Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

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Giuseppe
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Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe »

Robert M. Price gives evidence about a cult of a Samaritan Jesus.

SON OF JOSEPH ?

So we would seem to be left with little reason to believe that Jesus was produced by miraculous conception. The irreducible historical datum would have to be that Joseph was his father (or perhaps Pandera). But I fear we are not on secure ground even here. For the possibility remains that for Jesus to have been called "son of Joseph" may be another historicizing reinterpretation of an obsolete messianic title, namely, that of Messiah ben-Joseph, the northern Messiah. I have already cautioned that Vermes might be wrong about the Messiah ben-Joseph being a reflection of Simon bar-Kochba. If he is, then we would have to look for a different origin for the whole conception, and it would not be too hard to find. The two-Messiah doctrine would just be a harmonization of rival Galilean and Judean Messiah expectations. The north, too, had ample traditions of a powerful monarchy led by such kings as Omri and Jeroboam. It is no surprise that the Assyrian conquest should have long ago bred in the Galileans a hope for a restoration of a throne in Samaria. And the Genesis traditions of Joseph as one day destined to rule all the tribes (Gen. 37:5-10) would have fed this flame of messianic (but non-Davidic) hope.

We have already seen how there was an early stage in which Christians regarded Jesus as a non-Davidic Messiah. He was thought to have been a Galilean, so presumably at this stage of belief he would have been Messiah ben-Joseph. We might even have a fossil remnant of that Joseph-messianism surviving in one of the Christian interpolations (as most scholars reckon it) into the Testament of Benjamin, one of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha:
"Jacob cried out, 'My child Joseph, you good child, you have won your father's heart.' And he embraced him and kissed him for two hours, and said, 'In you shall be fulfilled the prophecy of heaven about the Lamb of God and Savior of the world—that one without blemish shall be offered up on behalf of sinners, and one without sin shall die on behalf of the ungodly, in the blood of the covenant, for the salvation of the Gentiles and of Israel, and he shall destroy Beliar and those who serve him'" (3:8).

Elsewhere in this fascinating document we hear that Levi or Judah or some combination of the two tribes will provide the seed of the coming Messiah, but here, all of a sudden, the Messiah is to stem from Joseph, that is, either Ephraim or Manasseh. I submit that this text demands an origin in circles where a Messiah-ben-Joseph was hoped for.

But what would have happened once Christians abandoned the non-Davidic messiahship notion and sought instead to secure a Davidic genealogy for their Lord? Obviously, Jesus' earlier status as Messiah son of Joseph would have to be forgotten or reinterpreted, just as "Jesus the Nazorean" was reinterpreted after "Nazorean" as the understanding of a sectarian tag was left behind. It came to be imagined that Jesus was the son of a man named Joseph. But as for the real name of Jesus' own biological father, none can say.

(The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, my bold)
  • I wonder to what extent the mere existence of cult of a Samaritan Jesus implies that Jesus existed and was the Samaritan false prophet slain by Pilate.
  • We have evidence of a cult of a Judean (davidic) Jesus, only we don't have evidence, in Josephus, of the crucifixion of a Judean Jesus by Pilate.
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MrMacSon
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Re: Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

Post by MrMacSon »

Giuseppe wrote: Thu Sep 15, 2022 12:44 am
Robert M. Price gives evidence about a cult of a Samaritan Jesus.


SON OF JOSEPH ?

... the possibility remains that for Jesus to have been called "son of Joseph" may be another historicizing reinterpretation of an obsolete messianic title, namely, that of Messiah ben-Joseph, the northern Messiah. I have already cautioned that Vermes might be wrong about the Messiah ben-Joseph being a reflection of Simon bar-Kochba. If he is, then we would have to look for a different origin for the whole conception, and it would not be too hard to find. The two-Messiah doctrine would just be a harmonization of rival Galilean and Judean Messiah expectations. The north, too, had ample traditions of a powerful monarchy led by such kings as Omri and Jeroboam. It is no surprise that the Assyrian conquest should have long ago bred in the Galileans a hope for a restoration of a throne in Samaria. And the Genesis traditions of Joseph as one day destined to rule all the tribes (Gen. 37:5-10) would have fed this flame of messianic (but non-Davidic) hope.

We have already seen how there was an early stage in which Christians regarded Jesus as a non-Davidic Messiah. He was thought to have been a Galilean, so presumably at this stage of belief he would have been Messiah ben-Joseph. We might even have a fossil remnant of that Joseph-messianism surviving in one of the Christian interpolations (as most scholars reckon it) into the Testament of Benjamin, one of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha:

"Jacob cried out, 'My child Joseph,1 you good child, you have won your father's heart.' And he embraced him and kissed him for two hours, and said, 'In you shall be fulfilled the prophecy of heaven about the Lamb of God and Savior of the world—that one without blemish shall be offered up on behalf of sinners, and one without sin shall die on behalf of the ungodly, in the blood of the covenant, for the salvation of the Gentiles and of Israel, and he shall destroy Beliar and those who serve him'." (3:8).

