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 » Tue May 07, 2019 1:36 pm

John2 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:23 am

In my view, Mark simply took this Fourth Philosophic strife to a literary level post-70 CE and it doesn't mean that the Romans are good and Judaism is bad, as you seem to be suggesting.
:facepalm:
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue May 07, 2019 2:37 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:34 am
I didn't say "that Jesus was not the son of David in Mark," I said that he is not a Davidic messiah. Why is this so difficult?
I already told you why. Because you wrote this:
Irish1975 wrote:
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).
Which, to repeat myself, is an interpretation of the text.
Even if I had said "Jesus is not the son of David in Mark," I would have had excellent grounds in that "son of David" functions in gMark exclusively as a messianic title (as opposed to a statement about his lineage), a title that Jesus explicitly dissociates from the messiah.
Your arguments in that regard are not bad, I agree.
The only reason I can see to debate whether "son of David" means "descended from David" in gMark is that that's what it means in Matthew, Luke, Romans, and Christian theology. But this is a history forum.
I am going to let this one slide....
4) Like everyone else here, I get to decide what counts as basic knowledge vs. what is interpretation (because that too is a matter of interpretation).
Yes, you have that right. My main pique was the condescending tone you took with John2 (with whom I disagree on quite a lot with respect to the current topic, by the way), as if he had no right to argue against what you deem to be fundamental to the gospel of Mark.
Irish1975 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 1:29 pm
Irish1975 wrote:
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.
Is that better?
Yes, very much so. It probably would not even have occurred to me to comment on that.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Wed May 08, 2019 11:06 am

Irish1975 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 1:36 pm
John2 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:23 am

In my view, Mark simply took this Fourth Philosophic strife to a literary level post-70 CE and it doesn't mean that the Romans are good and Judaism is bad, as you seem to be suggesting.
:facepalm:
Why have you "face palmed" the bolded part? I get the impression that you think Jesus is opposed to Judaism (or at least sacrifices and purity laws, which constitute the raison d'etre of the Torah and the Judaism of Jesus' time) and that the Romans and Pilate are at worst presented in an "embarrassing" and "not nice" light in Mark. As you put it upthread:

Is the passion story too embarrassing to the Romans to serve their imperial purposes? History shows otherwise.
... 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.

Does this not suggest that you think Judaism (as a whole, with its sacrifices and purity laws) in Mark is bad and the Romans are good? Are you not suggesting that the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in accordance with the Jewish God because Jews as a whole (represented by the crowd in Jerusalem) were bad for killing Jesus?

I rather think that the "blind, theologically perverse, and sinful decision in 30" was made by the chief priests (who were favored by Rome), in accordance with the plot of the Pharisees and Herodians (who were also favored by Rome), who stirred up the crowd (which may or may not have consisted entirely of Jews, and so what if it did, considering that there were other crowds that supported Jesus, which included people from Jerusalem) in order to take advantage of Pilate's custom and which Pilate allowed to happen despite being aware of it.


You also wrote:
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.

I don't know why you are so hung up on what kind of king or Messiah Jesus was. He does not deny being a king (to Pilate) or the Messiah (to Peter and the high priest) however you define those terms, and In my view Jesus ultimately sees himself as Daniel's "son of man" in Mark, and as I pointed out, Dan. 7:14 says that the "son of man":
... was given dominion, glory, and kingship, so that every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.


Do you not think that "every people, nation, and language" includes the Romans? And yes, Jesus' philosophy involved dying first (which I think is in accordance with the "cut off" Messiah in Dan. 9:26) so that he could go to heaven and return as the "son of man" and rule over "every people, nation, and language" in a kingdom "that will never be destroyed," which is just a different way of accomplishing the same thing that other Fourth Philosophers were trying to do, regardless of whether or not he was or thought of himself as a "Davidic" king or Messiah.

And this is the same thing that the king mentioned in Zech. 9 does, even if he is "gentle," because this king also defeats Jewish enemies (with the assistance of God) and only then proclaims peace to all nations (which includes Rome, right?).

