What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
rakovsky
Posts: 1179
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:07 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by rakovsky » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:06 pm

In Book 18 Chapter III, section 1, Josephus narrates how Pilate brought busts of the emperor to set up in Jerusalem, a crowd protested, Pilate invited them to the stadium, told them to stop protesting or he would kill them with hidden soldiers, but they offered themselves up for death, so Pilate relented and sent away the images.
Next in section 2, Josephus narrates how Pilate took money from the treasury to build an aqueduct to the city, the people protested, so Pilate ordered the soldiers to attack, and they attacked harder than ordered. So the uprising ended after some were slain.
In Section 3, Josephus introduces what is called the "Testamonium" about Jesus. (About this time there lived Jesus....)
In Section 4, he tells the story of Paulina at the Temple of Isis, which I see as a parallel story to the Testamonium. He begins the section this way:
About this same time another outrage threw the Jews into an uproar; and simultaneously certain actions of a scandalous nature occurred in connexion with the temple of Isis at Rome. I shall first give an account of the daring deed of the followers of Isis and shall then come back to the fate of the Jews...
In section 5, he tells how four Jews tricked Fulvia into giving them money for the temple and then spent it on themselves, after which the Jews were expelled from Rome.

So this chapter seems to be a telling of a number of incidents that incited the Jews to revolt, which eventually led to the nation's ruin. He may be telling a lesson here too:
Pilate does the impious action of bringing images to Jerusalem, the people piously offer themselves for death in protest, and succeed in having the images remove.
Pilate takes the good action of bringing water to the city, the people mistakenly protest and are killed.
Jews deceive the Roman proselytes about the use of the donations and the Jewish people are exiled from Rome.

The story of Jesus in this context suggests itself as an anecdote explaining a spiritual reason for why the disaster came onto Israel. The Romans in this context were heavy handed and the Jewish leaders were acting wrongly. Like the Jewish protestors against idolatry who offered themselves and were spared, the Christians are a tribe who have still survived, Josephus writes in his Testamonium.

Some scholars have proposed that the Testamonium sounds out of place, as if it was inserted, but after reading almost all of Josephus' volumes, I don't agree with this impression. Instead, the story of Paulina strongly suggests that the Testamonium was used exactly at this point. The reason is that the story of Paulina takes place entirely in Rome and ostensibly doesn't seem to have a relation to any other events in the chapter, as it doesn't involve any Jews. I can tell from my reading that Josephus almost always limits himself to Jewish events or to events that have a strong purpose or relationship to them, like the succession of Roman emperors. There is no ostensible reason why Josephus includes the story of Paulina at this point, and besides that, Paulina's story has major close similarities to the Testamonium.


The Testamonium is immediately followed by the story of Paulina, below,
which I feel cryptically refers to the Testamonium because of their similar elements. Here is Whiston's translation:
4. About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis that was at Rome. I will now first take notice of the wicked attempt about the temple of Isis, and will then give an account of the Jewish affairs.

