Ben C. Smith wrote:
Peter Kirby wrote:By itself, this only shows that Eusebius is capable of quoting Josephus without manuscript support (with high probability, anyway). It leaves open the possibility that Eusebius found this Testimonium somewhere else and thought it something Josephus said or would likely say (or that, like other quotes, it had already "landed"). It is primarily (but not exclusively) the work of Ken Olson that supports the opinion, to the contrary, that the text was more likely composed by Eusebius. And this other example supports the likelihood that Eusebius could quote it with or without first having it in a manuscript.
What I would love to see is a reasoned argument in favor of Eusebius having composed something himself while attributing it to somebody else. The example you cite is exactly the sort of thing which proves that Eusebius is capable of trusting other people's references either without checking them for himself or without daring to ask. Is there a similar example which would seem to prove that Eusebius is capable of making something up from scratch without relying on an Origen, as it were?
In his chapter of Eusebius of Caesarea: Tradition and Innovations
, Ken Olson mentions Life of Constantine
2.5.3–41 as a possibility, of which he writes:
Modern scholars have long been skeptical about Licinius’ speech as recorded by Eusebius. Some defended Eusebius by claiming that he merely reports in good faith what his sources told him. In recent scholarship, however, there seems to be a tendency among commentators to ascribe the composition of Licinius’ speech to Eusebius himself.
But this is hardly a smoking gun, is it? This is a trend in scholarship, is it not? Olson continues:
If Cameron and Hall are correct, Eusebius apparently provided his own allegedly outside witness to the truth of Christianity.
That "if" is the catch here, since if the protasis is in
correct then Eusebius did once again as we can find him usually doing, quoting texts which, when and where we are able to check, do actually exist apart from Eusebius (works by the NT authors, the apostolic fathers, Josephus, Justin, Irenaeus, Clement, Origen, Abgar... the list goes on and on). So... is there a more ironclad example, one of equal weight to the example which demonstrates that Eusebius can misquote through a forebear in the faith?
(Note that this question is quite independent of whether the Testimonium is a forgery; it can still be a forgery without Eusebius having authored it.)
Good question, but I'm not sure
Eusebius did it more than once, let alone that we can prove it. I tend to agree that he's rather observant of sources (this should be a doctoral dissertation or two - who's done this work?), so this may be his terrible sin. Perhaps there are other peccadillos, but I don't know
offhand what they are. I'd assume, generally, that where the offense is real, so is the motive. So you'd have to ask where else Eusebius had good motive, if you wanted to pursue this further. (Perhaps regarding Origen himself, under attack at the time? Perhaps, but I don't know.)
In which case, you are right that the parallel example available is less valuable than a full parallel
, but that's the trouble with parallels in general. The discussion always seems capable of moving to the discussion of difference. In this case, I think it is
a distinction that makes a difference. But I'll still let it stand as reason to credit, generally, that Eusebius might have quoted or invented the passage on Jesus without having it in the text of Josephus
before him. (Even though the parallel is only exact for the "quoted.")
What I would love to see is a reasoned argument in favor of Eusebius having composed something himself while attributing it to somebody else.
Unfortunately, the best such example that could be shown (with some real level of evidence) would, I guess, be
the Testimonium. Other arguments would likely be weaker, unless there is something I don't know about, which is also quite possible -- and I'd also like to see it.
Whether those arguments on Eusebius and the TF "move the needle" for anyone, personally, is another question...
If someone thinks it stronger instead to propose a third or early fourth century creator of the TF that duped Eusebius, a likely culprit would be a list of extracts. This would preserve the argument about the confusion regarding where Jesus appears in Josephus (perhaps because it came next in the list).
I have a page on the (admittedly, later) examples but the practice in general is certainly ancient:
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown