Collected Studies on Philo and Josephus

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Collected Studies on Philo and Josephus

Table of contents :
Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1: The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt to Erect his Statue
in the Temple of Jerusalem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2: The Causes of the Jewish War According to Josephus . . . . . . . . . 35
3: Testimonium Flavianum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
4: The Geographical Excursus in Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
5: Contra Apionem 1.28–56: An Essay On Josephus’ View of His Own
Work in the Context of the Jewish Canon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
6: The Essenes in Philo and Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
7: Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
8: Was hat Josephus über die Synagoge zu sagen? . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
9: The Jews in Alexandria in 38–41 CE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
10: Philo as a Polemist and a Political Apologist: An Investigation of his
Two Historical Treatises Against Flaccus and The Embassy to Gaius . 207
11: Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden über die
Aufstellung einer Kaiserstatue im Tempel von Jerusalem . . . . . . . 225
Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
Per Bilde’s Place in Research on Josephus (Steve Mason) . . . . . . . . . 281
Messianic Figures in the Works of Josephus and their Impact on Per
Bilde’s Understanding of the Historical Jesus (Mogens Müller) . . . . . . 303
Bibliographical References – Places of First Publication of Per Bilde’s
Articles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315

Citation preview

Studia Aarhusiana Neotestamentica (SANt) Edited by Eve-Marie Becker, Ole Davidsen, Jan Dochhorn, Kasper Bro Larsen and Nils Arne Pedersen

Volume 7

Per Bilde

Collected Studies on Philo and Josephus Edited by Eve-Marie Becker, Morten Hørning Jensen and Jacob Mortensen

Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data available online: http://dnb.d-nb.de. ISSN 2364-2165 ISBN 978-3-525-54046-6 You can find alternative editions of this book and additional material on our Website: www.v-r.de © 2016, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co. KG, Theaterstraße 13, D-37073 Göttingen/ Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht LLC, Bristol, CT, U.S.A. www.v-r.de All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission from the publisher. Printed in Germany. Typesetting by Konrad Triltsch GmbH, D-97199 Ochsenfurt Printed and bound by Hubert & Co GmbH & Co. KG, Robert-Bosch-Breite 6, D-37079 Göttingen Printed on aging-resistant paper.

Per Bilde (1939–2014) (photograph: private)

Contents

Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

9

1: The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt to Erect his Statue in the Temple of Jerusalem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

11

2: The Causes of the Jewish War According to Josephus . . . . . . . . .

35

3: Testimonium Flavianum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

55

4: The Geographical Excursus in Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

89

5: Contra Apionem 1.28–56: An Essay On Josephus’ View of His Own Work in the Context of the Jewish Canon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

105

6: The Essenes in Philo and Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

121

7: Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

151

8: Was hat Josephus über die Synagoge zu sagen? . . . . . . . . . . . .

171

9: The Jews in Alexandria in 38–41 CE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

189

10: Philo as a Polemist and a Political Apologist: An Investigation of his Two Historical Treatises Against Flaccus and The Embassy to Gaius .

207

11: Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden über die Aufstellung einer Kaiserstatue im Tempel von Jerusalem . . . . . . .

225

Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

263

8

Contents

Per Bilde’s Place in Research on Josephus (Steve Mason) . . . . . . . . .

281

Messianic Figures in the Works of Josephus and their Impact on Per Bilde’s Understanding of the Historical Jesus (Mogens Müller) . . . . . .

303

Bibliographical References – Places of First Publication of Per Bilde’s Articles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

315

Prologue

Per Bilde (1939–2014) – Emeritus Professor Dr. theol. at Aarhus University – was in his life-time passionately interested in understanding first-century Judaism and Christian origins in their Hellenistic and Greco-Roman setting(s). Through a relentless pursuit of the sources to this period, he stood out as a giant in this field, not least, as a world-renowned expert on Flavius Josephus. There are three motives for us to present this collection of articles which he published between 1978 and 2011 during his rich academic life: First, through a lucid and classic source-oriented approach, Per Bilde’s articles are of such quality that they have enduring value. As will become clear, Bilde’s work is characterized by following a razor-sharp outline in treating a research problem: He establishes the exact question at hand. Then he provides an in-depth overview of the state of research on the given question, before he establishes a catalogue of relevant sources that finally enables him to perform a thorough and well-argued discussion that in the end produces the conclusion most plausible, whatever that might be. Second, Per Bilde published most of his articles and books in Danish with a strong sense of commitment towards his Danish intellectual community and audience. As a consequence, much of his work did not reach wider scholarly circles. Wanting to catch up with this lacuna, Per Bilde himself began collecting some of his articles he found most relevant and began translating them. Since he did not live to see this task completed, we are happy to be able to carry out his undertaking with this collection of articles and essays which he himself had chosen – shortly before his sudden death in spring 2014. Third, by completing Per Bilde’s undertaking, we want to show our high esteem and profound gratitude to him for his collegiality, friendship, and intellectual companionship which we have enjoyed as his colleagues at Aarhus University through the years towards the end of his career. A few words on the arrangement of articles: The articles follow in a chronological order. The first article was published in 1978 and the last one in 2011. We have chosen to collect all bibliographical notes within a bibliography in the back of the book (pages 263ff.) in order to get a more uniform style. Additionally, two

10

Prologue

of the articles use original Greek letters whereas the rest have transcribed the Greek letters. In the back of the book is a list of the original publication places of each article. Per Bilde’s articles which are collected and presented here, are framed by two contributions by close colleagues of his, Mogens Müller (Copenhagen) and Steve Mason (Groningen), given on the occasion of a symposium “in memory of Per Bilde” which took place on May 28, 2015 at Aarhus. Both scholars have presented their evaluative, partly critical views on Per Bilde’s impact on Jesus and Josephus research. We are grateful for their contribution which also prepares the readers of this collection for re-visiting Per Bilde’s historical and philological studies on the 1st century CE world. Finally, we extend special thanks to Trine Bilde (Professor at the Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University) for initially supporting the publication project, and Mikke Padde and stud. theol. Anna Bank Jeppesen (both Aarhus) for helping us with scanning the original articles and converting the scans to text, and thereby preparing the publication process. In the spirit of Bilde’s intellectual aspirations as researcher and teacher, we hope that this volume not only preserves the memory of a most appreciated scholar at Aarhus University, but also will be of use to current and future scholars in contextualizing and developing the inspiring field of studying two 1st century CE giants in their religious and historical surroundings: Philo and Josephus. Eve-Marie Becker, Morten Hørning Jensen, Jacob Palle Bliddal Mortensen Aarhus, December 1, 2015

1:

The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt to Erect his Statue in the Temple of Jerusalem

1.

Introduction

The events. The Roman emperor Gaius (Caligula) ruled from March 37 to January 41 AD. In the last part of his reign a serious conflict developed between the emperor and the Jews in Palestine. For some reason Gaius changed the traditional Roman policy of tolerance towards the Jews living there. He issued the order that Jerusalem’s temple should be converted to a shrine for the imperial cult. A statue of Gaius was to be erected in the temple. The Roman legate in Syria, Publius Petronius, was ordered to carry out the project, if necessary by use of armed force. The Jews in Palestine, however, could not accept Gaius’s plan, and they initiated a campaign against it in which, among other means, mass demonstrations were used. After negotiations between Petronius and the Jews, during which the project was delayed, it was finally cancelled sometime around the death of Gaius. The sources. We are relatively well informed about these events. We have two accounts by Josephus, a shorter one in The Jewish War (henceforth Bell.) II, 184– 203, and a longer one in The Antiquities (henceforth Ant.) XVIII, 261–309. The representation in Ant. is more than twice as long as that of Bell. In addition to the information in Bell., it contains e. g. a description of how King Agrippa I intervened in Rome and obtained Gaius’s consent that the plan may be cancelled. Along with Josephus, there is a parallel account in Philo’s political tractate, The Embassy to Gaius (henceforth Leg.) 199–338. Here Philo gives a very detailed description of Gaius’s project in Palestine. His version is about three times as long as Josephus’s in Ant., and gives different information. Especially interesting is some supplementary material about the background for the imperial plan. While Josephus’s accounts were written in the seventies and nineties AD, Philo’s was written in the forties AD. Besides these major descriptions, we have an important note in Tacitus, Hist V, 9. We are here told that the Jews took up arms against Gaius’s project, but that the emperor’s death prevented the imminent war. Tacitus (AD 55–120) lived and wrote a little later than Josephus (AD 37–ca. 100).We also have a note in Megillat Ta’anit,

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The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt

which, according to S. Zeitlin and H. Lichtenstein, was composed in the middle of the first century AD.1 In this list, we read of the 22nd of Schebat (which is about the end of February), that this day is a day of joy where fasting is not permitted. For, on this date, the work on the project which ‘the enemy’ had commanded to be placed in the temple ‘was stopped’. Finally, some scholars have maintained that a few New Testament texts, like Mark 13, 14–20 and Acts 5, 34–39, allude to Gaius’s project.2 However, as these texts in themselves constitute problems for discussion, first and foremost about whether or not they refer to the events of AD 39–40, they will not be taken into account in the following examination.3 The problems. This source material raises a number of historical problems. What was the reason for Gaius’s decision? What was the real content and intention of the project? How is Petronius’s role more precisely to be defined? How are the various Jewish reactions to be conceived and described? Which role was played by King Agrippa? And how, exactly, was the project stopped? We also face a chronological problem because Josephus and Philo seem to presuppose different and apparently contradictory chronological frameworks. In order to tackle these questions, it is necessary primarily to analyse the understanding and interpretations behind the various authors’ representations. Research. There does not exist much research to elucidate these problems. The main contributions are given by J.P.V.D. Balsdon, H. Graetz, E. Schürer, P.J. Sijpestein, E.M. Smallwood, H. Willrich, and S. Zeitlin.4 Even these are, however, mostly given in other contexts. In the numerous manuals, textbooks and encyclopedias on the New Testament and ancient Jewish history, these events are mentioned, but, almost without exception, treated superficially.5 The main 1 Megillat Ta’anit is a list of festival days on which it was forbidden to fast. The text is quite short, and is printed in many different places, e. g. in Zeitlin1918–1919, 71–102, and 1919–1920, 49– 80. 237–290, pp. 237–240. Cf. Lichtenstein1931, 257–351. Each of these days has a short explanation of why it was put on the list. And for the 22nd of Schebat it is stated: ‘On the 22nd thereof was the work stopped on that, which the enemy ordered to bring into the temple. It is not permitted to grieve’. In a commentary (scholium) attached to the list, which, according to Zeitlin (1918–1919, 75) and Lichtenstein (1931, 258), derives from later Talmudic times, our note is interpreted as a statement about Gaius’s attempt to desecrate the temple. As far as I am aware, all scholars accept this interpretation. Finally, it ought to be mentioned that the list itself, according to Zeitlin (1918–1919, 73), goes back to the period before AD 70, and, according to Lichtenstein (1931, 264), received its final redaction around the middle of the first century AD. 2 Thus e. g. Swain1944, 341–349, and Brandon 1967, 88–92 and 230ff. 3 As regards Mark 13, I have submitted this problem to an independent analysis in Bilde 1976, 105–134. 4 Balsdon 1934, 13–24 (19–24); ibid. 1934, 1–145); Colson 1962, XXVII–XXXI; Graetz 1877, 97– 107 and 145–156 ibid. 317–342; Jones 1938, 191–203, Schürer 1904, 503–507; Sijpesteijn 1964, 87–96; Smallwood 1957, 3–17; ibid. 1961; ibid. 1976, 174–180; Willrich 1903, 85–118. 288–317 and 397–470; Zeitlin 1962 and 1967, 176–185; ibid. 1965–1966, 22–31. 5 There is no sense in giving a complete list here, and I shall confine myself to referring to Abel

The reason for Gaius’s decision and the character of his project

13

reason for this deplorable state of affairs is probably the absence of a major monograph on the subject. In the few serious examinations it is possible to distinguish between three schools: One which gives priority to Philo’s account.6 One which gives the priority to Josephus.7 And one which combines and harmonizes the data presented in our two main sources.8 Disposition. In this examination, I shall take my point of departure in the main problems of the material, as they have been formulated above. From the problems we turn to the sources, and further, through them, I shall attempt to approach the historical reality. Thus, the following six main problems will be analysed: 1) The reason for Gaius’s decision and the character of the project. 2) Petronius’s attitude. 3) The Jewish opposition. 4) Agrippa’s intervention. 5) The cancellation of the project. 6) The chronological question. The examination of the source material and its tendencies will be carried out in connection with each problem.

2.

The reason for Gaius’s decision and the character of his project

All our three main sources open their description by mentioning the imperial order. In Bell., Josephus gives as a reason for the emperor’s godless proclamation of divinity (II, 184). In Ant., he adds a new aspect, viz. that the project was also a punishment of the Jewish people, because the Alexandrian Jews, and especially the Alexandrian-Jewish delegation led by Philo, which was at that time in Italy to request certain rights for the Jewish community in Alexandria, had neglected to honour Gaius as a god (Ant XVIII, 261, cf. 257–260).9 Philo mentions three reasons for Gaius’s decision. The ‘main reason’ was the emperor’s well known claim to divinity, which the Jews could not accept. In order to impose his will upon the Jews in this matter, Gaius, according to Philo, had now decided to adopt the world’s most beautiful temple as his own (Leg 198). The second reason was to be found in a riot in Jamnia. Here the Jewish population had a short time before destroyed an altar to the emperor that had been set up by the non-Jewish population (Leg 199–202). As the third reason Philo mentions the

6 7 8 9

1952, I, 446–447; Baron 1937, I, 219; Dubnow 1925, II, 388–399; Grant 1973, 120–132; Foerster 1968, 73ff.; Juster 1924, I, 351–352; Safrai, Stern 1974, I, 354–359; Wellhausen 1895, 334–336. E. g. F.H. Colson and E.M. Smallwood. E. g. H. Graetz. Thus J.P.V.D. Balsdon, A.H.M. Jones, E. Schürer, H. Willrich, S. Zeitlin, and most others. The conflict in Alexandria took place in AD 38–41, and is well documented, first and foremost in Philo’s political tractate, Flaccus (Henceforth FI.), but also in Leg., in Josephus, Ant. XIX, 278–291, and in Claudius’s Letter of AD 41, Pap London 1912, which has been edited by H. Idris Bell (cf. Idris Bell 1924).

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wicked advice given to Gaius by his most ‘pious and wise counsellors’, the Egyptian slave, Helicon, and the Ascalonitic tragic actor, Apelles (Leg 203–205). The reasons given by Philo, however, do not fit very well. On the one hand, we read about Gaius’s general hatred of the Jews, who, alone of all the nations, refuse to worship him. This is the dominant motive of the tractate as a whole. It is concentrated around the tension between the emperor and the Jewish people (Leg 115–118). Because of the Jewish refusal to worship him, Gaius hated this people and prepared ‘a vast and truceless war’ against them, as Philo states (Leg 119). The whole tractate is marked by the description of Gaius’s enmity towards the Jews. Consequently, Leg. should be understood as the background to a lost work on the divine punitive retaliation against Gaius, the so-called Palinode (Leg 373). The structure of Leg. seems to be the same as that of the parallel tractate, Fl., which is dominated by the description of Flaccus’s evildoings against the Jews and, as a consequence, of God’s punishment of the Egyptian prefect.10 The picture in Leg. of the general hatred of Gaius for the Jews, therefore, ought to be conceived as part of a literary pattern created by Philo. This also applies to Philo’s parenthetic allusion to the advice of Helicon and Apelles. In the course of the events, these two are both said to have been punished for their wickedness (Leg 206). These figures are designed in the same way as Flaccus, Gaius, and Capito, the imperial procurator of Jamnia who, according to Philo, was ‘the instigator of the whole episode’ (Leg 202). The description of the non-Jewish population of Jamnia, finally, is of the same category, just like that of the Egyptian and Greek population of Alexandria in Fl. The non-Jews of Jamnia are said to have been motivated to construct the imperial shrine, not out of respect for the emperor, but out of hatred of the Jews (Leg 201). The uniform pictures of Capito and the non-Jews of Jamnia seem to aim at demonstrating the innocence of the Jews there. These elements, as well as the emphasis upon the instigation of Helicon and Apelles, cast doubt on the overall hatred of Gaius for the Jews as the main reason for the project. These features, as well as the unevenness in Philo’s account, and the differences between the versions in Bell. and Ant., indicate that the tradition about the reason for Gaius’s project has been given several interpretations. The most easily recognizable one is Philo’s overall understanding, according to which both the events in Alexandria in AD 38 and Gaius’s plan in Palestine are religio-political expressions of the emperor’s general hatred of the Jewish people, the foundation of which was Gaius’s insane claim to divinity. This interpretation is basically the same as that of Josephus, although this author has not elaborated it to the same extent as Philo.

10 The basic idea of Fl. is to demonstrate how a hostile attitude and policy towards the Jews result in disaster for the originator. Fl. 1 hints that a similar work may have been written on Sejanus.

The reason for Gaius’s decision and the character of his project

15

A great number of scholars mistake this interpretation for the historical reality.11 They assume that Gaius made a major change in the traditional Roman policy towards the Jews, so that the policy of tolerance and protection was replaced by one of force in order to compel the Jews to take part in the imperial cult.12 There is no evidence, however, for the assumption that Gaius issued an edict ordering all inhabitants of the empire, including the Jews, to take part in the worship of the emperor. Gaius was not responsible for the serious disturbances and the persecution of the Alexandrian Jews in the year AD 38, as maintained by Philo (Leg 346). Gaius could in fact be said to have been responsible for the termination of these persecutions.13 Likewise, we know, again from Philo, that Gaius did not harm the Jewish delegation from Alexandria, who when in Italy refused to obey the emperor’s command to worship, but only dismissed the Jews with a joke (Leg 367). Against this background, Josephus’ interpretation in Ant. of the project in Palestine as a punishment for the Alexandrian Jews’ refusal to recognize Gaius’s divinity appears to be similarly unrealistic. This finding is confirmed by the Roman sources, which give no evidence of any such religio-political change under Gaius. On the basis of our main sources, Suetonius, Dio Cassius, Philo and Josephus, it can be said that Gaius certainly behaved strangely and may have had odd ideas about himself. Yet he does not seem to have taken them quite as seriously as many of his contemporaries and many scholars of later ages have done.14 Gaius also seems to have willingly accepted divine honour and worship from the senate and the people. But there is no trace of his having imposed this on anybody.

11 Thus e. g. Fuchs 1924, 19; Juster 1924, I, 351–352; Morrison1890, 154; Cerfaux & Tondriau 1957, 343–346. 12 E. g. Scramuzza 1933, V, 284: ‘Caligula broke away from this policy of toleration which had worked well … (and made an attempt to) force the whole nation in and outside Judaea to recognize his dignity.’ Cf. 290. Likewise Grant 1973, 128. 13 According to Fl 1 Flaccus was mainly responsible for these disturbances. In Fl 20–21, we read that it was Dionysius, Isidorus, and Lampon, some Greek Alexandrian personalities. And in Fl 108ff., we learn that the persecutions of the Alexandrian Jews were in fact terminated when Gaius deposed Flaccus. 14 One example of this can be found in Leg 349–367, where Philo is reporting on the dialogue between Gaius and the Alexandrian-Jewish embassy. Even through Philo’s account it is possible to perceive the emperor’s self-ironic tone, cf. e. g. his concluding remarks: ‘They (the Jews) seem to me to be people unfortunate rather than wicked and to be foolish in refusing to believe that I have got the nature of a god’ (Leg 367) (Colson’s translation). Another example is found in Dio Cassius, Roman History, LIX, 26, 8–9: ‘Once a Gaul, seeing him (Gaius) uttering oracles from a lofty platform in the guise of Jupiter, was moved to laughter, whereupon Gaius summoned him and inquired’, ‘What do I seem to you to be?’ And the other answered (I give the exact words): ‘A big humbug.’ Yet the man met with no harm, for he was only a shoemaker.’ The last phrase may have been added by Dio or his source of anti-Gaius tradition, which was used to picture Gaius as murdering people for such words.

16

The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt

Gaius’s project in Palestine, accordingly, cannot adequately be explained as part of an overall change in the Roman policy of religion, including the abolition of the traditional policy of tolerance towards the Jews. Nor can the project in Palestine rightly be interpreted as a result of a feeling of personal insult by the emperor because of the destruction of his altar in Jamnia.15 There is no hint in this direction in the sources, and one should not reduce important political events to outward expressions of a sensitive soul. With this, I would also like to challenge the popular idea that Gaius’s reaction can be regarded as the result of a mental disease.16 This idea seems to me to be based on a misunderstanding of the sources where they speak of the emperor’s μανία.17 But rather than mental disease in the pathological sense of the word, this use of μανία covers the sense of ὕβρις in the traditional Greek meaning. Summing up the evidence in this matter, it can be stated that in Philo and Josephus there is no trace whatever of indications that Gaius should have been mentally ill. Further, that Dio Cassius and, in particular, Suetonius write about the unstable and unintegrated personality of Gaius. Suetonius describes this as an expression of ‘valitudo animi’.18 But valitudo animi, in this context, cannot be interpreted as insanity, rather as the expression of an unusual mental condition. For had Gaius really been mad in the pathological sense of the word, then, I feel sure, this would have been emphasized strongly in our sources, because on the whole they are outspokenly critical of Gaius.19 Consequently, there is no valid reason for interpreting the project in Palestine as the result of Gaius’s insanity. An adequate explanation of Gaius’s reaction, in my opinion, can only be found in an analysis of what happened in Jamnia. The Jewish act here cannot be understood solely as an incidental and, perhaps, unimportant expression of their struggle with their non-Jewish neighbours. The demolition of the imperial altar was a political act. Seen from Rome, it was an expression of political disloyalty, an act which came close to revolt, because the imperial cult-place represented and symbolized Rome, and because participation in the imperial cult was first and foremost an act of political loyalty. A sort of parallel is found in Dio Cassius, where Vitellius is told to seal his victory over Parthia by letting the Parthian king 15 Thus e. g. Brandon 1967, 85. 16 Thus e. g. Riciotti 1948, II, 486–487; Scramuzza 1933, 290; Zeitlin 1962–1967, II, 183. 17 Cf. e. g. Leg 93 and Ant XVIII, 278. In Leg 162, self-deception rather than mental illness is meant, precisely as in Bell II, 184. 18 Suetonius 1913–1914, Gaius Caligula, particularly L,1-LI,l. 19 It is important to realize that the idea of Gaius being insane is practically absent in our oldest sources, Philo and Josephus. Therefore, and for other reasons as well, we find an obvious reticence in research on Gaius with regard to Dio Cassius’s and Suetonius’s words about this emperor’s insanity, cf. Charlesworth 1933, 118; Balsdon 1934, 461. Charlesworth and Balsdon, like H. Willrich, have rightly emphasized the strong bias against Gaius and the principate that is present in Dio Cassius and Suetonius.

The reason for Gaius’s decision and the character of his project

17

sacrifice to the images of Augustus and Gaius (LIX, 27, 2–3). A good analogy moreover, is found in the interruption in AD 66 of the sacrifices for the Roman emperor in the temple of Jerusalem, an act which is correctly interpreted by Josephus as a sign of revolt.20 Neither in Jamnia nor anywhere else were the Jews forced to participate in the imperial cult. The act in Jamnia, therefore, seems to have been a sort of ‘Zealotic’ attack on the status quo. It touched upon the foundation of the Roman policy of tolerance: reciprocity. The precondition of the Roman protection of Jewish religion was that they themselves should limit their zeal.21 This precondition was understood and accepted by Philo and Josephus.22 The action in Jamnia, therefore, has to be seen as a destruction of one of the basic preconditions for the Roman policy towards the Jews, viz. Jewish toleration and non-intervention in non-Jewish cults. Gaius’s project, therefore, may be interpreted as aiming at enforcing these preconditions. The Jewish act was understood as a break in the traditional good relations with Rome. Therefore, it was met with force. At the same time, it was seen as an attempt to change the delicate balance of the relative independence which, in religious matters, was granted the Jews by the Romans. This may be why Gaius proceeded to such radical counter-action as the desecration of the Jerusalem shrine. That this interpretation is close to the truth, may also be gathered from Leg 334, where we read about the conditions under which Gaius cancelled his project: ‘For he added an injunction that if any persons in the neighbouring regions outside the capital who wished to set up altars or temples or any images in honour of him or his were prevented from so doing, Petronius was to punish the obstructors at once and send them up to him’ (Colson’s translation). With these reflections, I do not pretend to have explained exhaustively the character of Gaius’s project. It is still a riddle why Gaius chose to punish the Jews by erecting a statue of himself in Jerusalem’s temple. It would have been possible to punish them in another way. I have only attempted to show that there were good reasons for strong Roman reaction. Further, that the project ought not to be interpreted as expression of a general abandonment of traditional Roman policies towards the Jews. Nor of Gaius’s insanity or of any feeling that he had been insulted or the like. This pragmatic interpretation also corresponds better than others with the fact that Gaius later showed willingness to change his mind and

20 Cf. Bell II, 409–410 and 417. 21 Cf. Smallwood 1965, 232–239 and 313–319. 22 Cf. Ant IV, 207 and cAp II, 237. Likewise Philo in vita Mos II, 205 and de spec leg I, 53. In contrast to many of their ‘zealous’ fellow countrymen, Josephus and Philo here interpret Ex 22, 27 (LXX) as a prohibition against disturbing other people’s worship. The same attitude is witnessed for Yohanan ben Zakkai, cf. Aboth de Rabbi Nathan 31. This text is discussed in Neusner 1970, 147–148.

18

The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt

his project, when he learned that the Jamnian act was actually not meant as revolt, and that the planned imperial action was likely to become too costly. Philo and Josephus now both relate that Gaius sent the legate in Syria to Palestine with specific orders to enforce the erection of an imperial statue in Jerusalem. The temple was then to be consecrated to the worship of Gaius under the name of Ζεύς (Ἐπιφανὴς Νέος Γάιος) (Leg 188 and 346). By this, the disobedient Jews would be forced to take part in an act expressing loyalty to Rome (Leg 203). Josephus, Philo, and Tacitus indicate that this was a war-like project. It was a punitive action, and it is obvious that Gaius foresaw Jewish resistance. According to Bell II, 185, Petronius was ordered to kill those who resisted and to sell the rest of the people as slaves.23 Petronius was therefore ordered to advance towards Palestine with a considerable army, consisting of two legions plus auxiliaries.24 An idea of the strength of this force can be obtained from Bell III, 64–67, according to which Vespasian started his campaign with three legions in AD 67.25

3.

The attitude of Petronius

The picture of Petronius in the sources appears to be clear and simple. He is portrayed as the hero who risks his own life for the sake of the Jews, and, in return for this, is rewarded by God. This picture is also found almost everywhere in the secondary literature.26 It is, however, questionable whether this view can stand up to a closer analysis of the source material. According to Bell., Petronius immediately gives way to the first Jewish demonstration at Ptolemais. He then leaves the army and the statues in this non-Jewish city, and travels to Galilee, where he gathers the people and nobility together in Tiberias (II, 192–193). Here, by means of threats and persuasion, he tries to show the Jews how impossible is their wish to avoid the realization of Gaius’s project (II, 193–194). In the face of their willingness to die rather than see the temple desecrated, he reveals that it is not he 23 Ant XVIII, 261 has a somewhat milder formulation. 24 According to Bell II, 186, it was three legions. This is, however, corrected in Ant. to two (XVIII, 262). And this figure corresponds to Leg 207, where Philo talks about ‘half of the Euphrates army’, which consisted of four legions, cf. Balsdon 1970, 89. 25 The complete Roman force around AD 40 consisted of about 25 legions, cf. Webster1969, 113– 114. 26 Thus e. g. Schürer 1904, I, 503: ‘Nur schweren Herzens gehorchte der verständige Mann dem knabenhaften Verlangen’; Riciotti 1948, II, 491: ‘En ces circonstances difficiles Petrone agit avec beaucoup de prudence et d’humanite’; Smallwood 1961, 268–269: ‘Petronius’ handling of the whole episode, as recorded by both Philo and Josephus, reveals him as a humane and sensitive person, with considerable sympathy for Jewish feelings’. Likewise in Smallwood 1976, 180.

The attitude of Petronius

19

personally, but the emperor, who is hostile towards the Jews (II, 195). He then says how impressed he is by the demonstrations, and indicates his pity for the people (II, 198). During the next few days, Petronius is again said to have tried to persuade the Jews. But, as Josephus remarks, since the Jews remained refractory, and the tilling of the soil was endangered, Petronius at last declared his willingness to risk his own life in an attempt to persuade the emperor to recall his plan (II, 201). He then returns, blessed by the people, to Ptolemais and from there, with his army and the statues, back to Antioch. From here, Petronius reports to Gaius who, in return, sends him his death-sentence (II, 203). In the Ant. version, Josephus at first seems to be following the description in Bell., with some minor alterations. But in Ant., Petronius’s change of mind is a result of the intervention of Jewish leaders in Tiberias (XVIII, 273–276). In addition, this change is now described as total. Petronius here holds that Gaius’s order is ‘mad’,27 and his respect for Jewish piety is much more strongly formulated, particularly in his great speech to the Jews (XVIII, 279–283). Here Petronius is reported to have said: ‘You are carrying out the precepts of your law, which as your heritage you see fit to defend, and serving the sovereign of all, almighty God, whose temple I should not have had the heart to see fall a prey to the insolence (ὕβρις) of imperial authority’ (XVIII, 280) (Feldman’s translation). Petronius is further said to express the hope that the Jews would receive the help of God in their just struggle for the law against imperial insanity (XVIII, 281). Finally, he is reported to have concluded his speech by declaring his own willingness to tolerate all kinds of danger rather than to see so many people being destroyed for such pious acts (XVIII, 282). Petronius, then, according to Ant., called upon the people to resume work in the fields. At the same time, Josephus remarks, God demonstrated that he would support Petronius in his intentions. For as soon as Petronius had ended his speech, against expectation, and after a whole year of drought, God sent a heavy shower (XVIII, 285). Both Petronius and the Jews correctly interpreted this as a sign of divine protection and approval of their intentions. Gaius was murdered before the imperial order to Petronius to commit suicide reached the legate. Thus God rescued both him and the Jewish people (XVIII, 305–307). In this way, we can observe a marked development in the last part of the version in Ant. Petronius here clearly regards Gaius and his whole project as insane and godless. Likewise, the Jews, who in the first part of Ant. are pictured as Petronius’s obstinate opponents, are here portrayed in less aggressive colours. They are now described as representatives of piety and virtue, and Petronius is told to be their ally and clearly to see God’s hand in the whole course of events.

27 In Ant XVIII, 277–278 and 280, the words μανία and ὕβρις are used.

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The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt

In Philo’s representation, Petronius’s misgivings are present from the very beginning. Immediately on receiving the imperial orders, he is full of doubts (Leg 209). For he knew, Philo writes, that the Jews were a strong and numerous people that would defend themselves (Leg 209–212 and 214–218). But Petronius also hesitated because, ‘by nature just and pious’, he perceived the wickedness of the project (Leg 213). Consequently, he was slow to act, tried to delay the whole matter, and found a preliminary solution in ordering the work on the statue to be started (Leg 220–222). In the meantime, Petronius called in the Jewish leaders (to Antioch?) in order to try to persuade them to accept the project without resistance (Leg 222–223). However, also according to Philo, he did not succeed in this, and a big Jewish mass demonstration followed, this time in Phoenicia (!). The Jewish attitude here greatly influenced the ‘by nature goodhearted and cultivated Petronius’ (Leg 243). He found that the Jewish case was just and deserving of his pity. And, according to Philo, it appeared ‘that he himself had some rudiments of Jewish philosophy and religion acquired either in early lessons in the past through his zeal for culture or after his appointment as governor in the countries where the Jews are very numerous in every city’ (Leg 245) (Colson’s translation). Accordingly, Petronius is said to have further delayed the work on the statue. Although for tactical reasons he refused to permit the Jews to send an a embassy to Gaius, he promised, according to Philo, that he himself should write and ask the emperor for further postponement of the plan. This he did, and we read in Philo that in return he point Philo interrupts the description of the events in Palestine, and we are left without information about their conclusion. Thus we have seen that in Philo Petronius’s opposition to Gaius’s project is presupposed from the beginning. Petronius is pictured as an important part of the counter-movement against Gaius’s plan, whereas in Josephus, particularly in Bell., he plays a much more passive role. We have thus received an impression of Petronius in Philo and Josephus, but how can we reach the real, historical Roman governor? I think we have a hint in the contradiction between the slow Petronius in Philo and the quicker one in Josephus. While in Philo Petronius is slow from the beginning (Leg 213), the opposite is the case in Josephus. In Ant XVIII, 262, we hear that Petronius took over Syria and ‘hurried’ (ἡπείγετο) to carry out Gaius’s orders. He gathered his army, and marched to Ptolemais in order to spend the winter there so that in the springtime he would be able to start the campaign ‘without delay’ (οὐκ ἀφεξόμενος). We get the same impression from Ant XVIII, 269, where we are told that, after the first meeting with the Jews, Petronius, gathered his friends and ‘rushed’ (ἡπείγετο) to Tiberias. Only then, and this occurs in Josephus as well, did Petronius begin to move at a slower speed. This tension should be combined with the tensions in Josephus’s own picture of Petronius. In Josephus’s account, Petronius seems to change his character. In the beginning he is described as a loyal and dutiful imperial agent. But later, he

The Jewish opposition

21

develops into a sort of proselyte, who defies the imperial orders and risks his own life on behalf of the provincials, an attitude that was unusual among Roman provincial governors. Can there be any doubt that, in the beginning of the versions of Bell. and Ant., we are confronted with traces of reliable historical tradition? Accordingly, our result seems to be the somewhat surprising one that the contemporary description by Philo is more remote from historical reality than that of the later Josephus. Philo portrays his Petronius in the same way as his Gaius, Flaccus, and his other schematic figures. By contrast, we have a less highly coloured picture in the first part of Josephus’s accounts. Here we meet the imperial legate who is sent to Syria and Palestine with special orders to carry out Gaius’s plan. He appears from the beginning as a loyal agent, showing both zeal and efficiency. Later, however, this figure is so to speak swallowed up by the redactional picture of the pro-Jewish and self-sacrificing hero.

4.

The Jewish opposition

Among scholars there is general consensus that Gaius’s plan gave rise to strong opposition in Palestine. But there is no agreement about the specific character of this opposition. The majority of commentators do not pay any attention at all to the problem. The second largest group accepts Philo’s and Josephus’s accounts, according to which the Jewish opposition was pacifist.28 At the same time, however, they admit that carrying out the project would have thrown Palestine into a general revolt, thus anticipating the first Jewish-Roman war in 66 by some 25 years. A few scholars, like S. G. F. Brandon and W. R. Farmer, assume that a violent ‘Zealotic’ resistance actually took place in AD 40.29 But let us turn to the sources for further elucidation. According to the version in Bell., there were varied reactions among the Jews. Some reacted to the war rumours with disbelief. Others were irresolute about the possibilities of defence. And finally, when Petronius’s army reached Ptolemais, the predominant reaction was fear (II, 187). A short while later, however, we see quite a different picture. On the plain around Ptolemais the Jews were organizing an orderly demonstration with the participation of women and children who were begging Petronius to be merciful as regards the laws and the people (II, 192). As a result of this demonstration, the army and the statues were left in Ptolemais. 28 Thus e. g. Baldson1934, 137: ‘By inviting martyrdom, they succeeded as they would never have triumphed by force of arms’. Similarly, Jones 1938, 197–198; Schürer 1904, I, 504; Zeitlin 1962– 1967, II, 180. 29 Cf. Brandon 1967, 84–91; Farmer 1956, 61ff.; Willrich 1903, 416, note 3.

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The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt

In Tiberias, this scene was repeated in an extended version. Here the Jews explained to Petronius the demands of the law concerning images (II, 195), and they are reported to have proclaimed their desire to die for the Tora (II, 196). But when Petronius asked them whether they really preferred to fight the Romans, Josephus relates that they answered by pointing out the daily sacrifices in Jerusalem’s temple for the emperor (II, 197). At the same time, however, they emphasized that Gaius would have to fight against the whole people, if he did not give up his project. In his report to the emperor, according to Josephus, Petronius also pointed out that carrying out the plan would mean the loss of both the people and the land (II, 202). In this manner, we realize that the representation in Bell. is ambiguous, because we have here a description of a pacifist Jewish reaction side by side with hints of non-pacifist elements. In Ant., the initial description in Bell. of the first reactions of the Jews is eliminated. And along with a number of other alterations, we have in Ant XVIII, 267–268 an element of quite another kind, of hope, incarnated in the peaceful words there reported to have been said by the Jews: ‘We shall patiently endure what may be in store for us, with the assurance that for those who are determined to take the risk there is hope even of prevailing; for God will stand by us if we welcome dangers for His glory. Fortune, moreover, is wont to veer now toward one side, now toward the other in human affairs’ (XVIII, 267) (Feldman’s translation). In Tiberias, according to the account in Ant., there followed new demonstrations and further negotiations. On a question from Petronius as to whether they wanted to go to war, the Jews answered plainly: ‘Under no conditions’, but that they preferred to be slaughtered rather than to transgress the laws. And then, Josephus writes, they lay down and exposed their necks to the Romans (XVIII, 271). These demonstrations and discussions are said to have continued for 40 days (Bell II, 200: 50 years). First at this point, and then almost parenthetically, the information about the agricultural strike is added: ‘Furthermore, they neglected their fields, and that, too, though it was time to sow the seed’ (XVIII, 272) (Feldman’s translation). Whereas it is not clear from the account in Bell. that this is really a strike, the version in Ant. leaves no doubt about it. It is made clear by the information about the intervention of the royal house in the person of Aristobulus (King Agrippa’s brother), Helicas (King Agrippa’s friend and general, cf. Ant XIX, 353) and other Jewish leaders (XVIII, 273). They point to the dangers of the strike, which might lead to ‘banditry’ (λῃστεῖαι), and request Petronius to write to the emperor with a description of this danger (XVIII, 274). Furthermore, we are told that Petronius concluded his great speech to the people by a call to resume work (XVIII, 283). And after the speech, he is said to have repeated this in an exhortation to the

The Jewish opposition

23

Jewish leaders (XVIII, 284). In Petronius’ letter to Gaius, the strike is likewise said to play an important role (XVIII, 287). And we are informed that Gaius, at the reception of this report, interpreted this information as a sign of open revolt (XVIII, 302). In other words, the tension observed in Bell. between conflict motives and more peaceful motives is not absent from the account in Ant. either. On the contrary. The war-like element as well as the strike motive are present in sharp contrast to the description of the peaceful demonstrations. A war-like intention is also present in Philo’s account, particularly in his description of Petronius’s reflection at his reception of Gaius’s orders. In Philo’s outline of these reflections, the eventual Jewish resistance plays a considerable role (Leg 208–218). Otherwise, we find in Philo a rather uniform pacifist description of the Jewish opposition. At first, the Jewish leadership is said to be supplicating Petronius (in Antioch?) (Leg 222–224). Then the Jewish masses are said to be streaming from all over the country to Phoenicia (Leg 225–227). Organized in an orderly and peaceful demonstration, and led by their council of elders, they attempted to assure Petronius of their loyalty and peaceful intentions (Leg 229–232). Thereupon, the Jews, according to Philo, offered to the Romans all their property in return for a cancellation of the project (Leg 232). However, Philo writes, if they could not persuade Petronius, they would prefer to die rather than to witness the desecration of their shrine (Leg 233). More, they would act as their own executioners (Leg 234–235). They are reported to conclude by requesting Petronius to permit a Jewish embassy to be sent to Gaius (Leg 239–242). This request is said to have been refused for ‘tactical’ reasons. Instead, Petronius himself wrote and asked Gaius to postpone the whole project. In this letter, he is reported to have pointed out the danger that the Jews might in desperation burn the harvest and destroy the country (Leg 249). This element has, in the context of Petronius’ letter, a purely tactical purpose. But it may reflect a reality different from that which Philo intends to show his readers. Thus we are able to observe the same type of tension in Philo’s account as we saw in Josephus. On the one hand, a strong emphasis on the peaceful Jewish attitude, and on the other hand, some hints at a more violent Jewish resistance. In my opinion this tension between realistic glimpses of a dangerous situation, and a pacifist interpretation of the Jewish opposition can best be explained as an expression of a contradiction between redactional tendency and historical tradition. The realistic glimpses, which we meet most clearly in Josephus, probably reveal the historical circumstances under which Gaius’s plan was to be carried out. We also meet this historical situation in Tacitus, Hist V, 9: ‘When Gaius thereafter commanded his statue set up in the temple, they preferred to take up arms …’. This situation corresponds to the situation pictured in Bell II, 185–187,

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and in Ant XVIII, 287 and 302, and it should consequently be regarded as the historical reality. The hints in Philo and Josephus of agricultural unrest and strikes, however, indicate that the Jews, at least in Galilee, used other means as well in their struggle against the imperial attempt to violate the temple. We have to be aware of the fact that this agricultural unrest apparently took place in Agrippa’s newly gained territory. In AD 39 Herod Antipas was deposed by Gaius and exiled to Gaul, and his territories were handed over to Agrippa.30 In this fact we may find an important reason for the intervention of the royal house in Tiberias, and of the king himself in Rome. An agricultural strike was a far-reaching and dangerous event. Neglect of the sowing and, consequently, absence of the harvest could lead to serious consequences like hunger, inability to pay the taxes, and increase in the number of ‘bandits’. A strike was likely to increase the dissatisfied and anti-Roman, and probably also anti-Herodian forces in Galilee. This would imply a serious increase in the economic, social, and political problems in the kingdom. Accordingly, the royal government in Tiberias had several good reasons for intervening. We have now established a picture of the religious, military, and socioeconomic character of the Jewish opposition against Gaius’s project. There was hardly any political element in the opposition even though this may originally have been the case in Jamnia. For the conflict, as we know it, was concentrated in Galilee, which was under Jewish rule. The Jewish resistance was religious in its motivation, and this type of opposition was presumably widespread in all Jewish communities in Palestine, and outside. But the opposition was military in its intention. There are no traces in the sources of actual fighting. But there can be no doubt that military resistance was being prepared, and would have been undertaken if the negotiations had collapsed. Finally, the Jewish opposition was economic and diplomatic as regards the means which were actually used in the stages that our sources reveal.

5.

Agrippa’ s intervention in Rome

The account in Bell. does not mention King Agrippa at all. But in Ant. and in Philo we find two widely differing descriptions of the royal intervention in Rome. Josephus relates that Agrippa, at this time, happened to be living in Rome (Ant XVIII, 289). Further, that the king once arranged such a superb banquet for Gaius that the emperor promised to grant Agrippa whatever he desired. The king’s answer was surprisingly modest. He did not want anything for himself, but only a favour for his people for whose sake he asked Gaius to countermand his project 30 Cf. Bell II, 183 and Ant XVIII, 252.

Agrippa’ s intervention in Rome

25

(XVIII, 297). Josephus comments that this request was dangerous for Agrippa, but that he was willing to risk his life for his people (XVIII, 298). Surprisingly, the emperor not only granted him his request, but also praised him for his piety and virtue (XVIII, 300). Accordingly, Gaius wrote to Petronius and ordered him to stop the campaign if it had not yet been carried through. Thus Agrippa stands, in Josephus’s representation, as a pious and disinterested hero with many features resembling Josephus’s portrait of Petronius. In Philo, we read that Agrippa came to Rome only after Gaius had answered Petronius’s request for a postponement of the project. And when he met the emperor, he knew nothing at all about the plan, but had to be informed about it by Gaius himself (Leg 261–265). However, even before Gaius could finish his report, Agrippa fainted, choked by the words he had heard (Leg 266–267). For two days he lay unconscious, and when he finally regained consciousness, Philo writes, he decided to write a supplication to the emperor (Leg 275–276). For it was the dream of his heart to rescue his unhappy people in this horrible situation (Leg 274). Philo then quotes this petition (Leg 276–329). Here Agrippa is reported to have emphasized the traditional Jewish loyalty to the imperial house (Leg 279– 280 and 288–289). Likewise, the traditional Roman policy of respect and tolerance towards Jerusalem and its shrine (Leg 291–320). Finally, Agrippa is said to have offered his whole fortune, all his property, and indeed his entire kingdom in return for a cancellation of the project (Leg 327). But if this was not obtainable, he is said to have expressed his preference for death (Leg 329). Thus Philo’s picture of King Agrippa seems to have been moulded by quite a different personality from that of Josephus. In Philo, there is, in particular, a much greater distance between the king and the emperor. Confronted with this material, we have to approach it with an adequate method. It is not advisable, with scholars as A. H. M. Jones and E. M. Smallwood, just to state that Philo, as the contemporary source, must be the more reliable.31 We have to judge, not from external criteria only, but also, and in particular, from an internal analysis of the texts involved. Only a little better is S. Zeitlin in his article on Agrippa’s letter to Gaius.32 According to Zeitlin, this letter cannot be genuine because it contains references to the ‘Highest God’ (Leg 278) and his providence (Leg 293), things 31 Cf. Smallwood 1961, 291: ‘If a choice is to be made between Philo and Josephus, the former’s prosaic version seems preferable to Josephus’ story with its fairytale ring’. Likewise, in Smallwood 1976, 174. Smallwood also assumes that Philo ‘almost certainly’ was in contact with Agrippa in Italy, where ‘he may well have helped to draft his written appeal to the Emperor’ (1957, 7, corresponding with 1961, 32, and 1976, 174). Jones 1938, 202, speculates along the same lines: ‘Philo, who was in Rome at the time and knew the facts, tells the more prosaic truth’. Notice how the term ‘prosaic’ has moved from Jones to his pupil Smallwood. It is questionable, however, how ‘prosaic’ Philo’s account really is. 32 Zeitlin 1965–1966, 22–31, cf. 1962–1967, II, 182–185.

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which Agrippa could not possibly have written to the insane emperor (op. cit., p. 27). Moreover, Agrippa does not in his letter greet Gaius as a god, which ‘would not have placated the mad emperor, but would have infuriated him’ (op. cit., p. 28). A letter with these and similar references would have been looked upon as ‘treasonous’. Zeitlin criticizes Josephus’s account along the same lines. But this approach is inadequate, because it relies uncritically on Suetonius and Dio Cassius, or on a misunderstanding of their descriptions of Gaius.33 Furthermore, it is methodologically unsound just to pick out a few isolated elements, and to make a general judgement on this basis, without any comprehensive analysis. One should first attempt to understand Philo’s and Josephus’s portraits of Agrippa, and only then is it possible, on safe grounds, to proceed to the problem of what really happened. Turning first to Philo, it is clear that his description of Agrippa’s reaction is, in several respects, similar to his account of the Jews in Palestine, when Petronius first told them about Gaius’s plan (Leg 223ff.). It is also close to his description of the reaction of the Alexandrian-Jewish delegation, when they heard about the plan in Italy (Leg 189ff.). In all these cases, according to Philo, the Jews are at first completely ignorant, and therefore they are all completely taken by surprise. Furthermore, they are all reported to be overcome by the strongest emotions, expressed at first in silence, then in tears and vehement lamentations. All these groups and individuals are, moreover, said to pronounce their willingness to give away their property and, indeed, their lives in return for a cancellation of Gaius’s project. King Agrippa’s reaction is only described somewhat more strongly than that of the others, as befits his rank. Because of this striking similarity, I tend to interpret the literary form of these accounts as part of a redactional scheme. Accordingly, the utmost caution is needed when using these parts of Philo as historical sources. In the same way, it is possible to demonstrate a striking parallel between the political apology, which is included in Agrippa’s petition, and the apologetic features which can be found elsewhere in Leg. and FI. The most important of these are the mention of the large and influential Jewish diaspora, and the emphasis on the connection between a pro-Jewish Roman policy, on the one hand, and flourishing prosperity in the empire, on the other.34 Agrippa’s petition is so marked by Philo’s 33 The caution that, in modern research on Gaius, is recommended with respect to the aristocratic and republican traditions about Gaius’ ‘insanity’ and ‘tyrannic’ policy, is just as necessary with regard to Gaius’s ‘self-deification’. Rather than folly and insanity, this attitude should be interpreted as sign of a radical continuation of the monarchic policy of Caesar, Antonius and Augustus, after the temporary interruption of this policy during the reign of Tiberius, cf. Cerfaux & Tondriau 1957, 342. 34 The mention of the Jewish people’s prayers and sacrifices for Rome and the emperor (Leg 280 and 288) is paralleled in Leg 356 (and 15–21). The reference to the numerous Jewish diaspora

Agrippa’ s intervention in Rome

27

well-known stamp that it would be very hard to extricate from it some historical kernel. The same is the case with Philo’s portrait of Agrippa in Rome. As far as I can see, we have to realize that Philo’s picture of Agrippa represents another example of this author’s schematic description of persons, such as Gaius, Flaccus, Helicon, Apelles, and Capito, on one side, and Petronius on the other. Josephus’s Agrippa is portrayed much more as an aristocrat, situated basically at the same level as Gaius, with whom he communicates almost on equal terms. Josephus’s Agrippa, moreover, is not depicted like the Jews, but much more like his Petronius, as their saviour. Both pictures, however, seem to be far from historical reality, and in order to approach this further, we must resort to hypothetical construction. The most plausible one is that which most economically fits a maximum of facts and logic. This, I believe, is the case with the hypothesis that Agrippa’s intervention should be understood in connection with the activity of the royal house in Tiberias. Apart from his traditional intermediatory obligations as representative of the Jewish people, Agrippa had very good reasons for intervening in this case. He had reason to fear a continued strike, and even more, an open revolt. Ultimately, his kingdom was at stake. I assume, therefore, that Agrippa’s intervention is a historical fact. Moreover, that it took place in cooperation with that of his government in Galilee. Regarded in this context, it cannot be excluded either that Petronius, as reportedly suspected by Gaius (Ant XVIII, 304) and accepted by scholars like H. Willrich and J.V.P.D. Balsdon, was bribed by Agrippa to delay the campaign, while Agrippa travelled to Rome in order to exploit his friendship with Gaius to persuade him to revoke the project.35 Surely King Agrippa, whom we know from other texts, and also from coins36 as a resolute and clever prince, should have been able to design this kind of scenario? If this hypothesis is justified, then it must be admitted that Josephus’s account is closer to the historical course of events than Philo’s, which to a large extent gives the impression of being an ideological construction.

(Leg 281–284) occurred earlier in Philo’s account of Petronius’s private reflections (Leg 209– 217). And the overall idea of Leg 291–320, namely the connection between a Roman policy of toleration towards the Jews and general prosperity in the empire, is also a well-known feature. It is a basic idea in Fl. and in Leg. as well. 35 Balsdon 1934, 138: ‘This is as possible as the belief of Philo and Josephus that he was in genuine sympathy with Judaism’. And even more clearly Willrich 1903, 417: ‘Die Wahrscheinlichkeit spricht für das letztere (bribery), denn bekanntlich gab es unter den römischen Statthaltern viele, die für Geld alles wagten, kaum einen der aus Liebe zu den Provinzialen Gefahren auf sich genommen hatte’. 36 Cf. Meyshan1968, 106–107: ‘The face of Agrippa I looks intelligent and goodnatured. A prominent chin and protruding forehead (called by the anatomist supraorbital arch) proclaim energy and courage’. Likewise, Kanael 1963, 51.

28

6.

The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt

The end of the project

It is not at all clear what happened during the last phase of the events. According to the account in Bell., only the death of Gaius seems to have rescued Petronius and the Jewish people from destruction. The same view is found expressed in the scholium to Megillat Ta’anit. In Ant., this picture is ‘disturbed’ by Agrippa’s intervention. But Josephus does not inform us about the consequences of the countermanding of the project in Palestine. In Philo’s description there is no word of any death-sentence for Petronius. And Agrippa’s intervention brings about only a partial cancellation, which is soon after taken back by the insane emperor. Philo’s account does not even reveal how the whole story ended. Perhaps he wrote about it in the ‘Palinode’. Accordingly, the question remains: how did this strange project really end? Was it stopped by Agrippa, or prevented by Charea, Gaius’s murderer? In Bell., as mentioned, there is no word about Agrippa, but the story’s conclusion is concentrated around the miraculous rescue of Petronius from imperial vengeance. Only because of the winter did the news of Gaius’s death reach Petronius before the emperor’s order to commit suicide. In Bell., consequently, Gaius’s project was delayed by Petronius, but it was only definitely stopped by Charea. In Ant., we have direct information about Gaius’s recall of his orders: ‘Now … if you (Petronius) have already set up my statue, let it stand. If, however, you have not yet dedicated it, do not trouble yourself further but dismiss the army and betake yourself to those matters for which I originally dispatched you. For I no longer require the erection of the statue, showing favour to Agrippa in this, a man whom I hold in too high esteem to gainsay his request and his bidding’ (XVIII, 301) (Feldman’s translation). Only after the dispatch of this letter did Gaius receive Petronius’s letter suggesting cancellation. This made Gaius very angry, and he wrote back accusing Petronius of having been bribed by the Jews. Therefore, he now had to act as his own judge (XVIII, 304). Then follows a conclusion, like the one we met in Bell., with no information at all about the effects of the cancellation in Palestine because Josephus concentrates the last part of his account around the fate of his hero, Petronius. According to Philo, Agrippa’s intervention took place shortly after Gaius’s letter to Petronius, with the exhortation to act quickly now, since the harvest was secured (Leg 259–260). Then, when Gaius received Agrippa’s petition, he was only ‘apparently tamed’ (Leg 333). He certainly sent cancellation orders to Petronius. But in these he included a restriction, which Philo interprets as a factual recall of the cancellation: ‘… if any persons in neighbouring regions outside the capital who wished to set up altars or temples or any images and statues in honour of him and his were prevented from so doing, Petronius was to punish the obstructors at once

The end of the project

29

or send them up to him’ (Leg 334) (Colson’s translation). Only by divine intervention, remarks Philo, did this order not result in fighting and rioting in Palestine between the Jews and the non-Jews (Leg 335–336). But even against God, Gaius was not willing to surrender. He regretted granting Agrippa’s request, says Philo, and ordered a new statue constructed in Rome (Leg 337). He intended to carry out his project, we are told, during his coming visit to the East, in order to surprise the Jews before they would be able to organize any resistance (Leg 337–338). Thus, in Philo’s account, Petronius plays no role in the final events. Here the central figure is Gaius and his wicked unreliability, which nullifies Agrippa’s achievement. A description of how the crisis ended in Palestine is also absent in Philo. His description is marked by a clear tension between the knowledge of the fact that Agrippa obtained the cancellation of Gaius’s project, on the one hand, and the emphasis on the emperor’s superhuman hatred of the Jews, ‘his worst enemies’ (Leg 256), on the other hand. However, we hear nothing about the realization of Gaius’s second plan, which, like his journey to the East, was apparently never undertaken. The true reason for this may be that Gaius was prevented from carrying out these plans because he was murdered by Charea. Another possibility is that the idea of a second plan is a piece of fiction created by Philo, whose literary conception of Gaius did not allow a realistic description of the emperor changing his mind without a wicked ulterior motive. I must admit that I tend towards this second way of interpreting Philo’s words about Gaius’s project number two. The whole outline of Philo’s two political tractates supports this. Gaius, like the other negative types in these tractates, is a schematic type who is not capable of rational and emotional deliberations. And the ‘Palinode’, like the second part of Fl., would have been unthinkable if a second project had not been brought into existence. Philo’s account, therefore, can perhaps best be explained as follows. He knew about the positive effect of King Agrippa’s intervention in Rome. At the same time, however, he wanted to maintain his general schematic picture of Gaius. Therefore, the second project, about which we otherwise know nothing, and which is not historically probable, was created. In Josephus, we notice a similar tension. Josephus, too, is very well aware of Gaius’s cancellation of his project, due to Agrippa’s intervention. At the same time, however, it is Josephus’s intention to show how God providently punished Gaius, and thereby rescued both Petronius and the Jewish people from destruction. In the final phase, Josephus is, as we have seen, preoccupied by the fate of his hero, Petronius, and not by the actual course of events in Palestine. But precisely, because of this, because Josephus’ redactional interest is invested in the figure of Petronius, we are allowed to infer that the Agrippa tradition does not represent redaction by Josephus, but access to new source material. Both Philo and Josephus know that the project was cancelled on the initiative of Agrippa.

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And, since both of them have their redactional interest invested elsewhere, we may conclude that this knowledge represents historical tradition. The very dominating tradition, that the project was only stopped by the death of Gaius (thus Philo, (Josephus), Tacitus, and Megillat Ta’anit), thus represents, in all probability, a secondary interpretation of the events. It seems to be a piece of secondary mythology in which the emperor’s ‘mad’ project had to be connected with his murder, which occurred so soon after the project was cancelled. We find this conception as early as in Philo, partly in the idea about the second project, which was only avoided by Gaius’s death, and partly in the allusion to the ‘Palinode’: Gaius’s death was God’s punishment, and at the same time His cancellation of this ‘insane’ project. On the other hand, we may observe in Megillat Ta’anit and Tacitus that the tradition about Agrippa’s intervention has completely disappeared, and that the idea of the termination of the project only because of Gaius’s death, is completely dominant. As far as I can see, however, there was no immediate connection between the cancellation of the project and Gaius’s murder. This means that King Agrippa presumably did manage to change Gaius’s mind. And this is probably not the least important reason for the considerable popularity of this king. The abolition, however, was certainly not unconditional. It was probably conditional like the reading in Philo (Leg 334). Then we obtain a plausible link back to the episode in Jamnia, the background of the whole story. It is plausible that the imperial government would enforce Jewish tolerance towards non-Jewish worship. Perhaps we can now better understand the cooperation between Agrippa and his government in Tiberias. Agrippa could only request Gaius to cancel the project if it had not been accomplished. Otherwise there was nothing he could do. Therefore, it was important to delay the project in Palestine so that Agrippa would have sufficient time to act in Rome. These tactics succeeded because Petronius, for some reason, cooperated and delayed the whole matter for a sufficient length of time. Petronius thus ended up in a dangerous situation from which he was perhaps only rescued by Gaius’s death. It must therefore be admitted that the Jewish traditions, which idealize Petronius, have some real basis according to this interpretation.

The chronology

7.

31

The chronology

We know that Gaius died on 21 January 41.37 Further, that he was absent from Rome on his expedition to Gaul and Germany from 39 September to May (-August) 40.38 Finally, that the disturbances in Alexandria took place during the summer of 38.39 Scholars usually maintain that Philo and Josephus are chronologically irreconcilable, because Philo is thought to represent a longer spring-centred chronology, whereas Josephus is supposed to stand for a shorter autumn chronology.40 But this is not necessarily so. According to Josephus’ version in Bell., Petronius arrived in Ptolemais at the time of the sowing, that is October-November. Later, we hear that the Jews had already spent 50 days without taking care of the fields (II, 200). Finally, we see that ‘winter storms’ prevented Gaius’s messengers, who brought Petronius’ s death-sentence, from making a quick journey, whereas the ship bringing the message about the murder of Gaius had a ‘good journey’, and arrived 27 days earlier than the other one (II, 203). If a ‘good journey’ at this time of year is understood to take about a month,41 then the news about Gaius’s death should have reached Petronius at the end of February 41, and the death-sentence at the end of March. The ship is said to have been three months on its way (Bell II, 203). This implies that Petronius’s death-sentence could have been written in Rome and dispatched at the end of December 40. On this basis, we can conclude that Petronius’s recommendation to cancel the project could have been sent from Palestine in November 40. This is a little early to be preceded by 40 days of strike with regard to the sowing. Anyway, the main idea in Josephus is clear. He saw the events as being concentrated in the autumn of the year AD 40.

37 Cf. Suetonius, Gaius Caligula, LVIII. 38 According to Dio Cassius (LIX, 221), Gaius’s campaign was opened immediately after his birthday, 31 August 39. And according to Suetonius (Gaius Caligula, XLIX, 2), he returned to Rome, where he received an ovation on his birthday, 31 August 40. However, we know from a note in Acta Fratrum Arvalium, that Gaius was present and took part in a ceremony in a little town outside Rome as early as 29 May 40, cf. Balsdon 1934a, 21. It has to be assumed, therefore, that Gaius returned from the North in the spring of AD 40, but that he postponed his entry into Rome until his birthday. 39 Cf. FI 25ff. (and Ant XVIII, 238), 56 (cf. Dio Cassius LIX, 11,1ff.). 73ff. (81) and 116. 40 Thus e. g. Smallwood 1957, 6, and 1961, 31–36; Colson 1962, XXVII–XXXI, and Sijpesteijn 1964, 89–90. These three prefer Philo, whereas Graetz 1877, 761–772, and Balsdon 1934, 19 prefer Josephus. Schürer 1904, I, 506–507; Jones 1938, 196–197; Willrich 1903, 467–470, combines Philo and Josephus, but still gives preference to Philo in his basic acceptance of the longer springtime chronology. 41 Graetz 1977, 769, and Willrich 1903, 467. Likewise Sijpesteijn 1964, 90.

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This is confirmed by the information given in Ant. where, in addition, we hear about Petronius’s plan to establish the army’s winter quarters in Ptolemais (XVIII, 262). This situation is normally understood to be contradictory to the authoritative information by the contemporary witness, Philo, who informs us that the harvest was endangered during Petronius’s negotiations in Palestine (Leg 248–249 and 260). Since the harvest took place in the early summer, Petronius, according to Philo, would have been in Palestine as early as the spring of AD 40. This picture of Philo’s, however, is not consistent, since Leg 249 speaks at one and the same time about the crops and ἡ δενδροφόρος = the fruits from the trees. But this indicates both early and late summer at the same time.42 This is a plain contradiction which should lead to a critical attitude to Philo’s chronological information. Thus equipped, we turn to the chronology of the Jewish-Alexandrian embassy’s stay in Italy, which also has some bearing upon the chronology of Gaius’s project in Palestine. According to Leg 186ff., this embassy received the news about the project while it was waiting in Puteoli to be called in to an interview with the emperor. The question is, at what time was the embassy waiting in Puteoli? Because of Gaius’s expedition to the North, scholars usually assume that there are two possibilities, either the summer of 39 or the summer of 40, i. e. either before or after the expedition.43 Curiously enough, the main reason for proposing the summer of 39 is precisely the ambiguous and self-contradictory information in Leg 249 about the harvest. But this information cannot be alloted great argumentory force. Moreover, we read in the final dialogue between Gaius and the Jews (Leg 349ff.) that the latter refer to their sacrifices for imperial victory in Germany (Leg 356). But this obviously indicates that they were looking back to the German expedition, i. e. a time when Gaius had returned from the North. This implies that the interview took place after May 40. The conclusion, therefore, must be that Philo does not describe a clear springtime chronology. On the contrary. The information about the way in which the embassy learned about Gaius’s project in Palestine points to the summer of AD 40 as the time both of the issue of the orders, and of the embassy’s reception of it. This means that there is no real contradiction between Philo and Josephus, 42 Baldson 1934, 23, attempts to remove the ambiguity in Leg 249 by interpreting the ‘harvest’ as a late summer harvest produced by springtime sowing. Then, in Balsdon’s interpretation, both Philo and Josephus speak of a short autumn-centered chronology. However, according to Dalman 1928–1939, II, 217, and I, 2, 415, this sort of practice was probably unknown in Palestine in ancient times. The ambiguity in Leg 249, therefore, cannot be explained away. 43 Sijpesteijn 1964, 93, argues that the first interview took place before Gaius’s expedition to the North, whereas Schürer 1904, I, 501–502, holds that the two interviews occurred within a short time.

Conclusion

33

but only confusion in Philo’s account. Thus we are led to accept the shorter autumn chronology. The episode in Jamnia, then, probably took place in the early spring of AD 40. Capito supposedly reported to Gaius very soon after this event, and the emperor probably issued his orders in the early summer. Petronius could then have embarked upon his task in July-August. At this time, at the latest, Agrippa, his government, and the Jews in Palestine would have known about the impending crisis as well. This reconstruction, on the basis of Philo, fits well with the chronological evidence in Josephus’s accounts, and should consequently be regarded as historical.

8.

