Eusebius as a forger.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by MrMacSon » Wed May 15, 2019 10:58 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:08 pm

... one of my objections to pegging Eusebius as a/the forger of the Testimonium:

Origen, Against Celsus 1.47: .... Josephus... even says, being unwillingly not far from the truth, that these things befell the Jews as vengeance for James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus who is called Christ, since they killed him who was most just.

Eusebius, History of the Church 2.23.20: Josephus, at any rate, did not hesitate to testify this also through his writings, in which he says: "These things befell the Jews as vengeance for James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus who is called Christ, since they killed him who was most just."

Origen describes a passage from Josephus which is not found in any extant manuscript of Josephus. Eusebius, who elsewhere always lets us know where to find his quotations of Josephus, does not do so here, implying that he did not know where to find this quotation. If Eusebius was bold enough to interpolate the Testimonium into the Antiquities, why did he not (also) interpolate this "lost passage"1 into Josephus somewhere, or at least invent a location for it in Josephus (as some feel he may have done with the Testimonium: not as the actual interpolator of the manuscripts, but rather as the inspiration for such interpolation by having invented a false citation)?
1 Which "lost passage"? H.E. 2.23.20b? Isn't H.E. 2.23.20b the implication of A.J. XX.200/9.1 ??

Note the point that Zvi Barras made -
MrMacSon wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 5:22 pm
Baras noted

< . . snip . . >
  • "In the hands of Origen and Eusebius the incident [described in A.J. XX.200, which Baras defined as or says] has been defined as "the martyrdom of James", became through 'Christian historiosophical interpretation', the [proposed] 'main cause' for the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple."
Baras pointed the finger more at Origen, but noted Eusebius's H.E. II 23.20 elaborates on Origen's Contra Celsus 1.47, even changing it to direct speech, and says
  • "The changes [to the accounts of James] for purposes of Christian historiosophy",2 proposed by Origen and carried out by Eusebius in the story of James' martyrdom, are not without bearing on the Testimonium itself.
  • "It seems plausible that Eusebius treated the Testimonium in a similar way to what he had done with the story of James martyrdom. He seems to have been concerned only with the need of the hour; being preoccupied with the Christian historiosophy shared by Origen and himself . . ."
2 historiosophy = historical interpretation based on a particular theological view

Baras provides another Josephean passage of note, -
Zvi Baras wrote: Ant XI, 297-305/ chap. 7, 1 contains many elements that are relevant to 'the' Christian 'historical interpretation' - a high priest causes the death of [a] Jesus, as [supposedly] in the case of Jesus and his brother, James. It offers clear causal argument for the miseries that befell the Jews.

I think Stephan's point about Eusebius pretending to be Pamphilus opens up a number of possibilities. As I've said, the Origen-Pamphilus-Eusebius group could well be a murky one with various things that origenated (sic) with Origen or Pamphilus being attributed to Eusebius unwittingly or deliberately to shore him up as the prime authority; and even things that were settled post-Eusebius being attributed to him.

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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by MrMacSon » Wed May 15, 2019 11:01 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 5:05 pm
Secret Alias wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 4:35 pm
... I set up an account here as 'Ben C Smith' and always chimed in 'I always agree with Stephan. He's brilliant.'
What is going on here? What is this?
Will the real Ben C Smith stand up ?? :lol: :D :P

Joking aside, including my misrepresentation by omission, I think a lot of things, including attributions, were fluid in Christianity in 'those' days ...

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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 16, 2019 5:09 am

My point was simply that Eusebius presents us with a supernatural history of an organization. This places a lot of demands on him as a historian. The core supernatural belief of Christianity was that Jesus, the apostles, the apostolics and their successors - the bishops - were all 'of one mind.' That a unity existed from the very beginning with strife only coming from outside of this tight 'circle.' While unity like this does occur in military organizations, it's fear that keeps the unity and one-mindedness together. What the Church is claiming is that all points of doctrine were established from the very beginning WITHOUT ANY THREATS OF ANY KIND to keep that unity together.

