Any other English translations of Josephus

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andrewcriddle
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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:17 am

DCHindley wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:00 pm

Wm. Whiston, the translator of the best known English versions of Josephus' works, thought that Josephus was a closet Christian, but he also wrote in 1737, not an especially critical period of time. He also took the account of Jesus in Ant 18 as Josephus' own words, something that is generally no longer held.

DCH
Whiston believed that this clearly Christian fragment hades was by Josephus.

(It was probably written by Hippolytus.)

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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by rakovsky » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:59 am

Dch,
What do you think of Eisenman's writings and theories?
He thinks Josephus was a closet nonTrinitarian Christian or strong sympathizer.

He thinks this for reasons like the Phil. 20 reference to the same person in the imperial household whom Josephus mentions. He also thinks that Josephus teacher Banus was likely a follower of John the Baptist.

My research on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection: http://rakovskii.livejournal.com

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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by DCHindley » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:31 pm

rakovsky wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:59 am
Dch,
What do you think of Eisenman's writings and theories?

He thinks Josephus was a closet nonTrinitarian Christian or strong sympathizer.

He thinks this for reasons like the Phil. 20 reference to the same person in the imperial household whom Josephus mentions.

He also thinks that Josephus teacher Banus was likely a follower of John the Baptist.
I'm not so sure of that first thing you understood Eisler to have thought. He may have conceded that it was a possible reason why the text we have exists, but my understanding was that he thought that Josephus had relayed a different story about Jesus that was either unfavorable about him, or something akin to the story as it exists in the Slavonic translation of Josephus' War where Jesus was a sort of quasi-political figure along with John the Baptist who kept drawing the attention of the authorities for fear of insurrection.

In fact, Robert Eisler was convinced that the "actual" story about John the Baptist and Jesus had been told in a now-lost Aramaic story about the Capture of Jerusalem. He also believed that this "actual" story was used as a source by the Slavonic translation of Josephus' War found in central Russia and Ukraine.

However, Eisler gets romantically dreamy about what it may have contained, and held a number of weird ideas about the time and the players in that drama. He imagined itinerant groups of Rechabite priests, not of the families of Levi/Aaron, from which folks like John, Banus and Jesus had sprung, and compared them to Gypsie-like tribes of Arab Bedouins of his day called "sleb" who carved crosses in their foreheads like Charles Manson and his followers did in the 1960s.

A modern in-depth study of the Slavonic translation of Josephus' War was done by Leeming & Leeming, who concluded the weird John and Jesus stories in it, along with other additions and exclusions, were the musings of semi-pagan Slav nobles who were learning about Christianity through Eastern Orthodox priests and perhaps remnants of a people primarily composed of converts to Judaism known as Khazars. The motivation for this translation was to emphasize the military maneuvers and the back-room politics that characterized the world of pagan Slav and Orthodox Russian medieval warlords.

Josephus as good as says he wrote such a work shortly after the end of the revolt of 66-70 CE (until the Sicarii on Masada were finally overrun in 73 CE, there was always the chance that the rebels could gain foreign support), and it served as the nucleus of the much expanded Greek War, thought to have been published around 75 CE. This Capture of Jerusalem had been written as imperial propaganda to be disseminated to Judeans resident in Parthian controlled Mesopotamia to dissuade them from heading to Judea as guerilla fighters or join any Parthian efforts to send in troops to prop up the revolutionaries.

There do appear to have been in Mesopotamia Parthian military units of mounted archers consisting almost entirely of Judeans. Herod had intercepted one such discharged unit of Parthian trained mounted archers headed for Judea for aliyah in his early reign, and successfully convinced them to become his tax-exempt police force in the area later ruled by Herod Philip.

