John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:59 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:46 am
Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:42 am
It is probably the same source used by Greg Doudna to argue (partially) that the historical Jesus was the Jesus son of Saphat (Vermeiren's view).


“On the Priesthood of Jesus” aka “the Confession (or, Apology) of Theodosius”, is a 7th-8th CE story of Jesus being selected and registered as a priest following debate concerning Jesus’s paternity and genealogical qualifications, which, however, were satisfied. Nuvolone and Adler suppose there was a prior Jewish source of obscure origins underneath the story in its present form. In this story, Jesus being a priest is claimed to have been verified in the writings of Josephus. Again, it seems as if some ancient exegete has read a Revolt-era priest Jesus as Jesus Christ. Also, the character Theodosius in the story tells of his discovery that no other name appears after the name of Jesus in a written registry of priests kept by the Jews in the temple until it fell to the Romans. Theodosius concluded that Jesus was the final priest after which “kings and priests have ceased in Israel”.

(my bold)
https://vridar.org/2019/05/15/alan-kirk ... ment-93107
Why is it probable that a book about a Samaritan Christ is the same as a book about the priesthood of Jesus? I still do not understand; I need more.
On the other hand, it is odd that, as soon as I read the bit about a Lexicon containing the headword "Jesus," I immediately thought of the Suda, and actually looked up Jesus' entry in it. I found nothing therein that related to a Samaritan Christ or to anybody named Theudas, and dismissed the entire venture. Now, however, upon reading your post and looking up On the Priesthood of Jesus, I find a footnote suggesting that very entry in the Suda! And, indeed, there is much related there about Theodosius and about the story of Jesus' priesthood as summarized by Doudna. There is also a silver merchant named Philip. But, if there is any connection here, then Ory has confused Theodosius with Theudas, Philip Sidetes with Philip the silver merchant, and a story about the Virgin Mary proving her son's qualifications as priest with a story about a Samaritan Christ figure. That would be quite extreme. Is that what we are saying happened here?
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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:00 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:46 am
Why is it probable that a book about a Samaritan Christ is the same as a book about the priesthood of Jesus? I still do not understand; I need more.

«Theodosius» may be confused as «Theudas» by Ory.

He talks about a «register deposited in Tiberias», too.

https://books.google.it/books?id=Fp8xDw ... as&f=false

But I don't find a reference to samaritan Christ.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:02 am

The following is the entry in the Suda:

Suda, Ἰησοῦς ὁ Χριστὸς καὶ θεὸς ἡμῶν (Adler number #229):