In order to facilitate this incredible claim, Eusebius had to tamper with evidence. That would be my starting point. I don't know that we can look at him and say - well maybe it was like this. Maybe the evidence really supports this claim. That's why the example is like Michael Jackson. It's not normal to see a man walk with a young boy who is not his own and hold hands, kiss, show signs of affection etc. All throughout the 90s and 2000s there were a chorus of MJ supporters who said 'oh give him the benefit of the doubt.' It is the same with the scandal in the priesthood of the Catholic Church. The reason why we shouldn't think there is or was institutional corruption is because these men were supernatural. Yes absolute celibacy is weird but 'give them the benefit of the doubt' maybe they have mastered their sexual urges with prayer.

I don't know if we can give a writer like Eusebius the 'benefit of the doubt' I don't know if we can be neutral when his underlying claims are so absurdly supernatural. I say that the Church History and related documents can't be allowed to start off with 'a benefit of doubt.' THINGS NEVER HAPPENED THE WAY EUSEBIUS DESCRIBES THEM. PERIOD. So the only question left is whether Eusebius or his sources are responsible for the misrepresentation. My assumption is that it is a little of both. The sources were already tainted in most cases and Eusebius just compounded the problem. I actually have some interesting points to make about a parallel phenomenon in Platonism with Ammonius Saccas if anyone is interested. I won't mention it unless someone asks for that line of reasoning.
Last edited by Secret Alias on Thu May 16, 2019 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu May 16, 2019 5:13 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:58 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:08 pm

... one of my objections to pegging Eusebius as a/the forger of the Testimonium:

Origen, Against Celsus 1.47: .... Josephus... even says, being unwillingly not far from the truth, that these things befell the Jews as vengeance for James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus who is called Christ, since they killed him who was most just.

Eusebius, History of the Church 2.23.20: Josephus, at any rate, did not hesitate to testify this also through his writings, in which he says: "These things befell the Jews as vengeance for James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus who is called Christ, since they killed him who was most just."

Origen describes a passage from Josephus which is not found in any extant manuscript of Josephus. Eusebius, who elsewhere always lets us know where to find his quotations of Josephus, does not do so here, implying that he did not know where to find this quotation. If Eusebius was bold enough to interpolate the Testimonium into the Antiquities, why did he not (also) interpolate this "lost passage"1 into Josephus somewhere, or at least invent a location for it in Josephus (as some feel he may have done with the Testimonium: not as the actual interpolator of the manuscripts, but rather as the inspiration for such interpolation by having invented a false citation)?
1 Which "lost passage"? H.E. 2.23.20b? Isn't H.E. 2.23.20b the implication of A.J. XX.200/9.1 ??
Not the natural implication, no. There is no place in which Josephus says that Jerusalem fell as vengeance for what the Jews did to James the Just. That is the point. People have speculated that there was such a passage (an interpolation) at one time, and Eusebius seems to have trusted Origen in that respect. But I disagree with those people. That passage was never in Josephus; Origen (mis)interpreted it out of Josephus.
MrMacSon wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 5:22 pm
Baras noted

< . . snip . . >
  • "In the hands of Origen and Eusebius the incident [described in A.J. XX.200, which Baras defined as or says] has been defined as "the martyrdom of James", became through 'Christian historiosophical interpretation', the [proposed] 'main cause' for the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple."
Right. Baras is in agreement with what I said above. The passage was never in Josephus; it was, rather, an interpretation.
Baras pointed the finger more at Origen....
Rightly so!
but noted Eusebius's H.E. II 23.20 elaborates on Origen's Contra Celsus 1.47, even changing it to direct speech....
The change to direct speech is a red herring. If I tell you that Obama inhaled, then you are free to report the incident thus: "Obama inhaled." That is all the change from indirect to direct speech amounts to, and it is well within the standards of ancient quotation and citation.
It seems plausible that Eusebius treated the Testimonium in a similar way to what he had done with the story of James martyrdom[/u]. He seems to have been concerned only with the need of the hour; being preoccupied with the Christian historiosophy shared by Origen and himself . . ."
But this is my point: the Testimonium and the James the Just passage are not treated the same way. The Testimonium is found in every single copy of Josephus that we possess; the James the Just passage is not. And Eusebius, when he quotes the Testimonium, tells us where in Josephus to find it, as is his habit; the James the Just passage he simply quotes, telling us nothing about where to find it.
Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Thu May 16, 2019 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 16, 2019 5:15 am

