Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:43 am

spin wrote:
Giuseppe wrote:There is really evidence that the Jews in Rome could represent in every time a potential violent threat to Pax Romana in the heart himself of the Empire. I invite you to read this interesting article from the blog ''semiticcontroversies.blogspot'':
That site, the name is a give away, is a load of anti-Jewish-fixated shite. Are you someone who dislikes Jews the way this website does? The development of ideas on the few pages that I read worked on innuendo rather than evidence. "Was George Michael Jewish?" "Is Jeremy Corbyn Jewish?" What the fuck are you citing this website for? Do you honestly believe that the web of nonsense they stitch together is in any sense scholarly? Jews this, holocaust that, swastikas, "Jews, Crime and Corruption", page after page of puerile anti-semitism. I think you should fuck that putrid stuff off and get serious about sourcing your materials.
Your words have alarmed me, so I have read again the page linked. It seems that their author are really anti-Semites:

http://semiticcontroversies.blogspot.it/p/authors.html

But sincerely I have found interesting their analysis about Tacitus and the Chrestiani. In short, about that matter, they argue that the noahide gentiles represented a kind of ''Jewish Lobby'' in Rome, and some of them could be converted to Zealotism (becoming the followers of ''Chrestus''). Something of very similar to modern problems with Islam (or better, ''Islams''). Claudius who ''expulit'' Jews remembers a certain President who wants ''expulit'' the Muslims...
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:48 am

The paradox is that, seeing how the cause of the problems in the ancient Roman-Jewish relations was the Jewish proselitism (something of impossible today), I have believed that the authors were really exalting the Jews about that matter, as the unique monotheist people (differently from Christians and Muslims) who have gave up from much time the idea of converting the not-monotheist people to monotheism.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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spin
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by spin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:58 am

Giuseppe wrote:But sincerely I have found interesting their analysis about Tacitus and the Chrestiani. In short, about that matter, they argue that the noahide gentiles represented a kind of ''Jewish Lobby'' in Rome,
""Jewish Lobby"", seriously? Are they your words retrojecting modern notions into the past or theirs? And what does this argument consist of other than a string of assertions springing tangentially from ancient statements?
Giuseppe wrote:...and some of them could be converted to Zealotism (becoming the followers of ''Chrestus'').
Could they really? How did the notion of Zealotism get transplanted from the Judean Hebrew context of the mid first century to a Roman diaspora context with its extremely different motivations? People complaining about Roman taxation to people partially integrated into Roman society?
Giuseppe wrote:Something of very similar to modern problems with Islam (or better, ''Islams''). Claudius who ''expulit'' Jews remembers a certain President who wants ''expulit'' the Muslims...
We try not to pollute the ancient contexts we are trying to understand by injecting modern values and experiences into them. The site you are using does this sort of thing routinely.

The ancient Romans were very conservative about religious issues and held most other religions as suspect. How were Jews in the first half of the first century treated any differently from people who adhered to those other religions?
Dysexlia lures • ⅔ of what we see is behind our eyes

Giuseppe
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:19 am

spin wrote:
Giuseppe wrote:But sincerely I have found interesting their analysis about Tacitus and the Chrestiani. In short, about that matter, they argue that the noahide gentiles represented a kind of ''Jewish Lobby'' in Rome,
""Jewish Lobby"", seriously? Are they your words retrojecting modern notions into the past or theirs? And what does this argument consist of other than a string of assertions springing tangentially from ancient statements?
Please examine yourself the words of Cassius Dio about Josephus:
'From a dream he learned that when Nero Caesar should lose a tooth, he himself should be emperor. This prophecy about the tooth became a reality on the following day; and Nero himself in his dreams once thought that he had brought the car of Jupiter to Vespasian's house. These portents needed interpretation; but not so the saying of a Jew named Josephus: he, having earlier been captured by Vespasian and imprisoned, laughed and said: "You may imprison me now, but a year from now, when you have become Emperor, you will release me."'
(my bold)

Can I agree, without being accused of anti-Semitism, that :
irrespective of whether Josephus said it or his reasons for having done so, Dio is using it to make a very specific point. In so far as Josephus laughing upon being captured and imprisoned by a manifestly superior armed force is deliberately suggestive of holding a certain amount of power over your erstwhile captor.