Elsewhere in this fascinating document we hear that Levi or Judah or some combination of the two tribes will provide the seed of the coming Messiah, but here, all of a sudden, the Messiah is to stem from Joseph, that is, either Ephraim or Manasseh. I submit that this text demands an origin in circles where a Messiah-ben-Joseph was hoped for.

But what would have happened once Christians abandoned the non-Davidic messiahship notion and sought instead to secure a Davidic genealogy for their Lord? Obviously, Jesus' earlier status as Messiah son of Joseph would have to be forgotten or reinterpreted, just as "Jesus the Nazorean" was reinterpreted after "Nazorean" as the understanding of a sectarian tag was left behind. It came to be imagined that Jesus was the son of a man named Joseph ...


(The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, my bold)
  • I wonder to what extent the mere existence of cult of a Samaritan Jesus2 implies that [the NT] Jesus...was the Samaritan false prophet slain by Pilate.
1 That is a reference to a child named Joseph.

I don't see any indication in that excerpt from the Testament of Benjamin of evidence that "the Messiah is to stem from Joseph" as Price claims.
  • "Elsewhere in this fascinating document we hear that Levi or Judah or some combination of the two tribes will provide the seed of the coming Messiah" is not that
"In you shall be fulfilled the prophecy of heaven about the Lamb of God and Savior of the world" = the child Joseph

2 where is there evidence of a Samaritan Jesus here ?
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Giuseppe
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Re: Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe »

So is that evidence not conclusive at all, as evidence of an old cult of a Samaritan ("Son of Joseph") Jesus?

Bob Price himself uses the conditional: "We might even have a fossil remnant of that Joseph-messianism..."
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Giuseppe
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Re: Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe »

Ben C. Smith appears to assume that there was a cult of a Samaritan Jesus:

Jero wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:11 pm Was Jesus a Samaritan?
For decades I have had this feeling that all is not what it seems when it comes to the supposed Jewishness of Jesus when the information is contrary to what we believe.
I cannot claim to have had such a feeling for "decades," but a while back I did put together a thread speculating that Jesus was known as the Messiah ben Joseph before he came to be known as the Messiah ben David: http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5343. This was a follow up of sorts to another thread I had posted a good while before that: http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3076, which looked into the typological connections between Jesus and his namesake Joshua. By no means do I assent to everything on those threads, and they were both very much exercises in exploration and experimentation, but I do still very much think that there is something to the idea that a Northern tradition from Galilee involving the scion of Joseph eventually flowed into a Southern tradition from Judea involving the scion of David.

The correspondences between the Messiah ben Joseph according to Jewish tradition and Jesus according to Christian tradition are numerous:
  1. Jesus is said to have been the Christ/Messiah; the Messiah ben Joseph has "Messiah" right in the title.
  2. Jesus is said to have been the son of Joseph; the Messiah ben Joseph has "son of Joseph" right in the title.
  3. Jesus is said to have traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem; the Messiah ben Joseph is supposed to travel from Galilee to Jerusalem.
  4. Jesus is said to have been slain just outside of Jerusalem; the Messiah ben Joseph is supposed to be slain just outside of Jerusalem.
  5. Jesus is said to have been pierced; the Messiah ben Joseph is supposed to be pierced.
  6. Jesus is said to have been the Suffering Servant; the Messiah ben Joseph is supposed to be the Suffering Servant.
  7. Jesus is said to have been the only begotten son of God; the Messiah ben Joseph is mourned as if for an only son.
  8. Jesus is said to have been resurrected; the Messiah ben Joseph is supposed to be resurrected.
  9. Jesus is said to have been the firstfruits of those resurrected; the Messiah ben Joseph is supposed to be the first one resurrected at the eschaton.
  10. Jesus, the name, is simply an Anglicization of the name Joshua; the Messiah ben Joseph, also known as the Messiah ben Ephraim, is sometimes cast as a Joshua redivivus, and Joshua himself, the Hebrew hero, is scripturally a descendant of Joseph through Ephraim.
By far the main issue is that many of these connections derive from Jewish texts which postdate the New Testament by years, centuries, and even up to a millennium. Did those later texts preserve much earlier traditions, traditions which Christians picked up on and applied to their Savior? Or did the Jewish tradents of later centuries copy attributes from the Christian Savior and apply them to their Messiah ben Joseph? Or, finally, did both groups independently apply the same basic exegetical techniques to the Hebrew scriptures (which do promise a ruler from Joseph!) and come up with similar results? I have been working on this matter ever since.

