Josephus provided a model for the first testament

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MrMacSon
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Josephus provided a model for the first testament

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Against Apion 1:1

I suppose that my books of the Antiquity of the Jews, most excellent Epaphroditus, have made it evident to those who peruse them, that our Jewish nation is of very great antiquity, and had a distinct subsistence of its own originally; I have therein declared how we came to inhabit this country wherein we now live. Those Antiquities contain the history of five thousand years, and are taken out of our sacred books, but are translated by me into the Greek tongue ...


Against Apion 1:8

For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another [as the Greeks have], but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life.

It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them.

For it is no new thing for our captives, many of them in number, and frequently in time, to be seen to endure racks and deaths of all kinds upon the theatres, that they may not be obliged to say one word against our laws and the records that contain them; whereas there are none at all among the Greeks who would undergo the least harm on that account, no, nor in case all the writings that are among them were to be destroyed; for they take them to be such discourses as are framed agreeably to the inclinations of those that write them; and they have justly the same opinion of the ancient writers, since they see some of the present generation bold enough to write about such affairs, wherein they were not present, nor had concern enough to inform themselves about them from those that knew them; examples of which may be had in this late war of ours, where some persons have written histories, and published them, without having been in the places concerned, or having been near them when the actions were done; but these men put a few things together by hearsay, and insolently abuse the world, and call these writings by the name of Histories.

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Re: Josephus provided a model for the first testament

Post by Stuart »

MrMacSon wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:10 am
Against Apion 1:8

... since they see some of the present generation bold enough to write about such affairs, wherein they were not present, nor had concern enough to inform themselves about them from those that knew them; examples of which may be had in this late war of ours, where some persons have written histories, and published them, without having been in the places concerned, or having been near them when the actions were done; but these men put a few things together by hearsay, and insolently abuse the world, and call these writings by the name of Histories.

Not much has changed in two thousand years
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Re: Josephus provided a model for the first testament

Post by mlinssen »

MrMacSon wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:10 am
Against Apion 1:8

... since they see some of the present generation bold enough to write about such affairs, wherein they were not present, nor had concern enough to inform themselves about them from those that knew them; examples of which may be had in this late war of ours, where some persons have written histories, and published them, without having been in the places concerned, or having been near them when the actions were done; but these men put a few things together by hearsay, and insolently abuse the world, and call these writings by the name of New Testament

:popcorn:
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Re: Josephus provided a model for the first testament

Post by Stuart »

LOL mlinssen, that's not what he's saying, but nice word swap.

It's pretty doubtful the term "new testament" with regards to Christian Judaism (or whatever it was at that point) existed before the second quarter of the 2nd century ... unless you are suggesting something about Josephus' writings actually being half a century or so later than they are.
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Re: Josephus provided a model for the first testament

Post by MrMacSon »

Stuart wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:23 pm LOL mlinssen, that's not what he's saying, but nice word swap.
I think the commentary in that excerpt could very well apply to the authors of the texts included in the New Testament. Martijn's only 'mistake' was to leave in the title, Against Apion. So -
mlinssen wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:25 am
... the present generation bold enough to write about such affairs, wherein they were not present, nor had concern enough to inform themselves about them ... some persons have written histories, and published them, without having been in the places concerned, or having been near them when the actions were done; but these men put a few things together by hearsay ... and call these writings by the name of New Testament

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Re: Josephus provided a model for the first testament

Post by mlinssen »

I have scanned against Apion a good while ago, and felt that I was reading something really very important.
Went the hell would great grand Josephus bother with some Egyptian saying unpleasant things about his beloved pedestal?

I'll read it again but am very glad that it is up here now. And of course I was merely joking even though I laughed hard myself when I had played the prank, but then again I usually am the one who laughs hardest about my jokes

Just kidding! Not.
There is a grain of truth in everything. Apparently, to Josephus, this is a credible and plausible accusation
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Re: Josephus provided a model for the first testament

Post by mlinssen »

Stuart wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:23 pm LOL mlinssen, that's not what he's saying, but nice word swap.

It's pretty doubtful the term "new testament" with regards to Christian Judaism (or whatever it was at that point) existed before the second quarter of the 2nd century ... unless you are suggesting something about Josephus' writings actually being half a century or so later than they are.
Everything, all that we are going on in this whole business of getting to prove that the false Lies of the false religion of the false Churchianity are all exactly that: fiction, fabrication, falsification - everything is at best backed up by Josephus alone

Could there be a credible Christianity existing in the first half of the first century CE if the Temple hadn't been allegedly destroyed in 70 CE?
NO

I don't know about his writings Stuart, but isn't it marvelous that a great Roman would write about a few peasants in some backwards country whose only significant accomplishment it is to continuously get their asses kicked by all their neighbours.
Look at the cowardly history of Judea: whenever did they invade their neighbouring countries? Never. They were invaded time and time again, and only managed half a century of semi independence when the Hasmonean rule disintegrated, and even then they didn't achieve more than the regions of Samaria, Galilee, Iturea, Perea, and Idumea.

