The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Secret Alias
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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:55 pm

https://books.google.com/books?id=4tDjA ... +that+Merx+(Merx+however+inclines+more+to+Joshua+redivivus,&dq=It+is+true+that+Merx+(Merx+however+inclines+more+to+Joshua+redivivus,&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwidlLOZzrjlAhXIFjQIHaa0DCcQ6AEwAHoECAAQAg
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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:09 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:22 pm
MrMacSon wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:00 pm
[italics mine]
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:13 am
Because of the eschatological expectations, like I already said: he was (supposed to be) Joshua redivivus, a Messiah ben Ephraim, and so on. That a Joshua narrative was in play* seems implied by Theudas wanting to part the river and the Egyptian wanting to knock the walls down.
*'a Joshua narrative' was 'in play' where? among whom? when? Cheers.
By whoever was behind those symbolic acts attempted by Theudas and the Egyptian. If you are asking for which exact groups held such views, here is Stephan's guess:
Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:06 pm
I would argue the Samaritans. The Samaritans had a version of the Book of Joshua where Joshua is specifically and repeated identified as 'the king of Israel.' It would stand to reason that if Jews though that Elijah could come back that it is at least possible that some Samaritans might have been capable of sustaining an expectation for a Joshua redivivus.
It is true that Merx (Merx however inclines more to Joshua redivivus, "denn der Ta'eb ist geringer als Moses") and Hilgenfeld were led to some extent at least to their interpretation of the Taheb as Moses or Joshua redivivus, by their taking Taheb as redivivus and not conversus as Gesenius had shown the meaning to be (see Cowley, The Samaritan Doctrine of the Messiah, in Expositor, Vol. 1 (1895), S. 161-174.
The Samaritans did claim a Josephite and Jesuine heritage. There were also probably Galileans who would have shared such northern inclinations. It is hard to tell for certain, since these would be people from the lower classes, whose viewpoints are pretty consistently reflected only indirectly in the historical record.
Cheers Ben. So Josephus' accounts of Theudas and the Egyptian represent a wider story? (his accounts can be viewed as allegories of a wider story?)

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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:21 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:09 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:22 pm
MrMacSon wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:00 pm
[italics mine]
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:13 am
Because of the eschatological expectations, like I already said: he was (supposed to be) Joshua redivivus, a Messiah ben Ephraim, and so on. That a Joshua narrative was in play* seems implied by Theudas wanting to part the river and the Egyptian wanting to knock the walls down.
*'a Joshua narrative' was 'in play' where? among whom? when? Cheers.
By whoever was behind those symbolic acts attempted by Theudas and the Egyptian. If you are asking for which exact groups held such views, here is Stephan's guess:
Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:06 pm
I would argue the Samaritans. The Samaritans had a version of the Book of Joshua where Joshua is specifically and repeated identified as 'the king of Israel.' It would stand to reason that if Jews though that Elijah could come back that it is at least possible that some Samaritans might have been capable of sustaining an expectation for a Joshua redivivus.
It is true that Merx (Merx however inclines more to Joshua redivivus, "denn der Ta'eb ist geringer als Moses") and Hilgenfeld were led to some extent at least to their interpretation of the Taheb as Moses or Joshua redivivus, by their taking Taheb as redivivus and not conversus as Gesenius had shown the meaning to be (see Cowley, The Samaritan Doctrine of the Messiah, in Expositor, Vol. 1 (1895), S. 161-174.
The Samaritans did claim a Josephite and Jesuine heritage. There were also probably Galileans who would have shared such northern inclinations. It is hard to tell for certain, since these would be people from the lower classes, whose viewpoints are pretty consistently reflected only indirectly in the historical record.
Cheers Ben. So Josephus' accounts of Theudas and the Egyptian represent a wider story? (his accounts can be viewed as allegories of a wider story?)
To my way of thinking, it is kind of a wider story, but the accounts are not supposed to be allegorical (highly symbolic, yes, but not allegorical). Rather, it is part of that wider pattern of emulation and fulfillment which I posted about recently. It is part of the mindset of certain kinds of people of the time, who would deliberately set out to emulate the ancient heroes or fulfill the promises made in scripture. This is why we find so very many biblical passages, even some rather unpromising ones, applied to Jesus; he was supposed to be their fulfillment. Well, I think it is clear that Jesus was not the only game in town at the time. John the Baptist was supposed to be fulfilling various aspects, and so was Simon Magus, and so were the "enchanters" of whom Josephus writes. Joshua was not the only template, either; the Samaritan "enchanter," for example, seems to have been trying either to emulate or to fulfill the role of the "prophet like Moses" promised in Deuteronomy 5.28-29 + Deuteronomy 18.18-19 = Samaritan Exodus 20.18a-g. Jesus ben Ananus seems to have been acting like a new Jeremiah. And so on.
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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:32 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:21 pm
To my way of thinking, it is kind of a wider story, but the accounts are not supposed to be allegorical (highly symbolic, yes, but not allegorical).
Yes, symbolic is a better description (than allegory or allegorical).