This is then qualified by the statement that Josephus then allegedly makes: where he states quite bluntly that when Nero is dead, Vespasian will become Emperor and in so doing will be forced to free Josephus.
Could they really? How did the notion of Zealotism get transplanted from the Judean Hebrew context of the mid first century to a Roman diaspora context with its extremely different motivations? People complaining about Roman taxation to people partially integrated into Roman society?
The followers of Chrestus were challenging directly the imperial authority. See the direct opposition:

Claudius expulit versus Chrestus impulit.

Wasn't this ''Chrestus'' raised by his followers to the same rank of the emperor? Only a Jewish figure could be so revered: the Jewish Messiah.
We try not to pollute the ancient contexts we are trying to understand by injecting modern values and experiences into them. The site you are using does this sort of thing routinely.
OK, but the risk is that you are doing the same thing, if you want to reduce the proponents of the identity CHRESTIANI = Zealots to anti-Semitism.
The ancient Romans were very conservative about religious issues and held most other religions as suspect. How were Jews in the first half of the first century treated any differently from people who adhered to those other religions?
Maybe because were they accused more easily than others of arson of a great Pagan city ?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:31 am

It is interesting the comparison between the Fire of Antioch and the Great Fire of Rome:

Josephus, War, VII, 3-4:
2. It happened also about this time, that the Jews who remained at Antioch were under accusations, and in danger of perishing, from the disturbances that were raised against them by the Antiochians; and this both on account of the slanders spread abroad at this time against them; and on account of what pranks they had played not long before: which I am obliged to describe without fail, though briefly: that I may the better connect my narration of future actions, with those that went before.

3. For as the Jewish nation is widely dispersed over all the habitable earth, among its inhabitants; so is it very much intermingled with Syria, by reason of its neighbourhood; and had the greatest multitudes in Antioch, by reason of the largeness of the city: wherein the Kings, after Antiochus, had afforded them an habitation, with the most undisturbed tranquillity. For though Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, laid Jerusalem waste, and spoiled the temple; yet did those that succeeded him in the Kingdom restore all the donations that were made of brass to the Jews of Antioch, and dedicated them to their synagogue, and granted them the enjoyment of equal privileges of citizens with the Greeks themselves. And as the succeeding Kings treated them after the same manner, they both multiplied to a great number, and adorned their temple4 gloriously by fine ornaments, and with great magnificence, in the use of what had been given them. They also made proselytes of a great many of the Greeks perpetually; and thereby, after a sort, brought them to be a portion of their own body. But about this time when the present war began, and Vespasian was newly sailed to Syria, and all men had taken up a great hatred against the Jews; then it was that a certain person, whose name was Antiochus, being one of the Jewish nation, and greatly respected on account of his father, who was governor of the Jews at Antioch, (5) came upon the theatre at a time when the people of Antioch were assembled together; and became an informer against his father, and accused both him and others, that they had resolved to burn the whole city in one night: he also delivered up to them some Jews that were foreigners, as partners in their resolutions. When the people heard this, they could not refrain their passion, but commanded that those who were delivered up to them should have fire brought to burn them: who were accordingly all burnt upon the theatre immediately. They did also fall violently upon the multitude of the Jews; as supposing that by punishing them suddenly they should save their own city. As for Antiochus, he aggravated the rage they were in; and thought to give them a demonstration of his own conversion, and of his hatred of the Jewish customs, by sacrificing after the manner of the Greeks. He persuaded the rest also to compel them to do the same; because they would by that means discover who they were that had plotted against them; since they would not do so. And when the people of Antioch tried the experiment, some few complied: but those that would not do so were slain. As for Ailtiochus himself, he obtained soldiers from the Roman commander, and became a severe master over his own citizens. Not permitting them to rest on the seventh day; but forcing them to do all that they usually did on other days. And to that degree of distress did he reduce them in this matter, that the rest of the seventh day was dissolved, not only at Antioch; but the same thing, which took thence its rise, was done in other cities also in like manner, for some small time.

