Lena Einhorn's ideas

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Ulan
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by Ulan » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:10 am

Given I adorned this thread with my computer issues, I could as well say a few words regarding the video. I'm not sure whether I said something during the last discussion, and I had read the paper before, but I guess that doesn't matter.

First, I like the general idea that the stories that are told in the gospels are misplaced in time. I think it's good to hear more voices raise this possibility. What distinguishes this particular effort is that it carefully picks certain cases where these parallels of stories in Josephus and the gospels are kind of obvious, and it points out some particular inconsistencies in the gospels that I never thought about, which is good. I think the weakest points are those concerning the rulers of their time. In both cases, I don't quite see that the gospel wording is clear enough to make the point, but hey, maybe I miss something.

Where I don't quite follow is the final conclusion. The identification of Jesus with the "Egyptian" has a few good points going for it, but it kind of ignores the other parallels. The first one that many have pointed out is that the trial of Jesus in the gospels seems to be based on the trial of Jesus ben Ananias in Josephus. Not quite as clear, but Simon bar Giora springs to mind in other stories (he's from "Gerasa" and was leader of a band of peasants, one possible solution for the Gerasene swine; the priests sent people to arrest him; he had a triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the people hailing him as savior, but failed; he disappeared below Jerusalem in an attempt to tunnel out, while the temple was destroyed; he came out again after he had run out of food; he emerged from the ground at the temple site, with his white, royal garb startling the Roman troops at first; he was killed as king of the Jews; his death even resembles the sin offering during Jom Kippur, with the Barabbas story being the Jom Kippur parallel, and the released "goat" (Barabbas) is usually the one that is tossed from the temple mount, which happened to bar Giora, though from a different temple mount).

I didn't list these parallels because I wanted to peddle my own pet theory (it certainly isn't), but to demonstrate how easy it is to construct another set of parallels between figures in Josephus and the gospel texts. I think the general idea is sound, that the gospels are telling stories of a much later and much more tumultuous time than they pretend to. More general parallels suggest that we are looking at disguised war stories, like Simon Zelotes or Judas Iscariot, or the listeners during the sermon on the mount sitting in an orderly troop formation. This suggests we are looking at a composition by someone who, after the fall of Jerusalem, looks back at all the promises and failures of the war and tries to draw some prophetic prediction out of them. Stephan recently pointed out how exactly the end of gMark resembles the prophecy in Daniel, for example. In the context of this theme, the Jesus figure of the gospels looks composite to me.

That said, I still enjoyed the video.

Lena Einhorn
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by Lena Einhorn » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:51 am

Ulan wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:10 am
The identification of Jesus with the "Egyptian" has a few good points going for it, but it kind of ignores the other parallels. The first one that many have pointed out is that the trial of Jesus in the gospels seems to be based on the trial of Jesus ben Ananias in Josephus. Not quite as clear, but Simon bar Giora springs to mind in other stories
Ulan, my book, "A Shift in Time", has some parallells between the New Testament and Josephus that are not in the article, and also not in the PowerPoint presentation. One of them is the parallel you mention, between Simon bar Giora and the man from Gerasa, coming out of the tombs (chapter called "The Mad Man from Gerasa", pp. 145-152).
What I claim in my book is not that every parallel between the New Testament and Josephus pertains to Jesus, or to "the Egyptian". I do suggest that Jesus bears striking similarities to "the Egyptian", but the NT text is packed with references to what, when comparing with Josephus, appears to be other first century rebel leaders. There are striking similarities between Theudas and John the Baptist (pp. 123-132), equally strong parallells between Menahem and Simon Peter (pp. 153-160), as well as a number of other parallels that share the common element that they relate to the Jewish rebellion. What I suggest is that the New Testament, aside from being a religious text, is an elaborately concealed, and condensed, history of the Jewish war -- constantly with an eye to Josephus.
Thus, although the Gospels *seem* to describe events close in time, I suggest that, in fact, the "main" story, that of Jesus -- whom I suggest is identical to "the Egyptian" -- is limited in time, but that it is constantly interspersed with other events, and other people, of the long rebellion against Rome. It is, thus, not an entirely chronological story.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:28 am

