Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 14499
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Secret Alias »

https://www.tertullian.org/fathers/hege ... eintro.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudo-Hegesippus

"There are only five books, the first four corresponding to the first four of Josephus' War, but the fifth combines the fifth, sixth and seventh books of War. In addition, the author inserts some passages from Josephus' Antiquities, as well as some Latin authors."
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 14499
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Secret Alias »

That's why Andrew is invaluable. He will find the flaw in an argument.
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2239
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by andrewcriddle »

Paul the Uncertain wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 9:23 am
andrewcriddle wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 8:42 am
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. 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
In the late 4th century work pseudo-hegesippus contains passage which you suggest are commentary by Eusebius. It seems unlikely that an original hypothetical Josephan core would have been quoted in a form influenced by Eusebius that early.

Andrew CRIDDLE
Greetings, Andrew. Thank you for your reply.

I missed the place in DEH where pseudo-Hegesippus represented themselves to be quoting from Antiquities. Could you help me out with a citation to that claim? Thanks.

Also, when you say unlikely, it is always helpful to specify "compared with what?"

For example, in your view, is the availablility of Eusebius's composition two generations after his death more or less likely than Josephus having taught the resurrection of Jesus and that the resurrection of Jesus was foretold by the prophets?
My initial post gave the link it's https://www.tertullian.org/fathers/hege ... _book2.htm
pseudo-Hegesippus clearly knew Antiquities in the original
With him ruling the notorious mockery of Paulina a woman of the most respectable type was made well known at Rome. Who although she had an excellent reputation for chastity, was moreover of outstanding beauty and eminent loveliness, neither tempted nor affected by the appeals of Mundus the leader of the equestrian forces, from the fault of too much superstition she was open to error, for instance by the bribed priests of Isis who as if Anubis conveyed orders to her, which invited her to the temple, himself delighted by her earnestness and modesty to request a night, he had what he wished to impart to her in private. Accepting which gladly she reported to her husband, the god was attentive to her prayers, her presence was demanded by the god, she was not able to refuse obedience. And so in accordance with her and her husband's decision she proceeds to the temple of Isis, and witnesses having been removed to a distance as if about to receive knowledge of the sacred mystery she arranged herself on her couch, thinking that her god would come to her in her dreams and show himself to her in a vision. However when something of the night had passed, by which a woman full of sleep might be more easily deceived, Mundus the mask and dress of Anubis having been assumed comes to her, he removes his garments, rushes into kisses. He says to the awakened woman that he is Anubis, he holds forth the mask of Anubis. She believes him the god, she asserts herself happy because the lord her god deemed her worthy to visit. [p. 138] She does not refuse the embrace of him seeking it, she puts the question however whether a god was able to unite to a human. He offered the examples that Alcmena had accepted Jupiter the greatest of the gods and that Leda had been gained in the sexual embrace of the same, and many others, who gave birth to gods. He persuades the woman about himself and also that a god would be borne by her, that they should mingle in intercourse. She returns to her husband quite happy, saying that she a woman had had intercourse with a god and according to his promise she would give birth to a god. The joy of the husband in the illicit intercourse of his wife is great. Afterwards Mundus met the woman and said: "You have been blessed, Paulina, by the embrace of a god, the great god Anubis, whose mysteries you accepted. But learn that you just like to gods have not denied to men, to whom they bestow what you would refuse, because they refused not to give your charms to us nor names. Behold the god Anubis called Mundus also to his sacred rites so that he should be united to you. What did your stubborness profit you, except that it deprived you of the twenty thousands which I had offered as payment. I mimicked the kind gods, who give us without price what cannot be obtained from you at great price. But if human names give offense to you, it pleases me to be called Anubis and the influence of his name supported the performance." Stricken by this speech the woman understood she had been made sport of and grieving the injury to her modesty she declared the trickery to her husband. He having nothing which he should hold against his wife, to whom he had himself allowed the opportunity of sleeping in the temple, and conscious of her conjugal chastity took the grievance to the leader. Who provoked by the abuse of a powerful man and the fabrication of this heinous crime seized the priests from the temple, subjects them to questioning, [p. 139] puts them to death when they confessed, and sinks the statue of Isis in the Tiber. The opportunity of fleeing was granted to Mundus, for the reason that overcome by the force of love and the grace of beauty it was judged that he should punished by a lighter penalty for his offenses.
.
I agree that the version of the TF known to pseudo-Hegesippus is unlikely to go back to Josephus. What I was suggesting is that it is probably not based on Eusebius. (There are other alternatives). pseudo-Hegesippus knew the Antiquities, there is no unambiguous evidence he knew Eusebius. (He was a Latin writer writing before the Ecclesiastical History was translated into Latin.) It is IMO unlikely that he would use Eusebius as a source for Antiquities and ignore his own copy, or that hiw own copy had been influenced by Eusebius.