There was at Rome a woman whose name was Paulina; one who, on account of the dignity of her ancestors, and by the regular conduct of a virtuous life, had a great reputation: she was also very rich; and although she was of a beautiful countenance, and in that flower of her age wherein women are the most gay, yet did she lead a life of great modesty. She was married to Saturninus, one that was every way answerable to her in an excellent character. Decius Mundus fell in love with this woman, who was a man very high in the equestrian order; and as she was of too great dignity to be caught by presents, and had already rejected them, though they had been sent in great abundance, he was still more inflamed with love to her, insomuch that he promised to give her two hundred thousand Attic drachmae for one night's lodging; and when this would not prevail upon her, and he was not able to bear this misfortune in his amours, he thought it the best way to famish himself to death for want of food, on account of Paulina's sad refusal; and he determined with himself to die after such a manner, and he went on with his purpose accordingly. Now Mundus had a freed-woman, who had been made free by his father, whose name was Ide, one skillful in all sorts of mischief. This woman was very much grieved at the young man's resolution to kill himself, (for he did not conceal his intentions to destroy himself from others,) and came to him, and encouraged him by her discourse, and made him to hope, by some promises she gave him, that he might obtain a night's lodging with Paulina; and when he joyfully hearkened to her entreaty, she said she wanted no more than fifty thousand drachmae for the entrapping of the woman. So when she had encouraged the young man, and gotten as much money as she required, she did not take the same methods as had been taken before, because she perceived that the woman was by no means to be tempted by money; but as she knew that she was very much given to the worship of the goddess Isis, she devised the following stratagem: She went to some of Isis's priests, and upon the strongest assurances [of concealment], she persuaded them by words, but chiefly by the offer of money, of twenty-five thousand drachmae in hand, and as much more when the thing had taken effect; and told them the passion of the young man, and persuaded them to use all means possible to beguile the woman. So they were drawn in to promise so to do, by that large sum of gold they were to have. Accordingly, the oldest of them went immediately to Paulina; and upon his admittance, he desired to speak with her by herself. When that was granted him, he told her that he was sent by the god Anubis, who was fallen in love with her, and enjoined her to come to him. Upon this she took the message very kindly, and valued herself greatly upon this condescension of Anubis, and told her husband that she had a message sent her, and was to sup and lie with Anubis; so he agreed to her acceptance of the offer, as fully satisfied with the chastity of his wife. Accordingly, she went to the temple, and after she had supped there, and it was the hour to go to sleep, the priest shut the doors of the temple, when, in the holy part of it, the lights were also put out. Then did Mundus leap out, (for he was hidden therein,) and did not fail of enjoying her, who was at his service all the night long, as supposing he was the god; and when he was gone away, which was before those priests who knew nothing of this stratagem were stirring, Paulina came early to her husband, and told him how the god Anubis had appeared to her. Among her friends, also, she declared how great a value she put upon this favor, who partly disbelieved the thing, when they reflected on its nature, and partly were amazed at it, as having no pretense for not believing it, when they considered the modesty and the dignity of the person. But now, on the third day after what had been done, Mundus met Paulina, and said, "Nay, Paulina, thou hast saved me two hundred thousand drachmae, which sum thou sightest have added to thy own family; yet hast thou not failed to be at my service in the manner I invited thee. As for the reproaches thou hast laid upon Mundus, I value not the business of names; but I rejoice in the pleasure I reaped by what I did, while I took to myself the name of Anubis." When he had said this, he went his way.

But now she began to come to the sense of the grossness of what she had done, and rent her garments, and told her husband of the horrid nature of this wicked contrivance, and prayed him not to neglect to assist her in this case. So he discovered the fact to the emperor; whereupon Tiberius inquired into the matter thoroughly by examining the priests about it, and ordered them to be crucified, as well as Ide, who was the occasion of their perdition, and who had contrived the whole matter, which was so injurious to the woman. He also demolished the temple of Isis, and gave order that her statue should be thrown into the river Tiber; while he only banished Mundus, but did no more to him, because he supposed that what crime he had committed was done out of the passion of love. And these were the circumstances which concerned the temple of Isis, and the injuries occasioned by her priests. I now return to the relation of what happened about this time to the Jews at Rome, as I formerly told you I would.
Loeb's footnote:
Actually [Paulina's story occurred in]AD 19 as we see from Tacitus Ann. ii.85 and not c. 30, as we should deduce from the insertion of these incidents in the midst of the narrative of the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate. EM Smallwood... though rejecting Josephus' date, suggests that this date was prompted by the danger in which the Jews found themselves in the year 30 because of Sejanus' opposition to them.
...
C. Pharr, 'The testimony of Josephus to Christianity'... remarks that this story of Mundus and Paulina in its present literary form has been influenced by the classic story of the trick of Nectanebus II, the Egyptian king who, according to Pseudo-Callisthenes... deceived Olympias, wife of King Philip of Macedonia, into believing that he was Zeus Ammon, and through her became the father of Alexander the Great.
Here is the relevant passage from Tacitus:
That same year [when Germanicus died, 19 CE]… There was a debate too about expelling the Egyptian and Jewish worship, and a resolution of the Senate was passed that four thousand of the freedmen class who were infected with those superstitions and were of military age should be transported to the island of Sardinia, to quell the brigandage of the place, a cheap sacrifice should they die from the pestilential climate. The rest were to quit Italy, unless before a certain day they repudiated their impious rites.
First, I note that Paulina's story doesn't seem to have much to do with the other events in the chapter, except in that both the Egyptian and Jewish cults were banned from Rome. And I can see how Paulina's story could have played a role in the expulsion of the Egyptian cult. But there is still no practical need for Josephus to have told the story even if it did relate to the expulsion of the Egyptian cult, because Josephus, as I have seen, generally only narrates events that relate directly to Jewish affairs. If the banishment in Paulina's story actually happened in 19 AD like Tacitus said, then it occurred before Pilate's rule in Judea and hence the purpose of inserting it at this point would not really be to show why Jews were revolting against Pilate. It seems that the purpose of Josephus telling Paulina's story is to serve as a relief or antithesis to the Testamonium.