Like with Josephus's history, Justus brought up a good point (or it is implicit in what Photius preserves of Justus's work). How does Josephus know with exact detail what occurred behind the walls of Jerusalem when he was outside? You can't start with a benefit of doubt here either. You have to start with suspicion. You have to start with the hunch that most of what Josephus is reporting is complete nonsense. He was just competing with Justus to give 'spin' to actual history. While we don't know what Justus said we can be fairly certain that the premise of Justus work was that (a) Josephus was a leader of the revolt and (b) his family members and close associates were guiding the war effort against Rome. That would obviously pose a problem for Josephus despite Vespasian having given his amnesty. To this end, the insane story he weaves of just complete anarchy is highly dubious. Anarchy is just there in the narrative to take away Justus's thesis that Josephus's family were traitors and the war effort was planned by design.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 16, 2019 5:24 am

And once you have one lie, one likely example of forgery or many probable examples of textual manipulation on Eusebius's part it's game over. You dont hire the babysitter that has prior sexual abuse charges - even one. He's presumed guilty in every suspicious case.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 16, 2019 6:50 am

And getting back to the Apology for Origen Ben, have you read the introductory epistle that simply has 'Pamphilus' and then a lengthy oration. I find this very problematic. Yes to be sure the text now make it seem as if the author is separate from Pamphilus. That's true. Eusebius is not passing himself off AS Pamphilus at least in the text that has come down to us. But it is also true that the free flowing style makes it difficult to believe that Eusebius is receiving dictation from Pamphilus either. This is Eusebius pretending to be or assuming what Pamphilus would say. He is writing AS Pamphilus albeit distinguishing between himself the writer (at least in theory) from Pamphilus the dictator.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 16, 2019 6:58 am

And also we have to remember that lurking in the background is Rufinus's Rufinus's The Falsification of the Works of Origen, in which he propounded the thesis that Origen's writings had been interpolated wholesale by heretics. The point here isn't just limited to contemporary followers of Origen but in fact clearly implies that there were versions of Origen's writings which were clearly heretical. The surviving texts - even the Greek - have been purified of any heresy. So it stands to reason that Eusebius - the man who wrote the Defense of Origen - purified the texts of heresy as part of his defense of Origen.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu May 16, 2019 7:52 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:50 am
Eusebius is not passing himself off AS Pamphilus at least in the text that has come down to us. But it is also true that the free flowing style makes it difficult to believe that Eusebius is receiving dictation from Pamphilus either. This is Eusebius pretending to be or assuming what Pamphilus would say.
I agree with all of this. This has been my position and point all along. Yes, of course Eusebius is biased, and of course he may have represented Pamphilus' thoughts and words in ways which are more reflective of Eusebius himself rather than of Pamphilus. It is like Plato and Socrates; it is like Thucydides' speeches. One man is representing the other, but not impersonating the other. There may be misrepresentation and/or bias, but there is no sleight of hand, at least not here.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 16, 2019 8:18 am

But is the characteristic Eusebius exhibits in writing the Apology on behalf of Pamphilus (and stealing his name) in order to make Origen seem less like a heretic properly characterized as 'bias' or something more nefarious? I don't think this is like the other examples you give because Origen was an outlaw. Eusebius needed Pamphilus to be the mouthpiece of his reform efforts. Yes in a sense a lie exhibits 'bias.' But surely what Eusebius is engaged in is stronger than mere 'bias.'

Again to use the Michael Jackson example - are the people who defended his relationships with young boys while they were going on knowing they were inappropriate merely 'biased' individuals? I think the accusation should be stronger.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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