It would be like you writing a 100-pager on a booger, Stuart
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Re: Josephus provided a model for the first testament

Post by mlinssen »

Steve Mason, a History of the Jewish War:

There used to be a monumental arch in Rome’s greatest entertainment facility, the Circus Maximus, southwest of the Palatine Hill and Forum. If a ninth-century visitor copied it accurately, it honoured the emperor Titus (ruled A.D. 79–81) in the following terms: The Roman Senate and People: for the Imperator Titus Caesar Vespasian Augustus, son of the Deified Vespasian, Pontifex Maximus, with tribunicia potestas for the tenth time, imperator for the seventeenth,Consul for the eighth, pater patriae, their princeps, Because on the advice and counsel of his father, and under his auspices, he subdued the nation of the Judaeans (gentem Iudaeorum domuit).
The city of Jerusalem, either attacked in futility or left entirely untried by all the leaders, kings, or nations before him, he destroyed (urbem Hierusolymam … delevit).3 Every informed person knew that the last lines were nonsense. To speak only of Roman conquerors: Pompey the Great besieged and occupied Jerusalem in 63 B.C. A generation later (37 B.C.) Gaius Sosius, Syria’s governor under Marc Antony, repeated the exercise to remove Jerusalem from the Parthian sphere and install King Herod. Both generals received triumphal processions, memorialized on a marble record in the Roman Forum, fragments of which survive.4
Pompey’s abundant coins featured Judaea’s submission alongside that of other nations in Syria, and Antony’s coins proudly co-opted Sosius’ victory.5 Those were only the Roman conquerors. Half a millennium earlier, the neo-Babylonian NebuchadnezNebuchadnezzar had destroyed Jerusalem, and between 586 and 63 B.C. Jerusalem had passed to Persian, Ptolemaic, and Seleucid imperial powers before Rome’s. Titus was very far, then, from being Jerusalem’s first conqueror. Yet he was still being feted as such in the 90s: “He will bring an end to wars with the fierce people of Palestine!” (Silius Italicus 605–606).
Overdone rhetoric was hardly rare when it came to emperors’ achievements. A lost arch created for Claudius boasted of his British campaign (A.D. 43): “[H]e first brought the barbarian peoples across the Ocean under the authority [or sway, indicio] of the Roman people.”6 Writing just before that triumph, Pomponius Mela professed joy at finally being able to describe Britain accurately: “Look: the greatest of emperors is opening up what for so long lay closed, the conqueror of nations that were previously not only ungovernable but indeed were unknown!”7 But Britain’s tribes had been clients of Rome for decades before Claudius,8 and Pomponius’ accuracy was not noticeably improved by Claudius’ invasion. Then again, Silius Italicus flatters Vespasian as the first to open up “unknown” areas of Britain (3.597–98), while Tacitus claims that his father-in-law was the first to subdue Britain properly (Agr. 10).
The model emperor Augustus had set the pace for such exaggerated claims to primacy: “The Pannonian peoples, whom before I was first citizen the army of the Roman had people never approached, were conquered …” (RG 30).9 People cannot remember everything, and Rome’s residents were accustomed to giving rhetoric a wide berth. It is not shocking that the Senate of the 70s would invite the populace to imagine Titus’ Jerusalem victory as unprecedented. It only hurt if one thought about it.
In the absence of modern-style media, Rome’s leaders had three principal means for advertising their achievements:10 a magnificent procession for the home constituency (senators and people); the construction of public monuments, arches, statues, temples, and public facilities, ostensibly funded from the new wealth generated by the foreign conquest; and an empire-wide distribution of coins. Literary propaganda was also possible, but lengthy historical narratives were not well suited to that task, being open to varied and uncontrollable interpretations and risking mischief on the part of clever authors or audiences.11 For the simple points that needed making, spectacles of overwhelming impact, along with images and brief statements on stone and coin-metal, were most reliable.12 Even before Jerusalem’s fall, the Flavians and their supporters began exploiting all three media. Monuments and celebratory coinage they took to with an energy matching that of predecessors who had actually conquered large new territories. Building and minting coins required no evidence from the conquered territory. These were zones of free creativity; the Flavians could craft any imagery that suited them. Only the triumph, in principle, required material from the conquered territory.

(...)