Conclusion

The above historical examination shows that the events in Palestine during the autumn of AD 40 constitute an important and well-witnessed link in the long series of clashes between the Jews and their foreign occupants in ancient times. All the ingredients for a major confrontation were present. Only Agrippa’s clever policy, combined with rather fortunate circumstances on the Roman side, prevented the conflict from developing into a full combat. This event is usually unfairly treated in the secondary literature. It is my hope that this study will inspire a change in this attitude in future accounts of Jewish history in the first century. Apart from being a contribution to the reconstruction of Jewish history during the crucial time prior to the Jewish war of AD 66–73, and during the period when Christianity was growing away from Judaism, the main conclusion of this study is concerned with the methodological sphere. It has, I think, demonstrated the importance of careful and comprehensive analysis of tendency and literary form in our sources as part of historical criticism. In principle, this is not new at all, but in the study of Philo and Josephus this type of analysis has not been widely applied. It is essential to grasp how Philo shapes his figures if we are to utilize his texts as informatory sources. And it is necessary to identify Josephus’s aims and intentions as a precondition for extraction of historical information from his accounts. Finally, this study should be regarded as yet another proof that Josephus is a better historian than was assumed during most of the last hundred years. Of course, Josephus is an ideological historian, like practically all other writers of history. And he certainly has definite ideas about the Romans and the Jews, and the relationship between them. But Josephus is apparently also seriously interested in history as such, in historical reality. This has been amply proved in recent decades by the archaeological discoveries in Israel. It has also been demonstrated, however, by recent historical studies on Josephus.44 In this study, 44 Cf. Shutt 1961; 1972; Betz, Haacker & Hengel 1974; Noack 1976.

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something similar has been experienced. Against the background of a critical analysis of all the source material available on the crisis in Palestine in AD 40, it may be said that Josephus has resisted more than our other witnesses the temptation to embed his description in overall theological schematization.

2:

The Causes of the Jewish War According to Josephus

I It is possible to see the main reason for the Jewish Revolt against Rome in the socio-economic conditions in Judaea in the first century A.D.1 Likewise one would point primarily to the maladministration of the Roman government under the prefects and procurators2. A third possibility is to concentrate one’s attention on the Jewish people’s religio-national aspirations towards autonomy, especially in the sense of theocracy and Messianic age3. Other interpretations have also been brought forward whereas the majority of scholars have preferred different combinations of these possibilities. They all, however rely on the same source material: mainly Josephus and, especially, his Jewish War (Bellum). There should, therefore, be good reason to analyse more systematically the reasons for the war, given by the historian himself.4 Such an analysis seems to be a necessary precondition for further progress in the learned discussion about the historical background of the Jewish rebellion.5 Such an analysis is, however, equally im-

1 Such as Meyer 1924, III, 74 n2, and, in particular, Kreissig 1970, 14–15 and passim. 2 So e. g. Graetz 1878, III, 472–474; Jack 1933, 273; Webster 1969, 60; Stern 1975, 150 and 161ff.; Smallwood 1976, 256–257 and 284; Theißen 1977, 44 and 63–64. 3 Thus e. g. Mommsen 1885, V, 530; Weber 1921, 27–30, 35–36 and elsewhere; Momigliano 1952, 850–852; Brandon 1951, 155; Farmer 1956, IX and passim; Hengel 1961, 190, 224ff. and passim; Rappaport 1967, 203–205; Prigent 1969, 8–9 and passim; Nikiprowetzky 1971, 464 and passim. 4 This is necessary also if one believes, as Laqueur 1920, 251–252, that Josephus in Bell., knew nothing about the causes of the war, and that his account in this work is a pure falsification. A similar position is represented by Drexler 1923–1925, 287, and by Eisler 1929–1930, I, 297. The position of these scholars cannot be properly assessed without a systematic survey of Josephus’ own interpretation of the causes of the war. 5 To my mind it is a major weakness in H. Kreissig’s work that such an analysis of Josephus’ own conception of the causes of the war is not carried out. When Kreissig writes that the underground guerilla-war-fare “nur in wenigen, flüchtigen Wendungen zwischen den Berichten über Hof- und Staatsaffären bei Josephus aufblitzt” (Kreissig 1970, 124), then it is only an assertion, hanging in the air, because a criterion of distinction between fact and tendency in

36

The Causes of the Jewish War According to Josephus

portant for the general assessment of Josephus and his works. In the light of his own difficult position between Judaea and Rome – and of the veritable conflicting interpretations of this position and its consequences for his writing – it would be fruitful to trace his own evaluation of the responsibility for the disastrous war.6 Is any consistent conception to be found in his works? What, especially, is his view of the role, played by Rome and the Roman governors? And, finally, is it possible to trace any development from earlier to later works?

II Generally, the historians of the Jewish war do not explicitly analyse the reasons for the war, stated by Josephus.7 In their analysis and description of the events leading up to their revolt they just follow, more or less strictly, the account given by Josephus in Bell., and The Antiquities (Ant.). Some scholars do, however, consider the character of Josephus’ account. But they confine themselves to discussing only one or a few of the causes mentioned by him. It has, for example, often been maintained that Josephus saw the main reason for the war in the policy and behaviour of the Jewish insurgents, the so-called robbers and imposters.8 This view of Josephus’ is then explained either as an expression of his Josephus has not been worked out. But such a criterion presupposes first and foremost a clear picture of Josephus’ own conception of the events he is describing. 6 According to the classical, “negative” school of Josephus-research the historian was a traitor to his people and a bribed flatterer of the Romans, especially of the Flavian Dynasty. So e. g. Graetz 1878–1902, III, 513–532; Bentwich 1914, 57, and passim; Hölscher 1916; Laqueur 1920, 255ff.; Weber 1921, 22ff., and Eisler 1929–1930, I, XXXV–X LIX and 261ff. On the other hand Josephus is seen as a realistic moderate, whose main concern was the defence of the Jewish people. Thus e. g. Niese 1896, 201–202; Dubnow 1925, III, 108; Thackeray 1929, 29 and elsewhere; Klausner 1950, V, 170–172 and 185ff.; Farmer 1956, 16–19; Zeitlin 1968–1969, 171– 214; Zeitlin 1969–1970, 180, 182, and passin; and Noack 1975, 15–22. Likewise most of the articles in Josephusstudien, Betz, Haacker und Hengel 1974. 7 This is the case in Graetz 1878, 470ff.; Mommsen 1885, V, 525ff.; Schürer 1904, 572ff.; Dubnow 1925, II, 419ff.; Dessau 1930, II, 2, 799ff.; Jones 1930, 223ff.; Riciotti 1948, 503ff.; Abel 1952, 455ff.; Momigliano 1952, 852; Hengel 1961, 6–18 and passim; Zeitlin 1962–1967, II, 229ff.; Kreissig 1970, passim; Vermes & Millar 1973, 485ff.; Stern 1975, 150, and ibid. 1974, 359ff.; Smallwood 1976, 256ff., discusses some of Josephus’ statements of the causes of the war, but in no systematic way. Only in Farmer 1956, 11–23, and in Prigent 1969, 9–10, I have been able to find some remarks on Josephus’ description of the war and its causes as a prolegomena to these writers’ own analysis of the problem. In the case of Prigent, however, it is in fact only a few words on one of Josephus’ causes, viz. the responsibility of the reactionaries. Farmer’s valuable chapter on Josephus is certainly the best that has been written on Josephus’ view of foe war and its origin. Particularly from a methodological point of view this study is meritorious. But even Farmer does not survey all the causes stated by Josephus. He underlines only Josephus’ apologetical criticism of the Jewish insurgents (1956, 12–19). 8 Cf. Bell. I, 10.27; VII, 113.253–255, and Ant. XVIII, 6ff. This interpretation of Josephus has been

The Causes of the Jewish War According to Josephus

37

wish, as a spokesman for the Flavian dynasty, to acquit the Romans of responsibility for the war and its tragic consequences,9 or understood as an attempt to exculpate the Jewish people as a whole.10 The majority of these scholars, however, maintain that Josephus’ view is historically unreliable and only a few can accept this assessment of the responsibility for the war.11 Attention has also been paid to the specific emphasis which Josephus has placed upon the responsibility of Gessius Florus, the last Roman procurator before the war.12 Several historians express a similar doubt with regard to the historicity of the importance which Josephus attaches to this factor.13 It has often been suggested that Josephus for one reason or another has exaggerated the negative role played by Florus.14 Only a few accept Josephus’ statement, although with reservations.15 Some scholars maintain that according to Josephus the main responsibility for the rebellion is placed upon both the Roman maladministration of the province and on the Jewish revolutionaries.16 Josephus’ main concern according to this interpretation was apologetically to protect the Jewish people from collective responsibility for the war.

9 10 11 12 13 14

15

16

brought forward by scholars as Graetz 1878–1902, 480–481; Krüger 1906, 48; Juster 1924, I, 12; Hölscher 1916, Sp. 1943; Weber 1921, 23–24, and 27; Dessau 1930, 819; Farmer 1956, 12–15; Michel & Bauernfeind 1959–1969, I, XX–XXI; Schalit 1967, XVIII; Thoma 1969, 44–48; Prigent 1969, 9; Kreissig 1970, 132, and Blenkinsopp 1974, 260 and 262. Thus e. g. Bentwich 1914, 57; Laqueur 1920, 229 and 256; Weber 1921, 23, 44, 54, and elsewhere; Eisler 1929–1930, I, XXXIX–XL and 335; Farmer 1956, 15–16 and 19–20; Hengel 1961, 10–11, and Williamson 1964, 276ff. So e. g. Niese 1896, 201–202; Krüger 1906, 48; Farmer 1956, 16–19, and Prigent 1969, 9–10. E. g. Jones 1938, 257, and Zeitlin 1968–1969, 191–192, as well as Zeitlin 1962–1967, 241. Cf. Bell. II, 280–283.293.296.305–308.318–320.331.333.420.531–532 and 558; Ant. XVIII, 25 and XX, 257. So e. g. Graetz 1978–1902, 482–483; Bentwich 1914, 120; Drexler 1923–1925, 282–283; Meyer 1924, III, 74 n2; Jones 1938, 235; Abel 1952, II, 479; Brandon 1951, 154 and 159; ibid. 1967, 128; Rappaport 1967, 201; Furneaux 1973, 78–79; Grant 1973, 182, and Stern 1975, 165. According to H. Graetz, loc. cit., Josephus here simply reflects the illusory view of the peaceparty in Jerusalem. In the opinion of M. Grant, loc. cit., Josephus hated Florus because of this governor’s Greek origin. M. Grant, F.-M. Abel, loc. cit., and Momigliano 1952, 856, suggest that Josephus in this way tried to cover the fact, that a major reason for the war was a Jewish refusal to pay the Imperial taxes (cf. Bell. II, 403–407). N. Bentwich, loc. cit., finds Josephus’ censure of Florus “illogical”, the historian’s pro-Roman attitude taken into account. Bentwich then attemps to understand this curious fact as an expression of a “Flavian policy” which contained censure of their predecessors. So Dubnow 1925, II, 421; Riciotti 1948, II, 515; Williamson 1964, 144 and Zeitlin 1962–1967, II, 231 and 246. Brandon 1951, 154, assumes that Josephus, in spite of his apologetic interest, is basically right, and Stern 1975, 165, makes an effort to understand Josephus’ description of Florus historically as referring to an attempt by Florus “to prevent them (the Jews) from instigating a judical examination of his office”. As a parallel M. Stern refers to Capito in Philo, Leg. 199, to the case of Pilate, and other examples in Josephus. So Jones 1938, 235, and Rappaport 1967, 201.

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The Causes of the Jewish War According to Josephus

These interpretations reflect different conceptions of Josephus’ main interest, of his aim and purpose in the description of the prehistory of the war. But they seem to agree on the idea that Josephus emphasized mainly one interpretation and was first and foremost interested, for whatever reason, in covering up the historical truth about the responsibility for the war. This state of affairs in research is not satisfying and demands further investigation. We shall try to shed light on the following questions; what are the reasons, all the reasons given by Josephus, for the war? To which of these does he attach the greatest importance? And what is his concern, his aim and purpose in the description of the events leading up to the revolt?

III In our analysis of these problems it is important to understand the nature of Josephus’ account. He is not a modern historical scholar who, having reached the outbreak of the war, does his best to present a systematical survey of all the different types of war-causes: socio- economic, national, cultural, and religious. Of course, he discusses the question of the causes of the war first and foremost in the paragraphs describing the period of the last procurator.17 And almost all discussions in the secondary literature are, unfortunately, referring to these texts alone. But Josephus’ dealing with the question of the causes of the war is far from restricted to these sections of Bell. and Ant. He deals with it in all his works, as we shall see. But for a full understanding it is necessary even to go beyond the paragraphs where the issue of responsibility is discussed directly. There are several texts where this question is considered indirectly too, viz. those where the responsibility for other troubles in Judaea, for example the riots after the death of Herod the Great in 4 B.C., is discussed. In the same way we must pay attention to texts which reflect Josephus’ view in general on Rome and on the Jewish rebels. Such texts have to be taken into account as they represent our historian’s view in general on the responsibility for clashes between Jews and Romans in Judaea. The different reasons brought forward by Josephus are, moreover, of a very mixed character. In a number of paragraphs he points to Roman responsibility for the war. In others he stresses the guilt of the Jewish rebels. In some texts he concentrates upon more subtle theological reasons, as for example the neglect of traditional Jewish customs, caused by Herod’s innovations.18 In one text he brings forward a Kleinigkeit as the Levitical attempt to obtain partial equality 17 Cf. Bell. II, 277–421 and Ant. XX, 252–258. 18 Cf. Ant. XV, 267.

The Causes of the Jewish War According to Josephus

39

with the priesthood.19 He is also able to make a ludicrous suggestion, as in Vita 41, where he promises to prove that Justus and his brother were “almost” responsible for the catastrophe. In this way Josephus presents, scattered all over his works, a great number of different causes for the war, and it seems to be an important task to interpret the nature and purpose of these texts in a way corresponding to the author’s intentions. We have, therefore, to look up all these texts where the issue of the war-responsibility is discussed, whether directly or indirectly. Moreover, we have to analyse the different types of causes which are mentioned in Josephus’ works. Only then will we be able to form a more precise idea of Josephus’ own conception of this crucial question.

IV Josephus describes the disturbances in Caesarea, Florus’ appropriation of the 17 talents from the Temple treasury, and the interruption in Jerusalem of the daily sacrifices for the Roman Emperor as the immediate releasing causes of the war. Nero’s decision in the civil strife in Caesarea between the Jews and the SyroGreeks is described as the “opening” of the war.20 During the following quarrel the Jews attempted to bribe Florus. The procurator, however, did nothing to prevent further unrest, thus, according to Josephus, “leaving a free field to sedition” (Bell. II, 288). Finally, after the Jewish flight to Narbata, Florus intervened, but only in order to punish the Jews (Bell. II, 292). Florus’ behaviour is commented on by Josephus in the following way: “Accordingly, instead of betaking himself, as he should have done, to Caesarea, to extinguish the flames of war, there already breaking out, and to root out the cause of these disorders – a task 19 Cf. Ant. XX, 218. See also Bell. VI, 311, where Josephus asserts that the reason for the fall of Jerusalem and the Temple was that “ the Jews, after the demolition of Antonia, reduced the temple to a square, although they had it recorded in their oracles that the city and the sanctuary would be taken when the temple should become four-square”. 20 Cf. Bell. II, 284: “Meanwhile the Greeks of Caesarea had won their case at Caesar’s tribunal, and obtained from him the government of the city; they brought back with them the text of the decision, and it was now that the war opened, in the twelfth year of the principate of Nero. In Ant. XX, 182–184 Josephus apparently has acquired new information and is able to tell, that Nero’s decision was due to the influence of a certain Beryllus. Some scholars as Schürer 1904, I, 580, and Grant 1973, 177, therefore believe, that Josephus is inaccurate in the dating of the imperial decision concerning Caesarea, because Beryllus according to Tacitus, Annales XIV, 65 died in the year 62. Yet there is not necessarily a contradiction here, as the case could have remained at court for a longer period, cf. Dessau 1930, 801–803. As for the significance of Nero’s decision, however, there is no doubt of Josephus’ interpretation: “This rescript provided the basis that led to the subsequent misfortunes that befell our nation. For the Jewish inhabitants of Caesarea, when they learned of Nero’s rescript, carried their quarrel with the Syrians further and further until at last they kindled the flames of the war” (Ant. XX, 184).

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for which he had been paid – he marched with an army of cavalry and infantry upon Jerusalem, in order to obtain his object with the aid of the Roman arms …” (Bell. II, 296). In the account of Florus’ appropriation of money from the Sanctuary Josephus interprets Florus’ act as an expression of his personal greediness. The reference to “the requirements of the imperial service” is dismissed as a “pretext”.21 Just as Josephus underlined Florus’ neglect of his duties in Caesarea, so he describes emphatically his cruelty in Jerusalem, carried out as a conscious provocation to war.22 Along with the events in Caesarea and Florus’ policy in Jerusalem Josephus does stress the interruption of the daily sacrifice for the Emperor as a war-provocation.23 According to Josephus, the revolt was triggered off by these three causes. In the following account Josephus refers to a number of events which have advanced or accelerated the rebellious process. First he mentions the butchering of the Roman garrison in Herod’s palace.24 A similar accelerating factor is seen in the mutual massacre of Jews and non-Jews in the Hellenistic cities in Palestine.25 Finally, Josephus describes the retreat and defeat of Cestius Gallus as a fateful cause for further hostilities.26 After Gallus’ defeat the war had to take its course. Josephus’ considerations concerning the causes of the war are, however, not confined to this assessment of the events leading immediately up to the war. Elsewhere he discusses more fundamental causes of the rebellion which are not necessarily connected with the specific historical situation in Palestine in 66 A.D. 21 Cf. Bell. II, 293. Likewise in II, 331 Josephus does emphasize the greediness of Florus as a motive for his desire to occupy Antonia. 22 Cf. Bell. II, 305–308 and 282.283. 23 Cf. Bell. II, 409–410 and 417: “This action laid the foundation for the war with the Romans” (409) and: “even the Temple ministers failed to come to their (the peace-party’s) support and were thus instrumental in bringing about the war” (417). According to Nikiprowetzky 1971, 467 (note), this was for Josephus the only or main cause of the revolt. 24 Cf. Bell. II, 452–455: “To the Romans this injury – the loss of a handful of men out of a boundless army – was slight; but to the Jews it looked like a prelude to their ruin” (454). 25 Cf. Vita 24b–27, where Josephus calls the massacre of the Jews in these cities “a further ground for hostility” (24b). 26 Cf. Vita 24a: “This reverse of Cestius proved disastrous to our whole nation”. Likewise Bell. II, 531: “Had he (Cestius Gallus), at that particular moment, decided to force his way through the walls, he would have captured the city forthwith, and the war would have been over”. See also 532b. In our context this interpretation of Josephus’ is decisive. Why Gallus actually retreated is quite another issue. According to Josephus it was due to Florus having bribed some of Gallus’ higher officers. A number of scholars, such as H. Graetz, S. Dubnow, G. Riciotti, S. G. F. Brandon, S. Zeitlin, and E. M. Smallwood speculate along more strategic lines and point to the size of Gallus’ army, the strenght of Jerusalem’s defences, the time of the year and so on. It is, however, not excluded, that no logic reason whatsoever existed for Gallus’ astonishing move, cf. Dessau 1930, 806: “Weshalb nicht eingestehen, dass im J. 66 ein kaiserlich römischer General im entscheidenden Moment den Kopf verloren hat, wie vier Jahre vorher ein anderer” (Faetus in Armenia).

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It is well-known that the historian in a number of texts emphasises the warresponsibility of the Jewish war-party.27 Josephus sometimes closely related to an emphasis of Roman innocence of the tragedy in Jerusalem – that the cause of the disaster came from within the Jewish people.28 This conception is stated more exactly in references to “the authors of the revolt” as those truly responsible for the fall of Jerusalem.29 Especially the founders and supporters of the Fourth Philosophy have to bear the burden of guilt.30 “These men”, Josephus writes, “sowed the seed of every kind of misery, which so afflicted the nation that words are inadequate” (Ant. XVIII, 6). With their new philosophy they instigated the waves of brigandry, civil strife, and murder which was to become so characteristic of the period from Archelaos to Florus “until at last the very temple of God was ravaged by the enemy’s fire through this revolt”.31 Josephus is undoubtedly interested in emphazising the responsibility of the Fourth Philosophy and its various factions. This can easily be seen also from the way in which he describes these groups or the war-party in general. They are called “robbers” and “brigands” so often that it is difficult to count the loci. They are often described as “madmen”.32 They are abused as “slaves” and social inferiors,33 as “drunken”,34 as “tyrants”,35 or just as “wicked”,36 even if this is not the whole truth about Josephus’ description of the Jewish rebels.37 27 This is directly emphasized in Bell. I, 10; VII, 113; Ant. XVIII, 6.8 and 10. In texts as Bell. III, 454–455 (Tiberias), ID, 492–493 and 500 (Tarichaea) and IV, 84–86 (Gischala) it is maintained that the war-party forced the peaceful inhabitants in the towns to revolt. Further Josephus in a number of texts touches more indirectly the war-guilt of the Jewish war-party. This is the case in Bell. II, 409–410 and 417, where the war-party is said to push for the interruption of the sacrifice for the Emperor, and in a number of similar texts. Because of the persistent confusion concerning the terms “Zealots” and “Sicarii” I have here preferred terms as “warparty”, “revolutionaries” and the “Fourth Philosophy”. 28 Cf. Bell. I, 12: “… and, since the blame lay with no foreign nation …”. Likewise Bell. V, 257: “… and that all the tragedy of it may properly he ascribed to her own people, all the justice to the Romans”, and Bell. VI, 251: “The flames, however, owed their origin and cause to God’s own people”. 29 So in the words of Titus, Bell. VII, 113; “… but heaping curse upon the criminal authors of the revolt, who had brought this chatisement upon it” (Jerusalem). 30 Cf. Ant. XVIII, 1–10 and 23–25. Compare Bell. VII, 253ff., and 323ff. According to Farmer 1956, 12, Ant. XVIII, 1–10 is “the crucial passage in which Josephus deals with the origin of the war of the Jews against Rome”. But this view is certainly exaggerated. 31 Ant. XVIII, 7–8. In the same way in Ant. XVIII, 10: “ My reason for giving this brief account of it (the Fourth Philosophy) is chiefly that the zeal which Judas and Zadok inspired in the younger elements meant the ruin of our cause”, and Ant. XVIII, 25: “ The folly that ensued began to afflict the nation after Gessius Florus”. 32 32) Cf. Vita 18–19; Bell. II, 265 and 651; III, 454; VII, 267 and 437; Ant. XVII, 215, 274 and 277. 33 Cf. Vita 35; Bell. II, 585b; IV, 508–510 and V, 443. 34 Cf. Bell. V, 21 and 23. 35 Cf. Bell. I, 10–11 and 27; II, 442 (Menahem); II, 447 (Eleazar ben Jair); II, 652 (Simon bar Giora); IV, 166 and VI, 98 (John from Gischala).

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It is, however, equally clear that Josephus places responsibility upon the Roman administration in Palestine, especially in Judaea, as well. We have already seen how he describes Florus as chief responsible. According to Josephus this procurator was the worst of all the Roman governors in Judaea.38 His brutality and crimes went so far that he felt compelled to mastermind a plan for a Jewish revolt in order to avoid accusations and trial in Rome.39 Responsibility is likewise placed upon the Emperor, Nero, as far as his decision concerning the civil rights in Caesarea is described as a basis for the war.40 Moreover, Josephus also combines the responsibility of the Romans and that of the Jewish war-party. He describes the anarchy under Albinus, pictures how the revolutionaries were strengthened by the policy of this procurator and concludes in the following way: “from this date were sown in the city the seeds of its impending fall”.41 In the same way Josephus does censure Felix for his cooperation with the “brigands”.42 Josephus’ criticism of the Romans is even more extensive. His description of Cesrius Gallus’ handling of the whole crisis in 66 is obviously critical.43 In particular the account of Gallus’ failure to complete his attack on Jerusalem is negative towards the Roman Legate in Syria.44 It is, moreover, not only towards the Roman mistakes in the period immediately preceding the war that Josephus is critical. All over his account of Judaea under Roman rule we find the same, specific attitude towards the Romans: the fair and reasonable governors are portrayed with sympathy, as Caesar, Augustus, Claudius, Vitellius and Petronius, whereas the governors hostile to the Jews are 36 Cf. Bell. II, 538–539. 37 This seems to be the opinion of Prigent 1969, 9: “Josèphe ne parle jamais de Judas, puis des Zélotes, sans les qualifler de bandits, trompeurs, fous et autres noms tout aussi péjoratif”. This view, however, is wrong. Dessau 1930, 819, underlines correctly, that Josephus’ accusations and abuse should be seen as a kind of topos and be compared with Polybius’ words about his Greek compatriots who were unwilling to recognize foe might of Rome. Dessau, moreover, is also right in stressing that “übrigens hat seine Parteistellung Josephus nicht verhindert, die Heldentaten der von ihm so gehassten Verteidiger Jerusalems rühmend anzuerkennen, oft mit Nennung von Namen”. This has to be remembered along with the fact that Josephus more often calls the insurgents οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι and οἱ στασίαστοι than anything else. 38 Cf. Bell. II, 277–279. 39 Cf. Bell. II, 282–283.293.318.333.420.531–532; Ant. XVIII, 25 and XX, 257. 40 Cf. Bell. II, 284 and Ant. XX, 182–184. 41 Cf. Bell. II, 272–276. Compare also Ant. XX, 215. 42 Cf. Ant. XX, 162–165. 43 Cf. Bell. II, 280–282.333–341 and 499–558. 44 Cf. Bell. II, 540: “At any rate, Cestius, realizing neither the despair of the besieged not the true temper of the people, suddenly recalled his troops, renounced his hopes, without having suffered any reverse, and, contrary to all calculation, retired from the city”, and 558: “Cestius dispatched Saul and his companions, at their request, to Nero in Achaia, to inform him of the straits to which they were reduced, and to lay upon Florus the responsibility for the war; for he hoped, by exiting Nero’s resentment against Florus, to diminish the risk to himself”.

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censured, as Crassus, Gaius Caligula, Sabinus, Pilatus, Cumanus, Felix, Albinus, and Florus. As an example of this pattern it can be noticed that Josephus places a great deal of responsibility for the riots after the death of Herod the Great in the year 4 B.C. upon the Roman imperial procurator, Sabinus.45 There is also a clear critical tendency in Josephus’ description of Gaius Caligula’s attempt to desecrate the Temple, whereas Petronius in contrast to Gaius is praised for his proJewish attitude.46 In a few cases Josephus even underlines the general hardships of the Roman rule.47 In this context, finally, it cannot be overlooked either that Josephus’ description of the Roman warfare in Palestine in the years 66–70 A.D. to some extent is negative.48 In his reference to the conflict in Caesarea Josephus touches a third of the more fundamental causes of the war, namely the struggle between the Jewish and the Syro-Greek populations in Palestine.49 An important aspect of this conflict, in the view of Josephus, was the ethnic composition of the Roman auxiliaries in Palestine, because these were dominated precisely by natives among the nonJewish inhabitants.50 According to Josephus this state of affairs was a direct contributory cause of the war.51 In fact, one of the first consequences of the rebellion seems to have been a series of grave clashes between these hereditary enemies.52

45 Cf. Bell. II, 41.49–50; Ant. XVII, 252–254.257 and 264. 46 Cf. Bell. II, 184–203 and Ant. XVIII, 261–309. An analysis of this episode has been given in my article, Bilde 1978. 47 Cf. Ant. XX, 260, where it in the summary of the book is stated: “It also comprises all that we suffered at the hands of Assyrians and Babylonians, and the harsh tratment that we received from the Persians and Macedonians and after them the Romans”. 48 Cf. e. g. Bell. II, 494–498.504–516; III, 62–63.110.132–134.304.431;VI, 353ff., and Yavetz 1975, 415. It is not possible here to give a thoroughgoing analysis of the view of Rome which can be extracted from Josephus’ works. The historian’s relation to Rome is, however, a rather complex affair. This was not realized earlier when he mostly was understood as simply proRoman, cf. the scholars mentioned in the notes 6 and 9. Or the pro-Roman sections in Bell., were seen as reflections of an underlying Roman source, cf. Weber 1921, passim; Schlatter 1983, 97–118; ibid 1923, 1–64, Nikiprowetsky 1971, 482–486. In recent years, however, scholars have discovered more of this complexity, as can be seen from studies as Guttmann 1928, 40; Bruce 1965, 160; Zeitlin 1968–1969, 179ff.; Nikiprowetsky 1971, 486–490. (This author claims that Josephus at the same time reproduces parts of a Roman source and expresses genuine Jewish Messianism); Lindner 1972, 42–48; de Jonge 1974, 211–212; Van Unnik 1974, 246, and, in particular, Blenkinsopp 1974, p. 242 and 245. 49 Cf. the texts mentioned in note 20. 50 Cf. Ant. XIX, 357.365–366 and Bell. II, 268. 51 Cf. Ant. XIX, 366: “These men, in the period that followed, proved to be a source of the greatest disaster to the Jews by sowing the seed of war in Florus’ time”. 52 Cf. Bell. II, 457–498. The hatred of the Syro-Greeks for the Jews is also reflected in Bell. III, 409–411. Josephus here describes the warm welcome given by the Caesareans to Vespasian as “prompted partly by goodwill towards the Romans, but mainly by hatred of the vanquished”

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Along with these more familiar ones Josephus considers a number of other, fundamental causes for the Jewish revolt and the fall of Jerusalem. In the introduction to Bell., he refers with grief to the fact that his country “owed its ruin to civil strife”.53 The expression στάσις οι᾿κεία obviously contains a hint to the civil strife within the Jewish people during the war, a condition which Josephus describes in several texts.54 It involves, however, also a reference to a more fundamental disunity in the people, a disunity which for Josephus is fateful and leads to the fall of the nation. He considers this aspect in his reflections in Bell. IV, 386– 388 on the recklessness of the rebels in Jerusalem: “Every human ordinance was trampled under foot, every dictate of religion ridiculed by these men, who scoffed at the oracles of the prophets as impostors’ fables. Yet those predictions of theirs contained much concerning virtue and vice, by the transgression of which the Zealots brought upon their country the fulfilment of the prophecies directed against it. For there was an ancient saying of inspired men that the city would be taken and the sanctuary burnt to the ground by right of war, whensoever it should be visited by sedition and native hands should be the first to defile God’s sacred precincts”. The specific idea, that the fall of Jerusalem and the Temple was due to internal strife, is also expressed elsewhere.55 In a number of texts, moreover, Josephus returns more generally to the disastrous results of internal strife.56 In these texts it is stressed – in different contexts – that strife and disunity within the people is generating awful consciences. In Vita as well we can observe the negative importance Josephus attaches to civil strife. According to his own account, one of his main concerns as a governor in Galilee was to avoid disunity and bloodshed within the Jewish people.57 It seems, therefore, that Josephus attaches some higher significance to the unity of his people.58 And as unity is the result of all members of the community living in accordance with the laws of Moses, disunity is a sin which will eventually be punished.

53 54 55 56 57

58

(410). According to Smallwood 1976, 256, “Josephus is probably right in seeing this concession (to the non-Jews of Palestine) as a contributory cause to the revolt of 66”. Cf. Bell. 1,10: ὅτι γὰρ ἀυτὴν στάσις οι᾿κεία. This cause is underlined also by Yavetz 1975, 422. For example Bell. III, 448–457 (Tiberias): III, 492–502 (Tarichaea) and IV, 121–397, (Jerusalem). Cf. Bell. V, 257: “For I maintain that it was sedition (στάσις) that subdued the city“. Cf. Ant. XI, 299–300; XIII, 307–318; XIV, 77–88.491; XVIII, 8; Bell. V, 19; CAp. II, 50, and others. Cf. Vita 100.264–265.321 and 376–380. We are here dealing with the assertion of Josephus, not with his factual behavior. It is interesting, however, to observe how well these claims fit with Josephus’ theoretical considerations. Compare to this the remarks of Blenkinsopp 1974, 244, on Bell. III, 351–354. Cf. his more ideal considerations in CAp. II, 179–181, where it is strongly maintained that social and national unity depend on religious unity. Compare the numerous appeals to unity in Paul’s epistles, e. g. 1 Cor. 1–4 and Phil. 1–2.

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Through these observations we have reached Josephus’ theological considerations on the reasons for the war.59 In a series of texts he explains the final fall of Jerusalem and the Temple as a result of the war-party’s transgressions of the few. After the perfidious butchering of the Roman garrison in Herod’s palace the Jews in Jerusalem are said to look upon this act as “the prelude to their ruin”.60 This they did, partly because the city was now “polluted by such a stain of guilt as could not but arouse a dread of some visitation from heaven, if not of the vengeance of Rome”.61 This crime was the more awful, as it was committed on a Sabbath.62 In practically the same way Josephus does comment on the murder of the high priests, Ananus and Jesus, committed in Jerusalem by the Idumeans.63 In his description of the internal struggle between Simon bar Giora and John from Gischala Josephus places specific emphasis upon the fact that worshippers were killed in the Temple itself.64 This is estimated worse than anything the city suffered by Romans because it is interpreted as the abolition of the Temple as a sanctuary: “For thou wert no longer God’s place, nor couldest thou survive, after becoming a sepulchre for the bodies of thine own children and converting the sanctuary into a charnel-house of civil war”.65 59 Very few scholars pay attention to this aspect of Josephus’ conception, Weber 1921, 23, mentions it once in a comment on Bell. II, 539. He finds that Josephus’ reference to God’s vengeance only “ist die verkniffene Einführung eines irrationalen Moments, eine unwürdige Verschleierung der Vorgänge und der Schuldfrage”. Guttmann 1928, 44–46, writes that Josephus by his references to God’s plan is led by the desire to spare and exculpate the Romans, Williamson 1964, 139f., 151 and 154, does mention this factor, but without any attempt to analyse it. Dessau 1930, 808, is to my knowledge the only scholar who believes that the theological reasons given by Josephus reflect real attitudes among some of the Jews at the time of the war. But even Dessau does not go into any analysis of these considerations as meaningful expressions of a distinct conception, maintained by the historian. 60 Cf. Bell. II, 454. 61 Cf. Bell. II, 455. It is possible that Josephus refers to this incident also in Bell. II, 539: “But God, I suppose, because of those miscreants, had already turned away even from His sanctuary and ordained that that day (the day of Gallus’ retreat) should not see the end of the war”. Josephus may also have had other misdeeds in mind, such as Menahem’s murder of the high priest, Ananias and his brother, Ezechias (Bell. II, 441), or Eleazar ben Ananias’ slaying of Menahem (Bell. II, 445–448). 62 Cf. Bell. II, 456. See also II, 517, where we are told that the Jews gave up the celebration of the festival of the Tabernacles, and on the very day of the Sabbath rushed out to fight Gallus. By reading these texts we are reminded of the section in King Agrippa’s speech at the Xystos in Jerusalem, where the king warns the Jews that in case of war it would be impossible for them to preserve their traditional religious rules (Bell. II, 391–394). 63 Cf. Bell. IV, 318: “I should not be wrong in saying that the capture of the city began with the death of Ananus: and that the overthrow of the walls and the downfall of the Jewish state dated from the day on which the Jews beheld their high priest, the captain of their salvation, butchered in the heart of Jerusalem”. 64 Cf. Bell. V, 11–18. 65 Cf. Bell. V, 19. Here as well as in V, 20; I, 9 and V, 566 we meet some of the strongest utterances of Josephus’ personal grief.

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However, it is not only the final fall of the city and the Temple that Josephus understands as results of sinful transgressions. In some texts he views the war as a whole in this way. This is the case with the murder of the high priest, Jonathan, jointly committed in the Temple itself by Felix, Doras – Jonathan’s best friend –, and the Sicarii.66 As this murder remained unpunished, Josephus remarks, it opened up a period of terror, committed “even in some cases in the Temple” (Ant. XX, 165). And “this is the reason why, in my opinion, even God Himself, for loathing of their impiety, turned away from our city and, because He deemed the temple to be no longer a clean dwelling place for Him, brought the Romans upon us and purification by fire upon the city, while He inflicted slavery upon us together with our wives and children; for He wished to chasten us by these calamities”.67 This is an important text in so far as Josephus here combines the responsibility of the Romans (Felix) and the Jewish war-party (the Sicarii) under an overall theological contemplation of guilt and fate.68 In his theological reflections Josephus at times moves at an even more abstract level. There are texts in which he attributes the cause of the war to the transgressions in general of the Jewish people. This, for example, is the case in Bell. IV, 323.69 Here Josephus may still be thinking of the “pollutions” committed during the war, although he is talking of something different than the actual murders of Ananus and Jesus. Perhaps he is referring to “pollutions” as the murder of Jonathan under Felix.70 In the case of the Levitical attempt to obtain certain privileges, however, there is no word of the war-party any longer.71 This was a matter of Jewish tradition alone, and Josephus regards the innovations with the utmost seriousness: “All this was contrary to the ancestral laws, and such transgression was bound to make us liable to punishment”.72 In precisely the 66 Cf. Ant. XX, 162–164. 67 Cf. Ant. XX, 166. See also the text in XX, 167: “With such pollution did the deeds of the brigands infect the city”. 68 We have here to remember the text in Ant. XI, 299–300 according to which the awful murder of Jesus, committed in the Temple by his brother the high priest John, was punished by God in such a way that the whole people came to suffer: “The Deity, however, was not indifferent to it, and it was for this (very) reason that the people were made slaves and the temple was defiled by the Persians”. 69 “But it was, I suppose, because God had, for its pollutions, condemned the city to destruction and desired to purge the sanctuary by fire, that He thus cut off those (Ananus and Jesus) who clung to them with such tender affection”. 70 Cf. Ant. XX, 162–164. 71 Cf. Ant. XX, 216–218. 72 Cf. Ant. XX, 218. This text is discussed by Williamson 1964, 139–140, who on this background believes that the pretended Josephus-text in Eusebius, HE, II, 23, 20, is authentic: “After reading Josephus’ comment on the linen robes”, Williamson remarks, “we shall hardly question the authenticity of Eusebius’ quotation” (p. 140). Eusebius’ text runs so in the translation of Kirsope Lake in the Loeb Classical Library: “Of course Josephus did not shrink from giving written testimony to this (the fall of Jerusalem as a punishment for the death of

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same way Josephus looks upon certain innovations, introduced under Herod the Great.73 These texts ought to be read on the background of Ant. IV, 312–314, where Josephus in a characteristic way actualizes the exhortations of Moses in Deut. 28: “Moses foretold, as revealed to him by the Divinity, that if they transgressed His rites, they would experience afflictions of such sort that their land would be filled with the arms of enemies, their cities razed, their temple burnt; that they would be sold into slavery to men who would take no pity on their misfortunes …”. Here Josephus is obviously referring to the tragedies in the history of Juda and Israel, but, in all probability, he has also in mind the experiences of the Jewish people in his own time.74 The Fourth Philosophy itself as a doctrine is conceived by Josephus as such a sinful transgression: “Here is a lesson that an innovation and reform in ancestral traditions weighs heavily in the scale in leading to the destruction of the congregation of the people”.75 The Fourth Philosophy was an innovation in Jewish “philosophy” and as such it caused – apart from its immediate dangerous consequences – chastisement from Heaven.

James), as follows: “And these things (the fall of Jerusalem) happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ, for the Jews killed him in spite of his great righteousness”. Of course Williamson has not by these remarks, proved the authenticity of this text, quoted above. Several reasons speak against it, as the general term “the Jews” in this use. Likewise the fact, that this text, contrary to the foregoing and the following by Eusebius is not located to any specific book of Josephus. Nevertheless – as we have seen – Josephus could have written something similar to the text in Eusebius, because it in its structure and idea is in accordance with the genuine texts of Josephus concerning the causes of the war. 73 Cf. Ant. XV, 267: “For this reason Herod went still farther in departing from the native customs, and through foreign practices he gradually corrupted the ancient way of life, which had hitherto been inviolable. As a result of this we suffered considerable harm at a later time as well, because those things were neglected which had formerly induced piety in the masses”. Josephus’ dislike of religious and political innovations is also stressed by Montgomery 1920– 1921, 283. 74 Josephus apparently has a predilection for actualizing history. It happens several times that he in the description of the past makes an excurtion to the present, drawing lines and parallels, as in Ant. VIII, 45–49; X, 276; XV, 391; XV, 403–408; XVII, 27–28 and several others. 75 Ant. XVIII, 9. In this text there is a problem of translation as it is not quite clear what is meant by συνελθοῦσιν. L. H. Feldman offers the following alternative translation: (leading to) the destruction of those who handle it (that is the innovators)”. For our purpose the choice of translation does not make any difference, because the main-idea – that a change in the tradition of the fathers is destructive – is independent of the two possibilities of translation. Cf. also Bell. VII, 264, where John of Gischala is said to have transcended the traditional laws of food and purity, and VII, 267–268.

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V So far we have seen the extent to which Josephus is absorbed by the question of the causes of the great revolt. We have obtained an impression of the various ways in which he approaches the issue. We now have to analyse the different kinds of reasons given and the different levels of reflection pursued in order to penetrate into the conception – if any such exists – which moved Josephus. But first it is necessary to raise the question of the relationship between the presentations in Bell. and Ant. Is there any significant difference in the interpretation of the causes of the war in these two major works of Josephus? Is it possible to speak of a development in his attitude towards Rome and the Jewish people, as maintained by a number of scholars? 76 Obviously the so-called accelerating causes are mentioned only in Bell., because the account in Ant. simply breaks off before the actual outbreak of the rebellion. This is also the reason why there is no full presentation in Ant. of the immediately releasing causes. The interruption of the sacrifice for the Emperor is not mentioned. Neither is Florus’ appropriation of money from the Temple treasury. But both omissions are due to the specific character of the account in Ant. and not necessarily to any change in the attitude of Josephus. On the other hand the events in Caesarea are briefly described in Ant. XX, 184, as well as the particular responsibility of Florus.77 However, the material in Ant. on the development of the revolutionary events in the summer of 66 A.D. is simply too sparse to make out the basis of any serious comparison. A possible difference between Bell., and Ant., therefore, must be found in the presentation of the more fundamental reasons for the war. As for the responsibility of the Jewish war-party there is, however, no essential difference. Naturally, the description in Bell., is more preoccupied with this issue, but again this is explained by the subjectmatter of the book. There can be no doubt that Josephus in Ant. expresses the same opinion on the Jewish rebels as in Bell.78 As for the responsibility of the Romans, the state of things is similar, both with regard to the direct and the indirect description of their responsibility for the war.79 What is omitted from Ant. is once again material lying beyond the horizon of the Book, as for example the description of Cestius Gallus’ mistakes. In Bell., on the other hand, we find no parallel to Ant. XX, 260 with its reference to the 76 Thus in particular Laqueur 1920, 162f., 215ff., 229 and 259ff. But it is almost an accepted dogma that Bell., is more pro-Roman and pro-Flavian, whereas Ant. is more Jewish-nationalistic. Cf. Bentwich 1914, 57 and 72; Farmer 1956, 63–65; Hengel 1961, 12; Grant 1970, 261, and Stern 1974, 20–21. Thackeray 1929, 52, distinguishes less sharply between the two works. 77 Cf. Ant. XVIII, 25 and XX, 257. 78 Cf. Ant. XVIII, 8.10 and 25. 79 Compare the material presented in the notes 38–48.

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general suffering under Roman rule. This omission, however, is in a way counterbalanced by the unveiled description in Bell., of the brutality of the Roman warfare in Palestine.80 There is some difference between the accounts in Bell., and Ant. regarding the assessment of the significance of the struggle between the Jews and the SyroGreeks as a cause of the war. Both presentations refer to the conflict in Caesarea, but only in Ant. does Josephus point directly to the importance of the ethnic composition of the Roman auxiliaries in Palestine as a factor contributing to the outbreak of the revolt.81 On the other hand there are frequent hints in Bell., as well to the general significance of this factor for the development of the war.82 Although only in Bell., the disunity of the Jewish people is directly regarded as a cause of the collapse of Jerusalem, there are, as we have seen, plenty of similar considerations in other works of Josephus.83 It is mainly in Bell., that the fall of Jerusalem and the Temple is seen as a consequence of sinful transgressions, committed by the Jewish war-party.84 The same sort of reflection, however, is represented in Ant. as well, although to a more modest extent.85 At the same time it is mainly in Ant. that the war is understood as a result of transgressions committed by the Jewish people in general.86 But once again, the idea is likewise found in Bell.87 The consequence seems to be that it is difficult to speak of any significant variance in Josephus’ presentation of the causes of the war in his two principal works. Apart from insignificant differences it is along the same lines that the author considers this central issue. The Jewish people as a whole, the Romans and the Jewish revolutionaries are portrayed mainly in the same way in the two works. As a result, it seems to be with insufficient foundation that Ant. is characterised as a more “nationalistic” book than Bell., as far as the reasons for the war are concerned. On the contrary, it appears from this survey that Josephus’ basic

80 There is no reason to hide the contradiction between this description on the one hand and the accentuations of Roman humanity and innocence in the tragedy in Jerusalem (Bell. I, 10; V, 257 etc.) on the other hand. 81 Cf. the notes 50 and 51. 82 The text in Bell. II, 268 should be mentioned in this context: “The latter (the Jews) had the advantage of superior wealth and physical strength, the Greeks that of the support of the military; for the troops stationed here were mainly levied by the Romans from Syria, and were consequently always ready to lend aid to their compatriots”. Indirectly this text expresses the same view as Ant. XIX, 366. Cf. also Bell. II, 502 and the texts mentioned in note 52. 83 Cf. the text mentioned in the notes 56, 57 and 58. 84 Cf. the material collected in the notes 60–64. 85 Cf. the notes 66–68. 86 Cf. the notes 70–73. 87 Cf. note 69.

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political conception seems to have remained unchanged in the long period from the 70’ties to the 90’ties).88

VI A second conclusion of our study is the observation that the question of the causes of the war seems to have absorbed Josephus much more than is usually assumed. He is dealing with this problem not only in Bell., but in all his works, and he returns to it again and again. It is worth noticing that the issue turns up in the most different contexts, as the description of Herod and the presentation of Moses’ exhortation to the people.89 Moreover, it confronts us in the prefaces to Bell., as well as to Vita and Ant.90 The causes of the Jewish war thus seem to have been an issue of major importance to Josephus. Our third conclusion is that Josephus’ reflections on this problem are of a manifold and complex nature. The historian approaches it from many angles in an attempt to understand why the war had to come. Most obvious are, of course, the tangible events leading up to the outbreak of the revolt and, thereafter, accelerating the revolutionary process. Here Josephus is able to mention wellknown persons and dates. It is much more complicated to answer the question why it came to the explosive situation in May-June 66 A.D. Here again there are different levels of reflection in his description. Easily Josephus can point to expressions of Roman brutality and maladministration as causes of the dangerous development in Judaea. He is also able to emphasize the significance of the Fourth Philosophy and the growing influence it obtained, thanks to Roman mistakes. Moreover, our historian underlines the contributory influence of the important conflict between Jews and Syro-Greeks in Palestine, which was a cause of constant disturbance in the first century A.D. And yet he is not satisfied with these explanations. Still he cannot fully understand and explain why these factors necessarily had to lead to the catastrophe of the Jewish war. At least it is a fact that Josephus attempts to proceed further in his search for an explanation. As he was a first century Jew he did not turn to a kind of socio-economic interpretation, but to theological reflection. In the tradition of the Bible he looked for the final reasons for the war in the general attitude of the Jewish people and its leaders.91 In a narrower sense Josephus looks upon the 88 There is much to be said in favour of the assumption, that Josephus’ conception in fact goes even further back in time, as he himself claims in Vita 17–23, cf. Zeitlin 1968–1969, 180ff. and Lindner 1972, 57–59. 89 Cf. Ant. XV, 267 and IV, 312–314. 90 Cf. Bell. I, 9–12; Vita 24–27 and Ant. I, 6. 91 The text in Ant. IV, 312–314 is not unique in Josephus. On the contrary. In his paraphrase of

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tragedy in Jerusalem as a result of the various transgressions, committed by the Jewish insurgents. For the war as such, however, he finds a cause in the disunity of the Jewish people.92 As we learn in CAp. II, 179–181, the Jewish people, according to Josephus, was supposed to live in perfect unity, when it lived in accordance with the precepts of Moses. The disunity, especially in the last generations before the war, was alarming, precisely as the disunity in the Hasmonean House had been in the years before Pompey. Probably this is the reason why Josephus attaches such an importance to the various innovations, introduced by Herod the Great, the Levites (the Sanhedrion and king Agrippa II) and, particularly, the fourth Philosophy.93 These and similar innovations for the conservative priest Josephus are expressions precisely of the disunity in the Jewish people and as such reflections of transgressions of the law which are likely to be punished. In this way Josephus turns to theological reflection and interpretation in his effort to find more fundamental explanations of the riddle which puzzles him. One has, however, the impression that Josephus is still discontent with his own answers: are they genuine answers to the question why the people had to be thrown to such a depth? Especially as the people as a whole, according to Josephus, did not want the war and had no responsibility for it.94 This is the disquieting question: could the transgressions of a few throw the whole people into disaster? In the end Josephus, as far as I am able to see, turns to the same position as Hiob: it happened according to God’s plan.95 For Josephus, God is primarily

92 93 94

95

the Bible and elsewhere Josephus again and again underlines the connection between the destiny of the Jewish people and its observance of the Law. So for example in Ant. IV, 129–158 (the prophecy of Baleam); VIII, 120–121 (King Solomon’s exhortation); VIII, 229 (King Jeroboam’s golden calves); IX, 281–282 (the ruin of the kingdom of Israel); XI, 155 (Ezra’s exhortation); XI, 299–300 (Jonathan’s murder of Jesus); XIV, 25–28 (the murder of Onias). In fact, the whole book of Ant. seems to have been written under this overall view, cf. Ant. I, 14– 15 and 23–24. Bell., is, however, worked out along the same line. Our study, thus, gives support to the view of Lindner 1972, 43–44 and 134–135, who has tried to understand Josephus’ interpretation of the Jewish war on the background of Biblical historiography. A similar view is represented by Blenkinsopp 1974, 241ff. Cf. Bell. I, 10. See also the survey in Bell. VII, 252–274. Cf. Ant. XV, 267; XX, 216–218 and XVIII, 9. Cf. Ant. I, 6: “… and all those wars waged by them through long ages before this last in which they were involuntarily (ἄκοντες) engaged against the Romans”; Vita 27b: “… and I merely allude to them (the massacres in the Hellenistic cities) here from a desire to convince my readers that the war with the Romans was due not so much to the deliberate choice (προαίρεσις) of the Jews as to necessity”. Compare also Bell. II, 445.455.529; III, 455 and 492–493. Cf. especially Bell. I ll, 351–354: “But as Nicanor was urgently pressing his proposals and Josephus overheard the threats of the hostile crowd, suddenly there came back into his mind those nightly dreams, in which God had foretold him the impending fate of the Jews and the destinies of the Roman sovereigns … At that hour he was inspired to read their meaning, and, recalling the dreadful images of his recent dreams, he offered up a silent prayer to God. “Since

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the Governor of universe and history.96 The war and the fall of Jerusalem, therefore, could not but occur in accordance with His plan and will.97 As far as I can judge, this is Josephus’ final answer to the recurring question about the causes of the war. Of course, it was possible to point to various transgressions which had led to the Divine decision. And this Josephus did, as we have seen. But in the end the questioning came to a standstill with the acceptance of the Divine plan.98 it pleases thee”, so it ran, “who didst create the Jewish nation, to break thy work, since fortune has wholly passed to the Romans, and …”.The attitude here expressed may be labelled Danielic-Apocalyptic. 96 Cf. CAp. II, 190: “What, then, are the precepts and prohibitions of our Law? They are simple and familiar. At their head stands one of which God is the theme. The universe is in God’s hands”. Compare also the texts, mentioned in note 91, and the dominating use of the term πρόνοια and its synonymes in Josephus. Unfortunately, K.H. Rengstorf ’s A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus (1973) is still incomplete. I have, however, counted more than 70 appearances of πρόνοια scattered all over the works of Josephus, though predominantly in Ant. Moreover, also the terms εἱμαρμένη, τύχη and the like seem to refer rather to the Providence of God than to some Greek idea of blind necessity, cf. Lewinsky 1887, 40, Hoffmann 1920, 28–37; Montgomery 1920–1921, 286ff., and Blenkinsopp 1974, 248–250. In Vita 27b ἀνάγκη obviously refers to the plan of God because of the accordance between the idea expressed here and the content of parallel texts, of which some are mentioned in the next note. 97 This view of Josephus’ is expressed most clearly in his renderings of the Biblical prophecies. So first and foremost in Ant. X, 276, where the historian comments on a text of his favourite prophet, Daniel: “And these misfortunes our nation did in fact come to experience under Antiochus Epiphanes, just as Daniel many years before saw and wrote that they would happen. In the same manner Daniel also wrote about the empire of the Romans and that Jerusalem would be taken by them and the temple laid waste”. The idea is, moreover, clearly recognizable in the texts where Josephus is talking about the τύχη, now moved by God to Rome and Italy: Bell. II, 390; III, 354; V, 367 and 412. Josephus is furthermore, talking directly about the war as part of God’s plan in several texts in Bell. So in IV, 104: “But after all it was by the act of God, who was preserving John to bring ruin upon Jerusalem, that Titus …”; VI, 250: “That building (the Temple), however, God, indeed long since, had sentenced to the flames; but now in the revolution of the years had arrived the fated (εἱμαρμένη) day, the tenth of the month Lous, the day on which of old it had been burnt by the king of Babylon”; VI, 288–315 (the supernatural signs testifying to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple); VII, 359: “For long since, so it seems (Elazar’s speech), God passed this decree against the whole Jewish race in common …”, and VII, 387 (also Elazar’s speech): “The need for this (the collective suicide) is of God’s sending (τούτων τὴν ἀνάγκην θεὸς ἀπέσταλκε) …”. Compare to these texts the section “Une guerre d’oracles” in Nikiprowetsky 1971, 474–481, where the author analyses Josephus’ particular interpretation of the biblical, eschatological prophecies. Also Dessau 1930, 829; Farmer 1956, 19, and Lindner 1972, 142–144, emphazise that Josephus saw the tragedy in 66–70 as a result of God’s plan and judgement. Josephus, consequently, viewed the background of the war fundamentally in the same way as H. Graetz, another important Jewish historian, and a bitter critic of Josephus, cf. Graetz 1878–1902, III, 476: “Es war von der Vorsehung beschlossen, dass Israel zum zweiten Male seinen nationalen Mittelpunkt verlieren und in die Fremde hinausgestossen werden sollte”. 98 According to Nikiprowetzky 1971, 473, Josephus’ aim with this should be a kind of théodice. His purpose would be to defend God’s innocence of the catastrophe. But this is far from the

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VII As a result of our study, however, it should also be possible to comment on the general tendency of Josephus in his description of the causes of the war. It is obviously correct to state that he emphasizes the responsibility of the Jewish warparty.99 Again and again he underlines that the Jewish revolutionaries forced through their will against the people as a whole.100 The Jewish revolutionaries are, in the opinion of Josephus, most definitely guilty of the war. But stressing their guilt is not the historian’s only purpose.101 Neither is it his principal concern to emphasize the responsibility of the Romans, although this clearly is done.102 U. Rappaport and other scholars103 are, of course, right in underlining that Josephus has a major apologetical interest in placing responsibility on the Roman maladministration and the Jewish revolutionaries. This is most certainly one of his main purposes. But, as we have seen, he has other interests as well. Apparently, he is also anxious to mention the many different concrete factors in the development of the rebellion, the various acts and decisions, contributing to the creation of the explosive situation in A.D. 66. This means, I would maintain, that Josephus has an interest as a historian in the course of events themselves, although this quite obviously is not his only aim either. His chief concern is, as we have seen, the final interpretation of the fundamental causes of the war. This concern I would understand as a vital personal problem for Josephus. If this assessment is correct, then Josephus cannot be reduced to an apologist for the Romans, or even the Flavian dynasty.104 It is completely wrong then to see his main concern as primarily apologizing and justifying his own

99 100 101 102 103 104

mind of our historian for whom God’s justice and providence is the very basis and point of departure, cf. note 96. That Josephus is in fact not struggling with a théodice can be seen also from a comparison with IV Ezra, Syr. Bar. Apoc., and the apocalypses in the Gospels, all of them written almost at the same time as Bell. and Ant. In these writings the same question is considered: why did the war and the fall of Jerusalem come about? There is, however, a significant difference between the attitude expressed in these works and the attitude of Josephus. They have the same background in the Jewish war and the fall of the Temple. They recognize Divine sovereignty in human history. But whereas the authors of IV Ezra and Syr. Bar. Apoc. are almost accusing God and asking their questions again and again, Josephus confines himself to pointing to the will of God without keeping asking why God had it this way, and what the future would bring. Although there are apocalyptic elements in Josephus’ thinking he keeps quite clear of all kinds of apocalyptical and théodicical speculation. Cf. the notes 27–36. Compare the texts mentioned in the beginning of note 27 and in the last part of note 94. As maintained by several scholars, e. g. Momigliano 1952, 852. See also the works, mentioned in note 8. Cf. the material, collected in the notes 38–48. Cf. note 16. As maintained by the scholars mentioned in note 9.

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dubious activities during the war.105 He certainly is occupied – in Vita and minor parts of Bell. – with his own exploits, but not in presenting the reasons for the war. Here personal preoccupation is totally absent. He cannot, however, be fully understood as a Jewish apologist either.106 It is clear that it is a chief concern of his to acquit the Jewish people as a whole of responsibility for the rebellion. But even this is not his only purpose. Altogether he has not one single interest only, but a number of different ones. He is a historian, interested in all available data and events.107 He is an apologist, mainly a national one. But in addition there is in his work a strong driving force, equally operative in his account of the causes of the war. This force is an ongoing absorption with the great revolt, its causes and consequences.108 It was very hard to grasp that it happened at all.109 Why it occurred is, as we have seen in this study, almost impossible for him to understand and explain. Its consequences were not fully experienced in Josephus’ lifetime. Yet, they were so grave that it seemed to be the historian’s main purpose in his work to contribute towards limiting and mitigating them.

105 So e. g. Weber 1921, 42, 99 and 104; Guttmann 1928, 46; Drexler 1923–1925, 289, 305 and elsewhere; Eisler 1929–1930, I, XLf., and Thoma 1969, 48 and 51. 106 Thus e. g. Lewinsky 1887, 1–2 and passim; Jones 1938, 235; Klausner 1950, V, 171; Farmer 1956, 16–20; Zeitlin 1968–1969, 180; Furneaux 1973, 17, and Lindner 1972, 15 and 134–136. 107 Paradoxical as it may sound, this aspect is rarely recognized, because scholars have mostly kept their eyes on Josephus as apologist. Also in this respect W. R. Farmer is one of the few exceptions from the rule. In describing Josephus’ interests he underlines at the same time that Josephus was also, and first and foremost “an historian for the ages” (Farmer 1956, 22), cf. also the concluding remarks in my article mentioned in note 46. 108 Quite the opposite view is represented by Krüger 1906, 33: “Charakteristisch für ihn ist nur, wie leicht er sich mit der Tatsache des Unterganges des jüdischen Volkes abfindet: die Juden haben es nicht anders gewollt!”. 109 Cf. Bell. I, 1 and 9–12: “Indeed, in my opinion, the misfortunes of all nations since the world began fall short of those of the Jews; and since the blame lay wife no foreign nation, it was impossible to restrain one’s grief” (I, 12). Compare likewise V, 20, where Josephus’ personal emotions also break through, and the great tragic survey in Elazar’s second speech at Masada, VII, 361–378.

3:

Testimonium Flavianum1

Prologue From 1977 to 1981, I was very much absorbed in the issue of the historical Jesus (cf. Bilde 1978; 1979; 1980). This interest encouraged me to approach and study the Testimonium Flavianum. At the time, I hoped that information on the historical Jesus, hidden in the gospels, could be supplemented by this independent report written by a contemporary Jewish outsider. Since I had already worked on the writings of Josephus for many years, it seemed timely to attempt to analyse Josephus’ short description of Jesus.

Josephus’ Report on Jesus Josephus’ brief text on Jesus, the Testimonium Flavianum, has not been the subject of Danish scholarship since Otzen published his article in 1928.2 Otzen’s article was written in response to intense discussion in the 1920s on the historical existence of Jesus (p. 274) and against the backdrop of the emerging form of critical and dialectical theological schools. Moreover, Otzen performed his thorough analysis of the Testimonium Flavianum amidst the highly negative view of Josephus that prevailed at the time (pp. 275ff.). Given the development in both gospel and Jesus research and Josephus research since 1928, I believe there is good reason to reopen the discussion of Josephus’ report on Jesus in Danish scholarship; especially since – despite Otzen’s claim that this issue ends with Eduard Norden (1913) – the Testimonium Flavianum has enjoyed remarkable international attention over the last 50 years. In this article, I first provide an 1 This article is a translation by the author of his Danish Article, Testimonium Flavianum (1981), with an added prologue and epilogue from 2014. – We would like to thank Sarah Jennings (Aarhus) for copyediting this article. 2 Cf. Otzen 1928, 273–317. Here, I do not include brief remarks such as Søren Giversen in Gad’s Danish Bible Lexicon or Peter Steensgaard in Steensgaard 1978, 196–197.

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account of the author, the text, the problems in the text and the important points of view in its examination. I then continue to provide a detailed analysis in which I discuss the history of the text, its context, its language, style and content in light of recent scholarship on the Testimonium Flavianum.

1.

Josephus

Josephus’ Hebrew name was Josef ben Matthithiah or Matthithiahu (Bell. 1.3, cf. Vita 5). When Vespasian released Josephus from his captivity as a Roman prisoner of war (Bell. 4.626), following Roman custom, Josephus took the surname of his liberator: Flavius. This name led to the Latinised version of his Hebrew name, Josephus, and the result was Josephus Flavius or Flavius Josephus. Josephus writes that he was born in Palestine (Vita 5), most likely in Jerusalem (Bell. 1.3). He claims to belong to a distinguished Jewish family of priests (Bell. 1.3; Vita 1–2). On his mother’s side, he claims to descend from the royal and high priestly family of the Hasmoneans (Vita 2). Josephus writes that, in his youth, he keenly studied the Jewish Bible (Vita 7–9, cf. Bell. 3.352) and the various Jewish schools or denominations (Vita 10–12). In the beginning of the 60s, when he was approximately 25 years old, Josephus was sent to Rome on an important political mission (Vita 13ff.). He returned shortly before the Jewish rebellion against Rome broke out in 66 (Vita 16–17). In Vita, Josephus claims that he had reservations about the rebellion. However, after the first phase of the war, during which the Jews drove the Romans out of Jerusalem and Judaea, Josephus – together with other Jewish aristocrats – was drawn into the Jewish leadership of the war (Bell. 2.562ff.; Vita 28). At that time, Josephus was elected to organise the defense of Galilee (Bell. 2.262ff.; Vita 29). Josephus defended Galilee from the autumn of 66 until the summer of 67, at which point Vespasian conquered the fortified town of Jotapata, which, under Josephus’ leadership, had resisted capture for 47 days (Bell. 2.569–646; 3.29–239; Vita 28–413). After Jotapata was conquered, Josephus surrendered, was taken prisoner of war and was led to Vespasian, who Josephus predicted would one day become Roman emperor (Bell. 3.340–402). From 67 to 69, Josephus was kept in custody as a Roman prisoner of war. But when Vespasian was proclaimed emperor, he liberated Josephus (Bell. 3.408; 4.622–629; Ap. 1.48; Vita 414). From 69–70, Josephus remained in the Roman camp and could follow the development of the war, which ended with the siege and capture of Jerusalem (Bell. 5–6; Vita 416; Ap. 1.47–50). After the fall of Jerusalem in 70, Josephus followed the Flavian family to Rome, where Vespasian awarded him Roman citizenship and plenty of support (Vita 422–423). Under the

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government of Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96), Josephus kept the favour of the Flavians (Vita 428–429). It was in Rome that Josephus wrote his works: 1) the Jewish War or Bellum Judaicum (Bell.) in seven books, written in the 70s, 2) the Jewish Archaeology or the Jewish Antiquities or Antiquitates Judaicae (Ant.) in 20 books, written in the 80s and at the beginning of the 90s, 3) the Autobiography or Vita, written in connection with Ant. at the beginning of the 90s, and 4) Against Apion or contra Apionem (Ap.), most likely written in the late 90s. Josephus’ exact date of death is unknown, but we can estimate that it was around 100 CE, since it is mentioned in Ant. 20.267 that this work was completed in the 13th year of Domitian’s government (93–94) and both Vita and Ap. were written after Ant. In his book on Vespasian (V.6), the Roman historian Suetonius confirms that Josephus was one of the captured Jewish noblemen and that he predicted Vespasian’s future emperorship. The church historian Eusebius writes in his Church History (III.9.2) that Josephus was the most famous Jew of his time, that he was honoured with a statue in Rome, and that his works were admitted into the library in Rome.3 Josephus lived and worked in Palestine and Rome in the second half of the first century CE. This means that he was active at the time when – and, to some extent, in the environment where – Christianity was born and underwent its first decisive development. Josephus was contemporary with Paul and several of Paul and Jesus’ pupils, and he wrote at the same time as the authors of the canonical gospels and most of the other books in the New Testament (NT). For this reason, Josephus should be regarded as an important source for the age and background of the NT. He should also be regarded as somebody with as much access as other sources – the gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, Paul, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius and the rabbinical traditions – to information about Jesus. In his works, Josephus describes numerous movements, groups, phenomena and figures within Judaism in the first century CE. It could therefore be assumed a priori that he also mentions Jesus and his movement.