Second, the opening introducing Paulina and her virtues reminds me of the opening of the Testamonium in introducing Jesus and his virtues:
There was at Rome a woman whose name was Paulina; one who, on account of the dignity of her ancestors, and by the regular conduct of a virtuous life, had a great reputation: she was also very rich; and although she was of a beautiful countenance, and in that flower of her age wherein women are the most gay, yet did she lead a life of great modesty.
Third, Ida's paying the priests money in order to treacherously entrap Paulina reminds me of the temple priests' payment to Judas to treacherously catch Jesus.

Fourth, whereas Paulina slept with Mundus, thinking that he was the god Anubis, and Mundus met her "on the third day" of the event and revealed himself, Jesus appeared to his apostles "on the third day" of his crucifixion. In the New Testament, the resurrection appearance is considered a revelation that Jesus is divine.

Fifth, Ida and the priests were crucified by the Romans, and the temple of Isis was destroyed. On the other hand in the Bible, Jesus was crucified. And Christians like Origen ascribed the Jerusalem temple's destruction to Jesus' crucifixion.

Sixth, the mating of Ida and "Anubis" could find a parallel in the divinely induced virgin birth by Mary of Jesus, which Josephus alludes to with his words "if indeed he should be called a man".

Roger Viklund suggests that Paulina was Jewish, noting:
Afterwards, when Paulina finds out about the deception, she “rent her garments” in despair over her humiliation; a common expression of grief and despair among the Jews and this therefore suggest that she also was a Jewess.
...
Ivan G. Marcus writes:

”The tearing of clothes is the basis of what the rabbis called qeriyah, tearing one’s garment, and it is already anticipated here: ’Jacob rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and observed mourning for his son many days’ (Gen. 37:34)” (Ivan G. Marcus, The Jewish life cycle: rites of passage from biblical to modern times‎, p. 203).
https://rogerviklund.wordpress.com/2011 ... ext/#_edn1
I've read... that the off-topic digression [about Paulina] is an allegorical fable intended by Josephus to link the short "Jesus passage" with the final section of the chapter -- in which an unnamed Roman Jew swindles a sincere but naive convert to Judaism out of a huge pile of cash (ostensibly for the Temple in Jerusalem). Which is to say that the racy anecdote about a seducer who pretends to be a god is meant to draw an analogy between the Jewish con-artist in Rome and another Jewish con-artist in Jerusalem!

In other words, could the gushingly "Christian-sounding" quality that skeptics have complained about in the Testimonium Flavium be nothing more than SARCASM on the part of Josephus?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AJo ... _18,_Ch._3?

In James the Brother of Jesus, Robert H. Eisenman writes:
Tacitus, who agrees that Tiberius expelled the jews from Rome because of these kinds of pernicious superstitions, places these events [Paulina's story and Fulvia's deception by the four Jews, leading to the banishment from Rome] precidely in 19 CE - the year of Jesus' purported crucifixion according to the allegedly spurious Acti Pilates.... These 'acts'... have now been lost....

For some this [set of stories] could represent a subtle if malevolent burlesque of Christian infancy narratives. The Fulvia episode has to do with fundraising activities overseas on the part of a teacher, condemnded for Lawbreaking in palestine and three of his associates. Not only does the date of the Mundus and Paulina episode in Tacitus like the date of the death of John the Baptist in Josephus cause problems where New testament chronologies are concerned, it overlaps later information in Suetonius about how during the reign of Claudius (41-54 CE) the Jews were banished from Rome for making propaganda on behalf of one 'Chrestus'.