I'm sure that during the rebellion of 66CE+ these type units would have been quite welcomed by some of the revolutionaries, but Josephus mentions nothing of this kind except for Judeans from the Parthian client kingdom of Adiabene. Adiabene is not exactly the same as Mesopotamia, so perhaps a hastily written Aramaic Capture of Jerusalem was sent back with the members of the royal family of Adiabene who had surrendered on terms to the Roman commanders around the capture of Jerusalem, when these were later allowed to return to their native country. The terms may well have included a requirement to bring with them Josephus' propaganda piece telling in lurid detail how completely the Romans had destroyed the city.

A summary of the principal additions and deletions of books 1-4 of the 5 volume Slavonic translation, when compared to the 7 volume Greek War, is summarized by G. A. Williamson in an Appendix to his Penguin edition English translation of Josephus' War (pp 396-401). In fact, the full analysis of additions/omissions of Slavonic books 1-4 is in an appendix in vol 3 of 9 of H. St. J. Thackeray's translation of the Works of Josephus (War books 4-7, pp. 635-660).

The original compiler of the variants of the Slavonic translation died before he got to the final volume of the 5 volume Slavonic War (Slavonic War vol. 5 condenses vols. 5-7 of the Greek War). What I may need to do is check that Leeming & Leeming volume out of the library again to study what was left out, and added to, the Slavonic translation when compared to the Greek. An added advantage is that it also compares the version of stories as found in Josephus' Antiquities, and Life, where they overlap with Greek or Slavonic War.

There is, simply, a LOT to be considered.

DCH

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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by John2 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:22 am

Good ol' rakovsky wrote:
What do you think of Eisenman's writings and theories?

He thinks Josephus was a closet nonTrinitarian Christian or strong sympathizer.

He thinks this for reasons like the Phil. 20 reference to the same person in the imperial household whom Josephus mentions.

He also thinks that Josephus teacher Banus was likely a follower of John the Baptist.
This was addressed to DCH, but since I'm the resident Eisenman guy here I thought I'd take a stab at it.

I want to preface it with something first. Eisenman says a lot of stuff I don't necessarily agree with or care about. For example, he thinks Jewish Christians were an offshoot of the Essenes, and I don't (and Hegesippus explicitly denies this). He thinks Simon bar Clophas is Jesus' brother Simon in the NT, and I don't (Hegesippus makes it clear that he is Jesus' cousin). And I don't care to untangle what Price calls his "name game," and he tends to see James hiding under every rock.
How can Mary have had a sister named Mary? Is there a difference between Joseph Barsabbas Justus, Judas Barsabbas Justus, and James the Just? Whence all the Jameses and Judases? Who are Simon the Zealot and Judas the Zealot (who appears in some NT manuscripts and other early Christian documents)? Is Clopas the same as Cleophas? What's going on with Jesus ben-Ananias, Jesus Barabbas, Elymas bar-Jesus, and Jesus Justus? What does Boanerges really mean? Is Nathaniel a nickname for someone else we know of? And so on, and so on. Most of us puzzle over these oddities for a moment--and then move on. After all, how important can they be, anyway? Eisenman does not move on till he has figured it out.

http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/rev_eisenm.htm
But I find that his critics don't seem to get to what I consider to be the heart of the matter (the DSS and what they say) and rather focus on his attitude or personal history or status as a "kook" or the carbon dating issue. My thing is to sift through what he says (and what any scholar says) for any useful nuggets (and there are many), and I call this the "distilled essence" of Eisenman. I take what I need from him and don't worry about the rest.

Now, to answer your questions, rakovsky, I don't get the impression that Josephus was sympathetic to Christians. While he seems to have respect for the Essenes (given the amount of space he devotes to them and the time he spent with them), he ultimately decided to be a Pharisee, and they were by and large enemies of Christianity (take the treatment of Rabbi Eliezer in my Jerusalem Church thread, for example). And I don't see Jewish Christianity as an offshoot of the Essenes, but rather as a faction of the Fourth Philosophy, and Josephus did not like the Fourth Philosophy.