The strongest evidence for a 'shift in time' theory is that Eusebius reports the Acts of Pilate dated the crucifixion to the 7th of Tiberius. This same date seems to have been used by Josephus (or the person who added the TF) as many scholars have noted. To that end 'time shift' scenarios are perfectly reasonable possibilities in theory at least. The exact dating of the ministry of Jesus only arrives with Luke and Luke is most likely developed (along with Acts) as an anti-Marcionite text thus dating the 'exact dating' of the ministry of Jesus to the second half of the second century.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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MrMacSon
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:33 am

Lena Einhorn wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:51 am
Ulan, my book, "A Shift in Time", has some parallells between the New Testament and Josephus that are not in the article, and also not in the PowerPoint presentation. One of them is the parallel you mention, between Simon bar Giora and the man from Gerasa, coming out of the tombs (chapter called "The Mad Man from Gerasa", pp. 145-152).
What I claim in my book is not that every parallel between the New Testament and Josephus pertains to Jesus, or to "the Egyptian". I do suggest that Jesus bears striking similarities to "the Egyptian", but the NT text is packed with references to what, when comparing with Josephus, appears to be other first century rebel leaders. There are striking similarities between Theudas and John the Baptist (pp. 123-132), equally strong parallels between Menahem and Simon Peter (pp. 153-160), as well as a number of other parallels that share the common element that they relate to the Jewish rebellion. What I suggest is that the New Testament, aside from being a religious text, is an elaborately concealed, and condensed, history of the Jewish war -- constantly with an eye to Josephus.
Thus, although the Gospels *seem* to describe events close in time, I suggest that, in fact, the "main" story, that of Jesus -- whom I suggest is identical to "the Egyptian" -- is limited in time, but that it is constantly interspersed with other events, and other people, of the long rebellion against Rome. It is, thus, not an entirely chronological story.
Thank you for your contributions, Lena, both with your publications and your posts here. Certainly the parallels you have pointed out are intriguing, and, using others' references to similarities and parallels of the NT's theological passages to passages from the OT, it certainly seems the NT authors have woven an intriguing narrative based on Jospehus and the OT/LXX-Septuagint.

Have you read Jörg Rüpke's Pantheon: A New History of Roman Religion, published earlier this year?

Lena Einhorn
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by Lena Einhorn » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:14 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:33 am
Thank you for your contributions, Lena, both with your publications and your posts here. Certainly the parallels you have pointed out are intriguing, and, using others' references to similarities and parallels of the NT's theological passages to passages from the OT, it certainly seems the NT authors have woven an intriguing narrative based on Jospehus and the OT/LXX-Septuagint.
And thank you for your input, MrMacSon. I have very much enjoyed reading it.
I have not read Rüpke's Pantheon, but looked up the description. It seems interesting. Was there anything in particular you were thinking of in the book that I should check out?

Ulan
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by Ulan » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:18 pm

Lena Einhorn wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:51 am
Ulan wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:10 am
The identification of Jesus with the "Egyptian" has a few good points going for it, but it kind of ignores the other parallels. The first one that many have pointed out is that the trial of Jesus in the gospels seems to be based on the trial of Jesus ben Ananias in Josephus. Not quite as clear, but Simon bar Giora springs to mind in other stories
Ulan, my book, "A Shift in Time", has some parallells between the New Testament and Josephus that are not in the article, and also not in the PowerPoint presentation. One of them is the parallel you mention, between Simon bar Giora and the man from Gerasa, coming out of the tombs (chapter called "The Mad Man from Gerasa", pp. 145-152).
What I claim in my book is not that every parallel between the New Testament and Josephus pertains to Jesus, or to "the Egyptian".
Well, yes, I understood that part. You picked out the parallel with Simon bar Giora that doesn't look as if it is a parallel to our Jesus figure. However, all the other parallels I listed for Simon bar Giora are parallels to the gospel Jesus. Of course, most of those pertain to the trial, "empty tomb" and post resurrection stories, which means they may have been spliced in from different sources. The parallel to Jesus ben Ananias lies in the trial. This is why I don't think we are looking at such a neat solution as you suggest it. Even gMark seems already to draw on several figures for Jesus, and it becomes much more obvious in the other synoptics.