Jesus the Christ and our God

[Note] that in the time of the most pious emperor Justinian there was a certain man, leader of the Jews -- Theodosius was his name –- who was well known to most of the Christians and to the aforementioned faithful emperor himself. At that time there was a certain Christian man -– Philip was his name -– a silver merchant by trade. This man being well acquainted with Theodosius and maintaining a genuine [friendship] with him, counseled him and advised him to become a Christian. So on one day the aforesaid Philip said something like this to the aforesaid Theodosius: "Why ever, as you are a wise man and accurately understand what the Law and the Prophets have proclaimed in advance about the Lord Christ, do you not believe in him and become a Christian? For I am convinced about you, that it is not because you are ignorant of what the god-inspired Scriptures have foretold concerning the coming of our common master Christ that you decline to become a Christian. Make haste therefore to save your soul, believing in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, lest by remaining in your unbelief you make yourself subject to eternal judgment." When he heard these things which the Christian said to him, the Jew acknowledged him and thanked him in words and gave him this answer: "I acknowledge your godly love, that being zealous for the salvation of my soul you strive in urging me to become a Christian. Therefore, as before God who understands and observes the secrets of hearts, I will speak with you without deceit and without hypocrisy and with all truth. I am fully assured that the Christ came who was proclaimed in advance by the Law and the Prophets, the one who is worshiped by you Christians, and I confess it willingly, as to my genuine friend, you who are always eager for my benefit. But being governed by human reckoning I do not become a Christian and in this respect I condemn myself. For as it is, being a Jew I am the leader of the Jews and obtain great honor and many gifts and all the necessities for this life. I suspect that even if I become the patriarch of the catholic church or receive greater and more prominent authority from you [Christians], I will not be found worthy of such great service. Therefore, so that I may not lose those things which seem pleasurable in this life, I disregard the life to come, and I am wrong to do this. But so that I may prove my words true to you my beloved friend, I entrust a mystery to you which has been hidden by us Hebrews, from which we understand with certainty that the Christ who is worshiped by you Christians is the very one who was proclaimed in advance by the Law and the Prophets -– not only from those very prophecies, but also from the mystery which has been recorded and hidden by us. And this is the story of this mystery. In ancient times, when Jerusalem was newly founded, it was customary among the Jews to appoint priests in the Temple equal in number to our scriptures, which happen to be twenty-two; whence we number the inspired biblical books as twenty-two. So a codex was stored in the Temple, in which was written the name of each of the 22 priests and the name of his father and his mother. So when one of the priests died, the rest assembled in the Temple and by a common vote appointed another priest in the place of the one who had died, completing the number of the 22 priests. And it was recorded in the codex that on this day such-and-such a priest died, the son of this man and this woman, and in his place so-and-so was elected. So as this custom prevailed among the nation of the Jews, it happened in the days when Jesus was living in Judea that one of the 22 priests died before Jesus began to make himself known and to teach men to believe in him. So the remaining priests assembled in order to make another priest in the place of the priest who had died. As each proposed the one who seemed to him worthy of becoming [a priest], the others rejected him as being deficient in virtue, from which a priest ought to be established. For if he was wise, and good in character and way of life, but happened to be ignorant of the Law and the Prophets, he was judged unsuitable for the priesthood. Thus when many priests had come to the vote and all had been rejected, one priest rose and stood in the midst of them and said to the others, 'Look, many have been named by you and have been found unfit for the priesthood. Accept me also, therefore, as I speak about one man who ought to be elected in the place of the priest who has died. For I suspect that none of you will be displeased with the nomination which comes from me.' When the other priests bade him, he said, 'In the place of the priest who has died I want Jesus, the son of Joseph the carpenter, to become priest. He is young in years, but he is adorned in speech, in manner of life, and in good character; and I suspect that no man ever has been seen in speech or in manner of life or in character such as this man is. And I suppose that this is known to all of you who live in Jerusalem and undeniable.' Hearing this speech, the other priests accepted the man and ratified the election, saying that Jesus was suitable for the priesthood beyond any other man. But some said about him that he was not from the tribe of Levi, but from the tribe of Judah. And thinking that he was the son of Joseph (for so he was named among the Jews), everyone bore witness that Joseph was from the tribe of Judah, not from the tribe of Levi. And for this reason, because they thought he was not of the Levitical tribe, they tried to prevent him from becoming priest. But the priest who had named him answered them and said that his lineage was mixed; for long ago in the ancient generations a mixing of the two tribes had occurred and from that the lineage of Joseph had descended. Hearing this the other priests acceded to the election, and by a common agreement all the assembled priests agreed to appoint Jesus as priest in place of the priest who had died. As it was customary to record in the codex not only the name of the man who was becoming priest but also [the names] of his father and mother, some said that they ought first to call his parents and learn their names from them, and