Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

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Paul the Uncertain
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Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Paul the Uncertain »

Ken Olson wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 6:39 pm 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.
The immediate issue for me is whether or not Eusebius practiced intentional deception by presenting Origen's account of what he'd read in Antiquities Book 20 while knowing that Origen had substantially misstated Josephus's views.

I don't know whether or not that happened. Maybe my impression is mistaken that what Eusebius quotes from Josephus is the fruit of a recent search. Maybe it is instead some note that Eusebius made for a different purpose well before, and which he uses here without any additional checking or search. Or maybe he'd searched recently, but made a poor job of it.

I can't really make much of a point until I sort this out. Meanwhile, the issue is discussable as a potential problem, relevant to Eusebius's reliability as a witness to what he claims to have read. That sort of thing interests me, but maybe others less so. I am also interested in how Origen managed to scramble Josephus; ditto.
Ken Olson
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Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Ken Olson »

Paul,

Thanks. That clarifies things for me.

How do you currently understand the relationship of the words ος ην Ιησου του λεγομενου Χριστου (Origen, Contra Celsum 1.47) or τον αδελφον Ιησου του λεγομενου Χριστου (Origen, Commentary on Matt 10.17) to the words as quoted in the Ecclesiastical History 2.23.20 (in agreement with Contra Celsum 1.47) and the words quoted in HE 2.23 τον αδελφον Ιησου του Χριστου λεγομενου (in agreement with Josephus Ant. 20.200, other than reversing the order of the last two words).

My working hypothesis is that Origen did not have the text of Antiquities 20.200 in front of him and that 'the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ' is his own formulation. Eusebius could not find the passage Origen had spoken of in his own copy of Josephus Antiquities (which may have been the same copy Origen used in the library of Caesarea) and added the identifier 'the brother of Jesus who was called Christ' to his quotation of the passage from Ant. 20.220 which (again, I hypothesize) originally lacked it.

How do you explain the verbatim agreement between Origen and Josephus (or, rather, their respective texts) on those particular words while Origen seems not to be in agreement with the Antiquities elsewhere (other than the name James, of course).

Ben Smith has conveniently placed the English and Greek texts for these and other passages related to the issue of Jesus in Josephus online on his Textexcavation site (which is apparently back up) here:

http://www.textexcavation.com/josephust ... tml#origen

Best,

Ken
Paul the Uncertain
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Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Paul the Uncertain »

Ken Olson wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:51 am How do you currently understand the relationship of the words ος ην Ιησου του λεγομενου Χριστου (Origen, Contra Celsum 1.47) or τον αδελφον Ιησου του λεγομενου Χριστου (Origen, Commentary on Matt 10.17) to the words as quoted in the Ecclesiastical History 2.23.20 (in agreement with Contra Celsum 1.47) and the words quoted in HE 2.23 τον αδελφον Ιησου του Χριστου λεγομενου (in agreement with Josephus Ant. 20.200, other than reversing the order of the last two words).

My working hypothesis is that Origen did not have the text of Antiquities 20.200 in front of him and that 'the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ' is his own formulation. Eusebius could not find the passage Origen had spoken of in his own copy of Josephus Antiquities (which may have been the same copy Origen used in the library of Caesarea) and added the identifier 'the brother of Jesus who was called Christ' to his quotation of the passage from Ant. 20.220 which (again, I hypothesize) originally lacked it.
Yes, that's basically how I see it, too. I believe that Origen is working from memory as regards his description of Josephus, and didn't intend to be understood as quoting Josephus verbatim. I would go so far as to wonder whether Origen might even have expected his readers to recognize gMatthew as the source of του λεγομενου Χριστου, and so not to mistake it as being a phrase he'd found in Josephus.

One place where people differ despite general agreement with your scenario (as has come up here in the thread) is what was Josephus's original description of James and his brother. I favor an explicit mention of one of the three Jesuses discussed in Josephus's works whose father's name also appears in the narrative of the trial and its aftermath. That is, Jesus son of ...: Damneus or Gamaliel from the narrative itself, or as a "dark horse," Ananus (not a high priest) whose public career began weeks or a few months after the trial.
How do you explain the verbatim agreement between Origen and Josephus (or, rather, their respective texts) on those particular words while Origen seems not to be in agreement with the Antiquities elsewhere (other than the name James, of course).
I think Eusebius made a choice between two versions of the trial passage, Origen's retelling (interpreted by Eusebius as including the one verbatim phrase) and whatever was in the copy of Antiquities which Eusebius had open on the desk before him.

I am not worried if that were Origen's copy; Origen's memory of it had failed him, I believe. I simply don't know about any "marginal note" that could have been there, but whose presence isn't needed for a "misfired memory" hypothesis.
Ben Smith has conveniently placed the English and Greek texts for these and other passages related to the issue of Jesus in Josephus online on his Textexcavation site (which is apparently back up) here:

http://www.textexcavation.com/josephust ... tml#origen
Yes, I saw that Ben's site was available again, such an excellent resource that so many of us have turned to over the years.
Ken Olson
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Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Ken Olson »

Paul the Uncertain wrote: Mon Jun 13, 2022 2:10 pm Combining the two ideas, perhaps the proper punctuation of Church History I.11.7-8 is something like (with a dash of color to highight Josephus's possible voice):
After relating these things concerning John, he makes mention of our Savior in the same work, in the following words: "Jesus lived about this time, a wise man," if indeed it be proper to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, and a teacher of such men as receive the truth in gladness: "He drew to himself many Jews, and also many Greeks.

"He was the 'Christ.' When Pilate, prompted by our leading men, condemned him to the cross, those who loved him from the beginning did not forsake him, for he was seen by them alive again on the third day
," the divine prophets having told these and countless other wonderful things concerning him. "The tribe of the 'Christians,' so named after this man, survive to the present day."
-
More details appear in the two posts on the Uncertaintist blog:

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/202 ... followers/
https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/202 ... he-christ/

or the All England Summarized Proust version

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/202 ... y-summary/
Paul,

Jumping back to the OP, I have some questions:

(1) In the reception history of the Testimonium, did any of those quoting or paraphrasing the text (some of whom, like Jerome, are in all probability taking it from Eusebius HE) understand it in the way you hypothesize Eusebius intended it?

http://www.textexcavation.com/josephustestimonium.html
http://www.textexcavation.com/documents/hindleyref.html

(2) What is it you are assuming or claiming about Eusebius's honesty in reporting sources? Does your argument assume it or are you attempting to prove it?

(3) What are the criteria you used for sorting the TF into authentic Josephan material and Eusebian commentary? Is it just that you can believe Josephus would say X, but not Y, or that you believe the language and ideas in the Josephan parts are more like (i.e., can be shown to be more like) Josephus than Eusebius?

(4) Why include the 'named after this man' as Josephan material when it's found in only one of the three Eusebian witnesses (the HE) and not the other two (the DE and Theophany)? Would it not be more reasonable to conclude that Eusebius is adding additional commentary in the HE rather than that he forgot part of the source text? Or perhaps he is recalling from memory what he wrote elsewhere and is not looking at the source text in all cases?

(5) Have you looked at the way the Testimonium is introduced and concluded in the three Eusebian witnesses? I see that you compare the Testimonium to HE 1.10.1, with its mix of quotation and paraphrase, on your blog:

It was “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius,” according to the evangelist, and in the fourth year of the governorship of Pontius Pilate, while Herod and Lysanias and Philip were ruling the rest of Judea, that our Saviour and Lord, Jesus the Christ of God, being “about thirty years of age,” came to John for baptism and began the promulgation of the Gospel.

This strikes me as quite different from the way the Testimonium is introduced, which seems (at least to me and many translators) to be introducing a direct quotation and then it's signaled or marked where Eusebius is no longer quoting. The 'according to the evangelist" in HE 1.10.1 is not necessarily introducing a direct quotation, but claiming the facts reported are attested in the source, even if it is using the source's words in a few places (a paraphrase may in fact do this). In the case of the Testimonium, I think you are hypothesizing unmarked transitions between the marked beginning of a quotation and another signaled or marked ending of one. This is possible, but seems awfully speculative.

Best,

Ken
Paul the Uncertain
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Re: Refining Eusebius's claims about the Flavian Testimony

Post by Paul the Uncertain »

Ken Olson wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:50 am
(1) In the reception history of the Testimonium, did any of those quoting or paraphrasing the text (some of whom, like Jerome, are in all probability taking it from Eusebius HE) understand it in the way you hypothesize Eusebius intended it?
With respect to Jerome, it is impossible to tell for sure, since he too lacks modern punctuation. The Latin TF occurs as part of a brief notice of Josephus in Illustrious Men. He says Josephus "also writes about the Lord in this way" (scripsit autem de domino in hunc modum), followed by the TF. That introduction is vague enough to avoid a claim of presenting a close Latin translation of Josephus.

Jerome could easily have had a non-specific rhetorical interest in commenting upon Josephus's words, much as Eusebius seems to have had in Church History. Jerome is block translating Eusebius, but may or may not understand Eusebius as block quoting Josephus.

It is interesting that Jerome's Latin clarifies that the mainstream Jewish Josephus isn't proclaiming Jesus as the Christ (he was believed to be Christ, which formulation doesn't interfere with the term's role in an etymological explanation of Christians). And yet, Jerome strengthens the post-resurrection visionary event from a passive construction to an active one (he appeared, not he was seen).

