Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

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: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:15 pm

John2 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:45 am
Ben, buddy, if you haven't already, when are you going to write a book?
While flattering, the thought is also exhausting. :)
I think you answered your first question with the latter question. If you view Christianity as being a faction of the Fourth Philosophy (as I do), then the reason for its resemblance to later Rabbinic Judaism (and to other Fourth Philosophic factions) with respect messianism is due to all of these groups embracing what Josephus calls Pharisaic notions in Ant. 18.1.6: "These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord."
How violent do you take the early Jesus movement to have been? Do you think that Jesus was crucified between two bandits because both he and they were seditionists? What do you make of this passage?

Matthew 11.12: 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence [? βιάζεται], and violent men take it by force [? ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν].

Luke 16.16: 16 The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it [εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται].

You tend to focus on observance of the law when you discuss the Fourth Philosophy, but what do you make of the more violent tendencies of that movement?
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Re: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by John2 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:59 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:15 pm

How violent do you take the early Jesus movement to have been? Do you think that Jesus was crucified between two bandits because both he and they were seditionists? What do you make of this passage?

Matthew 11.12: 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence [? βιάζεται], and violent men take it by force [? ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν].

Luke 16.16: 16 The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it [εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται].

You tend to focus on observance of the law when you discuss the Fourth Philosophy, but what do you make of the more violent tendencies of that movement?


Well, Christian writings themselves tell us how violent some Christians were (however factual you take it is another matter). According to Acts 21 and 23, there were some Christians who stirred up a riot in Jerusalem and tried to kill Paul for teaching against Torah observance and polluting the Temple. That's about as violent as it gets, and while I don't gather Jewish Christian leaders encouraged or approved of their violence, they shared their point of view and attempted to placate them in Acts 21:20-24:

Then they said to Paul, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. But they are under the impression that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe our customs. What then should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.

Therefore do what we advise you. There are four men with us who have taken a vow. Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is no truth to these rumors about you, but that you also live in obedience to the law.



So there was a spectrum of violence within Christianity, as there was within the Fourth Philosophy as a whole (and in the big picture, within Pharisaic Judaism as a whole regarding the degree of participation in or support for the Fourth Philosophy, ala Josephus). And I guess the question boils down to how violent was Jesus, and I suppose his approach to "bringing all to destruction" (as Josephus describes the consequences of the Fourth Philosophy) was relatively moderate but extremely passive aggressive and in keeping with what Josephus says about Fourth Philosophers in Ant. 18.1.6:

They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. And since this immovable resolution of theirs is well known to a great many, I shall speak no further about that matter; nor am I afraid that any thing I have said of them should be disbelieved, but rather fear, that what I have said is beneath the resolution they show when they undergo pain.

Mk. 8:31-32 and 14:61-62:

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke this message quite frankly ...

Again the high priest questioned him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”

I am,” said Jesus, “and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
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Re: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:15 am

If Ben is right about Jesus being before son of Joseph and only later made son of David, then I wonder if that modification was part and parcel of a greater process known in this forum as euhemerization:


1) Jesus was euhemerized as a Galilean son of Joseph crucified by Herod under Claudius.


2) Jesus was made davidic, and Jerusalem became the place where Jesus was crucified, not under the authority of Herod: hence, Pilate enters on the scene as collateral effect of the «davidization» of Jesus. Under Tiberius.


3) Luke harmonized the two stories, by inventing the famous ping pong between Pilate and Jesus.


4) Ireneus became fool:

Herod, king of the Jews, and Ponce Pilate, procurator of the emperor Claudius, joining themselves, condamned Jesus to the crucifixion.

(Demonstratio, $ 74, Against the haeres. 2:22/5)



Note that the epistle of Barnaba, where Jesus is son of Joseph and not davidic, ignores Pilate while accuses the Jews of deicide.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:48 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:15 am
Note that the epistle of Barnaba, where Jesus is son of Joseph and not davidic, ignores Pilate while accuses the Jews of deicide.
Well, he is certainly not the son of David in Barnabas, but the epistle falls short of calling him the son of Joseph, does it not? Chapter 13 is suggestive, but I think the point is that Jesus is "not the son of man, but rather the son of God."

Chapter 13 could surely be an old exegesis designed to pave the way for Messiah ben Ephraim, but in its current use in Barnabas it looks like a purely allegorical way of subjecting the (older) Jews to the (younger) Christians.
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Re: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:58 am

I am reading what the mythicst J. K. Watson writes about the passage from ben Joseph to ben David:


in short, Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim i.e. he was son of Joseph.

