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Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

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Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby andrewcriddle » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:46 am

I feel like I should apologise for yet another thread on the TF but here goes anyway.

Pseudo-Hegesippus writing about 370 CE is the earliest post-Eusebian witness to Josephus' supposed account of Jesus (the TF).
. They indeed paid the punishments of their crimes, who after they had crucified Jesus the judge of divine matters, afterwards even persecuted his disciples. However a great part of the Jews, and very many of the gentiles believed in him, since they were attracted by his moral precepts, by works beyond human capability flowing forth. For whom not even his death put an end to their faith and gratitude, on the contrary it increased their devotion. And so they brought in murderous bands and conducted the originator of life to Pilatus to be killed, they began to press the reluctant judge. In which however Pilatus is not absolved, but the madness of the Jews is piled up, because he was not obliged to judge, whom not at all guilty he had arrested, nor to double the sacrilege to this murder, that by those he should be killed who had offered himself to redeem and heal them. About which the Jews themselves bear witness, Josephus a writer of histories saying, that there was in that time a wise man, if it is proper however, he said, to call a man the creator of marvelous works, who appeared living to his disciples after three days of his death in accordance with the writings of the prophets, who prophesied both this and innumerable other things full of miracles about him. [p. 164] from which began the community of Christians and penetrated into every tribe of men nor has any nation of the Roman world remained, which was left without worship of him. If the Jews don't believe us, they should believe their own people. Josephus said this, whom they themselves think very great, but it is so that he was in his own self who spoke the truth otherwise in mind, so that he did not believe his own words. But he spoke because of loyalty to history, because he thought it a sin to deceive, he did not believe because of stubbornness of heart and the intention of treachery. He does not however prejudge the truth because he did not believe but he added more to his testimony, because although disbelieving and unwilling he did not refuse.

Rereading this I noted two things:
i/ There is no mention or allusion in the paraphrase of Josephus to the clause about Jesus he was the Christ
ii/ There is a strong emphasis on Josephus being an unbeliever in Christ and hence allegedly a particularly convincing witness. (An early example of the criteria of embarrassment !)
Put together this seems to require that the version of the TF known to pseudo-Hegesippus either omitted he was the Christ entirely or (IMO less likely) had he was the so-called Christ or some variant. If the text of the TF known to the author had read he was the Christ then it is likely that he would have alluded to it and improbable that he would have been so confident that Josephus was an unbeliever reluctantly bearing witness to the truth.

a/ Am I right on the specific point of the text of the TF known to pseudo-Hegesippus ?
b/ If so what implications does this have for the history of the TF ?

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Re: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby Secret Alias » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:09 am

Yes I think it is a reference to the TF. I am not quite sure yet what the implications of this discovery are quite yet. The text is a paraphrase of Josephus which - here and elsewhere - the author makes clear he is not Josephus.
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Re: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby Ken Olson » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:31 am

Andrew Criddle wrote

There is no mention or allusion in the paraphrase of Josephus to the clause about Jesus he was the Christ


You cut off your quotation one sentence too early. The next sentence reads:

In quo Christi Iesu claruit aeterna potentia, quod eum etiam principes synagogae quem ad mortem conprehenderant deum fatebantur.


Which Wade Blocker renders:
In which the eternal power of Jesus Christ shown bright because even the leaders of the synagogue confessed him to be god whom they seized for death.


I would render the deum as "divine" rather than "god."



This may well be a tendentious reading of the Testimonium's:

ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν. Καὶ αὐτον ἐνδείξει τῶν πρώτων ἀνδρῶν παρ’ ἡμῖν σταυρῷ ἐπιτετιμηκότος Πιλάτου

He was the Christ and on the accusation of the principle men among us Pilate condemned him to the cross.