2.

Testimonium Flavianum

Josephus’ works provide a rich source of information with the potential to illuminate the history of the Jews at the time of Jesus, and they therefore form an essential part of any scholarly enquiry into the origin and early development of 3 For more information on Josephus’ life and works, see Thackeray 1929, 1–22; van Unnik 1978, particularly 13–54.

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Christianity.4 However, despite their ability to offer background information on Christianity, Josephus’ works provide very few direct testimonies on the religion. In fact, it is only possible to identify three such texts: one on John the Baptist (Ant. 18.116–119), one on Jesus (Ant. 18.63–64), and one on James, the brother of Jesus (Ant. 20.200).5 Jesus is not mentioned in the text on John the Baptist, and, in the text on James, Jesus is only mentioned in passing as “[ton adelphon] Iêsou tou legomenou christou”. It is only in Ant. 18.63–64, the Testimonium Flavianum – the Flavian testimony (on Jesus) – that Josephus has something to say about Jesus himself. Despite its brevity, there has been considerable interest in the Testimonium Flavianum throughout the history of Christianity. Based on this text, Josephus was venerated as a pseudo-Christian and applauded as one of the greatest authors of the ancient world during antiquity and the middle ages.6 And, in recent times, a vast scholarly literature has been devoted to discussing the problems in these few lines on Jesus.7 The passage on Jesus is situated in a wider context that describes the administrative period of Pilate in Judaea. In Ant. 18.55–95, this period is described as a difficult time with unjust Roman measures against Jewish traditions and customs, cf. 18.55: “[Pilatus] epi katalusei tôn nomimôn tôn Joudaïkôn ephronêse”. This section describes Pilate’s attempt to introduce military standards with pictures of the Emperor into Jerusalem (18.55–60), Pilate’s use of temple tax revenue to build an aqueduct (18.60–62), Jesus and his activity (18.63–64), a scandal in the sanctuary of Isis in Rome (18. 65–84), Pilate’s suppression of a Samaritan crowd on Mount Garizim (18.85–87), the removal of Pilate (18.88–89) and, finally, Vitellius and his restoration of order in Judaea (18.90–95). The passage on Jesus briefly mentions that Jesus was a “wise man” (sophos anêr), that he performed “unexpected actions” (paradoxôn ergôn poiêtês), that he was a “teacher” (didaskalos) who attracted many Jews and Greeks, that he was the Messiah (ho christos houtos ên), that, at the request of the Jewish leaders, he was crucified by Pilate, that, for this reason, his followers did not relinquish their support for him (ouk epausanto hoi to proton agapêsantes), that he appeared to

4 Cf. van Unnik 1978, 55–67: “Josephus in seiner Bedeutung für den Ausleger des Neuen Testaments”. 5 (Ant. 20.197–203). The much richer material on John, Jesus and the early Christians, found in the so-called Old Russian or Slavonic translation of the Jewish War, is discussed in section 7 below. 6 Cf. Schreckenberg 1972, 68ff.; idem 1977, 5–70. 7 Cf. the survey in Schürer 1904, 544–545. This survey has been updated to the end of the 1960s in Schürer 1979, 428–430. The most important literature on this subject after 1973 is discussed in Dubarle 1977 ; Feuillet 1977; Salvador 1978.

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his followers alive on the third day (in agreement with the testimonies of the prophets) and that the Christian tribe still exists.8 The text can be translated into English as follows: At this time, Jesus appeared – a wise man, if it is suitable to call him a human being. For he performed unexpected actions. He was a teacher of men who received what is true with delight, and he attracted many Jews as well as many from the Greek population. He was the Messiah. And when, at the request of our leaders, Pilate had sentenced him to the cross, those who first loved him did not give it up. For on the third day he appeared to them again alive, in agreement with the divine prophets, who had predicted these things and ten thousand other things about him. Until the present moment, the tribe of the Christians, named after him, has not disappeared.

3.

Modern Research on the Testimonium Flavianum

In modern research, there are three main interpretations of the Testimonium Flavianum: 1) that the entire text is genuinely written by Josephus;9 2) that the entire text is secondary Christian interpolation;10 3) that the text has a genuine core which was later reworked by one or more Christian copyists.11 I will now briefly present the arguments in favour of these three interpretations. 1) One reason for accepting the entire text as genuine is that it remains unquestioned in both the history of the Greek and translated manuscripts as well as its indirect transmission (mainly quotations), at least since Eusebius. Another reason is that the wording in Ant. 20.200 (ton adelphon Iêsou legomenou christou), a passage that is generally accepted as a genuine text by Josephus, seems to presuppose an earlier mention of Jesus. A third argument in favour of accepting 8 The Greek text is borrowed from Niese 1890 1955, 151–152. 9 Thus, e. g., Burkitt 1913, 135–144; Harnack 1913, 1037–1068 (later Harnack gave up this position, cf. Harnack 1924, footnote 1); Slijpen 1914, 96–100; Barnes 1920; Laqueur 1920, 273– 278; Liempt 1927, 109–116; Richards & Shutt 1937, 170–177, 176; Richards 1941, 70–71; Dornseiff 1955, 245–250; Préchac 1969, 101–111; Feuillet 1977; Salvador 1978. 10 Thus, e. g., Niese 1894; Schürer 1904, I, 545–548; Holtzmann 1905, 11–13; Schweitzer 1906, II, 457; Lagrange 1909, 19; Norden 1913, 637–666 (= Norden 1973, 27–69); Juster 1914, II, 139– 141; Jacoby 1916, 159–160; Hölscher 1920, IX, sp. 1993–1994; Meyer 1962, II, 206–211; Zeitlin 1927–1928, 231–255; Otzen 1928; Noth 1950, 361, footnote 1; Bauer 1959, 324–325; Conzelmann 1959, sp. 622 ; Hahn 1962, 7–40; Schreckenberg 1972, 168. 173. 11 Thus, e. g. Gutschmid 1893, 351–354; Reinach 1897, 1–18; Berendts 1905‚ 43–44; Götz 1913, 286–297; Linck 1913, 3–31; Corssen 1914, 114–140; Brüne 1919, 139–147; Phar 1927, 137–147; Wohleb 1927, 151–169; Eisler 1928–1929, I, 3–88; Thackeray 1929, 131 (136–148); Bienert 1936; Kars 1937–1938, 40–64; Martin 1941, 409–465; Klausner 1952, 68–75; Scheideweller 1954, 230– 243; Blinzler 1955, 24–27; Brandon 1951, 110–114; Brandon 1967, 116–121. 359–364; Pelletier 1964, 177–203; Pelletier 1965, 9–21; Betz 1965, 9; Winter 1968, 289–302; Feldman 1969, 49, footnote b; Pines 1971; Dubarle 1973, 481–513; Dubarle 1977; Vermes & Millar 1973; Bammel 1974, 9–22; Pötscher 1975, 26–42; Bell 1976–1977, 16–22.

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the text as genuine is that a number of linguistic and stylistic expressions in the text seem to be characteristic of Josephus. Finally, many adherents of this interpretation claim that Josephus must have mentioned Jesus and the Christians. 2) The best argument for rejecting the entire text as inauthentic is that it immediately appears as a Christian text. This character is most evident in the following sentences: eige andra auton legein chrê … didaskalos anthrôpôn tôn hêdonê talêthê dechomenôn … ho christos houtos ên … ephanê gar autois tritên echôn hêmeran palin zôn tôn theiôn prophêtôn tauta te kai alla muria peri autou thaumasia eirêkotôn. Since Josephus is not generally thought to have been a Christian or to have sympathised with the Christians, scholars often conclude that these sentences reveal a subsequent Christian interpolation.12 Another convincing argument is that, before Eusebius, there was no sign of this text in antiquity. The fact that the early church fathers (before Eusebius) did not refer to this text can be interpreted as evidence that the text in fact is a Christian interpolation from the 3rd or early 4th century. A third argument claims that the Testimonium Flavianum breaks with the wider context in which it is situated. As indicated above, this context describes disasters for the Jewish people at the time of Pilate, yet the Testimonium Flavianum makes no mention of such events. A fourth and final argument refers to linguistic and stylistic traits in the text that appear uncharacteristic of Josephus. 3) The third interpretation attempts to do justice to both of the previous arguments. It complies with the first argument by assuming that the text on Jesus has an authentic Josephine core, and it complies with the second argument by assuming that the text has been subsequently censored and reworked by Christian copyists. In general, advocates of the third interpretation can be divided into two subgroups. The first subgroup believes that Josephus’s original text on Jesus presented a different, more hostile view of Christianity than the transmitted text.13 It is only on this interpretation that the original text can find a natural place in the context of the Jewish Antiquities. The proponents of this interpretation attempt to reconstruct the original text with daring conjectures based on traces in the indirect transmission of the text, particularly in Origen and Hieronymus, in the Syrian, Arabic and Byzantine tradition, and in the old Russian translation of the Jewish War, where we find a number of additions to the

12 In this connection, many scholars have remarked that the Testimonium Flavianum seems to reproduce the outline of the Christian confession of faith, thus, e. g., Conzelmann 1959, column 622; Eisler 1928–1929, I, 79–80; von Gutschmid 1893, 353; Laqueur 1920, 274–275; Meyer 1962, II, 206; Norden 1913, 43–44; Reinach 1897, 4. 13 Thus especially Bammel, Bell, Brandon, Brüne, Eisler, Kars, Pines, Reinach, Scheideweiler and Thackeray.

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Greek text on John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Christians (cf. section 7).14 The second subgroup assumes that Josephus’ original text on Jesus was marked by sympathy for Jesus and his movement.15 Therefore, members of this group do not attempt to reconstruct the original text to the same extent as the first subgroup. These three interpretations of the Testimonium Flavianum correspond approximately to three phases in its research history:16 From the 4th to the 16th century, the first interpretation dominated and the text was believed to be genuine. Then, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the authenticity of the text began to be questioned and, over the following few centuries, an intense controversy developed around this issue.17 In the 19th century, the second interpretation dominated and the text was rejected as inauthentic. This view prevailed until 1913.18 Following this, the third interpretation – that the text was partly authentic and partly interpolated – became more widespread. After 1930, this third interpretation dominated the research field. In recent years, it has become increasingly common to assume the Testimonium Flavianum is genuine and increasingly rare to assume the Testimonium Flavianum is inauthentic.

4.

Testimonium Flavianum and Jesus research

Before the emergence of critical research, Josephus’ text on Jesus played a significant and primarily apologetic role for the Christian view of Jesus. However, this situation changed following the 16th and 17th centuries, when the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum was first questioned. In the 19th century, when the text was generally rejected as inauthentic, it was regarded as virtually insignificant for Jesus research. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the interpretation of the Testimonium Flavianum had already changed again (as mentioned above); however, what is remarkable is that this alteration had very little impact on Jesus research. It is particularly surprising to observe the limited role that the Testimonium Flavianum has played in scholarly interpretations of Jesus in the 20th century. In Rudolf Bultmann’s book on Jesus, Josephus’ text is not mentioned and, in the work of Günther Bornkamm, Herbert Braun, Hans Conzelmann, 14 Cf. in particular Bienert 1936; Eisler 1929–1930, 3ff. On the Syrian and Arabic traditions, I refer to Pines 1971, and on the Byzantine tradition, I refer to the works of Dubarle 1973; 1977. 15 Thus particularly Dubarle, Martin, Pelletier, Pötscher and Winter. 16 The discussion about the Testimonium Flavianum and the arguments in favour of the three main positions are fully listed and discussed in Bienert 1936, 9–46, while they are listed briefly in Feldman 1969, 49, note b. 17 Cf. Schreckenberg 1968, 23ff.; Eisler 1929–1930, 19ff. 18 Cf. Harnack 1924, column 1040: “… und bis vor wenigen Wochen kannte ich keinen namhaften protestantischen Gelehrten, der noch für dasselbe eintritt“.

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Børge Diderichsen, Ferdinand Hahn, Jacob Jervell and Heine Simonsen, Ant. 18.63–64 is dismissed as either partly or completely inauthentic. As such, the Testimonium Flavianum is not recognised as a source capable of shedding light on the life and teaching of Jesus.19 Here we can observe a remarkable correlation between a hyper critical understanding of Josephus’ text on Jesus and a dialectical theological position with no (theological) interest in the historical Jesus.20 Having said this, the Jesus text has played an important role in attempts to interpret and describe Jesus as a revolutionary and political messianic figure. This applies primarily to the work of Robert Eisler, but also to S.G.F. Brandon and other scholars such as Walter Bienert, H.W. Kars and F. Scheideweiler.21 These scholars assess the Testimonium Flavianum as partly genuine, though they believe the original critical statements about Jesus as a messianic rebel have been removed in a thorough Christian adaptation of the text. Jewish Jesus research also acknowledges Josephus’ text as a valuable source on the life and preaching of Jesus,22 and the same tendency can also be identified among scholars with no clear affiliation.23

5.

Methods

In Jesus research, it is essential – both critically and self-critically – to consider one’s presuppositions, methods and goals. As suggested above, this also applies when researching Josephus’ text on Jesus, where the main positions are clearly connected with definite positions in Jesus research. Modern protestant Jesus research influenced by the Bultmann school tends to play down the importance of the Testimonium Flavianum, while political and Jewish Jesus research – in which the historical Jesus is of central importance – tends to emphasize the significance of the Jesus text. It is worth noting that the overview of Testimonium Flavianum research provided above clearly demonstrates that scholars working on this text use, and have to use, traditional historical critical methods. This applies primarily to the 19 Cf. Bornkamm 1956, 25; Bultmann 1926; Conzelmann 1959, column 622; Diderichsen 1962, 54; Hahn 1962, 18–19; Jervell 1962, 27; Simonsen 1965–1966, I, column 951 (compare column 1023). 20 Thus, e. g., Eisler 1929–1930, I, 211–214; Pines 1971, 21; Bilde 1978a, 217–243, in particular 233–234. 236. 21 Cf. the works mentioned in footnote 11 and also, e. g., Carmichael 1962. 22 Cf. the works by Robert Eisler, Josef Klausner, Slomo Pines, Théodore Reinach and Paul Winter, mentioned in footnote 11. 23 Cf. the works of Ernst Bammel, H.St.J. Thackeray and Vermes & Millar, mentioned in footnote 11.

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history of the text and text criticism, since these factors are of decisive importance for a text whose authenticity is questioned. The same applies to its context analysis. It is clear that a genuine Testimonium Flavianum text would fit naturally and unproblematically into its context, whereas an interpolation could be traced through disagreements between text and context. Moreover, philological and literary examinations of the language and the style of the text are also highly relevant to the issue of its authenticity. Finally, it is important to discuss the Jesus text in connection with Josephus and Josephus research in general. This methodological demand has not always been followed in Testimonium Flavianum research, which unfortunately means that scholars have often been influenced by the presupposed ideas about Josephus that dominated their time (even though they neglected to critically examine these ideas themselves). A thorough analysis of the Testimonium Flavianum text – its context, language, style and contents – can only be performed by appealing to the works of Josephus as a whole. As such, an unprejudiced examination of Josephus’ text on Jesus requires a critical and reflected relationship with the works of Josephus and Josephus research in general.24

6.

Main positions in Josephus research25

As mentioned above, Josephus enjoyed widespread admiration until the 16th and 17th centuries, at which point scholars began to critique his text on Jesus. This gradually led to a critical view of Josephus in general. As a result, during the 19th century, any remaining admiration for Josephus was finally extinguished and, by the late 19th and early 20th century, this critical view of Josephus culminated in an unconditionally negative attitude towards the Jewish historiographer. Josephus was regarded as a weak character, a traitor and a psychophantic Flavian hireling. At the same time, he was interpreted as uncritical and dependent in relation to his sources and his Greek assistants.26 Thus, the general view of Josephus during this period was that of a poor human being, an unreliable historical writer and, accordingly, an unreliable historical source. This interpretation of Josephus found its classical expression in Gustav Hölscher’s influential article from 1920 on Josephus in the encyclopedia of Pauly-Wissowa.27 24 This methodological demand is also underlined by Dornseiff 1955, 246; Harnack 1913, column 1051–1052; Pelletier 1965, 12. This demand is followed by the best examinations, e. g., Bammel, Burkitt, Eisler, van Limpt, Norden, Otzen, Reinah, Wohleb and Zeitlin. 25 A much more detailed survey of recent Josephus research is available in Bilde 1983, 20–59. 26 These assistants are mentioned in Ap. 1.50. 27 Cf. Vol. IX, columns 1934–2000. This negative view also marks Destinon 1882; Eisler 1929–

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However, by 1920, new signals had already appeared in Josephus research.28 A few scholars had succeeded in freeing themselves from the hyper-critical and moralising atmosphere of 19th century research. They concentrated less on Josephus’ ethical character and instead developed a growing understanding of the fundamental national apologetic features in his writing – a phenomenon that had thus far remained unnoticed in his work.29 This wave of research began to critique the exaggerated confidence in literary source criticism prevalent in the 19th century. Moreover, it gave rise to an entirely new line of enquiry: the progress of Palestinian archaeology in the final part of the 19th century. Some of the results from this new line of research appeared to confirm the information in Josephus’s text.30 Such research was presented in the Loeb edition of Josephus’ works from 1926 and an influential monograph from 1929, Josephus the Man and the Historian, written by the founder of the Loeb edition, H. St. J. Thackeray.31 Accordingly, during the 20th century, it has been possible to observe a change in Josephus research that corresponds to similar developments in gospel research and other parts of classical philology. With this change, Josephus scholars have attempted to achieve a balanced position between the pre-critical attitude towards Josephus in Antiquity and the Middle Ages and the hyper-critical attitude towards Josephus in the 19th century. Overall, this change in Josephus research corresponds to the interpretive development of the Testimonium Flavianum outlined above. And it is highly significant for the Jesus text, since it allows us to approach the text with a more open and less negative view of Josephus’ attitude towards national and religious issues in his own time and in his use of sources and traditions.

28 29 30

31

1930; Laqueur 1920; Schürer 1904, I, 74–106. 544–549. In Denmark, this view on Josephus is represented in Heiberg 1918–1920, 281–306; Otzen 1928, 275–282. First and foremost Bloch 1879; Drüner 1896. Cf. also Harnack 1913, column 1051. This phenomenon has not yet been comprehensively described in a single monograph, but it is illustrated sporadically in several of the works that make up the rapidly growing archaeological literature on Palestine in Graeco-Roman times, cf., e. g., Yadin 1966; Schalit 1969, 298–403. The new view of Josephus was generally accepted after the Second World War as can be seen in works such as Farmer 1956; Shutt 1961; Lindner 1972; Betz 1974; van Unnik 1978; Noack 1976.

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The History of the Text

All existing Greek manuscripts of Ant. 18 contain the present text on Jesus.32 By itself, this does not tell us much, since most of these manuscripts date from the 14th to the 16th century, the oldest dating back to the 11th century. However, we also find the text on Jesus in the old Latin translations of Josephus’ works from the 4th to the 6th century: in the so-called Hegesippus from circa 370 and in Cassiodorus’ translation of Ant. from circa 570.33 In addition, the text on Jesus is referred to three times in the Greek manuscripts of Eusebius.34 Before Eusebius, the Testimonium Flavianum is not referred to explicitly (cf. below). Origen, who died in circa 255, quotes – or rather paraphrases – Ant. 18.116–119 once (C.Cels. 1.47) and Ant. 20.200 three times (C.Cels.1.47; 2.13 and Comm. in Matt. 10.17). Origen only mentions Ant. 18.116–119 in passing, but, whilst referring to Ant. 20.200, he states that Josephus is said to have written that the fall of Jerusalem and the temple (in the year 70) was a result of the Jews killing Jacob, Jesus’ brother. In C. Cels. 1.47, Origen criticises and corrects this interpretation by stating that the events in 70 were clearly a result of the Jews killing Jesus. On the basis of this paraphrase of Ant. 20.200, we can conclude any of the following: that Origen read another text than our Ant. 20.200; that he did not read Josephus’ own text, but an interpretative middle source; that Origen quoted incorrectly from memory; that he directly misinterpreted Josephus. Origen does not quote or paraphrase the Testimonium Flavianum, but, in C. Cels. 1.47 and Comm. in Matt. 10.17, he writes in a way that has the potential to shed light on the text. C.Cels. 1.47, after the mention of John the Baptist, can be translated into English as follows: “Even though he [Josephus] did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah, in his search for the reason for the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, he ought to have said that the reason why these events affected the people lies in the conspiracy against Jesus when they executed the prophesied Messiah”. In Comm. in Matt., after writing about the Jews’ killing of Jacob leading to the fall of Jerusalem, Origen writes: “and the wonderful thing is, that, even though he [Josephus] did not recognise our Jesus as the Messiah, he did not testify less to the remarkable justice of Jacob”. It therefore appears that Origen was convinced that Josephus did not recognise the messianic status of Jesus. This conclusion is generally accepted by scholars. However, when it comes to the interpretation of Origen’s statement in relation to the Testimonium Flavianum, disagreements 32 Cf. the complete analysis of the manuscripts of Josephus in Schreckenberg 1972, 13–47. A shorter review of the manuscripts of Ant. 11–20 can be found in the Loeb edition of Josephus, Vol. VI, pp. VII–VIII. 33 Cf. Schreckenberg 1972, 56–61. 34 Cf. H.E., I.11.7–8; Demonstr. Ev. III.5.105; Theophania V.44, cf. Schreckenberg 1971, 79ff.

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arises in the research community. The supporters of the authenticity of the text believe that Origen’s statement can be easily interpreted as agreeing with his knowledge of the Jesus text as we know it, since the text does not speak positively but negatively or neutrally about Jesus. As such, these scholars believe that Origen might have known this text and, at the same time, that he might have written that Josephus did not accept Jesus as he Messiah. These scholars therefore believe that Origen’s statement offers a key to the correct reading and interpretation of the Jesus text; that is, that the text should be read as a negative or neutral statement about Jesus.35 However, this interpretation of Origen’s sentences is unconvincing, primarily because the Testimonium Flavianum in its present form cannot be read as a negative or neutral statement about Jesus. Instead, it is much more reasonable to interpret Origen’s words as referring to something other than the Jesus text as transmitted in the Greek manuscripts of Ant. The many supporters of the text’s partial authenticity therefore assume that, in Ant., Origen read a text on Jesus that in an unambiguous manner did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.36 With this interpretation, Origen’s sentences become an essential argument for the hypothesis of partial authenticity of Josephus’ text on Jesus, because they are understood as proof that Origen knew a text by Josephus on Jesus, but that this text was unambiguously negative, especially regarding Jesus’ messianic status. However, in my opinion, this interpretation goes too far. Origen writes only that Josephus did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah and that it was the Jews who had killed Jesus. Therefore, there is no connection between the contents of C. Cels. 1.47 and Ant. 18.63–64, where it is stated that Pilate – instigated by the Jews – ordered Jesus to be executed. In addition, Origen’s statement that Josephus did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah does not need to presuppose a text on Jesus in Josephus. It requires no more than the self-evident knowledge that Josephus was a Jew, and not a Christian, and therefore did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. The opponents of the authenticity of Josephus’ text on Jesus interpret Origen’s sentences in this way.37 There are no references to the Testimonium Flavianum in the works handed down by the church and apostolic fathers before Origen; for example, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Julius Africanus, Clemens Alexan-

35 Thus, e. g., Burkitt 1913, 143; Feuillet 1977, 151; Préchac 1969, 105–108. 36 Thus, e. g., Brandon 1951, 111–113; Eisler 1929–1930 I, 7–8. 32; Kars 1937–1938, 54; Martin 1941, 418–421; Phar 1927, 140–141; Pines 1971, 65–66; Reinach 1897, 8; Thackeray 1929, 139; Vermes & Millar 1973, I, 432; Winter 1968, 291. 37 For example, Meyer 1962, II, 206. 208; Norden 1913, 45; Otzen 1928, 290–291; Schürer 1904, I, 546–547; Zeitlin 1927–1928, 233–234.

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drinus and Theophilus Antiochenus, all of whom knew and referred to Josephus.38 The same is true for the non-Christian authors, though perhaps with the exception of Tacitus (who died c. 120). In his description in Ann. 15.44 of the destiny of the Christians after Rome’s fire in 64 CE, Tacitus writes: “The originator of this name [christiani] was Christ who was executed by Pontius Pilate when Tiberius was ruling. After having been suppressed for a moment this destructive superstition broke out again, not only in Judaea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome] where all terrible and scandalous things come together and are celebrated”. In some respects, this text accords with Josephus’ text on Jesus: 1) the connection between the name “Christ” and the term “Christians”, 2) Pilate’s execution of Jesus, and 3) the mention of the continued existence of the Christians. Therefore, some scholars, who (also for other reasons) believe that Tacitus builds on Josephus, assume that, in this passage, Tacitus presupposes a knowledge of the Testimonium Flavianum.39 This interpretation, however, remains uncertain, partly because there is no literal agreement between the two texts and partly because the sequence of these three elements are different. Accordingly, the Testimonium Flavianum cannot be traced back to the time before Eusebius with any assurance. However, there is still some uncertainty surrounding the handing down of the text and its manuscripts, and this uncertainty is generally interpreted by those who believe in the authenticity – or partial authenticity – of the text as evidence for their view that the text existed before Eusebius and spoke negatively or neutrally about Jesus. This applies primarily to one manuscript of Eusebius’s Praeparatio Evangelica, which, at the beginning of Ant. 18.63, does not read Iêsous but Iêsous tis (“some Jesus”, “one by the name of Jesus”). Furthermore, some manuscripts of Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica I.11.7 read apêgageto (“seduced”) instead of epêgageto (“attracted”). Finally, in his Latin translation of the text in De Viris Illustribus (ch. 13), Hieronymus writes et credebatur esse Christus rather than ho Christos houtos ên. It should therefore be recognised that these variants are difficult to interpret as secondary Christian corrections. In recent scholarship, there has been an increasing focus on the different medieval Arabic, Syrian and Byzantine reproductions of the Jesus text, pointing in the same direction. In historical works by Agapius from the 10th century and Michael the Syrian from the 12th century, the Jesus text is represented in a shorter version, and the decisive sentences about Jesus are formulated with a greater 38 Cf. Schreckenberg 1972, 70–73. 39 Thus, e. g., Corssen 1914, 134; Harnack 1913, 1058–1060; Reinach 1897, 1. On the other hand, Norden attacked this hypothesis, cf. 1913, 50ff.

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degree of caution and distance. On the basis of these variants, the Israeli scholar Slomo Pines (1971) attempts to demonstrate that they represent Josephus’ original text. However, this attempt is criticized by Vermes & Millar as well as Ernst Bammel, who explains these variants as expressions of the interests of their time and their authors, particularly against the backdrop of the disputes between Christianity, Islam and Judaism occurring at the time.40 At the same time, in his two works from 1973 and 1977, A.-M. Dubarle presents a comprehensive collection of material from the Byzantine literature that points in the same direction as the Arabic and Syrian traditions. However, there is an important difference between Dubarle and Pines; Dubarle limits the number of variants and he believes that Josephus originally wrote positively or sympathetically about Jesus (whilst maintaining a skeptical distance to his messianic status).41 However, with this interpretation, we again approach the well-known Greek text on Jesus, and the hypothesis regarding an original, negative text on Jesus becomes less plausible. At this point, we have reached the Old Russian translation of Bellum Judaicum (Bell.), to which a number of scholars have also appealed in an attempt to illuminate the text history of the Testimonium Flavianum.42 The Old Russian translation of Bell. In 1906, A. Berendts introduced the Old Russian translation of Bell. into the discussion about Josephus’ text on Jesus.43 This translation most likely dates from the 11th century. It is transmitted in 20 manuscripts, though these manuscripts only date back to the 15th century. In the Old Russian translation of Bell., we find a greater number of variants than in the well-known Greek Bell. Among these variants are some sensational sections on John the Baptist and Jesus and the first Christians, where these people are – to a certain degree – described as revolutionary and politicizing figures and movements. In 1924–1927, A. Berendts and K. Grass published the first four books of the Old Russian Bell. in a German translation.44 In 1934–1938, the Russian Scholar V. Istrin published the Old Russian texts in a critical edition with a translation, introduction and notes.45

40 Cf. Bammel 1973–1974; Vermes & Millar 1973, I, 441, note 32. 41 Cf. Dubarle 1973, 504–508; 1977, 55. 42 Cf. the research historical overview in Bienert 1936, 47–54; Krull 1959, 9–16. I present this section in the form of an excursus, because today this translation is no longer taken seriously or considered relevant to the scholarly interpretation of Josephus’ text on Jesus. 43 Cf. Berendts 1905; idem 1908, 47–70. 44 Berendts & Grass I 1924–1926; II 1927. 45 Istrin 1934. In 1958, a new critical edition was published by N. Mescerskij, cf. Krull 1959, 11.

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Berendts argued that these texts preserve parts of the original Bell. that had been lost in the existing Greek manuscripts. This idea was later adopted by Grass, Frey and Seeeberg46 and, in the 1920s, it was further developed by Robert Eisler, particularly in his impressive work from 1928–1929, Iêsous basileus ou basileusas, I–II. In this work, Eisler argues that the Old Russian Bell. represents a translation of the first Greek version of Bell., which, under Josephus’s own supervision, was composed on the basis of the original work, written in Aramaic or Hebrew (cf. Bell. 1.3). On the other hand, the Greek Bell. we know today represents a later version which, according to Eisler, has been exposed to a rough Christian censorship and interpolation. The particular material in the Old Russian translation on John the Baptist and Jesus is therefore claimed to represent sensational historical source material. On this basis, Eisler claims it is possible to reconstruct the original Testimonium Flavianum text simply by replacing the secondary Christian parts in the present text with Josephus’ own, original statements on Jesus. On the basis of this reconstructed Jesus text, and in the spirit of Reimarus, Robert Eisler reinterprets the canonical gospels as distorted alterations of the original revolutionary Jesus movement. Eisler’s hypothesis caused a great stir and gave rise to vehement discussions in the research field. Only few scholars adopted his views47 whilst the majority criticised and rejected them.48 The scope of this article does not allow for a detailed discussion of all the arguments put forward against Eisler’s hypothesis; so, instead, I shall restrict myself to the observation that a number of text critical, linguistic, literary and historical examinations seem to reveal the Old Russian Bell. as a relatively free, paraphrasing translation from the 11th century – a translation based on a Greek version of Bell. that essentially corresponds to the Greek manuscripts known today (more likely the poorer ones than the better ones).49 Therefore, the Old Russian Bell. cannot be regarded as having preserved Josephus’ original texts that were subsequently removed or changed by Christian copyists and interpolators. The differences between this translation and the Greek Bell. can be explained by the situation that existed when this translation was created and/or by the purpose that can be deduced from its character. The 46 Cf. Frey 1908; Seeberg 1906, 19–20; idem 1908, 39–60. 47 For example Reinach 1929, 113–136; Thackeray 1929, 23ff. 31–33. 125ff.; Kars 1937–1938, 42– 52 ; Scheideweiler 1950–1951; idem 1954; Brandon 1951, 116–119; idem 1967, 364–368. 48 Cf., e. g., Couchoud 1926, 44–64; Goguel 1926, 22–43; idem 1929, 217–267; Zeitlin 1927–1928, 240–251; idem, 1929–1930, 1–50; idem 1930–1931, 377–417; idem 1931; Otzen 1928, 308–317; Draguet 1930, 833–879; Creed 1932, 277–319; Bickermann 1936, 53–84; Bienert 1936; Rubenstein 1957, 329–348; Pelletier 1965, 11. 49 The Old Russian Bell.’s connection to the manuscripts of the Greek Bell. is discussed in detail in Bickermann 1936, 55–66, and the linguistic and the literary problems are thoroughly analysed in Bienert 1936, 55–111.

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additions in the Old Russian translation about John the Baptist, Jesus and the Christians can therefore not be awarded any significance for the historical reconstruction of the original Testimonium Flavianum.50 A closer examination of the contents of these additions also indicates that the extra elements in Ant. 18.63–64 stem primarily from the NT and the apocryphal Christian literature.51 This also applies to the sensational politicising features, since they do not appear as the author’s neutral description of the Jesus movement but are instead placed in the mouths of the Jews and other figures, who are described as having misunderstood Jesus. They can therefore be regarded as a phenomenon that corresponds to John 6.16; Acts 1.6 and similar texts in the NT.52 The Jesus text in the Old Russian translation of Bell. has been the object of a more intense discussion than the corresponding Syrian, Arabic and Byzantine versions from the same period. However, the result of this discussion – that the Old Russian translation does not represent the authentic Jesus text but rather particular interests of the age of the translation – has also increased the scepticism directed at the Syrian, Arabic and Byzantine versions. In fact, Ernst Bammel has already presented a critique of the Arabic and Syrian versions similar to that of the Old Russian version. Moreover, all these versions are late and seemingly relatively free reproductions of the Greek Jesus text. For this reason, it is advisable to be cautious when using these translations to reconstruct the original wording of the Jesus text. Our examination of the history of the Jesus text has not led to a definitive conclusion. There is no mention of the text before Eusebius (c. 325), which could suggest that the text was created around this time. However, variants in the manuscripts and the indirect tradition indicate the existence of another, more negative text on Jesus. In order to select between these two hypotheses, it is necessary to examine the text’s context, language and style, and contents.

8.

The Context

The Jesus text does not appear in Bell., and neither do the two texts on John the Baptist and Jacob, the brother of Jesus. Compared to the same section in Bell., Ant. 18.55–95 has been supplemented with the text on Jesus as well as with the two 50 Thus particularly Bienert 1936, 77–80. 124ff. 51 Thus particularly Bickermann 1936, 73–77; Bienert 1936, 132ff.; Couchoud 1926, 54–64; Jack 1933, 110–174; Otzen 1928, 312. 316; Zeitlin 1931, 37–40. This interpretation corresponds to what Krull 1959, 15, n. 44, writes about recent Sovjet research. 52 Cf., in particular, Bickermann 1936, 78–79; Couchoud 1926, 61. 63; Goguel 1926, 30–38; Jack 1933, 142; Meyer 1962, II, 208, footnote 1.

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stories from Rome, the report on Pilate’s suppressing of the Samaritans, and the texts on Vitellius’ s removal of Pilate and his visit in Jerusalem. Accordingly, the contents of Ant. 18.55–95 can be rendered as follows: 1) Pilate’s injustices against the Jews in Palestine (Ant. 18.55–59 and 50–62, parallel to Bell. 2.169–177); 2) the Jesus text (Ant. 18.63–64); 3) the tragedy of the Jews in Rome (Ant. 18.65–84); 4) Pilate’s suppression of the Samaritans on Mount Garizim (Ant. 18.85–87); 5) the Samaritan complaint about Pilate and Vitellius’s dismissal of Pilate (Ant. 18.88–89); 6) Vitellius’s visit to Jerusalem and the reestablishment of harmony between the Jews and the Romans (Ant. 18.90–95). Ant. 18.65–84 essentially consists of two parts: the story of the fraud of the Isis priests against the Roman lady Paulina (18.65–80) and the story of the fraud of the Jewish swindlers against the Roman lady Fulvia (18.81–84). However, it could be argued that these sections form one unity, since, in his editorial remarks, Josephus claims that 18.65 and 18.80 introduce and conclude the story of Paulina, which clearly indicates that this particular story should be understood as part of the overarching tale of the Jews in Rome. The purpose of the Paulina story is to throw the Fulvia story into relief: In the Paulina story, a greater fraud results in a smaller punishment, whereas, in the Fulvia story, a minor fraud results in a terrible and much larger punishment. On this interpretation, with these two texts, Josephus wishes to present an indirect critique of Tibirius’s unjust treatment of the Jews in Rome.53 In the overall context of the Jesus text, Josephus seemingly wishes to describe a number of violations of the traditional Roman policy of tolerance in relation to the Jewish people and how this policy of tolerance is re-established. Josephus bases these violations on two facts: firstly, Roman injustice as exemplified in Pilate’s policy in Jewish Palestine (cf. Ant. 18.55–62. 85–87) and in Tiberius’ s harshness against the Jews in Rome (cf. Ant. 18.65–84); and secondly, an irresponsibility on the part of the Jews and Samaritans: According to Ant. 18. 81–84, much of the responsibility for the banishment of the Jews from Rome is placed on the Jewish swindlers and, according to Ant. 18.85–87, part of the responsibility for the misfortune at Mount Garizim is placed on the Samaritan pseudo-prophet. In the overall context, Josephus thus appears to work on the question of the conditions for a modus vivendi between Rome and the Jewish people following the catastrophe in 66–70.54 According to Josephus, the two fundamental con-

53 For contributions on Josephus’s composition in Ant. 18.55–95, I refer particularly to Moehring 1959, 293–304; Justus 1973, 107–136. 54 In my article “The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt to Erect his Statue in the Temple in Jerusalem” (Bilde 1978), and in my dissertation (1983, 132–145), I have attempted to demonstrate that Josephus is led by the same interest in his description of Gaius Caligula’s conflict with the Jews in Palestine in the year 39–40 CE. In my article “The Causes of the Jewish

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ditions for such a peaceful relationship are Roman respect and tolerance in relation to Judaism on the one hand and Jewish responsibility and moderation on the other hand. On this interpretation of the context of the Jesus text in Ant. 18.55–95, every individual section has its particular place and function except for the Jesus text itself (which does not form part of the above analysis). Is there a place and function for this text in the context as interpreted above? There seem to be only two possibilities: Either the Jesus text illustrates the injustice of Pilate and Rome or it contributes to illustrating Jewish irresponsibility. If the former, we can assume that, in his original text, Josephus wrote about Jesus in positive or neutral terms; this interpretation is often defended by adherents of the hypothesis of complete or partial authenticity.55 If the latter, we can assume that Josephus originally described Jesus in negative terms; this interpretation is often defended by scholars who believe the Jesus text is partly genuine and partly interpolated.56 If we cannot interpret the Jesus text in either of these two ways, we may have an argument for the hypothesis that the Jesus text does not belong to the original context and is therefore a secondary Christian interpolation. At first glance, the Jesus text does not appear well integrated into its context. This becomes particularly clear in the first sentence in Ant. 18.65, which follows immediately from the Testimonium Flavianum: “And in the same period, another terrible thing affected the Jews”. With this wording, it is implied that the contents of Ant. 18.63–64 also described something terrible for the Jews; but this does not appear to be the case. This idea was taken up by Eduard Norden, who attempted to demonstrate that the discrepancy between the Testimonium Flavianum and its context is the decisive proof of its inauthenticity.57 According to Norden, the contents of Ant. 18.55–89 is composed of material from two different sources: The stories about Pilate originate from a Palestinian source that provides an account of “die Prokuration des Pilatus in Judäa und Samaria … als eine Serie von thoruboi” (p. 31) and the two scandal stories in Ant. 18.65–84 originate from a Roman source, presumably Cluvius Rufus (p. 33–34). According to Norden, Josephus connected these two sources in a somewhat mechanical sense by means of the cue thorubos, which appears in the Palestinian source (18.59. 62. 85. 88) as well as the War According to Josephus,” (Bilde 1979) I have tried to show that the same is true of his description of the war in 66–70. 55 Cf., e. g., Barnes 1920, 21–22; Dornseiff 1955, 248; Dubarle 1973, 505–508; Feuillet 1977, 150; Pelletier 1965, 18–20; Préchac 1969, 109–111; Vermes & Millar 1973, 440; Winter 1968, 301. 56 Thus, e. g., Eisler 1929–1930, I, 37. 41. 48ff., in particular 79–80; Pharr 1927, 143. 147; Reinach 1897, 7; Vermes & Millar 1973, I, 437–440; Winter 1968, 297–299. The same opnion is expressed by Burkitt 1913, 137–138; Harnack 1913, 1048. 57 Cf. Norden 1913, 29–39.

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Roman source (18.65). Furthermore, Norden presumes that Josephus worked with a traditional annalistic principle of composition, according to which the material is arranged as a row of thoruboi or disturbances (pp. 33–38). However, the Jesus text breaks this principle of composition and is the only text in Ant. 18.55–89 in which the word thorubos does not appear. At the same time, the Jesus text breaks the connection between 18.62 – where the words thorubountas and stasis appear – and 18.65: “denn die stasis ist das eine deinon, dem ein zweites deinon angefügt wird” (p. 37–38). Finally, in the Jesus text, Pilate is portrayed less negatively than in other stories (p. 38–39).58 Let us examine Norden’s argumentation in more detail. Firstly, it is not clear how and in which light Pilate is painted in the Jesus text, and this problem is exacerbated by the uncertainty regarding the original form and contents of the text. Secondly, the Jesus text is not the only story in Ant. 18.55–89 in which the cue thorubos does not appear. It fails to appear in 18.81–84 and, if 18.65 is regarded as editorial – which seems likely –, then it also fails to appear in the story of Paulina (18.66–80). Thirdly, I wish to question Norden’s interpretation of Ant. 18.65, since his interpretation is not the only possible and natural one: Of course, the expression eteron ti deinon points forward to the expulsion of the Jews from Rome (18.81–84), but it does not refer unambiguously to stasis in 18.62. In my opinion, it is more natural to understand this expression as referring to the events in Judaea as a whole, since this contrasts more clearly with the contemporary situation for the Jews in Rome. Therefore, we cannot claim that Ant. 18.63–64 in its present form breaks an unambiguous connection between 18.62 and 18.65. Accordingly, Norden’s arguments for his thesis that the Jesus text ruptures the continuity in the context remain unproven.59 A number of others scholars, mainly advocates of the hypothesis that the Jesus text is partly inauthentic, have recently tried to demonstrate that the Jesus text can be understood in its present context.60 These scholars, such as B. Justus, disagree with Norden’s view of Josephus. For Norden, Josephus is a dependent author who mechanically reproduced his sources. However, the scholars mentioned above believe this view is unfruitful, and they replace it with another view in an attempt to solve the problems in Josephus’ texts. While Norden approaches the problems in Ant. 18.55–90 (95) from a purely source critical perspective, other scholars view Josephus as a creative author with definite intentions. As such, Bammel, Pharr and Bell attempt to understand the Jesus text against the back58 Norden’s argument is accepted and followed by Meyer 1924, II, 206–208; Otzen 1928, 282–285; Vermes & Millar 1973, 438–439; Winter 1968, 298–299. 59 See also the critique of Norden by Corrsen 1914, 128–129; Eisler 1929–1930, I, 25–29; Martin 1941, 423–431; Thackeray 1929, 140–141; Wohleb 1927, 167–169. However, this critique mainly tries to demonstrate that Josephus is also able to break the context in other texts. 60 Thus, e. g., Bammel 1974, 15–18; Bell 1976–1977; Pharr 1927, 141–146.

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drop of the two scandal stories in 18.65–84. With this context, they assume that, in the original Jesus text, Josephus wrote about Jesus and Christianity in the same manner as he wrote about the Isis religion in Rome in 18.65–80; that is, he claimed that Jesus and the Christians were impostors. Moreover, these scholars claim that, with the juxtaposition of these two stories about Jesus and Paulina, Josephus actually argued against the Christian ideas of virginal birth and the divinity of Jesus. Therefore, Pharr assumes that the Jesus text in its original form included a critical account of Mary and her birth of Jesus (1927, 144–147). Finally, Bammel attempts to interpret the Jesus text as a contrast to the account of the Samaritans (1974, 15–16). Both Jesus and the Samaritan prophet were impostors, and both attracted a great crowd; in both cases, the followers survived their leaders and the movements were suppressed; however, this was unjustified in the case of the Samaritans and justified in the case of the Jesus movement. Although these scholars present a credible case for Josephus’ literary and ideological intentions, I believe their interpretation of the context is ultimately arbitrary. This is because they take their point of departure in a particular interpretation of the Jesus text and, from there, they attempt to interpret the context. It is clearly more reasonable to take the opposite approach: to analyze the context on the basis of its own premises before approaching the Jesus text in an attempt to illustrate it with contextual insights. As a result of their misguided method, these scholars fail to realize that the Paulina story has a different function in the overall context: It is not connected with the stories of Pilate in Palestine but rather with the subsequent story about the Jews in Rome (as I have attempted to show above). I would also like to argue that these scholars’ a priori understanding of the original meaning of Josephus’ text on Jesus is also arbitrary. I accept that, in the above section on the history of the Jesus text, we examined credible arguments for the hypothesis that Josephus originally wrote negatively on the messianic status of Jesus. However, from this insight, it does not follow that Josephus originally characterised Jesus as a bastard and a swindler. I therefore believe we should reject Pharr, Bammel and Bell’s interpretations of the context on methodological grounds. It is only by subjecting the context of the Testimonium Flavianum to a separate and thorough examination that we can discuss the text in an appropriate and illuminative light. In my opinion, Eduard Norden as well as C. Pharr, Ernst Bammel and A. A. Bell neglect to conduct such an analysis of the context in its own right and, for this reason, I believe their explanations of the context problem remain ultimately unfruitful. On my interpretation of the context in Ant. 18.55–95, the Jesus text does not naturally finds its place. This implies that the Jesus text in its present form cannot be authentic. In the section on the history of the Greek text, we identified clues to suggest that the Jesus text may have originally taken a different shape. However, it

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is impossible to decide whether the text in this original shape was well integrated into its context until we know more about the character of this shape. Having said this, I believe that my above examination of the context has contributed to future research on this problem. In order to fit the overall context, the Jesus text – possibly in a different, original shape – must be able to illustrate either Rome’s/Pilate’s injustice towards the Jews (and the Samaritans) or the Jew’s lack of responsibility in their relations with Rome. As such, a reconstructed original Jesus text that does not fulfill this demand cannot fit convincingly into its wider context.

9.

Language and Style

As mentioned in section 3, linguistic and stylistic arguments have been advanced in favour of authenticity as well as inauthenticity. In 1893, Benedict Niese attempted to support his interpretation of the Testimonium Flavianum as inauthentic with linguistic and stylistic observations. In 1897, Th. Reinach argued that a considerable part of the Jesus text is authentic and, to support this interpretation, he claimed that there “dans le style [is] aucune expression, aucune tournure qui ne soit parfaitement conforme à la phraséologie de Josèphe” (1897, 6). In contrast, Eduard Norden tried to support his hypothesis that the text is inauthentic with a number of linguistic arguments (1913, 39–41). At the same time, K. Linck subjected the text to a separate examination, and, like Norden, he concluded that a great part of the text contrasts Josephus’ general language and style (1913, 19–29). However, Norden and Linck’s results were later criticized and rejected by other scholars, first and foremost L. van Liempt, who, in 1929 carried out a thorough examination of Linck’s arguments in particular. L. van Liempt’s examination was so convincing that, in 1928, Otzen – despite generally agreeing with Norden – was compelled to declare that Norden and Linck’s arguments were ultimately untenable: “Desværre synes ikke alt, hvad de har fremført, at have været tilstrækkelig omhyggeligt undersøgt, således at den sproglige Undersøgelse ikke i så høj Grad som antaget af dem falder ud til Ugunst for Ægtheden” (“Unfortunately, not everything they have put forward seems to have been examined carefully enough, with the upshot that the linguistic inquiry does not – to the degree presumed by them – turn out to the disadvantage of authenticity” (1928, 291)). This conclusion refers primarily to the works by Eisler, Martin and Pelletier.61

61 Cf. Eisler 1929–1930, I, 46–84; Martin 1941, 432–439; Pelletier 1964, generally. The same view is expressed by Barnes 1920, 4–12; Bell 1976–1977, 17; Corssen 1914, 132–134; Préchac 1969,

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In the following section, I will provide a brief analysis of every expression in the Jesus text in order to examine and test the question of language and style in this disputed work. In my opinion, such an examination is urgent, since linguistic and stylistic arguments have been used to support both authenticity as well as inauthenticity (as mentioned above) and, for this reason, some scholars have argued that linguistic and stylistic considerations should be withdrawn from the dispute surrounding the authenticity of the text.62 1. Ginetai de … Iêsous: On many occasions, ginetai de introduces a sentence in Josephus; for example, in Bell. 1.648 and Ant. 18.310. However, this expression rarely appears with a person as its subject and, when it does, it never appears with the meaning “come” or “appear”.63 2. Kata touton ton chronon: This expression is very common, cf., e. g., Ant. 18.39 and 18.80, but consequently relatively uncharacteristic. 3. Sophos anêr is used in Ant. 8.53 about Solomon and in Ant. 10.237 about Daniel, whereas, in Ap. 1.236, it is used about the wise Egyptian prophet Amenophis (cf. Ap. 1.232). Otherwise, it is not used in Josephus. 4. Eige andra auton legein chrê: van Liempt (p. 103) identifies a large number of examples of ei ge in Josephus. However, it is rarely written as one word.64 Legein chrê appears in Bell. 3.391 but otherwise only rarely. The sentence as a whole has no other parallel in Josephus, even though Ap. 1.232 is arguably related to it.65 5. Ên gar … poiêtês: In spite of Th. Reinach’s assurance (p. 10) and van Liempt’s list (p. 110), poiêtês as it is used here – in this construction as “practice” or “perform” – has no parallel in Josephus but appears occasionally in the NT; for example, in Jas 1.22. 25, cf. Matt. 11.2; Jn. 5.20. 36; 10.38; 14.12 and 15.24.66 6. Paradoxôn ergôn appears twice in Josephus, namely in Ant. 9.182 and 12.63. However, only the former text is a genuine parallel, as the expression used here is about the miracles of Eliah. 7. Didaskalos anthrôpôn: The word didaskalos is not frequent in Josephus, where it appears 17 times, but it is only used once in the same way as in Ant. 18.63, namely in Bell. 7.444, where it is used negatively about the Roman

62 63 64 65 66

104; Richards & Shutt 1937, 176; Richards 1941, 70–71; Thackeray 1929, 141–143; Wohleb 1927, 153. 156–165. Cf., e. g., Harnack 1913, 1046; Norden 1913, 39; Otzen 1928, 294; Schürer 1979, I, 547; Wohleb 1927, 157. Cf. Eisler 1929–1930, I, 48–49; Linck 1913, 19–20, against van Liempt 1927, 110; Martin 1941, 433; Thackeray 1929, 143. Cf. Rengstorf 1973, I, 20. Thus Dubarle 1973, 504–505; idem 1977, 51. This fact has been shown by Linck 1913, 21–22, cf. also Eisler 1929–1930, I, 61–62.

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governor in Libya, Catullus: “he was a teacher in lying for the Sicarians”. The phrase as a whole has no parallel in Josephus. 8. Tôn hêdonê talêthê dechomenôn: hêdonê is used frequently in Josephus, and the expression hêdonê dechesthai also appears several times – as often as in Ant. 17.329; 18.6. 59. 70. 236. However, in most of these cases, the expression is used negatively about the gullibility of people. The word talêthê appears 9 times in Josephus and always with a positive connotation. As might be expected, the entire phrase has no parallel in the rest of Josephus’ works.67 9. Kai pollous men Judaious, pollous de kai tou Hellênikou epêgageto: The construction polloi men … polloi de appears frequently in Josephus; for example, in Ant. 20.98. Hellênikos appears 32 times in Josephus, but to Hellênikon with the meaning used in Ant. 18.63 can only be found in Bell. 2.268.68 The verb epagô is found more than 100 times in Josephus, particularly in Ant., and it is also used in medium voice with an object meaning “win over”; for example, in Bell. 2.21 and 3.454. 10. Ho Christos houtos ên: The word christos is only found in the Jesus text and in Ant. 20.200. Van Liempt (op. cit., 112) has identified a number of parallels to the type of sentence we have here; for example, in Ant. 14.490, where Josephus writes oikos lampros houtos ên about the Hasmonean family and in Ant. 20.179, where the following is stated about the high priest: Phabei pais houtos ên. 11. Kai … endeixei tôn prôtôn andrôn par’ hêmin …: The word endeixis occurs only three times in Josephus, namely, in Ant. 18.64, Ant. 13.306 and 19.133; but it is only in Ant. 19.133 that it appears with the same meaning of “informing against” or “reporting” as in 18.64. Hoi prôtoi andres is found several times in Josephus; for example, in Ant. 17.7; 18.98–99 and 18.121. The same is true of par’ hêmin used about the Jewish people, cf. Ant. 18.55; 20.52 and 20.198. In contrast, the complete phrase hoi prôtoi andres par’ hêmin cannot be found in Josephus. The nearest parallels are ho archiereis par’ hêmin found in Ant. 1.11 and 20.198. 12. Kai auton … staurô epitetimêkotos Pilatou: The verb epitimaô is found 15 times in Josephus, usually meaning “sentence to”; for example, in Ant. 18.68 and 18.107. In most of these cases, this verb is constructed with the punishment in accusative and the sentenced person in dative, cf. Ant. 18.68. However, the construction found in Ant. 18.64 also appears in Bell. 2.183.69

67 Cf. Brüne 1919, 140–141. 68 With this observation, I have to correct von Gutschmid 189–1894, IV, 351. 35; van Liempt 1927, 111, and several others who regard this expression as characteristic of Josephus. 69 Thus also Dubarle 1973, 497–498.

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13. … ouk epausanto hoi to prôton agapêsantes: Of course, the verb pauomai occurs frequently in Josephus, but none of the examples identified by Martin (op. cit., p. 438), corresponds to Ant. 18.64, where the verb is used to mean “stop”.70 The expression to prôton appears several times in Josephus; for example, in Ant. 18.30. The verb agapaô is used 77 times in Josephus and, in some cases, in the same manner as in Ant. 18.64; for example, in Bell. 1.171 and Vita 198. 14. Ephanê gar autois … palin zôn …: Josephus uses the verb phainô several times in a way that reminds us of its use in Ant. 18.64; for example, in Ant. 6.332 about the spirit of Samuel appearing at the widow of Endor and in Ant. 7.147 about the Jewish god who appeared to the prophet Nathan at night. However, palin zôn cannot be found elsewhere in Josephus. 15. … tritên echôn hêmeran …: As often observed, this expression has no parallel elsewhere in Josephus.71 Van Liempt (1927, 114) and Richards & Shutt (1937, 176) have drawn our attention to Ant. 7.1; 10.1. 57. 84 and 15.89, where Josephus uses expressions reminiscent of Ant. 18.64. However, these sections do not correspond exactly to the expression and, as Robert Eisler observes, Josephus normally uses the expression meta treis hêmeras, as in Ant. 8.214, or tên tritên tôn hêmerôn, as in Ant. 8.218 (cf. also Ant. 18.77). 16. … tôn theiôn prophêtôn … eirêkotôn: In Ant. 8.243 and 10.35, Josephus uses the expression theios prophêtês about the prophet from Bethel and about Isaiah and, in general, Josephus understands the prophets as predicting figures, as in Ant. 10.269–281 about Daniel. 17. … tauta te kai alla muria peri autou thaumasia …: Both muros and thaumasios are often used by Josephus, even though the juxtaposition is unique. 18. Eis eti te nun …: Norden showed that this prepositional group is uncharacteristic of Josephus, who usually writes eti kai nun; for example, in Ant. 14.182, or mechri tou nun, as in Ant. 20.267.72 19. … tôn Christianôn apo toude ônomasmenon ouk epelipe to phulon: The word Christianos only appears in Josephus. The verb epileipô occurs 41 times in Josephus, and the noun to phulon is also not uncommon in Josephus, cf. for example Ant. 14.115; Bell. 3.354 and 7.327, where it is used about the Jewish people. In his well-known article, Eduard Norden also highlights the fact that the Jesus text contains three cases of vowel collision (hiatus). In Bell., Josephus usually 70 Cf. Eisler 1929–1930, I, 74. 71 Cf., e. g., Eisler 1929–1930, I, 76–77; Norden 1913, 40. 72 Cf. Norden 1913, 40. In this case, Norden has unusually been followed by Eisler 1929–1930, I, 80, and van Liempt 1927, 115.

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avoids this problem but, in Ant., he was less strict in following this classical rule of style. Norden writes about Josephus, who, in three lines, allows himself to break this rule three times: “müsste man sagen, dass er das Gesetz nicht kenne”.73 Against Norden, other scholars have emphasised that, in Ant., Josephus often disregarded the demand to avoid hiatus.74 In my opinion, however, this discussion is concluded with Wohleb’s discovery that Ant. 18.355 contains four cases of hiatus and that three of these appear in one line (1927, 158). With these remarks, I would like to conclude my linguistic and stylistic examination of the Testimonium Flavianum. Its results can be illustrated by dividing the examined phrases into the following three categories: 1) Josephine, 2) non-Josephine and 3) neutral. It then appears that only one expression – no. 16 – can be characterised as clearly Josephine. Three expressions – nos. 3, 6 and 12 – can be categorised as both Josephine and neutral. However, since these three expressions are relatively rare in Josephus, it would not be justified to classify them as characteristic of this author. Three expressions – nos. 2, 9 and 17 – are clearly neutral, and they are at the same time colourless and frequent phrases. Furthermore, I have discovered that no less than nine expressions – nos. 1, 5, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 18 – seem to be non-Josephine in the sense that they rarely or never appear in Josephus’ works. In addition, three expressions – nos. 4, 11 and 19 – can be classified as both non-Josephine and neutral. However, because one unique element appears in all three expressions, I am inclined to interpret all three as non-Josephine. Accordingly, my investigation into the language and style of the text has revealed that the Testimonium Flavianum can under no circumstances be regarded as a genuine text written by Josephus. The results of my investigation also fail to support the hypothesis that the text is partly genuine, as I have demonstrated that the foundation for the assessment quoted from Th. Reinach is entirely unsatisfactory. In contrast, my results seem to support the hypothesis that Josephus’ text on Jesus is inauthentic. With this result, I am forced to depart from the trend that has dominated research in this area since van Liempt’s dissertation in 1927. The hypothesis that the linguistic and stylistic features of the Testimonium Flavianum are characteristic of Josephus is seemingly false. Any evidence to the contrary, in my opinion, stems from investigations that lack the necessary rigour and depth. It may also result from a methodological weakness: we cannot prove that Josephus wrote an expression simply because the same expression appears once or twice elsewhere in Josephus’ works. In fact, this only proves that the expression in question is untypical for the author. We can only prove Josephine authorship of a 73 Norden 1913, 40–41. 74 Cf., e. g., van Liempt 1927, 115–116; Martin 1941, 431–432; Otzen 1928, 292.

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given expression if we can demonstrate that this expression is characteristic of the author; and this implies that the expression is both relatively rare and relatively frequent in Josephus’ works.

10.

Contents

After the two accounts in Ant. 18.55–62 about Pilate’s assaults on the Jews in Jerusalem, the narrative continues to describe the appearance of Jesus. Jesus is described as a wise man, though it is suggested that he was more than a man, and this suggestion is supported by the claim that he performed astonishing acts. It is also said that he was a teacher for those who sought the truth. With his teaching, Jesus attracted many people, Jews as well as pagans. It is stressed that he was the Messiah. In continuation of this claim, the text informs its readers that leading men among the Jews denounced Jesus to Pilate who condemned him to death on the cross. However, as the text continues to state, this fate did not prevent his adherents from following him. This is supported by the claim that, three days after his crucifixion, Jesus appeared to his followers alive. It is added that this event, and numerous others connected to him, had been predicted by the prophets. The text concludes by describing how Christians are named after him and that the tribe of Christians continues to exist. Since Th. Reinach, supporters of the hypothesis for the text’s complete or partial authenticity have continued to claim that the authentic parts of the text express a negative, contemptible or ironic attitude towards Jesus and that such an attitude accords with one’s expectations of the Jewish historiographer Josephus.75 In particular, this applies to the expressions sophos anêr and paradoxôn ergôn poiêtês, the sentence with didaskalos, epêgageto, the sentence with eis eti te nun, but also other phrases in the text. Adolf von Harnack even regarded the sentence ho christos houtos ên as ironic (1913, column 1054). However, in my opinion, it is mistaken to interpret these phrases as negative whilst claiming they are written by Josephus. During my examination of the linguistic expressions in the Jesus text in section 9, we saw that some of these expressions – namely, sophos anêr and paradoxoi ergoi – are used positively elsewhere in Josephus. Perhaps the same can be said of the sentence with epêgageto. The sentence with eis eti te nun has no parallel in Josephus and therefore its “colour” cannot be determined. Moreover, we cannot claim that the word phulon has a negative connotation in Josephus. For these reasons, the arguments in favour of the hypothesis that the text speaks negatively or with reservations 75 Thus, e. g., Bammel 1974, generally; Burkitt 1913, 137–138; Martin 1941, 444–449; Vermes & Millar 1973, 435–436; Winter 1968, 297.

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about Jesus are unconvincing; and this is quite independent of the fact (demonstrated in section 9) that the overall text is not in agreement with Josephus. I would therefore like to argue that the Jesus text in Ant. 18.63–64 cannot be regarded as either completely or partially written by Josephus. My examination of the context in section 8 leads to the same conclusion. In this section, I demonstrated that each story in Ant. 18.55–95 serves to illustrate either Roman atrocities against the Jewish people or Jewish irresponsibility that could lead to such atrocities. The Jesus text does not illustrate these ideas and therefore militates against its context. If the Testimonium Flavianum had been written by Josephus, it would be impossible to understand the author’s intention. The critique of Jewish leaders suggested in the Jesus text accords with the traditional Christian interpretation of the process against Jesus; however, it completely contradicts the manner in which the Jewish aristocrat Josephus usually describes Jewish leadership (cf., e. g., Ant. 20.118–136). Against the backdrop of the negative description of Pilate in the context in Ant. 18.55–62, and even in Ant. 18.85– 87, where Josephus describes Pilate’s suppression of the despised Samaritans, it is remarkable that Pilate’s execution of Jesus is mentioned only in passing and without commentary. Finally, it is nothing less than astonishing that Josephus – the opponent of messianic movements – would have described a messianic imposter and his movement (as is done in the Jesus text).76 The noble aristocrat Josephus always describes this sort of popular movement using critical phrases; for example, in Ant. 18.85–87, where he describes a religious leader of a popular Samaritan movement as a liar, and in Ant. 18.4–10, where Josephus describes Judas the Galilean’s militant movement. The only parallel in Josephus to the positive description of Jesus and his adherents is Ant. 18.116–119 on John the Baptist. But this text, whose authenticity itself is questioned, cannot be allowed to carry the sole burden of proof. In my opinion, far from being negative, the Testimonium Flavianum is marked by a fundamentally positive attitude towards Jesus and the Christians. The text describes them perceptively and without critique. It also describes – briefly yet clearly – the time of Jesus’ appearance, his wisdom, his activity as a miracle worker and teacher, his ability to attract followers, his messianic dignity, the Jewish leaders’ aversion to him and their denouncement of him to Pilate, Pilate’s sentencing of Jesus to death, Jesus’ crucifixion, his followers’ continued loyalty to him, his appearance alive to them on the third day (in accordance with the predictions of the Jewish prophets), and the sustained existence of the Christian community. Of course, supporters of the hypothesis for partial authenticity have always acknowledged that the Jesus text has been adapted and rewritten by Christians. 76 Similarly Zeitlin 1927–1928, 234–235.