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:21 pm

Rather, it is part of that wider pattern of emulation and fulfillment which I posted about recently. It is part of the mindset of certain kinds of people of the time, who would deliberately set out to emulate the ancient heroes or fulfill the promises made in scripture. This is why we find so very many biblical passages, even some rather unpromising ones, applied to Jesus; he was supposed to be their fulfillment. Well, I think it is clear that Jesus was not the only game in town at the time. John the Baptist was supposed to be fulfilling various aspects, and so was Simon Magus, and so were the "enchanters" of whom Josephus writes. Joshua was not the only template, either; the Samaritan "enchanter," for example, seems to have been trying either to emulate or to fulfill the role of the "prophet like Moses" promised in Deuteronomy 5.28-29 + Deuteronomy 18.18-19 = Samaritan Exodus 20.18a-g. Jesus ben Ananus seems to have been acting like a new Jeremiah.* And so on.
.
* it would be interesting to know if Weeden is right about Josephus basing his account of Jesus ben Annus on Jeremiah.

(And there's the issue of Josephus' accounts of himself - the Josephus problem, his gaining favour with Vespasian, etc., ... all quite intriguing)

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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:06 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:32 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:21 pm
To my way of thinking, it is kind of a wider story, but the accounts are not supposed to be allegorical (highly symbolic, yes, but not allegorical).
Yes, symbolic is a better description (than allegory or allegorical).

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:21 pm

Rather, it is part of that wider pattern of emulation and fulfillment which I posted about recently. It is part of the mindset of certain kinds of people of the time, who would deliberately set out to emulate the ancient heroes or fulfill the promises made in scripture. This is why we find so very many biblical passages, even some rather unpromising ones, applied to Jesus; he was supposed to be their fulfillment. Well, I think it is clear that Jesus was not the only game in town at the time. John the Baptist was supposed to be fulfilling various aspects, and so was Simon Magus, and so were the "enchanters" of whom Josephus writes. Joshua was not the only template, either; the Samaritan "enchanter," for example, seems to have been trying either to emulate or to fulfill the role of the "prophet like Moses" promised in Deuteronomy 5.28-29 + Deuteronomy 18.18-19 = Samaritan Exodus 20.18a-g. Jesus ben Ananus seems to have been acting like a new Jeremiah.* And so on.
.
* it would be interesting to know if Weeden is right about Josephus basing his account of Jesus ben Annus on Jeremiah.
Part of the purpose of my thread on emulation and fulfillment is to contextualize the texts which suggest, implicitly or explicitly, that such emulation and fulfillment was actually something which some people did during the relevant era. The bare fact of the matter is that most of the people about whom such claims were made in antiquity did not leave anything for us in writing. Jesus, for example, is said to have emulated and fulfilled numerous scriptures, but he (if he even existed) left us nothing in writing to let us know his own thoughts on the matter directly; his sayings in the gospels may or may not reflect his own viewpoint. We get brief accounts about Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan, Jesus ben Ananias, and others in Josephus, but the historian does not even tell us that they were deliberately emulating or fulfilling scriptural templates; we have to infer that for ourselves. Same goes for the Zealots, described by Josephus as such but not tied directly in the text itself to the precedents set by Phinehas and Mattathias (and Elijah, too, for that matter). Some of the Qumran scrolls tell us that the Teacher of Righteousness was fulfilling certain obscure scriptures, but it is unclear whether the Teacher himself wrote anything preserved in the scrolls. The rabbinic texts rightly compare Honi and Hanina to Elijah, but neither of those two alleged wonder workers speak for themselves. The rabbinic texts also tell us that Simon bar Kokhba thought he was the Messiah, but the few letters of his which we possess are far more mundane, dealing with the logistics of fighting a war and such.