...
There is something very peculiar about these stories, which are immediately followed up by descriptions of additional tumults and Pilate's repression of what are obviously Messianic disturbances among the Samaritans. It is impossible to say what is going on, but at least in the Mundus and Fulvia stories, Josephus appears to substitute titillating trivia for more substantial turns of events. Additionally, the parody of Christian birth narratives about Jesus, represented by the Mundus and Paulina story, would be typical of Josephus and others of a similar frame of mind.
Throbert McGee writes:
I would cautiously argue that Josephus’s entertaining but utterly off-topic digression about the seduction of “Paulina” makes sense ONLY as a rhetorical bridge between the passage about Jesus and the subsequent passage about an unnamed Roman Jew who swindles a naive convert to Judaism out of a huge pile of money. Remove the “TF” on the grounds that it’s a complete forgery and the Paulina story has no reason for being there — Josephus could’ve gone right to the story about the dishonest Jew in Rome and its repercussions for the city’s Jewish community. Furthermore, Paulina is described as being a virtuous and faithful wife who is TRICKED into “accidental adultery” by a clever seducer who claims to be the Egyptian god Anubis, making love to her in a dream.

...the “Paulina” story IS ABOUT A CON-MAN WHO PRETENDS TO BE A GOD, and it comes RIGHT AFTER the disputed passage in which Josephus describes Jesus as the Messiah who Rose From the Dead. Far from being an obvious Christian forgery, the Testimonium is possibly deadpan sarcasm!
http://freethoughtnation.com/does-josep ... ical-jesus

Karl Kautsky said that the connection was a longstanding observation by readers of the Antiquities:
Pious commentators early occupied themselves with this sequence, linking the adventure of Madame Paulina with Christ, and seeing in it a hidden sneer on the part of the malicious Jew Josephus at the virginity of the Virgin Mary and the credulity of her fiance Joseph, a sneer that to be sure would not go very well with the recognition of the miracles of Christ immediately preceding it.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsk ... t/ch06.htm
In the late fourth century, a writer using Hegessippus as a pseudonym rewrote the story of Paulina as a satire of the Christian gospel story. Albert Bell writes in his essay "Josephus the Satirist":
In [Book] II, 12.1 ["Hegesippus"] retells the sory of Paulina and Mundus as an example of the ludibrium typical of the Rome which killed Christ. .... Hegesippus then introduces the element of pregnancy, which is altogether lacking in Josephus: de se quoque et illa deum esse generandum persuadet mulieri. To the Christian audience for whom he was writing this must surely have suggested the Annunciation in Luke I. THe words used to describe Paulina's reaction... when compared to certain phrases in Luke's Gospel heighten this impression...
Bell suggests that as a result, Josephus' original writing of the Testamonium likely referred to Jesus' virgin birth in a derogatory way, and proposes:
If [in the story of Paulina], Josephus has just satirized the founder of Christianity, could not [Fulvia's story], in light of its context, be understood as satirizing the new sect's foremost propagator, Paul? ... The apostle's converts included large numbers of women, such as Lydia, his first convert in Europe... and Priscilla... Women are prominently mentioned in the salutations to the letters to Colossae and ROme. ... And of course his collection of funds for the Jerusalem Christians was a major aspect of his third missionary journey.
https://www.scribd.com/document/1180041 ... -Flavianum

John Munter notes the connections between the two stories that follow the Testamonium:
The first story involves sex and the second one money but both describe a supposed con man hoodwinking a well-meaning and prominent woman in the religious contexts of both the Greek gods and the Jewish faith. Both are very oddly placed in that during a discussion of events in Palestine the focus suddenly veers to Rome that includes a discussion of the Temple of Isis about characters and events that are otherwise unattested outside of Josephus...
http://www.themirroredbridalchamber.com ... _Jesus.pdf
Munter questions whether Decius Mundus and Paulina were real names of real people. Decius Mundus means something like Worldly God in Latin, and in the story he was playing the character of Anubis, a god of the dead. Paulina, on the other hand, is a feminine form of "Paul".

Another curiosity is that in the two stories that immediately follow the Testamonium, the female protagonist is married to a "Saturninus":
4... She[Paulina] was married to Saturninus, one that was every way answerable to her in an excellent character.