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Usually, they identify and classify the sentences mentioned in section 3 as secondary Christian additions to Josephus’ original text.77 However, as we have seen, the Christian or pro-Christian character of the text cannot be limited to these Christological phrases. The text as a whole is marked by sympathy for Jesus and his movement. It describes Jesus favourably as a divine miracle worker and teacher, as an unjustly executed messiah and as resurrected from the dead in agreement with the predictions of the divine prophets. At the same time, it describes the Christians as truth-seeking disciples of Jesus, who, despite his execution, preserve their love for him and continue to constitute a vigorous community. Some scholars have observed that the Testimonium Flavianum is reminiscent of the Christian confessions of faith. In my opinion, this is not entirely incorrect, but it could prove more accurate to characterize the text as a summary of the canonical gospels’ account, since the life of Jesus occupies more space in the Jesus text than it does in the Christian confessions of faith. Therefore, I believe the Jesus text as a whole should be characterized as a Christian or a pro-Christian summary of the canonical gospels that has been secondarily interpolated into the Antiquities of Josephus.78

11.

Conclusion

For many years, I was convinced that the Testimonium Flavianum was a partly authentic text by Josephus. This appeared to be the only logical possibility between two extreme positions – a true Hegelian synthesis – and, since 1930, this idea dominated research on the text. Moreover, I was captivated by the idea that Josephus had written about Jesus; since the material on Jesus in the NT is particularly biased, Jesus research is in desperate need of supplementary material on Jesus. It would therefore be interesting and exciting to explore Josephus’ description of Jesus, even in a reconstructed text. Perhaps other scholars had similar wishes and research aims, which would explain the prevalence of the hypothesis of partial authenticity. It was only following a renewed and more 77 Thus, e. g., Linck 1913, 29; Pötscher 1975, 32–33; Reinach 1897, 3–4. 6. 9. 12; Vermes & Millar 1973, I, 434–437; Winter 1968, 294–297. In 1941, Martin (1941, 415–416) attempted to specify this hypothesis with the assumption that the clearly Christian phrases in the Jesus text had originally been marginal notes in the manuscripts, added by Christian scribes, and that, during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, these marginal additions gradually entered into the text itself. This additional hypothesis has become relatively popular, especially in the French-speaking world, cf. Pelletier 1965, 13ff. Th. Reinach considered this possibility in connection with Gutschmid 1889–1894, II, 353. 78 Zeitlin 1927–1928, 237.240, argues that the author of this interpolation was Eusebius, cf. also Bell 1976–1977, 22.

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thorough examination of the context and the linguistic-stylistic character of the Testimonium Flavianum that I realised that the Jesus text could not have been written by Josephus. I will therefore conclude this article by summarizing the results of my examination in the form of a discussion of the arguments which, over the years, have been presented in favour of the various hypotheses about this text. I locate the most decisive argument in the language and style of the text. The linguistic and stylistic features of the text have been presented as both arguments for and against the text’s authenticity and, for this reason, some scholars have claimed that they should be excluded from the discussion altogether. However, the linguistic and stylistic arguments that supposedly support the authenticity hypothesis are insufficient and, in addition, marked by methodological uncertainty. There is only one expression in the Jesus text that – with some good will – can be described as typically Josephine; apart from this, the entire text is marked by phrases that are uncharacteristic of Josephus. I locate the second most important argument in the relationship between the Jesus text and its context. Supporters of the claim for complete authenticity are unable to say anything reasonable about the connections between the Testimonium Flavianum and the texts surrounding it, and supporters of partial authenticity have produced only weak and forced attempts to interpret the Jesus text in relation to its context. Having said this, I also believe that Eduard Norden’s examination of the context problem – whilst reaching the correct conclusion – is unconvincing. This is because his work is based on a purely source critical foundation and presupposes an inadequate view of Josephus (also true of Paul Winter’s interpretation, which has been unquestionably adopted by Vermes & Millar). My own “redaction critical” investigation of Josephus’ intentions and composition in Ant. 18.55–95 (section 8), however, has confirmed that the Jesus text cannot be brought into harmony with its context. I locate the third most important argument in the contents of the Jesus text, despite the fact that – like the first argument – it unambiguously indicates inauthenticity. This is because the hypothesis of interpolation – that is, partial authenticity – operates with the idea that original negative expressions about Jesus were subsequently replaced by positive ones; this means the more formal examinations of language, style and context (as opposed to contents) must carry the decisive burden of proof. However, there is no doubt that the contents of the Jesus text represent a Christian view of Jesus (cf. section 10). For similar reasons, I locate the fourth most important argument in the history of the text. I do not regard this argument – which has also been presented in favour of different hypotheses – as particularly decisive, This is because of the uncertainty surrounding the transmission of the Jesus text, in particular Origen’s ambiguous statement. I therefore interpret this statement in light of the more

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convincing arguments mentioned above: When Origen writes that Josephus did not believe in the messianic dignity of Jesus, this does not imply that he knew of a genuine Josephus text that spoke negatively about Jesus. It could simply mean that Origen knew Josephus as a Jew. Thus, this argument cannot be awarded any independent importance. In addition, it is probable that Origen had not read Josephus but only knew him indirectly.79 In the same way, we cannot appeal to the argument from Tacitus. It is entirely possible that Tacitus referred to Josephus elsewhere but obtained his information on Jesus (Ann. 15.44) from other sources. Furthermore, the fact that the early church fathers before Eusebius – for example, Irenaeus and Tertullian – make no mention of the Jesus text (although they knew Josephus) is a powerful argument in favour on inauthenticity. Moreover, in modern Josephus research, it is almost unanimously acknowledged that the variants in the Old Russian translation of the Jewish War were written in the Middle Ages and represent a Christian (rather than a non-Christian) tradition (cf. section 7). Accordingly, this part of the indirect tradition cannot lead us back to the old, lost part of an original and negatively marked Josephus text on Jesus. The same is true of variants in the other indirect traditions; for example, the old Latin, Syrian and Arab translations of Josephus’ Greek or Aramaic texts. These variants are modest and only concern the most clearly Christological-coloured parts of the Testimonium Flavianum. Even if these variants could be accepted as reflecting an older Greek text, this would not fundamentally change the (positive) character of the text, and the decisive arguments concerning language, style and context would remain valid. Taken together, these four arguments prove unambiguously that the Testimonium Flavianum cannot be authentic. At this point, I only wish to make a few remarks in addition to the arguments that have been advanced in favour of complete or partial authenticity. The argument that Ant. 20.200 necessarily presupposes a previous text on Jesus is unconvincing, because, with his words ho legomenos christos, Josephus identifies Jesus and thereby distinguishes him from the numerous other Jesuses who appear in the Antiquities of the Jews (assuming Ant. 20.200 is genuine). A similar claim can be directed at the a priori argument that Josephus could not have remained silent on Jesus and Christianity.80 Josephus does not provide an exhaustive account of everything in the periods he describes, and we can think of many reasons for his remaining silent on the Christians.81 Finally, I would like to suggest that the conjectures put forward by the supporters of partly authenticity – 79 Thus also, e. g., Barnes 1920, 18–20; Burkitt 1913, 143. 80 Thus, e. g., Brandon 1967, 360; Klausner 1952, 69; Pharr 1927, 151; Reinach 1897, 5–6. 81 Cf. in particular Jacoby 1916, 159–160; Meyer 1962, II, 209–211; Otzen 1928, 300; Schweitzer 1906, 459.

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in particular, Th. Reinach, Thackeray, Eisler, Bienert, Kars and Bammel – are all marked by a fundamental weakness: they are coloured by a pre-constructed idea about what the original text must have looked like. In conclusion, I wish to reiterate and emphasise that the decisive arguments concerning the context, language and style of the Jesus text can only be presented in light of a thorough investigation of Josephus’ works as a whole; it is against the backdrop of such an investigation that we must conclude that the Testimonium Flavianum could not have been written by Josephus.

Epilogue From a personal point of view, the result of my investigation into the Jesus text in 1981 was most unwelcome. It was neither what I had hoped for nor expected. It was disappointing to realize that the Jesus text could not supplement – but was most likely dependent on – the canonical gospels. After 1981, I continued my studies of Josephus82 and I continued and extended my studies on the historical Jesus;83 however, it was not until recently that I returned seriously to the Testimonium Flavianum. Yet this short text on Jesus continued to interest other scholars and, since 1981, the line of research has departed from my 1981 investigation.84 Today, most scholars have rejected the view that the entire text is interpolation. Today, the majority of scholars interpret the text as partial interpolation; they believe that Josephus wrote a few lines on Jesus (cf. Ant. 20.200) and that he did so in a more neutral style than the present text.85 Moreover, a few scholars – in particular, Serge Bardet (cf. footnote 84) – have today returned to the (pre-critical) position that existed before the 16th century; that (with the exception of a few minor corrections) the entire text is genuine and written by Josephus. For reasons stated in my article from 1981, it is still relatively easy to reject this neo-conservative interpretation. The “Christian” phrases continue to be Christian, and the rest of the text cannot resist the arguments presented in my 1981 article and reformulated below. It is much more difficult to reject the first aforementioned hypothesis that Josephus originally wrote a brief – and more neutral – text on Jesus that was later 82 Cf. Bilde 1983; Bilde 1988. 83 Cf. Bilde 2008; Bilde 2013. 84 Comprehensive accounts of the research history of the Jesus text are available in Bardet 2002, and, in particular, in Whealey 2003. 85 Cf., e. g., Meier 1991, 56–88; Mason 1992, 163–184; Theißen & Merz 1996, 74–82; Dunn 2003, 141; Horn 2007, 117–136.

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interpolated and edited by a Christian writer. This is because it is almost impossible to prove what Josephus originally wrote and because the linguistic and stylistic arguments appear less forceful than I thought in 1981. In what follows, I intend to re-examine the four main arguments: the history, context, language and style, and contents of the Jesus text. Regarding the history of the text, today, I would like to emphasise that there is no trace of the Jesus text in The Jewish War. At the same time, today, most scholars accept that the additions in the Old Russian translation of the work are not original but much later and secondary additions from the Middle Ages. This means that the insertion of the three texts (Ant. 18.63–64; 116–119 and 20.197– 203) into the Antiquities of the Jews reflected new information that Josephus probable obtained in Rome during the 80s and the beginning of the 90s; or, in the case of Ant. 18.63–64, it reflected a later and secondary interpolation (which I believe is substantiated by the following arguments). In my opinion, it is very insightful that there is no trace of the Jesus text in the church fathers before Eusebius. These church fathers – primarily Justin Martyr, Hippolyte, Irenaeus, Clement from Alexandria, Tertullian, Julius Africanus and Origen – knew Josephus and, if they had known and read the Jesus text, I assume they would have referred to it. Accordingly, the arguments from the history of the text cannot be said to support the hypothesis that Josephus originally wrote a text on Jesus. The uncomfortable relationship between the Jesus text and its context remains one of the strongest arguments against its authenticity. At this point, I will not repeat the arguments presented by Eduard Norden, me and other scholars, but, to appeal to a colloquial phrase, the Jesus text suits its context like a fish out of water. Today, I have to concede that my arguments regarding the text’s language and style have lost their force, since they have been used to prove two diametrically opposite hypotheses. I wish to use this opportunity to claim that, on both sides, this argument has been employed relatively uncritically and with insufficient methodological consideration. In contrast, the arguments regarding the contents of the Jesus text remain as strong as ever. The contents resemble a brief summary of the contents of the canonical gospels.86 In addition, contrary to the practice of Josephus, Ant. 18.63– 64 contains no real story and no real point, and it is impossible to reconstruct Josephus’ intention with this text. The text is highly un-Josephine; it is too pale 86 Hengel & Schwemer 2007, 82, argue that Ant. 18.64 (on the co-operation between the Jewish leaders and Pilate) support Mat 15.1. However, unfortunately, this statement proves nothing, because it could also be dependent on the canonical gospels. The same is true of their similar remark on p. 461 on paradoxa erga in Ant. 18.63.

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and neutral. There is no defense of the Jewish people and no critique of the false prophet or the messianic imposter. In addition, it is unfortunate that research on the Jesus text since 1981 has not included and drawn upon general Josephus research. Overall, research on the Testimonium Flavianum since 1981 has provided little new material. Perhaps this is also the reason why interest in this text – manifested in the existing number of publications – has decreased considerably since 1981. Moreover, following the rejection of Eisler and Brandon’s assumption regarding the Old Russian translation of the Jewish War by the international scholarly community, the contents of Testimonium Flavianum makes little difference for the results of modern Jesus research. Finally, the Jesus text – either in its original or reconstructed form – contributes nothing to the canonical gospels and is therefore without historical interest.87 As such, I must conclude that I stand by my analyses and results from 1981.

87 The additional proof of the historical existence of Jesus, which is often viewed as the main contribution of the Jesus text, has already been delivered by An. 20.200. Finally, in 1981, I neglected to dismiss Robert Laqueur’s idea that Josephus himself inserted Ant. 18.93–94 in the 90s because, after having been excluded from the Jewish synagogues in Rome, he wished to be a good friend of the Christians. Today, this idea has been justifiably rejected by Josephus scholars.

4:

The Geographical Excursus in Josephus

1.

Introduction

I have long wished to subject the geographical excursuses in Josephus to a closer examination because I believe that a proper description, analysis, understanding and interpretation of this material might lead to insights of general interest in the study of Josephus.1 Generally speaking, Josephus research during the past several decades has been marked by quite different interests. In particular, great efforts have been invested in the analysis of the personal position of Josephus, his attitude towards Rome and the Jewish people, and the characteristics of his politics, ideology and theology.2 This trend was also reflected in the program for the International Colloquium on Flavius Josephus in Memory of Professor Morton Smith in November 1992. And indeed, it is both adequate and appropriate, because it is indispensable for any proper understanding and interpretation of Josephus’ historiography. However, these interests should not be allowed to dominate Josephus research completely. We need studies of specific texts and well-defined topics such as Pelletier 1962 on Josephus’ adaptation of the Letter of Aristeas, Franxman 1979 on Josephus’ treatment of Genesis, Feldman’s numerous articles on “Hellenization” in Josephus, Egger 1986 on the Samaritans in Josephus, and Varneda 1986 on Josephus’ historiographical methods. In this contribution I intend to take up such a specific subject: The geographical excursuses in Josephus. My reason for this choice is the observation 1 My interest in the geographical excursuses in Josephus was developed during the work on my dissertation and the following general monograph on Josephus, cf. Bilde 1983, 60, 130, 163, 174, 175; 1988, 98, 196, 203, and esp. 211–12. 2 Cf. the recent examples, especially in Lindner 1972; Attridge 1976, 1984; van Unnik 1978; Cohen 1979; Bilde 1983, 1988; Schwartz 1990; Mason 1991. This interest is, however, much older and goes back to the works of Hölscher 1916 and Laqueur 1920, cf. the account on modern Josephus research in Bilde 1988, 123–71.

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that it appears to be a characteristic feature in Josephus that he, in all parts of his work, has worked with excursuses on geographical and topographical as well as on a number of other specific phenomena. Accordingly, it is my intention to present briefly a description, an analysis, and, hopefully, an interpretation of a representative number of the geographical excursuses. I aim at exploring this phenomenon, and at discussing its significance for our understanding of Josephus as a historical writer. My method is simple: I begin by sketching the research history of our problem. I continue with a discussion of the category “geographical excursus”, followed by a catalogue of the material I have judged adequate to present. The examination is rounded off by a brief analysis of this material with the aim of bringing out its characteristics and significance.

2.

Research History

Strangely, the geographical excursuses have not been given much attention in Josephus research: To the best of my knowledge,3 they have never been analysed as an independent topic.4 On the other hand, this material has in fact been taken up in connection with various other subjects such as the sources of the Jewish War or Josephus’ historiographical methods: In his work on Josephus and Vespasian (1921) Wilhelm Weber studied some of the geographical excursuses in the Jewish War with the result that they were assumed to reflect Roman military interests. And for that reason Weber concluded that these excursuses –almost verbatim – derived from Josephus’ main source, Vespasian’s military ὑπομνήματα/commentarii (cf. Life §§ 342, 358; AgAp 1 § 56).5 Recently, this hypothesis has been accepted by Magen Broshi and Tessa Rajak.6 In other words, one interpretation of the geographical excursuses in 3 In the bibliographies of Schreckenberg (1968; 1979) and Feldman (1984a, esp. 735–36) I have been unable to find even one single study on the specific subject of the geographical, or even on any other of the numerous excursuses in Josephus. 4 The same is the case in the geographical-topographical works of Boettger 1879; Smith 1894; Buhl 1896; Schlatter 1893; 1913; Abel 1933–1938; Kopp 1959; Avi-Yonah 1966; Moller-Schmitt 1976 and Kasher 1990. The same result may be found in general representations of Jewish history in the Hellenistic and Roman periods such as Zeitlin 1962–78; Schürer 1973–87; SafraiStern 1974–76 and Smallwood 1976. 5 Cf. Weber 1921, 79–80, 142–49. See esp. 149: “Sieht man auf das Ganze, dann ist der Eindruck der gleiche wie bei dem Exkurs über das Heerwesen: Josephus übernimmt die Tatsachen der Vorlage möglichst weitgehend. Nun hat man wohl die Sicherheit, dass auch die Exkurse über das ganze Land und über den See Genezareth keineswegs freie Erfindungen des Josephus, sondern seiner Quelle entnommen sind.” 6 Cf. Broshi 1982, 381–82, and Rajak 1983, 216. Here Rajak refers to the works of Weber 1921 and Nicols 1978 (who has analysed Josephus’ chronology only, and not his geographical excur-

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Josephus, which I have termed the classical (Bilde 1988, 126–28, 41), is that this material has not been provided by Josephus himself, but – more or less verbatim – has been borrowed from one of his sources. Harold W. Attridge restricts himself to mentioning the fact, that Josephus’ “historical account is interspersed with a number of excursuses providing background information on geographical and institutional matters.” (1984, 194). Attridge continues by giving an extensive list of “the most important geographical sections,” but there is not even a suggestion of an analysis of this phenomenon.7 A third position can be found in Varneda 1986. Pere Villalba Ι Varneda has provided the most extensive analysis of this material that I am aware of (1986, XIV, 121–24, 169–74). The author does not doubt that the geographical excursuses have been provided by Josephus himself (1986, 123, 173). In his discussion of the material he concentrates on a limited number of the more extensive excursuses: JW 3 §§ 419–22: the coast at Joppa; 3 §§ 506–21: Lake Gennesar; 4 §§ 2–10: Gamala; 4 §§ 452–75: Jericho; 4 §§ 607–15: Egypt and Alexandria.8 It is his aim to inquire how this specific material has been used historiographically by Josephus. Therefore, he is not interested in the category as a whole, nor in what this material may else reveal on Josephus’ historical interests. Accordingly, it is evident that no consensus has yet been reached regarding this problem. Further, it seems to be obvious that even a clear attitude toward the geographical excursuses in Josephus has not yet crystallized in Josephus research. Therefore, it is a valid motivation to take up this problem in a more comprehensive manner than has hitherto been the case.

suses). However, Rajak concludes this paragraph by voicing certain reservations towards this “classical” position. Also Feldman (1984b, 840) seems to accept Weber’s hypothesis. This hypothesis is part and parcel of Weber’s general theory of a comprehensive Roman source behind the Jewish War, a theory which, in another shape, was already presented in Schlatter 1893 (Josephus’ source was Marcus Antonius Julianus, cf. also Schlatter 1923). For the general discussion of this theory, I refer to Bilde 1983, 28–30; 1988, 128. Finally, it should be mentioned that, according to Morr 1926, Josephus has drawn his geographical information in JW 4 §§ 451– 85 from Poseidonius. 7 The list in Attridge 1984, 194 is much more extensive than the material which, according to Weber 1921, belongs to this category. 8 In this category Varneda also reckons JW 2 §§ 188–91: Ptolemais; 3 §§ 35–58: Galilee, Peraea, Samaria and Judaea; 5 §§ 136–247: Jerusalem and the Temple; 7 §§ 164–89: Machaerus, and 7 §§ 280–303: Masada. Accordingly, like Attridge 1984, Varneda defines the category of geographical excursuses much wider than Weber 1921.

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The Geographical Excursus in Josephus

Defining Our Task and Delineating the Material

Once the reader has become aware of the issue of Josephus’ excursuses on geographical and other sorts of specific data, such as cities, fortresses, harbours, agriculture, economics, military and political institutions and so forth, one seems to discover them everywhere.9 So, it is our first task, out of this huge material, to select a limited collection, and to define what we, in this context, more precisely understand by geographical and by excursus: First, excursus by which I here understand a relatively brief, rounded insertion in the general narrative, explaining a specific phenomenon in the main text, after which the author returns to his narrative thread.10 Accordingly, we have to leave out such pieces as Josephus’ description of the places in Galilee and Gaulanitis he fortified during the winter 66–67 (JW 2 §§ 573–75; Life §§ 187–88), precisely because these lists do not interrupt the general account. The same applies to a number of other texts such as JW 1 § 417 and the parallel in Ant 16 § 142–43 (both on the fertile plain of Antipatris); JW 3 § 107 (where Josephus, in the context of his long description of the Roman army [JW 3 §§ 70–109], indicates the borders of the Roman Empire); JW 7 §§ 280–84, (see also § 303) (on the rock of Masada, where the account without interruption continues in a description of the fortress); Ant 2 § 18 (on the fertile soil in the region of Sikima/Shechem), and Ant 2 §§ 244–47 on Moses’ ingenuous (θαυμαστός, cf. below) idea to control the dangerous snakes on his way to Ethiopia. Second, by geographical I understand descriptions, of a certain minimal extent (the length of which is of course open to discussion), of landscapes, rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys, caves, soil, fertility and other natural phenomena. This means that we have to exclude a great amount of material having obviously the character of excursuses, but without referring to geographical phenomena in this sense. Firstly, this is true of Josephus’ extensive presentation of the Essenes (JW 2 §§ 120–61), of his brief explanations of the Roman tactics of the “tortoise” (JW 2 § 537) and of the Roman battering ram (JW 3 §§ 214–16). Similarly, this applies to Josephus’ detailed descriptions of the location of the Roman legions (JW 2 §§ 365–87), appearing in the great speech of King Agrippa II (JW 2 §§ 345–404), of the Roman army itself (JW 3 §§ 65–69, 70–109, 115–26; 5 §§ 41–49), of the Roman siege wall against Jerusalem (JW 5 §§ 502–9), of the miraculous omens portending the fall of the Temple (JW 6 §§ 288–309), and of the Roman triumph (JW 7 §§ 123–62). Further, this holds true of Josephus’ account of Moses’ military 9 Cf. Attridge 1984, 194; Varneda 1986, 121–24, 169–74. 10 Varneda is not clear regarding the problem whether the excursuses are to be regarded as insertions, id est as interrupting the main text (cf. 1986, 123–24, 124, 170, 171).

Defining Our Task and Delineating the Material

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campaign in Ethiopia (Ant 2 §§ 238–53), of his excursus-like account of Paulina in Rome (Ant 18 §§ 65–80), and of his descriptions of the high priestly vestments (Ant 18 §§ 90–94), the family of King Herod the Great (Ant 18 §§ 127–42), King Agrippa I (Ant 18 §§ 143–255), the particular politics of the Emperor Tiberius (Ant 18 §§ 169–78), the Jews in Babylon (Ant 18 §§ 310–79), the conjuration against the Emperor Gaius Caligula (Ant 19 §§ 17–273), the royal house of Adiabene (Ant 20 §§ 17–96), and the various ancient historiographers’ interpretations of the Emperor Nero (Ant 20 §§ 154–57). Finally, this is true of Josephus’ excursus on the historiographical work of his rival, Justus of Tiberias’ (Life §§ 336–39). Secondly, I intend to leave out a great amount of genuine geographical, inserted material simply because of its substantial length. The best known pieces of this sort are the following: The famous descriptions of the Jewish provinces in Palestine: Galilee, Peraea, Samaria and Judaea (JW 3 §§ 35–58), and of Jerusalem, the Temple and Antonia (JW 5 §§ 136–247); moreover, almost all the similar descriptions in the Jewish War and in the Antiquities of, in particular, the Herodian cities in Palestine and other countries, as well as the graphic presentations of the Hasmonean and Herodian fortresses;11 and finally, all the socalled itineraries found in JW 1 §§ 277–81 (King Herod’s journey to Rome); 1 §§ 608–13 (Antipater’s journey from Rome to Caesarea); 2 §§ 66–72 (Varus’ campaign from Antioch to Jerusalem); 2 §§ 499–516 (Cestius Gallus’ campaign from Antioch to Judaea); 4 §§ 441–50 (Vespasian’s campaign in the spring of the year 68); 4 §§ 659–63 (Titus’ journey from Alexandria to Caesarea); 5 §§ 50–53 (Titus’ campaign from Samaria to Judaea), and Life §§ 230–33 (The Jerusalem delegation’s journey in Galilee). Thirdly, I have decided to exclude excursuses of too modest an extent such as JW 1 § 134 (on Coreae as situated on the border between Decapolis, Judaea and Samaria); 3 § 34 (on Sepphoris as being the largest city of Galilee); 4 §§ 104–5 (on Cydasa between Tyrus and Galilee); 5 § 70 (and the related text in Ant 20 § 169, on the geographical situation of the Mount of Olives); Ant 1 § 244 (on the climate in Mesopotamia); 4 § 100 (on Jericho), and 9 § 7 (on En-Gedi and its products). It follows that what I have in fact selected for closer scrutiny really has to be regarded as a modest selection from a huge amount of material, firstly, the great mass of excursuses in general, and secondly, a considerable amount of geographical descriptions from which I have only chosen a certain number. Further, it follows that the interpretation of the selected geographical excursuses has to be discussed in the broader context of all this material. 11 Excepted from this rule are the purely geographical descriptions of the natural settings of a number of these sites: Jotapata, Gamala and Machaerus, but not Masada, for the reason mentioned above.

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What is left are the relatively brief, but still substantial parenthetical explanations of geographic phenomena, often local peculiarities, which appear in the main text, and in which Josephus seems to give a short, inserted explanation before he continues his narrative.12

4.

Catalogue

JW 1 § 138: Jericho A brief, obviously parenthetical description of the fertile soil of the region and its products of palms and balsam. There are no cross-references to JW 4 §§ 452–75 and Ant 4 § 100; 15 § 96 where Jericho is similarly described. JW 1 §§ 405–6: Paneion A supplementary, romantically exaggerated description of the scenery at Paneion with the towering mountain (Mount Hermon?), the mysterious cave with its enigmatic pool, and the springs (of the River Jordan?). The description is concluded by a reference to a later explanation of the problem of the sources of the River Jordan (cf. JW 3 §§ 509–15; Ant 15 § 364). JW 1 § 409: The coast at Caesarea A parenthetical description of the dangerous and harbour-less coastline between Dora and Jappa which, in the context, serves to explain how useful Herod’s construction of the port of Caesarea was. There are no cross-references to JW 3 §§ 419–21; Ant 15 § 333. JW 2 §§ 188–91: Ptolemais A broad, parenthetical description of Ptolemais and its geographical situation at the entrance to the Great Plain, with the surrounding mountains and the small river Beleus on the bank of which the tomb of Memnon may be seen. To this 12 I have found no clear-cut criterion on the basis of which an irreproachable definition of a geographical excursus could be established. Especially the category “brief” is difficult: A text like JW 4 §§ 104–5 might as well have been included in my catalogue, while pieces such as JW 1 § 138; 3 §§ 29, 413 and several of the samples from the Antiquities might have been excluded. Therefore, I admit that there is an element of fortuity in my estimate of what is a “relatively brief rounded ‘geographical’ insertion in the general narrative.” It is, however, my hope that the definition I have given and the material I have chosen on this basis will appear to be representative.

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description is added a legendary account of the remarkable (θαυμαστός/θαυμασιώτερον) pit of vitreous sand nearby. Finally, the excursus is formally rounded off by an editorial remark. JW 3 § 29: Antioch-on-the-Orontes A brief, parenthetical description of the city of Antioch as being the third greatest in the Roman world. JW 3 §§ 158–60: Jotapata A parenthetical description of the characteristic geographical situation of Jotapata on a mountain top, being almost unassailable except from its northern side. The description is formally concluded by an editorial remark. JW 3 § 413: The climate of Caesarea and Scythopolis A brief, parenthetical description of these two cities’ climate being mild during the winter and hot in the summer. JW 3 §§ 419–21: The coast at Joppa A parenthetical description of the rough and harbour-less coast at Joppa, though without any cross-references to JW 1 § 409; Ant 15 § 333. JW 3 §§ 506–21: Lake Gennesar, the River Jordan and the plain of Gennesar A broad, parenthetical, but interconnected account of these three sites: First, a description of the lake, its name, its measures, its wonderful waters with its excellent taste and pleasant temperature, and its fish (§§ 506–8); further, a description of the River Jordan, the strange story of its miraculous source in Lake Phiale, of Paneion, and of the course of the river through Lake Semechonitis into Lake Gennesar, and further through the desert valley into Lake Asphaltitis (§§ 509–15); finally, a flourishing description of the plain of Gennesar, its astonishing fertility, its remarkable climate, its numerous agricultural products, its almost miraculous productivity of walnuts, figs, olives and grapes, and its fertilizing spring at Capharnaum (§§ 516–21). This description is formally concluded, but there are no cross-references to the related descriptions of Paneion in JW 1 §§ 405–6; Ant 15 § 364.

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JW 4 §§ 2–8: Gamala with Sogane, Seleucia, Lake Semechonitis and Daphne A parenthetical, integrated description of the cities of Gaulanitis: First, the general geographical situation and political affiliation of Gamala, Sogane and Seleucia in Gaulanitis (§ 2), second, a brief description of Lake Semechonitis and Daphne (§ 3), and, third, a detailed description of the characteristic natural conditions of Gamala elinging to the camel-like mountain-top surrounded by inaccessible ravines except from the north-eastern side (§§ 4b–8). JW 4 §§ 54–56: Itabyrion/Mount Tabor A parenthetical description of Mount Tabor, its geographical situation, its height, its summit and its fortifications established by Josephus. JW 4 §§ 452–75: Jericho A broad, parenthetical description of Jericho, of its geographical situation in the Jordan Valley, of the mountains on both sides of the Valley (§§ 452–54); further, a description of the Jordan Valley itself – by Josephus also termed the “Great Plain” – with its extension and measures (§§ 455–56) and its climate (§§ 457–58); then follows a long, sub-excursus, inserted in the main excursus, on the legend of the miraculous spring which the prophet Elisha had once transformed from a damaging to a beneficial one (§§ 459–67); the narrative continues with a detailed description of the rich vegetation of date palms, balsam trees and other fruits (§§ 468–70), and with some reflections by the author on the beneficial climate of the area and the waters of the spring (§§ 471–73). The excursus is brought to an end by brief general description of the area and the relations and surroundings of the city of Jericho (§ 474), and concluded by a formal editorial remark (§ 475). However, there are no cross-references to JW 1 § 138; Ant 4 § 100; 15 § 96. JW 4 §§ (456), 476–85: Lake Asphaltitis A broad description, which is partly connected with the foregoing one on Jericho and partly parenthetical, of the unique character of the waters of this lake, its bitterness, its buoyancy – which was tested by Vespasian – and its changing colours (§§ 476–78); further a description of the lake’s production of bitumen, and of the use of this material in shipbuilding and medicine (§§ 479–81); this paragraph is followed by a description of the measures of the lake (§ 482) and of the adjacent land of Sodom with references to the biblical tales of the miraculous destiny of that city the vestiges of which are still visible in some ruins and in the

Catalogue

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so-called Sodom-apples (§§ 482–84). The excursus is terminated by a formal editorial conclusion (§ 485). JW 4 §§ (605), 607–15: Egypt and Alexandria A broad, parenthetical description of the protective borders of Egypt (§§ 607– 10a), of its measures (§ 610b), of the Nile (§ 611), and of Alexandria with its protected port, the lighthouse on the island of Pharos’ and the rich trade of the harbour (§§ 612–15). JW 7 §§ 164–70, (171–77), 178–89: Machaerus A broad description of the geographical situation of this inaccessible mountain fortress at the eastern coast of Lake Asphaltitis (§§ 164–70); the narrative continues with a description of the buildings constructed by King Alexander Jannaeus and, in particular, by King Herod (§§ 171–77); this piece is followed by the legends of the miraculous rue plant, and of the dangerous and demon-deterrent Baaras root (§§ 178–85); further follows a description of the numerous hot and cold springs in the neighbourhood, some of which are highly remarkable (θαυμάσειε, § 188), and are used for the most delightful baths, and some of which have medical properties (§§ 186–89a). The excursus is concluded by a brief remark about the chemical mines in this area. Ant 2 §§ 249–50: Saba in Ethiopia A parenthetical description of the natural protection and the constructed fortifications of the city of Saba. An addition to the Bible. Ant 2 §§ 264–65: Mount Sinai A parenthetical description of Mount Sinai, its height and its excellence for pasturage, elaborating on Exod 3:1. Ant 3 §§ 1–2: The Sinai Desert A brief, parenthetical description of the sandy desert near Mount Sinai, elaborating generally on Exod 15:22 (cf. Exod 16:1–2).

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The Geographical Excursus in Josephus

Ant 4 § 85: The River Arnon A brief, parenthetical description (on the basis of Num 21:13) of the River Arnon, its source and course, and a brief remark on the rich region of the Amorites. Ant 4 § 95: The country of the Amorites A brief, parenthetical description of the country of the Amorites conquered by the Israelites: It is situated between the three rivers of Arnon, Jobak/Jabbok, and Jordan. An addition to the Bible. Ant 5 § 77–78: The Land of Canaan A parenthetical description, brief and general, of the nature of the Promised Land with its plains and mountains. Though this country is quite small, its fertility and its beauty exceeds those of all others (cf. AgAp 1 §§ 60–68). Ant 14 §§ 422, (421–30): The caves (of Mount Arbela) A brief, parenthetical description of the caves dug into the mountain half-way up the steep cliff. The description is inserted in the account of King Herod’s war against the Galilean brigands. Ant 15 § 96: Jericho A brief, parenthetical description of the precious products of Jericho: the balsam and palm trees, though without cross-references to JW 1 § 138; 4 §§ 452–75; Ant 4 § 100. Ant 15 § 333: The coast between Joppa and Dora A brief, parenthetical description of the dangerous coast between Joppa and Dora, and of the poor harbours of these two cities. The description serves to illuminate the merits of King Herod in constructing the harbour of Caesarea. There are no cross-references to JW 1 § 409; 3 §§ 419–22. Ant 15 § 364: Paneion A brief, parenthetical description of the cave at Paneion, of the pool below and of the high mountain above the cave, but without cross-references to JW 1 §§ 405–6; 3 §§ 509–14.

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Ant 18 § 249: Baiae A brief, parenthetical description of the geographical situation of Baiae in Campania, its imperial buildings and its hot springs. Ant 20 §§ 24–25: Carron A brief, parenthetical description of the district of Carron (in Adiabene), its fertile soil, its products, and the remains of the ark of Noah (cf. Ant 1 § 92, though without explicit reference to this text).

5.

Analysis

We turn to a brief examination of the material compiled in the catalogue: How can we describe and evaluate the literary form and the contents of the selected geographical excursuses? Does this material reflect certain common characteristics? How do they relate to Josephus’ work in general? And, finally, does this material justify the Schlatter-Weber hypothesis? If we look at the literary form of the collected material it is possible to make the following observations: 1. Our collection of geographical excursuses represents only a selection of a much larger amount of excursus-like accounts, as we saw in section three above: First, our catalogue represents only one part of a much more comprehensive mass of different types of geographical descriptions, whether digressive or not; second, this total amount of geographical descriptions represents only one part of Josephus’ total number of excursus-like accounts of a great number of all kinds of “interesting” phenomena. Like Thucydides, Livy and other Graeco-Roman historians, Josephus seems to have had a predilection for adding this type of material to his historical narrative.13 Therefore, what we have selected as geographical excursuses has to be interpreted in this context. 2. It seems to be a fact that the selected geographical excursuses have been inserted in every part of Josephus’ two major historiographical works, although the insertions are much more numerous in the Jewish War than in the Antiquities. Even Life does not appear to be untouched by this phenomenon.

13 Cf. Bilde 1988, 203. Varneda has termed this general excursus phenomenon ekphrasis (1986, 169–80).

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3. Quite a few of the excursuses in our catalogue are extensive, and thus closely related to the major part of Josephus’ other digressions. However, most of them, especially those in the Antiquities, are rather brief and concentrated. 4. In some of the extensive cases we have observed that different units of texts have been literarily linked together: JW 3 §§ 506–21; 4 §§ 2–8; 4 §§ 452–75 (and §§ 476–85); 7 §§ 164–89. This phenomenon has been observed elsewhere in Josephus, e. g., in Ant 18 §§ 55–90.14 5. In the first eleven books of the Antiquities all the selected geographical excursuses appear as additions to the Bible, a fact pointing in the direction of their editorial character.15 6. Some of the cases in the catalogue are rounded off by formal editorial remarks: JW 2 §§ 188–91; 3 §§ 158–60; 3 §§ 506–21; 4 §§ 452–75; 4 §§ 476–85. This phenomenon is well-known in Josephus and turns up everywhere in his works.16 7. Only in one case, JW 1 §§ 405–6, have we observed a formal cross-reference to related material elsewhere in Josephus’ works. This is surprising because this phenomenon is one of the most common literary characteristics in the works of Josephus.17 Regarding the contents of the selected geographical excursuses I have made the following observations: 1. A great number of them are marked by concise, conspicuous and graphic descriptions of the natural phenomena in question. This is true especially in JW 1 § 138 (and its parallels), § 409 (and its parallels); 3 §§ 158–60; 4 §§ 4–8, 607–15; 7 §§ 164–70; Ant 2 §§ 249–50; 4 § 85, 95; 14 § 422; 15 § 364 and 18 § 249.18 14 This literary technique has been analysed in particular in Moehring 1959; Justus 1973. 15 Cf. also Varneda 1986, 124, 174. 16 An instructive example appears in JW 2 § 161 where Josephus concludes his long digression on the Essenes with the words: “Such are the usages of this order”. Another related parallel is found in JW 3 § 58, where Josephus ends his description of the Jewish provinces in Palestine in the same manner. Similar editorial remarks emerge in JW 2 § 166 (editorial conclusion after the digression on the three Jewish religious schools), § 499 (editorial conclusion after the description of the tragedy of the Jews in Alexandria), § 654 (editorial conclusion of the account of Simon Bar Giora); 3 § 98 (provisional editorial conclusion of the description of the Roman army); §§ 108–9 (final editorial remark after the digression on the Roman army (3 §§ 70–107); 3 § 442 (editorial conclusion of the description of the Jerusalemites’ reaction to the news of the fall of Jotapata); 4 § 587; 6 § 192; Ant 3 §§ 158, 187, 257; 4 §§ 308, 331; 5 § 174; 6 § 350; 7 §§ 38, 394 etc. 17 There are several hundreds of the kind, cf., e. g., JW 1 §§ 33, 118, 182, 344, 365, 406, 411, 418, 668; 2 §§ 114, 137, 222, 449 …; Ant 1 §§ 135, 137, 142 …; Life §§ 10, 27, 41 …; AgAp 1 §§ 1, 29, 47 …, cf. Bilde 1988, 128–29. 18 The same qualities are found in a great number of descriptions elsewhere in Josephus such as

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2. A number of the excursuses are marked by an obvious interest in dramatic and romantic sceneries: JW 1 §§ 405–6, 409 (and its parallels); 3 §§ 158–60; 4 §§ 4–8; 7 §§ 164–70; Ant 14 § 422 and 15 § 364. This tendency is well-known as being most characteristic of Josephus’ writings.19 3. Some of the geographical excursuses are marked by a typical tendency of Josephus to exaggerate in the description of natural phenomena and in the rendering of measures and numbers: JW 1 §§ 405–6; 3 §§ 506–21; 4 §§ 54–56; 7 §§ 164–89.20 4. Other cases are marked by an obvious interest in unusual phenomena, often of enigmatic, legendary or miraculous character: JW 1 §§ 405–6; 2 §§ 188–91; 3 §§ 506–21; 4 §§ 452–75, 476–85 and 7 §§ 178–89.21 5. A few of our texts are marked by a characteristic interest in still visible “archaeological” remains: JW 2 §§ 188–91; 4 §§ 476–85 and Ant 20 § 25.22 6. A great number of our cases are clearly marked by an interest in natural phenomena such as soil and fertility: JW 1 § 138; 3 §§ 506–21; 4 §§ 452–75; Ant 2 §§ 264–65; 4 §§ 85, 95; 5 §§ 77–78; 15 § 96 and 20 § 25.23 7. The same feature reflects a specific interest in productivity and economy as well, an interest which is voiced especially in JW 2 §§ 188–91; 4 §§ 476–85, 607– 15 and 7 §§ 178–89.24

19

20

21

22 23 24

the descriptions of Jerusalem, the Temple, the Hasmonean and Herodian cities and fortresses, the Jewish provinces in Palestine and the itineraries mentioned above in section three. In addition, it is possible to refer to the famous descriptions of the great battle scenes in Josephus’ works, especially in the Jewish War. Josephus’ taste for dramatic and emotional representation is evident especially in his description of individual destinies such as those of Joseph, Herod the Great, Agrippa I, Gaius Caligula and many others, cf. Bilde 1983,176; 1988: 48, 81, 95, 158, 192, 196, 204, 232; Varneda 1986, 235–41. Cf., e. g., Kopp 1959, 248; Avi-Yonah 1966, 211, 219; Cohen 1979, 33–34, 233; Broshi 1982, 383– 84. In other cases, however, Josephus’ rendering is realistic, as in, e. g., JW 2 § 188; 3 § 39; 4 §§ 452–75 etc., a fact which has often been noticed, cf. Broshi 1982, 379–81; Bilde 1983, 176 (with numerous references). This interest appears often in Josephus’ works, cf. JW 1 §§ 286–87 (the miraculous rainfall on Masada); §§ 331–332 (King Herod’s miraculous rescue in Jericho); 2 §§ 112–13 (King Archelaus’ miraculous dream); 6 §§ 288–309 (the miraculous omens portending the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem); Ant 18 §§ 284–88 (the miraculous rainfall during the Gaius Caligula crisis in Palestine in the year 39–40); etc., cf. Bilde 1988, 201–2 (with other examples). In many of these texts we meet the characteristic word θαυμάσιος/θαυμαστός which appears to be a favourite of Josephus, cf. Rengstorf 1973–83 vol. 2, 1975, 317–18. The same interest turns up in Ant 1 § 92 (on the still existing relics of the ark of Noah); § 150 (on Abraham’s tomb which is still visible); 10 §§ 264–65 (on Daniel’s castle which is also visible at the time of Josephus). A similar interest in agriculture appears in a great number of Josephus texts such as JW 1 § 417; 2 §§ 200, 592; 3 §§ 42–44, 50; 4 § 84; Ant 2 § 18; 4 § 100; 8 § 174; 9 § 7; 15 §§ 299–316; 16 §§ 142–43, 271–73; 17 § 340; 18 §§ 31, 272–74, 283–84, 287; Life §§ 118–19; etc. Josephus’ interest in economy emerges most conspicuously in his descriptions of the cities

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8. Finally, I have noticed a curious interest in climatology: JW 3 § 413, 506–21; 4 §§ 452–75 and Ant 3 §§ 1–2.25

6.

Conclusions

In section three we noticed that Josephus has a general predilection for digressions, and our material is most easily understood in this context. Furthermore, the geographical excursuses are marked by a number of characteristics which, for the most part, appear in many other parts of Josephus’ works too. Finally, this material is found scattered all over Josephus’ writings. Accordingly, we have to conclude that the geographical excursuses in Josephus are deeply integrated into his works. On this background it is natural to assume that this material derives from the author himself. This conclusion is perfectly in keeping with Josephus’ editorial statement in the introduction to the Jewish War where he explicitly mentions geography as one of the phenomena he will be addressing in his work: In this connection I shall describe the admirable discipline of the Romans on active service and the training of the legions; the extent and nature of the two Galilees, the limits of Judaea, the special features of the country, its lakes and springs …26.

Further, this conclusion corresponds well with the interesting text in AgAp 1 §§ 60–68. Here Josephus is discussing some of the ethnic characteristics of the Jews, on the one hand, and of the non-Jews (Greeks, Egyptians, Phoenicians and others), on the other hand, in close connection with the basic geographical conditions of each ethnic group: Well, ours is not a maritime country; neither commerce nor the intercourse which it promotes with the outside world has any attraction for us. Our cities are built inland, remote from the sea; and we devote ourselves to the cultivation of the productive country with which we are blessed (§ 60) … . It was to their coming on their ships to traffic with the Greeks that the Phoenicians owed their own early notoriety; and through their agency the Egyptians became known and all whose merchandise the Phoenicians conveyed across great oceans to the Greeks (§ 63).

and agricultural colonies established by King Herod the Great: JW 1 § 403 and Ant 15 §§ 292– 93 (Samaria); JW 1 §§ 408–15 and Ant 15 §§ 331–41 (Caesaraea); JW 1 § 417 and Ant 16 §§ 142– 43 (Antipatris); JW 1 § 418 and Ant 16 § 145 (Phasaelis); etc. It appears, however, also in a number of other texts such as JW 2 § 427; 7 §§ 216–18; Ant 14 § 28; AgAp 1 §§ 60–68 (cf. below) etc. 25 A similar interest appears in such texts as JW 3 § 312; Ant 1 § 244, cf. Varneda 1986, 123. 26 JW 1 § 22. The translation of this text as well as that from AgAp 1 §§ 60–68 are borrowed from LCL.

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As a general rule, all the nations with a sea-board, whether on the eastern or the western sea, were better known by authors desirous of writing history, while those who lived further inland remained for the most part unknown (§ 65). Surely, then, it should no longer excite surprise that our nation, so remote from the sea, and so deliberately living its own life, likewise remained unknown and offered no occasion to historians to mention it (§ 68).

In my view, therefore, the most important conclusion to be drawn from the examination of the geographical excursuses in Josephus is the insight that Josephus was deeply interested in geography, id est, in matters of nature, landscape, climate, fertility, agriculture and, consequently, productivity and economy.27 From this conclusion follows that the Schlatter-Weber hypothesis – that the geographical excursuses in Josephus (id est in the Jewish War), in an almost unedited form, derive from the main source to that work, either Antonius Julianus’ work or Vespasian’s military ὑπομνήματα/commentarii – has to be at least radically modified. This hypothesis overlooks a) that this material appears not only in the Jewish War but also in the Antiquities and in the minor works as well, b) that the extensive geographical excursuses seem to be closely related both to the “small” ones and to the numerous other excursuses in Josephus as well as to Josephus’ works in general, and c) that the geographical excursuses are not restricted to material of military interest. Of course, it cannot be excluded that Josephus drew upon literary and other sources, but it has to be acknowledged that if and when he did so he generally reworked such sources and gave them his own literary form and substantial character.28

27 Similarly Varneda 1986, esp. 121–24, but in contrast to Franxman 1979, 13. 28 Cf. Bilde 1988, 128–34, 195–96. Thus, my conclusion points in the same direction as Lindner 1972.

5:

Contra Apionem 1.28–56: An Essay On Josephus’ View of His Own Work in the Context of the Jewish Canon

1.

Introduction

Josephus’ view of his own work is disputed in modern research. According to one trend which could be termed the Hölscher-Laqueur school, it was governed by purely egoistical motives. Josephus’ whole literary project was designed to benefit his personal survival, carer and comfort.1 According to another school, Josephus regarded his work as a Jewish apologetic project designed primarily to benefit the Jewish people. His purpose was to contribute to reestablishing the tolerable political relations between Rome and the Jews existing before the revolt in 66–70 (74), and further to defend Judaism in the face of the Hellenistic-Roman civilization.2 The second hypothesis is preferable because it helps, to understand, interpret and explain more of the aspects of Josephus life-long literary activity. However, the question of Josephus’ view of his literary activity is not exhausted with the reference to his apologetic wish to work for his own people, as the following observations in modern Josephus research indicate. First, several scholars have noticed that Josephus seems to identify himself with some of the personalities whom he describes in his Jewish Antiquities (Ant.), in particular Joseph, Jeremiah, Daniel and Esther.3 In Ant. 2.7–200, Josephus renders the story of his namesake Joseph (Gen. 37–50) in great detail.4 In Ant. 10.84–180, 1 Hölscher 1916; Laqueur 1920; later followed especially by Weber 1921; Schalit 1975; Cohen 1979; Schwartz 1990. In Bilde 1988, 126–141, I have presented this school as the classical conception of Josephus. 2 In Bilde 1988, 141–150, I have termed this school the modern conception of Josephus. It was reared and anticipated by scholars like Bloch 1879; Druner 1896; Niese 1896 and, in particular, Thackeray 1929. It was elaborated especially by Farmer 1956; Michel in several publications; Shutt 1961; Lindner 1972; Attridge 1976, (less in 1984); van Unnik 1978; Rajak 1983; Mochring 1984; Hadas-Lebel 1989, Sterling 1992; Mason 1994. With his numerous works, especially 1984; l 992a, Feldman has placed himself in a middle position between these two schools. 3 Thus, in particular, Braun 1956; Farmer 1956; Blenkinsopp 1974; Delling 1974; van Unnik 1978; Daube 1980; Gray 1993, 70–79; Mason 1994, 176 177. 4 Cf. Feldman 1990, 388, 407; 1992b, 380; Gray 1993, 77–78; Mason 1994, 177.

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Josephus presents a lengthy paraphrase of parts of the book of Jeremiah (chs. 22, 26, 29, 33–34, 37–43 and 52).5 Further, in Ant. 10.186–281 (with 11.337; 12.322) and 11.184–296, Josephus pays substantial attention to Daniel6 and Esther.7 One reason for Josephus’ interest in these biblical figures is the similarity between their “diaspora existence” and Josephus’ own destiny in Rome. Like Josephus, they were brought away from Judaea and had to spend their life in foreign countries. Another parallel can be seen in their relations with the rulers of these foreign countries. Like Joseph, Daniel and Esther, Josephus was closely related to a foreign ruling house (the Flavians). And like these three, Josephus made use of his privileged position to benefit his own people. Second, and more specifically, in a critical situation of war in Jerusalem, Josephus, like Jeremiah,8 turned against the leaders of his own people because he believed that war was disastrous and, like Jeremiah, Josephus suffered for taking this position.9 Third, Josephus thus appears to have regarded himself as a prophet and, in this role, to have compared himself not only with Jeremiah but with Daniel as well.10 Josephus claimed to have foreseen the Jewish-Roman war and the Jewish defeat in general and the fall of Jotapata in particular (Bell. 3.351, 406). Exactly like Daniel, Josephus claims to have had nightly visions about the future in which he foresaw the Jewish defeat as well as the destiny of the foreign ruler (Bell. 3.351).11 With this observation, we touch upon the intriguing issue of Josephus’ view of Jewish prophecy.12 Apparently, Josephus did not share the view, so popular in earlier 5 6 7 8 9

Cf., in particular, Cohen 1982; Begg 1988, 351–355. Cf. Vermes 1991; Feldman 1992c; Gray 1993, 74–77; Mason 1994, 167–174. Cf. Feldman 1970; Daube 1976, 142–144. Jer. 21–22, 26–27, 36–38; cf. Ant. 10.112–119. In his speech to the rebels in Jerusalem (Bell. 5.362–419), Josephus refers to the comparable situation during the siege and conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 598 and 586 BCE. And in Bell. 5.391–393, Josephus directly compares himself with Jeremiah: cf., e. g., Montgomery 1920–1921, 302; Farmer 1956, 9; Blenkinsopp 1974, 244; Lindner 1972, 32–33; Delling 1974, 116–117; Mayer-Moller 1974, 284; van Unnik 1978, 52–53; Daube 1980, 20–30; Schwartz 1981, 135; Cohen 1982, 374–377; Begg 1988, 352; Hadas-Lebel 1989, 202–206; Sterling 1992, 237; Gray 1993, 72–74; Mason 1994, 176, 178. Feldman 1990, 388, 406, insists that, in this text, Josephus does not directly compare himself with Jeremiah qua prophet. 10 Cf., e. g., Poznanski 1887, 4; Braun 1956, 56; Chesnut 1971, 91–92; Reiling 1971, 156; Lindner 1972, 49–68; Blenkinsopp 1974, 244–245; Mayer-Moller 1974, 284; van Unnik 1978, 46; Daube 1980, 20; Aune 1982, 420–421; Moehring 1984, 907–914; Sterling 1992, 236–238; Gray 1993, 35– 79 (esp. 74–77). Mason 1994 has convincingly demonstrated the importance of Daniel for Josephus’ personal and literary self-understanding. Feldman 1990, especially 405–408, argues that Josephus did not regard himself as a prophet in the sense of the biblical prophets. Vermes 1991 does not discuss Josephus’ identification with Daniel. 11 Most of the scholars mentioned in note 10, in one way or another, accept the genuineness of Josephus’ prophecy, while this is rejected by, e. g., Michel 1954, 63; Schalit 1975, 280–300; Rajak 1983, 170–171. 12 Cf. Reiling 1971; Aune 1982; Feldman 1990; Gray 1993.

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scholarship that the Jewish prophetic spirit had died out and had disappeared at some time between the Babylonian exile and the Hasmonean period.13 This emerges not only from his presentation of himself as a prophet but also from the several instances where he describes other recent or contemporary figures as belonging to the prophetic category.14 Fourth, in this connection scholars such as Michel, Lindner, Blenkinsopp, Mason and Gray have discussed the importance of Josephus’ status as a Jewish priest.15 In Josephus’ own eyes, his priestly status seems to be related to his position as a prophet since both were related to the specific knowledge of the sacred Jewish writings, with their revelation of the will and plan of God, thus especially in Bell. 3.351–353.16 An adequate examination of Josephus’ view of his literary work ought to pay attention to this evidence of his ideas about his own status, as rightly pointed out in recent research. Thus, Josephus seems to have regarded himself as related to 13 Cf. Ps. 74.9; 1 Macc. 4.46; 9.27; 14.41, and a number of Rabbinic texts. Thus Müller 1982, 188– 189; Beckwith 1985, 369–376; Feldman 1990, 398–407. Today it seems to be increasingly accepted that this idea is a Rabbinic construction; cf. Bousset-Gressmann 1927, 395–399; Meyer 1959, esp. 820, 827; Aune 1982, 240; Greenspahn 1989; Gray 1993, 9–34. 14 Josephus refers to John Hyrkanos as having the gift of prophecy (Bell. 1.68–69) (= Ant. 13.399–400 (cf. 13.322–323)), cf. Gray 1993, 16–23; to the Essene “prophets” Judas (Bell. 1.78– 80 (= Ant. 13.311–313)), Simon (Bell. 2.213), and Menahem (Ant. 15.373–379), cf. Gray 1993, 80–111; to the strange figure Jesus Son of Ananias (Bell. 6.300–309), cf. Gray 1993, 29–30, 158– 163; to Pharisaic prophecy (Ant. 14.176; 15.3–4, 370; 17.41–45), cf. Gray 1993, 148–158; finally, to a number of “sign” or “false” prophets (Bell. 2.261–263; 6.285; Ant. 20.169–172; 20.97, 169), cf. Gray 1993, 112–144. The stories about the Essene “prophets” correspond with Josephus’ general remark on the group in Bell. 2.159: “There are some among them who profess to foretell the future, being versed from their early years in holy books, various forms of purification and apothegms of prophets; and seldom, if ever, do they err in their predictions” (translation from the Loeb-edition). It has been noticed by, e. g., Reiling 1971, 156; Blenkinsopp 1974, 240; Feldman 1990 on p. 405 Feldman specifically notes the exception of Cleodemus-Melchior & John Hyrcanus, that Josephus seems to use the very term “prophet” only on the biblical prophets while, in the cases of John Hyrcanus, the Essenes, the Pharisees, the “false” prophets and himself, he uses a number of other expressions, e. g., μάντις, ἄγγελος, διάκονος. However, this is not accurate, cf., e. g., Bell. 1.68–69; 4.386; 6.286; Ant. 1.240; 8.339; 13.299; CA 1.312, as noticed by, e. g., Aune 1982; Greenspahn 1989, 41; Leiman 1989, 55–56; Gray 1993, 9–34. Gray 1993, 26–34, 165, emphasizes correctly that Josephus’ notion of “prophecy” is much broader than that of mainstream modern scholarship, cf. similarly Feldman 1990, 394. 15 Thus Michel 1969, 244; 1984, 961–962, 974; Lindner 1972, 53–54, 75, 147; Blenkinsopp 1974, 250–251; Mason 1988; Gray 1993, 20–21, 53–58, 166, cf. Attridge 1976, 11–16. Rajak 1983, 18– 19, is sceptical in her evaluation of Josephus’ statements on his status as priest and prophet. 16 Similarly in Bell. 2.159 (cf. note 14), where Josephus combines the prophetic gift of the Essene prophets with their “being versed from their early years in holy books”, cf. Montgomery 1920– 1921, 280; Blenkinsopp 1974, 247–250; Mason 1994, 187. Thus, the correlation between prophecy and priesthood appears to be important to Josephus as well as to the Qumran community and such a figure as the Hasmonean John Hyrcanus (cf. note 14), cf. Blenkinsopp 1974, 242, 247–262.

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major biblical figures as Joseph, Jeremiah, Daniel and Esther; especially, he identified himself with the prophet Jeremiah, who in a political and military situation comparable to that of Josephus took a similar stand; at the same time, Josephus appears to have seen himself as a prophet like Jeremiah and Daniel; further, Josephus apparently viewed this role of his in close connection with his status as a Jewish priest; finally, he seems to have seen both these roles as rooted in his close knowledge of the sacred Jewish writings. Perhaps to our surprise, in Contra Apionem (CA) ch. 1, Josephus describes his own writings in some sort of relationship with the Jewish Bible. Because the notions of “prophet” and “priest” reappear in this context, as we shall see, I have chosen to analyse precisely CA 1.28–56 in this essay. Accordingly, it is the purpose of the present paper to provide a deeper understanding of Josephus’ ideas about his own work by examining these ideas in connection with his self-understanding as Jewish priest and prophet.17 The starting point of this study is a survey of the context of CA 1.28–56 which encompasses the overall interests of Josephus in this part of the book. This survey is followed by an examination of Josephus’ remarks on the Jewish Bible (1.28–41) and by an analysis and interpretation of his remarks on his own writings in this context (1.47–56). The essay concludes with a discussion of some of the implications of this particular reading of CA 1.28–56.

2.

The context of CA 1.28–56

Contra Apionem is a work of controversy and polemics.18 It does not, however, begin with an attack on the Alexandrian scholar Apion (living in the first half of the first century CE),19 which has given this work its modern title.20 Contra Apionem opens with polemical remarks on some anonymous critics of Josephus’ recent major work, The Jewish Antiquities.21 Josephus’ opponents are reported to have disputed his arguments in this work on the antiquity of the Jewish people by referring to the fact that the Jews had been mentioned only rarely by Greek his17 Thus, just like Blenkinsopp 1974, 239, I am interested in Josephus’ ideas about himself, not in “validating or invalidating his claims”, as was-and is-so common m the Hölscher-Laqueur school. 18 Cf. the commentaries by J.G. Müller 1871; von Gutschmidt 1893; Thackeray 1926; ReinachBlum 1930. I had no access to Troiani 1977, and I have not yet seen the announced commentary by Kasher. Further, I refer generally to Blenkinsopp 1974; Schaublin 1982; Moehring 1984, 868; Cohen 1988; Sterling 1992, 244c–245; Gray 1993, 7–29. 19 On Apion, see J.G. Müller 1971/1969, 15–16; von Gutschmidt 1893, 356–371. 20 According to J.G. Müller 1871/ 1961, 17, the original title was περὶ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἀρχαιότητος. 21 It emerges from the subsequent text (CA 1.47–56) that – probably already from the beginning – Josephus has in mind his first major work, The Jewish War (Bellum Judaicum) (Bell.) as well.

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torians (CA 1.2). Next, Josephus establishes the purpose of Contra Apionem to be that of rejecting this position, to “correct the ignorance of others, and to instruct all who desire to know the truth concerning the antiquity of our race” (1.3). Thus, the subject of CA is very much the problem of proper historiography (cf. Cohen 1988, 1, 3). Because his opponents had referred to Greek historians as their main evidence, Josephus was compelled to criticize this generally admired endeavour. Contra Apionem can thus to a large extent be characterized as an outright attack on Greek historiography.22 Josephus opens his critique of Greek historiography by disputing the foundations of the universal admiration it enjoyed in the ancient world. According to Josephus, Greek civilization was a “modern” phenomenon with no respectable age and traditions (1.6–7). Besides, the youngest part of Greek culture was precisely the writing of history (1.7). In fact, the “Oriental” civilizations were generally recognized to be much older than Greek civilization, and in many respects the Greeks had actually been the pupils of the “Orientals” (1.8–14). Further, Greek historiography was not only a recent phenomenon. It also lacked solid foundation and, consequently, reliability. Frequently, Josephus continues, Greek historians are inconsistent in their descriptions of the same events (1.15–17, cf. 1.26). Even the respected Thucydides has been “accused of error by some critics” (1.18). Josephus finds the main reason for this situation in “the original neglect of the Greeks to keep official records of current events” (1.20). Josephus points out a second reason for the “inconsistencies” of Greek historiography in its preference for rhetoric, flattery and polemics at the expense of the endeavour “to discover the truth” (1.24, cf. 1.23–27). In contrast, the “Orientals” in general and the Jews in particular have always paid attention to and cared highly for keeping official records (1.28–29). Among the Jews this task was reserved for the “prophets” and the “priests”, and great care was taken to secure the genuine lineage of this last group (1.30–36). A crucial passage follows (1.37–38), which, unfortunately, is very brief and concentrated: the Jews possess only 22 books, which are said to contain a consistent account of the whole history of the Jewish people. This situation is due to the fact that the Jews allow the “prophets” alone to write history, and they have obtained: their knowledge of the most remote and ancient history through the inspiration which they owed to God, and committing to writing a clear account of the events of their own time just as they occurred (1.37).

22 Cf. Schaublin 1982, 317–322; Cohen 1988, 5; Gray 1993, 9–10.

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It appears that Josephus regarded the “prophets” as the authors of the biblical books, whereas he seems to have seen the “priests” as keepers of various records, among those the genealogies of the priests themselves (1.28–36; cf. Gray 1993, 10– 11). Josephus continues by classifying the “prophetical” books in three groups: 1) the five books of Moses, “comprising the laws and the traditional history from the birth of man down to the death of the lawgiver;” 2) thirteen books covering the period “from the death of Moses until Artaxerxes,’’ when “the prophets subsequent to Moses wrote the history of the events of their own times,” and 3) four books containing “hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life” (1.39–40). The history of the period from Artaxerxes (465–424 BCE) down to “our own time” has also been written, “but has not been deemed worthy of equal credit with the earlier records, because of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets” (1.41). Josephus goes on by underlining the reverence of the Jews for these scriptures. They have not “ventured either to add or to remove a syllable;” they regard them “as the decrees of God,” and they have always been ready “cheerfully to die for them” (1.42). The Greeks have an entirely different attitude to their literature. This attitude corresponds with the problematical stance of the Greek historians, who do not care for the historical facts. According to Josephus, this critical evaluation is confirmed by the Greek historians who have recently described the JewishRoman war without first-hand knowledge (1.44–46). In contrast, Josephus’ own account of the same war has been based on personal participation in the revolt and on his own observations of the actual events. Vespasian, Titus and other noble participants in the war have testified to these qualities (1.47–52). Therefore, Josephus’ opponents have no solid basis for their critique of his works. The Jewish Antiquities as well as The Jewish War are impeccable precisely because they rest on the Jewish books (records) on the one hand and on primary observation on the other hand (1.53–56) 23 After this “digression” (Cohen 1988, 2), Josephus seems to start all over again by indicating the outline for the following work (1.57–59). He begins by explaining the relative silence of the Greek historians on the Jews (1.60–68), and he goes on to survey some non-Jewish works which, in fact, mention the Jews (1.69– 72), beginning with Manetho (1.73–105). Thus, the main issue in CA 1.1–105 may be stated as the allegedly objective conflict between Greek and Jewish historiography (cf. Cohen 1988). However, Josephus addresses this controversy subjectively because he is part of the conflict. As is the case in several other parts of his works, Josephus’ own person plays an 23 Unfortunately, these remarks are not treated in Cohen 1988.

