Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

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Giuseppe
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Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:33 pm

Léon HERRMANN was Professeur honoraire des Universités de Bruxelles et de Rennes, he was a historicist, he wrote this book: Chrestos, Témoignages païens et juifs sur le christianisme du premier siècle. I knew already that he considered entirely interpolated the Baptist passage in Josephus, but now I have found the reasons adduced by him to consider it as interpolation. I translate from p. 99-100:

(2) It will be noted that, L. Vitellius having been legate of Syria only from 35 to 39, the defeat of Herod Antipas is placed necessarily well after the murder of St. John the Baptist and the Passion of Christ.



This passage interposed between «Such were the orders given by Tiberius to the proconsul of Syria» (A. J., XVIII, 115) and «After having made preparations for war against Areta, Vitellius» (A.J., XVIII, 120) is obviously interpolated entirely, because to και Τιβέριος corresponds Ούιτέλλιος δε. Moreover, the first sentence of the passage presents «some Jews» and the last sentence presents «the Jews», less correct, since it substitutes for a minority the totality of a people which, according to the Gospels themselves, had not been convinced by the preaching of St. John the Baptist. On the other hand, it is clear that, if the passage is found inserted there and not elsewhere, it is because of the mention in A.J., 111-112, of the fortress of Macherus, mention made about the sojourn made there by the daughter of the Arab king Aretas, repudiated by Herod Antipas, who wanted to marry her sister-in-law Herodias.

There is also a connection between the enchainment and beheading of Aretas prescribed by Tiberius to Vitellius in case of victory and the fate effectively inflicted on St. John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. Finally, the distinction made between the two baptisms, that of purification and that of remission, can only emanate from a Christian who has read the Acts of the Apostles (XVIII, 25) on Apollos. Certainly the word «nicknamed» (επικαλούμενου) is used aptly in the place of «named» (καλουμένου), or "called" (λεγομένου), and no connection is established between the action of the Baptist and that of Christ, but in this passage Herod Antipas' hostility is motivated only by the fear of a revolutionary propaganda and not by the denunciation of his quasi-adultery, which one would not expect after what is said about the departure of his first wife. In short, the whole passage appears as an interpolation, the end of which, on the punishment of Herod Antipas by military defeat, appears modelled on A.J., XI, 299-302 (1), although in the latter text it is a sacrilegious fratricide and not an adultery and the murder of a holy man that is avenged by military defeat.


(1) Jesus kills his brother John in the Temple. The punishment for this sacrilegious fratricide is inflicted by Bagosès, general of Artaxerxes.

Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:21 pm

John killed his brother Jesus, so provoking the divine punition on the Jews:

WHEN Eliashib the high priest was dead, his son Judas succeeded in the high priesthood; and when he was dead, his son John took that dignity; on whose account it was also that Bagoses, the general of another Artaxerxes's army, 1 polluted the temple, and imposed tributes on the Jews, that out of the public stock, before they offered the daily sacrifices, they should pay for every lamb fifty shekels. Now Jesus was the brother of John, and was a friend of Bagoses, who had promised to procure him the high priesthood. In confidence of whose support, Jesus quarreled with John in the temple, and so provoked his brother, that in his anger his brother slew him. Now it was a horrible thing for John, when he was high priest, to perpetrate so great a crime, and so much the more horrible, that there never was so cruel and impious a thing done, neither by the Greeks nor Barbarians. However, God did not neglect its punishment, but the people were on that very account enslaved, and the temple was polluted by the Persians. Now when Bagoses, the general of Artaxerxes's army, knew that John, the high priest of the Jews, had slain his own brother Jesus in the temple, he came upon the Jews immediately, and began in anger to say to them," Have you had the impudence to perpetrate a murder in your temple?" And as he was aiming to go into the temple, they forbade him so to do; but he said to them," Am not I purer than he that was slain in the temple?" And when he had said these words, he went into the temple. Accordingly, Bagoses made use of this pretense, and punished the Jews seven years for the murder of Jesus.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... tion%3D297

So John the Baptist poses as the hig priest Jesus son of Judas, while Herod poses as John son of Judas, and Aretas as Bagoses.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:34 pm

This is therefore the very source of the story of the decapitation of John the Baptist:

So they raised armies on both sides, and prepared for war, and sent their generals to fight instead of themselves; and when they had joined battle, all Herod's army was destroyed by the treachery of some fugitives, who, though they were of the tetrarchy of Philip, joined with Aretas's army.. So Herod wrote about these affairs to Tiberius, who being very angry at the attempt made by Aretas, wrote to Vitellius to make war upon him, and either to take him alive, and bring him to him in bonds, or to kill him, and send him his head. This was the charge that Tiberius gave to the president of Syria.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... tion%3D109

It is impossible as coincidence, that in a so short distance two heads are beheaded.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:20 am

In particular, I find interesting the detail that the reason of the death of the Baptist – potential rebellion -, supports really the case for interpolation and not for authenticity, since one would expect, after the departure of the Herod’s wife, an accusation of adultery thrown against Herod as the cause that had lead to his military defeat as divine punition.