Josephus does seem to view himself and his situation in the light of Joseph and Daniel, both of whom found themselves making their way in foreign courts, but his self reflection on this score is very subtle, and only emulation seems to be on the table in this case, not fulfillment.

It is easy, therefore, in any single case to suspect that the author of the text has used the scriptures in order to invent characters (or motivations for characters) who are taking it upon themselves either to emulate or to fulfill ancient prophecies and the like; after all, we have only the text making the claim, not the written ruminations of the person about whom the claim is being made. At this point, though, we run into a fork in the road: it is not likely that all of the cases were invented by authors independently of one another, for why would this sort of thing be such a common theme if literally nobody was going around emulating or fulfilling scripture? The only way such a mass invention would work is if one author (or at most a very limited group of authors) invented the very idea of it happening and all the other authors got that idea from him/her, whether directly or indirectly.

Authors of fiction write about jealous lovers, prolonged wars, and sibling rivalries because all of those things happen in real life. But authors of fiction also write about time travel, and that is because a pair of authors writing late in century XIX (Mark Twain and H. G. Wells) wrote several stories about traveling through time and the theme stuck around as a stock science fiction motif. So is the sort of emulation and fulfillment written about in our texts an example from real life, or is it more like time travel, a purely literary device? Several considerations make me lean toward the former option:
  1. We have examples of ancient writers actively encouraging their readers to emulate scriptural and cultural heroes.
  2. We have examples from more recent (modern and medieval) and thus more verifiable history of people in the Judeo-Christian tradition trying to fulfill ancient prophecies (pseudo-Messiahs and the like). Did this notion occur only to medieval and modern people and never to the ancients?
  3. We have examples of ancient people from cultures and religions other than Jewish or Christian who seem to have done the same thing with their own traditions (think of Virgil, Caesar Augustus, and the Golden Age of Saturn), suggesting a trend more widespread than mere literary imitation.
  4. We have examples of ancient scriptures which genuinely seem to predict that certain things are going to happen, and in such an environment it is difficult to imagine that no people or groups of people ever thought to take it upon themselves to fulfill those predictions.
I am confident, therefore, that people were attempting both to emulate and to fulfill ancient scriptural prophecies. This logical result does not in any way mean, however, that all the examples on the list are genuine; we are stuck in our usual position of having to sort good information from bad; we cannot just sweep it all away in one direction with a single flourish. When it comes specifically to Josephus, I admit that there is plenty of subjectivity involved, but my own sense is that he is not inventing the whole trend of people from among the common folk performing those symbolic scriptural actions; he wants to find examples of unruly members of the lower classes in order to blame them for the war with Rome, to be sure, but I am not certain what benefit he derives from secretly injecting scriptural precedents into those examples; he never highlights them or uses them to some advantage. Making the commoners look silly would be easy enough without simultaneously making them into interpreters of scripture without even telling his gentile readers what is going on. Furthermore, the existence of Joshua/Jesus imitators during the very time period in which a nascent Christianity concocted its own Joshua/Jesus figure just makes a lot of sense to me. Subjective, like I said, but those are my current thoughts on the topic. YMMV.
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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:57 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:07 pm
Ok. So now we're jumping around the Gospel of John trying to prove there is an antithesis? Our original discussion pertained to 1.17
well, well. Not only a harmonizer, but also an atomizer. Continue so.

