John of Gischala and Simon bar Giora both victims of a Reductio ad Samaritanos

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John of Gischala and Simon bar Giora both victims of a Reductio ad Samaritanos

Post by Giuseppe »

I share this my thought addressed to Greg Doudna, since I consider it very intriguing and may interest even you, dear reader:

Thank you, Greg. I see that you also identify the Acts's Apollos with Paul, hence raising the case of a Paul who, before his "conversion" to Christianity, was someway connected with "the baptism of John". I think that John is the distorted memory of the Samaritan false prophet killed by Pilate (identified with Dositheus by Etienne Nodet, and with Theudas by Georges Ory and Lena Einhorn) while you think that John the Baptist is the essene Teacher of Righteousness, transposed under Pilate by a chronological error of Josephus. We agree both that the Josephian John was used as decisive chronological marker for the Gospel Jesus: "no John, no Pilate".

Could Paul/Apollos be the author of the artificial connection between John and Jesus? Isn't that what the author of Acts 18 is going to describe, someway, possibly without even knowing it (differently from his source)?

What is also intriguing is your suggestion that the Josephian John, whoever he was, was used to eclipse the disturbing and rival memory of a different John: John of Gischala. But so also the menory of a Samaritan Simon Magus was used to eclipse the disturbing and rival memory of a different Simon: Simon bar Giora. It seems that part and parcel of this deliberate eclipse of anti-pauline figures from 70 CE was their "reductio ad Samaritanos", i.e. they were reduced respectively:
  • 1) John of Gischala, to the Samaritan Dositheus/Theudas/"John the Baptist"/the Samaritan false prophet killed by Pilate,
  • 2) Simon bar Giora, to the Samaritan Simon Magus.
What now appears to me as hardly a mere coincidence, is that the political rivalry between John of Gischala and Simon bar Giora was in turn transposed under Pilate and also "samaritanized": "Dositheus" was said to be gradually dethronized by "Simon Magus" (cfr. the Pseudo-Clementines). Isn't this legend the transposition, in mere Christian propaganda, of the John of Gischala's historical reluctance to share his power in Jerusalem with the rival faction led by Simon bar Giorah? Simon Magus reduced greatly the power of Dositheus, just as Simon bar Giorah reduced greatly the area of influence of John of Gischala in Jerusalem.

It seems that this transformation of two leader figures from 70 CE in two Samaritan Impostors from 30 CE (one of which, if Nodet is correct, was known as Dositheus) was partially derived by the memory of the Samaritan notoriety/activity of (at least) Simon bar Giorah, but also by the Pauline-Christian denigration of rival figures as mere Samaritan figures.

Best prosecution,

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