Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

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Irish1975
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Irish1975 » Sat May 04, 2019 1:08 pm

John2 wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 8:46 pm
Irish1975 wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 6:19 pm
This is all beside the point, John2.

For the Flavian hypothesis, ex hypothesi, historical details about Jerusalem, its factions, and what "might" have happened there are not relevant. If gMark is imperial propaganda, then of course it isn't accurate history. (Anyone who would have read Josephus or Philo about Pilate could see that the Gospels' depiction of him is pure fantasy.)


I think what Mark says about Jesus, Jerusalem and its factions is quite in keeping with the Dead Sea Scrolls and what Josephus says about the Fourth Philosophy, so if Mark is "pure fantasy" in these respects then so are the Dead Sea Scrolls and Josephus.
How dishonest. I was talking about Pontius Pilate specifically (cruel, vindictive, inflexible, corrupt, rapacious, murderous, inhuman, etc. according to Philo). You twisted my words around as if I had said that all of Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls were "pure fantasy." WTF

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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Sat May 04, 2019 1:34 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 1:08 pm
John2 wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 8:46 pm
Irish1975 wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 6:19 pm
This is all beside the point, John2.

For the Flavian hypothesis, ex hypothesi, historical details about Jerusalem, its factions, and what "might" have happened there are not relevant. If gMark is imperial propaganda, then of course it isn't accurate history. (Anyone who would have read Josephus or Philo about Pilate could see that the Gospels' depiction of him is pure fantasy.)


I think what Mark says about Jesus, Jerusalem and its factions is quite in keeping with the Dead Sea Scrolls and what Josephus says about the Fourth Philosophy, so if Mark is "pure fantasy" in these respects then so are the Dead Sea Scrolls and Josephus.
How dishonest. I was talking about Pontius Pilate specifically (cruel, vindictive, inflexible, corrupt, rapacious, murderous, inhuman, etc. according to Philo). You twisted my words around as if I had said that all of Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls were "pure fantasy." WTF

This is going nowhere, I'm done.
Okay, then how does Mark's depiction of Pilate differ from Josephus' and Philo's? As I wrote upthread (with an added underline for the key part):
And what does Pilate care if they picked Jesus? It says he had a custom, and Jewish leaders who were obsequious to Rome stirred up the crowd to choose Barabbas, so he "had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified," despite knowing it was only out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. And who crucified him? Roman soldiers.

Does Pilate sound like a great guy to you here or something?
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John2
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Sat May 04, 2019 1:50 pm

You twisted my words around as if I had said that all of Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls were "pure fantasy."
All I meant to show is that Mark -not only regarding Pilate but by and large- is in keeping with what the Dead Sea Scrolls say (particularly the Damascus Document) and what Josephus says about the Fourth Philosophy. I was simply broadening the scope by showing that I don't think Mark (including the account of Pilate) Is thus "pure fantasy."
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Sat May 04, 2019 2:16 pm

And in the big picture, I actually meet you (and Atwill) halfway. I think Flavius Clemens could be Clement of Rome (and the Clement Paul mentions in Php. 4:3), and thus that he and his wife Flavia Domitilla were Flavian Christians and that Clemens wrote a major early Christian writing (1 Clement). And I think Paul's companion Epaphroditus (mentioned in the context of sending special greetings from "those of Caesar's household" in Philippians) could be Nero's (and later Domitian's) secretary of the same name who was (like Clemens) executed by Domitian during the time he was persecuting Christians (and I suspect he wrote Luke/Acts). So to that extent I think there was Flavian involvement in the development of Christianity.

But I buy what Papias says about Mark, that he was a follower of Peter, and I think Christianity was a faction of the Fourth Philosophy and Mark seems like a (c. 70 CE) Fourth Philosophic writing to me, and Vespasian and Titus fought against the Fourth Philosophy.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Giuseppe » Sat May 04, 2019 9:34 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 1:34 pm