5... Whereupon Tiberius, who had been informed of the thing by Saturninus, the husband of Fulvia, who desired inquiry might be made about it, ordered all the Jews to be banished out of Rome
If these two stories are fictional, then why did Josephus decide to name their husbands "Saturninus"? One blog commentor proposed that "Saturn" is supposed to be a reference to Judaism (https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/4664). It seems to me that Loeb's footnote's idea, suggested by RS Rogers, that Paulina and Fulvia could be the same person and the husband Saturninus her husband in both stories, could be correct.

Peter Cresswell also sees the story of Paulina to be an allegory:
The unison of a god with a mortal woman is the Christian nativity theme even to the detail of the husband, having been told, feeling honoured at the prospect! The pretender, Decius Mundus, is based on Decius Mus, a mfamous, legendary Roman war hero. He was a soldier who in battle sacrificed himself in to appease the gods, thus dying for the benefit of the many – in the same way that Caiaphas speaks of Yeshua in John’s gospel. Like the figure of gospel creation, Jesus, Decius claims in the story to be a god and he makes public his resolution to die. Like Jesus/Yeshua, Decius appears on the third day (after two days). But his purpose was quite contrary to that of Jesus/Yeshua who proclaimed thereby his divinity. Decius’ objective was to tell Paulinus that he had been pretending to be Anubis; that he was not after all, a god. The outcome, as in the case of Yeshua, is crucifixion. But Decius escapes into exile, as indeed I have earlier suggested that Yeshua may have.

http://www.theinventionofjesus.com/jose ... -saulpaul/
He adds:
In [both the story of Fulvia and that of Paulina,] the victim is a woman of high birth, betrayed by a priest or priests, and the husband knows the Emperor and reports the matter. Tiberias exacts punishments, including in both cases a sentence of banishment. To make quite sure the point is not lost, he calls the husband in each case by the same name, Saturnicus! So Paulina is Fulvia and Fulvia is Paulina, perhaps even Fulvia Paulina.

[Fulvia's story is] an almost exact précis of Paul’s position as described in the Acts of the Apostles and, as in Acts, Paul is on a mission, ostensibly to collect money for Jews in Jerusalem. Josephus maliciously repeats rumours that Paul had been using some of the money for himself, something that Paul himself appears to have been acutely aware of (Corinthians I, 9, 3-12).
The article "Josephus' Report on Jesus" in Collected Studies on Philo and Josephus makes an interesting observation showing the connection between the two women's stories: "it could be argued that these sections form one unity, since in his editorial remarks, Josephus claims that 18.65 and 18.80 introduce and conclude the story of Paulina, which clearly indicates that this particular story should be understood as part of the overarching tale of the Jews in Rome. The purpose of the Paulina story is to throw the Fulvia story into relief: In the Paulina story, a greater fraud results in a smaller punishment, whereas in the Fulvia story, a minor fraud results in a terrible and much larger punishment."

In Isis and Sarapis in the Roman World (pp. 85-86), Sarolta A. Takacs says that there was in real life a Paulina Fulvia married to a Saturninis, but she implies that enough details in the story are unrealistic that the story is probably made up:
The major problem however is the fusion of the two women who had different religious interests. Paulina was an adherent of the cult of Isis... Fulvia... can be thought of as a proselyte Jew. .... One is then left to wonder not only about her religious conversion [from Isis worship to Judaism] and persuasion, her judgment of character and naivete, but also the emperor's repeated willingness to intervene on behalf of the twice foolwed Paulina Fulvia and his sweeping punishments to avenge her. Josephus' colorful account... does not rely on the existence of a Paulina Fulvia but on the theme of moral disintegration that was in his opinion equally applicable to the Jewish and Roman state of affairs.
I find it relevant that the ancient Table of Contents mentions the protests against Pilate bringing the images of the emperor to Jerusalem (Chapter 3), as well as the failed Messianic-type Samaritan revolt (Chapter 4), and yet omits mention of the revolts against the aqueduct, as well as the stories of Jesus, Paulina, and Fulvia. But this doesn't necessarily mean that those stories were absent in Josephus' original text.

My research on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection: http://rakovskii.livejournal.com

User avatar
rakovsky
Posts: 1179
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:07 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by rakovsky » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:28 pm

It is hard for me to know what to make of all this. Certainly it suggests that Josephus did have a section on Jesus.