Andrew Criddle
Paul the Uncertain
Posts: 603
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:25 am
Contact:

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Paul the Uncertain »

Thank you for getting back to me. Andrew.

I do not dispute that pseudo-Hegesippus knew the Antiquities, and presumably you do not dispute that they don't always quote from it as the many marked differences between the two versions of "Paulina and Mundus" eloquently illustrate. I also trust we both agree with the other poster's friendly reminder that DEH is not and does not claim to be a translation of the Antiquities but only includes some shared passages.

Moving on then, I am uncertain about the relevance of the whole Antiquities not being available in Latin at the time in question. The topic passage, the familiar Flavian Testimony, was reasonably closely translated into Latin by Jerome in 392 or 393 (Illustrious Men 13).

That dating is not obviously too late for its use by an anonymous author of around that time, someone whose own reading knowledge of Greek or lack of it is uncertain. Further, in light of Illustrious Men 81, I trust we need not debate whether Jerome may have known some works of Eusebius within fifty years or so of Eusebius's death.

Regardless, the immediate question is whether or not Eusebius claimed to have read the TF as we now receive it. That that is a possible interpretation of what he wrote is not disputed. That it is the unique interpretation is what I deny. That the answer may be "Yes, because that really is what he read," is gladly acknowledged. That the answer is not certainly yes is why I think it's worth discussing.
Ken Olson
Posts: 770
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 9:26 am

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Ken Olson »

Paul the Uncertain wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:25 am A really simple one, and one that also involves Eusebius (but in a different way than TF) is Origen's witness to Antiquities 20.200 having the specific words that translate to "called Christ." You actually touched on that a bit in the other thread.

It is a worthy mystery in that Origen doesn't claim to be quoting anything verbatim, and those words would be more-or-less the only thing he'd have quoted verbatim from Josephus about defendant James. Nevertheless, Eusebius interprets the phrase as a direct quote, either because that's what it is (Eusebius found the phrase in the copy of Antiquities from which he quotes at length), or because Eusebius accepts what he interprets Origen to be saying, locates the most promising place in the text for the phrase to belong, and then recites how the text "should" read, in the sense of being the most likely original, in his opinion, given the assumption that Origen is accurately quoting verbatim what he read somewhere in Antiquities 20.

The latter possibility reminds us that it's not just punctuation but also standards of discourse that have evolved over secular time. If a modern writer purports to be quoting something verbatim, then they'd better not be presenting what is merely their personal best estimate of what the original said. If that's what they're doing, then they need to be clear about that. I doubt ancient writers (not only apologists) would be held to that much rigor.

Anyway, I think it is an interesting problem (an interesting parcel of problems), and was pleased to see that it earned some attention from you.
I'm a bit behind in my postings, and I hope I''ll be able to write out in full what I think is going on with the two passages about James that Eusebius ascribes to Josephus and why only one of them is found in our manuscripts of the Antiquities. I've discussed the issue several different in various online forums (including this one) and should really post the full treatment on my blog so I can just refer people there.

In the meantime, however, Jacob Berman has just posted a video in which I discuss the James passage in Josephus on his History Valley YouTube site:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa98WOqz06Y

Best,

Ken
Paul the Uncertain
Posts: 603
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:25 am
Contact:

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Paul the Uncertain »

Ken Olson wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 8:50 am
I'm a bit behind in my postings, and I hope I''ll be able to write out in full what I think is going on with the two passages about James that Eusebius ascribes to Josephus and why only one of them is found in our manuscripts of the Antiquities. I've discussed the issue several different in various online forums (including this one) and should really post the full treatment on my blog so I can just refer people there.

In the meantime, however, Jacob Berman has just posted a video in which I discuss the James passage in Josephus on his History Valley YouTube site:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa98WOqz06Y

Best,

Ken
Thank you for that link. I enjoyed the interview and learned from it.

If I may offer an alternative (or supplementary) possiblility for Origen's testimony about the James trial... by and large, what Origen recalls from Antiquities is similar to material actually found in the received Boox XX of the Antiquities. In particular, Josephus does attibute the destruction of Jerusalem to God's retribution for murders other than the murder of Jesus, BUT not for the murder of James, either.