Zech. 9:9-10:
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and victorious, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem, and the bow of war will be broken. Then he will proclaim peace to the nations; His dominion will extend from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Wed May 08, 2019 1:16 pm

I think Jesus' whole messianic/apocalyptic/"son of-man"/"cut off Messiah"/Suffering Servant/gentle Zechariah king philosophy is a kind of Fourth Philosophy. It's just Jesus' version of it, one that ultimately seeks to accomplish the same end as other Fourth Philosophers, like Josephus says in War 6.5.4:
But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth. The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination.
It doesn't matter exactly what "ambiguous oracle" Josephus means. It could well apply to any of the "messianic" verses in the OT that are applied to Jesus in Mark, given that Jesus was someone from Judea who interpreted the OT to mean that if he suffers and dies (in emulation of Isaiah's Suffering Servant and Daniel's "cut off Messiah" and such) he will go to heaven and return on the clouds of heaven as Daniel's "son of man" and be "given dominion, glory, and kingship, so that every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."

This is the same kind of thing that Josephus says most inspired Fourth Philosophers in undertaking the 66-70 CE war, that "one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." Jesus just had a particular (and perhaps pioneering) approach to making this happen. I think Jesus was just another version of the "I am He" guys he likens himself to in Mk. 13:5 and that they are the type of Fourth Philosopher that Josephus mentions in War 2.13.4:
These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty.

Jesus' version was just a suffering first/ruling later approach to becoming "governor of the habitable earth" (based on a hodgepodge of OT verses but mainly Daniel's "son of man"). He was one of these "wise men" that "were thereby deceived in their determination."
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed May 08, 2019 2:03 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 1:16 pm
I think Jesus' whole messianic/apocalyptic/"son of-man"/"cut off Messiah"/Suffering Servant/gentle Zechariah king philosophy is a kind of Fourth Philosophy. It's just Jesus' version of it, one that ultimately seeks to accomplish the same end as other Fourth Philosophers, like Josephus says in War 6.5.4:
But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth. The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination.
It doesn't matter exactly what "ambiguous oracle" Josephus means. It could well apply to any of the "messianic" verses in the OT that are applied to Jesus in Mark....
It may not matter to your thesis here which prophecy Josephus had in mind, but I am as certain as one can be about anything of this tentative historical nature that the "ambiguous oracle" that Josephus had in mind was from Daniel (and was, in fact, almost certainly the 70 weeks from Daniel 9.24-27). According to Josephus:
  1. In the scriptures, Daniel is the only prophet to predict the seasons (Antiquities 10.11.7 §267).
  2. The ambiguous oracle comes from the scriptures (Wars 6.5.4 §312).
  3. The ambiguous oracle predicts the seasons (Wars 6.5.4 §312).
  4. Therefore, the ambiguous oracle comes from Daniel.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by arnoldo » Wed May 08, 2019 2:54 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 1:16 pm
I think Jesus' whole messianic/apocalyptic/"son of-man"/"cut off Messiah"/Suffering Servant/gentle Zechariah king philosophy is a kind of Fourth Philosophy. It's just Jesus' version of it, one that ultimately seeks to accomplish the same end as other Fourth Philosophers, like Josephus says in War 6.5.4:
But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth. The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination.
It doesn't matter exactly what "ambiguous oracle" Josephus means. It could well apply to any of the "messianic" verses in the OT that are applied to Jesus in Mark, given that Jesus was someone from Judea who interpreted the OT to mean that if he suffers and dies (in emulation of Isaiah's Suffering Servant and Daniel's "cut off Messiah" and such) he will go to heaven and return on the clouds of heaven as Daniel's "son of man" and be "given dominion, glory, and kingship, so that every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."

This is the same kind of thing that Josephus says most inspired Fourth Philosophers in undertaking the 66-70 CE war, that "one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." Jesus just had a particular (and perhaps pioneering) approach to making this happen. I think Jesus was just another version of the "I am He" guys he likens himself to in Mk. 13:5 and that they are the type of Fourth Philosopher that Josephus mentions in War 2.13.4:
These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty.