My impression regarding the James passage in Ant. 20 is that Josephus is saying that prominent Jews were upset about the fact that Ananus executed people (not just James, because he says "and some others") during Passover, as argued in this old book:
Our argument has placed Ananus' three months' tenure of the high priesthood from early February to early May, 61. Soon after his deposition, Albinus arrived; and after his arrival the tithes were collected from the threshing floor, as Josephus tells. That would take place around late June or July, and confirms our dating of Aanus' high priesthood. Later than that Josephus mentions the feast (Tabernacles, 61), and afterwards the foundation of Neronias (fixed by coins in 61) ... It was, of course, against the law to put a criminal to death during the feast, but Ananus was bitterly accused by the Jews themselves (as Josephus tells) for illegal and outrageous conduct on this occasion.

https://books.google.com/books?id=n7MnA ... us&f=false


Hegesippus also places James' death during Passover. So I'm thinking that this is what upset people about it from Josephus' point of view. I think this is why he says, "the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done." I think people would have been upset in this scenario no matter who was executed.

I do think that the Epaphroditus in Philippians and Josephus are the same person though. I think Eisenman makes a good case for this, and I've talked about it before in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2199&start=50&hilit=epaphroditus

Josephus describes Epaphroditus as "a man who is a lover of all kind of learning, but is principally delighted with the knowledge of history, and this on account of his having been himself concerned in great affairs, and many turns of fortune" and "an enthusiastic supporter of persons with the ability to produce some useful or beautiful work," and Paul says his Epaphroditus belonged to "the household of Caesar" and was his "brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs."

I don't see why Paul couldn't have known him if Josephus did given that they were both involved with "the household of Caesar" (which I explain more in that other thread)

As for Banus (whoever he was), yes, Josephus followed him when he was trying out the various sects in his youth, but he ultimately chose to become a Pharisee. As he puts it in the Life:
I had a mind to make trim of the several sects that were among us. These sects are three: - The first is that of the Pharisees, the second that Sadducees, and the third that of the Essens, as we have frequently told you; for I thought that by this means I might choose the best, if I were once acquainted with them all; so I contented myself with hard fare, and underwent great difficulties, and went through them all. Nor did I content myself with these trials only; but when I was informed that one, whose name was Banus, lived in the desert, and used no other clothing than grew upon trees, and had no other food than what grew of its own accord, and bathed himself in cold water frequently, both by night and by day, in order to preserve his chastity, I imitated him in those things, and continued with him three years. So when I had accomplished my desires, I returned back to the city, being now nineteen years old, and began to conduct myself according to the rules of the sect of the Pharisees, which is of kin to the sect of the Stoics, as the Greeks call them.
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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by DCHindley » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:32 pm

Hmmm,

For some reason I thought rakovsky was speaking about Robert Eisler. Duh!

Eisenman seems to have been heavily influenced by Eisler's Messiah Jesus & John the Baptist from the early 1930s. Both authors cover a lot of the same material.

While I have Eisenman's James the Brother of Jesus I had trouble reading it closely due to its sheer size (about 1,000 pages) and a fair amount of repetition of passages. Every passage is read from every English translation and Greek version to explore every single possible interpretation, but the sheer number of possible readings made profiting from it difficult, at least for me. I think he could have done a better job of categorizing his observations so some sort of picture forms in one's mind. Because of this, I never bought the follow-up volume. So, perhaps I am not the best person to ask about Eisenman.

Some of his other books, which I do own, especially where he translates some of the previously untranslated DSS, seem rather refreshing. When these passages were later translated by others, they could not have been more different from one another! None of the stuffy translations scholars love so dearly for Prof. Robert Eisenman!

On the other hand, I had always liked Eisler. He was kind of *out there* in a lot of ways as I suggested earlier. For a long while I was interested in what he had to say about the relevance of the Slavonic Josephus, but this seems to have become a dead end for me. Still, I have just summarized all the differences that H. St. J. Thakeray presented in his translation of Josephus' War, and will post these separately just to make it clear how really weird they were. There really is no easy explanation for the Slavonic version's differences from the Greek text.