The story of Paulina I believe is an allusion to Jesus' story with the virgin birth and 3rd day resurrection. But it is apparently an antithetical one, whereby the Jews had the divine, virgin-born, crucified, risen Messiah who was rejected by the high priests and betrayed by Judas; and in contrast Rome had a pretend Egyptian "god" who had real sex with a chaste woman and was supported by the priests and used a Judas-like figure to achieve his ends, revealing his fraud on the third day, after which he escaped alive and the priests and Judas-like figure were crucified. This would seem to imply that the Christian story is good and authentic.

The story of Fulvia sounds like it could be a parody of Paul's mission work in Rome, but Tacitus says that the expulsion occurred in c. 19 AD, which must mean that the story wasn't directly referring to Paul's missionizing. Also, there could be an antithetical device used: Whereas Paul was subordinate to three leaders, gathered money for the Jerusalem Church (and its three leaders) and sent the money along, the Jewish proselytizer had three subordinates, had gathered money for the temple and stolen it.

I also see a chiastic structure in Chapter 3.
Pilate's abusive actions in Judea (two sections)
Jesus' story
The false religious figures in Rome (two sections).

There seems to be major chiastic mirroring between the stories of Pilate and the religious figures in Rome. Pilate failed to bring the images and aqueduct, but Decius succeeded in impersonating Anubis and the Jewish thief succeeded in taking the money. Yet Pilate succeeded in his conquests over Judea politically as a result despite his failure, and Decius and the thieves ultimately failed because they were caught in their fraud. Despite being subject to Rome in the first two stories, the Jews succeeded in keeping out the images from Jerusalem and losing temple money to the aqueduct in Jerusalem. And the last two stories in the chiasm narrate the destruction of a temple in Rome and the banishment of the Jews from Rome.

Josephus seems to be casting a moral lesson as a kind of puzzle. In the story of Jesus, Jesus failed in his mission as the Messiah because he was crucified, yet he succeeded because of his resurrection and spreading of his message by his followers. In contrast to the outcomes in Chapters sections 1-2, 4-5, the Christian missionaries were sent to Rome, the new Christian "temple" (the Church) was built, Paul's money was sent to the Christian "temple" (Church) in Jerusalem, and the divine image of the Christian "emperor"(Jesus) came to the apostles.

It seems like Josephus has some kind of major secret focus on Jesus that he would go to so much length to write Chapter 3 in this chiastic way.

My research on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection: http://rakovskii.livejournal.com

Paul the Uncertain
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:25 am
Contact:

Re: What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:48 am

A while ago, I wrote about Paulina and Mundus.

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/201 ... f-paulina/

In brief compass, I think it and the much shorter and sketchier expulsion story belong about 600 words earlier, with the death of Germanicus, an event from the same year as the expulsion. Beyond that apparent displacement, I am uncertain

- whether the Josephus version of Paulina and Mundus (distinguished from the pseudo-Hegesippus version by its "clever servant" stock character, Ida or Ide) is fictive rather than an actual historical event, and

- fictive or not, whether it is Josephus' work. There are no Jewish characters in the lengthy detail-burdened story, and there is nothing in Josephus that ties Egyptian religion to the Jewish expulsion. The only P&M character who is expelled from Rome is the individual goy Mundus, who is NOT an adherent of the Egyptian religion.

I do not pursue the possibility of intentional displacement, that somebody might have moved the story to highlight its "even when a lady sincerely thinks she has been intimate with a god, she probably hasn't" aspects. However, it would seem that whatever parallels between the Christian stories and P&M might move Josephus to write the dopey-Gentile sex romp and locate it where we now find it could also move some other people to displace or insert whatever version of P&M there.

User avatar
rakovsky
Posts: 1179
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:07 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by rakovsky » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:02 am

I liked that you engaged the issue on your site.

Chronologically, the passages on Pauline and Fulvia should be placed earlier, before talking about Pilate. But in terms of literary use, they fit in Chapter 3 because they describe the "outrages" and troubles. Fulvia's story relates why the Jews were banished, and Paulina's story seems to illustrate why the Egyptian cult was banned at that time.

Furthermore, as a cryptic reference to Jesus, the Paulina story would be relevant to the section on Pilate in a literary way.

