A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:05 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:01 pm
Josephus' Ants XVIII, 5, 2:
Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure to him.
Where does it say JtB was executed in 35/36 CE? I also notice the "now" which suggests the destruction of Antipas' army was in another time than the one of John's execution.
That is not what the "now" means; it is translating δέ.
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Bernard Muller
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by Bernard Muller » Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:16 pm

to Ben,
I agree: δέ cannot be used to support my suggestion, because, besides "now", δέ can be translated by "and" and other words.

Cordially, Bernard
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maryhelena
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by maryhelena » Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:55 am

Strong words from Tamás Visi:

As is well-known, all the canonical gospels and virtually the entire
Christian tradition venerate John the Baptist as a forerunner of Christ, a new
Elijah, who prepared the way of the Messiah.1 Modern academic researchers
do not necessarily subscribe to this traditional image.2 Nevertheless, the
relative chronology implied by the Christian narrative, namely, that John the
Baptist’s movement and death preceded that of Jesus, has been taken over by
almost every modern critical scholar without any suspicion. However, if the
traditional chronology proves to be false, then the narrative scheme, on which
all the canonical gospels are based, should not be accepted at face value.


==================
It is out of the scope of the present study to clarify all the problems
concerning the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus.92 But it is
important to underline that the possibility that the story of John’s baptizing
Jesus is a theologically motivated fiction cannot be rejected out of hand.
It is
possible that Jesus was not a disciple of John, he did not start his career by
visiting John, and he was not baptized by John. Rather than a source of
embarrassment, “discipleship by John” might have been, as Clare K.
Rothschild argues, “a desirable pedigree, shared by Jesus and other
prominent members of the early ‘Christian’ movement.”93 Accordingly, we
have to count with the possibility that early Christian storytellers
exaggerated the Baptist’s role in Jesus’ biography. The famous meeting of the
two Galilean charismatic masters may have taken place only in the
imagination of their followers.


https://www.academia.edu/40137424/_Revi ... _Approach

[my formatting]

Next step for Tamás Visi? Both the gospel Jesus figure and the Josephan John the baptizer figure are literary constructs; composite literary structures that allow an undercurrent of Hasmonean history to be retold via allegory.

Josephus having a flashback moment while writing his account of 36/37 c.e. ? Indeed he was - but not to the Jesus of the gospel storyline. Josephus goes back much further - back even beyond 63 b.c. to John Hyrancus I in 134 b.c. 170 years of Hasmonean history wrapped up in his JtB, Herod (Antipas) Herodias, and Aretas allegory. From the Hasmonean warrior kings waging war to establish an independent Israel, to Alexander Jannaeus and Machaerus, to Aristobulus II and Machaerus, to the siege of Aretas III against Jerusalem, the civil war between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, to the Roman execution of Antigonus, to Herod divorcing Doris to marry the Hasmonean Mariamne, to the Teacher of Righteousness of the DSS, to the final end of the Hasmoneans with Herod dating the executing of Hyrancus II to 30 c.e. Plenty in that Hasmonean history for Josephus to run an undercurrent throughout his 'history' of the early years of the first century.

Simply put.....the two Josephan figures, Jesus and JtB are composite literary constructs created to reflect Hasmonean history. And the gospel Jesus story? A political allegory with a theological undercurrent. Both the gospel writers and Josephus are doing the same thing - writing interpretations, writing allegories, of Hasmonean history.

---------------
added later

Aristobulus II escaped in 57 BCE, instigating rebellion against Rome in Judea, until he was finally holed up by Aulus Gabinius, consul of the Roman province of Syria, in Machaerus. Marc Antony, commander of the cavalry under Gabinius, led several men to scale Aristobulus' fortifications and subdue his forces.[5]

Taken prisoner, Aristobulus was released by Julius Caesar in 49 BCE in order to turn Judea against Pompey. He was on his way to Judaea with his son Alexander, when "he was taken off by poison given him by those of Pompey's party


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristobulus_II


Aristobulus still had more than a thousand with him and with these he fled to Machaerus and fortified the place, and despite his failure still had some hope of success. But after he had struggled against the siege for two days and been wounded many times, he was brought as a prisoner to Gabinius,

Antiquities book 14 ch.6

Last edited by maryhelena on Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
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andrewcriddle
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by andrewcriddle » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:29 am

I'm not sure that a date of death for John the Baptist later than Jesus necessarily dissociates John and Jesus.
There is a possible scenario in which
a/ John is baptizing
b/ Jesus is baptized by John
c/ John is arrested by Herod
d/ Jesus preaches heals and has debates with the followers of the imprisoned John
e/ Jesus is executed by Pilate
f/ John is executed by Herod.