Sorry if I misunderstood! :confusedsmiley:

DCH

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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by John2 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:29 am

DC wrote:
While I have Eisenman's James the Brother of Jesus I had trouble reading it closely due to its sheer size (about 1,000 pages) and a fair amount of repetition of passages. Every passage is read from every English translation and Greek version to explore every single possible interpretation, but the sheer number of possible readings made profiting from it difficult, at least for me. I think he could have done a better job of categorizing his observations so some sort of picture forms in one's mind. Because of this, I never bought the follow-up volume. So, perhaps I am not the best person to ask about Eisenman.

Some of his other books, which I do own, especially where he translates some of the previously untranslated DSS, seem rather refreshing. When these passages were later translated by others, they could not have been more different from one another! None of the stuffy translations scholars love so dearly for Prof. Robert Eisenman!
I haven't read Eisenman with any passion in fifteen years, and only did so from 1997, when I first heard of him in a review of JBJ, to 2002, when I stopped practicing Judaism and caring about ancient history (though I got back on the horse regarding the latter about ten years ago). I'm too old to sort through his writing style these days (I never could get through The New Testament Code when that came out, and my copy seemed badly edited and didn't have any notes to boot, and I don't even have it anymore). The one I keep coming back to the most, and the only one I would recommend, is The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians, which is older and easier to read and more or less sums up everything that came after, plus (and most importantly) it has the Hebrew and unique translations of the Damascus Document, Habakkuk Pesher and the first nine columns of the Community Rule, which I find very useful.

http://www.centuryone.com/0785-4.html
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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by rakovsky » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:57 pm

Reasons I think Josephus was a Christian sympathizer:
1) He fits the general background: a pro-Roman or anti-rebellion Galilean

2) His passages on John the Baptist, James, and what we have of Jesus are sympathetic

3) The passage on Jesus I think we have in the passage's original form, even if we have someone else's insertion. This is because the passage is closely based on a passage in Luke 24. Thus, modern "dechristianized" reconstructions based on modifications of the current Jesus passage are flawed.

4) He includes a range of cryptic allusions to Jesus and his resurrection in his works, like the story of Onias the rainmaker, or the story of how Josephus was hiding in a guarded cave for three days and discovered via a woman, or the story of how /josephus saved three friends and the third lived after crucifixion, or the story of the Judean commander who fell into a cave and miraculously survived

5) His teaching by Banus suggests a possible relation to John the Baptist, whose followers included Christians.

6) Josephus venerated Epaphroditus, who you and I agree was likely the same one as in Philippians
Josephus describes Epaphroditus as "a man who is a lover of all kind of learning, but is principally delighted with the knowledge of history, and this on account of his having been himself concerned in great affairs, and many turns of fortune" and "an enthusiastic supporter of persons with the ability to produce some useful or beautiful work," and Paul says his Epaphroditus belonged to "the household of Caesar" and was his "brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs."
7) Josephus saying that he followed the pharisees' rules doesn't mean he wasn't a Christian, since there were Christian pharisees in Acts and Paul called himself a pharisee unto the Jews in his Epistles. The pharisees were basically the Jews who continued to follow the Law of Moses plus the oral traditions and traditional beliefs like angels and the afterlife.

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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by John2 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:19 am

Rakovsky,

Regarding point 7, I thought of that too, and I do think that Christianity was a conglomeration of people from all of the sects, including the Pharisees (like the Fourth Philosophy, one of whose founders was a Pharisee). But by and large the Pharisees opposed the Fourth Philosophy like Josephus did, and when Paul was a Pharisee he persecuted Christians, and the Pharisee Christians in Acts are portrayed in a negative light (from the author's point of view), because their insistence that Gentiles be circumcised is presented as being opposed by Paul and Barnabas and Peter and overruled by James.