Lena Einhorn
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by Lena Einhorn » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:03 pm

Ulan wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:18 pm
the trial of Jesus in the gospels seems to be based on the trial of Jesus ben Ananias in Josephus.
Ulan, my aim is not to put down other theories on the identity of the Historical Jesus. I just have one comment: most of the theories put forth hone in on one or two, or perhaps three, similarities -- in the case of Jesus ben Ananias it would be the name, and the fact that this person was brought in front of the Roman governor and flayed. At the same time, the differences are numerous. And the similarities are not unique.
The reason I keep coming back to the Egyptian is not because of one or two, or even five or six similarities with the NT Jesus. The reason is an elaborate pattern -- a system, if you will, to tell a full complicated story in the New Testament, albeit in subtext. This system is full of corresponding dots, when compared with Josephus's narrative -- not five or six, but perhaps fifty or sixty. And the dots tell a complete story. The pieces of the puzzle do not fit -- not at all -- when one places the New Testament of the 30s next to Josephus's tale of the 30s. But when one shifts the time, the pieces suddenly lock into each other. And it becomes a complete picture.
At the same time, however, as I mentioned, it is not a strictly chronological tale. It picks stories from different eras of the rebellion.
The New Testament is a brilliantly executed whodunit. I am in awe of its author(s).

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MrMacSon
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:08 pm

Lena Einhorn wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:14 pm
And thank you for your input, MrMacSon. I have very much enjoyed reading it.
I have not read Rüpke's Pantheon, but looked up the description. It seems interesting. Was there anything in particular you were thinking of in the book that I should check out?
Cheers. Rüpke provides some interesting commentary about various aspects of religion in the Roman Empire in antiquity.

He says on page one -

It is the intention of this book to tell the story of an upheaval epochal in its impact. This is the story of how a world well beyond the understanding of most of us was transformed into a world very like our own, at least in one particular. To put it succinctly: we will describe how, from a world in which one practiced rituals, there emerged a world of religions, to which one could belong. This is no straightforward story.

Later there is a section thus [some paragraphs further 'paragraphed' by me] -

.
Biographical Schemata

Narration involves simplification. Details inevitably become lost. Complex events turn into sequences of simple actions. Complex casts of actors are reduced to names, and individuals are provided with stereotypical traits. Schemata emerge, types recognizable independent of specific narratives: there are unscrupulous rulers, wise Augusti, corrupt administrators, steadfast virgins. Such schemata help us today to follow unfamiliar stories, and to remember them. Terms such as “campaign,” “war,” “gospel,” “passion story,” “salvation” oriented audiences of the Imperial Age to just such structures. They also helped them to associate the stories they heard with other stories. Virgil incorporated much-simplified narrative schemata from the Iliad and the Odyssey into his Aeneid, and so was able to integrate local Italic narratives into a familiar framework. Christ’s Passion served as a paradigm for the imagined martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch, and retrospectively configured the narrative of the martyrdom of Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna in a way that made it more readily comprehensible.

It was characteristic of the Imperial Age that many narratives relied on the schema of the biography. The brief narrative of a vita within a longer story was a widespread device all around the Mediterranean. In the Hellenistic Period its importance had grown to the point that the schema began to stand alone in autonomous texts, bioi of statesmen and writers, prophets, and the heads of schools. Subsequently, serial biographies coincided with the interests of philosophical schools, and the genre was transposed to other fields by such writers as Suetonius. Encomiums and funeral orations were mined for what proved a wide range of themes characterizing the lifestyle of the biographical subject. Concentrating on one protagonist entailed neglecting other causalities, and overstressing the impact of that one character or divine actor on events. This might seem to be a deficiency, but it allowed listeners to bring their own thought processes to bear, to engage with the story, and so could heighten its attraction.