to receive a statement from them, whether the man who was elected to the priesthood was their son. And all agreed to this. He who had nominated Jesus to become priest said that Joseph the father of Jesus had died, and only his mother still lived. So all agreed to bring his mother into the council and learn from her whether she happened to be the mother of Jesus and if she herself had given birth to him, and to hear the name of her husband, from whom she had borne Jesus. As this was agreeable to all, they summoned the mother of Jesus and said to her, 'Since so-and-so the priest has died, the son of such a man and such a woman, and we wish in his place to make your son Jesus [priest], and it is the custom to record the name of the father and the mother: tell us, if Jesus is your son, and if you gave birth to him.' And when Mary heard this she replied, saying to the priests, 'I confess that Jesus is my son, for I bore him, and those [men] who have been found and those women who have been found will bear witness that I bore him. But that he does not have a father on earth, accept assurance from me as you wish. For as I was a virgin and living in Galilee, an angel of God, when I was awake and not sleeping, entering the house where I was, proclaimed the good news to me that I would bear a son from the Holy Spirit. He bade me call his name Jesus. So, you see, being a virgin, after I saw this vision I conceived and bore Jesus, remaining a virgin until this day even after I gave birth.' Hearing this the priests ordered trustworthy midwives to come and instructed them to investigate whether Mary was still truly a virgin. Obtaining evidence from the facts they confirmed the assurance that she was a virgin. Those who had been present and observed her giving birth also came and bore witness that Jesus was her son. The priests, amazed at what was said by Mary and those who bore witness concerning her childbirth, answered and said to Mary, 'Tell us frankly, so that we may hear it from your mouth, of what father and mother is he the son, so that we may record him so; for whatever parents you say we will record and no others.' She answered and said, 'In truth I bore him, not knowing a father on earth for him; but I heard from the angel the he was the son of God. So he is the son of me, the woman called Mary, and the son of God, and I have not married and am a virgin.' Hearing this, the priests brought the codex and wrote thus: 'On this day the priest so-and-so died, the son of such a father and such a mother, and by the common vote of all of us Jesus became priest, the son of the living God and Mary the virgin.' And this codex was saved from the Temple by the care of those who held first place among the Jews at the time of the capture of the Temple and of Jerusalem, and is stored at Tiberias. And this mystery is known to very few trustworthy men of our nation. Therefore it was revealed also to me as a leader and teacher of our nation. For not only from the Law and the Prophets are we fully assured that the Christ worshiped by you Christians is the very son of the living God, who came to earth for the salvation of the world, but also from the record which is preserved to this day and is stored at Tiberias." When the Christian heard what was said to him by the Jew, moved by holy zeal he said to the Jew, "Straightway and at once I am bringing to the faithful and pious emperor what you have said, so that he may send to Tiberias and reveal the codex which you describe, to refute the unbelief of the Jews." But the Jew said to the Christian, "Why do you wish to bring judgment on your own soul and bring it to the emperor without attaining what you desire? For if some such thing should happen, a great war is going to take place, and slaughter will follow. And then, if they see themselves being subdued, they will set fire to the place in which the codex is stored; and our efforts will be in vain when what we strive for does not succeed, as we merely become agents of the shedding of blood. I have made this known to you my dearly beloved, as to a genuine friend, in order to prove to you that it is not out of ignorance that I reject Christianity, but out of empty opinion." When the Christian heard this from the Jew, believing that what he said was true, he did not make this discourse known to the faithful emperor Justinian, lest moved by holy zeal that great and faithful emperor should cause shedding of blood to occur, and then not even what he desired would have succeeded; but to many of his acquaintances and friends he made this discourse evident. When we had learned this from those who heard it from the aforementioned silver-merchant Philip, we gave it not a little attention, wishing to know whether indeed the Jew had spoken these words truly about this record. So we found Josephus, the historian of the capture of Jerusalem (of whom Eusebius the [spiritual son] of Pamphilus makes much mention in his Ecclesiastical History), saying openly in his memoirs of his captivity that Jesus served in the holy place with the priests. When we found this told by Josephus, a man of ancient times who lived not long after the apostles, we sought to find also from the inspired Scriptures the confirmation of such a discourse. So we found in the Gospel according to Luke that Jesus went into the synagogue of the Jews and the Book was given to him and he read the prophet Isaiah saying, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me; for this cause he anointed me, he sent me to preach good news to the poor." We judge by analogy that if Christ Jesus did not have some liturgical rank among the Jews the Book would not have been given to him to read in the hearing of the people. For among us Christians in the Church no one is permitted to read the books of the inspired Scriptures to the people unless he is enrolled in the clergy. Both from what Josephus wrote and from what the evangelist Luke recounted we know that when Theodosius the Jew told the aforesaid tale to the above-mentioned Philip the silver-merchant, he did not invent this, but truly as to a genuine friend he entrusted the mystery which had been hidden by the Jews. But Chrysostom does not at all accept this priesthood attributed to Christ.