Pseudo-Hegesippus may well have taken "He was the Christ" to be the substance of the accusation brought by the first men as they turned Jesus over to Pilate for execution. He read the text tendentiously to highlight the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders who confessed Jesus' divinity even as they handed him over to Pilate for execution. Pseudo-Hegesippus' work is not a direct translation of Josephus here or elsewhere. it's a tendentious paraphrase with interpretive comment. I think this would be quite in keeping with his method. He has read the statement ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν in his source and he's turned it to his purpose of further incriminating the Jews. Naturally one could reject this interpretation, but then you've got a claim that the text doesn't allude to a known part of the Testimonium and a claim about what the Jewish leaders thought about Jesus coming out of nowhere when it could easily be explained as referring to the known text.
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Re: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby Ben C. Smith » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:20 am

Ken Olson wrote:You cut off your quotation one sentence too early. The next sentence reads:

In quo Christi Iesu claruit aeterna potentia, quod eum etiam principes synagogae quem ad mortem conprehenderant deum fatebantur.


Which Wade Blocker renders:
In which the eternal power of Jesus Christ shown bright because even the leaders of the synagogue confessed him to be god whom they seized for death.


Here is the passage:


De Excidio Ierusalem II.xii
On the Downfall of Jerusalem 2.12
Luebant enim scelerum suorum supplicia, qui postquam Iesum crucifixerant divinorum arbitrum, postea etiam discipulos eius persequebantur. plerique tamen Iudaeorum, gentilium plurimi, crediderunt in eum, cum praeceptis moralibus, operibus ultra humanam possibilitatem profluentibus invitarentur, quibus ne mors quidem eius vel fidei vel gratiae finem imposuit, immo etiam cumulavit devotionem. intulerunt itaque parricidales manus, atque auctorem vitae interficiendum ad Pilatum deduxere. reluctantem coeperunt perurgere iudicem, in quo tamen non excusabatur Pilatus, sed Iudaeorum amentia coacervabatur, quia nec ille adiudicare debuit quem reum minime deprehenderat, nec isti sacrilegium parricidio geminare, ut ab his qui ad redimendos et sanandos eos sese obtulerat obtruncaretur. de quo ipsi Iudaei quoque testantur, dicente Iosepho historiarum scriptore quod fuerat illo in tempore vir sapiens, si tamen oportet, inquit, virum dici mirabilium creatorem operum, qui apparuerit discipulis suis post triduum mortis suae vivens secundum prophetarum scripta, qui et haec et alia innumerabilia de eo plena miraculi prophetaverunt, ex quo coepit congregatio Christianorum et in omne hominum penetravit genus, nec ulla natio Romani orbis remansit quae cultus eius expers relinqueretur. si nobis non credunt Iudaei, vel suis credant. hoc dixit Iosephus, quem ipsi maximum putant, et tamen ita in eo ipso quod verum locutus est mente devius fuit ut nec sermonibus suis crederet. sed locutus est propter historiae fidem, quia fallere nefas putabat; non credidit propter duritiam cordis et perfidiae intentionem. non tamen veritati praeiudicat quia non credidit, sed plus addidit testimonio quia nec incredulus et invitus negavit. in quo Christi Iesu claruit aeterna potentia, quod eum etiam principes synagogae quem ad mortem comprehenderant deum fatebantur.They were suffering, then, the punishments for their crimes, those who, after they had crucified Jesus the arbiter of divine things, afterward also were persecuting his disciples. Nevertheless, many Jews and even more gentiles believed in him, since they were invited by his moral precepts and works flowing beyond human possibility, whose faith and gratitude not even his death put an end to, but rather it mounted up their devotion all the more. And so they bore in murderous bands, and they led the author of life to Pilate to be killed. They began to press upon the reluctant judge, in which, however, Pilate is not excused, but the madness of the Jews is piled up, because he was obliged neither to judge him whom he had apprehended, though not guilty, nor to increase the sacrilege to this murder, that he who had offered himself to redeem and heal them should be killed by them. Of which the Jews themselves testify, since Josephus the writer of histories says that there was at that time a wise man, if it be appropriate, he says, to call the creator of miraculous works a man, who appeared living to his disciples three days after his death according to writings of the prophets, who prophesied both these and innumerable other things full of miracles concerning him, from whom the congregation of the Christians began and penetrated every race of men. nor does any nation of the Roman orb remain that is left without his cult. If the Jews do not believe us, they might believe their own. Josephus, whom they themselves regard as very great, said this, and nevertheless was so devious in mind with respect to him about whom he spoke the truth that he did not even believe his own speech. But he spoke on account of faithfulness to history, because he regarded it as wrong to deceive; he did not believe on account of his hardness of heart and perfidious intention. Nevertheless it does not prejudice truth that he did not believe, but rather it adds to the testimony because, though unbelieving and unwilling, he did not deny it. In this the eternal power of Christ Jesus shone forth, that even the principal men of the synagogue confessed him whom they had apprehended unto death to be God.