But then the modification happens in the same Old Testament, when the Joshua of Zecharia was hailed as ANATOLE.

ANATOLE means also sprout, shoot. The reference to the davidic root is automatic.


That passage was decisive: now any tradition about Jesus had to make him davidic.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:05 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:58 am
I am reading what the mythicst J. K. Watson writes about the passage from ben Joseph to ben David:


in short, Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim i.e. he was son of Joseph.
Yes. Everything I have written about Messiah ben Joseph/Ephraim lately has been contingent upon that fact.
But then the modification happens in the same Old Testament, when the Joshua of Zecharia was hailed as ANATOLE.

ANATOLE means also sprout, shoot. The reference to the davidic root is automatic.
Okay, interesting. The Davidic influence was early and strong.
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Re: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:54 am

I have a fair measure of respect for John J. Collins, but arguments like the following kind of drive me batty:

John J. Collins, "Gabriel and David: Some Reflections on an Enigmatic Text," in Hazon Gabriel, New Readings of the Gabriel Revelation, edited by Matthias Henze, page 109: The Messiah son of Joseph is introduced in this talmudic passage (Sukkah 52a) in the context of a discussion of the referent of Zech 12:10 (“they will look on him whom they have pierced”). It is apparent that this figure was well known by talmudic times, but his origin is uncertain. The most plausible explanation remains that the idea of a dying messiah took hold after the defeat of Bar Kokhba, in the second century c.e. In the words of Joseph Heinemann, “we must look for a dramatic, even traumatic event to account for this transfiguration of the legend [i.e., of messianic expectation]; and no other would supply as likely a cause for the creation of the new version as the defeat and death of Bar Kokhba.”

Why must it be the defeat of Simeon bar Kokhba in 135? Why not the fall of Jerusalem in 70? Why not Pompey's siege of Jerusalem and profane entrance into the holy of holies? Why not the martyrdoms under Antiochus Epiphanes? Why not the fall of Judea to Babylon? Why, indeed, does it have to be a currently traumatic event at all, since there are several indications in the Jewish scriptures themselves pointing to a suffering figure who could easily be read as messianic? This kind of "best fit" argument strikes me as a kind of pop psychology performed on dead people. Collins refers to an article by Joseph Heinemann; I have access to it, and will be reading it to see whether there might be more to it all than meets the eye. I have read other summaries of this position, but perhaps those summaries were less charitable than they might have been.
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Re: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:29 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:54 am
Collins refers to an article by Joseph Heinemann
interesting reading. It is implicitly clear the answer to your question, in that article. Differently from the leaders of Zealots working during the first war (or in any other scenario), the hopes of the entire nation had too much compromised themselves with Bar-Kokhba, in the his good and evil fate. During the first war, the hopes were divided between the various leaders, often surprisingly in rivalry among themselves. Simon bar Jora was surprisingly a rival of John of Gamala, for example, despite of their sharing of a common mortal enemy: Rome. Jesus son of Saphat was followed only by some Galileans, not by all the Israelites. With Bar-Kokhba, all the people had bet in the victory, and all the people had lost. They had made square around Bar-Kokhba. The embarrassment was greater than any embarrassment connected to previous defeats.

ADDENDA:
Why, indeed, does it have to be a currently traumatic event at all, since there are several indications in the Jewish scriptures themselves pointing to a suffering figure who could easily be read as messianic?
the answer is in the article.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:10 pm

The article was certainly better than the advertisement made it out to be.

I am still looking through its ancient (mainly rabbinical) sources, but I can already spot a few potential flaws. The connection of Simon bar Kokhba to Ephraim is weak, for example, and at first blush the discussion of the Ephraimite Exodus legend does not appear to do much to salvage it, partly (but not entirely) because of the flimsiness of the "pop psych" method used to date both stages of that legend. As another, even more obvious example, the assumption that the triumphant version of the Messiah ben Ephraim must have preceded the defeated version (which the author presents as obvious) has little to commend it; the Targum pseudo-Jonathan, for example, turns the Suffering Servant in Isaiah into a conquering hero, and it is his enemies who suffer, not he. (This assumption may not, in fact, be wrong in the end; I am not sure; but it is hardly obvious on its face.)

But I have a lot more research to do in this area.
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Re: Messiah ben Joseph & Galilee; Messiah ben David & Judea.

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:34 pm

Akiva ben Joseph. Hint. Hint. I've often wondered if Akiva was more involved than people realised. Akiva is a form of the name Jacob.
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