Andrew Criddle

maryhelena
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by maryhelena » Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:08 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:29 am
I'm not sure that a date of death for John the Baptist later than Jesus necessarily dissociates John and Jesus.
There is a possible scenario in which
a/ John is baptizing
b/ Jesus is baptized by John
c/ John is arrested by Herod
d/ Jesus preaches heals and has debates with the followers of the imprisoned John
e/ Jesus is executed by Pilate
f/ John is executed by Herod.

Andrew Criddle
A later date for the death of John the Baptist, later than Jesus, does, as the above quote from Tamás Visias indicates, bring into question the ''narrative scheme, on which all the canonical gospels are based, should not be accepted at face value''.

Nikos Kokkinos has attempted to get around the late, Josephan, dating for John the baptizer, by moving the Jesus crucifixion to 36 c.e. - after a John the baptizer execution in 35 c.e. (Nikos Kokkinos is author of The Herodian Dynasty.)
Crucifixion in A.D. 36: The Keystone for Dating the Birth of Jesus
https://www.academia.edu/42949214/Cruc ... _of_Jesus

Tamás Visias has challenged Kokkinos's position with an argument on John 2.20.

Kokkinos (pp. 153–155) attempts to dismiss this evidence by claiming that the evangelist
meant, in fact, not the years that passed since the building of the sanctuary began, but the
age of Jesus, that is to say, the “sanctuary” which was being built for 46 years was Jesus’ body.
Furthermore, Kokkinos argues, in case the sentence indeed referred to the temple of
Jerusalem, then the 46 years should be counted from 12 BCE, when the reconstruction of the
core-buildings were finished. Accordingly, the sentence must have been pronounced in 34 CE
in accordance with Kokkinos’ late dating. However, the plain sense of John 2.20 contradicts
all these interpretations and there is no reason to reject the plain sense in this case. Other
“alternative” explanations also seem to be do violence to the simple meaning of the text;

https://www.academia.edu/40137424/_Rev ... Approach

While it would seem to be a simple solution to move the Jesus crucifixion to 36 ce., - thereby allowing for a John the baptizer execution in 35 c.e., such a move fails to address the problem Josephus has set. Josephus has many years between his Jesus crucifixion story in 19 c.e. and the execution of his John the baptizer in 35/36 c.e. Reading the gospel story into Josephus is a bit like reading the gospel story into Paul. Each source, the gospels and Josephus, need to be evaluated on their own merits.

Josephus has a different time frame for his Jesus and John stories. His story also has a different order of death, Jesus first then John follows. The Josephan stories also do not connect Jesus with John.

If one was to keep in mind that both the gospel writers and Josephus are doing the same thing - writing interpretations, writing allegories, of Hasmonean history - then any apparent contradictions would disappear. Josephus has placed his Jesus and John figures in, for want of a better word, memory slots. Something similar to what we do when we remember past historical events that have impacted upon our history and our lives. Remembrance days. Living under Roman occupation public displays of Hasmonean history would be unacceptable. Allegories provided a means to an end. Hasmonean history would be remembered.

Like Josephus the gospel of Luke is also remembering Hasmonean history. In that 15th year of Tiberius the Lukan writer makes mention of various rulers. Lysanias of Abilene, is mentioned. Wikipedia gives his rule from 40 bc. to 36 b.c.

Josephus says in The Jewish War that Lysanias offered the Parthian satrap Barzapharnes a thousand talents and 500 women to bring Antigonus back and raise him to the throne, after deposing Hyrcanus though in his later work, the Jewish Antiquities, he says the offer was made by Antigonus. In 33 BCE Lysanias was put to death by Mark Antony for his Parthian sympathies, at the instigation of Cleopatra, who had eyes on his territories.

Coins from his reign indicate that he was "tetrarch and high priest".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysania ... ritories.

It does not take much of a stretch of imagination to get the point that the Lukan writer is making. Luke is referencing Hasmonean history from 40 b.c. to 37 b.c. when Antigonus was, re Cassius Dio, bound to a cross by Marc Antony.

Placing a gospel Jesus crucifixion around 33 c.e. (re a longer ministry in gJohn) and the crucifixion of the Hasmonean Antigonus is remembered by the Lukan writer 70 years later.