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important part in the argument in this part of Contra Apionem. Josephus identifies his own works with Jewish literature generally, and thus his own works are brought into a close contact with the sacred Jewish books. Still, the line of thought in CA 1.1–56 is not crystal-clear.24 The point of departure is the attacks by critics of Josephus on his latest work. In this specific controversy, the strategy of Josephus seems to be to generalize this conflict and to transform it into a fundamental opposition between Greek and Oriental/ Jewish historiography. Josephus claims that, in this conflict, the basic issue is that of historical reliability: Greek historiography is unreliable whereas Jewish writing of history is reliable. This evaluation is based on the criterion of written records (or sources). Greek history writing is also a recent phenomenon, and it is inconsistent because it is governed by rhetoric and not controlled by the use of written sources. In contrast, Jewish historical writing is age-old, as well as consistent, because it has always been based on carefully kept, written records. It is not quite clear what Josephus means by these “records”. On the one hand he refers to the Jewish “archives” with the written genealogies of the priests (1.30– 36), on the other hand he points to the Jewish Bible of 22 books (1.37–43). The idea seems to be that the canonical books figure as “historiography” whereas the priestly genealogies may be seen both as an example of “written records” and as a guarantee of quality of the priestly guardians of the public records.

3.

CA 1.28–43 on the Jewish Bible

In this essay, it is not necessary to discuss the specific information in CA 1.38–41 on a Jewish canon of 22 books, nor the possible identification of these books, or to compare the information of CA 1.38–41 with related contemporary texts such as 4 Ezra 14.42–46.25 Here we focus on other aspects of CA 1.28–43, first and foremost on what Josephus is writing about the authors of the Jewish records and sacred books. In CA 1.28–29, Josephus emphasizes that, in Egypt and Babylonia, the “priests” and the “Chaldeans” played a key role as writers and keepers of “their chronicles” (τὰς ἀναγραφάς). A similar situation applies to the Jews, who from ancient times have “assigned” (προστάξαντες) this task “to their chief priests and prophets”. In CA 1.30–36, Josephus describes the great care which the Jews took to “ensure that the priests’ lineage should be kept unadulterated and pure” (1.30). 24 Similarly Cohen 1988, 2–3, who refers to other weak points in Contra Apionem as well (1988, 8–9); and Gray 1993, 10. 25 Cf. J. G. Müller 1871, 99–103; Fell 1909; Katz 1956; Meyer 1974; Beckwith 1985; Christensen 1986 (which I have not seen); Leiman 1989; Gray 1993, 24–26, for an examination of these problems.

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The main problem in our text could be claimed to lie in 1.37–38/ 39, where Josephus appears to make two short circuits, one from the priestly genealogies to the Jewish Bible, and one from the “priests” to the “prophets”. At first, Josephus asserts that, in the former section (1.30–36), he has demonstrated “that with us it is not open to everybody to write the records, and that there is no discrepancy in what is written” (1.37). Next, he jumps directly to the 22 books of the Jewish canon (1.38). Then, Josephus refers to the “fact” – which has only slightly been suggested in 1.29 – that “the prophets alone had this privilege’’, namely of writing the holy books (1.37), and not the “genealogies” that were described in 1.30–36. Therefore, it seems impossible to avoid Theodore Reinach’s conclusion, that: Josephe confond volontairement la tenue des registres genealogiques, telle qu’elle etait pratiquee sous le second temple par le sacerdoce, avec la maniere toute differente dont furent composes les ancient livres historiques de la Bible.26

However, in the context of our present examination, the main point of this section lies in Josephus’ statement about the authors of the Jewish biblical books. These are said to be the “prophets” and the “prophets alone”, and they are said to have been “inspired” by God. It was only through this divine inspiration that they – or rather “he”, namely Moses – obtained “ their knowledge of the most remote and ancient history” (1.37). As for the history of their own times, the divine inspiration is not directly mentioned, and the “prophets” are said to have committed “to writing a clear account of the events of their own time just as they occurred” (τὰ δὲ καθ’ αὑτοὺς ὡς ἐγένετο σαφῶς συγγραφόντων) (1.37).27 These ideas are presented programmatically in 1.39–40: (By the gift of divine inspiration) Moses wrote this history of 3000 years (the five “books of Moses”). After Moses, the “subsequent” “prophets” wrote the history of the Jewish people from the death of Moses to King Artaxerxes in thirteen books. The remaining four books of “hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life” are not directly said to have been written by “prophets”. It seems, however, to be the case as it appears from the wording “the prophets alone”.28 And the reason why this is not stated directly appears to be that here Josephus is particularly interested in historiography, and not in poetry. Therefore, he allows himself to be very brief on the third group, the so-called “writings”. Accordingly, in CA 1.37–40, Josephus looks at the Jewish Bible primarily as historiography, and he characterizes the authors of the canonical books as divinely inspired “prophetical” writers of accurate history.29 26 Reinach-Blum 1930, 113; cf. Thackeray 1926, 174, note a. 27 Gray 1993, 11, distinguishes similarly between two different historical periods which are described by the “prophets” in two different manners. 28 CA 1.37; cf. Gray 1993, 10, note 7. 29 Thus also Blenkinsopp 1974, 241; Leiman 1989 51–52, 56.

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This interpretation appears to be confirmed by 1.41. Here Josephus states briefly that the history of the period from Artaxerxes down “to our own time” has in fact been written – obviously by Jewish authors. But Josephus does not state explicitly that these authors were “prophets”. He remarks only that these historical works have “not been deemed worthy of equal credit with the earlier records, because of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets”. This sentence – τὴν τῶν προφητῶν ἀκριβῆ διαδοχήν – seems to indicate that Josephus also regarded these authors as “prophets”. The problem, as he saw it, was only that these “prophets” did not succeed each other without interruption.30 Accordingly, the central idea in CA 1.37–41 seems to be that the Jewish writers of history, from the beginning of Moses and down “to our own time” were divinely appointed “prophets” who were able to write consistent and reliable history, partly because of their divine inspiration, partly because of the existence of carefully kept (by Jewish priests) written records, and partly because of their exact description of contemporary events.

4.

Josephus’ Own Writings in This Context

In the following section, Josephus aims at returning to the discussion of his own writings (CA 1.47–56). He does so by inserting two small paragraphs, one describing the veneration of the Jews for their sacred books (1.42–43), and another where he depicts the Greeks as opposed to the Jews in this respect (1.44–46). Thus, the main connection is the relation between the Jewish canon and his own works. What is open for discussion and interpretation is the important question how he himself understood this relationship.31 The very connection between the two sets of literature appears clearly from the general context of CA 1.1–56, where Josephus begins and ends this section by commenting on his own works. It follows that the occasion to comment on the Jewish canon is the actual quarrel on his own writings. The line of thinking and writing in CA 1.1–56 may be illustrated as follows: Josephus moves from the controversy on his own works over Greek historiography to the Jewish Bible, and then he jumps back again to the conflict on his own work, now The Jewish War (1.47–56). The close connection between Josephus’ own writings and the Jewish canon also emerges from the logic of the text: The opening problem of CA 1.1–56, as well as of the entire work of Contra Apionem, is the controversy between Josephus and 30 Against Katz 1956, 195; Blenkinsopp 1974, 240; Beckwith 1985, 371–372; Leiman 1989, 54; Feldman 1990, 397–398, and in agreement with Meyer 1974 288, 290; Greenspahn 1989, 40; Gray 1993, 12–16, 25–26. J. G. Müller 1871, 102–103; von Gutschmidt 1893, 405–406; ReinachBlum 1930, 10, do not discuss this problem. 31 Unfortunately, this problem is not examined in Cohen 1988.

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his Greek opponents on The Jewish Antiquities (CA 1.1–2). Immediately, however, Josephus transforms this controversy into a basic conflict between Greece and the Orient (1.6–14/29). In this way, Josephus is made a representative of the Orient and, evidently, of the Jews. The Jews are represented by their priestly genealogies (1.30–36) and, in particular, by their sacred books (1.37–41). Once again, the Jewish people are opposed to the Greeks (1.42–46). Then, the Greeks are claimed generally to be uninterested in first-hand knowledge of historical events (1.45–46), and finally, Josephus sets himself off – as author of The Jewish War – as precisely such a knowledgeable first-hand historian (1.47–56). Accordingly, the main line of thought appears to be that the recent Greek critique of Josephus’ work (The Jewish Antiquities) cannot be taken seriously because Greek historiography generally must be regarded as a relatively “modern” phenomenon marked by a fundamental lack of interest in written sources as well as by the absence of first-hand knowledge of the events it describes. In contrast, Josephus’ work is claimed to represent the much older Oriental civilization which has always kept written records – as it appears from the Jewish Bible, in particular. In addition, Josephus is claimed personally to possess extraordinary qualifications as a writer of history both because he is a Jewish priest – with the special training of this class regarding written records – (esp. The Jewish Antiquities), and because he is a “practical” historiographer who himself has participated in the war that he described, and otherwise has relied on trustworthy eyewitnesses (The Jewish War). From this indirect comparison between Josephus’ own works and the Jewish Bible arises the all-decisive question: does this comparison imply that Josephus in some way regards himself on a par with the authors of the Jewish holy books, the (priests and the) “prophets”? If we limit ourselves to CA 1.1–56 this question cannot be answered positively without reservations. For here Josephus characterizes the “prophets” as having obtained their knowledge of history “through the inspiration which they owed to God” (1.37). On the other hand, Josephus himself is primarily characterized by his “having been present in person at all events” (1.47, cf. 55). Nevertheless, one point of connection does exist between the two, for the divine inspiration of the “prophets” is said explicitly to apply only to “the most remote and ancient history” (1.37). As for the events of their own time, the prophets are said to have been “committing to writing a clear account” of these, “just as they occurred” (1.37).32 And this last sentence can safely be interpreted as a parallel to what Josephus says about his own qualifications as a first-hand eyewitness historian (l.47ff.).33

32 This distinction has also been noted by Gray 1993, 11. 33 In the same direction Blenkinsopp 1974, 241.

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As for his prerequisites for writing The Jewish Antiquities, Josephus adds an explicit reference to his status of “being a priest and of priestly ancestry” (CA 1.54).34 By virtue of this qualification he was “well versed in the philosophy of those writings,”35 and, therefore, he was able to produce “a translation of our sacred books.” This point emerges even more clearly in Ant. 20.264–266, combined with Josephus’ autobiography, Life (Vita) (Vit.), which is introduced precisely by the paragraphs in Ant. 20.264–266.36 In Ant. 20.264, Josephus underlines his knowledge of the Jewish “holy scriptures, “and he seems to link this knowledge to his “lineage” (20.266). This “lineage” ought to be interpreted as his priestly lineage which he describes in detail in Vit. 1–6. It might be objected that this reading makes sense in the case of The Jewish Antiquities but that it is less obvious in the case of The Jewish War. This is correct, for in the case of The Jewish War, Josephus is referring primarily to his qualifications as participant in the war (Bell. 1.3; CA 1.47–56). Strangely enough, however, in Bell. 1.3, while presenting himself as the author of his work on the Jewish War, amidst several other information, Josephus again emphasizes his status of Jewish priest: “In these circumstances, I – Josephus, son of Matthias, Hebrew by race, a native of Jerusalem and a priest …” Accordingly, in Josephus’ own eyes, not only his participation in the war but also his priestly “lineage” is of importance for his work as a historian of the Jewish War, perhaps because this work too, to some extent (1.31–2.167), presupposes written records, and in that sense could be characterized as a “translation” (cf. notes 45–46 with context). However, a closer look at The Jewish War may suggest that Josephus’ prerequisites for writing contemporary history include prophetic gifts as well. In the first place, I refer to the famous description in Bell. 3.340–408 of Josephus’ surrender in Jotapata, of his experiences in the cave under the city, and of his prediction to Vespasian to be the future Roman emperor.37 Although the word προφήτης does not appear, this text clearly presents Josephus as a prophet: “… but I come to you as a messenger (ἄγγελος) of greater destinies …” (3.400, cf. 405).38 Here, Josephus obviously claims to have functioned as a prophet. However, the crucial question is whether we may be allowed to claim a connection between his performance as a prophet and his role as a writer of history. A hint in this direction may be found in the fact that, in Bell. 3.350–354, Josephus clearly relates his former (prophetic) “nightly dreams, in 34 Similarly Gray 1993, 56; Mason 1988, 658. 35 Cf. above with notes 14–16. 36 For a more detailed examination of the relations between Ant. 20. 264–266 and Vit. 1–6, see Bilde 1988, 110–113; Gray 1993, 56–58. 37 For various interpretations of this important text, see Schalit 1975 contra Moehring 1984, and further Blenkinsopp 1974, 240–247; Cohen 1982, 369–377; Sterling 1992, 236–238; Gray 1993, 35–70; Mason 1994. 38 Cf. Michel 1954; Cohen 1982, 169.

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which God had foretold him the impending fate of the Jews and the destinies of the Roman sovereigns” (351) with his status as Jewish priest: He was an interpreter of dreams and skilled in divining the meaning of ambiguous utterances of the Deity; a priest himself and of priestly descent he was not ignorant of the prophecies in the sacred books (Bell. 3.352).39

Here Josephus himself relates his performance as a prophet with his priestly knowledge of the Jewish scriptures which are elsewhere presented as a major prerequisite for his office as a writer of history. Another hint in the same direction may be seen in Bell. 1.18: I shall therefore begin my work at the point where the historians of these events and our prophets conclude …

In other words, here Josephus seems to present The Jewish War as a direct continuation of the historiography of the Jewish “prophets”.40 By combining these pieces of information in Bell. 1.3.18 and 3.340–408 with the material we have examined in Ant. 20.264–266, Vit. 1–6 and CA 1.1–56, “we have established a tenable basis for claiming that Josephus emphasizes the very same three qualifications of priestly status, prophetic gift and first-hand knowledge, both when he describes the authors of the Jewish canon, and also when he refers to his own unique qualifications as Jewish historiographer.41

5.

Some Implications of the Present Interpretation

In CA 1.1–56, Josephus defends his own writings by placing them on a par with the Jewish Bible. In the fundamental conflict between the Jews (the Orient) and the Greeks, he puts his own works in a position similar to the Hebrew canon. Further, he describes these two corpora of Jewish literature as marked by the same basic character: being founded on written records and first-hand knowledge. And, finally, Josephus seems to regard his own status as a priest and his 39 Cf. Blenkinsopp 1974, 242, 247; Gray 1993, 57–58; Mason 1994, 177. I refer again to Bell. 2.159 where, in his description of the Essenes, Josephus combines the same two elements: the gift of prophecy and the knowledge of the holy scriptures cf. notes 14–16. 40 In agreement with Blenkinsopp 1974, 241; Daube 1980, 20; Feldman 1990, 05–406, claims that in Bell. 1.18, Josephus distinguishes clearly between the biblical prophets and himself. In 1990, 397, on the other hand, Feldman remarks: “One basic reason for Josephus’ great interest in the prophets is that he regards them as his predecessors as historians of the past”, referring precisely to Bell. I. 18 and CA 1.37. Gray 1993, 15, argues that though the interpretation presented above is possible, it is by no means certain. 41 In the same direction Chesnut 1971, 91–92; Blenkinsopp 1974, 241–242, 247; Daube 1980, 20; Aune 182, 420–421; Sterling 1992, 238: “It is his prophetic status that allows him to write a definitive history of the Jewish people;” Gray 1993 53–58; Mason 1988, 658–659.

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prophetic gift as qualifications comparable to those of the ancient Jewish priests and prophets who wrote the Jewish sacred books. If this interpretation is true, the result is remarkable – and surprising. How could a first century Jew possibly regard himself and his own work as comparable to the Jewish canon? We have already referred to the important polemical background, situation and context of Contra Apionem: Josephus regarded The Jewish Antiquities as a “modern” explanation and defence of Judaism, and this very polemical situation may have stimulated his personal identification with Judaism and the Jewish holy writings. More important, however, is the fact that, in Josephus’ own eyes, The Jewish Antiquities was “a translation of our sacred books” (CA 1.54, cf. Ant. 1.5; 20.261). So, in a way, this work was the Jewish Bible, and in this case we need not be surprised by the fact that Josephus puts his Jewish Antiquities on the same footing as the Jewish canon. On the other hand, it is well known that The Jewish Antiquities is not a literal translation, but a free paraphrase of the Jewish Bible supplemented by many other sources.42 Nonetheless, it is possible to argue that by “translation” Josephus did not understand a literal transference, but rather a substantial one which, according to Josephus, rendered the essential content of the Jewish sacred writings.43 With this interpretation it is easier to understand Josephus’ claim that his Jewish Antiquities was a “translation” of the Jewish Bible. This interpretation might help to open our eyes to the possibility that not only Josephus, but a great number of contemporary Jewish authors as well, thought of their works as “translations” or, at least, as renderings in various forms of the Jewish canon and thus, in a way, as identical with the Jewish Bible.44 This can be said to be the case for The Book of Jubilees. It could, however, also be claimed to be the case for the even freer reinterpretations, rewritings and factual expansions of the Jewish Bible found in a number of the Jewish Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. In their own eyes, these books, e. g. The First Book of Enoch and The Fourth Book of Ezra, are such “translations”, “explanations” and “interpretations” of the corresponding biblical books or parts of biblical books. And what about the pesharim from Qumran? And the Mishnah? Having once seized on this heuristic possibility of interpretation, the way seems open to include even wider circles of contemporary Jewish literary works in this category. It can be argued that Philo and other Hellenistic Jewish writers as well, in their self-understanding, do nothing else than “translate” the Jewish Bible. Finally, is it not possible to maintain that Paul and other early Christian authors, in their writings, meant to do the same thing? 42 For a detailed survey, see Bilde 1988, 80–89; Sterling 1992, 252–258. 43 Cf. Vermes 1982, 290; Bilde 1988, 92–98. 44 Cf. Vermes 1991, 162, referring to Vermes 1983.

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Accordingly, it may be argued that, for the Jewish writers in the HellenisticRoman period, it was an indisputable point of departure that the religious truth already existed, namely in the Jewish sacred books. The actual task remaining for “zealous” Jewish writers was only to understand, interpret and actualize these already given sacred writings. Internally, within the Jewish people, this work was done by the “oral Torah” culminating in the Mishnah and the Talmuds. Externally, vis-a-vis the non-Jewish world, this job was done apologetically and polemically in the so-called Hellenistic Jewish literature, first and foremost Philo and Josephus. All of them could claim to do nothing but “translating” the Torah. I think that this situation reveals the main reason why Josephus was able to present his writings as belonging basically to the same category as the Jewish Bible. As already suggested above, perhaps this statement might be accepted as regards The Jewish Antiquities, but what about The Jewish War? Life and Contra Apionem are not as relevant in this respect since Josephus himself does regard these two works as supplementary, auxiliary writings the purpose of which was to defend and explain his two major works. Obviously, The Jewish War can by no means be regarded as a “translation” of the Hebrew Bible and, in fact, Josephus himself never does so. His first major work is a piece of Hellenistic-Roman historiography which Josephus himself compares directly with those of Herodotus, Thucydides and others.45 It is no “translation” (apart from the fact that Josephus himself translated it from an original in Aramaic, cf. Bell. 1.3).46 It is a description of important contemporary events based on first-hand knowledge (cf. Bell. 1.3; CA 1.47–50/56), so how could Josephus possibly regard this work as comparable to the Jewish Bible? First, Josephus apparently did so, precisely because of this work’s very character of first-hand knowledge. It will be remembered that, for Josephus, a decisive aspect of the sacred Jewish books was their being based on written records. Another aspect of the Jewish Bible was, according to Josephus, that the prophets wrote “a clear account of the events of their own time just as they occurred” (CA 1.37). But this is precisely what Josephus claimed to have done in his Jewish War. Second, the history of the Jewish people continued after the disappearance of the classical prophets at the time of Artaxerxes, as Josephus himself underlines in CA 1.41. It also continued to be described by Jewish historical writers such as the authors of The Letter of Aristeas and the First Book of Maccabees, which Josephus himself used as sources for his works. Further, to Josephus, the war between the Jews in Palestine and Rome (66–70/74 CE) was not less significant than the great events in the Hebrew Bible, but rather “the greatest not only of the wars of our own time, but, so far as accounts have reached us, well nigh of all that ever broke 45 Cf. esp. Bell. 1.1–3, 13–16; CA 1.15–18; cf. Bilde 1988, 192. 46 And apart from what has been said above on the character of Bell. 1.31–2.166.

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out between cities or nations” (Bell. 1.1), a disaster that had its origin in “civil strife” (στάσις οι᾿κεία) and in the crucial events under King Antiochus IV Epiphanes.47 Jewish history continued, and so did Jewish historiography.48 Third, as we have seen, Josephus regarded himself as presented with the divine gift of prophecy. On the basis of Bell. 1.18; 3.350–354 and CA 1.41 it is possible to suggest that Josephus regarded his status as prophet to be a necessary prerequisite for his writing of history, not only of the biblical period, but of contemporary events as well. Accordingly, although Josephus never explicitly identified The Jewish War as a sort of “canonical” work in the way he did understand his Jewish Antiquities, he also seems to have regarded his first major work as comparable to the “prophetic” historical writings and on a par with such earlier “postprophetical” works as The Letter of Aristeas and The First Book of Maccabees.

Conclusion Contra Apionem is the latest of Josephus’ works. Therefore, it is possible to argue that this work is critically important in the sense that it can be claimed to provide a key to Josephus’ own final understanding of all his other writings.49 Of course, this interpretation is not logically compelling. The Laqueur school has interpreted Contra Apionem, together with The Jewish Antiquities and Life, as representing a completely different point of view from that of the earlier work, The Jewish War. On this assumption it would obviously be a mistake to interpret the earlier work on the basis of the later works. Indeed, attempts have been made to refute this view of the Laqueur school50 but these attempts have not yet won international approval. Consequently, the position taken in this essay can claim nothing but the status of a hypothesis. Accordingly, I conclude by asking the following question: is it not possible – and fruitful – to use Contra Apionem as an aid to understanding the other works? At all events, the view of Josephus’ two major works found in CA 1.1–2 and 47–56 is in accordance with the descriptions of these works found elsewhere in his writings. The Jewish Antiquities is meant as a “translation” of the sacred Jewish scriptures, and The Jewish War is claimed to be a piece of “modern” HellenisticRoman historiography based on first-hand knowledge. Further, not only in CA 1.1–56 but also elsewhere in his works, Josephus understands his status as a 47 Bell. 1.9–12 (esp. 1.10), 19–20, 31ff. On Josephus’ view of the causes of the Jewish War, see Bilde 1979. 48 Bell. 1.18. 49 Thus Bilde 1988, 121. 50 Cf. Bilde 1988, 128–141.

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Jewish priest, with primary knowledge of the Jewish holy texts, as well as his capacity as a divinely gifted prophet to be fundamental prerequisites for his historiographical work. Finally, it is not Josephus’ attempts to apologize and defend himself in the eyes of Rome or in the eyes of the new powerful Jewish elite, the Pharisaic Rabbis in Jamnia, that fundamentally characterizes Contra Apionem. Rather, it is his defence of the Jewish people and his wish to picture Judaism as a major religious and cultural force in the Hellenistic and Roman world. Josephus presents the Jewish sacred books in the interpretation of his own writings as a genuine alternative to Greek culture and historiography.51

51 Cf. van Unnik 1979; Vermes 1982, 301–302; Bilde 1988, 120–122.

6:

The Essenes in Philo and Josephus

1.

Introduction

Before the emergence of Qumran and its literature, the accounts of Philo and Josephus on the Essenes were studied regularly, generally in the context of Ancient Judaism or Early Christianity.1 After the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, interest in classical Jewish sources on the Essenes increased because of the importance of these documents in attempts to identify the community behind the Scrolls.2 Rather quickly the general consensus developed that the community behind the scrolls should be identified with the Essenes or a group close to the Essenes.3 As a result, the interest in Philo’s and Josephus’s accounts of the Essenes decreased partly because research now concentrated on the scrolls themselves and partly, naturally enough, because the classical Jewish descriptions were generally interpreted as second-hand sources wrapped in Hellenistic redactions, or even that the descriptions in Philo and Josephus were regarded as Hellenized distortions of the actual Essenes, whom we can find only in the writings from Qumran.4 In contrast to their opinions on Philo and Josephus, the same scholars tend to regard the Dead Sea Scrolls as rather untouched by Hellenistic culture and representing genuine and pure Palestinian Jewish religion.5 However, during the last decades, the discussion of the identity of the Qumran community has been revived by Schiffman’s hypothesis that the Qumranites were ‘Zadokites’ close to the Sadducees, by the ‘Groningen Hypothesis,’ according to 1 Cf. the history of earlier research in Wagner 1960. 2 Cf., e. g., Marcus 1956, 9–47; idem 1952, 207–209; Dupont-Sommer 1959, esp. 31–81, 100–18; Vermes 1962, 495–504. 3 Today, the hypothesis that the Qumranites were Essenes is accepted by most scholars. Cf., e. g., Vermes 1994, 100–18; Schürer 1979, 583–85; Rajak 1994, 141–60 (142–43); VanderKam 1994, 71–98. 4 Thus, e. g., Marcus 1956, 28–29; Roberts 1956–1957, 58–65; Bergmeier 1993, 10–11; Mink 1995, 52–64. 5 Thus, e. g., Bergmeier 1993, 10.

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which they were a splinter group which had broken out of a broader Essene movement, and with Stegemann’s and other hypotheses which are all variants of the same paradigm.6 These theories have created a new situation, also with respect to Philo’s and Josephus’s accounts of the Essenes, because these two accounts seem to indicate a similar situation with several – partly different and partly related – Essene communities. In the present paper I aim at a renewed presentation and discussion of the accounts of Philo and Josephus on the Essenes in the light of the new discussion of the Qumran community’s identity and early history: what is the character of each of these two (sets of) accounts? How are they related to each other? What were the interests and intentions of their authors? And how reliable are these accounts? I propose to proceed as follows. I begin by examining the descriptions of the Essenes (and Therapeutes) by Philo and Josephus and aim at bringing out explicitly the contents and character of each account. I intend to do this by coining a number of headings that are meant to summarize a certain subject in each text and setting them up in lists. Later I compare the various lists of headings with the intention of discovering connections between the texts and producing statistical material which can be used in the interpretation. I continue with an analysis of the evidence, with the aim of systematically determining the profile of Philo’s and Josephus’s accounts and their possible mutual interrelations. I emphasize the uncertainty of this attempt: already the selection and naming of headings are defective, and so is the evaluation of similarities and differences. Therefore, I have to stress that it is only the tendencies of my results that really count as significant, not the specific numbers, percentages and other details.

2.

Philo

a. Every Good Man is Free (Philo-a) In his stoicizing treatise, Quod omnis probus liber sit (‘Every Good Man is Free’, here Philo-a), presumably written in the beginning of the first century CE, the young Philo (ca 20 BCE–45 CE) presents various groups of ‘wise’ people as exemplifying his main thesis, according to which only the truly wise man is genuinely free. Having presented examples of wise Greeks, Persians and Indians, Philo turns to ‘Palestinian Syria’, and he underlines that this region ‘too, has not 6 Cf. Schiffman 1995, 37–48; Garcia Martinez 1994, lii–liv; Stegemann 1993, 194–226; and the surveys in Vermes 1994, 100–18; VanderKam 1994, 71–98.

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failed to produce high moral excellence’.7 This is the case especially among the Jews ‘including as it is said,8 certain persons … called Essenes’ (75a). Paragraphs 75–91 are devoted to the description of this group, and the Essenes are presented as follows: 1. Number: they are ‘more than four thousand’ (75a). 2. Name: their name, the ‘Essenes’, is interpreted by Philo ‘as a variation … of hosiotes (holiness)’, and he assumes that this name has been given to them ‘because they have shown themselves especially devout in the service of God’ (75b). 3. Sacrifice: they do not offer animal sacrifices, but instead present their own minds as a spiritual sacrifice (75c). 4. Locality: they ‘live in villages and avoid the cities because of the iniquities which have become inveterate among city dwellers’ (76a). 5. Work: they work with their hands either on the land or in other peaceful and beneficial crafts (76b). 6. Agriculture: (76b). 7. Craft: (76b). 8. Wealth: they do not accumulate property, neither gold nor land, but are content with providing their daily necessities (76c). 9. Frugality: instead, they regard frugality as the true kind of richness, for, as the only people in the world who have voluntarily assumed poverty, ‘they are esteemed exceedingly rich, because they judge frugality with contentment to be, as indeed it is, an abundance of wealth’ (77, cf. 84b). 10. Weapons: they do not produce any kind of weapon (78a). 11. Commerce: they have no idea of commerce and look with contempt on all kinds of greed (78b). 12. Slaves: they do not own slaves, and in their community ‘all are free, exchanging services with each other’ (79a). 13. Equality: they reject the owning of slaves especially because, in agreement with ‘the statute of Nature, who mother-like has born and reared all men alike’, they regard all men to be equal (79b, cf. 84e). 14. Philosophy: in ‘philosophy’ they only cultivate the disciplines of theology and ethics (80a, cf. 88).

7 I have borrowed the English translation of the ancient authors from the Loeb Classical Library, here F.H. Colson (trans.), Philo (LCL, IX). The relevant paragraphs (75–91) are quoted in full in Eusebius from Caesarea (c. 260–340 CE), Praep. Evang. 8.12. 8 This wording (legontai) can be interpreted as indicating Philo’s use of a (written?) source. See section 5.b.

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15. Holy Scriptures: they study ethics eagerly, taking ‘for their trainers the laws of their fathers’, laws which they regard as being of divine origin (80b, cf. 81–82). 16. Sabbath: they study these laws ‘at all times, but particularly on the seventh days’ (8la); on that day ‘they abstain from all other work’, and assemble in their synagogues … (81b). 17. Synagogue: (81b). 18. Hierarchy: here, ‘arranged in rows according to their ages …‘ (81c). 19. Allegory: thus, they listen to the reading of the words of their books, and to the ‘allegorical’ interpretation presented by a person ‘of especial proficiency’ (82). 20. Piety: in this way ‘they are trained in piety, holiness, justice … love of God, love of virtue, love of men’ (83). 21. Purity: in their ‘love of God’ they attach particular importance to ‘religious purity’ (84a). 22. Oaths: likewise, they demonstrate this attitude ‘by abstinence from oaths’ and by ‘veracity’ (84b). 23. Theology: further, by their belief that God ‘is the cause of all good things and nothing bad’ (84c). 24. Simplicity: they show their ‘love of virtue, by their freedom from the love of either money or reputation or pleasure, by self-mastery and endurance, again by frugality, simple living …‘ (84d). 25. Ethics: they demonstrate their ‘love of men’ by benevolence, equality ‘and their spirit of fellowship’ (84eff. 79b). 26. Hospitality: this fellowship may be seen in the fact that their houses are open and shared by all (85a); especially, they practise hospitality towards members of their own order (85b). 27. Common property: they are the only community in the world with common property, including even clothes and food (86a–b); they put all earned wages ‘into the common stock and allow the benefits thus accruing to be shared by those who wish to use it’ (86c). 28. Common clothes: (86a). 29. Common meals: (86b, cf. 91). 30. Sick and elderly: they take care of the sick and elderly as if they were their real relatives (87). 31. Truly free: accordingly, in contrast to Greek philosophers, Philo stresses that the Essene ‘philosophers’ (cf. 88a) are men of ethical practice whom he describes as ‘athletes of virtue’. By such deeds they establish ‘the liberty which can never be enslaved’ (88b, cf. 84d). 32. Admired by rulers: Philo concludes that even unsympathetic and cruel rulers have admired the Essenes: ‘they all treated them as self-governing (autonomois) and freemen by nature and extolled their communal meals and that

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ineffable sense of fellowship, which is the clearest evidence of a perfect and supremely happy life’ (89–91).9 In this account Philo describes the Essenes as a numerous group of Jewish ‘philosophers’, genuinely free men, holy ascetics, living in villages where they have established well-organized ‘communistic’ communities with common ownership of property, clothes and meals, without slaves, a strange mixture of equality and hierarchy, common care for the sick and the elderly, with hard labour, no commerce and no production of weapons. Religiously, the Essenes are characterized by a spiritualized reinterpretation of the traditional animal sacrifices, by their absorption in the Holy Scriptures which they interpret allegorically, with a strict interpretation and practice of Jewish law and ethics, especially of the Sabbath, with rejection of oaths, and with strong emphasis on religious purity – a community which has been admired by all, even cruel rulers.

b. Hypothetica (Philo-b) In his work, Praeparatio Evangelica (8.6.1–11.18), Eusebius brings two extracts from a work by Philo. Eusebius informs us that the first comes from the second book of a (lost) work by Philo, Hypothetica, and that the second extract which describes the Essenes comes from another (lost) work by Philo entitled ‘Apology for the Jews’.10 In the second extract (Praep. Evang./Hyp. 11.1–18, here Philo-b) Philo describes the Essenes as follows: 1. Identity: the ‘Lawgiver’11 has trained multitudes of his kinsmen ‘for the life of fellowship’ (epi koinonian), and these men are called Essenes (11. la). 2. Name: this name is given to them because of their holiness (11.lb, cf. number 2 in the above list). 3. Locality: they are said to live in many cities and villages in Judaea (11. lc). 4. Associations: here, they are ‘grouped in great societies of many members’ (11. ld); below (11.5) it is stated that they live together in free associations where they practice fellowship and common meals. 5. Admission: new members are recruited, not by birth, but by personal choice, based ‘on their zeal for virtue and desire to promote brotherly love’ (11.2). 9 A similar situation is described in Philo, Hyp.11.18 and in Josephus, Ant. 15.371–79. Cf. Petit 1992, 139–55 (154–55, and section 3.a. l). 10 Colson remarks: ‘The general assumption is that these are one and the same’ (Philo, p. 407; cf. Borgen 1984, 247. Therefore, I follow Colson in calling this work Hypothetica as well. 11 Presumably Moses, cf. Philo, Vit. Cont. 63, and Josephus, War 2.145, 152.Cf. Paul 1992, 131–32, who emphasizes Josephus’s predilection for the word ‘Lawgiver’ (nomothetes).

126 6.

7.

8. 9. 10.

11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19.

20.

The Essenes in Philo and Josephus

Mature men: thus, new members of the Essene associations are not children or youths, but elderly, mature men – ‘no longer carried under by the tide of the body nor led by the passions, but enjoying the veritable, the only real freedom’ (11.3). Common property: their freedom ‘is attested by their life’: they have no private property, no slaves and no riches, but they hand over their belongings to a ‘public stock and enjoy the benefit of them all in common’ (11.4). Slaves: they have no slaves (11.4). Common meals: they have common meals (11.5, cf. 11.1). Work: they spend their time working from sunrise to sunset, with great energy and regardless of bad weather and with the same zeal as gymnastic competitors (11.6). Asceticism: they regard their ‘exercises’ as being of a more durable value for man than the practices of the athletes (11.7). Agricultural work: some of them till the land, others take care of cattlebreeding and bee-keeping (11.8). Craft: still others work in handicrafts in order to gain their livelihood (11.9). Common treasury: the money they earn is brought to a designated treasurer who takes care of buying what the community needs (11.10). Frugality: thus having a common life and a common table, they are content because they are ‘lovers of frugality who shun expensive luxury as a disease of both body and soul’ (11.11). Common clothes: even their clothes they have in common, one set in winter and one in summer (11.12). Sick and elderly: they willingly take care of the sick and the old men, who are ‘treated as parents’ (11.13). Marriage and continence: they avoid marriage, regarding it an obstacle for their common life as well as for their practice of continence (l l.14a). Low opinion of women: another reason is their view of women as selfish, jealous and disturbing the religious life of their husbands (l l.14b–15). Especially if they get children, women become even more ‘hostile to the life of fellowship’ (11.16–17). They think that a man bound to wife and children ‘has become a different man and has passed from freedom into slavery’ (11.17). Admired by rulers: the description concludes by referring to the fact that not only common people, but even mighty kings admire this way of living of the Essenes (11.18, cf. n. 9 above).

In this piece Philo describes the Essenes as a popular voluntary association of pious, mature Jews, living in cities and villages in Judaea, organized in ‘communistic’ societies with common property, meals and clothes, with no slaves, taking care of the sick and elderly, busily working from morning to evening in

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agriculture and crafts, living a simple life in modesty and frugality, abstaining from sexual love and marriage because of a negative view of women, being admired by rulers in power. Accordingly, this account is closely related to Philo-a, though with stronger emphasis on the character of the Essene community as a voluntary association with individual admission, and on their inclination to celibacy.12

c. The Contemplative Life (Philo-c) In the treatise De vita contemplativa (‘The Contemplative Life’, here Philo-c) Philo describes the so-called Therapeutae, a strange Jewish group living near Alexandria which Philo himself explicitly brings in connection with the Essenes (§1). As not only Philo, but also (other) scholars of name regard the Therapeutes as related to the Essenes,13 it is necessary to include this description in an examination of the Essenes in classical Jewish sources. In contrast to the two former accounts, the whole content of Philo-c is devoted to the same subject (of the Therapeutes) and, accordingly, the description is much more diffuse. In the introduction Philo refers to his earlier discussion(s) of the Essenes, and categorizes them as a group ‘who persistently pursued the active life’. By contrast, the Therapeutes are described as a community ‘who embraced the life of contemplation’ (§1). Philo continues by assuring us: ‘In doing so I will not add anything of my own procuring to improve upon the facts …, but shall adhere absolutely to the actual truth’14 and describes the Therapeutes as follows: 1. Philosophy: the Therapeutes are presented as ‘philosophers’ (2a, cf. 16, 26, 28, 34, 67, 69). 2. Name: Philo derives their name from therapeuo, ‘either in the sense of “cure” because they’ cure not only man’s body, but, in particular, his soul when it is oppressed by diseases inflicted by city-life, ‘or else in the sense of “worship”, because nature’ itself has taught them to worship the Supreme God (2b). 3. Piety: their piety is compared with that of the worshippers of the ‘elements’ (3–5), of the ‘demi-gods’ (6), of different kinds of images (7) and of the Egyptian holy animals (8–10).

12 Petit characterizes Hyp. 11.1–18 as ‘beaucoup plus réaliste que celle de Prob.’ (1992, 155), an evaluation which I find difficult to accept. Generally, Petit describes both accounts as ‘apologetic’ representations ‘d’une communaute de “parfaits” juifs sur le modèle des thiases philosophiques hellénistiques’ (1992, 155). 13 Cf. Vermes 1962; Schürer 1979, II, 554–97, esp. pp. 595–97; Vermes & Goodman 1989, 15–17; Bergmeier 1993, 41–48. 14 Does this expression indicate the use of a (written?) source? See n. 8 and section 5.b.

128 4.

5.

6. 7.

8.

9. 10. 11.

12.

13.

The Essenes in Philo and Josephus

Spiritual vision: in contrast, the Therapeutes are able to ‘see’ in a spiritual way, and they worship the invisible deity in a mystical or ecstatic way (11–12, cf. 28a). Abandoning private possessions: they are so absorbed by this ‘blessed life’ and divine wealth that ‘they abandon their property’ to their relatives or friends (13). Philo compares this act with similar ones of famous Greeks – and finds that of the Therapeutes to be superior (14–17). Leaving the family: the next step of the Therapeutes is to give up their family, friends and fatherland (18). Migration: they move, not to another city, because city-life ‘is full of turmoils and disturbances’, but ‘outside the walls pursuing solitude in gardens or lonely bits of country’ (19–20). Locality: this type of life can be found in several places in the world, but in particular in Egypt, ‘and especially round Alexandria’ (21). The best of these people ‘journey from every side to settle in a certain very suitable place which they regard as their fatherland’; it is situated ‘above the Mareotic Lake’ (22); it is rich and has a pleasant climate (23). Housing: here, the Therapeutes live in simple houses, situated at a suitable distance from each other (24). Private sanctuary: ‘in each house there is a consecrated room’, a ‘sanctuary’, where they ‘are initiated into the mysteries of the sanctified life’ (25a). Holy Scriptures: here, they enjoy no drink and food, but only ‘laws and oracles delivered through the mouth of prophets, and psalms and anything else which fosters and perfects knowledge and piety’ (25b). By studying these books they ‘keep the memory of God alive …‘ (25–26, cf. 28b). Prayer: every day they pray at dawn and at sunset (27a); at sunrise ‘they pray for a fine bright day; fine and bright in the true sense of the heavenly daylight which they pray may fill their minds’ (27a, cf. 66 and 89b). Allegory: they spend the day ‘entirely in spiritual exercise’ (28a). They study their Holy Scriptures ‘and seek wisdom from their ancestral philosophy by taking it as an allegory, since they think that the words of the literal text are symbols of something whose hidden nature is revealed by studying the underlying meaning’ (28b, cf. 75–78).15

15 Compare lQpHab 2.7–10; 7.1–5 on the Teacher of Righteousness whom God has given insight to interpret all the ‘secrets’ in the books of the prophets. In this paper it is impossible systematically to compare and to analyse the connections between the accounts of Philo and Josephus on the Essenes, on the one hand, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, on the other. I can only mention a few cases in order to illustrate this aspect of the subject. For a systematical comparison, see Beall 1988. On Josephus only: Vermes & Goodman 1989; Bergmeier 1993; Rajak 1994, 156–58 (only on War 2).

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14. Other books: in addition to the ‘Biblical’ books they have writings from the founders of the group who have formulated the principles for their allegorical interpretation (29a). They continue this tradition by composing hymns to God (29b, cf. 80).16 15. Sabbath: six days a week they study at home (cf. 25–26, 28, 34), but ‘every seventh day they meet together as for a general assembly …‘ (30a, cf. 36). Here, the oldest among them comes forward and gives a ‘well-reasoned and wise discourse’ (31). 16. Sanctuary/synagogue: accordingly, the Therapeutes have a ‘common sanctuary’ (32a). 17. Order and hierarchy: in the assembly they ‘sit in order according to their age in the proper attitude …’ (30b, cf. 66–67). 18. Separation of men and women: their sanctuary is divided by a wall in two parts, one for men and one for women (32–33, cf. 69). 19. Asceticism/self-control: they regard self-control the foundation for all other virtues (34a). Therefore, they limit their consumption of food and drink (34b–35 and 37b, cf. 69). 20. Common meals: but on the seventh day they have a proper, but simple meal of bread, salt, hyssop and water (36–37a, cf. 40–82). 21. Modesty in clothing: as their houses and meals their clothes are simple, in winter a skin coat and in summer a light shirt (38). 22. Simplicity: thus, they generally stick to simplicity which they regard as the source of truth (39). In paragraphs 40–63a Philo makes a long excursus on the contrast between the gatherings and common meals of the Therapeutes, on the one hand, and the immoderate parties of ‘other people’, not least the Greeks on the other. Philo remarks that ‘the disciples of Moses’ (cf. n. 11) regard the Greek excesses ‘with supreme contempt’ (63b). 23. Pentecost: in contrast to these parties of the gentiles, Philo describes how the Therapeutes celebrates the festival of seven weeks, probably Pentecost (65):17 they gather, stand in an orderly way, lift their eyes and hands to heaven and pray (66, cf. 27). Then they sit down to eat (67). Philo emphasizes the simplicity of the couches and the meal (69b). 24. White robes: at the festival of Pentecost the Therapeutes are dressed in white robes (66a). 16 This piece of information is unique to the accounts under examination and it immediately brings to mind the ‘sectarian’ literature in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Bergmeier, who is detecting the sources behind Philo’s and Josephus’s descriptions of the Essenes (Therapeutes), does not comment on this text in Philo (Bergmeier 1993, 41–48). 17 Thus Colson 1962, 152–53.

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25. Hierarchy: at the common meal ‘the seniors recline according to the order of their admission’ (67a).18 26. Women: women, ‘most of them aged virgins’, take part as well (68a). During the meal, the men sit by themselves to the right and the women to the left (69a).19 27. Slaves: they have no slaves ‘as they consider that the ownership of servants is entirely against nature’ (70). At the festival of Pentecost the serving is provided by young free men (71–72). 28. Simple meal: no wine is served, only water. Likewise, no animal flesh is put on the table. As on the seventh days (c. 36–37a), the food consists of bread with salt and, sometimes, hyssop (73, cf. 81). 29. Wine: they abstain permanently from wine (73–74). 30. Vegetarianism: they do not serve flesh (73). 31. Silence: during the dinner – and at most other occasions – there is silence (75a). 32. Allegory: the silence is only broken by the president who ‘discusses some question arising in the Holy Scriptures …’ (75b–76). The audience listens as on the meetings on the sabbaths (77, cf. 30–31). ‘The exposition of the sacred scriptures treats the inner meaning conveyed in allegory’ (cf. n. 15). In this way, the soul is able to reach ‘the inward and hidden through the outward and visible’ (78, cf. 29). 33. Hymns: after the discourse, the president sings a hymn, ‘either a new one of his own composition or an old one by poets of an earlier day …’ (80, cf. 29b). After him ‘all the others take their turn’. Then follows the meal already described (81–82, cf. 64–75). 34. Choirs: after the meal follows another service: all stand up, ‘form themselves’ into two choirs (of men and women) and sing hymns to God (83–84, cf. 80 and 29b). Later, the two choirs unite and sing together in imitation of the choir of the Israelites after having been saved through the Red Sea (85–88). ‘Thus they continue till dawn, drunk with this drunkenness in which there is no shame…’ (89a). 35. Morning prayer: in the early morning they stand ‘turned to the east and when they see the sun rising they stretch their hands up to heaven and pray for bright days and knowledge of the truth …’ After the prayers they return to

18 Here, Philo might suggest an admission procedure like the one we know from Qumran (lQS 5–6), Josephus, War 2.137–42 and Philo-b (no. 5, Hyp. 11.2). In his discussion of War 2.137–42 compared to I QS 6.13–23, Bergmeier does not include these texts of Philo (1993, 97–102). 19 This wording, as well as the whole context, suggests that no ordinary marriage was practised among the Therapeutes; cf. Vermes & Goodman 1989, 15.

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their houses to continue ‘their wonted philosophy’20 (89b, cf. 27 and Josephus-c no. 18). In §90 Philo concludes his description by a eulogy of the pious Therapeutes. In this long text Philo describes the Therapeutes as a voluntary association of pious Jewish ‘philosophers’ in Egypt, including women, having abandoned their possessions, family and fatherland, and migrated to a place on the countryside outside Alexandria, organized in a ‘communistic’ society with common property, common sacred meals, equality (including women) combined with hierarchy, without slaves (but members serving), living an ascetic, vegetarian and wine-less life in simplicity, silence, frugality and continence, spending all their time, not on working, but on prayer, worship, meditation, mysticism, contemplation and study of the holy writings, either in their own simple houses, or in their common sanctuary. Great emphasis is put on the study and allegorical interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and of their own books, and on their religious service which they perform in white robes and with choirs and hymns, both on the Sabbaths and at the festival of Pentecost.

d. Similarities and Differences Philo’s three accounts are related in varying degrees. Philo-a, Philo-b and Philo-c: we have the following cases of correspondence: 1. frugality: a–9, b–15 and c–21 (22, 28, 29, 30); 2. common meals: a–29, b–9 and c– 20; that is, two cases out of 32, 20 and 35, or about 6 %, 10 % and 7 %, which is not significant.21 Philo-a and Philo-b: here, we have the following cases of correspondence: 1. name: a–2 and b–2;22 2. work: a–5 and b–10; 3. agricultural work: a–6 and b–12; 4. craft: a–7 and b–13; 5. common property: a–27 and b–7; 6. sick and elderly: a–30 and b–17; 7. admired by rulers: a–32 and b–20; that is 7 cases out of 32 and 20, or about 28 % and 35 % respectively. Philo-a and Philo-c: here we have the following cases of correspondence: 1. locality: a–4 and c–8; 2. slaves: a–12 and c–27; 3. philosophy: a–14 and c–1; 4. Holy Scriptures: a–15 and c–11 (13, 32); 5. synagogue: a–17 and c–16; 6. hierarchy: a–18 and c–17 (25); 7. allegory: a–19 and c–13 (32); 8. piety: a–20 and c–3 (4, 10. 11, 20 Cf. §§80 and 29b; Josephus-c no. 18. Petit 1992, 144–46, refers to the related texts in lQH 12.6– 7; lQS 10.2–3, and several rabbinical texts. 21 Here, we are dealing with such small numbers that, with the uncertainty factors taken into account, no reliable statistical conclusions can be drawn. 22 If the second interpretation of therapeuo in Philo-c (Vit. Cont. § 2b) is preferred, we have a case of triply common material.

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etc.); 9. simplicity: a–24 and c–22; that is 9 cases out of 32 and 35, or about 22 % and 25 % respectively. Philo-b and Philo-c: here, we have the following cases of correspondence: 1. aceticism: b–11 (15) and c–19 (5, 20–22, etc.); 2. marriage and continence: b–19 and (c–26 [18]); 3. common clothes: b–16 and c–21; that is three cases out of 20 and 35, or about 15 % and 9 % respectively. In Philo-a we have the following cases of special material: 1. number: a–1; 2. sacrifice: a–3; 3. weapons: a–10; 4. commerce: a–11; 5. equality: a–13; 6. purity: a– 21; 7. oaths: a–22; 8. theology: a–23; 9. ethics: a–25; 10. hospitality: a–26; and 11. truly free: a–31; that is 11 cases out of 32, or about 30 %. In Philo-b we have the following cases of special material: 1. identity: b–1; (2. locality: b–3); 3. associations: b–4; 4. admission: b–5; 5. mature men: b–6; 6. common treasury: b–14; (7. marriage and continence: b–18); and 8. low opinion of women: b–19; that is six (eight) out of 20, or about 30 %. In Philo-c we have the following special material: (1. name: c–2); 2. spiritual vision: c–4; 3. abandoning private possessions: c–5; 4. leaving the family: c–6; 5. migration: c–7; (6. locality: c–8); 7. housing: c–9; 8. private sanctuary: c–10; 9. prayer: c–12; 10. other books: c–14; 11. separation of men and women: c–18; 12. pentecost: c–23; 13. white robes: c–24; (14. women: c–26); 15. wine: c–29; 16. vegetarianism: c–30; 17. silence: c–31; 18. hymns: c–33; 19. choirs: c–34; and 20. morning prayer: c–35; that is 17 (20) out of 35, or about 55 %. The survey appears to confirm what one expects, that Philo-c stands somewhat apart. On the other hand, solid interrelations between Philo-c and the other two accounts, especially between Philo-a and Philo-c, have been discovered.

3.

Josephus

Josephus (37-c. 100 CE) brings a great deal of material on the Essenes, first and foremost in the long section in War 2.119–61 (here Josephus-c), but also in the Antiquities of the Jews (Ant.) 18.18–22 (here Josephus-b), and in a number of minor accounts (here Josephus-a).23 Generally, Josephus’s descriptions of the Essenes are ones of admiration, precisely like those of Philo. In Josephus’s case, this attitude may not be unconnected with his claim that, as a youth, he had

23 War 1.78–79; 2.113, 567; 3.11; 5.145; Ant. 13.171–73, 298, 311–13; 15.371–73, 374–79; 17.346– 48; 18.11, 18–22; Life 10–11. Beall 1988 presents a detailed examination of all texts in Josephus on the Essenes in their relation to the writings from Qumran. Bergmeier 1993 analyses the most important of these texts regarding the possibility of one or more sources behind Josephus (and Philo).

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personally been in close contact with the Essenes (Life 10–11).24 In the survey of Josephus’s information of the Essenes I will proceed as follows: first, I will examine Josephus-a, then turn to the more extensive report in Josephus-b, and conclude with the lengthy piece in Josephus-c.

a. The Minor Accounts (Josephus-a) Prophecy: War 1.78 (= Ant. 13.311–13) tells a short story about a certain Judas who was a trustworthy prophet ‘of Essene extraction’. In War 2.113 (= Ant. 17.346–48) we hear of another Essene prophet, Simon, who was able correctly to interpret a dream by king Archelaos. In Ant. 15.373–79 there is a longer story about a third Essene prophet, Menachem, predicting the future kingship of Herod the Great who, by the way, is said to have treated Menachem (and the Essenes generally) well.25 In the long section on the Essenes in Josephus-c the writer notes that there were prophets among the Essenes, men ‘who profess to foretell the future, being versed from their early years in holy books …’ (War 2.159, cf. Ant. 13.311). 1. Pacifism?: in War 2.567 (and 3.11) Josephus states that among the Jewish military leaders who were appointed at the beginning of the revolt against Rome in 66 CE there was a certain Joannes ho Essaios (‘John the Essene’). In this context it may not be inappropriate to call to mind that the military leader in Galilee, Josephus, who himself claimed to have been a prophet,26 maintains that, as a youth, he had been in touch with the Essenes (Life 10–11). This information agrees with the fact that in War 2.119–61 Josephus does not state that the Essenes rejected the use of arms. On the contrary, in §125 we learn that, on their journeys, the Essenes carried ‘arms as a protection against brigands’. Further, in §§152–53 we are informed about the tortures that the Essenes suffered during the war against Rome (66–70/74 CE), although this does not imply that the Essenes themselves used arms. Finally, a hint in the same direction may be seen in the fact that on Masada the excavators found texts closely related to those found near Khirbet Qumran.27 Accordingly, it

24 Similarly Petit 1992, 153, 155, and, especially, Rajak 1994, 144–45, 155, 159. Bergmeier 1993, 20–21, dismisses this text as unreliable. 25 Cf. the remarks in Philo-a (Omn. Prob. Lib. 89–91) and Philo-b (Hyp. 11.18) on the admiration of the Essenes by cruel (Jewish?) rulers, cf. Petit 1992, 154. Bergmeier assumes the existence of a specific written source, ‘Die Essäer-Anekdoten’, behind these stories of Essene prophets (1993, 13–18). 26 Cf. War 3.399–408, esp. 3.400. See the interpretation in Bilde 1988, 47–52, 189–91. 27 Cf. Yadin 1965; idem 1966, chapters 13–14.

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may be concluded that Josephus does not explicitly describe the Essenes as pacifists.28 2. Theology: in Ant. 13.171–73 (a short parallel to War 2.119–61 and Ant. 18.11– 25) Josephus presents briefly the three most important ‘parties’ or ‘schools’ in Judaism: the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes.29 In §172 the idea of ‘Fate’ (heimarmene) is singled out as the main criterion, and the Essenes are said to believe ‘that Fate is mistress of all things, and that nothing befalls men unless it be in accordance with her decree’. In Ant. 18.18 we find a sort of key to interpret this strange language: ‘The doctrine of the Essenes is wont to leave everything in the hands of God’.30 Thus, Josephus may have chosen the expression ‘Fate’ for pedagogical reasons, in an attempt to make easier the understanding of his Hellenistic-Roman readers.31 3. Philosophy: in Ant. 15.371 we are told that the Essenes follow ‘a way of life taught to Greeks by Pythagoras’, although Josephus does not specify this information. He might think of the esoteric, closed circles of the Pythagoreans, of their asceticism or of their mysticism.32 Apart from this case, Josephus uses the ‘philosophical’ terminology in Ant. 18.11 and Life 12 as well when writing on the Jewish religious groups. 4. Locality: in War 5.142–45 Josephus describes the so-called First Wall, and in this context he refers to the ‘gate of the Essenes’. In our context the geographical location of this gate is not decisive.33 But the very name reflects an interesting possibility: the existence of an Essene community in Jerusalem.34 None of these minor accounts is meant as a general report on the Essenes. They are all short reports of isolated events, episodes, either anecdotes on named Essenes35 or small pieces of information. All belong in other contexts with dif28 As we have seen, it is also not stated in Philo that the Essenes did not use weapons, only that they did not produce them; cf. Philo-a (Omn. Prob. Lib. 75). 29 Bergmeier 1993, 56–66, argues that these texts presuppose a specific source on the three Jewish ‘philosophical’ schools: ‘Die Drei-Schulen-Quelle’. However, the ‘philosophy’ terminology emerges in Life 12, too, and this fact suggests that this terminology can also be interpreted as Josephus’s own. 30 Beall 1988, 113–14; Bergmeier 1993, 65–66 and VanderKam 1994, 76–78, demonstrate the similarity between Josephus on this point and the writings of Qumran, mainly l QS 3 and 11.10–11. 31 Cf. section 5.a and d. On this issue generally, see Bilde 1988, 165–67. 32 Cf. note d in the Loeb edition of the Antiquities, VIII; p. 179. Bergmeier 1993, 80 argues that Ant. 15.371 reveals Josephus’s use of a Pythagorean source: ‘Die pythagoraisierende EssenerQuelle’. This source is assumed to be rather extensive and to lie behind most of War 2.119–61 and Ant. 18.18–22 (1993, 79–107). 33 On this problem, see Yadin 1975. 34 Cf. Philo-b (Hyp 11.1) and Josephus-c no. 12 (War 2.124). 35 Cf. Bergmeier 1993, 13–18 and 114.

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ferent plots and points, and in these contexts the minor accounts on the Essenes are presented en passant with the aim to illustrate the context in question.36

b. Antiquities of the Jews 18 (Josephus-b) In Ant. 18.11 Josephus returns to the terminology, mentioned above (in section 3. a.3 and 4), writing that the Jews ‘from the most ancient times, had three philosophies pertaining to their traditions …’, and in Ant. 18.18–22 Josephus describes the Essenes as follows: 1. Theology: they tend to ‘leave everything in the hands of God’ (18a). 2. Anthropology: they ‘regard the soul as immortal’ (18b). 3. Ethics: they strive towards ‘righteousness’ (18c, cf. 20a on the general ‘virtues’ of the Essenes). 4. Relations to the Temple: they ‘send votive offerings to the temple, but perform their sacrifices employing a different ritual of purification’. Therefore, they ‘are barred from those precincts of the temple that are frequented by all people and perform their rites by themselves’ (19a). 5. Work/agriculture: they work exclusively in agriculture (19b). 6. Common property: they ‘hold their possessions in common’ and all have an equal share (20b). 7. Number: they are ‘more than four thousand’ men (20c). 8. Women and marriage: no women are allowed among the Essenes because women may cause division in their community (21a). 9. Slavery: they do not own slaves because they regard slavery as unjust (21b). 10. Equality: instead, they work for one another (21c). 11. Officials: they elect administrators to take care of the economic problems of the community (22a). 12. Priests: likewise they elect ‘priests to prepare bread and other food’ (22b). Finally, Josephus states that the Essenes’ manner of life is very similar to ‘that of the so-called Ctistae among the Dacians’ (22c) whom, unfortunately, we do not know.37

36 However, precisely for that reason the information they contain deserves serious consideration regarding its historical reliability. 37 Bergmeier 1993, 81–83 discusses this text and-on the basis of Pliny, Hist. Nat. 4.80: ‘the Getes, by the Romans called the Dacians’ – he identifies the Ctistae with the Getes. The Getes are known as Thracians from Herodotus (4.93–94), Strabo, Poseidonius and Hermippos who connects the Thracians with the Jews and with Pythagoras. In this way the Essenes in Ant. 18.22, too, are related to Pythagoras.

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In contrast to Josephus-a the description in Josephus-b is a general report, although it is much shorter than that in Josephus-c. Josephus-b is a presentation of high admiration of the Essenes as a numerous religious community with its own characteristic theology, anthropology and ethics, with (negative) relations to women and family life, having problematic relations to the Temple in Jerusalem, although priests play an important role in the community. The Essenes are organized as a ‘communistic’ society living by agriculture, having common property, no slaves, equality and elected administrators.

c. War 2 (Josephus-c) In Josephus-c we have the writer’s longest and most famous account of the Essenes, from which we get the following information: 1. Aim: they cultivate ‘sanctity’ (119b). 2. Solidarity: they are more closely-knit together than the other Jewish groups (119c). 3. Asceticism: they ‘shun pleasures as a vice and regard temperance and the control of the passions as a special virtue’ (120a). 4. Marriage and women: they hold marriage in contempt because of their low esteem for women; however, they do not completely reject family life and propagation (120b and d, cf. 160–61). 5. Adoption: instead of natural propagation they ‘adopt other men’s children’ (120c). 6. Low opinion of women: they have no confidence in the faithfulness of women (120–21). 7. Common property: they despise wealth and practise a ‘community of goods’ which Josephus holds ‘truly admirable’ (122a); new members of the society are supposed to leave their property to the community (122c). 8. Equality: thus they practise complete economic equality (122b and d). 9. Oil: they refuse the use of oil considering it to be impure (123a).38 10. White robes: they are always dressed in white (123b, cf. 137). 11. Officials: they elect leaders to administrate the activities of the community (123c). 12. Locality: they do not live concentrated in one city, but rather in large groups in ‘every town’ (124a). 13. Hospitality: thus they can travel all over the country without expenses, for everywhere they are well received by their fellow-Essenes (124). In every city 38 Here, even Bergmeier (1993, 95) admits the surprising agreement with the Dead Sea Scrolls (CD 12.16; 4Q513 13.4).

Josephus

14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

19.

20. 21.

22. 23.

24.

25. 26. 27.

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there is an official with the specific duty to receive and take care of travelling Essenes (125b). Weapons: therefore, on their journeys, they do not need to carry anything with them ‘except arms as a protection against brigands’ (125a). Discipline: they are very disciplined and remind us of a group of children under strict command (126a, cf. 132–33). Modesty in dress: they keep their dress and shoes until they are worn out (126b). Commerce: there is no market economy in their community, but they exchange objects among themselves (127, cf. 122). Morning prayer: at sunrise they practice a peculiar, old morning prayer towards the sun ‘as though entreating him to rise’ (128, cf. 148 and Philo-c no. 12 and 35). Work: after the morning prayer they are sent to work hard until the fifth hour (129a); after an interruption of a purifying bath and a meal they return to their work until evening (131 c). Bath and purity: at the fifth hour they assemble, change their clothes and clean themselves in cold water (129b, cf. 123a). Common meals: after the purification and under the exclusion of the novices they walk silently to the eating room ‘as to some sacred shrine’ (129c); then they sit down in silence and have their simple meal (130); after sunset the same procedure is repeated, and guests may take part in their meal (132a).39 Priests: before and after the common meal a priest ‘says a grace’ (131). Silence: no noise is heard, and ‘they speak in turn, each making way for his neighbour’ (132b, cf. 126a); to outsiders ‘the silence of those within appears like some awful mystery’ (§133a, cf. 129c); however, it is due only to the sobriety and modesty of the Essenes (133b). Obedience and ‘free enterprise’: they are obedient to their superiors in all matters except two-’the rendering of assistance and compassion’ (134a); the only limit for charity is a prohibition against helping relatives (134b). Self-control: they master their anger and temper; they are loyal and peaceful (135a). Oaths: therefore, their words are reliable, and they avoid swearing as unnecessary (135b).40 Holy Scriptures: they ‘display an extraordinary interest in the writings of the ancients’ (136a).

39 In P. Bilde, ‘The Common Meal in the Qumran-Essene Communities’ (forthcoming), I have examined all the texts on common meals in Philo and Josephus as well as in the Dead Sea Scrolls. 40 Cf. Ant. 15.371 on King Herod the Great’s exemption of the Essenes from the demand of an oath of loyalty.

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28. Healing: they are interested in healing, and, with this aim, they investigate the Scriptures as well as ‘medicinal roots and the properties of stones’ (136b).41 29. Admission procedure: they have strict rules for the admission of new members who are supposed to pass through three years of gradual preparation and testing (137–42); during the first year the candidate stays outside the community where he is being instructed in its teaching and rules, and provided with a hachet (137a, cf. 148), a loin-cloth and a white dress (137b, cf. 123b); later, he is admitted to parts of the community life (138a), and only after two more years of testing is the candidate completely admitted into the society (138b). 30. The oath of admission: the preparatory period is concluded by a series of oaths promising piety towards God and justice towards men: that he will abstain from harming others; that he will ‘forever hate the unjust and fight the battle of the just’ (139);42 that he will remain loyal to men and rulers; that he will never abuse his power, should he himself get an office; that he will always stick to the truth and expose liars; that he will abstain from stealing and unjust gain; that he will hide nothing from his fellow Essenes, and reveal ‘none of their secrets to others’ (141); that he will transmit the rules of the community exactly as he received them; that he will abstain from robbery; that he will ‘preserve the books of the sect and the names of the angels’ (142). 31. Expulsion: those who seriously transgress these laws are expelled from the community (143a); as such, a former member of the sect often continues to feel bound by the eating laws of the order, he cannot ‘partake of other men’s food, and so falls to eating grass and wastes away and dies of starvation’ (143b); therefore, they often ‘in compassion … receive many back in the last stage of exhaustion’ (144). 32. Lawsuits: they are ‘careful in their trial of cases’, their courts have at least 100 members, and their decisions are ‘irrevocable’ (145a). 33. The Lawgiver: they have great respect for the name of the ‘Lawgiver’ (presumably Moses, cf. note 11), and blasphemy is punished with death (145b). 34. The elders and the majority: they respect their ‘elders’ and the majority (146). 35. Spitting: they are ‘careful not to spit into the midst of the company or to the right’ (147a).43 41 Beall 1988, 72–73, draws attention to the striking parallel in lQS 4.6–7. In contrast, Bergmeier 1993, 87, refers to Pythagorean parallels. 42 Here again, we have a case being remarkably close to the Qumran writings, esp. 1QS 1.9, cf. the discussion in Beall 1988, 79. In this case, too, Bergmeier 1993, 91, prefers to refer to a Pythagorean parallel. 43 Once again, we are confronted with a famous amazing case of correspondence between Josephus and the Writings from Qumran (1QS 7.13), cf. Beall 1988, 96, 125; Bergmeier 1993, 103.