Jesus' version was just a suffering first/ruling later approach to becoming "governor of the habitable earth" (based on a hodgepodge of OT verses but mainly Daniel's "son of man"). He was one of these "wise men" that "were thereby deceived in their determination."
The following article examines the reasons why Josephus may've felt led to minimize possible Davidic messianic elements in his writings.
Abstract
In the portrayal of David in his paraphrase of the Bible in the Antiquities, Josephus was confronted with a dilemma. On the one hand, as the beneficiary of so many gifts from the Romans, he could hardly praise David, who was the ancestor of the Messiah, and who ipso facto would lead a revolt against Rome and establish an independent state. On the other hand, David was a great folk hero, and his qualities of character could be used in answering the calumniators of the Jews. Josephus' solution was to adopt a compromise: thus he gives David a distinguished ancestry without stressing it unduly. He uses the figure of David to answer the denigrators of the Jews; he notes David's wealth to refute the canard that the Jews are beggars; he ascribes to him the cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, justice, and piety to counteract the charges that the Jews were not original, that they were cowards, that they were immoderate, that they lacked humanity (a corollary of justice), and that they were impious. When David is elevated, it is not so much for his own sake as it is to increase the drama of the situation.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Thu May 09, 2019 11:39 am

I think that Josephus had Daniel in mind regarding the "ambiguous oracle" too, Ben (which is one of the reasons why I think the Dead Sea Scrolls are largely Fourth Philosophic writings, given the relatively high number of copies of Daniel and Daniel-related writings among them, as I note in your link above), but since others argue about it I thought I'd at least say that whatever oracle he meant would apply just as well to Jesus.

And in the big picture, as I noted upthread, I think the Damascus Document encapsulates the situation in Mark well in one sentence, particularly considering that the enemies in the DSS are commonly thought to be the Pharisees (who are said to be in cahoots with someone called "the Wicked Priest" and people called "the kings of the people" who I view as being the Herodians) and bearing in mind that Jesus is called "the righteous one" in the NT:
They banded together against the life of the righteous one and loathed all who walked in perfection; they pursued them with the sword and exulted in the strife of the people.
Cf. Mk. 3:6, 14:43 and 53, and 15:11:
… the Pharisees went out and plotted with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, scribes, and elders.
They led Jesus away to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders, and scribes assembled.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas to them instead.
And there is another group of people mentioned in the Habakkuk Pesher (which is applicable to this situation regardless of its dating) called "the Kittim," who are commonly thought to be the Romans and who similarly "encircle" and "capture" cities and fortresses "with a mighty host" and "destroy them because of the sins of their inhabitants," but who nevertheless are as bad as I am suggesting the Romans are in Mark:
Interpreted, this concerns the Kittim [who are] quick and valiant in war, causing many to perish. [All the world shall fall] under the dominion of the Kittim, and … they shall not believe in the laws of [God ...] … they … march across the plain, smiting and plundering the cities of the earth … They are fearsome and terrible … the Kittim … inspire all the nations with fear [and dread]. All their evil plotting is done with intention and they deal with all the nations in cunning and trickery. Their horses are swifter than leopards and fleeter than evening wolves. Their horses step forward proudly and spread their wings; they fly from afar like an eagle avid to devour. All of them come for violence … the Kittim … trample the earth with their horses and beasts. They come from afar … to devour all the peoples like an eagle which cannot be satisfied, and they address [all the peoples] with anger and [wrath and fury] and indignationthey mock the great and despise the venerable; they ridicule kings and princes … the Kittim … despise the fortresses of the peoples and laugh at them in derision. To capture them, they encircle them with a mighty host, and out of fear and terror they deliver themselves into their hands. They destroy them because of the sins of their inhabitants.
"They mock the great and despise the venerable; they ridicule kings and princes," just like the Romans do to Jesus in Mk. 15:16-20:
Then the soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called the whole company together. They dressed him in a purple robe, twisted together a crown of thorns, and set it on his head. And they began to salute him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” They kept striking his head with a staff and spitting on him. And they knelt down and bowed before him. After they had mocked him, they removed the purple robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
And they destroy cities and fortresses "because of the sins of their inhabitants," like Josephus says the Romans ultimately did to Jerusalem and the Temple (though from his perspective it was because of the behavior of Fourth Philosophers). But as we can see from Josephus and the Habakkuk Pesher, destruction by a foreign power doesn't mean that Judaism and all Jews are bad, just some Jews, like (in my view) the Pharisees and their priestly and Herodian cohorts who "banded together" to kill Jesus with the assistance of the Romans in Mark. And I don't think Mark "vindicates" the Romans for their eventual destruction of Jerusalem (as per Irish1975) any more than the Habakkuk Pesher vindicates the Kittim for their destruction of cities and fortresses "because of the sins of their inhabitants" and which ends this way:
Woe [to him who says] to wood, 'Awake', and to dumb [stone 'Arise!' Can such a thing give guidance? Behold, it is covered with gold and silver but there is no spirit within it. But the Lord is in His holy Temple]: let all the earth be silent before Him! [Hab. 2:19-20].