Also interesting is that Tacitus has a parallel etymological note in Annals. Of course I don't know whether or not he has read Josephus on this point. It does illustrate that making an etymological note was a reasonable literary objective for the time and place. (The authenticity of the passage is disputed - but if forged, then the forger-author seems to think that an etymological note fits the time and place.)
(2) What is it you are assuming or claiming about Eusebius's honesty in reporting sources? Does your argument assume it or are you attempting to prove it?
Neither. The objective is to identify what Eusebius is claiming Josephus to have said. That's logically prior to worrying about his honesty, a distinct question, and besides, people differ about his honesty anyway, which is a situation that is liklely to persist.
(3) What are the criteria you used for sorting the TF into authentic Josephan material and Eusebian commentary? Is it just that you can believe Josephus would say X, but not Y, or that you believe the language and ideas in the Josephan parts are more like (i.e., can be shown to be more like) Josephus than Eusebius?
It is not a criterion-driven exercise. It is constrained by apparent rhetorical objectives (e.g. it seems important to present Josephus as a non-Christian) and avoidance of anomalies (e.g. in Proof, Eusebius infers that Jesus is a miracle worker from having mixed Jewish and Gentile followers - that's odd. Odd, full stop, since it is a non-sequitur, and odd in context if Eusebius has just quoted Josephus speaking about Jesus's wondrous deeds).

There is also semantic linkage based on syntactical repetition (e.g. Christ and Christian in the bracketing clauses of the etymological note). The "meat" in the etymological sandwich seems pointless unless the claim is being made that Josephus mentioned it. (It is also difficult to interpret chief men among us except that Eusebius claims Josephus to be speaking at that point.)

I was unable to classify confidently the unamplified remark that Jesus was a teacher.
(4) Why include the 'named after this man' as Josephan material when it's foundin only one of the three Eusebian witnesses (the HE) and not the other two (the DE and Theophany)? Would it not be more reasonable to conclude that Eusebius is adding additional commentary in the HE rather than that he forgot part of the source text? Or perhaps he is recalling from memory what he wrote elsewhere and is not looking at the source text in all cases?
Theophany is largely derivative of Proof, so I don't take it as a 2-1 vote. Your mileage may differ, of course. It's not in Agapius, either, which is derivative of Church History, which does have it.

It would be obvious to their first readers that Fourth Century and later Christian writers believed that there had also been Christians in the 90's of the First Century. Including Josephus's witness to this factoid (if there was any) would therefore be expected to be a sometimes thing, IMO. The only important effect of its omission is to make "He was the Christ" harder to explain coming from a mainstream Jewish author. (Not as much of an issue if you soften it with a Jeromesque "belief" claim as Agapius did.)
(5) Have you looked at the way the Testimonium is introduced and concluded in the three Euebian witnesses?
Yes.
I see that you compare the Testimonium to HE 1.10.1, with its mix of quotation and paraphrase, on your blog:

It was “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius,” according to the evangelist, and in the fourth year of the governorship of Pontius Pilate, while Herod and Lysanias and Philip were ruling the rest of Judea, that our Saviour and Lord, Jesus the Christ of God, being “about thirty years of age,” came to John for baptism and began the promulgation of the Gospel.

This strikes me as quite different from the way the Testimonium is introduced, which seems (at least to me and many translators) to be introducing a direct quotation and then it's signaled or marked where Eusebius is no longer quoting. The 'according to the evangelist" in HE 1.10.1 is not necessarily introducing a direct quotation, but claiming the facts reported are attested in the source, even if it is using the source's words in a few places (a paraphrase may in fact do this). In the case of the Testimonium, I think you are hypothesizing unmarked transitions between the marked beginning of a quotation and another signaled or marked ending of one.
The example was intended to contrast the clarity of modern punctuation for representing a well-tossed mixture of quotation, paraphrase, and commentary, and to establish that Eusebius was capable of such tossing. I am, of course, aware that paraphrases may include directly quoted words, with it being the (modern) author's choice whether to indicate them as such or not.

The introduction "in the following words" implies that the author claims that at least the next words are directly quoted. That quote-claim must end somewhere, and the ending will not routinely be syntactically marked in the source before us. The ending is likely to be semantically marked, and there are other possible semantic markers besides the author changing the subject entirely (e.g. to remark upon Josephus's Jewishness and its significance for Eusebius's argument).
This is possible, but seems awfully speculative.
If by speculative you mean uncertain, then I am an uncertaintist by trade and in this domain by hobby. I am happy if I've shown that there exists at least one other interpretation of what is often treated as if it were claimed to be a block direct quote. My estimate of an alternative claim is not uniquely admissible: the "teacher" remark could easily be taken either way, ellipsis is also modern punctuation; maybe Eusebius left something out, ... and so on.

There is nothing new about carving up the TF block into "Eusebian" and "Josephan" tranches. The only thing I think may be distinctive here is that I interpret Eusebius not only to start, stop, restart, ... accurately quoting within the block, but also to start and stop claiming to quote within it.
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