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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:28 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:54 am

My own tentative typology is as follows:
  • A prophet (like Moses or Elijah): the Samaritan (promised to reveal treasures hidden by Moses on Gerizim), an anonymous prophet under Festus (promised signs and wonders in the desert), Jonathan the weaver (promised signs and wonders in the desert), Jesus ben Ananias (? imitator of the prophet Jeremiah*).
  • A king (like David): Hezekiah the bandit (?), Judas the Galilean (?), Simon of Peraea (?), Athronges (a shepherd who assumed a diadem and led a band of men against the Romans), Menahem (appeared in the temple dressed in royal garments), Simon bar Giora (appeared before the Romans dressed in purple).
  • A priest (like Aaron or Melchizedek): Banus (?), John the baptist (? promoted a cheap and easy purification rite).
  • A warrior (like Joshua): Theudas (promised to part the Jordan), the Egyptian (promised the walls would fall).
* Ted Weeden thinks Josephus wrote his account of Jesus ben Ananias based on the figure of Jeremiah and that Mark based aspects of his account of Jesus of Nazareth on Josephus's account of Jesus ben Ananias -

Theodore J. Weeden, 'Two Jesuses, Jesus of Jerusalem and Jesus of Nazareth: Provocative Parallels and Imaginative Imitation', Forum [Westar Institute’s academic journal], New Series 6, 2, Fall 2003.

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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:50 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:28 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:54 am

My own tentative typology is as follows:
  • A prophet (like Moses or Elijah): the Samaritan (promised to reveal treasures hidden by Moses on Gerizim), an anonymous prophet under Festus (promised signs and wonders in the desert), Jonathan the weaver (promised signs and wonders in the desert), Jesus ben Ananias (? imitator of the prophet Jeremiah*).
  • A king (like David): Hezekiah the bandit (?), Judas the Galilean (?), Simon of Peraea (?), Athronges (a shepherd who assumed a diadem and led a band of men against the Romans), Menahem (appeared in the temple dressed in royal garments), Simon bar Giora (appeared before the Romans dressed in purple).
  • A priest (like Aaron or Melchizedek): Banus (?), John the baptist (? promoted a cheap and easy purification rite).
  • A warrior (like Joshua): Theudas (promised to part the Jordan), the Egyptian (promised the walls would fall).
* Ted Weeden thinks Josephus wrote his account of Jesus ben Ananias based on the figure of Jeremiah and that Mark based aspects of his account of Jesus of Nazareth on Josephus's account of Jesus ben Ananias -

Theodore J. Weeden, 'Two Jesuses, Jesus of Jerusalem and Jesus of Nazareth: Provocative Parallels and Imaginative Imitation', Forum [Westar Institute’s academic journal], New Series 6, 2, Fall 2003.
Weeden's earlier version of that theory supposed that Jesus ben Ananias was an historical figure whose legacy Mark employed in his gospel without necessary knowledge of Josephus. He later changed his mind and had Mark drawing directly upon Josephus's text. I think he has made a good case for a connection somewhere, but I have not decided on whether earlier or later Weeden is correct.
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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:33 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:50 pm
Weeden's earlier version of that theory supposed that Jesus ben Ananias was an historical figure whose legacy Mark employed in his gospel without necessary knowledge of Josephus.1 He later changed his mind and had Mark drawing directly upon Josephus's text. I think he has made a good case for a connection somewhere, but I have not decided on whether earlier or later Weeden is correct.
1 It'd be interesting to know where Mark would have got knowledge of Jesus ben Ananias if it wasn't from Josephus (I presume Weeden thought it might 've been from another source of from first hand knowledge).