History is one thing and interpretation and allegories of it another. What the gospel story has done is go a step further than a political allegory - it has added a grand top dressing of theology, mythology, philosophy, and symbolism. But the boots on the ground stuff is still very much there... ;)
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

Bernard Muller
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by Bernard Muller » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:38 pm

to maryhelena,
Strong words from Tamás Visi:

As is well-known, all the canonical gospels and virtually the entire
Christian tradition venerate John the Baptist as a forerunner of Christ, a new
Elijah, who prepared the way of the Messiah.1 Modern academic researchers
do not necessarily subscribe to this traditional image.2 Nevertheless, the
relative chronology implied by the Christian narrative, namely, that John the
Baptist’s movement and death preceded that of Jesus, has been taken over by
almost every modern critical scholar without any suspicion. However, if the
traditional chronology proves to be false, then the narrative scheme, on which
all the canonical gospels are based, should not be accepted at face value.
Strong words, but no evidence. Again I notice IF.
And in the next passage, I see POSSIBILITY (twice) and again IT IS POSSIBLE.
Is it what is called evidence?
On the last sentence, I think that Jesus was "baptized" (in 27 CE) by John, but as a simple Jew among many.
==================
It is out of the scope of the present study to clarify all the problems
concerning the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus.92 But it is
important to underline that the possibility that the story of John’s baptizing
Jesus is a theologically motivated fiction cannot be rejected out of hand.
It is
possible
that Jesus was not a disciple of John, he did not start his career by
visiting John, and he was not baptized by John. Rather than a source of
embarrassment, “discipleship by John” might have been, as Clare K.
Rothschild argues, “a desirable pedigree, shared by Jesus and other
prominent members of the early ‘Christian’ movement.”93 Accordingly, we
have to count with the possibility that early Christian storytellers
exaggerated the Baptist’s role in Jesus’ biography. The famous meeting of the
two Galilean charismatic masters may have taken place only in the
imagination of their followers.
https://www.academia.edu/40137424/_Revi ... _Approach

I finally got to read the whole paper from Visi and still no evidence to support his theory. And again, how many times shall I have to repeat it: Josephus never wrote that John the Baptist was executed in 35 CE. This is a fallacy, reading way too much in Josephus' Ant., creating evidence which does not exist.
In that case we have Pontius Pilate's tenure on Judah from late 26 CE to late 36 CE (according to Josephus' Antiquities) and JtB was executed during Jesus' public life (all of it when Pilate was ruling over Judah), according to the synoptic gospels.
Case close, no problem, no need for new approach.
Visi also spent a lot of words about demonstrating ancients were not inclined to date events and offer a chronologies. This is largely true, but Josephus must have known when Tiberius died and Caius (Caligula) replaced him as emperor. Also Josephus indicated Pilate was governing Judah for 10 years and Gratus was president of Syria for 11 years (and Visi accept the battle between Antipas & Aretas' armies was in 35 CE).
So Josephus here provided good dating, which is an exception.
But following Visi's observation, I think that Josephus may not have known exactly when the scandals in Rome about Paulina and Fulvia took place. He had only the knowledge they occurred roughly during the same period that Pilate's rule over Judah. That's why he introduced the two stories by "about the same time".

That's all for now.

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

Bernard Muller
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by Bernard Muller » Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:23 pm

Furthermore, Kokkinos argues, in case the sentence indeed referred to the temple of
Jerusalem, then the 46 years should be counted from 12 BCE, when the reconstruction of the
core-buildings were finished. Accordingly, the sentence must have been pronounced in 34 CE
WRONG, for 12 BCE and 34 CE.

From http://historical-jesus.info/appa.html
In Jn2:20a, during the first Passover (out of the three) mentioned in the gospel, we read:
"The Jews replied, "It has taken forty six years to build this temple ...""

So, when was the temple reconstruction started?

In Josephus' Ant., XV, XI, 1, we read:
"And now Herod [the Great], in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work, that is, to build of himself the temple of God, and make it larger in compass, and to raise it to a more magnificent altitude, ..."
Note: "the fifteenth year" in Josephus' Wars, I, XXI, 1, appears to be an error that Josephus corrected in 'Antiquities'. With that later date, John would have appeared two or three years before Pontius Pilate's rule over Judea, conflicting with Lk3:1-3:
"... when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea [from the fall of 26C.E.] ... John ... went ... preaching a baptism ..."

When did Herod start to reign?
In Ant., XVII, VIII, 1, we read:
"Herod] having reigned, since he had procured Antigonus to be slain, thirty-four years;"
Herod died in March-April of 4B.C.E. Therefore, his reign began in: 4 + 34 = 38B.C.E. (however most encyclopaedias state 37B.C.E.)