Does Pilate sound like a great guy to you here or something?
not even there. Read here:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5036#p97674
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Irish1975
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Irish1975 » Sun May 05, 2019 7:40 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 1:34 pm
Does Pilate sound like a great guy to you here or something?
PHILO, On the Embassy to Gaius, ch. 38--
Pilate was one of the emperor's lieutenants, having been appointed governor of Judaea. He, not more with the object of doing honour to Tiberius than with that of vexing the multitude, dedicated some gilt shields in the palace of Herod, in the holy city; which had no form nor any other forbidden thing represented on them except some necessary inscription, which mentioned these two facts, the name of the person who had placed them there, and the person in whose honour they were so placed there. (300) But when the multitude heard what had been done, and when the circumstance became notorious, then the people, putting forward the four sons of the king, who were in no respect inferior to the kings themselves, in fortune or in rank, and his other descendants, and those magistrates who were among them at the time, entreated him to alter and to rectify the innovation which he had committed in respect of the shields; and not to make any alteration in their national customs, which had hitherto been preserved without any interruption, without being in the least degree changed by any king of emperor. (301) "But when he steadfastly refused this petition (for he was a man of a very inflexible disposition, and very merciless as well as very obstinate), they cried out: 'Do not cause a sedition; do not make war upon us; do not destroy the peace which exists. The honour of the emperor is not identical with dishonour to the ancient laws; let it not be to you a pretence for heaping insult on our nation. Tiberius is not desirous that any of our laws or customs shall be destroyed. And if you yourself say that he is, show us either some command from him, or some letter, or something of the kind, that we, who have been sent to you as ambassadors, may cease to trouble you, and may address our supplications to your master.' (302) "But this last sentence exasperated him in the greatest possible degree, as he feared least they might in reality go on an embassy to the emperor, and might impeach him with respect to other particulars of his government, in respect of his corruption, and his acts of insolence, and his rapine, and his habit of insulting people, and his cruelty, and his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never ending, and gratuitous, and most grievous inhumanity. (303) Therefore, being exceedingly angry, and being at all times a man of most ferocious passions, he was in great perplexity, neither venturing to take down what he had once set up, nor wishing to do any thing which could be acceptable to his subjects, and at the same time being sufficiently acquainted with the firmness of Tiberius on these points. And those who were in power in our nation, seeing this, and perceiving that he was inclined to change his mind as to what he had done, but that he was not willing to be thought to do so, wrote a most supplicatory letter to Tiberius. (304) And he, when he had read it, what did he say of Pilate, and what threats did he utter against him! But it is beside our purpose at present to relate to you how very angry he was, although he was not very liable to sudden anger; since the facts speak for themselves; (305) for immediately, without putting any thing off till the next day, he wrote a letter, reproaching and reviling him in the most bitter manner for his act of unprecedented audacity and wickedness, and commanding him immediately to take down the shields and to convey them away from the metropolis of Judaea to Caesarea, on the sea which had been named Caesarea Augusta, after his grandfather, in order that they might be set up in the temple of Augustus. And accordingly, they were set up in that edifice. And in this way he provided for two matters: both for the honour due to the emperor, and for the preservation of the ancient customs of the city.

Obviously not the man who condemns Jesus in the Gospels.

The central theme concerning Pilate in gMark is that he is only concerned with whether Jesus claims to be "the king of the Jews," and (after the absurd dialogue with the crowd) is finally willing to have him executed for that specific crime of sedition against Roman rule. It is natural, therefore, for the reader to see him as a symbol of Roman rule in Judea, and to see his execution of Jesus as a portent of the Temple's destruction. Of course he isn't a nice guy, but he perfectly represents Rome as its emperors would have liked her subject nations to regard her.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Mon May 06, 2019 9:45 am

… vexing the multitude …
… a man of a very inflexible disposition, and very merciless as well as very obstinate ...
… his corruption, and his acts of insolence, and his rapine, and his habit of insulting people, and his cruelty, and his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never ending, and gratuitous, and most grievous inhumanity ...
… being at all times a man of most ferocious passions ...
Obviously not the man who condemns Jesus in the Gospels.

Maybe not in the other NT gospels, but it sounds like the same guy in the gospel of Mark to me. Let's look at the entire account again.

Mk. 15:1-15:
Early in the morning, the chief priests, elders, scribes, and the whole Sanhedrin devised a plan. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.

So Pilate questioned him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

And the chief priests began to accuse him of many things.

Then Pilate questioned him again, “Do you not answer? Look how many charges they are bringing against you!”

But to Pilate’s amazement, Jesus made no further reply.

Now it was Pilate’s custom at the feast to release to the people a prisoner of their choosing. And a man named Barabbas was imprisoned with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd went up and began asking Pilate to keep his custom.

“Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” Pilate asked. For he knew it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over.

But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas to them instead.

So Pilate asked them again, “What then do you want me to do with the one you call the King of the Jews?”

And they shouted back, “Crucify him!”

“Why?” asked Pilate. “What evil has he done?”

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

And wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.


And here is your synopsis of it again:
The central theme concerning Pilate in gMark is that he is only concerned with whether Jesus claims to be "the king of the Jews," and (after the absurd dialogue with the crowd) is finally willing to have him executed for that specific crime of sedition against Roman rule. It is natural, therefore, for the reader to see him as a symbol of Roman rule in Judea, and to see his execution of Jesus as a portent of the Temple's destruction. Of course he isn't a nice guy, but he perfectly represents Rome as its emperors would have liked her subject nations to regard her.

And my impression is that because Pilate had a custom during Passover "to release to the people a prisoner of their choosing," the chief priests took advantage of it as part of their "plan" to kill Jesus (as per 15:1). And Pilate asked Jesus if he was "the King of the Jews" because that is the charge he was condemned for in Mk. 14:61-64, and the Jewish leaders had presumably informed Pilate of this when they handed Jesus over to him:
Again the high priest questioned him, “Are you the Christ [aka the Messiah, aka the King of the Jews], the Son of the Blessed One?”

I am,” said Jesus ... At this, the high priest tore his clothes and declared, “Why do we need any more witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What is your verdict?” And they all condemned him as deserving of death.

So this is why Pilate is "only" concerned with this charge. And while I do think his dialogue with the crowd may be "absurd," it is in keeping with the practice of ancient writers (including Philo and Josephus), as this website notes:
Making up quotes is not something ancient writers were embarrassed about …

[Thucydides, Peloponnesian War 1.22.1]:

"With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself, others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in one's memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said" ...

Away back in Bible times, nobody reading [Matthew's account of the magi, for example] would have thought the magoi men literally stood together and actually spoke exactly these words [in Mt. 2:1-2]. People reading Matthew back then understood that Matthew's "quotation" was an invention that captured what the magois thought about their mission. Or, more precisely, what Matthew thought the magois thought about their mission ...

So was Matthew a dirty liar? No, he wasn't. Matthew was a product of his time and place. In ancient times this is how people wrote history. In ancient times historians routinely, unashamedly, got their quotations by making them up …

Here's the first century AD Jewish philosopher/historian Philo describing his meeting with the Roman emperor Gaius Caligula ...

"At this we all shouted out together, 'Lord Gaius, we are being slandered …' "

Did Philo and all his pals all shout exactly these words, all on the spur of the moment, all together? No they didn't. Did Philo remember exactly the words Gaius said [in response]? No he didn't. Philo made these quotes up.

http://pocm.info/pagan_ideas_phony_quotes.html
So sure, Pilate's dialogue with the crowd is similarly "absurd," but it conveys Mark's point that the crowd had been stirred up by the chief priests (who were favored by Rome) to choose Barabbas over Jesus as part of their "plan" to kill Jesus, in accordance with the Pharisees and Herodians (as per Mk. 3:6), who were also favored by Rome.

And Pilate knows this but was "willing" to go along with it anyway because it was his custom "to release to the people a prisoner of their choosing," and the crowd (stirred up by the chief priests) chose Barabbas. He wasn't afraid of the crowd or coerced by them to do it, he was simply "wishing to satisfy" them in accordance with his custom, so he "had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified," despite knowing it was only "out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over" to him.

And this is in keeping Philo's description of him above:
... his corruption, and his acts of insolence, and his rapine, and his habit of insulting people, and his cruelty, and his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never ending, and gratuitous, and most grievous inhumanity ...
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.

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Irish1975
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Irish1975 » Mon May 06, 2019 10:56 am

Wow, okay. Let's go over some fundamentals. The Jesus of gMark is precisely, emphatically not a Davidic messiah, not "king of the Jews," not a rebel against Roman rule. This is why the Donkey ride into the Temple, when the crowds proclaim that he will restore the kingdom of David, results in the nothing burger that you referred to in 11:11. It is why Jesus teaches overtly that the messiah is not David's son (12:37). And it is why Jesus gives different answers to the "Christ question" posed first by the high priest, then by Pilate: they ask him two different questions. You missed this crucial fact when you equated "Christ" with "King of the Jews." Jesus says that he is "Christ, son of the blessed one," and then prophesies the coming of the Son of Man. To Pilate he only says "you say that I am" the King of the Jews.