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36. Sabbath: they are ‘stricter than all Jews in abstaining from work on the seventh day’ (147b); they prepare the food on the day before, and they ‘do not venture to remove any vessel or even go to stool’ (147c). 37. Latrines: in this context Josephus informs us about the habits of the Essenes regarding defecation: they select distant places where they dig a hole, ‘and wrapping their mantle about them, that they may not offend the rays of the deity, (cf. 128) sit above it’; having discharged themselves they cover the hole (148–49). 38. Hierarchy: they are divided by seniority into four grades (cf. 137–42), and the juniors are regarded as impure by the seniors (150). 39. Lifetime: because of the simplicity of their life their lifetime is remarkably long (151a). 40. Perseverance: they endure danger, pain and death (151b); during the war with the Romans, they went through severe persecution and torture determined to obtain immortality (152–53).44 41. Anthropology: they believe that the body is corruptible, but ‘that the soul is immortal and imperishable’ (154a); being of another origin the souls are caught, ‘as it were, in the prison-house of the body’ (154b); but when they are liberated from the body, ‘then, as though liberated from a long servitude, they rejoice and are borne aloft’ (155a); thus they share ‘the belief of the sons of Greece … that for virtuous souls there is reserved an abode beyond the ocean … while they relegate base souls to a murky and tempestuous dungeon …’ (155b[–58]).45 42. Prophecy: by virtue of their familiarity with the holy Scriptures some of them have the gift of prophecy (159). 43. Another group: finally, Josephus informs his readers that he is aware of a separate group of Essenes differing from the main group only by its positive view on marriage (160); however, these Essenes take care to show that their interest in marriage does not stem from carnal lust, but only from their wish to beget children.46 The description in Josephus-c is the most comprehensive of the classical Jewish accounts.47 It is a report of high admiration for the Essenes as a well-organized religious community characterized by its low esteem for women and marriage, 44 Cf. 2 Macc. 6–7; 1QS 1.17–18. 45 According to Paul (1992, 132–37), War 2.151–58 is created by Josephus and presented here as a proper Jewish ‘answer’ to the epistle of Paul (1 Cor. 15) and Christianity propagating the idea of the resurrection of the body. 46 161, cf. 120b. Rajak (1994, 157) evaluates this information as historically important. 47 According to Rajak (1994, 149–151), in War 2.119–61, Josephus followed a Greek philosophical and ethnographical model for describing the ideal society.

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although they do not agree completely on this point. They live in cities that are well organized as ‘communistic’ associations, with common property and meals, no commerce, equality, and elected leaders and administrators. They work hard the whole day. Their way of life is characterized by self-control, frugality and asceticism. Their discipline and order is impressive. Their religious life comprises morning prayer towards the sun, baths of purification, common sacred meals, intensive study of the holy Scriptures, healing, great care with respect to lawsuits, strict interpretation of the Law of Moses bearing on the Sabbath, purity and oaths; they practise silence and wear white robes. Further, they have peculiar practises in relation to the use of oil, healing, respect for the name of Moses and prophecy. Their admission procedure is long and complicated in contrast to the rules for expulsion. The endurance of the Essenes during persecution and torture has been remarkable, but has to be understood in connection with their belief in the immortality of the human soul.

d. Similarities and Differences Josephus’s accounts of the Essenes are related and different at the same time. Josephus-a, Josephus-b and Josephus-c: there are no obvious cases of correspondence. Josephus-a and Josephus-b: there is one case of correspondence: theology: a–3 and b–1; that is one out of five and twelve cases, or 20 % and 9 %; because of the element of uncertainty this number cannot be regarded as significant. Josephus-a and Josephus-c: we have the following cases of correspondence: 1. prophecy: a–2 and c–42; (2. locality: a–5 and c–12); that is one (two) out of five and 43 cases, or about 30 % and 3 %; not significant. Josephus-b and Josephus-c: we have the following cases of correspondence: 1. anthropology: b–2 and c–41; 2. ethics: b–3 and c–24; 3. work: b–5 and c–19; 4. common property: b–6 and c–7; (5. women and marriage: b–8 and c–4/43); 6. equality: b–10 and c–8; 7. officials: b–11 and c–11; 8. priests: b–12 and c–22; that is seven (eight) cases out of 12 and 43, or about 60 % and 8 %. In Josephus-a we have the following cases of special material: 1. pacifism?: a–2; 2. philosophy: a–4; (3. locality: a–5); that is two (three) cases out of five, or about 50 %. In Josephus-b we have the following cases of special material: 1. relations to the Temple: b–4; 2. number: b–7; (3. women and marriage: b–8); 4. slavery: b–9; that is three (four) cases out of 12, or about 30 %. In Josephus-c we have the following cases of special material: 1. aim: c–1; 2. solidarity: c–2; 3. asceticism: c–3; (4. marriage and women: c–4); 5. adoption: c–5; 6. low opinion of women: c–6; 7. oil: c–9; 8. white robes: c–10; (9. locality: c–12);

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10. hospitality: c–13; 11. weapons: c–14; 12. discipline: c–15; 13. modesty in dressing: c–16; 14. commerce: c–17; 15. morning prayer: c–18; 16. bath and purity: c–20; 17. common meals: c–21; 18. silence: c–23; 19. obedience and ‘free enterprise’: c–24; 20. self-control: c–25; 21. oaths: c–26; 22. Holy Scriptures: c–27; 23. healing: c–28; 24. admission procedure: c–29; 25. the oath of admission: c–30; 26. expulsion: c–31; 27. lawsuits: c–32; 28. the Lawgiver: c–33; 29. the elders and the majority: c–34; 30. spitting: c–35; 31. Sabbath: c–36; 32. latrines: c–37; 33. hierarchy: c–38; 34. lifetime: c–39; 35. perseverance: c–40; 36. another group: c–43; that is 34 (36) cases out of 43, or about 70 %. The survey confirms what is expected, namely the fact that Josephus-c stands apart with a remarkably high percentage of special material. On the other hand, there are solid relations between Josephus-c and the other two accounts, especially Josephus-b.

4.

Philo and Josephus

Philo-a Turning to Philo-a and comparing its contents with the material in the three accounts in Josephus, one can see the following results: Philo-a corresponds with Josephus-a in the following cases: (1: locality: P-a–4 and J-a–5); 2. philosophy: P-a–14 and J-a–4; 3. admired by rulers: P-a–32 and J-a– 1; that is two (three) out of 32 cases, or about 7 (10)%; hardly significant. Philo-a corresponds with Josephus-b in the following cases: 1. number: P-a–1 and J-b–7; 2. sacrifices: P-a–3 and J-b–4; 3. agricultural work: P-a–5/6 and J-b–5; 4. slaves: P-a–12 and J-b–9; 5. equality: P-a–13 and J-b–10; 6. theology: P-a–23 and J-b–1; 7. ethics: P-a–25 and J-b–3; 8. common property: P-a–27 and J-b–6; that is 7 out of 32 cases, or about 20 %. Philo-a corresponds with Josephus-c in the following cases: 1. name/holiness: P-a–2 and J-c–1; 2. work: P-a–5 and J-c–19; 3. frugality/asceticism: P-a–9 and J-c– 3/9/16; 4. commerce: P-a–11 and J-a–17; 5. equality: P-a–13 and J-c–8; 6. Holy Scriptures: P-a–15 and J-c–27; 7. Sabbath: P-a–17 and J-c–36; 8. hierarchy: P-a–18 and J-c–15/23/24/34; 9. purity: P-a–21 and J-c–20; 10. oaths: P-a–22 and J-c–26; 11. ethics: P-a–25 and J-c–24; 12. hospitality: P-a–26 and J-c–13; 13. common property: P-a–27 and J-c–7; 14. common meals: P-a–29 and J-c–21; that is 14 out of 32 cases, or about 40 %. Finally, in Philo-a, as compared with the three accounts in Josephus, we have the following special material: (1. locality: a–4); 2. crafts: a–7; 3. wealth: a–8; 4. weapons: a–10; 5. allegory: a–19; 6. simplicity: a–24; 7. sick and elderly: a–30; 8. truly free: a–31; that is seven (eight) out of 32 cases, or about 22 %.

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However, we have already seen that from this material numbers (1), 5, 6 and 7 reappear in Philo’s two other works (cf. section 2.d). Number 8 and, to some extent, number 6 are clearly marked by the overall theme of the treatise as a whole: freedom, and can therefore be regarded as ‘redactional’. Accordingly, we have only genuinely special material in numbers 2, 3 and 4. My analysis points to the conclusion that almost all the material in Philo’s first tractate is ‘traditional’. This conclusion indicates that Philo used sources, probably one or more (written?) source(s) to which Josephus, too, had access.48

Philo-b Comparing Philo-b with Josephus’s three accounts on the Essenes turns out as follows: Philo-b corresponds with Josephus-a in the following cases: (1. admired by rulers/prophecy: P-b–20 and J-a–1); (2. locality: P-b–3 and J-a–5); that is none, one or two cases out of 20, which is 10 %, at most; hardly significant. Philo-b and Josephus-b correspond in the following cases: 1. common property: P-b–7 and J-b–6; 2. slaves: P-b–8 and J-b–9; 3. agricultural work: P-b–12 and J-b–5; (4. common treasury: P-b–14 and J-b–11); 5. marriage and continence: Pb–18 and J-b–8; (6. low opinion of women: P-b–19 and J-b–8); that is four (six) out of 20 cases, or about 25 %. Philo-b and Josephus-c correspond in the following cases: 1. name/aim: P-b–2 and J-c–1; (2. locality: P-b–3 and J-c–12); 3. admission: P-b–5 and J-c–29; 4. common property: P-b–7 and J-c–7; 5. common meals: P-b–9 and J-c–21; 6. work: P-b–10 and J-c–19; 7. asceticism: P-b–11 and J-c–3/16; (7) common treasury: P-b– 14 and J-c–11); (8. common clothes: P-b–16 and J-c–10116); 9. marriage and continence: P-b–18 and J-c–4; 10. low opinion of women P-b–19 and J-c–4; that is seven (ten) out of 20 cases, or about 40 %. Thus, in Philo-b, as compared with the three accounts in Josephus, we have the following special material: 1. identity: b–1; 2. associations: b–4; 3. mature men: b– 6; 4. crafts: b–13; 5. sick and elderly: b–17; that is five out of twenty cases, or 20 %. We have already seen that from this material, numbers 2, 4 and 5 reappear in one or both of the other two accounts by Philo (cf. section 2.d). As number 1 is 48 Against Petit who concludes that Philo did not use written sources when he wrote the two accounts on the Essenes (1992, 153–55). From his analysis of the accounts of the Essenes (Therapeutes) in Philo and Josephus, Bergmeier (1993, 23–48) draws the conclusion that Philo and Josephus had two common sources: the ‘hellenistisch-jüdische Essäer-Quelle’ and the ‘pythagoraisierende Essener-Quelle’ (48 and 114). Rajak claims that in Ant. 18.18–22 Josephus is dependent on Philo-a (1994, 147–48).

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obviously a ‘redactional’ introduction we have only number 3 left as special material, and even this item might be interpreted as ‘redactional’. Accordingly, in Philo-b as well we find that almost all the material seems to be ‘traditional’, a fact indicating the use of one or more (written?) source(s) which seem to have been used by Josephus, too (cf. n. 48).

Philo-c When we compare Philo-c with Josephus’s three accounts we get the following results: Philo-c corresponds with Josephus-a in one case: philosophy: P-c–1 and J-a–4; that is about 3 %; not significant. Philo-c and Josephus-b correspond in the following cases: (1. abandoning private possessions: P-c–5 and J-b–6); (2. women/marriage: P-c–26 and J-b–8); 3. slaves: P-c–27 and J-b–9; that is two (three) out of 35 cases, or about 7 %; not significant. Philo-c and Josephus-c correspond in the following cases: (1. name/healing: Pc–2 and J-c–28); 2. Holy Scriptures: P-c–11 and J-c–27; 3. prayer/morning prayer: P-c–12/35 and J-c–18/37; 4. Sabbath: P-c–15 and J-c–36; 5. order and hierarchy: Pc–17/25 and J-c–15 (23, 24, 34); 6. asceticism: P-c–19 and J-c–3; 7. common meals: P-c–20 and J-c–21; 8. modesty in clothing: P-c–21 and J-c–16; 8. white robes: P-c– 24 and J-c–10; 9. simple meal: P-c–28 and J-c–21; 10. silence: P-c–31 and J-c–23: that is nine (ten) out of 35 cases, or about 27 %. Accordingly, in Philo-c, as compared with the three accounts in Josephus, we have the following special material: 1. name: c–2; 2. piety: c–3; 3. spiritual vision: c–4; 4. leaving the family: c–6; 5. migration: c–7; 6. locality: c–8; 7. housing: c–9; 8. private sanctuary: c–10; 9. allegorical interpretation: c–13 (cf. 32); 10. other books: c–14; 11. separation of men and women: c–18 (cf. 26); 12. simplicity: c–22; 13. Pentecost: c–23; 14. Wine: c–29; 15. flesh: c–30; 16. hymns: c–33; 17. choirs: c– 34; that is 17 out of 34 cases, or 50 %. It has already been shown that some of this material reappears in Philo’s two other accounts (cf. section 2.d): Philo-c (as defined above) corresponds with Philo-a in the following cases: 1. piety: c–3; 2. locality: c–6; 3. allegorical interpretation: c–9; 4. simplicity: c–22. There is no overlapping between Philo-c (as defined above) and Philo-b. The results of this survey indicate that in Philo-c the writer had at his disposal a solid block of special material illustrating the life, cult and teaching of the Therapeutes which differs from the Essenes on some important points. On the other hand, however, in a great number of cases the Therapeutes appear to be closely related to the Essenes as described in Philo and Josephus (cf. n. 48).

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Josephus-a Above (in sections 4.a.b and c), it has been shown that (parts of) the material in Josephus-a reappears in Philo’s accounts: Josephus-a corresponds with Philo-a in two (three) cases; out of a total of five, that is about 50 %. However, the small numbers here represent an important element of uncertainty. Josephus-a corresponds with Philo-b in two uncertain cases; not significant. Josephus-a corresponds with Philo-c in one case; out of a total of five cases that is 20 %; not significant. Accordingly, the result is that, compared with Philo’s three accounts, the following special material occurs in Josephus-a: number 2: pacifism? Taken together with the findings of the survey in section 3.d these results indicate that almost all the material in Josephus-a is ‘traditional’.

Josephus-b Above (in sections 4.a.b and c) it has been shown that (parts of) the material in Josephus-b reappears in Philo’s accounts: Josephus-b corresponds with Philo-a in seven cases; out of a total of 12 that is about 60 %. Josephus-b corresponds with Philo-b in four (six) cases; out of a total of 12 that is about 42 %. Josephus-b corresponds with Philo-c in two (three) cases; out of a total of 12 cases that is about 18 %. Accordingly, the result is that there is no special material at all in Josephus-b. Taken together with the findings of the survey in section 3.d these results indicate that all material in Josephus-b is ‘traditional’ (cf. n. 48).

Josephus-c Above (in sections 4.a.b and c) it has been shown that (parts of) the material in Josephus-c reappears in Philo’s accounts: Josephus-c corresponds with Philo-a in 14 cases; out of a total of 43 that is about 34 %. Josephus-c corresponds with Philo-b in seven (ten) cases; out of a total of 43 that is about 18 %. Josephus-c corresponds with Philo-c in nine (ten) cases; out of a total of 43 that is about 22 %.

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These results imply that in Josephus-c, as compared with all the other accounts (both in Philo and in Josephus), there exists the following special material: 1. solidarity: c–2; 2. adoption: c–5; 3. oil: c–9; 4. weapons: c–14; (5. bath and purity: c–20); (6. self-control: c–25); (7. healing: c–28); 8. admission procedure: c–29; 9. admission oath: c–30; 10. expulsion: c–31; 11. lawsuits: c–32; 12. the Lawgiver: c– 33; 13. spitting: c–36; 14. latrines: c–37; 15. lifetime: c–39; 16. perseverance: c–40; 17. another group: c–43; that is 14 (17) out of 43 cases, or about 40 %. Taken together with the findings of the survey in section 3.d these results indicate that the material in Josephus-c seems to consist of two parts, one ‘traditional’ in the sense that it reappears in the other accounts of Philo and Josephus, and one of special material suggesting either ‘redactional’ creativity or a special source. However, as several of these ‘special material’ items in Josephus-c overlap with features in the Dead Sea Scrolls (esp. numbers 3, [5], 8, 9 and 13), the first alternative should be excluded. Accordingly, I conclude that the special material, or, at least substantial parts of it, stems from a special source.49

5.

Interpretation

a. Philo’s and Josephus’s Presentation of the Essenes (Therapeutes) The accounts of Philo and Josephus present the same general picture of the Essenes (Therapeutes): they are described as an admirable voluntary association of pious and extremely virtuous men, living a simple, disciplined and healthy common life. Apart from the Therapeutes, the Essene are pictured as a peculiar social group, clearly separated from the society as a whole, distinguished by a high degree of fellowship and common economy, working hard with their hands in agriculture and crafts. Their piety is characterized by intensive study of the Holy Scriptures, by spiritualization of such traditional religious values as Scripture and Temple, by prayer, by severe ethical demands, by frugality and by a certain degree of asceticism. It is obvious that Philo and Josephus have the same attitude of admiration for the Essenes (Therapeutes), whom they describe in positive and praising terms.50

49 Bergmeier does not consider the possibility that in War 2.119–61 in addition to the two sources used by both Philo and Josephus (cf. n. 48), Josephus had access to a third source. Rajak concludes her analysis of War 2.119–61 with the assumption that, on the one hand, Josephus was dependent on a Greek model (cf. n. 47); on the other hand, all the information in War 2 came from his own experiences with the Essenes (cf. n. 24), Rajak 1994, 151–58. 50 Cf. Paul 1992; Rajak 1994, 145 and 147. This ‘redaction critical’ element in Philo and Josephus is gravely underestimated in Bergmeier 1993.

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Basically, however, they present the Essenes (Therapeutes) in the same way as they generally present Judaism and the Jewish people. Both writers describe Judaism as a sort of ideal ‘philosophy’, able to compete with Greek philosophical schools and with Hellenistic-Roman religions.51 In this general context they present the Essenes as the Jewish elite.52 They describe the Essenes as representing the highest quality of Judaism and Jewish values and, therefore, as the best bid of the Jewish people in the international, Hellenistic-Roman, religiophilosophical debate on social ethics, legislation and the ideal and utopian society. In this debate ideas about social justice, equality, common property, frugality, (partly sexual continence) and a simple life in the country, outside the ‘destructive’ cities, were essential. These ideas were cultivated by nearly all philosophical schools, especially the Stoics, but also the Pythagoreans, the Platonists and the Cynics.53 In the Hellenistic period these schools had developed new ideas of the ideal life, both for the individual and for society. These ideas were characterized by a general tendency of critical reaction against the ‘modern’ luxurious life-style of the wealthy city-dweller of the Hellenistic-Roman civilization. Instead, both philosophers and religious prophets taught the ‘salvation’ and bliss of a return to the simple, moderate and frugal life on the country-side. These ideas could develop into outright ideals of undisguised asceticism (engkrateia), best known from the Pythagoreans, the Cynics, the early Christians and the Gnostics. The short description of the Essenes in Pliny (23–79 CE) (Nat. Hist. 5.17.4) reflects the same ideas. Here, Pliny presents this sect as: the solitary tribe of the Essenes, which is remarkable beyond all other tribes in the whole World, as it has no women and has renounced all sexual desire, has no money, and has only palm trees for company. Day by day the throng of refugees is recruited to an equal number by numerous accessions of persons tired of life and driven thither by the waves of fortune to adopt their manners.54

Accordingly, Pliny, too, describes the Essenes as an ideal community, living in the wilderness where they had rid themselves of money, sexuality and other ‘modern’ detrimental phenomena. And to this community came great numbers of individual applicants who were tired of the urban life of Hellenistic-Roman civilization.

51 Cf. Philo-a §88; Philo-c §63b; Josephus-a number 4; Josephus-b 18.20, and Apion 1.1–56 and so on. On Philo generally, see Borgen 1984, 252–59, and on Josephus, see Bilde 1988, 173–206. 52 Similarly Borgen 1984, 248 and 249; Paul 1992, 130–32, 138; Petit 1992, 155; Rajak 1994, 146. 53 On this debate, see Mendels 1979, 207–22 (with references to relevant literature); Rajak 1994, 149–51 (on War 2). 54 The translation is borrowed from the Loeb edition (Pliny 1942, 277).

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It was precisely on these points that Philo and Josephus were able to play their Jewish trump card of the Essenes. For the Essenes were no airy idea of the sort that were found in the Greco-Roman moral and utopian writings. The Essenes were a piece of historical reality. And precisely by having been practised in an actual community, the example of the Essenes was superior to all (other) Hellenistic-Roman theoretical ideas. In my opinion, this view of the Essenes was the main reason why this community came to play a significant role in the apologetic projects of our two Jewish authors. Against this background it is not surprising that Philo and Josephus present the Essenes in a ‘Hellenistic’ way (cf. sections 1 and 5.d). They wrote in Greek and addressed themselves to a Hellenistic-Roman audience with the message that the Essenes had in an optimal way realized precisely some of the ideals and utopias of the same Hellenistic-Roman world. Of course, this had to be done in a way which could be understood (cf. note 51). Although Philo and Josephus agree to a great extent in their accounts of the Essenes (and Therapeutes) – both in their ‘redactional’ aims and in the contents – they also have their own peculiar interests. Unfortunately, in this context I cannot go deeper into this problem, but shall have to restrict myself to the following few remarks: Philo puts a particular emphasis on such aspects of the life of the Essenes (Therapeutes) as allegory, frugality, asceticism and ‘freedom’. And Josephus seems to cultivate a particular interest in prophecy, theology, anthropology, eschatology, priests, admission procedure and, generally, in details and modifications such as Josephus-c numbers 9, 28, 35, 37 and 43. Theoretically, such differences can be interpreted either as ‘redactional’ additions, or as ‘redactional’ selections from one or more other more comprehensive, source(s) (cf. sections 4.f and 5.b). However, in both cases one may be allowed to trace the editorial hand of the writer in question.

b. One or More Common Source(s) behind Philo and Josephus? In this analysis I found connections between all the examined accounts. This interesting situation demands closer scrutiny of the issue of ‘redaction’ and ‘tradition’: how can one best explain all the results of this examination? The analysis revealed an impressive amount of material that was common to Philo and Josephus. Almost all the elements in Philo-a and Philo-b reappear either in Josephus or in Philo-c. The same is the case in Josephus-a and Josephus-b. Only in the more extensive accounts, Philo-c and Josephusc, did I find a considerable amount of special material. At the same time,

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however, I found particularly solid connections precisely between these two texts.55 Further, it is important to notice the strong ‘redactional’ interests in Philo and Josephus at the same time as there are astonishingly few specific ‘redactional’ traces in their texts. This fact, as I believe it to be, excludes the interpretation of the special material in Philo and Josephus as being due primarily to ‘redactional’ creativity in the sense of invention. In that case I believe that the additions would have had a more easily recognizable ‘redactional’ character. Consequently, not only the common material but also much of the special material may be interpreted as ‘traditional’. Accordingly, I suggest that the results of this analysis should be interpreted as indications of the use by Philo and Josephus of traditional material; in other words, of one or more, possibly written, sources.56 This hypothesis receives additional support from the expression legontai in Philo-a §75, and, perhaps, also from Philo-c 1 (cf. nn. 8 and 14).

c. The Therapeutes Geza Vermes has argued in detail for the idea that the Therapeutes should be regarded as ‘an Egyptian off-shoot of the Palestinian ascetic movement of the Essenes’.57 My analysis (cf. section 2.d and 4.c) has confirmed the existence of so many connections between Philo-c and all the other accounts – especially, however, to Josephus-c – that I must join Vermes in his conclusion.58 Philo-c seems to describe a Jewish diaspora group both closely related to the Essenes and different from them on a few important points. In fact, this conclusion is close to what Philo himself suggests in his description of the Therapeutes (Hyp. §1).

55 Bergmeier, too, has noticed these connections, and he explains them as due to the use of the common ‘Pythagoraising’ source (cf. nn. 32 and 48), which he thinks was used also by Pliny (1993, 107). 56 In earlier research this hypothesis was often assumed; cf. Wagner 1960, 193–209, 234–36. In more recent literature, it has often been generally suggested (cf. Hengel 1978, 340; Mendels 1979, 213–14, 218), but rarely argued in detail. An exception is Bergmeier who argues at length for the assumption that, in his various accounts on the Essenes, Josephus must have used four different written sources (1993, 114–117). As mentioned earlier, Petit rejects the idea that Philo used written sources, e. g. Nikolaos from Damascus or such sources that can be traced in Rabbinic literature. 57 Vermes and Goodman 1989, 17. 58 Similarly Bergmeier who, however, argues that Philo’s (Pythagoraising) source originally defined the Therapeutes as Essenes and placed them near the Dead Sea (1993, 41–48, esp. 43) (cf. Pliny, Nat. Hist. 5.73).

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d. Philo, Josephus, Hellenism and the Dead Sea Scrolls Another good reason to reopen the discussion of classical Jewish sources on the Essenes in relation to the Dead Sea Scrolls is the discussion about Judaism and Hellenism. In his principal work on this subject, Martin Hengel has generally questioned the construction in earlier research of an antithesis between these two worlds. And in a related article, Hengel has demonstrated that, to a large extent, also the Qumran community, as we know it from the Dead Sea Scrolls, appears to have been greatly influenced by Hellenistic ideas, structures and institutions.59 I believe that Hengel is right. What we find – both in the accounts of Philo and Josephus on the Essenes (Therapeutes) and in the writings from Qumran-is not far from being a Jewish adaptation of one version of the well-known voluntary Hellenistic association.60 Generally, we know this phenomenon as the Hellenistic koina: circles of individuals with a common interest in philosophy, religion or some other subject. I do not refer to commercial or burial clubs in this connection, but to the philosophical schools and the mystery religions.61 Individuals were admitted into such associations only after a personal ‘conversion’ and a formal application. Generally, the full members of this type of association shared a number of doctrines, and in the mystery religions these had to be kept secret from the outside world. In such Hellenistic associations the members had access to a particular ‘knowledge’, or to some kind of ‘mysteries’. Often, these doctrines were rediscovered in ‘old’ (Holy) Scriptures such as the works of Homer, Plato, Egyptian or Persian traditions which were then interpreted allegorically. Finally, members of such associations were subject to a more or less strict discipline. Philo and Josephus describe the Essene (Therapeutic) associations in these Hellenistic terms. However, these terms not only fit the descriptions of Philo and Josephus, but the Dead Sea Scrolls as well.62 Also in the Qumran community, as known from the primary sources, we are confronted with the characteristic voluntary Hellenistic association. Moreover, in their teaching as well, we find recognizable Hellenistic ideas such as individualism, personal choice, spiritualization, dualism, asceticism, frugality and so on.63 Accordingly, I think we have to confirm and support Hengel’s hypothesis, that not only are the descriptions in Philo and Josephus Hellenistic, but, to a large extent, the writings from Qumran as well. This hypothesis opens for a rearrangement of the whole scene of discussing the Dead Sea Scrolls, the accounts of Philo and Josephus on the Essenes (Therapeutes), Judaism and Hellenism. 59 60 61 62 63

Cf. Hengel 1973, 394–453; also, idem 1978. Cf. Hengel 1978, 347–52; Weinfeld 1986; Paul 1992, 155. Cf. Nock 1935, 1–16, 138–86. Cf. Hengel 1978, 347–52; Weinfeld 1986. Cf. Hengel 1978, 352–72.

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First, I think we have to forget about the idea that the accounts in Philo and Josephus are ‘Hellenized distortions’ of the historical reality which we find in the Dead Sea Scrolls (cf. notes 4 and 5). In fact, the accounts of Philo and, especially, of Josephus correspond with the Dead Sea Scrolls to a very large extent, as has often been demonstrated (cf. notes 2–3, 15–16, 18, 30, 38–39 and 41–43). Secondly, it should be noticed that these two groups of writings represent two different types of Hellenization. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Hellenistic ‘spirit’ is mainly implicit, unconscious and unwitting, and in Philo and Josephus it is mainly conscious and explicit. But none of the two groups of writing could escape their Hellenistic-Roman context. Thirdly, it has to be taken into consideration that the Dead Sea Scrolls, on the one hand, and the accounts of Philo and Josephus, on the other, represent two different literary genres. The texts from Qumran are the community’s own writings aiming at internal religious consumption. In contrast, the two Greekwriting authors are outsiders who give a summarized presentation aiming at a non-Jewish world. Fourthly, the two groups of writings may describe several, partly different, groups. Finally, therefore, I suggest that the accounts in Philo and Josephus should be regarded as relevant sources to the Essenes/the Qumran community, also in cases where they do not verbatim correspond with the Dead Sea Scrolls.64

64 Similarly, Rajak 1994, 156–57.

7:

Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism

1.

Introduction

It is not my purpose to defend the hypothesis that Josephus is a representative of Jewish apocalypticism. This is impossible, no matter how this troublesome figure is defined. There is not much point in claiming that Josephus’s works are of the same breed as the books of Daniel, I Enoch, 4 Ezra and the Revelation of John. What I want to do in this essay is to raise the question of the relationship between Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism.1 My aim is to explore, analyse and discuss more thoroughly the relationship between two phenomena that are usually not regarded as connected to each other (cf. below), and my procedure will consist in examining a number of features in Josephus’s works that have some degree of similarity with what I define as Jewish apocalypticism (section 3 below). Generally, scholars have rejected the idea that Josephus had any interest at all in Jewish apocalypticism. Momigliano (1982) may be mentioned as a distinguished representative of this view. He claims that Josephus has nothing to relate on contemporary Jewish apocalypticism, because he failed to grasp the importance of the apocalyptic ideas.2 Accordingly, Momigliano does not even consider the possibility that Josephus himself was interested in or influenced by a Jewish apocalypticism. And this evaluation seems to be the common view on this issue. Thus the first task can be determined as that of verifying this evaluation by sketching an overview of earlier research on this subject (section 2). The project is made more difficult by the fact that so far no consensus has been obtained concerning the definition of Jewish apocalypticism. In order to solve my main problem I cannot escape making a bid for circumscribing this notion.

1 I have long been interested in this relationship, cf. Bilde 1979, 198–200; 1988, 187–88, 214, but I have not before had the opportunity to analyse it properly. 2 1982, 330: ‘Flavio Giuseppe non anticipa la condanna dei rabbi, che non facevano mestiere di storico, nel trascurare questa letteratura : la trascura perchè non ne capisce l’importanza.’

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Accordingly, my second task is to establish a sort of definition of Jewish apocalypticism (section 3). I continue the project by the method indicated above, namely by examining those parts of Josephus’s works that may be suspected of touching more specifically on elements of Jewish apocalypticism. I have chosen the following items: his use of the root apokalyptein and related words (section 4); his description of the Essenes (section 5); his account of prophecy in the Hellenistic-Roman period (section 6); his description of himself as a divinely inspired prophet (section 7); Jewish apocalypticism and historiography with special reference to Josephus (section 8); his interpretation of ‘apocalyptic’ figures in the Bible such as Adam, Enoch, Moses, Elijah and Daniel (section 9), and, finally, his reproduction of eschatological and messianic prophecies in the Bible (section 10).

2.

Research History

In earlier research there has not been much interest in the relationship between Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism. A hint at the lack of interest in this subject emerges from the following facts. In Heinz Schreckenberg’s bibliography (1968), where I have examined the three most relevant categories,3 I have only been able to discover three titles, containing the word ‘apocalypticism’, and not one of them refers to Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism.4 Almost the same result is found in the supplementary bibliography (1979). Here, I have found five titles containing the word ‘apocalypticism’, out of which only one (Michel 1969) combines Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism.5 This evaluation is confirmed by an examination of Feldman’s great research history (1984), where there is no headword on Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism at all. In section 19.0 (‘Josephus’ Outlook on Judaism: General’) no relevant titles are listed. The same situation is found in section 10.15 and 16 (‘Daniel’ and ‘The Prophetic Books’). In section 19.23 (‘Prophecy’) I have found only Michel (1969) and Vielhauer (1973), mentioned above. In section 19.32 (‘The Messiah and Eschatology in general’) 23 titles are listed, and not one of them contains the word ‘apocalyptic’. This picture does not change much when I turn to the history of research on Jewish apocalypticism and Judaism in general.6 In 1857 Hilgenfeld published the 3 No. 15: ‘Jüdische Theologie und kultische Praxis, Sadduzäer, Pharisäer, Samaritaner’; no. 16: ‘Essener, Qumran’, and no. 23: ‘Persönlichkeit und historiografische Eigenart des Josephus, Polemik um seine Person’. 4 These three are Hilgenfeld 1966; Kohler 1931, 20–36; Giet 1957. 5 The other four are Glasson 1961; Gunther 1973; Kocis 1971, 71–89; Vielhauer 19734, II, 405–27. 6 For an account of the research history of Jewish apocalypticism until the discovery of the Dead

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first comprehensive modern exposition of Jewish apocalypticism. Here, he treated the book of Daniel, the Sibylline Oracles, the book of Enoch, the Apocalypse of Ezra, the ancient reports on the Essenes, and, in a supplement, the sources on the gnostic system of Basilides. In Hilgenfeld’s work Josephus does not emerge as a source of Jewish apocalypticism, nor is he seen as related in any way to this phenomenon; he is only drawn upon as a secondary source, especially on the Essenes (1966, 245–78). More than one hundred years later I find the same view in Russell’s work from 1964. Russell gives a thorough presentation of Jewish apocalypticism, and again Josephus is mentioned only as a source for the description of the Essenes and as a representative of the idea that prophecy had ceased in the Jewish people.7 Similarly, Paul Volz does not mention Josephus in his paragraphs on Jewish Apocalypticism (1966, 4–51). And in his paragraph on Josephus there are the following remarks: Even Josephus does not completely avoid the national expectations of his people. In Ant. 4.114ff. he gives a vivid and rich paraphrase of Bileam’s promise (Num. 24), and in War 5.19 he seeks to keep down his grief caused by Jerusalem’s destruction by the exclamation: ‘you may perhaps recover when you have reconciled yourself with the deity who destroyed you’. Generally, however, his position is different. In War. 6.312f. he changes the ancient oracle, that one from Judea would gain world domination, interpreting it as referring to Vespasian. With this interpretation he expressly dissociates himself from the messianic zealots, who, according to Josephus, were stirred up to a messianic war precisely by this oracle. Moreover, it is strange how unclearly he expresses himself in Ant. 10.210 on the stone from Daniel ch. 2. It is similarly strange that in Ant. 10.267ff., surveying the prophecies in Daniel, in the first place, he does mention Daniel ch. 8, but not ch. 7, and secondly, he does describe the serious visitation prophesised by Daniel, but in his paraphrase he includes nothing about the ‘Son of Man’ in Daniel 7.13 or about the positive prospects of salvation linked to this figure. Accordingly, Josephus’ personal opinion did not include the eschatological belief and the national expectations, but only the individual belief in an hereafter, where the national redemption and the eschatological salvation have been replaced by the redemption of the soul and its immortality …8.

Sea Scrolls, see Schmidt 1969. An overview of the research and discussions on Jewish apocalypticism of the last three decades is given in Murphy 1994. In these two works, however, Josephus is not mentioned, nor is one single text of Josephus quoted. 7 Cf. Russell 1971, 79–80 on Against Apion 1.38–40. The same or a similar evaluation of Josephus is found in Charles 1913; Bousset-Gressmann 1966, 39, 242–89, 437 (Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism are not mentioned together at all); Schreiner 1969; Koch 1972; Schmithals 1973; Rowland 1985; Hellholm 1983; Collins 1984; VanderKam 1984; Collins and Charlesworth 1991; Himmelfarb 1993 (who, however, explicitely disagrees on the issue of the cessation of prophecy, cf. section 6). 8 Volz 1966, 53. On Josephus’s ‘national’ eschatology, see below in section 10.

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According to Volz, Josephus not only has nothing to do with Jewish apocalypticism but even to Jewish (national, messianic) eschatology he has only slender connections, as his personal eschatology consists primarily in an individualistic hope for the immortality of the soul.9 A further step in the direction of separating Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism was taken by Maier (1972), who placed Josephus in outright contradiction to Jewish apocalypticism as found in the books of 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch.10 To my knowledge, however, it is Momigliano (1982) who has formulated most distinctly the idea that in his works Josephus simply neglected Jewish apocalypticism (as well as the institution of the synagogue).11 According to Momigliano, Josephus also missed the fact that the Jewish revolt against Rome was driven by apocalyptic hopes, and both mistakes were due to the fact that he did not comprehend Jewish apocalypticism.12 In contrast to this massive phalanx only a few scholarly works express some understanding of a positive relationship between Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism.13 Accordingly, it is hardly too daring to conclude that in earlier research there is not much understanding of a positive relationship between Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism.

3.

Jewish Eschatology and Apocalypticism

One reason for this interpretation may be found in the uncertainty regarding the definition of Jewish apocalypticism. We have seen that Momigliano appears to understand Jewish apocalypticism as very closely related to the militant eschatology and messianism that he thinks stood behind the Jewish revolt against Rome in 66–70. 9 Similarly Fischer 1978, 145, 157, 174. 10 Maier 1972, 29–30. Similarly Michel 1969, 241–42 (referring to War 6.285). 11 These two important phenomena Josephus ‘did not see’, according to Momigliano 1982, 230. Rajak 1994 writes on Josephus and the Essenes in contrast to Momigliano, and her conclusion is that, in fact, Josephus did ‘see’ (the Essenes), but was forced to adapt his personal experiences to literary conventions: ‘“What Josephus did not see” should therefore perhaps be reformulated as “what Josephus did see but could not write about”. For there were strong constraints upon him … the constraints of literary form …” Morton Smith 1987 is close to Momigliano 1987, 245: ‘Except for Daniel, Josephus says almost nothing of the apocalyptic literature flourishing in his time’. 12 1982, 330. It should be noted that Momigliano does not distinguish between apocalypticism and eschatology (cf. section 3). 13 I have only been able to find Chesnut 1971, 76; Lindner 1972, 43–44; Davies 1978, 16–19. However, Chesnut and Lindner do not analyse this relationship in any details, and Davies does not distinguish between apocalypticism and eschatology.

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This view is in keeping with an inclination in earlier research to define Jewish apocalypticism as a vague, literary and ideological phenomenon with close relations to eschatology and messianism.14 In recent years, however, much energy has been devoted to more accurate definitions of apocalypticism as a separate category that should not be completely identified with messianism and eschatology.15 Jewish eschatology ought to be defined as a wide category referring to the future hopes of the Jewish people, either immanent or transcendent. These hopes were cherished by actualizing interpretations of the prophetic oracles in the Bible about the coming of the Messiah to liberate his people from foreign political domination, to re-establish the Davidic kingdom as the supreme power in the world and to create justice and piety in the Jewish people.16 However, eschatological hopes are also found in the rather few and isolated texts expressing the hopes of the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment and everlasting reward and punishment of the just and the wicked.17 In contrast, Jewish apocalypticism is a modem, scholarly construct.18 It is, however, defined differently in various scholarly traditions. According to Bousset-Gressmann (1966) and Russell (1971) Jewish apocalypticism refers primarily to the ‘new’ eschatology covering the transcendent, cosmic, dualistic, universal and individualistic soteriology which is believed to have developed in the Hellenistic-Roman period. According to John J. Collins and many others, Jewish apocalypticism is primarily a literary category.19 A third possibility is to define Jewish apocalypticism as an esoteric phenomenon concentrated on the disclosure of divine secrets.20 This act of ‘disclosure’ is either oral (expressed in a sort of prophetic oracle) or written (in the literary genre of the Apocalypse). The act of uncovering is embedded in a sort of religious message that may entail the establishment of a social group constituted 14 15 16 17

Thus Bousset & Gressmann 1966, 242–89; Volz 1934, 4–62; Russell 1971, 17–18; Davies 1978, 19. Cf. Collins 1979; 1984; Hellholm 1983; Bilde 1994. Cf. Volz 1934, 63, 368–71; Bousset & Gressmann 1966, 213–42. Cf., e. g., Dan. 12.2–3; 2 Macc. 7. This definition of Jewish eschatology is opposed to earlier research such as, for example Bousset & Gressmann 1966, 242–89, where they are termed ‘apocalyptic’. Here, Jewish apocalypticism was primarily defined as the ‘new’ transcendent, universal, cosmic, dualistic and individualistic type of Jewish eschatology; similarly Russell 1971. On the other side, this view of Jewish apocalypticism was opposed to ‘prophetic eschatology’: ‘… Auch aus diesem Grunde empfiehlt es sich, jüdische Apokalyptik und prophetische Eschatologie scharf voneinander zu sondern …’ (Bousset & Gressmann 1966, 242 n. 1). More cautiously, Russell 1971, 104–39, esp. 104–105. 18 On the development on this category in the nineteenth century, see Hilgenfeld 1966, 1–16. 19 Collins 1979, 1–19; 1984; Hartman 1983; Hellholm 1983. 20 Thus Hilgenfeld 1966, 5–6; Koch 1972, 25; Rowland 1985, 9–22; Stone 1982, 29–47, esp. 41; Bilde 1994, 20.

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precisely on the basis of the content of the ‘apocalyptic’ disclosure of God’s word, his will and his plans for history. This content becomes the core of the ‘apocalyptic’ ideology. According to the third view, Jewish apocalypticism is generally made up by a prophetic revealer figure, by his revelatory message, by a social group receiving the message, by an ideology constructed on the basis of the revelatory message, and, in some cases, by the specific type (genre) of literature containing all these elements.21 Further, this definition understands Jewish apocalypticism as closely related to Jewish prophecy.22 Unlike biblical prophecy, however, in Jewish apocalypticism there is a special interest in the secrecy of the divine revelations, in the hiddenness of the divine world and in the revealer figure who is the mediator of the revelation of these secrets. Thus, Jewish apocalypticism should not be regarded as only one – ‘new’, transcendent, cosmic, dualistic, universal and individualistic – section of Jewish eschatology. Only in some cases is Jewish apocalypticism connected to the future hopes of the Jewish people, and in those cases the emphasis is put on the revelation of the coming eschatological events (Dan. 7–12; Rev. 6–22). In other cases, however, Jewish apocalypticism appears without this connection, and then it is oriented towards an exploration of the divine, heavenly world and its secrets (thus esp. 1 Enoch, cf. section 9). Finally, the close relationship between Jewish apocalypticism and Jewish prophecy cannot be emphasized strongly enough. And by Jewish prophecy I mean not only ‘apocalyptic’ interpretations of the biblical prophets, as we find it in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament, but also actual, living – Jewish or Christian – prophetic activity by which new ‘apocalyptic’ revelations are gained and mediated to the chosen group (cf. section 5–7). Thus, by Jewish apocalypticism I understand an actual, living prophetic activity directed towards the disclosure of the secret plans of a distant divinity.

21 Bilde 1994, 18–24. Thus, as historical examples of this type of apocalyptic groups we can refer to the Qumran-Essenes, John the Baptist’s circle, the Jesus movement, and Paul’s communities. 22 Cf. Hilgenfeld 1966, 5; Russell 1971, 92–100; Charlesworth 1991, 91–92; Murphy 1994, 156–57. This definition contradicts the mainstream of earlier research, cf., e. g., Bousset & Gressmann 1966, 242; Volz 1966, 4–10, and many others. Koch 1972 is one heavy attack on this mainstream view.

Josephus’s Use of the Greek Word apokalyptein

4.

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Josephus’s Use of the Greek Word apokalyptein and Related Words

It has been demonstrated by Morton Smith (1983, 9–20), that Josephus never uses the noun apokalypsis, and only four times the verb apokalyptein. In War 1.297 (= Ant. 14.406) 5.350 and Ant. 12.90 it is always used in a pragmatic (non-theological) meaning in the sense of showing something that is normally concealed, either an attitude or weapons or the scrolls of Moses. Accordingly, it may be stated that in Josephus this word is not used in any technical ‘apocalyptic’ sense. However, this fact does not imply that Josephus is unfamiliar with the ‘apocalyptic’ idea of divine, heavenly secrets that are revealed through a chosen prophetical figure. In fact, he is familiar with this idea, but he expresses it in other words, for example, dêloun (cf. Ant. 10.210): ‘And Daniel also revealed (edêlôse) to the king the meaning of the stone…’23 In Ant. 10.271 the verb epideiknymi (‘show’, ‘disclose’, ‘reveal’) is used in the same sense, and in Ant. 10.277 Josephus makes use of the related verb deiknymi, still with the same meaning.24 In Ant. 10.210 we find this idea expressed in a third way: …if, however, there is anyone who has so keen a desire for exact information that he will not stop short of inquiring more closely but wishes to learn about the hidden things that are to come, let him …25

This means that ‘the hidden things that are to come’ have been revealed to Daniel, who had written down this revelation. It also means, however, that Josephus, when he wrote the Jewish Antiquities, claimed to know the content of this revelation although he shrinks from stating it openly. Finally, in War 3.351–53 we meet the same idea in a fourth variation: But as Nicanor was urgently pressing his proposals and Josephus overheard the threats of the hostile crowd, suddenly there came back into his mind those nightly dreams, in which God had foretold to him the impending fate of the Jews and the destinies of the Roman sovereigns. He was an interpreter of dreams and skilled in divining the meaning of ambiguous utterances of the Deity; a priest himself and of priestly descent, he was not ignorant of the prophecies in the sacred books. At that hour he was inspired to read their meaning …

23 This, and the following translations of Josephus, are borrowed from the Loeb Classical Library. In Josephus the verb dêloun is often used in the same ‘apocalyptic’ explanatory sense, e. g., Ant. 4.105; 10.177, 195, 198, 201, 202, 205, 208, 272. 24 Cf. the use of this verb in Ant. 10.205, 270. Other verbs such as semeinein can be used by Josephus in the same way, cf. Ant. 2.276 (quoted in section 9). 25 I return to this text in section 10.

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Like Daniel, Josephus once had nightly dreams in which God had revealed to him what would happen to the Jewish people (cf. section 7). The constellation of his own dreams and the biblical oracles suggest that what was disclosed to Josephus was the correct interpretation of the biblical oracles, presumably those in the book of Daniel. Thus Josephus here seems to present himself as an authorized interpreter in a double sense: he is capable of interpreting the biblical oracles as well as his own inspired nightly dreams. Or even better: through his divinely inspired dreams Josephus is divinely authorized to interpret the ambiguous biblical oracles.26 I conclude this section by pointing out that, although Josephus never uses the verb apokalyptein in the technical ‘apocalyptic’ sense, he is well aware of the underlying idea of divine secrets being uncovered to a chosen prophet as a mediator.

5.

Josephus’s Description of the Essenes

No matter how Jewish apocalypticism is defined, and no matter how the Dead Sea Scrolls are identified and related to the Essenes of Philo and Josephus, it seems to be a general consensus that both the Essenes and the Qumranites are expressions of Jewish apocalypticism.27 Josephus is fascinated by the Essenes, and he presents them to the Gentile world as a Jewish elite comparable to the Hellenistic-Roman philosophical schools and religions.28 Josephus’s descriptions of the Essenes (esp. War 2.119–61 and Ant. 18.18–22) have been analysed and compared with the Dead Sea Scrolls several times.29 Generally, the astonishing agreements between the Scrolls and Josephus’s long description have been emphasized, and need not be repeated here. What I would like to stress here is the importance of the phenomenon of prophecy in nearly all Josephus’s accounts of the Essenes.30 In War 2.159 Josephus calls attention to the connection between Essene prophecy and their familiarity with the biblical books: ‘There are some among them who profess to foretell the future, being versed from their early years in holy books …’ Further, this connection between Essene prophecy and their study of the sacred scriptures should be interpreted in the context of War 2.136: ‘They display an extraordinary interest 26 27 28 29 30

Similarly Betz 1960, 105–108; Mason 1994, 177. Cf. Russell 1971, 23–24, 40–48, 319–23; Rowland 1985, 113–20; Philonenko 1983. Cf. Rajak 1994, 146; Bilde 1998 (forthcoming). Cf. esp. Beall 1988; Vermes & Goodman 1989; Bergmeier 1993; Rajak 1994. War 1.78 (= Ant. 13.311–13); War 2.113 (= Ant. 17.346–48); War 2.159; Ant. 15.373–79. In all these cases prophecy refers to divinely inspired predictions of future events.

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in the writings of the ancients …’ Perhaps it should also be studied in relation to the information in Josephus’s words about the dominant role of the priests among the Essenes (War 2.131). If this is an adequate interpretation of Josephus’s accounts on Essene prophecy, it corresponds remarkably to the situation in the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example 1QpHab 2.5–10: … The interpretation of the word [concerns the trai]tors in the last days. They shall be violators of [the coven]ant who will not believe when they hear all that is going [to happen to] the final generation, from the mouth of the Priest whom God has placed wi[thin the Community,] to foretell the fulfilment of all the words of his servants, the prophets, [by] means of whom God has declared all that is going to happen to his people [Israel].31

This idea is formulated even more pronounced in lQpHab 7.4: ‘Its interpretation concerns the Teacher of Righteousness, to whom God has disclosed all the mysteries of the words of his servants, the prophets’.32 In these texts actualizing eschatological prophecy is closely connected to the authoritative interpretation of the biblical prophets given by the ‘priest’ (the Teacher of Righteousness), who has received a special revelation from God regarding the proper understanding of the ‘secrets’ in the prophetic scriptures. The combination of living prophecy, the study of the holy scriptures and the importance of the priesthood appear both in Josephus’s descriptions of the Essenes and in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Finally, these ideas correspond to Josephus’s description in War 3.351–53, quoted above, of his own role as priest, scribe and prophet (cf. section 7).

6.

Josephus’s Account of Prophecy in the Hellenistic-Roman Period

In this essay it is claimed that Jewish apocalypticism is closely related to Jewish prophecy (cf. section 3). This interpretation was supported by the overview of Josephus’s description of the Essenes in section 5. ‘Jewish prophecy’, however, is not just like that identical with biblical or Old Testamental prophecy. According to earlier research (cf. n. 22), Jewish apocalypticism was quite different from biblical prophecy. This position was not unaffected by the ideological (German Protestant) Christian belief that biblical prophecy was a positive phenomenon, a genuine expression of divine revelation, which was continued by Jesus and Christianity. In contrast, Jewish apocalypticism was regarded as something 31 Martinez 1994, 198. 32 Martinez 1994, 200.

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negative, an expression of the decline of ‘late’ Judaism against which Jesus and Christianity protested and with which they broke.33 This ideological interpretation was related to the belief that (genuine) prophecy had ceased in postexilic Judaism. This belief was based on texts such as Ps. 74.9, 1 Macc. 4.46, 9.27 and 14.41, and it was accepted by many scholars.34 However, as this belief is obviously contradicted by Josephus’s accounts of predicting prophetic figures in the Hellenistic-Roman period, it could not be maintained in the long run, and today it has been given up by most scholars.35 In this essay I do not need to repeat the thorough survey in Gray (1993) and other recent works. According to Josephus, predicting prophecy was a very important living phenomenon in the Hellenistic-Roman period. Eschatological prophecy was a main element in the Qumran-Essene community.36 It was a fundamental feature in movements of the ‘sign prophets’ (including John the Baptist) and other prophetic figures.37 Moreover, prophecy was a major force in the Jesus movement and in the Pauline communities (cf. Aune 1983). Finally, it was the strongest driving force behind the Jewish revolt in 66–70.38 Consequently, to Josephus, prophecy – understood as divinely inspired predictions in relation to eschatology, messianism, politics as well as apocalypticism – was very much alive in the Hellenistic-Roman period.

7.

Josephus’s View of himself as a Prophet

In section 4 we saw that in War 3.350–54 Josephus presents himself as a divinely inspired ‘apocalyptic’ prophet. Through nightly dreams and by his priestly ability to interpret the sacred scriptures he received divine revelations concerning ‘the impending fate of the Jews and the destinies of the Roman sovereigns’ (3.351). In War 3.400–402 Josephus describes his actual performance as a prophet to Vespasian to whom he predicted that he would be Roman emperor in the near future. 33 Koch 1972 gives a critical account of this ideological approach to Jewish apocalypticism. 34 Cf., e. g., Hilgenfeld 1966, 8–10; Charles 1913, 200–206; Russell 1971, 73–82; Müller 1982, 188– 89; Feldman 1990, 398–407. 35 To the evidence of Josephus may be added that of the New Testament. Today, therefore, most scholars regard this idea as a Rabbinic construction, cf. Bousset & Gressmann 1966, 395–99; Aune 1982, 240; Aune 1983, 103–106: Greenspahn 1989; Hall 1991, 24; Gray 1993, 9–34 (in particular); Himmelfarb 1993, 96; Bilde 1996, 95–96. 36 Cf. section 5 above and Gray 1993, 80–111. 37 Cf. Gray 1993, 35–79, 112–44 and 145–63. 38 Cf. War 6.285–86 and 312–13; Tacitus, Hist. 5.13; Suetonius, Vesp. 4.5. See Gray 1993, 112–44. Feldman 1990, esp. 400–407 has argued that Josephus distinguishes clearly between the biblical prophets and the prophetic phenomena in the Hellenistic-Roman period. I do not think that this is accurate (cf. Bilde 1996, 96 n. 13).

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In War 6.312–13 Josephus refers to his disagreement with the Jewish rebels on the interpretation of a decisive ‘ambiguous oracle’, perhaps Dan 2.44–45; 7.11– 14.39 The disagreement concerns the date for the fulfilment of the Jewish eschatological expectations. Josephus did not share the belief of the rebels that the moment of fulfilment had arrived during the war with the Romans. Therefore, he terms this belief a ‘false prophecy’ (War 6.285–86). This view, however, does not imply that the moment of fulfilment would not come at all, only that it would happen at a later date.40 Elsewhere, I have argued that these texts are no exceptions in Josephus’s works, but rather crucial and fundamental.41 They should be seen and interpreted in connection with his evident attempts to present himself as closely related to earlier great prophets in Jewish history such as Joseph, Daniel and Jeremiah.42 Especially in his speech to the Jews in Jerusalem (War 5.375–419) Josephus presents himself as a second Jeremiah.43 In my view, this interpretation of Josephus should be carried on to cover his view of his literary work as a whole. In the 1996 essay I have made an attempt in this direction on the basis of an analysis of Against Apion 1.28–56. In this important text Josephus seems to present his historical writings as in some sense ‘prophetic’ works, which are claimed to be seen as continuing the ‘prophetic’ tradition of the biblical books.44 Moreover, I have argued for the hypothesis that there are other signs in Josephus’s works indicating that he understood his whole historiographical work as intimately connected to his status as a priest and a prophet.45 Accordingly, Josephus appears to have interpreted his experience in Jotapata, his prediction to Vespasian and his whole literary work in prophetic terms and categories. These observations lead me to the same conclusion as Hall (1991): Josephus’s self-understanding should be interpreted as focusing on his role as a writer of prophetically ‘revealed history’ (cf. section 8).

39 Cf. Ant. 10.268, which is quoted in section 9. On Daniel in Josephus, see also section 10. 40 Cf. Bilde 1988, 187–88. 41 Cf. Bilde 1996, 95–97. Similarly Betz 1960, 105–109; Chesnut 1971, 91–92; Blenkinsopp 1974; Johnson 1983; Rajak 1983, 185–95; Hall 1991, 25. 42 Cf. Bilde 1996, 94–95 with references to, for example Chesnut 1971, 92; Lindner 1972, 49–68; Blenkinsopp 1974, 244–45; Daube 1980, 20; Aune 1982, 420–21; Cohen 1982; Johnson 1983, 340–46; Sterling 1992, 236–38; Gray 1993, 35–79; Mason 1994, 167–77. 43 Cf. Bilde 1996, 95. Similarly, for example Cohen 1982; Hall 1991, 27–28: ‘Thus Josephus, claiming the ethos of a Jeremiah, speaks the message God had given him at his call, casting it in a prophetic form. Josephus certainly conceived these speeches as prophecies in which he fulfills his prophetic commission’ (p. 28). 44 Bilde 1996, 98–107 (with numerous references to texts and secondary literature). Similarly Hall 1991, 22–30. I regret not having known this work when I wrote my 1996 essay. 45 Bilde 1996, 103–107; cf. Blenkinsopp 1974.

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Jewish Apocalypticism and Historiography

Hall has demonstrated the close relationship between Jewish apocalypticism and historiography, not least in Josephus.46 Obviously, the writing of history in the Old Testament presupposes divine revelation. To the Old Testament mind, the proper meaning in history can only emerge through religious interpretative ideas and schemes. Hall has shown that this idea dominates not only works which are traditionally defined as apocalyptic, such as the books of Daniel and 4 Ezra, but that it applies also to Josephus’s works and the historical books in the New Testament (Hall 1991, 12). Hall has suggested the general category ‘revealed history’ for this type of historical writing (Hall 1991, 18–19). More specifically, Hall terms Josephus’s works (esp. the Jewish War) ‘prophetic history’ (1991, 22–30). Hall’s insights should not lead us to believe that there is no difference between Josephus’s historical works and the proper apocalyptic books, for example the book of Daniel. Josephus claims to write ‘prophetic’ history (cf. section 7), but, at the same time, he claims to write ‘accurate’ history on the basis of eyewitnesses and sources.47 Hall makes a distinction between the following two types of ‘revealed history’: Josephus’s ‘prophetic history’ and the ‘apocalyptic history’.48 Hall characterizes ‘apocalyptic history’ as follows: ‘it thrives on uncomfortable periods in which history makes no sense according to normal Hebrew suppositions and where delivery is sorely needed’ (Hall 1991, 244). However, it is a question whether, on the basis of this definition, 4 Ezra and The Jewish War should be placed in two different groups. For not only the former but also the latter could be maintained to match this definition.49 In any case, it may be learned from Hall that Jewish apocalypticism and (Jewish) history writing need no longer be regarded as incompatible, but should rather be seen as two categories belonging to the same general genre, namely, that of ‘revealed history’.

46 Hall 1991. Similarly Davies 1978. 47 Cf. War 1.2–3, 6–16; Life 357–67; Against Apion l.l–56; see Bilde 1988, 191–206; 1996, 103–107; Moessner 1996. 48 1991, 18–19, 22–47, 61–96, 242–48. 49 Cf. Bilde 1979, 199–200: the causes of the catastrophe of the Jewish war, the fall of Jerusalem and the temple are unexplainable. In the end they ‘could not but occur in accordance with His (God’s) plan and will’ (199). See Ant. 10.276 and nn. 97 and 98 in Bilde 1979.

Josephus’s Interpretation of ‘Apocalyptic’ Themes and Figures

9.

163

Josephus’s Interpretation of ‘Apocalyptic’ Themes and Figures in the Bible

In his rendering of Genesis, Josephus sometimes demonstrates a ‘scientific’ interest in the heavenly world reminding us of what is found in I Enoch, especially in chs. 14, 17–18 and 72–81.50 It is the case in Ant. 1.30: On the second day God set the heaven above the earth ‘congealing ice about it and withal rendering it moist and rainy to give the benefit of the dews in a manner congenial to the earth’.51 In his paraphrase of Gen. 5.1–8 Josephus brings some additions to his source. In Ant. 1.70 we read that Adam had predicted the later destructions of the world by fire and water. Accordingly, Josephus interprets Adam as a prophet in a way that is related to the pseudepigraphical Adam and Eve literature.52 In his rendering of Gen. 5.(18-)24 (on Enoch) Josephus follows the biblical text rather closely: ‘Enoch lived 365 years and returned to the divinity, whence it comes that there is no record in the chronicles of his death’ (Ant. 1.85). He leaves out, however, the biblical ‘he walked with God’, and replaces the biblical ‘God took him’ with the emphatic phrase ‘returned to the divinity’. As it is noted by Thackeray in the Loeb edition, this wording is similar to that used in Ant. 4.326 of Moses (cf. 3.96).53 It has to be noted, however, that in these two texts Josephus expressly rejects this interpretation of Moses’ disappearing. Accordingly, Josephus insists that Moses died. Thus what he rejects with regard to Moses, he accepts in his writing on Enoch. Consequently, it can be claimed with good reasons that Josephus represents one step in the direction of the growing ‘apocalyptic’ interpretation of Gen. 5.18–24 on Enoch. Moses dominates books two to four in the Antiquities, but we need only look at a few texts on the special revelation granted to him by God. In Ant. 2.276 Josephus renders Exod. 3.13–14 in the following way: ‘Then God revealed to him His name, which ere then had not come to men’s ears, and of which I am forbidden to speak.’ Here, the emphasis on the divine communication as a revelation as well as the underlining that Josephus is not allowed to report it can both be regarded as ‘apocalyptical’ additions to the biblical text, because they refer to divine secrets as revealed to a chosen (prophetic) figure. 50 51 52 53

Cf. Stone 1981, 35–47; VanderKam 1984, 76–109. Cf. Genesis 1.6–7, 1 En. 14.8–13. Cf. LAE 49 where this prophecy is attributed to Eve. See Davies 1978, 17. To this expression, see Tabor 1989. Tabor concentrates his essay on the aspect of ‘apotheosis and immortality’ in these texts. Another aspect could be termed that of pre-existence. Enoch and Elijah ‘returned’ to the divine world, that is, they went back to the place they had come from. A third aspect is that of their nearness to God. Because of that they are able to reveal divine secrets. Josephus does not use this expression about Daniel. Instead, he writes ‘that Daniel spoke with God’ (Ant. 10.267, quoted below). But I think that the meaning is the same.

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In Ant. 3.38 Josephus makes the following addition to Exod. 17.1–7: ‘A writing deposited in the temple attests that God foretold to Moses that water would thus spring forth from the rock.’ This addition, too, testifies to Josephus’s knowledge of ‘secret’ additions to the Bible. In Ant. 3.90 we find a similar interpreting addition to Exod. 19.19 and 20.1–21: ‘These words it is not permitted us to state explicitly, to the letter, but we will indicate their purport’. Accordingly, Josephus does not quote the Ten Commandments, but he paraphrases them (3.91–2). Enoch is mentioned once more in Ant. 9.28, where Josephus describes Elijah’s disappearance: Now about that time Elijah disappeared from among men, and to this day no one knows his end … However, concerning Elijah and Enoch, who lived before the Flood, it is written in the sacred books that they became invisible, and no one knows of their death (cf. 2. Kgs. 2.1–14).

Josephus leaves out the story about Elijah’s ascension in the chariot of fire (2. Kgs. 2.9–14) and restricts himself to the words quoted above. This fact need not be interpreted as an expression of Josephus’s ‘rationalizing tendency’.54 Another possibility is to interpret it as an expression of Josephus’s reserve when rendering epiphanic, eschatological and ‘apocalyptical’ phenomena in the Bible. The important point here is that Elijah – and Enoch – did not die, but ‘became invisible’, that is, they ‘returned to the divinity’ (Ant. 1.84). Josephus has nothing ‘apocalyptical’ to recount about Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. He describes them as prophets in the sense of predictors of (hidden) future events.55 To Josephus, Daniel is ‘one of the greatest prophets’ whose ‘memory lives on eternally’ (Ant. 10.266).56 Josephus has more to relate about Daniel (Ant. 10.186–281) than about any other prophet. He indicates his reasons for this preference as follows: For the books57 which he wrote and left behind are still read by us even now, and we are convinced by them that Daniel spoke with God, for he was not only wont to prophesy future things, as did the other prophets, but he also fixed the time at which these would come to pass. And, whereas the other prophets foretold disasters and were for that reason in disfavour with kings and people, Daniel was a prophet of good tidings to them … (Ant. 10.267–68).