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/201 ... o-do-that/

In the interview, you mentioned having recently misattributed something in another interview. If I understood you, then you correctly described the content, but erred in naming the author. That's a common kind of error, and I happily confess I've done it myself, and probably worse than you (One time in an online forum, I erroneously credited a famous line of 20th Century poetry to Shakespeare. Ouch.)

Origen's error, IMO, is the mirror image: having the author correct, but mashing up the content. A modern example is Bart Ehrman's notiorious Letter X from Pliny to Trajan. There is no question that Ehrman had read the Pliny-Trajan correspondence, but remembered it inaccurately, yet not entirely haphazardly, either. Fire brigades and secret religious cults were both matters of concern to Roman authority, and both were subjects in the correspondence, but not in the same letter.

Ehrman thus made connections that were not on the page. He also created new features semantically related to elements in his source, but not actually found there (wild fires burning through the countryside ... no, it was a single urban fire, BUT in the other letter, Christianity was running rampant through the countryside).

Obviously, whatever else Ehrman knew about the subject influenced his recollection. Similarly, claiming that Origen misremembered Josephus should not be interpreted as saying that Origen's exposure to Christian sources about James (like Hegesippus or maybe Clement) played no role in the resulting hash.

Apart from possibly explaining Origen's testimony, the presence of this material in Book XX suggests something about Eusebius as a witness. In looking for the location of the James trial, it is somewhat likely that he encountered and was reminded of Josephus's actual discussion of God and the destruction of Jerusalem.

So, yes, it would be one thing if Eusebius simply took Origen's word for what Josephus had written about the role of God's vengeance in the fate of the Temple, even though he couldn't find it, and then went on to quote what he did find. It is a different thing, however, if he took Origen's word for it against a text where Josephus gave a different reason for God ordaining the destruction of Jerusalem, and yet Eusebius said nothing about it.
Ken Olson
Posts: 770
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 9:26 am

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Ken Olson »

Paul the Uncertain wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 3:29 am Apart from possibly explaining Origen's testimony, the presence of this material in Book XX suggests something about Eusebius as a witness. In looking for the location of the James trial, it is somewhat likely that he encountered and was reminded of Josephus's actual discussion of God and the destruction of Jerusalem.

So, yes, it would be one thing if Eusebius simply took Origen's word for what Josephus had written about the role of God's vengeance in the fate of the Temple, even though he couldn't find it, and then went on to quote what he did find. It is a different thing, however, if he took Origen's word for it against a text where Josephus gave a different reason for God ordaining the destruction of Jerusalem, and yet Eusebius said nothing about it.
I'm not quite clear on what the cash value of the distinction you are drawing here is. Should I modify my stated views about the literary relationships among Josephus, Origen, and Eusebius on what they wrote about James because of this, and if so, how and why?

Best,

Ken
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2239
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by andrewcriddle »

Paul the Uncertain wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 2:50 am Thank you for getting back to me. Andrew.

I do not dispute that pseudo-Hegesippus knew the Antiquities, and presumably you do not dispute that they don't always quote from it as the many marked differences between the two versions of "Paulina and Mundus" eloquently illustrate. I also trust we both agree with the other poster's friendly reminder that DEH is not and does not claim to be a translation of the Antiquities but only includes some shared passages.

Moving on then, I am uncertain about the relevance of the whole Antiquities not being available in Latin at the time in question. The topic passage, the familiar Flavian Testimony, was reasonably closely translated into Latin by Jerome in 392 or 393 (Illustrious Men 13).

That dating is not obviously too late for its use by an anonymous author of around that time, someone whose own reading knowledge of Greek or lack of it is uncertain. Further, in light of Illustrious Men 81, I trust we need not debate whether Jerome may have known some works of Eusebius within fifty years or so of Eusebius's death.

Regardless, the immediate question is whether or not Eusebius claimed to have read the TF as we now receive it. That that is a possible interpretation of what he wrote is not disputed. That it is the unique interpretation is what I deny. That the answer may be "Yes, because that really is what he read," is gladly acknowledged. That the answer is not certainly yes is why I think it's worth discussing.
I said the Ecclesiastical History was not available in Latin. (possibly that was what you meant to say in your response.)
Pseudo-Hegesippus is usually dated before 378 CE on the ground that it's optimistic attitude to the Roman Empire must come from before the disaster of Adrianople in 378. I agree that this is not conclusive evidence for dating.