My research on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection: http://rakovskii.livejournal.com

Paul the Uncertain
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:25 am
Contact:

Re: What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:57 am

Just out of curiosity, do you think Paulina and Mundus is a true story, or substantially so?

Also, what do you make of the complete absence of Josephus "connecting the dots" between the two expelled groups? By that I mean that there's no disclosure in the recieved Josephus that Egyptian-religion adherents were expelled. Even with Tacitus and Suetonius picking up that slack, there's nothing in their versions that suggest any relationship between the expulsions, Jewish or Egyptian, and hijinks involving Roman married ladies, much less that that was the common reason for both expulsions.

It is a curious case.

User avatar
rakovsky
Posts: 1179
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:07 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by rakovsky » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:27 pm

Let me try to answer your questions:
1. I don't believe that it's meant as a real retelling, because I see more coincidences with the Christian story than would be just random, like the third day appearances in both cases. It also doesn't sound believable to me that Paulina would actually believe that she was going to sleep with Anubis and that her husband would be fine with this, and then that they would be surprised that it was not actually Anubis. Even most kids probably figure out that Santa Claus doesn't actually come down their chimney. It looks more like a "Christianity-colored" gloss on realistic events (eg. some temple sex scandals leading to the banning of Egyptian cults) than a literal event as he told it.

2. He could have left out connecting the dots between the two expelled groups because it was not his purpose in telling the story of Paulina to explain why the Egyptian cult was banned, but rather to make an antithetical gospel parable that was the inverse of Jesus' story. The normal thing that I would have expected him to do would be to say (as your question suggests): "The Jewish and Egyptian cults were banned from Rome for the following reasons..." and then narrated the two stories, severely abridged Paulina's, and put them in the section before Pilate. In fact, I would not have expected him to even talk about the Egyptian cult in any detail at all, because I have found that Josephus is so strict in limiting himself to Jewish events throughout his four books. Even when he talks about something relevant in the gentile world like a Persian or Roman change in rulers, it's way more perfunctory than the story of Paulina is.

But Josephus didn't do any of those things that I would have expected. And this can be explained because his purpose in telling Paulina's story was not to really talk in detail about why the Egyptian cult was expelled, but to use the events that occurred in that time to provide a fictional antithesis for the Testamonium. That being the case, he did not need to provide an explanation to the reader that would have justified the introduction of the story on some other ground.

Let me give an analogy in literature that helps illustrate what I think is going on.
Imagine that I write a novel on the sinking of the Titanic, and in the beginning of the story, I also talk about The Olympia, another boat similar to the Titanic owned by the same company, in the same harbor of embarkment, at the same time as the Titanic was there, and with a somewhat similar look. At that point in my novel, I introduce a story that took place "about that time" wherein a famous man is ready to build a new house for himself and his old house burns down. He collects the insurance on his old house and uses the money to build a new one as he had planned. Now it so happens that the man in the story happened to be a real, famous passenger on the Titanic, but I never mention that to the reader.

Nor do I put the story of the house burning chronologically where it should go (eg. before or after describing the Olympia and the Titanic being parked next to eachother).
You as the reader should wonder: Why didn't I put the house burning story in the right chronological place, and why didn't I explain the direct factual connection to the Titanic - the house's owner was a passenger? The reason that I didn't was that neither was relevant to my real purpose in introducing the story. The real purpose of the house burning story was to allude secretly to the reader the idea that the sinking of the Titanic could have been an insurance scam, and the Olympia was switched for the Titanic. But I couldn't come out and tell you that, because the house burning story was a literary device. I wanted to put the possibility in my reader's mind, but I didn't want to come out and say that the Titanic's sinking was deliberate, because most people don't believe that and I can't prove it. It's just a theory.

Image

Image

Josephus, on the other hand, I think worked secret allusions to Christianity into his writings, but he didn't want to come out and make them overt. I think that Chapter 3 itself is a chiastic device as a whole, where sections 1 and 2, and 4 and 5 line up with each other in meaning and point to the gospel story in section 3. But Josephus doesn't prefer to explain all that to the reader. Mark's gospel also has a kind of secret style, for example. I think that Mark strongly alludes to the reader that Jesus resurrected bodily, for example, yet he deliberately avoids overtly narrating Jesus' appearances themselves.