54 Thus Marcus in Thackeray 1969, VI, 1966, 17 n. c. 55 Ant. 10.11–14, 32–35 (Isaiah); 78–80; 103–107 (Jeremiah and Ezekiel); 88–95, 112–30 (Jeremiah); 142 (generally on prophecy). 56 Cf. Vermes 1991; Feldman 1992; Mason 1994; Bilde 1996, 95–96. 57 The plural may refer to apocryphal additions to the Book of Daniel, cf. Marcus in Thackeray 1969, VI, 1966, 305 n. e.

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What should be noticed in this text is that the book of Daniel is ‘still read by us even now’, apparently precisely because the Jews (including Josephus) believed that Daniel had particularly close communications with God, and because he prophesied not only disaster, but salvation as well. With these phrases Josephus seems to share the ‘apocalyptical’ interpretation of Daniel as the Jewish prophet of highest relevance, because he was the prophet whose predictions concerned the actual sufferings of the Jewish people, because he fixed the time for the fulfilment of his prophesies and because he was the unique revealer of God’s salvatory plans for the Jewish people. Despite the reticence regarding ‘apocalyptical’ matters in his works Josephus clearly reveals familiarity with the particular ‘apocalyptical’ figures in the Bible, who had been so close to God that they were able to communicate his divine messages. Josephus expresses himself cautiously about these matters which are not of primary concern in his historiographical works. Nevertheless, it is clear that Josephus demonstrates some knowledge of apocryphal and pseudepigraphical traditions of ‘apocalyptical’ nature.

10.

Josephus’s ‘Apocalyptic’ Rendering of Eschatological Prophecies in the Scriptures

Jewish apocalypticism is not identical with Jewish eschatology, but neither is it entirely separate (cf. section 3). Jewish apocalypticism is about the revealed disclosure of divine secrets among which the future destiny of the Jewish people is one of the most important. In this section I will examine the way in which Josephus renders some of the central eschatological prophecies in the Bible. In Ant. 4.100–31 Josephus gives an extensive paraphrase of Numbers 22–24 on the non-Jewish diviner Balaam, who was sent forth by the Midjanite king, Balak, to ‘deliver curses for the extermination of the Israelites’ (4.104). Generally, Josephus follows Numbers 22 rather closely. But in 4.114–17 he extends and elaborates Balaam’s first blessing of the Israelites in Num. 23.7–10, though in general terms. Similar amplifications characterize Josephus’s reproduction of the following conversation between Balak and Balaam in 4.118–24 (Num. 23.11–17). Josephus renders Balaam’s second blessing as follows: Instead, falling upon his face, he foretold what calamities were to come for kings and what for cities of the highest celebrity (of which some had not yet so much as been inhabited at all), along with other events which have already befallen men in bygone ages, by land or sea, down to times within my memory. And from all these prophecies having received the fulfilment which he predicted one may infer what the future also has in store (4.125).

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With this choice of words Josephus clearly understands the first part of Balaam’s prophecies as referring to the decisive events in his own lifetime, namely, the destructions during the Jewish revolt against Rome. Accordingly, the concluding clause can only be taken to refer to the coming messianic salvation and restoration of Israel.58 This interpretation of Josephus seems to receive support from his rendering of Balaam’s third prediction (Num. 24) in 4.127–28: …doubtless this race of Hebrews will never be overwhelmed by utter destruction, neither through war, nor through pestilence and dearth of the fruits of the earth, neither shall any other unlooked-for cause exterminate it. For God is watching over them to preserve them from ill and to suffer no such calamity to come upon them as would destroy them all. Yet misfortunes may well befall them of little moment and for a little while, whereby they will appear to be abased, though only thereafter to flourish once more to the terror of those who inflicted these injuries upon them.

The last sentence may be interpreted as a hidden threat against Rome. In his paraphrase of Dan. 2.34–35 and 2.44–45 Josephus writes as follows: And Daniel also revealed to the king the meaning of the stone, but I have not thought it proper to relate this, since I am expected to write of what is past and done and not of what is to be; if, however, there is anyone who has so keen a desire for exact information that he will not stop short of inquiring more closely but wishes to learn about the hidden things that are to come, let him take the trouble to read the Book of Daniel, which he will find among the sacred writings (Ant. 10.210).

According to Josephus, the ‘hidden things that are to come’ were revealed by God to Daniel who in his book discloses them to his readers. And in his book Josephus interprets this revelation as pertaining to the crucial events in his own lifetime. According to Bruce (1965), Josephus here suggests that the fourth realm in Daniel’s prophecy is referring to Rome, and that the stone is the messianic kingdom of Israel: ‘At the end, it may be suggested, his [Josephus’s] patriotism triumphed and he foresaw his people’s vindication.’59 That Bruce’s interpretation is correct emerges from Ant. 10.276–77: And these misfortunes our nation did in fact come to experience under Antiochus Epiphanes, just as Daniel many years before saw and wrote that they would happen. In the same manner Daniel also wrote about the empire of the Romans and that Jerusalem would be taken by them and the temple laid waste. All these things, as God revealed them

58 Cf. Blenkinsopp 1974, 242, and the cautious evaluation by Volz 1966, 53, quoted in section 2. This interpretation of Ant. 4.125 corresponds exactly to Josephus’s interpretation of Dan. 7– 10 in Ant. 10.267–68, given in section 9, and 10.276 given below. 59 Bruce 1965, 160. Similarly Chesnut 1971, 76; Lindner 1972, 43–44; Davies 1978, 18–19. Against: Volz 1966, 53, quoted in section 3; Fischer 1978, 174–81.

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to him, he left behind in his writings, so that those who read them and observe how they have come to pass must wonder at Daniel’s having been so honoured by God …

Consequently, it appears that Josephus understood the prophecies in Numbers 23–24 and in Daniel (2 and 7–10) to be predictions referring to Josephus’s own lifetime, partly the catastrophe in the year 70 CE and partly the approaching eschatological redemption of the Jewish people. Josephus thus seems to have foreseen Rome’s upcoming as well as her downfall. This interpretation of Josephus’s eschatology appears to receive support from War 5.362–419 where Josephus reproduces his speech on behalf of the Romans to the Jews on the walls of Jerusalem. Here, he urges the Jews to surrender because God was ‘now’ on the Roman side: Fortune, indeed, had from all quarters passed over to them, and God who went the round of nations, bringing each in turn the rod of empire, now rested over Italy (War 5.367).60

Despite the Hellenistic colouring of the sentence it is a genuine expression of the apocalyptic worldview which we find in Daniel 2 and 7: God is the master and director of history. He brings the great powers to fall and rises new ones to power. ‘Now’, Josephus seems to say, in these years, God has given this power to Rome, but only for a limited period. And when this period is over, then the eschatological turn will come to the Jewish people, if, however, it would change its ungodly way of life.61 This interpretation of Josephus was first presented in full by de Jonge: ‘It is obvious that Josephus is expecting a glorious future for an “Israel” being obedient to God. The Roman Empire is not the last word.’62 This view of history is not only ‘theological’, ‘Deuteronomic’, ‘eschatological’ or ‘heilsgeschichtlich’ (Attridge 1976). It may also be termed ‘apocalyptic’.63 The crucial point is that God is defined as the unseen director of history; that he ‘now’, in Josephus’s lifetime, has granted world domination to Rome; that Rome’s domination is coming to its end; that God then will pass it to the Jewish people; that God has disclosed to Daniel and other prophets the secret knowledge of all this; and that Josephus believes that he is authorized to communicate a divinely authorized interpretation of this message. Therefore, Josephus may be claimed to represent a sort of revealed actualizing eschatological reading of Balaams and Daniel’ s prophecies, a reading which may

60 61 62 63

Similarly in War 2.390; 3.354; 5.2. Cf. War 5.19–20, 415. See also Ant. 4.125–28; 10.142, 210 and 276. De Jonge 1974, 212, cf. Poznanski 1887, 29–30; Schalit 1975, 259, 268–69. Similarly Lindner 1972, 43–44, 142–44

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be compared to the ‘reading’ of the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls (cf. section 5) and the ‘reading’ of Paul in his letters.

11.

Conclusion

As stated in the introduction, Josephus cannot simply be categorized as an ‘apocalyptic’ theologian and writer. Such an interpretation would be simplistic and unhelpful. On the other hand, it would be just as simplistic to negate any connections between Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism in the sense defined in section 3. On the basis of the examination carried out in this essay the relationship between the two may be described as follows: (1) Although Josephus does not use the term apokalyptein in the technical ‘apocalyptic’ sense, he is interested in related verbs, and, consequently, in the ‘apocalyptic’ idea of divine disclosure of hidden secrets through chosen prophetic mediators. (2) Josephus was very much absorbed by the ‘apocalyptic’ Essenes, their studies of the Bible, their emphasis on priesthood and their prophetic power. (3) Josephus is our best witness to the important role of Jewish prophetism in the Hellenistic-Roman period, a phenomenon known also from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament. (4) In this context belongs the growing recognition in recent years of Josephus’s picture of himself as a divinely inspired prophet. Because Josephus relates his prophetic abilities to his qualifications as a priest and to his knowledge of the holy scriptures, his type of prophecy appears to be closely related to that of the Qumran-Essenes. As his own prophecies are closely connected to his interpretations of the biblical, prophetic, eschatological oracles concerning contemporary events, they appear to be similar not only to Essene prophecy, but also to ‘Zelotic’ and early Christian prophecy. As Josephus’s prophecies are related to the revelation of divine secrets concerning contemporary history, we may also call them ‘apocalyptic’. (5) Josephus’s claim to prophetic power is also connected with his historiographical work. I have argued in favour of the hypothesis that Josephus regarded his works as a sort of continuation of the ‘prophetical’ works in the Bible (Bilde 1996), and Hall (1991) has proposed to term them ‘revealed history’. (6) Josephus’s works reveal knowledge of well-known apocalyptic ideas and figures, and of the legends that grew up about them in the Hellenistic-Roman period. Josephus was very much interested in prophetic and ‘apocalyptic’ figures as ‘mediators’ between God and the human world. At the same time he describes such figures with great reserve, partly for political-apologetic

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reasons because of the close connections between the ‘apocalyptic’ world view and the Jewish revolt against Rome, and partly because of the genre and nature of his writings which are primarily historical. On this background it can no longer be maintained that Jewish apocalypticism and Josephus belong to two different worlds. On the contrary, Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism are connected by several connecting links.

8:

Was hat Josephus über die Synagoge zu sagen?

1.

Einleitung

Im Jahr 1979 hat Arnaldo Momigliano den Aufsatz „Cio ehe Flavio Giuseppe non vide“ veröffentlicht, wo er Folgendes schreibt: Non e tuttavia un pregiudizio moralistico ehe ci fa parlare dell’ isolamento di Ravio Giuseppe. Egli non da segno di comprendere Ja istituzione ehe teneva insieme gli Ebrei anche prima della scomparsa de! tempio – la sinagoga.1

Natürlich läßt sich diskutieren, ob Josephus die Institution der Synagoge „verstanden“ hat. Es ist allerdings eine notwendige Voraussetzung für eine solche Aussage, daß wir diese Institution richtig verstehen. Ein solches Verständnis muß aber notwendigerweise auch eine Analyse aller Äußerungen des Josephus über die Synagoge einbeziehen. Deshalb ist Momiglianos Aussage über das Verständnis des Josephus von der Institution der Synagoge als Ausgangssatz methodologisch nicht zu empfehlen. Wir dürfen nicht mit solchen Fragen anfangen: „Hat Josephus – oder Philo oder das Neue Testament oder die Qumran-Schriften oder andere Quellen – diese (bedeutungsvolle) Institution (richtig) verstanden?“ Von vornherein wissen wir ja gar nicht, wie bedeutungsvoll die Synagoge in dieser Periode eigentlich war. Im Gegenteil, darüber wird ja eben diskutiert und gestritten, und eine Antwort können wir erst nach sorgfältigen Untersuchungen sämtlicher Quellen erreichen, der literarischen und der archäologischen. Dementsprechend ist die adäquate Frage nicht: „Hat Josephus die Synagoge verstanden?“ sondern: „Was sagt Josephus über die Synagoge?“ Erst danach können wir zur Stellungnahme Momiglianos zurückkehren.

1 Momigliano 1982, 325. Hier sagt Momigliano weiter, daß Josephus noch weniger die jüdische Apokalyptik verstanden hat. Diese These habe ich in meinem Aufsatz „Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism“ kritisch untersucht.

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2.

Was hat Josephus über die Synagoge zu sagen?

Zur neueren Forschung über die antiken Synagogen

Ein Hauptproblem in der Diskussion der letzten Jahre über die Synagoge ist der Streit über die Datierung ihrer Entstehung. Ist die Synagogeninstitution, sind besondere Synagogengebäude schon im ersten Jahrhundert vor Beginn unserer Zeitrechnung, vielleicht noch früher2 oder erst im zweiten oder dritten Jahr hundert nach dem Anfang unserer Zeitrechnung entstanden? 3 In diesem Streit wird sowohl über die Synagogengebäude als auch über die verschiedenen sozialen Funktionen, die mit diesem Gebäude und der Institution verbunden waren, verhandelt. Die Argumente in diesem Streit beruhen auf Interpretationen literarischer Texte (vor allem Inschriften, Philo, Josephus und das Neue Testament) und archäologischen Ausgrabungen. Im Rahmen dieser Diskussion ist auch wichtig, was Josephus über die Synagogeninstitution zu berichten hat. Die moderne Forschung über die Synagoge ist hauptsächlich archäologisch orientiert. Die überraschenden Entdeckungen antiker Synagogen in den letzten hundert Jahren, besonders in Palästina,4 hat unsere Aufmerksamkeit in Anspruch genommen. Deswegen ist es ganz natürlich gewesen, daß heute weniger Gewicht auf die Analyse der literarischen Quellen gelegt worden ist.5 Die archäologischen Quellen können aber nicht alleine stehen und alles erzählen. Sie sollen in Zusammenhang mit den literarischen Quellen analysiert werden.6 Deshalb müssen wir auch diese Quellen ständig untersuchen. Nehmen wir diese Quellen in Augenschein, fällt es aber auf, das hier keine systematischen Untersuchungen vorliegen. Natürlich geben die verschiedene Autoren hier die notwendige Übersicht über die relevanten Stellen in Philo, Josephus, das Neue Testament und andere Quellen,7 aber es fehlen uns systematische Untersuchungen der Auskünfte jeder einzelnen dieser Quellengruppen über die Synagoge. Dementsprechend habe ich mir vorgenommen, die Werke des Josephus durchzugehen im Hinblick auf eine Analyse seiner Aussagen über die jüdischen Synagogen. Dabei hat es sich zu meiner großen Überraschung gezeigt, daß eine

2 So neuerdings Atkinson 1977. 3 So besonders Kee 1990 und Ders. 1995. 4 Vgl. Kohl & Watzinger 1916; Krauss 1922; Sukenik 1934; Gutmann 1981; Levine 1981; Levine 1987; Urmann & Flesher 1995. 5 So z. B. Gutmann 1975; Levine 1981; Levine 1987; Urmann & Flesher 1995; Atkinson 1997. Darstellungen, die dagegen vor allem literarisch basiert sind, finden wir in Schrage 1969–1973; Hengel 1971, aber auch in Safrai 1976; Schürer 1979. 6 Ähnlich Cohen 1987, 159. 7 Vgl. z. B. Schrage 1969–1973, (802–806: Septuaginta; 806–808: griechische Inschriften, Philo, Josephus u. a.; 826–836: Neues Testament); Hengel 1971; Safrai 1976, 909–914; Schürer 1979, II, 424–427; Kee 1990, 4–8. 14–19; Oster 1993, 182–191; Kee 1995, 484–493.

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solche Untersuchung noch immer nicht vorliegt.8 Es ist deshalb an der Zeit, diese Aufgabe anzufassen. Die Untersuchung fängt an mit einem kommentierten Katalog über – hoffentlich – sämtliche Texte bei Josephus, in denen die Synagoge genannt ist. Darauf folgt eine kurze Zusammenfassung der Informationen dieser Texte und eine Diskussion über das Verständnis des Josephus von der Synagoge.

3.

Kommentierter Katalog

Terminologisch9 soll sofort bemerkt werden, daß Josephus für die Synagoge nicht nur das Wort συναγωγή benutzt (B 2:284–292; 7:44; (A 1:10; 15:346); A 19:300– 311),10 sondern auch das Wort προσευχή ((B 5:388); A 14:258; V 271–303; c 2:10).11 Dazu kommen die Termini ἱερόν (B 4:408; 7:45; 7:144; A 13:65f.; C 1:209), σαββατείον (A 16:164) und τόπος (A 14:235; 14:260f.). Dazu vielleicht auch indirekt noch ναός (A 19:305), und möglicherweise schließlich ἀνδρών (A 16:164).12

3.1.

Συναγωγή

Das Wort συναγωγή kommt bei Josephus in den folgenden acht Fällen vor. 3.1.1.–2. Bellum 2:284–29213 Vor uns haben wir den Bericht des Josephus über den Synagogenstreit in Caesarea. Im Jahre 66 wurde der politische Kampf zwischen den Juden und den NichtJuden in Caesarea über die Vorherrschaft in dieser Stadt zugunsten der Nicht8 Vgl. Feldman 1984, 436f. der nur vier Werke nennt, von denen keines eine derartige Spezialuntersuchung ist. Auch aus der Zeit nach 1980 kenne ich keine solche Untersuchung. Die oben (Anm. 7) angegebenen Autoren nennen natürlich die meisten Stellen bei Josephus, aber keiner nennt alle, und niemand präsentiert eine systematische Analyse dieser Stellen. 9 Vgl. hierzu Hengel 1971; Safrai 1976, 913–914; Schürer 1979, II, 439–440; Urman & Flesher1995, I, XIX; Oster 1993, 186; Kee 1995, 486. 10 Nach Hengel 1971, 179, ist συναγωγή „die typisch palästinische Bezeichnung“, die besonders bei Josephus und im Neuen Testament vorkommt, aber bei Philo nur einmal, nämlich in Prob 81 (über die Essener). Richtig ist jedoch, daß sie bei ihm nicht nur einmal, sondern fünfmal vorkommt, vgl. Oster 1993, 190. Siehe auch Anm. 43. 11 Nach Hengel 1971, 179, ist προσευχή „die ursprüngliche, von Ägypten ausgehende Bezeichnung des Synagogengebäudes im griechisch sprechenden Diasporajudentum“. Siehe auch Griffiths, „Egypt“. Im Neuen Testament kommt προσευχή nur Act 16,13.16 vor. Vgl. auch Anm. 43. 12 Man kann auch überlegen, ob τὸ χωρίον („Stätte“) in B 2:289 (siehe unten 3.1.1–2) im Sinne von „Synagoge“ gebraucht worden ist, ungefähr wie τόπος (siehe unten 3.5). 13 Vgl. hierzu auch Oster 1993, 188f.; Kee 1995, 488.

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Juden entschieden. Josephus betont, daß diese Entscheidung eine wesentliche Ursache für den jüdischen Aufstand gegen Rom war (B 2:284). Diese Entscheidung löste den Synagogenstreit aus, und dieser Streit führte weiter zu neuen Konflikten (B 2:293.304). Nach Josephus führte die eben erwähnte politische Entscheidung dazu, daß einige Nicht-Juden den Juden den Zugang zu ihrem Synagogengebäude verweigerten. Dazu kam, daß diese an einem Sabbat die Juden zu verunglimpfen versuchten, und zwar dadurch, daß einer von ihnen vor der Synagoge Vögel opferte. Beide Handlungen riefen jüdischen Widerstand hervor. Die Folge waren Kämpfe zwischen den Hitzköpfen auf beiden Seiten, die schließlich zu einer römischen militärischen Intervention führten. Was sagt Josephus hier über die Synagoge in Caesarea? In 2:285 lesen wir: Die Juden in Caesarea besaßen nämlich eine Synagoge, die unmittelbar an ein Grundstück angrenzte, dessen Besitzer Hellene und ortsansässiger Bürger war.14

Die Juden hatten versucht, das naheliegende Grundstück zu kaufen, waren aber abgelehnt worden. Und noch dazu bebauten die Nicht-Juden dieses Grundstück mit Werkstätten und hinderten dabei die Juden am Zugang zu ihrem Synagogengebäude (2:286). Dazu kam schließlich die Vogel-Opfer-Episode (2:289): Am folgenden Tage, einem Sabbat, da die Juden zur Synagoge strömten, stellte ein streitsüchtiger Bürger aus Caesarea einen umgestülpten Topf am Eingang der Synagoge auf und begann, darauf Vögel zu opfern.

Es wird hier deutlich gemacht, daß die Juden Caesareas sich am Sabbat im Synagogengebäude versammeln. Weiter scheint es mir interessant zu sein, daß Josephus das Vogel-Opfer in folgender Weise beschreibt: Dies erbitterte die Juden heillos, weil dadurch ihr Gesetz verhöhnt und die Stätte unrein wurde.15 (2:289)

Das heißt, daß die Stätte (gemeint ist sicher der Ort und das Gebäude der Synagoge) kultisch unrein (μιαίνω) gemacht worden war. Wir fassen zusammen: Der politische Streit zwischen den zwei ethnischen Gruppen um die Macht in Caesarea wurde in einem religiösen Streit um das Recht der Juden zum ungehinderten religiösen Gebrauch ihrer Synagogenge14 Übersetzung von Michel & Bauernfeind 1959–1969, l, 239. Nach Kee 1995, 488, hat dieses Werk des Josephus, Der jüdische Krieg, seine Endgestalt „in the last decade of the first century CE“ gefunden, was ich aber nicht akzeptieren kann, vgl. Bilde 1988, 79. Nach Kee finden wir in diesem Text Josephus’ description of the attempt by the Jews in Caesarea who ‘had a synagogue’ [im Sinne von Versammlung”] to by a plot where they could erect a building”. Das stimmt aber nicht. Was Josephus hier wirklich schreibt, ist in der Übersetzung von Michel & Bauernfeind genau angegeben. 15 Michel & Bauernfeind 1959–1969, I, 239.

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bäude fortgesetzt. Gleichzeitig beschreibt Josephus das Vogel-Opfer der NichtJuden als eine kultische Entweihung des Gebäudes. 3.1.3. Bellum 7:43–45 Nach der römischen Eroberung Jerusalems im Sommer 70 gibt Josephus im siebten Buch seines Bellum eine Reihe von Beschreibungen der Lage der Juden nach der Katastrophe, darunter auch die Situation der zahlreichen Juden in Antiochia in Syrien.16 In diesem Text heißt es, daß im Gegensatz zum König Antichos IV. Epiphanes die nachfolgenden seleukidischen Könige erstatteten alle ehernen Weihgeschenke den Juden Antiochias zurück und ließen sie in der Synagoge aufstellen17.

Durch diese und andere Privilegien nahm die Zahl der Juden zu, und Josephus schreibt: „Sie schmückten ihr Heiligtum (τὸ ἱερόν) mit kunstvollen und prächtigen Weiheschenken“.18 Josephus beschreibt also die Lage der jüdischen Gemeinde in Antiochia in Syrien. Er erzählt, daß die späteren seleukidischen Könige die Weihgeschenke, die Antiochos IV Epiphanes im Tempel Jerusalems geraubt hatte, den Juden in Antiochia zurückgegeben hatten, und daß diese sich jetzt im Synagogengebäude in Antiochia befinden. Weiter bezeichnet Josephus die antiochenische Synagoge als ein ἱερόν, d. h. ein Heiligtum (vgl. unten im Abschnitt 3.3.2). Dementsprechend scheint Josephus auch hier die Synagoge wie im Heiligtum, ein Gotteshaus oder ein Tempel zu beschreiben. 3.1.4. Antiquitates l:10 Hier weist Josephus auf König Ptolemaios II. hin in seiner Eigenschaft als „eifriger Buchsammler“. Also bezeichnet das Wort συναγωγή hier nicht ein Haus des Betens und der Vorlesung der heiligen jüdischen Schriften, sondern den Akt der „Sammlung“, nämlich von Büchern. 3.1.5. Antiquitates 15:346 Josephus schildert hier die Räuber in Trachonitis, Batanea und Auranitis. Sie lebten mit ihrem Vieh in unterirdischen Höhlen, wo sie „Behälter mit Wasser und Vorräte mit Korn“ herstellten. Dementsprechend erscheint das Wort συναγωγή 16 Vgl. dazu auch Oster 1993, 189. 17 B 7:44 in der Übersetzung von Michel & Bauernfeind 1959–1969, II, 2, 85 18 B 7:45 in der Übersetzung von Michel & Bauernfeind 1959–1969, II, 2, 85. Die Übersetzung und Interpretation von ἱερόν wird unten in Abschnitt 3.3.2 diskutiert.

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hier fast in derselben Bedeutung wie in A 1:10, nämlich „Sammlung“ im Sinne von „Behälter“. 3.1.6.–8. Antiquitates 19:300–31119 Josephus erzählt hier die Geschichte des Synagogenstreits in Dora, eine Episode, die in mehrerlei Hinsicht dem oben kommentierten Ereignis in Caesarea gleicht. Einige übermütige junge Männer „brachten ein Standbild des Kaisers (Klaudius) in die jüdische Synagoge, wo sie sie aufstellten“ (19:300). Doch in Dora hören wir nichts von jüdischen Hitzköpfen, sondern von der Intervention des Königs Agrippa I. Er zog zum römischen Legaten Petronius [vermutlich in Antiochia] und klagte die Schuldigen an. Petronius erkannte die Tat als eine Entweihung an (ἀσέβεια, 19:302) und sandte ein offizielles Schreiben an die Behörden in Dora. (19:303–311). Darin verurteilte er die Handlung der jungen Männer und schärfte ihnen Respekt ein für die Rechte der Juden; Rechte, die beim Kaiser selbst garantiert worden waren. Er befahl, daß die Schuldigen verhaftet und zu Petronius gesandt werden sollten, um vor ihm Rechenschaft abzulegen für ihre Taten. Die entscheidenden Formulierungen in diesem Text sind die folgenden: Ihr habt dem Edikt (διάταγμα [19:304]) des Kaisers nicht gehorcht, sondern genau das Gegenteil gemacht. Ihr habt die jüdische Synagoge (συναγωγή) nicht eine solche sein lassen, dadurch, daß Ihr das Standbild des Kaisers hineingestellt habt. Dabei habt Ihr gegen die Gesetze gehandelt, nicht nur gegen die der Juden, sondern auch gegen das des Kaisers. Denn sein Standbild steht besser in seinem eigenen Heiligtum (ναός) als in einem, das einem andren gehört, und dazu in einer Synagoge (συναγωγῆς) (19:305).

Im Text wird das Heiligtum des Kaisers (ναός) mit der jüdischen Synagoge verglichen, diese wird dabei indirekt als ναός bezeichnet. Das stimmt mit dem Wort ἀσέβεια überein, gebraucht in 19:302.20 Wir sehen also noch einmal, daß Josephus die jüdischen Synagogengebäude mit denselben Ausdrücken wie andere Heiligtümer beschreibt.

19 Vgl. hierzu auch Oster 1993, 189f.; Kee 1995, 487. 20 Kee 1995, 487, behauptet, daß Josephus hier von einer Versammlung, und nicht von einem Gebäude spricht: “The most revealing passage in Josephus as to the precise connotation of συναγωγή is obscured by the translation in the Loeb edition of the Antiquities (19:299–307)”. Nach Kee ist die richtige Übersetzung der Stelle, „that these desecrators had prevented the Jews from being (εἶναι) a synagogue (…)“. Das geht aber nicht, weil der Text gerade zwei heilige Gebäude vergleicht, nämlich ein Kaiserheiligtum (ναός) und eine jüdische Synagoge. (Ähnlich Oster 1993, 189f.).

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3.2.

177

Προσευχή

Das Wort kommt bei Josephus in den folgenden sechs Fällen vor: 3.2.1. Bellum 5:388 Hier sind wir mitten in der großen Rede des Josephus zu den jüdischen Aufrührern in Jerusalem mit seiner Aufforderung zur Übergabe (B 5:362–419). An dieser Stelle weist er auf Beispiele aus der jüdischen Geschichte hin, wo die Juden gerettet wurden, nicht durch Waffenmacht, sondern durch Gebete zu Gott. Das Wort προσευχή wird hier eben in der Bedeutung „Gebet“ gebraucht, nicht in der Bedeutung von „Gebetshaus“ oder „Synagoge“.21 3.2.2. Antiquitates 14:258 In A 14:256–258 liegt ein regelrechtes Dekret vor, angenommen von den Einwohnern in Halikarnassos.22 Es handelt sich um die Vorrechte der Juden in der Stadt; das Dekret weist auf die Wünsche der Römer hin. Die Römer haben nach Halikarnassos über die jüdischen Vorrechte geschrieben, und im Dekret schließen die Einwohner von Halikarnassos sich der römischen Auffassung an und beschließen Folgendes: (auch wir haben beschlossen), daß von den Juden den Männern und Frauen, die das wünschen, erlaubt ist, den Sabbat zu halten und die heilige Riten (τὰ ἱερά) durchzuführen nach den jüdischen Gesetzen, und Gebetshäuser (προσευχάς) zu bauen am Meer nach der väterlichen Sitte (14:258).

Der Text sagt also, daß den Juden erlaubt ist προσευχάς zu „machen“ am Meer, und das heißt wohl, daß es ihnen gestattet ist, „Gebetshäuser“, d. h. Synagogen zu bauen.23 Aus diesem Text können wir die Einsicht gewinnen, daß die jüdischen „Gebetshäuser“ hier in naher Verbindung mit den übrigen jüdischen religiösen Ri21 Diese Bedeutung von προσευχή scheint die ursprüngliche zu sein, vgl. Hengel 1971, 161f. 22 Leider ist der Erlaß nicht datiert; da die übrigen Dokumente in diesem Kontext alle aus dem letzten Teil des ersten vorchristlichen Jahrhunderts sind, ist diese Datierung auch wahrscheinlich für diesen Erlaß. Was die Echtheitsfrage betrifft, nehme ich mit vielen neueren Autoren an, daß die von Josephus zitierten offiziellen Dokumente im allgemeinen echt sind. Das Hauptargument für diese Annahme ist die Terminologie dieser Dokumente, vgl. Laqueur 1920, 221–230, besonders 227; Moehring 1975; Saulinier 1981; Bilde 1988, 198f.216; Ben Zeev 1996; Ben Zeev 1998. 23 Eine andere Übersetzungsmöglichkeit ist „Gebete zu machen“ (= „Zu beten“), so Cohen 1987, 165. Aber sie scheint ausgeschlossen zu sein, da die Gebete sicher schon in der Wendung, „Sabbat zu halten“ und die „heiligen Riten“ zu befolgen, einbezogen sind.

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ten, Sitten und Gebräuchen erscheinen.24 Die Synagogengebäude scheinen demnach zur jüdischen religiösen Tradition dieser Zeit zu gehören.

3.2.3.–5. Vita 271–30325 Josephus berichtet hier über die Kontroversen und Kämpfe in Galiläa im Winter 66/67, nämlich zwischen Josephus selbst und seinen verschiedenen Gegnern: der Jerusalemer Delegation, Johannes aus Gischala und Leuten aus Tiberias wie Jesus und Justus. Der Ort ist Tiberias. Es ist Sabbat, und alle – allerdings nicht Josephus, der sich in Tarichaea befindet – versammeln sich (συνάγονται) in dem großen Gebetshaus (προσευχήν), einem sehr großen Gebäude, das im Stande war, eine gewaltige Menge zu fassen (V 277).

Es wird hier über Josephus als Kommandant von Galiläa diskutiert, dann aber wird die Sitzung abgebrochen, „weil die sechste Stunde angebrochen war, in der wir am Sabbat essen müssen“ (V 279). Man kann hier fragen, ob diese Mahlzeit in der Synagoge eingenommen wurde.26 Alles wurde dem Josephus in Tarichaea gemeldet, und er entschloß sich, am nächsten Tag nach Tiberias zu ziehen. Als er dort eintraf, „fand er, daß die Menge schon im Gebetshaus (προσευχήν) versammelt war (συναγόμενον)“ (V 280, cf. 284 und 293). Hier schlug einer der Gegner des Josephus vor, daß man am nächsten Tag ein öffentliches Fasten einhalten und daß man sich dann wieder an demselben Ort versammeln solle um Gott die Ehre zu erweisen, ohne dessen Hilfe ihre Waffen nichts vermochten (290). Am nächsten Tag wurde so ein öffentlicher Fastentag abgehalten (vgl. 290). Josephus und seine Männer trafen ein, aber nur Josephus wurde ins Gebetshaus 24 Vgl. dazu z. B. auch B 2:289 (vgl. Abschnitt 3. 1.1–2); A 14:216: „diesen Leuten alleine gebe ich die Erlaubnis, daß sie in Übereinstimmung mit den väterlichen Gebräuchen sich versammeln und Feste abhalten können“; 14:227: „und ich erlaube ihnen, die väterlichen Sitten zu befolgen und sich versammlen zu können im Hinblick auf heilige und religiöse Riten“; 14:235 (vgl. Abschnitt 3.5.1); 14:242: „daß ihnen erlaubt wird, den Sabbat zu halten und die übrigen heiligen Riten auszuführen nach den väterlichen Gesetzen“; 14:260–261 (vgl. Abschnitt 3.5.2); 14:264: „[Man soll sie nicht hindern] den Sabbat zu beachten, [„.] aber ihnen soll erlaubt werden, alles auszuführen in Übereinstimmung mit ihren eigenen Gesetzen“; 16:163f. (vgl. Abschnitt 3.4); V 277 (vgl. Abschnitt 3.2.3–5); C 1:209 (vgl. Abschnitt 3.3.5); C 2:175: „aber er (Moses) hat befohlen, daß sie jede Woche ihre übrigen Beschäftigungen verlassen sollten und sich versammeln sollten um (das Vorlesen) des Gesetzes zu hören und dasselbe genau zu lernen“. Siehe dazu auch Philo, VitMos, 2:216; Prob 81f.; VitCont, 25–33; 64–89; LegGai 156; Act 15,21. 25 Vgl. dazu Kee 1995, 486–487. 26 Eine positive Antwort könnte sich auf A 14:216; 16:164, und weiter auf Philo, VitCont 67–89; Josephus, B 2:129–133, stützen.

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eingelassen (293–294). Dann heißt es: „Als wir schon die im Gesetz festgesetzten Riten ausführten und mitten im Gebet waren“ (295), trat Jesus auf und fing an, den Josephus zu verhören. Von dem Gebetshaus und den damit verbundenen religiösen Riten wird im Kontext nicht weiter gesprochen. Welche Einsichten können wir nun aus dieser Geschichte gewinnen? Ich möchte zuerst auf Folgendes hinweisen: a) das Gebetshaus ist ein großes und geräumiges Gebäude; b) es wird (häufig) für soziale (politische) Versammlungen gebraucht; c) es wird aber auch für verschiedene religiöse Veranstaltungen benutzt; d) es wird ausdrücklich vom „Sich Gebeten hingeben“ (πρὸς εὐχὰς) geredet; e) vielleicht wird im Gebetshaus auch ein heiliges Sabbatmahl eingenommen. Es soll angemerkt werden, daß alle diese Auskünfte sozusagen en passant gegeben werden. Das Hauptinteresse des Textes gilt ja den politischen Streitigkeiten. 3.2.6. Contra Apionem 2:10 Josephus teilt hier mit, daß er einen Auszug aus Apions Aiguptiaka zitiert. Es heißt darin, daß Apion sagt, daß er von alten Leuten in Ägypten gehört hat, daß Moses ein Heliopolitaner war, der sich den väterlichen Sitten gegenüber sehr verpflichtet gefühlt hatte, und offene Gebetshäuser in die Einfriedigungen der Stadt baute; alle orientierte er östlich.

In C 2:12–14 kommentiert Josephus andere Teile aus diesem Auszug, aber er hat nichts – auch nichts kritisches – zu den zitierten Wörter zu bemerken. Die zitierten Wörter fügen damit eine wichtige Auskunft zu den übrigen hinzu, nämlich die Behauptung, daß die Synagogengebäude eine sehr alte Institution sind, die nach der Meinung des Josephus auf Moses selbst zurückgeht.27

3.3.

ἱερόν

Das Wort ἱερόν/ἱερός kommt bei Josephus sehr oft vor, ungefähr 600 Mal. In den meisten Fällen ist das Wort als Adjektiv („heilig“) oder als Substantiv („Heiligtum“) gebraucht. Im Sinne von „Heiligtum“ wird das Wort häufig in Bezug auf den Tempel Jerusalems angewendet, gelegentlich aber auch auf andere Tempel. Es gibt einige Stellen, an denen es scheint, daß dieses Wort zur Bezeichnung von Synagogengebäuden gebraucht wird, nämlich an folgenden:

27 Daß Josephus selbst damit einverstanden ist, wird von C 2:175 bestätigt, vgl. auch Philo, VitMos, 2:216 (siehe Anm. 24).

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3.3.1. Bellum 4:408 In B 4:398–409 beschreibt Josephus die „räuberischen“ Aktivitäten der Sicarier, die Masada erobert hatten, und andere Banditen. Unter anderem hatten die Sicarier die Stadt Engedi angegriffen und ausgeraubt. Andere räuberische Gruppen terrorisierten andere Städte und Dörfer, und Josephus beschreibt ihre Handlungen in dieser Weise: Sie sammelten sich, legten miteinander einen Eid ab und fielen nun in Rotten, die zwar kleiner als ein Heer, jedoch größer als eine Räuberbande waren, über Heiligtümer (ἱεροῖς) und Städte her (B 4:408).28

Das Wort „Heiligtümer“ kann auf nicht-jüdische, heidnische Tempeln hinweisen, aber es ist nicht ausgeschlossen, daß es hier jüdische Synagogengebäude bezeichnet.29 3.3.2. Bellum 7:45 Im Abschnitt 3.1.3 sind wir schon auf diesen Text eingegangen, und wir haben uns bereits dort für die Interpretation entschieden, daß συναγωγή in § 44 und ἱερόν in § 45 als zwei verschiedene Bezeichnungen für dieselbe Sache aufzufassen sind. Michel/Bauernfeind machen ausführliche Anmerkungen zur Diskussion der Interpretation von ἱερόν.30 Sie führen drei mögliche Interpretationen an, diskutieren sie ausführlich und entscheiden sich für die Auffassung, daß ἱερόν hier eine „Synagoge mit besonderen Rechten“ bezeichnet (S. 229). Dafür spricht erstens, daß § 44 und 45 zu demselben Kontext gehören, von derselben Sache, nämlich den Juden im syrischen Antiochia, reden, und daß beide Teile des Textes vom Aufhängen von ἀναθήματα berichten. Deswegen ist die einfachste Lösung die oben angeführte Annahme, daß die beiden Ausdrücke auf dieselbe Sache hinweisen. 3.3.3. Bellum 7:144 In B 7:139–152 gibt Josephus eine Darstellung des römischen Triumphzugs nach dem jüdischen Krieg. Er beschreibt insbesondere die bildliche Darstellung von Kriegsszenen und erzählt in diesem Zusammenhang Folgendes:

28 Übersetzung nach Michel & Bauernfeind 1959–1969, II, 1, 67. 29 Beide Möglichkeiten werden in Michel & Bauernfeind, Anm. 110 zu dieser Stelle erörtert, aber sie halten es für „wahrscheinlich“, daß mit diesem Ausdruck jüdische Synagogen gemeint sind. 30 De Bello Judaico, II, 2, 228f.

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Dargestellt waren auch Gruppen wehrloser Menschen, die mit erhobenen Händen um Gnade flehten, Heiligtümer, die man gerade in Brand gesteckt hatte, und Häuser, die über ihren Bewohnern zusammenstürzten.31

Der Tempel in Jerusalem wird später (§ 148–150) beschrieben, und deswegen wird im obigen Text kaum darauf hingewiesen. Weiter spricht der ganze Kontext vom jüdischen Krieg, und demnach glaube ich, daß die ἱερά im zitierten Text Synagogengebäude meinen.32 3.3.4. Antiquitates 13:65f. Josephus zitiert hier einen Brief von Onias (IV) an den König Ptolemaios (Philometor) und Königin Kleopatra mit einer Bitte, einen jüdischen Tempel in Heliopolis bauen zu dürfen (13:65–68). Im Brief erzählt Onias Folgendes über seine Ankunft in Leontopolis: (Im Krieg habe ich euch mit Gottes Hilfe viele und große Dienste geleistet, sowohl als ich in Koile-Syrien und Phönizien war, als auch als ich mit den Juden nach Leontopolis in Heliopolis kam.) Und ich habe gefunden, daß die meisten (von ihnen) – im Gegensatz zur Sitte – Heiligtümer haben und deswegen sich feindlich gegen einander verhalten, wie es auch für die Ägypter wegen der großen Menge ihrer Tempel zutrifft (…)

Es scheint mir klar zu sein, daß die Leute, von denen im Text erzählt wird, daß sie Heiligtümer besitzen, Juden sind, weil sie im nächsten Satz in Kontrast zu den Ägyptern gesetzt werden. Aber was ist genau mit ἱερά gemeint? Mit Martin Hengel könnte man annehmen, daß sie auf Synagogen hinweisen.33 Dagegen spricht aber, daß der Zusammenhang sonst von Tempeln redet. Eine eindeutige Entscheidung zu treffen, scheint hier also nicht möglich zu sein. 3.3.5. Contra Apionem 1:209 Hier ist die Situation einfacher. Josephus zitiert in C 1:209–211 Agatharchides mit folgender Aussage: Die Juden bleiben an jedem siebten Tag der Arbeit fern, „und in den Heiligtümern (ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς) beten sie bis zum Abend mit erhobenen Händen“ (§ 209). Es scheint klar zu sein, daß hier vom jüdischen Gottesdienst am Sabbat im Synagogengebäude die Rede ist. Zusammenfassend läßt sich demnach behaupten, daß Josephus vier Mal jüdische Synagogengebäude mit dem Wort ἱερόν bezeichnet.34 31 32 33 34

Übersetzung nach Michel & Bauernfeind 1959–1969, II, 2, 101. Ähnlich Michel & Bauernfeind zur Stelle (1959–1969, II, 2, 245). Vgl. Hengel 1971, 159, 162. In anderen Texten aus derselben Zeit wird auch von Synagogen als ἱερά (oder templa) gesprochen, vgl. z. B. III Makk. 2,27f.: „Auf dem Turm in der Nähe von dem Palast ließ er [der

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Was hat Josephus über die Synagoge zu sagen?

Σαββατείον

A 16:163–164: In A 16:162–165 zitiert Josephus einen Erlaß des Augustus über die Privilegien der Juden.35 Erstens wird ihnen erlaubt, „ihren eigenen Gebräuchen zu folgen in Übereinstimmung mit ihrem väterlichen Gesetz“ (16: 163). Weiter wird gesagt, daß „ihr heiliges (Geld) geschützt werden soll und nach Jerusalem geschickt werden darf“, und daß sie nicht verpflichtet sind in Gerichtshöfen zu erscheinen am Sabbat und Vorsabbat (16:163). Daraufhin lesen wir die folgenden Sätze, die direkt die jüdische Synagogeninstitution berühren: Wenn einer entlarvt sei als Dieb, der aus einem „Sabbathaus“ und aus einem Speisesaal (ἀνδρών) 36 ihre heiligen Bücher oder heiliges Geld gestohlen hat, dann soll er als Heiligtumsschänder gelten, und sein Eigentum soll eingezogen werden und in den öffentlichen Staatsschatz Roms übergehen.

Der Text setzt also voraus, daß schon in der Zeit des Augustus eine ziemlich hoch entwickelte Synagogeninstitution existiert hat. Sie besteht mindestens aus Gebetshaus und Speisesaal, und hier befinden sich sowohl die heiligen jüdischen Bücher als auch heiliges Geld. Dazu kommt, daß diese gesamte jüdische Institution nach Josephus von den Römern geschützt wird.

3.5.

Τόπος

3.5.1. Antiquitates 14:235 In A 14:235 zitiert Josephus einen Brief des proquaestor und propraetor Lucius Antonius an die Stadt Sardes, noch einmal in Sachen jüdischer Rechte.37 Hier können wir Folgendes lesen: Unsere jüdischen Bürger sind zu mir gekommen und haben nachgewiesen, daß sie ihren eigenen Verein gehabt haben nach den väterlichen Gesetzen von Anfang an, und außerdem ihre eigene Stätte, an der sie ihre Geschäfte und ihre Prozesse führen. Da sie mich gebeten Ptolemäerkönig] eine Platte aufsetzen mit der Inschrift, daß niemand von den Nicht-Opfernden in (ihre eigene) Heiligtümer gehen dürften …“; eine Inschrift von Alexandrien aus dem 2. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (CPJ II, 1433, abgedruckt in Schürer, 1973–87, 426 (h): „[Wir haben] die heilige Einzäunung und das Gebetshaus und (…) zu dem höchsten Gott, der gerne auf (Gebete) hört, eingeweiht“. Siehe auch Tacitus, Hist, 5,5: „Demnach stellen sie (die Juden) keine Bilder auf in ihren Städten und schon gar nicht in ihren Heiligtümern“. 35 Vgl. Anm. 22. 36 Hier lesen wir mit den codices ἀνδρῶνος. Wir verwerfen demnach den Text in der Ausgabe von Markus/Wikgren, die mit der Konjektur von Reland ἀαρῶνος („Arche der Torah“) lesen, vgl. dazu auch Cohen 1987, 164f. 37 Vgl. Anm. 22.

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haben, daß es ihnen erlaubt wird, dieses weiterhin zu tun und zu beobachten, habe ich beschlossen, ihnen diese Erlaubnis zu geben.

Aus diesem Text erfahren wir, daß die herkömmlichen jüdischen Privilegien von Lucius Antonius bestätigt und erneuert worden sind. Auch in der Stadt Sardes wurde den Juden erlaubt, eine eigene Organisation zu haben und dazu eine eigene „Stelle“, an der sie ihre verschiedenen gemeinschaftlichen und juridischen Angelegenheiten erledigen können. Betrachtet man diesen Text isoliert, ist es nicht möglich mit Sicherheit zu entscheiden, ob hier mit τόπος ein Grundstück oder ein Gebäude gemeint ist. Es fällt doch auf, daß hier kein Wort von Gebet und Gottesdienst gesagt wird, und wir bekommen von diesem Text denselben Eindruck wie von V 271–303, nämlich den, daß dieser Ort (auch) zu Versammlungen und gerichtlichen Verfahren gebraucht werden konnte. 3.5.2. Antiquitates 14:260f. Dasselbe Wort, τόπος für Synagoge, erscheint auch in A 14:259–261, wo Josephus ein ψήφισμα (einen Beschluß) derselben Stadt Sardes zitiert, wieder über jüdische Privilegien. Es heißt hier: (Da die Juden gebeten haben,) daß ihnen die Erlaubnis gegeben würde, sich versammeln zu können in Übereinstimmung mit den festgesetzten Sitten, als Bürgerschaft für sich leben zu können und selber Prozesse führen zu können; und weiter, daß ihnen eine Stätte (τόπος) gegeben wird, worin sie sich sammeln können mit Frauen und Kindern um ihre väterlichen Gebete verrichten zu können und der Gottheit Opfer bringen zu können, ist es bei Rat und Volk beschlossen, ihnen die Erlaubnis zu geben, daß sie, wenn sie sich an vorher festgelegten Tagen versammeln, die in ihren Gesetzen bestimmten Riten ausführen können; und daß von den Strategen eine Stätte (τόπον) ausgewiesen wird, an der sie bauen können (…).

Den Juden werden hier mehrere Rechte zugeteilt, erstens das Recht zur sozialen (bürgerlichen) Versammlung und inneren Selbstverwaltung und zweitens das Recht, eigene religiöse Riten auszuüben. Dazu wird ihnen eine „Stelle“ (τόπος) gegeben, vermutlich im Sinne eines Grundstücks.38 Letztlich bekommen sie die Erlaubnis, auf diesem Grundstück ein Gebäude zu bauen als Rahmen für alle diese gemeinsamen sozialen und religiösen Aktivitäten. Aus dem Text geht deutlich hervor, daß τόπος zur Durchführung von jüdischen Gebeten und Opferhandlungen vorgesehen ist, die hier wohl spirituell interpretiert werden müssen.39 38 Vgl. zum Terminus τόπος (im Sinne von „Stelle“, Grundstück und Heiligtum) auch B 2:289 (χωρίον) und z. B. III Makk. 7,20. 39 Vgl. Levine 1987, 14f.; Cohen 1987, 167.

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Was hat Josephus über die Synagoge zu sagen?

Die Auskünfte des Josephus über die Synagoge

Die Informationen, die wir in den Texten des Josephus gefunden haben, können wie folgt zusammengefaßt werden: 1. Die Mehrheit der Josephus-Texte über die Synagoge (oder das Gebetshaus, Sabbathaus, Heiligtum etc.) sind aus dem ersten nachchristlichen Jahrhundert. Ausnahmen sind das Zitat aus Agatharchides (C 1:209) und zwei nicht datierte Dokumente: der Brief des Lucius Antonius (A 14:235) und der Erlaß aus Halikarnassos (A 14:258). Diese Texte zusammen mit dem Erlaß des Augustus (A 16:162–165) verweisen auf eine frühere Zeit. 2. Gleichzeitig bekommen die Leser des Josephus den Eindruck, daß die Synagoge eine dem Verfasser vertraute und sehr alte jüdische Institution ist. Josephus vermittelt seinen Lesern den Eindruck, die Synagoge sei von Moses selber gestiftet worden (vgl. C 2:175; 2:10).40 Das ist natürlich eine Legende, aber nach den Texten des Josephus sieht es eindeutig so aus, als existiere die Synagoge – als Institution und als Gebäude – schon am Ende des ersten vorchristlichen Jahrhunderts, vielleicht sogar noch früher (C 1:209; 2:10), und in den Jahren vor dem jüdischen Aufstand taucht die Synagoge in den Schriften des Josephus als eine wohlbekannte Institution auf. 3. In den Werken des Josephus lesen wir von Synagogen sowohl in der Diaspora wie auch in Palästina, und hier sowohl in ethnisch gemischten Städten (Caesarea) als auch in überwiegend jüdisch bevölkerten Orten wie Tiberias. Gleichzeitig macht Josephus klar, daß die Synagogen in der Diaspora älter sind als die in Palästina. 4. Nach Josephus scheint die Synagoge sich in drei Stufen entwickelt zu haben. Auf der ersten Stufe bezeichnet das Wort συναγωγή (und auch andere Bezeichnungen) eine – soziale und religiöse – Versammlung der lokalen Juden (A 14:235; 14:260–261; C 2:175, vgl. Anm. 24). Auf der zweiten Stufe scheint diese Institution mit einem besonderen geographischen Ort verknüpft worden zu sein (A 14:235 und 14:260–261). Und erst auf der dritten Stufe kommt dazu ein besonderes jüdisches Gebäude, das eigentliche Synagogengebäude, das verhältnismäßig groß sein kann (V 277), und das eng verbunden ist mit einer Reihe besonderer jüdischer Gebräuche, Riten, Sitten und Gesetze.41 5. Die Funktionen dieses Gebäudes sind sowohl kultisch-religiös als auch profan. Auf der einen Seite reden die Texte von religiösen Aktivitäten sowie Versammlungen, besonders am Sabbat, im Hinblick auf die Vorlesung der Bücher Moses (Torah), auf Gebete und auf die heiligen Mahlzeiten und Fastentage (vgl. Anm. 24). Dazu kommt die Funktion des Synagogengebäudes als Depot von hei40 Das ist auch die Auffassung Philos, vgl. VitMos 2:215f. 41 Vgl. Anm. 24. Eine ähnliche Entwicklung können wir uns für προσευχή vorstellen, und zwar von der Gebetspraxis zum Gebetshaus.

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ligem Geld (z. B. A 16:163–164). Auf der anderen Seite wird von sozialen Versammlungen wie z. B. gerichtlichen Prozessen berichtet (vgl. besonders A 14:235; V 271–303). Es ist jedoch entscheidend, sich klarzumachen, daß diese beiden Funktionen eng zusammengehören. In der jüdischen Kultur gehören Kultus, Ethos und soziales Leben im übrigen in denselben Zusammenhang. 6. Wenn die religiöse Seite der Synagoge besonders in Betracht gezogen wird, kann Josephus betonen, daß das Synagogengebäude heilig und unverletzlich ist. Dann kann dieses Gebäude ein ἱερόν genannt werden (B 4:408; 7:45; 7:144; C 1:209), und indirekt auch ναός (A 19:305). Dann kann die Synagoge auch mit anderen Heiligtümern und Tempeln verglichen werden (A 19:300–311). Weiterhin kann demnach die Synagoge „entweiht“ werden (B 2:284–292), und schließlich können wir lesen, daß Votivgaben (ἀναθήματα) daran hängen können (B 7:43–45). 7. Josephus zufolge scheint die Synagoge also, besonders in der Diaspora, eine wichtige jüdische Institution gewesen zu sein. Deshalb ist es kaum zufällig, daß die Synagoge in mehreren hellenistischen und römischen Erlässen genannt wird (A 14:235.256–258.260f.; 16:163f.). Schließlich ist es kaum ein Zufall, daß die Synagoge eine wichtige Rolle spielte im Auftakt zum jüdischen Aufstand gegen Rom (vgl. B 2:284–292).42

5.

Wie denkt Josephus von der Synagoge?

Vor diesem Hintergrund kann man weitere Fragen stellen, vor allem diese, wie sich die Auskünfte des Josephus zu unseren übrigen (archäologischen und literarischen) Informationen über die jüdische Synagogeninstitution verhalten. Im Zusammenhang dieses Aufsatzes haben wir jedoch keine Möglichkeit, diese Frage erschöpfend zu behandeln. Stattdessen werden wir zum Abschluß über die Frage nachdenken, ob es auf Grund der obigen Texte möglich ist zu rekonstruieren, wie Josephus selbst von der Synagoge denkt? Zuerst kann man fragen, ob Josephus wenig oder viel zu erzählen hat über die Synagoge? Vergleichen wir die Auskünfte des Josephus mit denen der QumranSchriften, der jüdischen Pseudepigraphen und Apokryphen, des Philo, des Neuen Testaments und der jüdischen Inschriften aus dieser Zeit, so läßt sich nicht sagen, daß die Synagoge bei Josephus eine kleine Rolle spielt.43 Mit seinen 42 Nach Josephus scheint es, als ob sowohl die Synagoge in Caesarea als auch der Tempel in Jerusalem entscheidende Konfliktpunkte waren auf dem Weg zum jüdischen Aufstand gegen Rom, vgl. Bilde 1979. 43 In den Qumranschriften finden wir möglicherweise einen relevanten Text: CD 11:22 (Beth Histhachawot), vgl. Schrage 1969–1973, 809f.; Hengel 1971, 169 (zum Text); Atkinson 1997, 499–501 (zu den archäologischen Zeugnissen in Khirbet Qumran). In den Pseudepigraphen und Apokryphen finden wir nur ein paar Texte: I Makk. 3,46 (τόπος προσευχής, wohl „Bet-

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13 oder 14 verschiedenen Texten spricht Josephus nicht wesentlich weniger von Synagogen als andere literarische Quellen. Immerhin macht nur Josephus explizit deutlich, daß die Synagogeninstitution eine wichtige Rolle spielte sowohl in der jüdischen Diaspora als auch im jüdischen Palästina. Josephus zufolge ist auch klar, daß die Synagoge in der Diaspora früher existierte als im jüdischen Palästina. Auch das stimmt mit den anderen Quellen überein.44 Weiter stimmt Josephus mit den archäologischen Quellen überein in Hinsicht auf die Datierung der palästinischen Synagogen in das erste nachchristliche Jahrhundert.45 Eben das erste Jahrhundert nach Christus ist die Periode, in der im jüdischen Palästina die Synagogen allmählich auftauchen. Ein tieferes Verständnis der Texte des Josephus über die Synagogeninstitution kann vielleicht durch eine literarische Beobachtung erreicht werden. Es fällt auf, daß eine beträchtliche Menge seiner Texte über die Synagoge in acht größeren Zusammenhängen vorkommt: B 2:284–292 (der Streit zwischen Juden und NichtJuden über die Synagoge in Caesarea); B 7:43–45 (über die jüdischen Gemeinden in Antiochia in Syrien); A 14:235 (ein Brief des Lucius Antonius nach Sardes über die Juden); 14:256–258 (der Erlass von Halikarnassos über die Juden); A 14:260f. (ein Beschluß der Stadt Sardes über die Juden); A 16:162–165 (ein Erlaß des Augustus über die Juden); A 19:300–311 (die Episode in der Synagoge von Dora) und V 271–303 (Josephus und die Galiläer in der Synagoge in Tiberias). Darüber hinaus taucht die Synagoge (in dieser prägnanten Bedeutung) nur in zwei anderen Texte auf, nämlich C 1:209; 2:10 (siehe auch 2:175). Die Synagoge scheint also an ganz bestimmte Kontexte gebunden zu sein. Aber an welche? Ein Überblick deutet die Antwort an, daß diese Texte Kontroverssituationen beschreiben. In sieben dieser acht Fälle spricht Josephus über die Synagoge in Zusammenhängen, die von Kontroversen zwischen Juden und Nicht-Juden berichten.46

stätte“); III Makk. 2,28 (ἱερόν); 7,20 (τόπος προσευχής (?)); Sus 28 (συναγωγή). In den Schriften des Philo gibt es etwa 25 Fälle, mit fünf Ausnahmen (συναγωγή) fast alle mit προσευχή gebildet (vgl. Schrage 1969–1973, 806; Oster 1993, 190f.; Kee 1995, 487f.). Im Neuen Testament finden wir über 50 Erwähnungen, mit zwei Ausnahmen (Act 16,13.16) alle mit dem Begriff συναγωγή. Diese große Anzahl ist zum Teil bedingt durch den Konflikt zwischen Christen und Juden, besonders in der Diaspora. Endlich gibt es etwa 20 relevante Inschriften aus Ägypten, von denen ungefähr 15 mit προσευχή und eine Inschrift mit εὐχείον belegt sind/ ist (vgl. Schürer 1979, 11, 425–426); eine Inschrift stammt aus Jerusalem (Theodokos-Inschrift mit συναγωγή), und eine gewisse Menge an Inschriften kennen wir aus Griechenland und besonders aus Rom, vgl. Schürer 1979, II, 425–426. 44 Vgl. besonders Griffiths 1995. 45 Vgl. besonders Atkinson 1997. 46 Es soll hier bemerkt werden, daß kein Unterschied zu spüren ist zwischen der Darstellung der Synagoge in Bellum und in den Antiquitates, vgl. Bilde 1988, 88–90.101–102.13lf.169– 179.196f.

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Aber eben dieses Thema ist ein Hauptthema im ganzen Werk des Josephus.47 Sein Hauptzweck ist ja die Verteidigung und die Erklärung des Judentums für Nicht-Juden. Vielleicht können wir dieses besondere Interesse des Josephus in den zwei Berichten über die Synagogenstreitigkeiten in Caesarea und Dora erspüren. Die erste Geschichte ist tragisch und die zweite glücklich. Möglicherweise sagen die zwei Geschichten auch etwas über die eigene Einschätzung des Josephus über die zwei „Methoden“, die hier gewählt und geprüft geworden sind in der Verteidigung jüdischer Interessen. Die für Josephus „richtige“ und adäquate Methode ist zweifellos die der Intervention des jüdischen Königshauses mit folgender Verhandlung mit den relevanten jüdischen und römischen Behörden.48 Ich glaube, daß wir in diesem politischen Interesse des Josephus den Schlüssel finden zur adäquaten Interpretation seiner besonderen Auswahl und Wiedergabe der Synagogen-Geschichte. Damit sei auch eine Erklärung für die Tatsache gegeben, daß ungefähr die Hälfte (fünf) seiner Texte Zitate sind, auch offizielle Zitate aus römischen Dokumenten. Josephus’ Erwähnungen von Synagogen sind in sein apologetisches Hauptprogramm eingegliedert. Für ihn ist die Hauptsache die Verteidigung der Rechte der Juden, einschließlich ihrer Rechte, Synagogengebäude mit allen damit verbundenen Funktionen beschützt und unzerstört zu besitzen. Das Interesse des Josephus an der Synagoge ist demgemäß nicht primär religiös. Er ist Priester, und sein religiöses Verständnis des Judentums ist vor allem mit dem Tempel, dem Opferdienst und der Priesterschaft verbunden.49 Sein vorrangiges Interesse an der Synagoge ist religions-politisch, und für ihn ist die Synagoge vor allem mit der politischen Situation der Juden in der Diaspora verbunden. Das bedeutet jedoch nicht, daß die Auskünfte des Josephus über die Synagoge uninteressant (und vielleicht unzuverlässig) sind. Im Gegenteil! Sie sind wertvoll und dürfen in Betracht genommen werden, wenn man die übrigen literarischen Quellen und das reiche archäologische Material über die Synagoge diskutiert und interpretiert. Was also meint Josephus über die Synagoge? Er versteht die Synagoge als eine im ersten Jahrhundert vor und nach der christlichen Zeitrechnung zentrale jüdische Institution, in der die wesentlichen Inhalte der Religion – Torah, Gebet, Sabbat – eine entscheidende Rolle spielen, und die – indirekt – mit dem Tempel verglichen werden kann. Das dient vielleicht auch als Erklärung für Josephus’ grundsätzliche Deutung der Synagoge als Heiligtum oder Tempel. Momigliano hat sicher Recht mit seiner Aussage, daß Josephus im Judentum seiner Zeit „isoliert“ war, aber eigentlich wissen wir auch darüber so gut wie 47 Vgl. Bilde 1988, 180–182. 48 Vgl. Bilde 1988, 173–182. 49 Vgl. Bilde 1988, 189–191.

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nichts. Momigliano hat aber nicht Recht mit seiner These, daß Josephus die Synagoge nicht „verstanden“ habe.

9:

The Jews in Alexandria in 38–41 CE

1.

Introduction

The organiser of the conference in Hamburg in October 2005 and the editor of this volume, Professor Inge Nielsen, had invited the contributors to both analyse and discuss the subject Between Cult and Society. The cosmopolitan centres of the ancient Mediterranean as selling for activities of religious associations and religious communities. More specifically, in her proposal, Inge Nielsen asked us to analyse the Oriental cults in the Hellenistic-Roman cities by focusing on some of the following problems: 1. Interrelations between religious groups, associations, i. e. organised communities, on the one hand, and the society at large, the cosmopolitan city (state) as well as the imperial government, on the other hand. 2. Possible predecessors for the Oriental Diaspora communities in these cities. 3. Confrontations of the cultures of the Oriental cults and that of the hosting city. 4. Possible acculturation in both directions, especially regarding the religious language and architecture. 5. Changes in theology in the involved religions. 6. Possible proselytising of the Oriental cults. 7. Possible similarities between the confrontation of cultures and cults in the Hellenistic-Romans cities and in our own cosmopolitan cities. 8. Finally, Inge Nielsen originally encouraged the contributors to look especially at the social relations between various religious groups in the cosmopolitan cities, and to do so by awareness of recent theoretical and methodological work, not least the problems involved in defining our fundamental categories. On this background, I have chosen as my subject the (Oriental) Jewish community – or communities – in the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria in its relations to other ethnic groups, in particular the Graeco-Egyptian counterpart of the Jews, and to the Roman Empire. It means that I will focus on issues no. 1 and 3 above.