Ken, why do you think pseudo-Hegesippus postpones the parallel to this phrase alone ("he was the Christ") until after the official quotation/paraphrase has ended and been attributed to Josephus?

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Re: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby Ken Olson » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:36 am

Ben,

It's hard to be sure, but I would tend to take it as a climactic statement about Jewish perfidy. Even the ones who killed him confessed his divinity. Also, I would caution against referring to any part of this passage as a quotation or being definite about where paraphrase of Josephus ends and interpretation begins. The second and third sentences you quote above, before Josephus is explicitly introduced, seem to me to be interpretive paraphrases (or periphrastic interpretations?) of the Testimonium as well. I think the whole thing is a sort of discussion of the Testimonium from a tendentious Christian and anti-Jewish perspective.
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Re: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby Secret Alias » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:45 am

That answer is not convincing.
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Re: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby Peter Kirby » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:06 pm

Thanks for contributing to the thread, Ken. It's a treat to have your insight on the subject.

I find nothing wrong with the reply, Stephan, given that a speculative question begs for a speculative answer. The tactic of pressing for an answer that begs for speculation and then deploring that speculation is an astoundingly common informal fallacy. We could ask any number of questions of any hypothesis in history that require speculative answers if there are to be any answers of them. It doesn't speak to the likelihood of the hypothesis (that such answers are speculative). It would be relevant if there were no plausible answer to such a question, but that's a much stronger claim (which doesn't seem sustainable).

In addition, people pick up on (more or less random) details and pursue them as requiring "explanation" on no objective basis whatsoever (as in this case). It would be nice to demand that the detail be demonstrated to be in some sense an "anomaly" first (or at least unusual), but rarely does anyone bother.
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Re: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby andrewcriddle » Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:17 am

Ken Olson wrote:Andrew Criddle wrote

There is no mention or allusion in the paraphrase of Josephus to the clause about Jesus he was the Christ


You cut off your quotation one sentence too early. The next sentence reads:

In quo Christi Iesu claruit aeterna potentia, quod eum etiam principes synagogae quem ad mortem conprehenderant deum fatebantur.


Which Wade Blocker renders:
In which the eternal power of Jesus Christ shown bright because even the leaders of the synagogue confessed him to be god whom they seized for death.


I would render the deum as "divine" rather than "god."



This may well be a tendentious reading of the Testimonium's:

ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν. Καὶ αὐτον ἐνδείξει τῶν πρώτων ἀνδρῶν παρ’ ἡμῖν σταυρῷ ἐπιτετιμηκότος Πιλάτου

He was the Christ and on the accusation of the principle men among us Pilate condemned him to the cross.


Pseudo-Hegesippus may well have taken "He was the Christ" to be the substance of the accusation brought by the first men as they turned Jesus over to Pilate for execution. He read the text tendentiously to highlight the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders who confessed Jesus' divinity even as they handed him over to Pilate for execution. Pseudo-Hegesippus' work is not a direct translation of Josephus here or elsewhere. it's a tendentious paraphrase with interpretive comment. I think this would be quite in keeping with his method. He has read the statement ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν in his source and he's turned it to his purpose of further incriminating the Jews. Naturally one could reject this interpretation, but then you've got a claim that the text doesn't allude to a known part of the Testimonium and a claim about what the Jewish leaders thought about Jesus coming out of nowhere when it could easily be explained as referring to the known text.