Interpreted, this concerns all the nations which serve stone and wood. But on the Day of Judgement, God will destroy from the earth all idolatrous and wicked men.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Thu May 09, 2019 1:37 pm

So given Jesus' pro-Torah position and opposition to Herodians and Pharisees (who were favored by Rome) in Mark, it's hard for me to imagine that Mark's intention is to vindicate the Romans who (like the Kittim) did not "believe in the laws of God" and "serve[d] stone and wood."
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu May 09, 2019 4:23 pm

John2 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 1:37 pm
So given Jesus' pro-Torah position and opposition to Herodians and Pharisees (who were favored by Rome) in Mark, it's hard for me to imagine that Mark's intention is to vindicate the Romans who (like the Kittim) did not "believe in the laws of God" and "serve[d] stone and wood."
Excellent point!

"How can this be?"
It can be this way because the Romans must change the Anti-Herodian, Anti-Roman sentiment into a Pro-Roman bias. They did this! The Herodians were history when the Flavians came. The Anti-Herodian hatred could be malleable to change. It was up to the rewrite of the source Story that was important to make a Priests (Formerly Priests against the Corrupted High Priests) into a tax paying Roman loving savior/god.

Biggest example to illustrate: "i am possessed by Legion". In Atwill's analysis, the "Legion" represents the Insurrectionists. I see it as it was written. The Legions are the enemy of the Judeans and their Priesthood.

How can both positions be True? When the Romans rewrote the Story and Transvalued it. The "Legions" as representatives of the Empire must be fought. After the Transvaluation, the meaning of the word "Legion" has been inverted.

Best,

CW

PS: I realize that many believe that the Analysis is wrong from both Atwill and me. The evidence makes sense if you continue to see both sides on this point.

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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Thu May 09, 2019 6:10 pm

Charles Wilson wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 4:23 pm
John2 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 1:37 pm
So given Jesus' pro-Torah position and opposition to Herodians and Pharisees (who were favored by Rome) in Mark, it's hard for me to imagine that Mark's intention is to vindicate the Romans who (like the Kittim) did not "believe in the laws of God" and "serve[d] stone and wood."
Excellent point!

"How can this be?"
It can be this way because the Romans must change the Anti-Herodian, Anti-Roman sentiment into a Pro-Roman bias. They did this! The Herodians were history when the Flavians came. The Anti-Herodian hatred could be malleable to change. It was up to the rewrite of the source Story that was important to make a Priests (Formerly Priests against the Corrupted High Priests) into a tax paying Roman loving savior/god.

Biggest example to illustrate: "i am possessed by Legion". In Atwill's analysis, the "Legion" represents the Insurrectionists. I see it as it was written. The Legions are the enemy of the Judeans and their Priesthood.

How can both positions be True? When the Romans rewrote the Story and Transvalued it. The "Legions" as representatives of the Empire must be fought. After the Transvaluation, the meaning of the word "Legion" has been inverted.

Best,

CW

PS: I realize that many believe that the Analysis is wrong from both Atwill and me. The evidence makes sense if you continue to see both sides on this point.
Well, as I said, I actually meet Atwill halfway, since I do think there were possibly some Flavian Christians (Flavius Clemens and Domitilla) and members of the imperial household (Epaphroditus) who contributed to the development of Christianity (by in my view writing 1 Clement and Luke/Acts). But Jesus (at least in Mark and Matthew and Luke following Matthew per the Farrer hypothesis) seems too Fourth Philosophic to be of any use for imperial propaganda since he sounds just like the people the Flavians were fighting against.

And here's what I'm starting to wonder. If Christianity existed before Josephus and Titus were even born (which Irish1975 and I agree with), but Mark was Flavian propaganda to get Jews to worship Vespasian or Titus, how did the Romans distinguish "Flavian" Jewish Christians from "non-Flavian" Jewish Christians? Did they have to ask them if they used Mark instead Matthew (which is the only gospel Jewish Christians are said to have used)? In other words, what's the difference between "non-Flavian" Jewish Christianity and "Flavian" Jewish Christianity?
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