There are a number of permutations, especially if other similar accounts, such as those of the figure of Jeremiah, are thrown in the mix of figures Mark might have drawn from.

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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by neilgodfrey » Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:55 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:33 pm
1 It'd be interesting to know where Mark would have got knowledge of Jesus ben Ananias if it wasn't from Josephus (I presume Weeden thought it might 've been from another source of from first hand knowledge).

There are a number of permutations, especially if other similar accounts, such as those of the figure of Jeremiah, are thrown in the mix of figures Mark might have drawn from.
You are right to wonder. The Jesus ben Ananias is so very much a classical Cassandra figure who typically appears in narratives of doom for dramatic effect -- the prophet(ess) of doom whom everyone declares mad and no-one believes until . . . .
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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by Giuseppe » Thu May 07, 2020 10:28 pm

Zebedee and Dositheus and John share the same meaning: YHWH gives gift/grace.

If John the Baptist was Zebedee, then the sons of Zebedee, James and John are the sons of John the Baptist.

The arrest of John the Baptist and the episode of Zebedee being left with the hirelings on the boat share a thing in common: the sinister feature of their separation from their true followers/sons. The hirelings are not true sons. A false thing replaces a true genuine thing.

It is expected that the sons leave the father only once the father was taken away from them by external need, as a brutal arrest may be.

Hence "Mark" is saying in a cryptical way that the disciples of John became the disciples of Jesus.

He is remembering this co-optation for the initiates. He sees divine providence in this abandon of John by his same disciples, to follow the new divine leader, Jesus.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by Giuseppe » Thu May 07, 2020 10:39 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 10:28 pm
Zebedee and Dositheus and John share the same meaning: YHWH gives gift/grace.

If John the Baptist was Zebedee, then the sons of Zebedee, James and John are the sons of John the Baptist.

The arrest of John the Baptist and the episode of Zebedee being left with the hirelings on the boat share a thing in common: the sinister feature of their separation from their true followers/sons. The hirelings are not true sons. A false thing replaces a true genuine thing.

It is expected that the sons leave the father only once the father was taken away from them by external need, as a brutal arrest may be.

Hence "Mark" is saying in a cryptical way that the disciples of John became the disciples of Jesus.

He is remembering this co-optation for the initiates. He sees divine providence in this abandon of John by his same disciples, to follow the new divine leader, Jesus.
Hence "Mark" is saying that the "Gospel Christianity" was formed by the fusion of two previous "christianities":
  • the Baptist sect ("the sons of Zebedee")
  • the Peter sect (the Pillars and Paul)
Tertium non datur.

It becomes more evident now how the fusion happened:
  • the Peter sect was the "mythicist" sect: Peter didn't know no Jesus from "Galilee". In a particular sense, his three denials of Jeus was sincere. Only an archangel never lived on earth.
  • The Baptist sect was the first sect to identify the Messiah as the historical John "the Baptist" (apices serve to doubt about his being really a baptizer).
"Mark" (author) had to harmonize the two claims.

In pre-christian times, before the fusion worked by Mark, the Peter sect was enemy of the Baptist sect. This is reflected behind the conflict between Dositheus and Simon Magus.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: John the Baptist was interpolated in Josephus to distinguish him from the Samaritan Prophet

Post by Giuseppe » Thu May 07, 2020 11:48 pm

Theudas/Thomas became the Twin/Didimus to eclipse his claim to be the "new Joshua redivivus". By his finger episode, not only docetism is denied, but also the confusion between Theudas and Jesus is taken away.

But Theudas = Dositheus = John.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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