But realize at least that the my point is that the anti-nomianist view around Joshua appears only with the first gospel, not among the original hallucinators.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by MrMacSon » Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:58 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:21 pm
MrMacSon wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:09 pm
... So Josephus' accounts of Theudas and the Egyptian [etc] represent a wider story [ scenario / theme? ]
To my way of thinking ... it is part of that wider pattern of emulation and fulfillment which I posted about recently. It is part of the mindset of certain kinds of people of the time, who would deliberately set out to emulate the ancient heroes or fulfill the promises made in scripture. This is why we find so very many biblical passages, even some rather unpromising ones, applied to Jesus; he was supposed to be their fulfillment. Well, I think it is clear that Jesus was not the only game in town at the time. John the Baptist was supposed to be fulfilling various aspects, and so was Simon Magus, and so were the "enchanters" of whom Josephus writes. Joshua was not the only template, either; the Samaritan "enchanter," for example, seems to have been trying either to emulate or to fulfill the role of the "prophet like Moses" promised in Deuteronomy 5.28-29 + Deuteronomy 18.18-19 = Samaritan Exodus 20.18a-g. Jesus ben Ananus seems to have been acting like a new Jeremiah. And so on.
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:06 pm

Part of the purpose of my thread on emulation and fulfillment is to contextualize the texts which suggest, implicitly or explicitly, that such emulation and fulfillment was actually something which some people did during the relevant era. The bare fact of the matter is that most of the people about whom such claims were made in antiquity did not leave anything for us in writing ... We get brief accounts about Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan, Jesus ben Ananias, and others in Josephus, but the historian does not even tell us that they were deliberately emulating or fulfilling scriptural templates; we have to infer that for ourselves. Same goes for the Zealots, described by Josephus as such but not tied directly in the text itself to the precedents set by Phinehas and Mattathias (and Elijah, too, for that matter).

Some of the Qumran scrolls tell us that the Teacher of Righteousness was fulfilling certain obscure scriptures, but it is unclear whether the Teacher himself wrote anything preserved in the scrolls. The rabbinic texts rightly compare Honi and Hanina to Elijah, but neither of those two alleged wonder workers speak for themselves. The rabbinic texts also tell us that Simon bar Kokhba thought he was the Messiah,1 but the few letters of his which we possess are far more mundane, dealing with the logistics of fighting a war and such.

Josephus does seem to view himself and his situation in the light of Joseph and Daniel, both of whom found themselves making their way in foreign courts, but his self reflection on this score is very subtle, and only emulation seems to be on the table in this case, not fulfillment.

It is easy, therefore, in any single case to suspect that the author of the text has used the scriptures in order to invent characters (or motivations for characters) who are taking it upon themselves either to emulate or to fulfill ancient prophecies and the like; after all, we have only the text making the claim, not the written ruminations of the person about whom the claim is being made. At this point, though, we run into a fork in the road: it is not likely that all of the cases were invented by authors independently of one another,2 for why would this sort of thing be such a common theme if literally nobody was going around emulating or fulfilling scripture? The only way such a mass invention would work is if one author (or, at most, a very limited group of authors) invented the very idea of it happening and all the other authors got that idea from him/her, whether directly or indirectly.

...So, is the sort of emulation and fulfillment written about in our texts an example from real life, or is it more like time travel, a purely literary device? Several considerations make me lean toward the former option:
  1. We have examples of ancient writers actively encouraging their readers to emulate scriptural and cultural heroes.
  2. We have examples from more recent (modern and medieval) and thus more verifiable history of people in the Judeo-Christian tradition trying to fulfill ancient prophecies (pseudo-Messiahs and the like). Did this notion occur only to medieval and modern people and never to the ancients?
  3. We have examples of ancient people from cultures and religions other than Jewish or Christian who seem to have done the same thing with their own traditions (think of Virgil, Caesar Augustus, and the Golden Age of Saturn), suggesting a trend more widespread than mere literary imitation.
  4. We have examples of ancient scriptures which genuinely seem to predict that certain things are going to happen, and in such an environment it is difficult to imagine that no people or groups of people ever thought to take it upon themselves to fulfill those predictions.
I am confident, therefore, that people were attempting both to emulate and to fulfill ancient scriptural prophecies. This logical result does not in any way mean, however, that all the examples on the list are genuine; we are stuck in our usual position of having to sort good information from bad; we cannot just sweep it all away in one direction with a single flourish.

