or, if you think E was in the habit of
falsifying other quotations then one might suspect
him of being the interpolator).
The main drawback with the stylistic method tried, is that
it is checking extremely short passages from the TF against
a very large quantity of other text a) in Josephus and
b) elsewhere. This is not a normal stylometric procedure
and it would need rather smarter statistical methods than
are usually used in stylometry to knock it into shape and
test it properly. Also I think changes to the TLG might make
it hard to re-test some of this - the earlier systems for
stylistic work on the TLG may have been more flexible.
David Mealand, University of Edinburgh
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