4. Now after these misfortunes had happened to the Jews at Antioch a second calamity befel them; the description of which when we were going about we premised the account foregoing. For upon this accident, whereby the four-square market place was burnt down, as well as the archives, and the place where the publick records were preserved, and the royal palaces; and it was not without difficulty that the fire was then put a stop to, which was likely, by the fury wherewith it was carried along, to have gone over the whole city; Antiochus accused the Jews, as the occasion of all the mischief that was done. Now this induced the people of Antioch, who were now under the immediate persuasion, by reason of the disorder they were in, that this calumny was true; and would have been under the same persuasion, even though they had not borne an ill will at the Jews before, to believe this man’s accusation: especially when they considered what had been done before; and this to such a degree, that they all fell violently upon those that were accused, and this, like madmen, in a very furious rage also, even as if they had seen the Jews in a manner setting fire themselves to the city. Nor was it without difficulty that one Cneus Collegas, the legate, could prevail with them to permit the affairs to be laid before Cæsar. For as to Cesennius Petus, (6) the president of Syria, Vespasian had already sent him away. And so it happened that he was not yet come back thither. But when Collegas had made a careful enquiry into the matter, he found out the truth: and that not one of those Jews that were accused by Antiochus had any hand in it: but that all was done by some vile persons greatly in debt; who supposed, that if they could once set fire to the market-place, and burn the publick records, they should have no farther demands made upon them. So the Jews were under great disorder, and terror, in the uncertain expectations of what would be the upshot of these accusations against them.
Tacitus, Annals 15:44 :
But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good but rather to glut the cruelty of one man that they were being destroyed.

Could Josephus have known about the Great Fire of Rome and have described in apologetical terms the Fire of Antioch? Or could Tacitus have derived his anti-Neronian accusation from Josephus in this case?
In both the stories we have the responsability of only a person (respectively, Nero and Antiochus) behind the anti-Jewish accusation of fire.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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spin
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by spin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:10 am

Giuseppe wrote:
spin wrote:
Giuseppe wrote:But sincerely I have found interesting their analysis about Tacitus and the Chrestiani. In short, about that matter, they argue that the noahide gentiles represented a kind of ''Jewish Lobby'' in Rome,
""Jewish Lobby"", seriously? Are they your words retrojecting modern notions into the past or theirs? And what does this argument consist of other than a string of assertions springing tangentially from ancient statements?
Please examine yourself the words of Cassius Dio about Josephus:
'From a dream he learned that when Nero Caesar should lose a tooth, he himself should be emperor. This prophecy about the tooth became a reality on the following day; and Nero himself in his dreams once thought that he had brought the car of Jupiter to Vespasian's house. These portents needed interpretation; but not so the saying of a Jew named Josephus: he, having earlier been captured by Vespasian and imprisoned, laughed and said: "You may imprison me now, but a year from now, when you have become Emperor, you will release me."'
(my bold)

Can I agree, without being accused of anti-Semitism, that :
irrespective of whether Josephus said it or his reasons for having done so, Dio is using it to make a very specific point. In so far as Josephus laughing upon being captured and imprisoned by a manifestly superior armed force is deliberately suggestive of holding a certain amount of power over your erstwhile captor.

This is then qualified by the statement that Josephus then allegedly makes: where he states quite bluntly that when Nero is dead, Vespasian will become Emperor and in so doing will be forced to free Josephus.
I don't find much content at all thus far.
Giuseppe wrote:
Could they really? How did the notion of Zealotism get transplanted from the Judean Hebrew context of the mid first century to a Roman diaspora context with its extremely different motivations? People complaining about Roman taxation to people partially integrated into Roman society?
The followers of Chrestus were challenging directly the imperial authority. See the direct opposition:

Claudius expulit versus Chrestus impulit.
Suetonius doesn't use the latter form, but a noun "impulsore". Rather than making your parallel, Suetonius hides it. The "direct opposition" is eisegesis.
Giuseppe wrote:Wasn't this ''Chrestus'' raised by his followers to the same rank of the emperor? Only a Jewish figure could be so revered: the Jewish Messiah.
Instead of asking unanswerable questions you should try ones that don't lead up garden paths.
Giuseppe wrote:
We try not to pollute the ancient contexts we are trying to understand by injecting modern values and experiences into them. The site you are using does this sort of thing routinely.
OK, but the risk is that you are doing the same thing, if you want to reduce the proponents of the identity CHRESTIANI = Zealots to anti-Semitism.
Umm, "Jewish Lobby"?? Retrojecting that idea into ancient times is a sure sign of anti-Semitism.