When it comes specifically to Josephus, I admit that there is plenty of subjectivity involved, but my own sense is that he is not inventing the whole trend of people from among the common folk performing those symbolic scriptural actions; he wants to find examples of unruly members of the lower classes in order to blame them for the war with Rome, to be sure, but I am not certain what benefit he derives from secretly injecting scriptural precedents into those examples; he never highlights them or uses them to some advantage. Making the commoners look silly would be easy enough without simultaneously making them into interpreters of scripture without even telling his gentile readers what is going on. Furthermore, the existence of Joshua/Jesus imitators during the very time period in which a nascent Christianity concocted its own Joshua/Jesus figure3 just makes a lot of sense to me. Subjective, like I said, but those are my current thoughts on the topic. YMMV.
I agree with that.

1 I think it'd have been easy and even desirable to cast or recast the likes of Simon bar Kosiba/Kokhba as a messiah claimant - especially retrospectively as a failed one - given what had transpired (just as it would've been easy to have retrospectively portrayed Jesus as having prophesied the fall of the Temple, etc.).

2 Certainly the NT and apocryphal and pseudepigraphical accounts of the NT Jesus [of Nazareth] are likely to be to have evolved off versions of each other, and I doubt many of the apocrypha are as post-gospel as we have been led to believe. But it would be interesting to know in what contexts - chronological & otherwise - texts like the Shepherd of Hermas were/was written. (I haven't delved into the Corpus Hermeticum yet (and don't mention it for the similar name), but I wonder if it developed completely independent of the common first and second century Roman and Jewish literary genres).

3 I wonder if the NT Jesus was a second century development (or mostly), and, following Jörg Rüpke, wonder if the potted biographies and prophetic or pseudo-prophetic accounts provided by Josephus and others of his time stimulated the Gospel -and even Pauline- accounts (or their coalescion or accretion).

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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:50 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:51 am
I still think, in agreement with Paul-Louis Couchoud, that the most natural candidate for the "name above all names" in the Jesus Hymn in the epistle to the Philippians is (in a way) the name "Jesus" itself:

Philippians 2.5-11: 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name [ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα], 10 so that at the name of Jesus [ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ] every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I have found another suggestive explanation of the choice of the name Jesus as the name for the Christ. It was given, according to Acts of Thomas, at the moment of Baptism:

And the apostle took the oil and poured it upon their heads and anointed and chrismed them, and began to say (Syr. And Judas went up and stood upon the edge of the cistern and poured oil upon their heads and said):

Come, thou holy name of the Christ that is above every name.

http://gnosis.org/library/actthom.htm

Since the baptism means death and resurrection, the name Jesus had to be given to who crossed first the Jordan, i.e. to who wins first the death.

The "name above any name" has to be meant as the name that has gone "phisically" beyond all the other names. The first name to ascend to heaven. A competition between different names is in view here, one where the winner is the name: Jesus.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:52 am

The problem I have with the hymn to Philippians is that the elevation would be not a reward if it had not placed the hero above the his previous status.

Where is then the reward, if already in the previous status (before the death) Jesus was in the image of the Father ?

If we examine better the verse 6:

existing in the form of God

...we realize suddenly that the hero in question, having a form, is an inferior god. A true God is without form, absolutely invisible.

When the Gnostics represented the demiurge as lion-headed and as a beast, they despised him as having a form , even more than his being a beast.

A true god can't have a portrait. The his Name is unknown, too.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: The name change to Jesus/Joshua.

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:08 am

Hence, when the Hymn reads:

who, though he was in the form of an inferior god,
did not regard equality with the supreme God
as something to be pursued,
but emptied himself...

...the idea of the usurpation rejected by Jesus comes from his being before a choice:
  • remain an inferior god, i.e. he, an inferior god, could exalt himself, falsely, as the supreme God
  • to give up to be an inferior god, by humbling himself, so adoring, as a true servant, the true supreme God.
Hence, when Jesus opts for the second option, he becomes a Servant, but not a generic Servant, not even the generic Servant of Isaiah: he was Servant in relation to the supreme god, of which he recognized, by humbling himself, the supremacy.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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