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Re: [XTalk] Re: Marian Hillar on the Testimonium Flavianum

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  • David Mealand
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 1, 2011
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      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 M.



      ---------
      David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


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      The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
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