That means the reconstruction started in 21B.C.E. (38 - 17) or 20B.C.E. (38 - 18).
Notes:
a) "Eighteenth year" means that between 17 and close to 18 years have elapsed.
b) NIV Study Bible's comment on Jn2:20:
"Forty-six years. The temple was not finally completed until A.D. 64. The meaning is that work had been going on for 46 years. Since it had begun in 20 B.C., the year of the event recorded here is A.D. 26 [when John appeared]."
- The fact there is only one year between B.C. 1 and A.D. 1 was obviously missed. If it had been taken in account, A.D. 26 would become A.D. 27. See next note for more details.

Forty-six years later bring us to: 46 - 21 +1 = 26C.E. or 46 -20 + 1 = 27C.E. The later date is more likely because:
a) According to Lk3:1-3, Pilate (from the fall of 26C.E.) was governing Judea when John was baptizing crowds. The first Passover during his rule was in the spring of 27C.E.
b) The most accepted year for the start of the reign of Herod is 37B.C.E.

Note: the "+1" is to allow for the fact that between 1B.C.E. and 1C.E. there is only one year; because, after 1B.C.E. is elapsed, 1C.E. starts.
As example, between the beginning of 4B.C.E. and the start of 3C.E., there are 6 years, not (4+3=) 7.
Another example, more relevant, between the beginning of 20B.C.E. and the start of 27C.E., there are 46 years, not (20+27=) 47.
But when (before the Passover) did John start to baptize and preach (and supposedly met Jesus)?
By the description of the alleged actions of Jesus since that time, it seems the gospel author (and other Christians in the community he was living in) knew it was not long before Passover:
Jn1:29a The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God ...""
Jn1:35 "Again, the next day ..."
Jn1:43 "The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, [three to four days' walk] ..."
Jn2:1 "On the third day there was a wedding [duration one day?] in Cana [Galilee] ..."
Jn2:12 "After this [the wedding] he went down to Capernaum, [one day's walk] ... [he] did not stay there many days"
Jn2:13a "Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand ..."

These observations suggests that John the Baptist started to baptize (and be well known) only a few weeks before the Passover of 27C.E. In any case, according to Lk3:1-3 already quoted, John could not have started his public life before the fall of 26.C.E.
Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

maryhelena
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by maryhelena » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:58 pm

Methinks I'm catching a faint drift of the Jesus historicist swan song....

My advise, give it up - this tune is well past its sell-by date.

Old ideas are as comfortable as that old pair of shoes. New shoes can hurt the feet for a while but eventually they soften up and one is once again stepping out with a spring in ones step.

Old ideas don't go gently to their neither land - they fight the dying of the light (apologies to Dylan Thomas)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The dying of the light - indeed - there is no way back for the Jesus historicists. Josephus, who they thought was their trump card has turned out to be their joker.... ;)
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

davidmartin
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by davidmartin » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:06 am

Were the religious authorities Jewish? And if so - are you then putting blood guilt upon the Jewish religious authorities for wanting Jesus crucified? Methinks you've got yourself in a puddle here.

Or are you really trying to suggest that no one at all was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus in the gospel story?
No, i'm taking the debate away from the stereotypes that you seem to employ into a political dimension
If the authorities of the day, Jewish or Roman decided to crucify Jesus it has nothing to do with national identity of whoever was responsible, it was down to the the whims of these authorities completely separate from their nationality or race
If Jesus had been killed by an angry mob maybe i'd have a harder time proposing this, but that is not the case so it is easy for me

I could say more but i can't make sense of your argument enough to respond, what's your beef?

maryhelena
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Re: A NEW APPROACH TO AN OLD PROBLEM

Post by maryhelena » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:25 am

davidmartin wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:06 am
Were the religious authorities Jewish? And if so - are you then putting blood guilt upon the Jewish religious authorities for wanting Jesus crucified? Methinks you've got yourself in a puddle here.

Or are you really trying to suggest that no one at all was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus in the gospel story?
No, i'm taking the debate away from the stereotypes that you seem to employ into a political dimension
If the authorities of the day, Jewish or Roman decided to crucify Jesus it has nothing to do with national identity of whoever was responsible, it was down to the the whims of these authorities completely separate from their nationality or race
If Jesus had been killed by an angry mob maybe i'd have a harder time proposing this, but that is not the case so it is easy for me

I could say more but i can't make sense of your argument enough to respond, what's your beef?
My beef - don't have one.....You say you can't make sense of my argument - same here - I don't see any relevance in your post to anything I've written... :banghead:
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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