[
Roman tradition was clear about what constituted a proper war (bellum iustum). A special college of priests, the fetiales, had the principal task of making treaties and declarations of war, both of which were possible only with foreign peoples not already part of Rome’s empire.23 In spite of Josephus’ incidental remark that Vespasian landed in Syria when “war had been declared” (War 7.46), it seems impossible to imagine this fetial process having been conducted in the case of Judaea, which had been part of Roman Syria since Pompey’s famed conquests.24 Scholars’ efforts to find a loophole for the Flavians by suggesting that Judaea had become effectively independent, and the Flavians “had reconquered a small rebellious province,”25 founder on the definition of Judaea. If there had been a province of Judaea before the Flavians, its capital would have been coastal Caesarea, and it would have included Samaria, western Galilee, and some of the coastal plain. During the Flavian conflict, however, those regions remained steadfastly loyal. The Judaea in question, evidently, was the ethnic hinterland of Jerusalem and not a formal province (Chapter 4). On any account the Flavians were engaged in political malarkey. But malarkey was the order of the day in political life. How much has changed in that respect, readers may decide. Many questions about Roman triumphs remain uncertain, and no ancient guide survives. The processions we hear about are described in vague and contradictory ways, usually by writers remote from the events.26 If we assumed a coherent system, we might well ask: What did someone do to earn a triumph? But evidence from the Republic shows that senators debated the merits of each case, sometimes denying a triumph even to a great conqueror because of political conditions, or changing their minds, or forcing the man to choose between a triumph and a consulship, or offering a compromise that fell short of a full triumph.27 The criteria that some scholars have proposed are merely cobbled together from those debates over particular cases, but already in the Republic it is easy to find exceptions to any imagined rules.28 Even the eminent Cicero could not contrive a triumph for himself.29 Under the Empire, autocratic rulers basically did as they pleased, although to be sure they must have weighed considerations of prestige, seemliness, and political need ‒ or what they could get away with ‒ in consultation with advisors.

(...)

[
If doubt remains about the fabricated nature of the triumph as Josephus presents it, the “large number of ships” should settle the matter (7.147). Pompey and Augustus had won great naval battles, but landlocked Judaea was not suited for that kind of thing. Vespasian would nevertheless produce coins featuring Victory on the prow of a ship, with the legend Victoria Navalis. Assuming that the triumph’s producers had some sense of reality, scholars have imagined that these coin motifs must allude to Vespasian’s control of the sea lanes from Alexandria, which cut off Vitellius’ supplies.93 But that would not easily explain ships in the triumph against the foreign enemy in Judaea, and we should prefer to explain similar evidence in the same way if we can.94 The small frieze on the arch beneath the architrave depicts a river-god image, seeming to confirm that the Flavians made an issue of naval victory in the Judaean War itself.95

Just a few bits of the first chapter, but the picture sketched is one of Josephus contradicting his own contradictions whenever it suits him, seemingly unaware of the gross exaggerations narrated by himself at an earlier point

There is little doubt that Josephus made Judea appear a thousand times "bigger and badder" than it was in reality, and his entire description of the triumphal parade shows the complete absence of anything - anything, really - Judean
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Re: Josephus provided a model for the first testament

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One last then:

The Flavians would perhaps not have been pleased that the modern surveys Warfare in the Classical World and The Great Battles of Antiquity do not include Judaea. The former gives it four sentences under “armed insurrections,”163 while the latter does not mention it at all.164 These modern historians are right, however. Notwithstanding the tens of thousands of soldiers involved, and the historic destruction of a great city, this was not a real war but a revolt within a well-established province that was, unsurprisingly, suppressed. Josephus had his own literary reasons for describing the conflict as “the greatest war ever joined, not only of those in our times, but almost the greatest even of those about which we have received report” (War 1.1). Incompetent writers in Rome who had taken triumphal propaganda too seriously and lacked the political nous of the leaders were propagating nonsense in shoddily obsequious accounts (1.1–8). Josephus, who wrote to put them right, could have had no idea that his effort would turn out to be the decisive link between that temporary Flavian exuberance and a much more enduring Christian exploitation of Jerusalem’s fall.

Last edited by mlinssen on Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Josephus provided a model for the first testament

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mlinssen wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:35 pm One last then:

The Flavians would perhaps not have been pleased that the modern surveys Warfare in the Classical World and The Great Battles of Antiquity do not include Judaea. The former gives it four sentences under “armed insurrections,”163 while the latter does not mention it at all.164 These modern historians are right, however. Notwithstanding the tens of thousands of soldiers involved, and the historic destruction of a great city, this was not a real war but a revolt within a well-established province that was, unsurprisingly, suppressed. Josephus had his own literary reasons for describing the conflict as “the greatest war ever joined, not only of those in our times, but almost the greatest even of those about which we have received report” (War 1.1). Incompetent writers in Rome who had taken triumphal propaganda too seriously and lacked the political nous of the leaders were propagating nonsense in shoddily obsequious accounts (1.1–8). Josephus, who wrote to put them right, could have had no idea that his effort would turn out to be the decisive link between that temporary Flavian exuberance and a much more enduring Christian exploitation of Jerusalem’s fall.

BTW - not sure why, but the cyan background is kinda tiring to read, despite having reasonable contrast.
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