(1) Herod abandons his wife ----> war against Aretas ----> defeat ----> it is expected a divine revenge for (1)

Usually the suspicions of potential rebellion as reason of the death of John is seen as supporting authenticity, since it would go against the Gospels's story about accusation of adultery.

Really, the sequence of events above is not in contradiction with the Gospel story, since introducing the latter in the historical sequence of events we would have:

(1) Herod abandons his wife ----> John the Baptist accuses him of adultery AND war against Aretas ----> (2) death of John AND defeat against Aretas ----> hearsay about a divine revenge for (2) ----> implicit: a divine revenge for (1).

This is a point not analyzed by Peter Kirby.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:18 am


καὶ Τιβέριος μὲν ταῦτα πράσσειν ἐπέστελλεν τῷ κατὰ Συρίαν στρατηγῷ.

Οὐιτέλλιος δὲ παρασκευασάμενος ὡς εἰς πόλεμον τὸν πρὸς Ἀρέταν δυσὶ τάγμασιν ὁπλιτῶν ὅσοι τε περὶ αὐτὰ ψιλοὶ καὶ ἱππεῖς συμμαχοῦντες ἐκ τῶν ὑπὸ Ῥωμαίοις βασιλειῶν ἀγόμενος, ἐπὶ τῆς Πέτρας ἠπείγετο καὶ ἔσχε Πτολεμαίδα.

A question for who knows the Greek:
I see that δὲ, that may be related with a previous καὶ, is found also in the incipit of the Baptist passage:

Τισὶ δὲ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἐδόκει ὀλωλέναι τὸν Ἡρώδου στρατὸν ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ μάλα δικαίως τινυμένου κατὰ ποινὴν Ἰωάννου τοῦ ἐπικαλουμένου βαπτιστοῦ.

My question is: is not more probable that the last καὶ appearing before the Baptist passage is more connected with the δὲ appearing after the Baptist passage, than the possibility that it is connected with the first δὲ appearing in the Baptist passage ?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Ken Olson » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:21 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:18 am
My question is: is not more probable that the last καὶ appearing before the Baptist passage is more connected with the δὲ appearing after the Baptist passage, than the possibility that it is connected with the first δὲ appearing in the Baptist passage ?
There’s nothing that requires a δὲ to have an antecedent καὶ. However, the μὲν does pretty much require a following δὲ. The μὲν ... δὲ construction is often translated ‘on the one had ... on the other’ or ‘a did b, but x did y’. The passage as it stands is contrasting what Tiberius ordered his governor/general to do in reaction to the defeat of Herod’s army with how some of the Jews saw the situation.

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Re: Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:31 am

But is not μὲν ... δὲ used usually to have a cause-effect more than an opposition against the premise? In this case:

Tiberius ordered... and then Vitellius executed...

Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Ken Olson » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:52 am

The μὲν ... δὲ construction distinguishes one party’s activities from those of another. There’s no requirement of a cause and effect relationship between the two, nor that they be in opposition. To use an example that springs readily to my mind, Jesus in the Testimonium Flavianum won over many of the Jews, but also many of Hellenes. What would be irregular is for the μὲν not to be related to the δὲ which follows it.

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Re: Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:08 am

Ken Olson wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:52 am
The μὲν ... δὲ construction distinguishes one party’s activities from those of another.
Hence it should distinguish between Tiberius, who ordered, and Vitellius, who executed.

I don't see a distinction in action between the reaction of Tiberius and the reaction of the people. The fact that Tiberius wanted the punition of Aretas doesn't mean that, by reaction against Tiberius's will, the people wanted the salvation of Aretas (even if the people had wanted only the punition of Herod).
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Leon Herrmann's case for the Baptist passage totally interpolated in Josephus

Post by Ken Olson » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:23 am

I'm done here.

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