Hi Ken

Thanks for this.

I have a few comments:
i/ This seems to require pseudo-Hegesippus to treat 'he was the Christ' as being on the one hand a claim to earthly kingship, and as such the basis of the charge brought before Pilate, and on the other hand a claim to divinity in the later Christian meaning of Christ. If so, then he is being very tendentious. I don't think he could honestly interpret Josephus as claiming that Jesus was charged before Pilate with being (or claiming to be) divine.
ii/ Pseudo-Hegesippus is writing for a (latin speaking) readership who have no previous knowledge of the TF. If he meant his readers to understand that the Jewish leaders recognised the divinity of Jesus by accusing him before Pilate of being Christ then he has expressed himself very badly.
iii/ The paraphrase of Josephus as we have it if it be appropriate, he says, to call the creator of miraculous works a man, who appeared living to his disciples three days after his death according to writings of the prophets, seems to provide a plausible basis for a reluctant admission of divinity.

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Re: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby Ken Olson » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:02 am

Andew Criddle wrote:

Hi Ken

Thanks for this.

I have a few comments:
i/ This seems to require pseudo-Hegesippus to treat 'he was the Christ' as being on the one hand a claim to earthly kingship, and as such the basis of the charge brought before Pilate, and on the other hand a claim to divinity in the later Christian meaning of Christ.

If so, then he is being very tendentious. I don't think he could honestly interpret Josephus as claiming that Jesus was charged before Pilate with being (or claiming to be) divine.

ii/ Pseudo-Hegesippus is writing for a (latin speaking) readership who have no previous knowledge of the TF. If he meant his readers to understand that the Jewish leaders recognised the divinity of Jesus by accusing him before Pilate of being Christ then he has expressed himself very badly.
iii/ The paraphrase of Josephus as we have it if it be appropriate, he says, to call the creator of miraculous works a man, who appeared living to his disciples three days after his death according to writings of the prophets, seems to provide a plausible basis for a reluctant admission of divinity.

Andrew Criddle


Andrew,

Thanks. A few comments on your comments:

i/ You seem to be suggesting that we should assume that Christians generally distinguished between the sense of Christ as King of the Jews and the “later Christian” (later than what?) sense of Christ as the divinity worshipped by Christians and also that Pseudo-Hegesippus was concerned with the relating the actual historical reason that Pilate put Jesus to death (i.e., for claiming to be king). I don’t think either of these things is correct and don’t think they can be assumed. In specific cases, Christians might distinguish the more limited sense of Christ as the anointed King of the Jews from the larger sense, but they generally didn’t. And in this passage Pseudo-Hegesippus is arguing not just that the Jews who handed Jesus over for execution knew he was divine, but that God punished them for it (2.12.1). He’s not concerned with giving a plausible account of the historical circumstances, he’s giving a tendentious theological account of history.

It seems very odd to me that anyone would want to suggest that Pseudo-Hegesippus is not very tendentious in his use of Josephus or that he’s trying to interpret Josephus honestly in the Excidio. Those options are not on the table.

Consider the following passage from Pseudo-Hegesippus::

And because it has been proposed by us to reveal the causes, by which the people of the Jews defected from the Roman empire and hastened destruction for themselves, the event indicates that Pilatus the governor of the province gave the beginning of its ruin, seeing that first of all he did [not] hesitate to bring into the Jerusalem temples the images of Caesar. When the people disturbed by this resisted and he decreed the images had to be received, he forced many into death. (Excidio 2.3).


