The logic of the abuses is easy to glean (except for the christians). It relates to public situations, public banquets, taverns, pantomimes, chariot events. This is not apparent with christians. Charioteers it seems were often miscreants who caused problems in public, as per the text. Controling the types of sales in taverns controled the public who used them. Suetonius tells of brawls of Pantomime actors in Nero 26. We can say definitely that the abuses all concerned disturbances of public order... all except the execution of christians. That features nothing akin to any of the other items listed and stands out like a sore thumb.
If you think so. I can't see that the Roman group was much more than a community, probably small, of messianic Jewish proselytes, that Paul though he might "set straight".
The scholars, all apparently accepting the veracity of the section, favor the notion that Tacitus was retrojecting the contemporary knowledge from his era onto the past, so that his comments have little significance in Nero's time. I think the passage (beginning ergo abolendo rumori) was later than the era of, and dependent on, Sulpicius Severus. Briefly on the passage which we've dealt with before, it is placed at the end of Tacitus's devious indirect attack on Nero aimed at attributing the fire to him by innuendo. Its structure narrates the events of the fire, then the aftermath and finally he comes back before the aftermath to Nero and his efforts to remove himself from responsibility for the fire but cannot: "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." In my mind this statement is brilliant as a conclusion to the fire narrative. No matter what Nero did he couldn't shift the blame off himself. Tacitus has no tangible evidence for Nero's culpability, but it is very hard for a reader to walk away without thinking Nero did it.Bernard Muller wrote: ↑Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:43 pmAccording to Tacitus (annals 15:44), Nero did not deal with those Christians because of their high number, but because he needed scapegoats. And these Christians ("hated for their abominations" and accused of "hatred against mankind") were unpopular.
Tacitus wrote in his passage about Christians, related to the spreading of Christianity in Rome:
"in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular" (according to the context "things hideous and shameful" include Christian beliefs).
And the TT has nothing to do with Nero's culpability regarding the fire. He is just peripheral to this testimony to christianity suffering in Rome.
I argue that the placement of the Testimonium Taciteum with its story of burning christians lighting the night sky smothers the brilliance of this sentence and shifts the focus onto christianity, the muddled information about christian arrests, about the pity these christians treated so harshly garnered, not withstanding the fact that people being torn apart in ampitheatres was ordinary entertainment. Worse than that despite that sentence saying that nothing Nero did could clean his image, the TT then says that Nero did something to clean his image. Sorry, that last claim had already been falsified, when Tacitus said "no human efforts, no gifts nor propitiations" could shift the blame. Adding another human effort when no human effort had any effect is not a part of the narrative.
We've been through other problems with the TT, but the above should be sufficient to cause a rethink on its veracity.
You can accept some scribes could be better interpolators than others, can't you? So why rehearse the christians-are-useless-interpolators trope?