My research on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection: http://rakovskii.livejournal.com

Paul the Uncertain
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:25 am
Contact:

Re: What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:45 pm

Thank you for the very detailed answer to my questions.

I am a simpler soul. I don't believe P&M is a true story, but I don't think it was hand crafted to parallel Christian concerns, either. I'm not even sure Josephus would be interested enough in Christianity to go to that much trouble.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to think about the possibilities, and you present them well. Thanks again.

User avatar
rakovsky
Posts: 1179
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:07 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by rakovsky » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:26 pm

Paul the Uncertain wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:45 pm
I am a simpler soul. I don't believe P&M is a true story, but I don't think it was hand crafted to parallel Christian concerns, either. I'm not even sure Josephus would be interested enough in Christianity to go to that much trouble.
It is an interesting topic for me too.
It's a circumstantial case, and relies first on this issue: If an author places two stories side by side, the latter story being his fictional creation, then how strong and numerous must the similarities and common elements between the two stories be in order to suggest that he created the fictional story with the other story in mind? For me, the similarities between the stories are numerous and strong enough to suggest that he did so in the Paulina anecdote.

It relies secondly on the fact that the Paulina story doesn't seem to fit in Josephus' story telling because it is out of order chronologically and is ostensibly unrelated to Jewish affairs, which are generally always Josephus' only concern. But it does fit thematically with Jesus' story.

Since it is a circumstantial case, I don't think that I can force someone to accept the connection. We don't have Josephus saying "I wrote this anecdote as an antithesis to Jesus' story". But I think that readers on the lookout for cryptic references would tend to find a connection more often than not.

My research on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection: http://rakovskii.livejournal.com

Ken Olson
Posts: 202
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 9:26 am

Re: What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by Ken Olson » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:53 am

In the OP, Rakovsky wrote:
Some scholars have proposed that the Testamonium sounds out of place, as if it was inserted, but after reading almost all of Josephus' volumes, I don't agree with this impression. Instead, the story of Paulina strongly suggests that the Testamonium was used exactly at this point. The reason is that the story of Paulina takes place entirely in Rome and ostensibly doesn't seem to have a relation to any other events in the chapter, as it doesn't involve any Jews. I can tell from my reading that Josephus almost always limits himself to Jewish events or to events that have a strong purpose or relationship to them, like the succession of Roman emperors. There is no ostensible reason why Josephus includes the story of Paulina at this point, and besides that, Paulina's story has major close similarities to the Testamonium.
Over in another thread on Antiquities 18.3, I wrote:
Perhaps Giuseppe and Rakovsky could engage each other's theses on the topic of Antiquities 18.3:

Each could explain the methodology he is employing in analyzing the evidence of Ant. 18.3 and why readers ought to find the parallels he adduces more persuasive evidence in favor of his thesis than the other has given, or, conversely, why the other's parallels are weaker than his own and the other's thesis ought not to be accepted.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4882#p96072

I take it that Giuseppi does not accept Rakovsky's interpretation of Antiquities 18.3 and I suspect the reverse is also true. The question I'm interested in is: what constitutes a sound case from purported parallels? Why would Rakovsky, for instance, dismiss Giuseppi's case as something that exists only in his mind and not in the mind of an ancient author (the evangleist Mark, in Giuseppi's case), while readers should accept that his own case establishes something going on in the mind of an ancient author (Josephus) and not merely his own (Rakovsky's) mind?

Giuseppe
Posts: 6493
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: What is the real relationship between the Testamonium and the stories of Paulina and Fulvia?

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:08 am

Ken Olson wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:53 am
Giuseppi does not accept Rakovsky's interpretation of Antiquities 18.3 and I suspect the reverse is also true. The question I'm interested in is: what constitutes a sound case from purported parallels? Why would Rakovsky, for instance, dismiss Giuseppi's case as something that exists only in his mind and not in the mind of an ancient author (the evangleist Mark, in Giuseppi's case), while readers should accept that his own case establishes something going on in the mind of an ancient author (Josephus) and not merely his own (Rakovsky's) mind?
Surely also this is not a mere coincidence. why do you write “Giuseppi” (plural?) and not “Giuseppe” ?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Post Reply