One example of something I really cannot seem to get over is Testament of Benjamin 3.1-8. If this text is Jewish, then it is early Jewish evidence for a Savior who sounds very much like Jesus Christ fulfilling the prophetic blessing on Joseph. If it is Christian, then it implies a Christian who thought of Jesus Christ in terms of Joseph instead of (or in addition to) in terms of David. Either case is very interesting, I think.

ETA: While there is much in Richard Carrier's book which I think amounts to texticide, so to speak, there are also some excellent insights, including this one:

Richard Carrier, On the Historicity of Jesus, page 75: This dying-messiah doctrine is not only found in the Talmud but is more considerably spelled out in the seventh-century Apocalypse of Zerubbabel (Sefer Zerubbabel), which likewise prophesies that there will be two messiahs, a Messiah ben David and a Messiah ben Joseph, and that the latter messiah (the Son of Joseph) would come first and be killed by an evil tyrant named Armilus (whom some scholars conjecture is a Hebraicism for Romulus, i.e., Rome). But all would not be lost, because the second messiah (the Son of David) would soon appear and resurrect him, and the end of the world would soon follow. / Quite simply, if anyone were to merge these two messiahs into a single person (the Son of Joseph and the Son of David, one who dies and rises and one who returns to bring victory), we would have Christianity: a messiah fathered by a Joseph who is killed by an evil power and is then resurrected and anointed 'the Son of David', destined to return triumphant. It is far more likely that Christians united two figures already imagined in earlier Jewish apocalyptic thought than that rabbinical Jews took a novel messiah from the heretical sect of Christianity and elaborately split it into two messiahs, with otherwise all the same attributes (and then make no mention of how this responds to Christianity or why they would even do that).

[/quote]

schillingklaus
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Re: Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

Post by schillingklaus »

There is no such thing as a messiah in Samaritism, as there are no references to a future messiah in the Pentateuch or Joshuah, while Samuel, Kings, Psalms, Prophets etc. are Judean works.
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Re: Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

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Indeed what both Ben and Stuart seem not to accept is that, while it is true that Joseph became the adopted father of Jesus as effect of the fact that it is a historicization of the title 'Son of Joseph' given to the Samaritan Messiah, from the other hand it is also true that the same title "Son of Joseph" is used everywhere it occurs, even in the variants of the episode 'Is not this the son of carpenter?'/"Is this not the son of Joseph?", and even in the episode where Joseph of Arimathea is involved (without ignoring Pilate infamous slaughterer of the 'sons of Joseph'), with an implicit ironical denial that Jesus was the 'Son of Joseph':

The Jews think that the Jesus is only a failed 'Son of Joseph', i.e. a heretical Samaritan, when really he is the davidic Messiah or, if you read Marcion, the alien Son of Father ('Bar-Abbas').

That the Jews of Judah had denigrated the Samaritan Messiah 'Son of Joseph' in virtue of his failure and suffering (recognized by the same Samaritans), is a FACT.

Therefore the occurrence of 'son of Joseph' and 'Samaritan' doesn't reflect polemically rival Christians of Samaria who were adorers of a Samaritan Jesus. It reflects only the Jewish denial that the Christian Jesus was davidic.
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Re: Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

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The logic here.

1. Just as the 'fuck my whore daughter-in-law' Judah is the (degraded) 'head of the southern nation' of 'Jews' the author(s) of Pentateuch make virtuous 'fruitful bow' Joseph the head of the northern nation of 'Samaritans' (understanding that the specific identifies were established later.
2. When you take to Samaritans the identify themselves by the two sons of Joseph - Manasseh and Ephraim. Ephraim is/are the 'good portion' of the Samaritans. Manasseh the 'bad' portion.

All Samaritans are 'son(s) of Joseph'
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Re: Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe »

What is your point? Do you think that there was a cult of a Jesus "Messiah Son of Joseph"?
If your answer is yes, then in full coherence you have to conclude that the historical Jesus was the Samaritan Impostor slain by Pilate.

Unless you deny the premise, concluding that 'Son of Joseph' is given to Jesus by not-Christian Jewish enemies to deny that he is davidic. Part of the denial is the sinedrite conspiracy using just Pilate to crucify Jesus.
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Re: Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

Post by schillingklaus »

No, there was no cult of a Jesus son of Joseph, and there was no sinedrite conspiracy using Pilate for anything. It is all later (mid second century onward) appropriation from Midrash with no historical reason.
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Re: Evidence of a cult of Jesus as Samaritan ('Son of Joseph'): a historical Jesus?

Post by Secret Alias »

There was (from memory) a Jewish interest in 'the son of Joseph.' I think Polycarp was named 'Joseph' for a number of reasons and the very name 'Polycarp' in Greek derives from Genesis 49:22 "Joseph was a fruitful bough."
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