Acts 15:1-2:
Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.
Acts 15:5-9:
Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
Acts 15:13-19:
...James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles ... It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God."
Regarding point 2, I disagree that Josephus is sympathetic to James, for the reasons I mentioned above, and there is no indication in the John passage that John has anything to do with Christianity. And while John does seem similar to Banus, and Josephus seems to be sympathetic to both of them, after he tried Banus he decided to be Pharisee, so I reckon he would have done the same if he had followed John.

I think point 6 is the best, but bear in mind that Josephus always defends "normative" Judaism, especially in Against Apion, and while Paul does call himself a "servant of Christ" in 1 Cor. 11:23 (and setting aside Acts 26:8 for the moment), in 1 Cor. 11:22 he says, "Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I," and in Rom. 11:1 he says, "I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin."

I don't think the distinction between Christians and Jews was clear in the first century CE. I think this is why both Christians and Jews claim Queen Helena of Adiabene and Clement of Rome (a.k.a., possibly, Flavius Clemens). If the difference wasn't clear to Jews, how could it have been to Epaphroditus? At this point Pauline Christianity and Pharisaism were just different kinds of Judaism, and I think the common thread between them (and the important factor for someone like Epaphroditus) is that Josephus and Paul's Judaisms were pro-Roman. I would venture to suggest that it didn't matter that much to Epaphroditus if one of them thought Jesus was the Messiah and the other thought Vespasian was, since he supported both of them.

Regarding point 1, while Paul was certainly pro-Roman and Jesus is presented that way in the NT (which is not surprising given that the NT is by and large Pauline), I'm not sure all Christians were (or even all Pharisees), and Josephus himself was a leader of the rebellion before he went over to the Romans. That's the key issue, I think, rather than who Paul and Josephus thought the Messiah was, as far as Epaphroditus is concerned.
Last edited by John2 on Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:04 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by John2 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:00 am

Rakovsky wrote:
4) He includes a range of cryptic allusions to Jesus and his resurrection in his works, like the story of Onias the rainmaker, or the story of how Josephus was hiding in a guarded cave for three days and discovered via a woman, or the story of how /josephus saved three friends and the third lived after crucifixion, or the story of the Judean commander who fell into a cave and miraculously survived.
I didn't have time to address this point yesterday (the library only gives me two hours of internet time). Regarding Onias, while I do think he is similar to Jesus, in the sense of being a hasid and/or zaddik, rabbinic writings also mention Onias in a more or less positive light. Does that mean that Rabbinic Jews were sympathetic to Christians (though I grant that some seem to have been)?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honi_ha-M%27agel
"No one is equal to Elijah or Honi the Circle-drawer, who brought humankind to serve God ..."

https://books.google.com/books?id=kqYRv ... er&f=false
Vermes also discusses Onias and other Jesus-like Jews mentioned in rabbinic writings in Jesus the Jew.

https://books.google.com/books?id=RvSEK ... es&f=false

I'm not sure if the other references in Josephus you mention are cryptic allusions to Jesus. There are plenty of references to the significance of the "third day" in the OT (http://biblehub.net/searchot.php?q=third+day http://biblehub.net/searchot.php?q=three+days), and even Paul says that Jesus' resurrection on the "third day" is based on the OT (1 Cor. 15:4: "he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures").
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Re: Any other English translations of Josephus

Post by rakovsky » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:46 am

May I please ask which are the translations of Josephus' writings that you have found to be most accurate in your opinion?
It's OK if you haven't read every translation out there. I just want to please ask what you have read at least parts of and found it to be the best.

The translations I know of are:
spin wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:57 am
Premo316 wrote:Does anybody here know if there are other English translations, besides William Whiston's,
available?
There are two Loeb editions. Look for Josephus here. It has links to Archive editions of Josephus (ie online) as well as the currently sold Loeb editions. Thackeray, Marcus & Feldman each have edited and translated sections of the works of Josephus for Loeb.

My research on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection: http://rakovskii.livejournal.com

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