In Josephus’ account (Ant. 18.55-59//BJ 2.169-174), Pilate brings the images into Jerusalem, but not into the temple. And when the Jews show their willingness to be killed rather than allow this transgression of the law, Pilate relents and removes the images from the city and no one is killed. It seems that Pseudo-Hegesippus is a very tendentious interpreter of Josephus, not an honest one. Or does he have a source other than Josephus here?

ii/ Again, an odd argument. Pseudo-Hegesippus is concerned with highlighting Jewish hypocrisy (or perversity or obstinacy) by telling his readers that even the Jews who had Jesus put to death confessed his divinity. I don’t see why you assume he would therefore also be concerned with explaining to them the method by which he derived that from Josephus' statement. He doesn’t bother to explain the thought process by which he derived his particular account of Pilate bringing the images into Jerusalem from what Josephus actually wrote.

iii/ Yes, I think the most plausible reading of those elements of the Testimonium is to take their author to be suggesting Jesus’ divinity. I read them that way myself, though I don’t think there’s anything reluctant about them. But what we’re trying to explain here is why Pseudo-Hegesippus writes that the Jewish leaders who dragged Jesus to his death confessed his divinity, and those elements are a very poor explanation of that. The only part of the Testimonium that can plausibly be understood as referring to those Jewish leaders is the “principle men among us” who accused Jesus to Pilate, and the only indication in the text of what they might have thought about Jesus would be in the accusation they made against him.

Best,

Ken
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Re: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF

Postby Ken Olson » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:08 am

In this long-dormant thread I had previously posted:

Consider the following passage from Pseudo-Hegesippus::

And because it has been proposed by us to reveal the causes, by which the people of the Jews defected from the Roman empire and hastened destruction for themselves, the event indicates that Pilatus the governor of the province gave the beginning of its ruin, seeing that first of all he did [not] hesitate to bring into the Jerusalem temples the images of Caesar. When the people disturbed by this resisted and he decreed the images had to be received, he forced many into death. (Excidio 2.3).



In Josephus’ account (Ant. 18.55-59//BJ 2.169-174), Pilate brings the images into Jerusalem, but not into the temple. And when the Jews show their willingness to be killed rather than allow this transgression of the law, Pilate relents and removes the images from the city and no one is killed. It seems that Pseudo-Hegesippus is a very tendentious interpreter of Josephus, not an honest one. Or does he have a source other than Josephus here?


I closed with a leading question about whether Pseudo-Hegesippus had another source here, which I think he does. Three things that are not in Josephus' accounts in Ant. 18.55-59//BJ 2.169-174: (1) that Pilate brought the images into the temple itself, (2) that the incident went badly for the Jews, and (3) that this incident was the beginning of the ruin of Judea and the Jewish people could all be derived easily from the works of Eusebius of Caesarea.

In Demonstratio Evangelica 8.2, Eusebius writes:

And the same writer [Josephus] writes elsewhere: Pilate the governor (meaning the same Pilate of our Saviour's time) brought the images of Caesar into the temple by night, which was unlawful, and caused a great outburst of tumult and disorder among the Jews. (Ferrar trans. 2.138)


And in Ecclesiastical History 2.6.3-8, Eusebius gives Josephus' account of Pilate and the images, cutting off the ending containing the peaceful resolution, and follows it with his account of Pilate's use of money from the sacred treasury incident, in which many Jews *were* killed, and comments:

The same writer shows that besides this innumerable of other revolts were started in Jerusalem itself, affirming that from that time risings and war and mutual contrivance of evil never ceased in the city and throughout Judea until the time when the siege under Vespasian came upon them as the last scene of all. Thus the penalty of God pursued the Jews for their crimes against Christ. [HE 2.6.8]


Now it seems to me that the most reasonable interpretation of this evidence is that Pseudo-Hegesippus is guided in his reading of Josephus by knowledge of Eusebius' works. Globally, Pseudo-Hegesippus' decision to write a Christian history using Josephus as a source to prove the thesis that the disasters that befell the Jews in the war were God's punishment for what they had done to Christ and his disciples already shows the influence of Eusebius who had done this 45 years earlier in the Ecclesiastical History (see now Richard Pollard, "The De Excidio of 'Hegesippus' and the Reception of Josephus," Viator 46.2 (2015) 65-100 at 76-77 also available on his Academia.edu page https://uqam.academia.edu/RichardPollard ).
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