Andrew Criddle
Paul the Uncertain
Posts: 603
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:25 am
Contact:

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Paul the Uncertain »

andrewcriddle wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:01 am I said the Ecclesiastical History was not available in Latin. (possibly that was what you meant to say in your response.)
Pseudo-Hegesippus is usually dated before 378 CE on the ground that it's optimistic attitude to the Roman Empire must come from before the disaster of Adrianople in 378. I agree that this is not conclusive evidence for dating.

Andrew Criddle
Thank you for getting back.

We seem to be stuck. At base, you doubt there was enough time for a Greek-language paragraph from Eusebius's Proof or Church History to appear in Latin. I see an anonymous work by somebody who for all I know can read Greek well enough to paraphrase it loosely in Latin, which work may or may not have been composed as soon as 36 years after Eusebius died (375 for psH - 339 for Eus). I have reasonable grounds to suppose that at least one Latin-language writer capable of reading Greek, Jerome, knew a fair amount about Eusebius's work by 393, 54 years after Eusebius died, if not sometime before then.

I understand and appreciate your point, but I don't share your level of concern about this factor when trying to understand what Eusebius may have claimed that he'd read in Antiquities, even as I acknowledge that others might and that you do.

---
Ken Olson wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 5:41 am
I'm not quite clear on what the cash value of the distinction you are drawing here is. Should I modify my stated views about the literary relationships among Josephus, Origen, and Eusebius on what they wrote about James because of this, and if so, how and why?

Best,

Ken
Thank you for getting back.

I wouldn't presume to advise you on such a thing.

I don't recall your having stated any position on whether or not Eusebius probably saw (at least) the direct contradiction of Origen's testimony about Josephus's teaching on the cause of divine retribution against Jerusalem. I think this has some relevance to the prudent assessment of Eusebius as a witness. I don't recall your having discussed that issue, either. If you do find the approach valueless, than I just have to accept that.

As to how this might influence the understanding of Origen, I don't see any urgent contradiction between what I wrote and any view you've mentioned here (either thread) so far.

It is entirely possible to discuss the Letter X affair based entirely upon Bart Ehrman's readings about early Christian dispersion and practices, Roman politics and security policy, ancient firefighting technology and so on. There would also be some opening, however and in my opinion, for someone to mention that much of "Letter X" shares many elements with four specific letters exchanged between Pliny and Trajan, that really are found in the very body of correspondence where Ehrman (falsely) remembers finding Letter X.

I think there's room for both perspectives. It is at least a remarkable coincidence, and so upon it I have remarked. Nothing more than coincidence? Could be. But to be candid, I can't shake the feeling that Ehrman read those letters sometime before he wrote about Letter X. The a priori plausibility is good, too.
Ken Olson
Posts: 770
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 9:26 am

Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Ken Olson »

Ken Olson wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 5:41 am
Paul the Uncertain wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 3:29 am Apart from possibly explaining Origen's testimony, the presence of this material in Book XX suggests something about Eusebius as a witness. In looking for the location of the James trial, it is somewhat likely that he encountered and was reminded of Josephus's actual discussion of God and the destruction of Jerusalem.

So, yes, it would be one thing if Eusebius simply took Origen's word for what Josephus had written about the role of God's vengeance in the fate of the Temple, even though he couldn't find it, and then went on to quote what he did find. It is a different thing, however, if he took Origen's word for it against a text where Josephus gave a different reason for God ordaining the destruction of Jerusalem, and yet Eusebius said nothing about it.
I'm not quite clear on what the cash value of the distinction you are drawing here is. Should I modify my stated views about the literary relationships among Josephus, Origen, and Eusebius on what they wrote about James because of this, and if so, how and why?

Best,

Ken
Let me rephrase the question: what is at stake here for you? If we allow that, in looking for the location of the James trial, Eusebius was reminded of Josephus's actual discussion of God and the destruction of Jerusalem, what follows from that? How will this affect the way we interpret Eusebius (or maybe Origen?)?

And when you write: 'It is a different thing, however, if he took Origen's word for it against a text where Josephus gave a different reason for God ordaining the destruction of Jerusalem, and yet Eusebius said nothing about it.'

Yes, it's different. How is the difference significant? And is the second option what you are advocating (or maybe what you think I'm advocating?). I am really not sure what the point you are making is.

Best,

Ken
Post Reply