"CHRESTIANI = Zealots" is simply unfalsifiable conjecture.
Giuseppe wrote:
The ancient Romans were very conservative about religious issues and held most other religions as suspect. How were Jews in the first half of the first century treated any differently from people who adhered to those other religions?
Maybe because were they accused more easily than others of arson of a great Pagan city ?
Not even Suetonius knows anything about any scapegoats for the fire, no Christians or other groups burning bright into the night. That's the sort of story that Suetonius thrived on. The Testimonium Taciteum is bogus.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:37 am

OK, I give up the ridicolous use of expressions like ''Jewish Lobby'', but my point is that Cassio Dio is evidence, in this case:
'As for the Jews, who had again increased so greatly that by reason of their multitude it would have been hard without raising a tumult to bar them from the city, he did not drive them out, but ordered them, while continuing their traditional mode of life, not to hold meetings. He also disbanded the clubs, which had been reintroduced by Gaius.'
(Roman History, 34, my bold)

that :

1) the Jews in Rome were converting many Gentiles (both riches and poors) to Judaism or simple ''fear-of-God'',
2) the growing number of converted Gentiles to Judaism was perceived as a potential threat by authorities (not only among the simple citizens, but because some Roman members of the elite were adoring the Jewish God, see for example the wife of Nero, Poppea).
3) that threat became a real fact when a ''tumult'' happened really under Claudius, in virtue of the action of ''Chrestus'' as ''impulsor''.

The imperial violent reaction was made necessary when the proselitism (the ''multitude'' in Cassio Dio) was mixed with the Messianic hope (''impulsore Chresto'' in Suetonius). Also Herod killed John the Baptist when his followers were becoming numerous and he was perceived as a threat (was he proclaiming the coming Messiah?).

Why do you say that ''the Testimonium Taciteum is bogus'' ?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:48 am

The same Pliny the Younger may be very well evidence that he was moved to persecute the pacifist Christians (of Jesus Christ) because he had already listened before about the dangerous anti-Roman actions of other Jews ''impulsore Chresto'' in Rome. His real wonder about the real pacifism of the Christians in Asia may be explained as a mere effect of the his prejudice against the Chrestiani of Rome (''hey, those guys weren't so dangerous, after all'').
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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spin
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by spin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:53 am

Giuseppe wrote:OK, I give up the ridicolous use of expressions like ''Jewish Lobby'', but my point is that Cassio Dio is evidence, in this case:
'As for the Jews, who had again increased so greatly that by reason of their multitude it would have been hard without raising a tumult to bar them from the city, he did not drive them out, but ordered them, while continuing their traditional mode of life, not to hold meetings. He also disbanded the clubs, which had been reintroduced by Gaius.'
(Roman History, 34, my bold)

that :

1) the Jews in Rome were converting many Gentiles (both riches and poors) to Judaism or simple ''fear-of-God'',
2) the growing number of converted Gentiles to Judaism was perceived as a potential threat by authorities (not only among the simple citizens, but because some Roman members of the elite were adoring the Jewish God, see for example the wife of Nero, Poppea).
3) that threat became a real fact when a ''tumult'' happened really under Claudius, in virtue of the action of ''Chrestus'' as ''impulsor''.

The imperial violent reaction was made necessary when the proselitism (the ''multitude'' in Cassio Dio) was mixed with the Messianic hope (''impulsore Chresto'' in Suetonius). Also Herod killed John the Baptist when his followers were becoming numerous and he was perceived as a threat (was he proclaiming the coming Messiah?).
This amounts to a web of conjecture. There is no sign that "impulsore Chresto" is messianic. And what is Dio's "multitude" based on? What he saw in his time? Proselytism and an increase of Jewish immigrants (and slave freeing) explains any multitude, though Antoninus Pius put a stop to proselytism by forbiding circumcision to any but Jewish-born sons.

Suetonius wrote seven words in a list of other things. Beyond those seven words he shows no interest in the topic, as though it were trivial.
Giuseppe wrote:Why do you say that ''the Testimonium Taciteum is bogus'' ?
Read the o.p.
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spin
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Re: Arguments concerning the Testimonium Taciteum.

Post by spin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:56 am

Giuseppe wrote:The same Pliny the Younger may be very well evidence that he was moved to persecute the pacifist Christians (of Jesus Christ) because he had already listened before about the dangerous anti-Roman actions of other Jews ''impulsore Chresto'' in Rome. His real wonder about the real pacifism of the Christians in Asia may be explained as a mere effect of the his prejudice against the Chrestiani of Rome (''hey, those guys weren't so dangerous, after all'').
More conjecture.

I think we have the idea now.
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