One thing that I like about this forum is that there are thoughtful participants like yourself who are interested in these topics and are also critical minded and engaging.
I think that the way that the parallels in the chiasms of this chapter are developed antithetically suggest that there should be a passage like the Testimonium that antithetically mirrors the Paulina at this point in the story.
I think there are a vast number of ways the similarities and differences between the pericopes of this text could be construed and your claim to have found the one true overarching chiastic structure to it, which you’ve already changed once, is driven by your thesis that the Testimonium is authentic and at its center and not by examination of the data.
This is because (A) chiasms are a writing style that point to some important idea in the text. One of the main ideas that Josephus was getting at in this part of his text was the factors leading to the Temple's destruction in the rebellion.
Yes, what Josephus was primarily concerned with was outlining the breakdown of relations between the Judeans (and Samaritans) and Romans that led to the rebellion against Rome and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. We don’t need to hypothesize any chiastic structures to see that. Norden described this section of the text (correctly, I think) as focusing primarily on a series of disturbances (thoryboi) between the Jews or Samaritans and the Romans.
According to Origen, Josephus noted in Book 18 that many believed that James' death was a key factor for the Temple's destruction. Yet actually here in Book 18, nor later in narrating James' death in book 20, Josephus doesn't list James' death among the events leading to the destruction.
What does this have to do with this text? Are you taking Origen’s statements to reflect an earlier text of Josephus than the one we have? (I don’t, but that’s another issue).
But it's true that the Testimonium does narrate a key event, Jesus' death, that early Christians saw as leading to the destruction. Thus, the Testimonium would fit as an important idea that the chiasm of this section tries to point to.
Your arguments seems to be missing a few steps:
This section of the Antiquities is about events leading up to the destruction of the temple (I would actually say the outbreak of war)
Christians saw Jesus’ death as leading to the destruction of the temple
The Testimonium mentions the death of Jesus
Therefore the Testimonium would fit this section of the Antiquities
Where’s the part where you show we can presuppose Christian beliefs in interpreting the text of Josephus?
And if Josephus thought that the death of Jesus was the cause of the destruction of the temple, why doesn't he just say so in his text?
Also, (B) the structure in this part is based on actions of Jews subsequently and chiastically mirroring actions of Romans antithetically. So since the Paulina story illustrates an abuse by a Roman (Decius Mundus) pretending to be a god and revealing himself in three days to the cult's female follower, one would tend to expect some antithetical story about a Jew and a female follower (e.g. Jesus appearing as a god and revealing his true nature to a female follower after three days) to precede the Paulina story.
You realize that the Testimonium does not say that Jesus appeared “as a god” or that the people (plural) to whom he appeared were female, right? (Maybe you could make the plural antithetically parallel to the singular). You’re importing details from the New Testament into your reading of the Testimonium to create the structures you claim to find in the text of Josephus.
Further, if in the alternative the Testimonium is a later interpolation, then it was correctly placed into the text and constructed in agreement with the Paulina story, and that the interpolator saw the parallels
Okay, I assume when you say "correctly placed in the text" you mean correctly placed in the text to be in the middle of the chiastic structure that you hypothesize to exist. So let me answer that before addressing the bit about the Paulina story.
You vastly underestimate the ability of an interpreter who wants to see the Testimonium at the center of a chiasm to construct one for himself. You've already created two. Consider the subchapters of 18.3.1 – 18.4.2:
18.3.1. The Jews protest Pilate bringing icons into Jerusalem
18.3.2. The Jews protest Pilate taking money from the temple to build an aqueduct
18.3.3 The Testimonium
18.3.4. Paulina is deceived by Mundus in Rome
18.3.5. Fulvia is deceived by Jews in Rome
18.4.1. A false Messiah deceives the Samaritans and many are killed by Pilate
18.4.2. The Samaritans complain about Pilate to Vitellius, who removes him from office and sends him to Rome to give an account of himself before Tiberius
The Testimonium could have been inserted anywhere after 18.3.1 and before 18.4.2 and we would have no difficulty in seeing it as being in the center of a chiastic construction.
It could have been inserted between the successful Jewish protest against Pilate that caused him to back down and the unsuccessful protest against Pilate that got many of the Jews killed. (18.3.1 & 18.3.2).
It could have been inserted between the deception of the Roman matron Paulina by a foreign cult that resulted in the official suppression of that cult in Rome and the deception of the Roman matron Fulvia by a foreign cult that resulted in the official suppression of that cult in Rome.(18.3.4 & 18.3.5).
It could have been inserted between the Jewish deceiver that got all the Jews punished by the Romans and the Samaritan deceiver that got may of the Samaritans killed by the Romans (18.3.5 & 18.4.1).
It could have been inserted between the accounts of what Pilate did to the Samaritans and what the Samaritans did to Pilate. (18.4.1 & 18.4.2).
So we'd have no difficulty in reverse-engineering a chiastic structure with the Testimonium at its center if it were placed between any of the subchapters after 18.3.1 and before 18.4.2. This is because imagining chiastic structures in texts is fun and easy.
If we placed the Testimonium immediately before or after the story about the Samaritan false Messiah, we'd have the added bonus that we could then construct that story (instead of the Paulina story) as parallel to the Testimonium. I won't spell out how we would do that in this post. I think it's probably fairly clear to most readers.
Finally, considering that the Testimonium's outline is, in the opinion of myself and other writers, constructed in accordance with Luke 24, it appears that the Testimonium is probably not an interpolation constructed in accordance with the Paulina story. So I believe that it's most likely that (1) Josephus wrote the Testimonium based on Luke 24, and then (2) wrote up a chiastic set of passages including the Paulina story and placed them to fit around the Testimonium.
I'm not sold on Goldberg’s thesis on Luke 24, and, Richard Carrier aside, it's made *very* little impact in published academic discussion of the Testimonium. But that's really a subject for another thread. Carrier is happy with the theory that the Testimonium is constructed in parallel with Luke 24 and that it''s an interpolation. So let's move on to the other part of your argument.
I'm perfectly happy to say that the Testimonium was in all probability not constructed in accordance with the Paulina story. You seem to think you've forced me (and presumably Carrier) into a corner where I'd have to argue that it was. Perhaps you could spell out why.
Since I believe that Luke was probably written before the Testimonium, I think that Josephus probably wrote the Testimonium based on Luke 24, rather than the alternative of an interpolator knowing of the chiastic structure and then deliberately crafting the Testimonium to either (A) antithetically parallel the Paulina story in a way that just *happens* to match Luke 24, or (B) match Luke 24 in a way that just *happens* to antithetically parallel the Paulina story without Josephus intending the Paulina story to antithetically parallel the gospel story.
When you start with "Since I believe that Luke was probably written before the Testimonium" you explain why you came to the conclusion you did, but not why someone else ought to come to the conclusion you did [this is the problem with much of your argumentation]. Why can we not believe the reverse, as Steve Mason and Richard Carrier do?
As in my preceding comment, I'll skip the Goldberg/Luke 24 here and repeat my request that you explain why I would have to accept that the Testimonium was constructed to parallel or antithetically parallel the Paulina story. Two caveats:(1) I don't mean just describe the way you think it might, but why *someone other than you* should feel compelled to accept that it is; and (2) please stick to the texts of the Paulina story and the Testimonium (i.e., not the Christian tradition outside the Testimonium).