Many storytellers took over-determination further by the introduction of portents. These gave the progress of events more transparency, but did not always support claims to historicity. Religious practices and ideas were only gradually brought within the remit of biographical narratives. It was probably shortly before the death of Domitian (AD 96) that Plutarch wrote the first proper biography of Rome’s second king, Numa, to whom he also first ascribed the role of pontifex. This was vexing, as Numa had previously been described as the founder of Rome’s religious institutions, but not as an actor within them. In making this attribution, Plutarch was probably responding to the Flavians’ desire to conflate the ethical grounding of the ruler with his priestly roles, especially the supreme pontificate. Numa, as a Pythagorean philosopher and a king, thus conformed to the ideal of a philosopher-king, with the addition now, for the first time, of a religious element.

Flavius Josephus took up the biographical schema, turned it into autobiography, and set it within an imperial frame. He began with a reference to his priestly and royal origins, and ended by referring to his relationship with Augusta Domitia, and to the unremitting good services she had performed for him. At the same time that Josephus in Rome expounded on the Jewish War, Plutarch and soon also Suetonius were writing their multiple biographies. By the mid-second century at the latest, these texts were joined by many gospels and acts of the apostles, whose production continued without let-up through the third century. Marcion’s interest in biography was not exercised solely in his gospel, but also in his selection of Paul’s letters, which allowed readers to follow the apostle from Jerusalem to Rome.

Pythagorean vitae began to circulate. To the already familiar types of narrative—stories of exemplary lives or of extraordinary phenomena, such as those of Apollonius of Tyana—were added conversion stories. All of this literary activity likely reached only a small fraction of the people living around the Mediterranean; but in a rudimentary, paradigmatic form, the biographical schema certainly reached much further. By its clarity, capacity for extension, and flexibility, it permitted authors to impart religious knowledge in a way that facilitated an emotional relationship akin to identification with the life retold, thus easing the recipient’s way to appropriating the values and lessons embodied in the texts. Biographical narrative was probably the most important form by which the personal, physical experience of individualization could be made a subject of reflection, and communicated.


Discursive Diversification and the Extension of Networks

Did biographical narratives about common forebears or teachers serve other purposes besides consolidating group relationships? The texts themselves suggest two opposing tendencies. Those that have survived in the greatest numbers, martyrs’ histories among them, have narratives that are schematized and generalized in such a way as to make them easily accessible to an ever greater number of people .... Authors who had the courage to abbreviate radically wrote summaries (epitome, periochae) that won a larger public than the original lengthy and sophisticated literary versions.

... Judeo-Christian narrative texts, surviving in sufficient numbers for us to find variants at different locations, once again show us the boldness with which individual authors have introduced new ideas into existing narrative schemata, going so far beyond reproduction as to justify the use of such descriptive terms as “rewritten Bible” or “rewritten gospel.” The gospel described as the Epistle of the Apostles, for example, is configured as a dialogue with the risen Jesus ...

Rüpke, Jörg. Pantheon: A New History of Roman Religion (pp. 343-347). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

He makes reference to works such as the Shepherd of Hermas and those collections of [or perhaps by] Marcion being popular. He makes some blunt statements about how he thinks Christianity started. [<-edited]

The book in English (published by Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540) has been translated from German, so there is likely to be a German version: maybe via Verlag C.H. Beck oHG, München 2016(?). I wonder if some of the prose may flow slightly better in German but it is a good read in English nonetheless.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:25 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Lena Einhorn
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by Lena Einhorn » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:15 pm

Thanks MrMacSon. It does look interesting.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Lena Einhorn's ideas

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:17 pm

Lena Einhorn wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:03 pm
I just have one comment: most of the theories put forth hone in on one or two, or perhaps three, similarities -- in the case of Jesus ben Ananias it would be the name, and the fact that this person was brought in front of the Roman governor and flayed.
I think there may be more than those two or three parallels for Jesus ben Ananias, at least according to Theodore Weeden: http://vridar.info/xorigins/josephus/2jesus.htm.
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