The Jerusalem mob demands the liberation of Barrabas, a rebel and murderer (representing the lestai, sicarii). That is, the type who would eventually lead the revolt in 66. But they reject Jesus, the messiah who preached a humble Judaism of righteousness (12:28-34), rejecting sacrifices and purity laws, and affirming the payment of taxes to Caesar. For gMark, the people of Jerusalem get in 70 from God and from Rome what they deserve for this blind, theologically perverse, and sinful decision in 30.

Your attempt to defend the historicity of gMark's portrait of Pilate is hopelessly circular, because you simply appeal to what is in the portrait itself. And then you say that gMark's portrait is "in keeping" with that of Philo. But it clearly isn't. A prefect who is inflexible and stubborn, and loves to vex and offend the Jewish multitude is not someone who would ask such a multitude how he ought to render justice to would be rebels against Roman rule. That he would ask "what wrong has he done?" contradicts Philo's description of his wanton cruelty and injustice, etc. etc.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon May 06, 2019 11:16 am

Wow, okay. Let's go over some fundamentals. The Jesus of gMark is precisely, emphatically not a Davidic messiah, not "king of the Jews," not a rebel against Roman rule.
This statement is anything but "fundamental." Whether Jesus is really the messianic son/heir of David in the gospel of Mark is an issue to be debated. Maybe he is; maybe he is not. Good arguments can be mustered on both sides, and the reason is simply that Mark never actually answers the question for us: not even in Mark 12.35-37. He could have; it would have been easy. But he did not. (The issue of what kind of messiah counts as Davidic — militant or pacifistic, rebel or conformist — is separate.)
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Irish1975 » Mon May 06, 2019 2:00 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 11:16 am
Wow, okay. Let's go over some fundamentals. The Jesus of gMark is precisely, emphatically not a Davidic messiah, not "king of the Jews," not a rebel against Roman rule.
This statement is anything but "fundamental." Whether Jesus is really the messianic son/heir of David in the gospel of Mark is an issue to be debated. Maybe he is; maybe he is not. Good arguments can be mustered on both sides, and the reason is simply that Mark never actually answers the question for us: not even in Mark 12.35-37. He could have; it would have been easy. But he did not. (The issue of what kind of messiah counts as Davidic — militant or pacifistic, rebel or conformist — is separate.)
How could a Davidic messiah be "pacifistic, conformist," i.e. submissive to foreign rule? I can't make any sense of that.

The phrase "messianic son" confuses the issue of ancestry with the issue of what kind of messiah Jesus is. Mark has much to say about the latter, but unlike the other evangelists, he says nothing about the ancestry of Jesus.

Doesn't the question of ancestry arise in 12:35-37? Not really. Jesus teaches the temple crowd that the messiah is not the son of David. The reader knows that Jesus is the messiah, but Jesus keeps that a secret within the world of the narrative. It seems to me he is challenging the crowd's assumption that the messiah will be like David, a national liberator and warrior king, not dropping hints about his own lineage.

At this point in the narrative, Jesus has entered Jerusalem on a colt, alluding to the peaceful king of Zechariah 9:9. The people greet him with palms in the manner of the Kings of Judah, and hail the "coming kingdom of David." But then nothing happens. Jesus looks around the temple and leaves. The next day he is hungry and approaches the fig tree. But this time, unlike the earlier episode where he invoked David to justify eating corn as they pass through the fields, there is nothing to eat. The fig tree becomes a symbol of Jesus' not being a Davidic messiah who will expel the Romans, and instead a Pauline messiah who must die.

All to say I think gMark presents Jesus as being not completely certain about what kind of messiah he is meant to be until after the entry into Jerusalem. After he encounters the fig tree, the grim truth is finally clear to him. When Pilate asks whether he is the king of the Jews, he is unwilling to answer the question. The burden of action shifts to Pilate.

In the end it is Pilate alone (albeit manipulated by the Sanhedrin and the crowd) in gMark who makes Jesus out to be "king of the Jews." The final symbolism of the king of the Jews being crucified is a plain reference to the events of 70.
Last edited by Irish1975 on Mon May 06, 2019 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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