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As I do not have the space necessary to present the history of this community in its entirety, from the time of Alexander the Great and the first Ptolemy to the great Jewish revolt in 115–117 AD,1 I have decided to concentrate my efforts on the situation and circumstances of the Jews in Alexandria at a very brief period of time, the years around the year 40 CE, more precisely the years 38 to 41, when the Jews in Alexandria went through one of their several difficult crises in relation to their main counterpart, in particular the non-Jewish, Graeco-Egyptian inhabitants of the city, as well as to the Roman government, the Emperor and his prefect in Egypt and Alexandria. Accordingly, I intend to focus on the legal, political and social situation of the Jews in Alexandria including their relations to other groups of inhabitants in the city and to the Roman government. Furthermore, for the same reasons of space, I have chosen not to discuss in depth the classical issue of Jewish citizenship in Alexandria, although it cannot be totally ignored, as it forms part of the social relations of the Jewish inhabitants to the other groups in the city.2 This means that I have left out a number of the questions formulated by Inge Nielsen, first and foremost the possible acculturation in religious language and architecture between the Jews in Alexandria and their non-Jewish cohabitants,3 but also the question of Jewish proselytising and the interesting question of a comparison of the cosmopolitan situation in first century Alexandria and the multi-cultural situations in many of the large cities in our modern world. As to methodology, I am forced to proceed philologically and historically, as we have a relatively great amount of texts, but very few remains of Jewish buildings, synagogues, inscriptions and coins referring to the Jews in Alexandria.4 On this basis, I intend to proceed as follows: I begin by sketching briefly the radical change in the situation of the Alexandrian Jews that took place during the late summer of 38 CE, as it appears from a provisional glance at the sources. This sketch is followed by a survey and a brief critical evaluation of the existing sources concluding in an attempt to make a historical reconstruction of the events, leading to a 1 For this subject, I refer my readers to Smallwood 1976, 220–255. 364–368. 389–412; Barclay 1998, 19–81; Gruen 2002, 54–83. 2 In the scholarly literature on this problem there is a general agreement on the hypothesis that the Jews in Alexandria (and other Hellenistic-Roman cities) did not possess full citizenship in the formal sense of the word, but rather some sort of internal self-government, often designated as a politeuma (“society”, government”, “administration”, “body of citizens”, etc.) cf. Fuchs 1924, 79–105, in particular 86, 90–91, 94–98; Bell (1924) 1967, 14–16; Bell 1941, 2; Jones 1926, 25; Box 1939, XXI–XXIX; Wolfson 1944, 165–166; Tcherikover & Fuks, II, 1960, 49; Smallwood 196, 230; Applebaum 1979, 182; Kasher 1985, 260–261. 226–227, 356–357, 359–364; Kasher 1992, 109–117; Barclay 1998, 50, 60–71, 74–75; Gruen 2002, 70–78, 127–128; Collins 2005, 15 and section 6 below. Modrzejewski 1995, 163–168, contends that the Jews in Alexandria had no internal self-government at all. 3 For this problem, see, e. g., Bergen 1992, 129–134. 4 Cf. Fraser 1972, 282–285, Runesson 2001, 436–459.

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discussion of the high political context of these two conflicts between the Jews and the non-Jews in Alexandria, and to my interpretation of these events.

2.

A provisional sketch of the radical change in the situation of the Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE

The situation of the Jews in Alexandria seems to have been quite “normal” until the second year of Emperor Gaius Caligula’s rule (37–41), i. e. the year 38–39.5 Sometime during the summer of 38, an important change seems to have occurred. According to Philo, who has described this change in his two – historical, political, apologetic, polemical and theological – works, Against Flaccus (In Flaccum, henceforth Fl.) and The Embassy to Gaius (Legatio ad Gaium, henceforth Leg.), the situation of the Jews in Alexandria suddenly changed at that time from that of the “normal” peace and safety to one of serious turmoil and persecution. In the midsummer of 38, it appears that some of the Graeco-Egyptian inhabitants of the city made an attempt to set up images of the Emperor in the Jewish synagogues, the so-called “prayer houses”.6 Others from the same group drove the Jews away from four of the five living quarters of the city (FI. 55.62; Leg. 124.128). As a consequence, one of Alexandria’s five living quarters, the mainly Jewish inhabited fifth quarter (Delta), became so overcrowded with Jews that a number of women and children perished by famine (Fl. 62). Many of the abandoned Jewish houses were pillaged (FI. 54.56–57.62; Leg. 121–122) and burned down (Fl. 54–57.68–70). Other non-Jews attacked the fleeing Jews and killed or wounded some of them (Fl. 65–68). 38 members of the Jewish “Senate” (gerousia) were arrested by the Roman prefect, Flaccus, put in chains and brought to the theatre, where they were stripped and scourged (Fl. 73–75). Other Jews were tortured and crucified (FI. 73–75). In addition, some Jewish women were forced to eat pork (Fl. 96). At the same time, or a little earlier than this campaign against the Jews of Alexandria, Philo and Josephus inform us that the recently appointed Jewish king, Agrippa I (37/39/41–44), made a stop in Alexandria on his way from Rome to Palestine (Fl. 25–28; Ant. 18,238). According to Philo, this visit triggered off other anti-Jewish troubles among the non-Jewish population in Alexandria, 5 By “normal”, I refer to the relatively peaceful co-existence between the Jews and other ethnic groups before the reign of Gaius Caligula. This situation is described in many scholarly publications, cf., e. g., Bludau 1906; Bell (1924) 1976, 10–21; Bell 1926; Box 1939, XXXVIII– XVIII; Schürer & Vermes, I, 1973, 389–394; Smallwood 1976, 235–242; Kasher 1985, 20–24; Feldman 1993, 113–117; Modrzejewski 1995, 165–173; Barclay 1998, 48–55. 6 In Greek proseuchai, cf. Philo in FI. 41–43, 47–49.53 etc., and Leg. 132–134.

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culminating in a ridicule of the Jewish king (FI. 36–39). Again, the Roman prefect did not intervene to stop these disturbances (FI. 51). Thus, Philo in great detail tells us a strange story of a sudden disappearance of law and order in Alexandria, and, as we shall see (cf. section 3.2.2 below), Josephus confirms that at this time, a conflict (stasis) took place in Alexandria between the Jews and the “Greek” inhabitants of the city (Ant. 18,257). If Philo (and Josephus) are correct in their description of this awful event, how are we then to understand and interpret this radical change in the situation of the Jews in Alexandria? 7

3.

The Sources

In order to answer this question, I have collected and analysed the existing sources on these events. I begin by the Jewish sources in Philo and Josephus. I continue with the famous Letter of Claudius to the inhabitants of Alexandria, and I conclude by a brief remark on the so-called Pagan Martyr Acts.

3.1.

Philo

From the Jewish side, we have a relatively rich collection of material. The Jewish religious philosopher Philo has left us the two historical works, mentioned above, on the events of these years, Against Flaccus and The Embassy to Gaius.

7 Numerous modern scholars describe this persecution of the Alexandrian Jews as the first “pogrom” in history (thus Bell (1924) 1976, 16; Bell 1926, 20; Bell 1941, 7; Jones 1926, 23; Box 1939, XIX. XXXVIII; Elmgren 1939, 28 30; Tcherikover & Fuks I, 1957, 66; Danielou 1958, 29; Grant 1973, 123; Modrzejewski 1995, 169; Barclay 1998, 48–60; van der Horst 2003; Collins 2005, 28), or as an expression of “Anti-Semitism” (thus Bludau 1906, 78; Bell (1924) 1976, 9; Box 1939, XIX. XLIII; Smallwood 1976, 233–234; Schürer & Vermes, III, 1986, 594. 601. 607–608). Others make use of the term “ghetto” (thus Bludau 1906, 74; Fuchs 1924, 104; Bell 1926, 19; Jones 1926, 23; Box 1939. XXLV; Tcherikover & Fuks, I, 1957, 66; Grant 1973, 123; Stern 1974, 127; Smallwood 1976, 240; Barclay 1998, 53; Collins 2005). Personally, I doubt the value of this type of anachronistic terminology and prefer to write about “anti-Jewish” activities, cf. Fuchs 1924, 64; Box 1939, XLV (on “ghetto”); Collins 2005, 25–26 (on “Anti-Semitism”). Unfortunately, I have been unable to consult Gambetti 2003.

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3.1.1. Against Flaccus:8 Flaccus was the Roman Emperor’s prefect in Alexandria and Egypt from 32 to 38 CE, and Philo’s small work (or tract) Against Flaccus is an attempt by Philo to describe this Flaccus as the main responsible for the “persecution”, as Philo describes the events mentioned above, of the Alexandrian Jews by the GraecoEgyptian inhabitants in Alexandria during the months from July to SeptemberOctober 38. This tract is concentrated on the change of attitude and politics of the Roman prefect and on the ensuing evil destiny he met, when he was removed by Caligula and later punished by exile and execution. Thus Against Flaccus seems to belong to the widespread and popular Jewish literary genre describing the just divine punishment of the evil persecutor of the Jewish people. Other examples of this genre are the books of Exodus, Esther, Third Maccabees, Judith, Legatio ad Gaium and Against Apion (cf. Bilde 2007a; 2007b). In the first part of this work, Philo describes in detail the sufferings of the Jews (cf. above in paragraph 2). In Fl. 41–52, Philo describes the attempts of the non-Jews to erect statues of the Emperor in the Jewish synagogues. He continues in FI. 53–54 by describing the next step by Flaccus as follows: “… he proceeded to another scheme, namely, the destruction of our citizenship, so that when our ancestral customs and our participation in political rights, the sole mooring on which our life was secured, had been cut away, we might undergo the worst misfortunes with no cable to cling to for safety. For a few days afterwards he issued a proclamation in which he denounced us as foreigners and aliens and gave us no right of pleading our case but condemned us unjudged” (Colson, IX, (1941) 1967, 333). In the final part of the work, this text is confirmed by the words Philo puts into the mouth of Flaccus, when this figure at last – after his arrest, trial in Rome and expatriation to a Greek island, where he was going to be executed – was converted and recognised his fault and guilt (FI. 172): “I cast on them the slur that they were foreigners without civic rights, though they were inhabitants with full franchise” (Colson 1941, 395). I suggest that we interpret both texts as expressing that the edict of Flaccus, his programma, changed the legal situation of the Jews in Alexandria from their being katoikoi (or metoikoi, “residents”) to their becoming xenoi (“foreigners”). These texts are important because Philo here toches upon the legal situation of the Jews: in Alexandria. It thus appears that, in July 38, Flaccus made an important change in the legal status of the Jews. He seems to have issued a formal edict (programma) defining this change as a shift from the status of permanent 8 This text appears in the Loeb edition by Colson, Vol. IX, (1941) 1967, 293–403 (used here); Box 1939; Pelletier 1967; van der Horst 2003. Philo’s two historical works have several different aspects, which I do not discuss here. They are discussed in the editions just mentioned and in Bilde 2007a.

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residency, perhaps some sort of citizenship (politeia), to the status of “foreigners” or newcomers (xenoi). To Philo, this change implied a “destruction” of the former – safe and secure – status of the Jews: their politeia,9 because their new status placed the Jew of Alexandria in a new situation of insecurity and lawlessness. 3.1.2. The Embassy to Gaius:10 The Embassy to Gaius has its title from the Jewish delegation that was elected by the Jewish population in Alexandria and sent to Emperor Caligula in Rome to plead the case of the Jews in Alexandria. Its main subject, however, is the evil Emperor Caligula and his “war” against the Jews, as Philo calls his policy (Leg. 119). This means that this work of Philo is a polemical tract against Caligula of the same literary type and genre as Against Flaccus (cf. section 3.1.1 above). In the first part of this book, Philo describes the change of Gaius Caligula’s politics, which happened after his illness in 37–38 (cf. Leg. 15–21). At that time, Caligula began murdering the members of the Roman elite who had been affiliated to the former Emperor Tiberius (Leg. 22–74). At the same time, Caligula started demanding to be worshipped as a divinity (Leg. 75–114). At precisely this time, Caligula also began his “war” against the Jews (Leg. 119). In the next part of the tract, the Embassy to Gaius overlaps with the beginning of Against Flaccus in describing the suffering of the Alexandrian Jews from July to September-October 38 (Leg. 120–137). In the following section, it describes the contemporary crisis in Jewish Palestine, where the Legate of the Roman province of Syria, Publius Petronius, had been ordered by Caligula to erect a statue of the Emperor in the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem (Leg. 184–348, cf. Bilde 1978; 1983). Finally, the book concludes by describing the audience that the Jewish embassy had with Caligula in Italy and Rome (Leg. 349–373). In the Embassy to Gaius, we do not find statements as those I have quoted from FI. 53–54 and 172, but in Leg. 349 Philo describes “what we saw and what we heard when we were summoned to take a part in the contention about our citizenship …” (Colson 1962, 175), and in Leg. 363, Philo has Caligula say to the Jews: “We want to hear what claims you make about your citizenship”.11

9 Philo does not use the word politeuma, which is often used in many other sources about the internal self-government of the Jews in Alexandria and other Hellenistic-Roman cities, cf. footnote 2 above. 10 This text appears in Smallwood 1961; the Loeb edition by Colson 1962, IX–187 (used here); Pelletier 1972. 11 Colson 1962, 181. Leg. 194 does also touch upon this issue of the civic status of the Jews in

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Philo’s two historical works are also polemical and apologetic pieces of literature. Philo is very critical of the two villains, Flaccus and Caligula. He defends the Alexandrian Jews as innocent victims of their Graeco-Egyptian (and Roman) persecutors. Elsewhere (Bilde 2007a), I have made an attempt to demonstrate that both works focus on how the two villains afterwards had to suffer just punishments effected by the Jewish divinity (cf. above in section 3.1.1).

3.2.

Josephus

Josephus reports on the situation of the Jews in Alexandria in a number of different contexts: once in The Jewish War (Bellum Judaicum, henceforth Bell.) 2, 487–498, six times in The Jewish Antiquities (Antiquitates Judaicorum, henceforth Ant.) 12,8.121; 14,188; 18,257–260; 19,278.279–285, and once in Against Apion (Contra Apionem; henceforth Ap.) 2,35 (33–78), where Josephus is defending the Alexandrian Jews against Apion, who had attacked the Jews in a number of cases (cf. BiIde 2007b). 3.2.1. The Jewish War: In Bell. 2,487–498,12 Josephus describes a serious conflict in Alexandria in the year 66 CE, an event apparently closely related to the beginning of the First Jewish Revolt against the Romans, which took place in Jerusalem and Judaea at the same time (66–70 (74)). The conflict in Alexandria in 66 began in the theatre where a group of Jews disturbed a public convention of the Graeco-Egyptian Alexandrians about sending an embassy to Emperor Nero (54–68) (490). When the “Greeks” discovered the Jews, they attacked them, caught three of them, dragged them away and burned them alive (491). This act caused “the whole Jewish camp” to rise up in self-defence and counter-attack. They threatened to burn down the theatre with all the “Greek” inhabitants, and even the Roman prefect, their compatriot, Tiberius Alexander, was unable to stop them (492). Therefore, he let his Roman army of more than two legions attack the Jews who were massacred and the soldiers pillaged and burned the houses in the Jewish quarter (the “Delta”), sparing not even children and old people (494–496). According to Josephus, about 50.000 men were slaughtered before the prefect ordered the troops to stop the attack.

Alexandria: “For what religion or righteousness is to be found in vainly striving to show that we are Alexandrinians …”. 12 I read Josephus’s texts in the Loeb edition, here Vol. II, Thackeray 1927, 512–517.

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It appears from the description of Josephus that the cause of this conflict was the permanent enmity between the Graeco-Egyptian and the Jewish inhabitants of Alexandria. Josephus introduces this report by placing it in a general context of civil strife between the Greeks and the Jews in the city: “At Alexandria there had been incessant strife between the native inhabitants and the Jewish settlers …” (487, Thackeray, II, (1927) 1967, 513). Having surveyed the Jewish privileges in the city of Alexandria from Alexander the Great to the Romans (488), Josephus emphasises again: “They (the Jews) were, however, continually coming into collision with the Greeks …” (489, Thackeray, II, (1927) 1967, 513). And Josephus concludes this section by noting, that when the Roman troops stopped the massacre, “… the Alexandrian populace in the intensity of their hate were not so easily called off and were with difficulty torn from the corpses” (498, Thackeray, II, (1927) 1967, 517). In this text, Josephus presents a situation in Alexandria in the year 66 dominated by a relationship of mutual enmity and hate between these two groups of inhabitants. Josephus uses the Greek term stasis (“strife”) about this situation, and his description fits well with the picture in Philo’s two historical tracts and the wording in the letter of Claudius to Alexandria (cf. section 3.3.1 below) as well as with the outright Jewish revolt that took place in Alexandria (and elsewhere) in the years 115–117.13

3.2.2. The Jewish Antiquities: In Ant.12,8, Josephus relates that Ptolemy I Soter “… assigned many of them (the Jews) to his garrisons, and at Alexandria gave them equal civic rights with the Macedonians …”.14 It is not clear what is meant by this wording, but it certainly refers to some kind of privileges. In Ant. 12,( 119–124) 121, Josephus informs us that, in spite of the great Jewish revolt of 66–70 (74), the new Flavian emperors did not abolish the traditional Jewish privileges: “… and afterwards, when Vespasian (69–79) and his son Titus (79–81) became masters of the habitable world, and the Alexandrians and Antiochians asked that the Jews should no longer continue to have the rights of citizenship, they did not obtain their request” (Marcus 1943, 61). Apparently, Josephus here describes a situation in Antioch in Syria after the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70. After the defeat of the Jews in Palestine, the nonJewish inhabitants of the city of Antioch made an attempt to have the civil rights 13 Cf. Smallwood 1976, 389–427; Applebaum 1979, 328–343. 14 Marcus 1943, 5–7. Although isopoliteia literally means “equal citizenship”, the majority of scholars tend to think that the Jews in Alexandria did not possess full citizenship, cf. footnote 2 above.

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of their Jewish co–inhabitants reduced to a level, which we may perhaps compare to the situation in Alexandria from July to October 38, when these Jewish “rights of citizenship” were in fact abolished for a short period. In Ant. 14,185–188, Josephus describes how John Hyrcanus II from Julius Caesar obtained important Roman privileges to the Jewish people on account of the military Jewish assistance to Caesar when he fought a war in Egypt. On this background, Josephus enumerates a number of Roman decrees giving various privileges to the Jews (Ant. 14,189–267). In this context, Josephus writes as follows in Ant. 14,188: “ … and what is more, Julius Caesar made a bronze tablet for the Jews in Alexandria, declaring that they were citizens of Alexandria”.15 It seems obvious that the wording “citizens of Alexandria” cannot be taken at face value here either (cf. the references in footnote 2 above). On the other hand, we can probably assume that it refers to a number of specific privileges, the most important of which apparently were some sort of self-government according to the laws of Moses (cf. section 6 below with note 32). In Ant. 18,257–260, Josephus seems to describe the same events in Alexandria as those we know from the two political tracts of Philo: “Meanwhile, there was a civil strife (stasis) in Alexandria between the Jewish inhabitants and the Greeks. Three delegates were chosen by each of the factions and appeared before Gaius” (Feldman 1965, I, 969, 153). Josephus continues by reporting what was said to the Emperor by Apion and Philo, the spokesmen of the two delegations (257–259). Apion stressed that the Jews “neglected to pay the honours due to the emperor …” (Feldman 1965, 153). Emperor Caligula became angry with the Jews and even did not allow Philo to speak (259–260). But Josephus knows to report that when the Jews left the Emperor, Philo told his fellow-Jews, “that they should be of good courage, for Gaius’ wrath was a matter of words, but in fact he was now enlisting God against himself” (Feldman 1969, 155). After his long narrative about the murder of Caligula 24 January 41 and the proclamation of Claudius as the new Emperor (Ant. 18,261–19,273), Josephus returns to the situation in Alexandria, and in Ant. 19,278, he writes: “About this time, there arose a feud (stasiazetai) between Jews and Greeks in the city of Alexandria. For upon the death of Gaius, the Jews, who had been humiliated under his rule and grievously abused by the Alexandrians, took heart again and at once armed themselves”. (Feldman 1965, 343–345). Josephus continues (279) by reporting that the new Emperor, Claudius, “commanded the prefect of Egypt to put down the factional war”. In the following paragraph, Josephus is able to quote a letter from Claudius to Alexandria and Syria, confirming the traditional rights of the Jews (Ant. 19,280– 285). In this text, we find the following sentences: “Having from the first known 15 Marcus 1943, 519. This “bronze tablet” is also mentioned in Ap. 2,37, cf. section 3.2.3 below.

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that the Jews in Alexandria called Alexandrians were fellow colonisers from the very earliest times jointly with the Alexandrians and received equal civic rights from the kings …” (Feldman 1965, 345–347). According to this letter, these rights were also recognised and confirmed by the Romans (282–283). Claudius continues by mentioning the conflict in Alexandria during the reign of Caligula: “… and learning that the Alexandrians rose up in insurrection against the Jews in their midst” (284, cf. Ant. 18,257), and he criticises Caligula’s lack of respect for the Jewish religion (284). Therefore, Emperor Claudius requires that the traditional status and recognition of the Jews should be re-established: “I desire that none of their rights should be lost to the Jews on account of the madness of Gaius, but that their former privileges also be preserved to them, while they abide by their own customs” (Feldmann 1965, 251). The text concludes by the Emperor admonishing “both parties to take the greatest precaution to prevent any disturbance (tarache) arising after the posting of my edict” (Feldman 1965, 251). 3.2.3. Ap. 2,33–78: In the second book of his polemic and apologetic work, Against Apion, Josephus is defending the Jews against the attacks of Apion on “the Jewish residents in Alexandria”.16 Againt Apion’s attack, Josephus contends that the Jewish quarters in Alexandria “was presented to them as their residence by Alexander, and they obtained privileges on a par with those of the Macedonians” (Thackeray 1926–1967, 305). In Ap. 2,61, Josephus refers to the Jewish military support to Julius Caesar in his war in Egypt in the year 47 (cf. Ant. 14, 188 mentioned above in section 3.2.2). In Ap. 2,68, Josephus is reporting Apion’s accusations against the Jews as “… fomenting sedition” (Is autem etiam seditionis causas nobis apponit). To this accusation Josephus answers that “the real promoters of sedition, as anyone can discover, have been citizens of Alexandria of the type of Apion” (… seditionis auctores … Apioni similes Alexandrinorum fuisse ciues), not the Macedonians and the Greeks, but the Egyptians” (Thackeray 1926–1967, 120–121). In Ap. 2,71 Josephus informs us that Apion and his allies “call” the Jews in Alexandria “aliens” (peregrinos uocant eos). Obviously, all these texts refer to the same fundamental conflict between the Jews and the Graeco-Egyptians in Alexandria about the legal status of the Jewish population in the city.

16 Ap. 2,33, Thackeray 1926–1967, 305. In Bilde 2007b, I have presented a general analysis of this apologetic work.

The situation of the Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE

3.3.

199

Pagan Sources

3.3.1. P. Lond. 1912, I. 73–108: This document is probably the oldest source to the events in Alexandria during the years 38 to 41. It is a letter written by Emperor Claudius on the 10 November 41: P. Lond. 1912.17 The lines 73–108 refer to the conflict between the two parties. This text is written shortly after the events. It represents the Roman view of the conflict. Consequently, it must be regarded as a very important source, in particular as a possible corrector of the Jewish sources.18 Claudius’s letter speaks clearly of “disturbance” (tarache), “strife” (stasis) and even “war” (polemos) (1. 73–74) made by the “city of Alexandria” (I. 15–16), i. e. the Graeco-Egyptian inhabitants and genuine citizens of the city of Alexandria, also termed “the Alexandrians” (I. 82), “against the Jews” (I. 73, cf. I. 78 and 80). Further, Claudius’s text emphasises that the Emperor had rejected to decide which of the two parties had the main responsibility for the disturbances (I. 77). Claudius concludes his words to “the Alexandrians” by admonishing them to respect their fellow Jewish citizens: “Wherefore I conjure you yet once again that, on the one side, the Alexandrines show themselves forbearing and kindly towards the Jews who for many years have dwelt in the same city, and offer no outrage to them in the exercise of their traditional worship, but permit them to observe their customs (alla eosin autous tois ethesin chresthai) as in the time of Divus Augustus, which customs I also, after hearing both sides, have confirmed” (I. 82–88, Bell 1924, 28–29). Next, the Emperor turns to the Jews in Alexandria, and although they too are criticised in several respects (I. 88–100), to my surprise, they are not reprimanded in the same way as “the Alexandrians”, i. e. as making “trouble”, “strife” and “war”. But the Emperor orders the Jews to content themselves with their actual privileges and not to aim at more, and they are told not to call in Jews from Syria and Egypt (probably as supporters): “I bid the Jews not to busy themselves about anything beyond what they have held hitherto, and not henceforth, as if you and they lived in two cities, to send two embassies …” (I. 89–91, Bell 1924, 25 and 28– 29). 17 Cf. Bell 1924, 23–26 (used here); Laqueur 1926; Tcherikover & Fuks, II, 1960, 39–42 (36–55); Kasher 1976. 18 One part of this letter, namely, that concerning the conflict between the Graeco-Egyptian and Jewish inhabitants in Alexandria (I. 73–104), is closely related to Ant. 19,280–285 quoted above in section 3.2.2, cf. Feldman’s notes in the Loeb edition (1965, 344–349), cf. Laqueur 1926, 102. On the one hand, these two documents are heterogeneous: while Claudius’ letter criticises both groups, the text in Josephus only criticises the non-Jewish part. One the other hand, both documents stress that the former Jewish rights and privileges shall be re-established, cf. Feldman 1965, 348–349.

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The Jews in Alexandria in 38–41 CE

3.3.2. The Pagan Martyr Acts: No source written by the non-Jewish, pagan, Graeco-Egyptian part in Alexandria seems to have survived. However, the so-called Pagan Martyr Acts may reflect the point of view of the non-Jewish part.19 It is especially interesting that these texts at the same time seem to mirror a strong hatred against the Jews and expresses the idea that the Roman Emperors were allied to the Jews (cf. below in section 5).

4.

Reconstructing the situation of the Jews in Alexandria in 38–41

After this overview and brief analysis of the existing sources, we have to ask what can be gained from this material about the conditions of the Jewish community in Alexandria in these years? During the years 38–41, the Jews in Alexandria appear to have gone through a period of violent changes. The Alexandrian Jews seem to have lived in relative peace until July 38. From July to September-October 38, they apparently went through a period of downright persecution, as so dramatically described by Philo. In the period between October 38 and January 41, we know almost nothing about their situation. But with the removal of Flaccus in October 38, and the appointment of Vitrasius Pollio as his successor (Pap. Lond. 1912, I. 43), the situation of the Jews seems to have been “normalised”.20 According to Philo’s Embassy to Gaius (Leg. 349–372), confirmed by Josephus (Ant. 18,257–260), Caligula seems to have ordered Pollio to instruct the two parts in the conflict to nominate two delegations to be sent to Rome to explain their cases. However, Caligula appears not to have made any decisions in the conflict, at least we find no signs of any decision (cf. Leg. 371–372), and the “normalised”, but still unstable, situation in Alexandria appears to have continued until the murder of Caligula the 24 January 41. Consequently, I suggest that we conclude that Caligula did not launch the “war” against the Jews in Alexandria, as claimed by Philo. After the death of Caligula, according to Josephus (Ant. 19,278), the Jews in Alexandria took up arms and attacked their non-Jewish persecutors, apparently in order to revenge their sufferings during the late summer of 38.21 According to Claudius’s Letter (I. 73–78), however, this clash does not seem to have been as one-sided as presented by Josephus. Claudius’s Letter does not mention a Jewish attack. On the contrary, it speaks about “… the riot and feud (or rather, if the truth must be told, the war) against the Jews” (I. 73. 74). Therefore, we have to ask 19 Cf. Tcherikover & Fuks, II, 1960, 55–107, especially no. 154, 155 and 156, in particular 156c (p. 78–79); Box 1939, XVIII. 20 This change probably took place soon after Caligula’s removal of Flaccus, cf. Bell 1926, 22. 21 According to Box 1939, L; Kasher 1976, 104, this attack occured 15–20 February 41.

The situation of the Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE

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whether these two texts refer to the same event.22 Perhaps this question is impossible to answer, and perhaps we have to content ourselves with the observation that Claudius’s letter presupposes a renewal of the conflict. At any rate, this text presupposes that the two parts once more had sent embassies to the Emperor, the Jewish side even two delegations, a fact that is criticised by the Emperor (I. 90–91). Perhaps one of these represented a more militant group of supporters of the recent war, and the other represented their more irenic opponents.23 Anyhow, Claudius rejected the various requests of the two ethnic groups and instead decided to return to the status quo ante bellum. In his letter, the Graeco-Egyptian “Alexandrians” are admonished to: “… believe … to behave gently and kindly toward the Jews, who have inhabited the same city for many years, and not to dishonour any of their customs in their worship of their god, but to allow them to keep their ways. As they did in the time of the god Augustus and as I too, having heard both sides, have confirmed”.24 The Jews, on the other hand, were ordered not to aim at further privileges such as full citizenship. This decision may have stabilised the troublesome situation in Alexandria. At least, the sources do not report of any new fighting before 66, when the beginning revolt against Rome in Jewish Palestine also seems to have caused a renewal of the civil war in Alexandria.

5.

The high political context of the conflict

Here, I intend to argue that the two civil wars in Alexandria, one during the late summer of 38, and one in the beginning of 41, are less difficult to understand when they are interpreted in a wider historical context. First, these conflicts ought to be seen in the context of the other three major clashes in Alexandria between the non-Jews and the Jews, which took place in 66 (cf. Bell. 2,487–498), in 70–73 (cf. Bell. 7,407–436) and in 115–117.25 We thus have to speak of one long sequence of civil wars in Alexandria from 38 to 117. Second, we also have to consider the two periods before and after this sequence of conflicts between 38 and 117. It is easy to understand that there were no more 22 Kasher 1976, 106–108, argues that this is not the case, and that the two texts refer to two different clashes, one in February initiated by the Jews, which led to the edict in Ant. 19, 280– 285, and one in November initiated by the Graeco-Egyptian, which led to the Letter of Claudius. 23 Bell 1926, 26–27; Tcherikover & Fuks. I, 1957, 67–611; II, 1960, 52; Kasher 1992, 117, suggests that these two delegations represented a more conservative and a more liberal party in the Jewish community in Alexandria. 24 Line 82–88, also quoted above in section 3.3.1. According to Tcherikover & Fuks, II, 1960, 50, the last sentence refers to the edict quoted in Ant. 19,280–285. 25 Thus also Fuchs 1925, 22–26; Stern 1974, 132–133; Borgen 1992, 122–123; Barclay 1998, 60.

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The Jews in Alexandria in 38–41 CE

clashes between the Graeco-Egyptians and the Jews after the Jewish defeat in the revolt of 115–117, because the Jewish community in Alexandria was practically wiped out during this revolt and after the Jewish defeat in 117.26 But why do we not find any sign of such conflicts in the period before the reign of Caligula, namely, during the reigns of Caesar, Augustus and Tiberius, to say nothing of the Ptolemaic period? Does this fact have anything to do with the unusual character of Caligula’s reign, as indicated by Philo? The five clashes in 38, 41, 66, 70–73 and 115–117 testify to the existence of a permanent atmosphere of mutual dislike, aversion and hatred between the two ethnic groups in Alexandria, at least in this period. Of course, such conflicts between Jewish and other ethnic groups are also known in other HellenisticRoman cities, first and foremost in Antioch in Syria27 and in Caesarea in Palestine,28 but without the same disastrous consequences. Why? Several scholars have pointed to the important fact that the hostile relationship between these two ethnic groups in Alexandria can only be correctly understood when it is linked to the decisive third part, the Roman government, because it is precisely the different relations of the two parties to Rome that can explain their mutual conflict. And the same is true regarding their different relations to the former Ptolemaic rule, we might add. Quite naturally, the non-Jewish, Graeco-Egyptian, part identified itself with the independent Ptolemaic kingdom which had been defeated by Caesar and Octavian. And for the same reason, this Graeco-Egyptian part had difficult relations to their new Roman masters, a fact also illustrated by the so-called Pagan Martyr Acts (cf. section 3.3.2 above), where the “Alexandrians” are consequently painted as opponents to the Roman emperors who are generally described as allied with the Jews. This picture is confirmed by Josephus’s narrative about the Judaean high priest, Hyrcanus II, and Antipater, the father of Herod the Great, who assisted Caesar in his war in Egypt in 47 BCE (cf. Ant. 14,185–188, discussed above in section 3.2.2). If Josephus’s report about these events is accepted as a piece of reliable historical information, it helps us to understand why Philo and Josephus so often and so insistingly refer to the positive policy of Caesar and Augustus towards the Jews. It also explains the role of the Herodian king, Agrippa I, who played a major mediating role between the Roman Emperor and the Jews during the two major

26 Cf. Smallwood 1976, 393–412, in particular p. 409: “No further clashes are recorded, and the Jewish community in Alexandria now sinks into historical oblivion for a century” (cf. 516– 519). 27 Cf. Bell. 7,41–62. 100–111; Ant. 12,119–123; 14,323. cf. Stern 1974, 138–141. 28 Cf. Bell. 2,285–292. 457–458; Ant. 20,173–184.

The situation of the Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE

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Jewish crises under Emperor Caligula in Alexandria (in 38) and in Palestine (in 38–41), as well as in the proclamation of the new Emperor, Claudius.29 Consequently, I tend to explain the two conflicts in Alexandria in the years 38 and 41 in this context of high international politics: The attitudes of the Jews and the non-Jews in Alexandria are easier to understand when we relate them to the historical relations of these two groups to Rome and to the Herodian house in Jewish Palestine. Thus, the security and safety of the Jews in Alexandria in fact depended on their traditional positive relations to Rome, who were their true protector against their “natural” “Greek” and “Egyptian” enemies in “Ptolemaic” Alexandria,30 and to the Jewish royal Herodian house, who acted as spokesmen for the Jewish people. And when the good relations between the Jews and Rome were endangered, as in the years 38, 66 and in 115, hell broke out, and the Jews in Alexandria were nearly annihilated.31

6.

Interpretation of the conflict in Alexandria in 38–41

On the background of the analysis of the relevant texts and the resulting historical reconstruction of the events in Alexandria in its larger high political context, I suggest that we accept the view of numerous other scholars that the legal and civic situation of the Jewish community in Alexandria was one of a sort of a royally privileged and protected self-government. For a number of reasons, the Jews did not possess formal citizenship as full citizens of the city-state of Alexandria (cf. the references in footnote 2 above). However, as in many other Hellenistic-Roman cosmopolitan cities, the Jews of Alexandria enjoyed a sort of formal autonomy (politeuma) that allowed them to live according to the Law of Moses, or according to “the customs of their fathers”, as it is very often expressed.32 According to Philo and Josephus (and the Letter of Claudius), this point is decisive. This privilege included a general exemption from the Roman ruler cult, which in a way had been replaced by the two daily sacrifices in the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem for the well-being of Rome, the Roman Emperor and the Roman people (Ap. 2.77, cf. Leg. 157). Therefore, it makes good sense that the Graeco29 Ant. 19,236–277, cf. Jones 1926, 22; Grant 1973, 124; Bilde 1983, 139–141. 30 I share this interpretation with several other scholars, e. g., Bludau 1906, 58–59; Bell 1924, 11; Bell 1941, 4–5; Fuchs 1924, 17–18; Jones 1926, 22; Box 1939, XIII–XX; Stern 1974, 123–124; Smallwood 1976, 223–224; Gager 1983, 43–44; Kasher 1985, 12–14; Barclay 1998, 48–51. 31 According to Stern 1974, 125, the conflicts in the year 38 “marked the first break between the Jews of the Hellenistic Diaspora and the imperial regime”. 32 Cf. the Letter of Claudius. I. 86–88; Fl. 43. 47. 52–53; Leg. 327; Ant. 19,285, cf. Tcherikover & Fuks, I, 1957, 48–93; Smallwood 1976, 224–235; Schürer 1986, III, 87–108; Collins 2005, 9–14.

204

The Jews in Alexandria in 38–41 CE

Egyptian inhabitants in Alexandria, in their competition with their Jewish opponents, began to see new possibilities when Caligula after his illness changed his perception of the Roman ruler cult and, during the summer of 38, demanded to be worshiped as a living divinity. In addition, it makes sense that the GraecoEgyptian group of the inhabitants of Alexandria combined this new situation with the fact that Caligula at the same time began his purge of pro-Tiberians in the Roman elite, including Flaccus in Alexandria. Therefore, I tend to accept Philo’s (and Josephus’s) emphasis of this combination as historically reliable. It was Caligula’s specific change of the previous Roman ruler cult during the summer of 38 that created a new situation in Alexandria with new possibilities for the Graeco-Egyptian party to change the traditional equilibrium between the two deadly enemies in the city. For this new Roman policy called into question the traditional Roman policy of safeguarding the rights of the Jews including their exemption from the ruler cult. Thus, the Graeco-Egyptian party in Alexandria made an attempt to exploit the unique situation that had arisen in Alexandria where Caligula’s new policy coincided with the fact that the position of the Roman prefect Flaccus had been weakened as a result of Caligula’s campaign against the pro-Tiberians. This unique situation offered the Graeco-Egyptians an unexpected possibility of obtaining a change in the balance of power in the city. Therefore, when Agrippa I visited the city in July 38, the Graeco-Egyptian party made use of these possibilities and erected statues of the Emperor in the Jewish synagogues. Perhaps Flaccus misunderstood Caligula’s change of the Roman ruler cult? Perhaps he misinterpreted his own possibilities of surviving Caligula’s purge of old adherents of Tiberius? In any case, Flaccus changed the legal situation of the Alexandrian Jews (FI. 53–54, cf. 172), abolished their privileges and removed the Roman (military) protection of the Jewish inhabitants, i. e. put the Jews at the mercy of their deadly enemies among the Graeco-Egyptian population of Alexandria. However, these steps by Flaccus appear to have been the result of both the Graeco-Egyptian party’s and Flaccus’s misinterpretations of Caligula’s policy, at least regarding the Jewish privileges. For when Caligula in fact removed and executed Flaccus as a possible adherent of Tiberius’s grandson, Tiberius Gemellus, he appointed a new prefect, Pollio, asked him to restore order in Alexandria and to order the two parties to appoint delegations to be sent to Rome to make an account of the troubles in the city. I interpret this move by Caligula as an expression of his dissatisfaction with the troubles in Alexandria from July to October 38. Although the sources do not unveil what decision Caligula would have reached, if he had had the chance to close the case, I tend to interpret the combined statements of Fl. 108–115 (the removal of Flaccus), the Letter of Claudius (I. 43 on the appointment of Pollio), and FI. Leg. 351–367 (on the

The situation of the Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE

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relatively friendly words of Caligula to the Jewish delegation) as an expression of a decision of Caligula to stop the persecution in Alexandria and as an expression of his decision to continue the traditional Roman policy of protection of the Jews.33 After renewed fighting in the late winter of 40–41, and perhaps once more later in the same year, Claudius did the same and confirmed this traditional Roman policy. The relations between the Jews in Alexandria and their Graeco-Egyptian opponents during the years 38 to 41 thus appear to have been very hostile. Before July 38, these relations also seem to have been tense, but they had not been allowed to develop into violent clashes. After 41, the relations between the two parties appear to have remained hostile, and again it developed into open war in 66, 70–74 and 115–117. The relations between the Jewish community in Alexandria and the Roman imperial government appear to have been good from the time of Caesar to the second year of Emperor Caligula’s reign. The radical changes in Caligula’s understanding of the Roman ruler cult that occurred after the Emperor’s illness in 37–38 seem to have caused a serious crisis in Caligula’s relations to the Jews in Alexandria, and even more so in his relations to the Jews in Palestine (and in the whole Empire). According to Philo and Josephus, the recently appointed Herodian king, Agrippa I, intervened in these two crises as a spokesman of the Jews, and it appears that he succeeded in contributing decisively to avoid that these two serious crises turned into open war and a total catastrophe for the Jewish people already at this time. However, these two crises also seem to have contributed to radicalising the Jewish communities in Palestine and in Alexandria, and thus to have contributed to prepare the future crises in the relationship between the Jews and their nonJewish counterparts as well as between the Jews and the Roman government in the years 66, 70–73 and 115–117.

7.

Conclusion

Returning to Inge Nielsen’s questions, I think that we are entitled to conclude that the relations between the Jews in Alexandria and their fellow Graeco-Egyptian citizens were extremely bad in the Roman period from Caesar to Hadrian. At the same time, we may add that the most important reason for these negative rela33 The success of King Agrippa I to persuade Caligula to cancel his statue project in the Temple of Jerusalem points in the same direction (Leg. 261–333; Ant. 18,289–301, cf. Bilde 1978; 1983, 90–97).

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The Jews in Alexandria in 38–41 CE

tions were the close relations between the Jews in Alexandria and the Roman conquerors of Ptolemaic Egypt. Therefore, the Graeco-Egyptian party only had a chance to hit their Jewish enemies when doubt arose about the protection of the Roman government of the Jewish population of Alexandria.

10: Philo as a Polemist and a Political Apologist: An Investigation of his Two Historical Treatises Against Flaccus and The Embassy to Gaius1

1.

Introduction

Philo was a prominent Jewish citizen and writer in Alexandria in the first half of the first century CE.2 We do not know the years of his birth and death, but as Philo in The Embassy to Gaius (De Legatione ad Gaium, henceforth Leg.) refers to his advanced age (Leg. 182), these years are often estimated to c. 20 BCE – c. 45 CE (cf. references in footnote 2), because this treatise may almost certainly be dated to 41–42 CE (cf. section 5 below). Philo is usually not known as a politician, a polemist or a political apologist, but first of all as the author of a considerable number of exegetic, theological and philosophical writings.3 However, it is indicated by the two texts to be investigated here as well as by Josephus (cf. The History of the Jews (Antiquitates Judaicae, henceforth AJ) 18.257–260) that Philo, who belonged to the most influential Jewish family in Alexandria,4 seems to have played a significant political role in 1 This essay is based on a lecture in Danish held on 29 October 1993 at a seminar on Philo organised by the Danish Research Council’s project on Hellenism (1989–1995). A revised version was presented on 22 February 2005 at a seminar on Jewish apologetics at Klitgaarden in Skagen (Denmark) organised by the Faculty of Theology (University of Aarhus)’s research project on Jews, Christians and Pagans in Antiquity – Critique and Apologetics. This Danish version has been published as Bilde 2007. 2 Cf. Goodenough 1940; Elmgren 1939, 51–60; Sandmel 1979; Morris 1987, 809–819; Borgen 1997, 14–45. 3 Cf. Goodenough 1940 30–51; Elmgren 1939, 61–68; Morris 1987, 819–870. However, especially Goodenough has argued strongly that Philo’s political activities in Alexandria were more wide ranging than estimated by earlier scholars, cf. Goodenough 1938; Goodenough 1940, 52–74. Dyck 2002 points in the same direction. Furthermore, it is pointed out, quite rightly, by Friedländer 1903, 192–328, especially 209; Krüger 1906, 1.12; Collins 1983, 112, that Philo’s writings are also generally more marked by apologetic tendencies than assumed by most scholars. To this should be added that, according to Eusebius, Philo is also the author of a proper apologetic work: Apology for the Jews (Praep. evang. 8.11), which may be identical with the two other writings mentioned by Eusebius: On the Jews (Hist. eccl. 2.18.6) and Hypothetika (Praep. evang. 8.6–7). 4 In AJ 18.259 Josephus writes: “… Philo, who stood at the head of the delegation of the Jews, a

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the years 38–41, a period of great importance in the history of the Jewish people in the ancient world (cf. section 2 below). Following the events of these years, probably during the year of 41–42, Philo wrote the two small books that will be discussed in this essay. It is the aim of this investigation to present and analyse these two treatises as evidence indicating that Philo also worked as a polemist and as a political apologist. The essay is structured as follows: First, an attempt will be made at a historical reconstruction of the course of events in Alexandria in the year 38. Even though the two writings to be examined are in fact the most important historical sources of these events, we need to reconstruct and visualise what happened in order to establish some sort of yardstick to measure the interpretative accounts expressed in the two writings. On the basis of these and further sources as well as other scholars’ interpretations, I will therefore try to reconstruct an outline of these events of great importance for the Jews which took place in Alexandria and Palestine in the years 38–41, i. e. during the reign of the Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula (37–41) and at the beginning of that of his successor Claudius (41–54). Second, on this background, I will turn to the main purpose of this investigation: a close analysis and interpretation of the two historical treatises Against Flaccus (henceforth In Flacc.) and The Embassy to Gaius (Leg.). Third, this analysis will be continued in an investigation of the literary genre and the aim, dating and intended readers of the two writings as well as a discussion of the question whether these writings of Philo could be perceived as a threat to Rome.

2.

The situation of the Jews in Alexandria (and Palestine) during the crisis years 38–415

It cannot be claimed that the living conditions of the Jewish people were generally bad in the Roman Empire in the years from Caesar (died 44 BCE) and Augustus (31 BCE – 14 CE) until the summer of 38.6 During that period, the Jews in

man held in the highest honour, brother of Alexander the alabarch and no novice in philosophy, was prepared to proceed with the defence against these accusations” (which the head of the non-Jewish delegation from Alexandria, Apion, had brought to the Emperor Caligula against the Jews, quoted from Feldman 1965, 155). Josephus refers several times to Philo’s brother Alexander as an extremely wealthy and influential person in Alexandria, who was directly related to the imperial family in Rome as well as to the Herodian royal family in Jewish Palestine (cf. AJ 18.159–60; 19.276–7; 20.100). The title “alabarch” refers to a position in the Jewish society in Alexandria recognised by Rome which, according to some scholars, was responsible for the collection of certain custom duties; cf. Kasher 1985, 86. 5 This situation has been described by a number of scholars, especially Bludau 1906; Bell 1924, 10–21; 1926; Box 1939, XXXVIII–XLVIII; Schürer, 1973–87, vol. I, 389–394; Smallwood 1976,

The situation of the Jews in Alexandria 38–41

209

Palestine and in the Diaspora were permitted by Rome unobstructed to “live according to the customs of their fathers,” as it is often stated in the sources.7 From the beginning, i. e. during the rule of Caesar and Augustus, the Jews in Alexandria and Egypt seem to have supported the Roman conquerors, whereas especially the Greeks and the Egyptians continued for a long time to consider the Romans as hostile conquerors and foreign rulers.8 According to Philo, this favourable situation for the Jewish population in Alexandria continued well over the first year of Caligula’s rule (37–38). However, during the summer of 38, a decisive change seems to have occurred. Philo tells us that during the years 32–38, Aulus Avilius Flaccus, who had been a close friend of the Emperor Tiberius (14–37), held the post as the Roman prefect in Alexandria (and Egypt). During the months from August to September 38, Flaccus, for reasons that are not evident, seems to have cancelled the Jewish population’s established right to live in Alexandria according to the customs of their fathers and under some kind of internal self-government, an institution, which in several other texts are described with the Greek expression politeuma (“community of citizens” or “civic association”), whereas, in Philo’s two historical treatises, this right is referred to with the less exact term politeia (“government” or “constitution,” cf. In Flacc. 53; Leg. 349.363).9 In any case, it seems to be a right, a privilege, which was considered to be valuable and which could be acquired or lost (cf. In Flacc. 172). In August 38, the newly proclaimed King Agrippa I (37/41– 44) came to Alexandria on his journey from Rome to Palestine (In Flacc. 25–28, cf. AJ 18.238). In Rome, Agrippa had recently from Emperor Caligula received the tetrarchy that had belonged to his uncle Philip, who had died in 34 CE. At the

6 7 8

9

235–242; Kasher 1985, 20–24; Feldman 1993, 113–117; Mélèze-Modrzejewski 1995, 165–173; Barclay 1996, 48–55. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get hold of Gambetti 2003. Cf., e. g., Tcherikover 1959, 296–332; Smallwood 1976, 120–255; Schürer 1973–87, III.1, 107– 137; Feldman 1993, 92–102. Cf., e. g., In Flacc. 43, 47, 52; Leg. 327. For an account of the general conditions of the Jews in Alexandria see Tcherikover & Fuks 1957–64, I, 93; Smallwood 1976, 224–235; Schürer, 1973–87, III.1, 87–108; Collins 2005, 9–29, especially 9–14. These different attitudes towards Rome was probably an important, if not the decisive, factor for the development of the tensions between the Jewish and the non-Jewish populations in Alexandria, cf., e. g., Bludau 1906, 59; Fuchs 1924, 17–18; Box 1939, XIII–XVIII; Smallwood 1976, 223–224; Kasher 1985, 12–18; Barclay 1996, 48–51. There is general agreement in recent scholarship that the Jews in Alexandria did not possess full citizenship rights in the city, which might include participation in non-Jewish cults, but rather some kind of internal self-government, as indicated above, cf., e. g., Fuchs 1924, 79–105; Bell 1924, 14–16; Wolfson 1944, 165–166; Smallwood 1976, 230; Kasher 1985, 261, 356–357, 359– 364; Barclay 1996, 50, 60–71. Against this understanding, Mélèze-Modrzejewski argues that the Jews in Alexandria during the Roman era did not have any kind of internal self-government, cf. 1995, 163–168 – a point of view which, however, is not very convincing to the reader.

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same time, Agrippa had been proclaimed king (cf. AJ 18.237).10 According to Philo, Agrippa’s visit to Alexandria triggered off anti-Jewish riots in the city, during which Agrippa was subjected to public ridicule (the so-called Carabas episode mentioned in In Flacc. 36–39), and subsequently attempts by groups among the non-Jewish population forcibly to set up images of the emperor in the Jewish synagogues (“prayer houses,” cf. In Flacc. 41–3, 47–9, 53 and elsewhere). Contrary to expectation, the Roman prefect did not intervene in the riots (In Flacc. 51). Instead, Flaccus joined forces with the “Greeks” and issued a decree (programma, In Flacc. 54), denouncing the Jews as “foreigners and newcomers” in Alexandria.11 Consequently, the Jewish population in Alexandria had no legal rights and, according to Philo, they were then exposed to direct persecution: They were driven away from four out of the five quarters of the city (In Flacc. 55). Some of their houses were looted and burnt (In Flacc. 54–7). Add to this corporeal assaults (In Flacc. 58–65) and confinement of the city’s Jews in a very limited area, which, among other things, resulted in famine (In Flacc. 62). In some cases, these acts of spitefulness resulted in killing (In Flacc. 65) and, as a special humiliation, members of the Jewish Council (boule¯) were publicly whipped in the theatre (In Flacc. 58–85), whereas some Jewish women were forced to eat pork (In Flacc. 96). Finally, the Roman prefect Flaccus made a systematic search for weapons in Jewish homes (In Flacc. 86–94). This violent persecution of Jews seems to be something new in Antiquity. There are of course accounts in the Book of Esther and the books of the Maccabees, especially the 3 Maccabees, about similar extensive persecutions of Jews in Persia, Judaea and Ptolemaic Egypt. In these books, however, it is more difficult to unravel the historical circumstances. In Alexandria in the year 38, however, a systematic persecution really seems to have taken place, an event, which several scholars describe as the first “pogrom” in history,12 whereas other scholars refers to it as expressions of “Anti-Semitism,”13 and some use the term “ghetto” about the quarter in which the Jews were detained.14

10 Cf. Schwartz 1990, 74–77. 11 Cf. In Flacc. 172 and Josephus, Against Apion (Contra Apionem, henceforth AP) 2.71, where the Jews in Alexandria are referred to as peregrinos (“foreigners”). 12 Thus, e. g., Bell 1924, 16; 1926, 20; 1941, 7; Jones 1926, 23; Box 1939, XIX. XXXVIII; XLVII; Goodenough 1938, 1; Goodenough 1940, 60; Elmgren 1939, 28–30; Daniélou 1958, 29; Grant 1973, 123; Schwartz 1990, 75; Mélèze-Modrzejewski 1995, 169, 172; Barclay 1996, 48–60, 179; Horst 2005; Collins 2005, 14, 28. 13 Cf., e. g., Bludau 1906, 78; Bell 1924, 9; Bell 1941; Box 1939, XIX; Elmgren 1939, 31, 57 and elsewhere; Sandmel 1979, 12; Smallwood 1976, 233–234; Schürer 1973–87, vol. III.1, 1986, 594, 601, 607–608 and elsewhere; Schwartz 1990, 96–99; Collins 2005, 25–29. 14 Cf., e. g., Bludau 1906, 74; Fuchs 1924, 104; Bell 1926, 19; Jones 1926, 23; Box 1939, XLV; Grant 1973, 123; Smallwood 1976, 240.

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In my judgement, it is beyond doubt that the Jews in Alexandria were subjected to widespread cruel and violent persecutions in the summer of 38, even though the actual historical circumstances cannot be established directly on the basis of Philo’s very committed descriptions. We should refrain, however, when reconstructing historical circumstances in Antiquity, from using terms related to the European persecutions of Jews in the Middle Ages and in recent times. In Alexandria, the issue was most of all about ethnical, cultural and political conflicts, which, incidentally, continued and culminated in the year 66 (cf. The Jewish War (Bellum Judaicum, henceforth BJ) 2.487–498) and in the second great Jewish revolt against Rome which, in 115–117, took place in Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Cyrenaica (Libya) and Egypt (cf. Smallwood 1976, 389–427). Back to Alexandria: At the accession to the throne of the Emperor Caligula in March 37, the Alexandrian Jews – like all other groups – had agreed upon a decree of congratulation, which they had asked Flaccus to send to the Emperor. Flaccus had promised to do so, but omitted it in order to discredit the Jews, as Philo formulates it (In Flacc. 97–101). The Alexandrian Jews then (August 38?) poured out their troubles to King Agrippa and asked him on their behalf to intervene with the Emperor, with whom he was on good terms.15 However, the Emperor himself seems to have anticipated this. For unknown reasons – maybe because of Agrippa’s complaints (cf. Bell 1926, 22) – Caligula actually decided to remove and punish Flaccus (In Flacc. 104–107). The Emperor sent a police force to Alexandria, which – “during the Feast of Tabernacle,” i. e. in September-October 38 – arrested Flaccus and took him to Rome, where Caligula condemned him to exile on a Greek island and later had him executed there (In Flacc. 109–88). It looks as if Flaccus on that occasion was replaced as Roman prefect in Alexandria and Egypt by a certain Pollio,16 who presumably restored order in Alexandria and thus may have given their traditional rights back to the city’s Jewish population. Pollio also seems to have permitted – or maybe even ordered – each of the two contesting parties in Alexandria to appoint and send a delegation to Rome to account for their responsibility for the conflict in the summer of 38 and thus to defend themselves in front of the Emperor.17 This may have occurred 15 Cf. In Flacc.103; AJ 18.167–168, 237–238, 289–301 and Schwartz 1990, 67–89. According to Josephus, the Herodian client-kings at the time between Herod the Great and Agrippa II several times acted as intermediaries and advocates of (part of) the Jewish people, cf. Bilde 1983, 139–141; Schwartz 1990, 76–77. 16 C. Vitrasius Pollio, cf. Bludau 1906, 80, according to whom the change of prefect occurred immediately, cf. also Bell 1924, 24. 17 This, too, was general practice in the Roman provinces. According to Josephus, AJ 20.179–184, for example, Jews as well as non-Jews in Caesarea after a similar conflict sent delegations to Emperor Nero, who settled the matter in favour of the non-Jews. Another example is found in AJ 20.193–195, where Josephus tells us that the Roman prefect in Judea, Festus, permits the

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either during the winter of 38–3918 or during the winter of 39–40.19 However, as Philo records, both delegations seem to have stayed in Rome and Puteoli (at the Bay of Naples) for a very long period of time before they were given an audience with the Emperor (cf. Leg. 178–183. 349–367).20 Shortly after the dramatic events in Alexandria, i. e., during the spring of 40 (cf. Bilde 1983, 115–121), according to both Philo and Josephus, a very dangerous conflict developed in Palestine. Philo records (Leg. 200–201) that the non-Jewish population had put up an altar in honour of Gaius Caligula in the city of Jamnia, which was inhabited by a mixed population. This, however, was probably considered by the Jewish population to be a desecration of the “Holy Land”. In any case, Philo tells us that the Jews destroyed the altar (Leg. 202). The Roman procurator of the area, Herennius Capito, reported this to the Emperor, who became enraged by this insult and decided to implement the infamous plan to have a statue of himself erected in no other place than the very Temple of Jerusalem.21 Caligula transferred the project to the Roman legate and proconsul of the province of Syria, Publius Petronius, and both Philo and Josephus describe in detail the riots occasioned by this project among the Jews in Palestine and elsewhere (cf. references in footnote 21). King Agrippa I, however, also intervened in this conflict, during which the King was (again?) in Rome, and he managed to persuade the Emperor to withdraw this disastrous decision. Our sources in Philo and Josephus are characterised by some uncertainty as to what really happened at the end of the year 40: Did the Emperor’s order of withdrawal reach Petronius in time, or did the news about the murder of Caligula on 24 January 41 by the praetorian tribune Cassius Chaerea reach him first and thus resolved the highly tense situation in Palestine (cf. AJ 18.300–308; 19.1–113)? In Alexandria, the news about the death of Caligula seems to have resulted in a wave of Jewish revenge attacks on the city’s “Greek” population.22 Pollio seems once more to have restored order, and it is likely that he again sent two delegations to Rome to account for the latest disturbances to the new Roman Emperor, Claudius, whose way to the throne to some degree seems to have been

18 19 20

21 22

leading Jewish citizens in Jerusalem to send a delegation to Rome to ask Nero to set aside an order issued by the prefect to destroy a recently built wall on top of the temple area’s western colonnade. Thus, e. g., Bludau 1906, 8; Fuchs 1924, 21; Bell 1924, 19; Bell 1926, 13. Thus, e. g., Grant 1973, 129; Smallwood 1976, 243; Bilde 1983, 115–117. Scholars have discussed whether the Jewish delegation lead by Philo merely wished to reestablish the situation before the conflict/persecution, or whether it would attempt to go one step further and ask the Emperor to give full citizenship to all Alexandrian Jews, possibly to only some of them, cf. Box 1939, XXXVIII–XXXIX. Cf. Leg. 184–348; BJ 2.184–203; AJ 18.261–309 and, further, Bilde: 1983, 62–121. Cf. AJ 19.278–279 and further Bell 1924, 17–18.

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paved by Agrippa I (cf. AJ 19.236–273). Furthermore, a fortunate discovery was made in 1912 of a papyrus copy of a letter of 10 November 41 from the Emperor Claudius to the two population groups in Alexandria, enjoining them to reach agreement and to restore order in the city.23 The situation from before July 38 should thus have been re-established,24 and this is probably the context in which Philo wrote the two historical treatises, which we will now turn to.25

3.

Against Flaccus26

Philo introduces this writing by connecting Flaccus’ “anti-Jewish” policy with a similar campaign run by Lucius Aelius Sejanus, who under the Emperor Tiberius was commander of the Praetorian Guard. In that period, the years 26–31, when Tiberius left Rome and withdrew to the isle of Capri in the Bay of Naples, Sejanus possessed the actual power in Rome and, among other things, implemented a policy against the Jews in Rome and elsewhere in the Roman Empire: “The policy of attacking the Jews begun by Sejanus was taken over by Flaccus Avillius” (In Flacc. 1, cf. 191; Leg. 159– 160).27 Then Philo describes the period when Flaccus was the emperor’s prefect in Alexandria (and Egypt), from his appointment in the year 32 to his removal in the autumn of 38. Flaccus’ first six years are described in bright colours (In Flacc. 2–8). Then Philo mentions the reasons for the turn in Flaccus’ performance of his office. Philo considers the most important reason to be Flaccus’ personal relations to Tiberius, with whom he was closely connected, and to his successor, Gaius Cal23 Cf. P.Lond. 1912, which was published and translated into English in Bell 1924, 23–29; Tcherikover & Fuks, 1957–64, II, 36–55. See also AJ 19.280–285. 24 This meant that the non-Jewish citizens of Alexandria should now let their Jewish fellow citizens live in peace and not disturb their worship. The Jews, on the other hand, did not achieve further rights, e. g., full citizenship of the city. Instead, they had their previous rights confirmed, which probably meant their internal self-government in the form of an autonomous “citizen community” (politeuma), cf. Bell 1976, 20–21. 25 Josephus wrote his two accounts later, one in The Jewish War in the mid–70s and one in The Jewish Antiquities in the mid–90s, cf. Bilde 1988, 65–79 (BJ), and 80–104 (AJ). 26 The text is from the Loeb-edition by Colson 1941, 293–403. The most important other editions are published by Box 1939; Pelletier 1967; van der Horst 2003, all with detailed introductions, commentaries and references. 27 The translation is borrowed from Colson 1941, 303. To the interpretation of the contents of the text quoted, see also the end of section 3 and section 5 below. Eusebius writes in his church history, Hist. eccl. 2.5.1, that “he (Philo) describes in five books the (disasters) that befell the Jews under Gaius (Caligula).” On the basis of this information, it is often assumed that Philo had also written a book on Sejanus’ persecutions of the Jews in Rome, and that the two books handed down, Against Flaccus and The Embassy to Gaius, are fragments of such a large work consisting of five books, cf., among others, Box 1939, XXXIII–XXXVIII; Colson 1941, 295; Smallwood 1961, 37–43; Morris 1987, 859–863.

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igula, towards whom he had felt animosity. Flaccus had preferred Tiberius’ grandson, Tiberius Gemellus, to succeed Tiberius (In Flacc. 9). So, when Caligula after his illness, i. e. during the summer of 38, started a regular cleansing in Rome of Tiberius’ relatives and “friends”, Flaccus became worried that the turn would come to him, too (In Flacc. 10–5). According to Philo, this threatening danger from Caligula was the reason why Flaccus entered into an alliance with the heads of Alexandria’s Greek population: Dionysius, Lampon and Isidorus. This alliance meant that Flaccus, in return for the city of Alexandria’s support and intercession on his behalf with Emperor Caligula, should “sacrifice” the Alexandrian Jews, whom “the Greek” hated cordially (In Flacc. 20–24).28 This section is followed by a long and detailed description of the disasters brought by Flaccus upon the Alexandrian Jews (In Flacc. 25–101, cf. section 2 above). In In Flacc. 102, Philo eventually comes to the “change” (metabole¯, cf. In Flacc. 154, 159) 29 in his description in this treatise of the situation for the Jews, which Philo interprets as a just intervention of the Jewish divinity (In Flacc. 102, 107) through, among others, King Agrippa I. This “tremendous change” (In Flacc. 159) was launched by the arrest of Flaccus ordered by the Emperor (In Flacc. 108–115), and followed by the joy of the Alexandrian Jews at this just divine intervention (In Flacc. 121–124). As mentioned in section 2 above, Flaccus was captured and taken to Rome (In Flacc. 125ff.), where he was sentenced by Emperor Caligula to abandon his property (In Flacc. 148) and to be sent into exile on the Greek island of Gyara, which was later changed to the more pleasant island of Andros (In Flacc. 151). The rest of this treatise (In Flacc. 152–190) is devoted to Philo’s triumphant description of the punishment of Flaccus, of his humiliation of being an exiled prisoner, of his sufferings and ultimate bloody death when, at the Emperor’s command, he was killed by sword (In Flacc. 185–190), given as many wounds as the number of Alexandrian Jews that he had executed (In Flacc. 189).30 28 According to most scholars, the reason for this hatred was the alliance made between the Alexandrian Jews and leading Romans like Caesar and Octavian during the Roman conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt and Octavian’s confrontation with his rival Marcus Antonius, who had formed a liaison with Cleopatra VII of Egypt (cf. section 2 above with the references in footnote 8). Alexandria’s Greek-speaking citizens therefore considered their Jewish fellowcitizens as traitors to Ptolemaic Egypt. To this should probably be added the local struggles of the Jews about the right for full citizenship in Alexandria, about the degree of the internal Jewish self-government (politeuma) and about other issues (cf. section 2 above). 29 The same term is used by Philo elsewhere about decisive changes, e. g., about the definite eschatological change of the conditions of the Jewish people, cf. Elmgren 1939, 101. 30 Some scholars have resented this Philonic “glee”, cf. Colson 1941, 301: “He (Philo) gloats over the misery of Flaccus in his fall, exile, and death, with a vindictiveness which I feel to be repulsive.” To the contrary, among others, Nikiprowetzky 1968, 7–19, emphasises that Philo and the Alexandrian Jews are less pleased with the misery of their enemies than with the justice manifested through the divine providence.

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Philo “piously” finishes his writing with these words: “Such was the fate of Flaccus also, who thereby became an indubitable proof that the help which God can give was not withdrawn from the nation of the Jews” (In Flacc. 191).31 If this translation is correct, the ending of the book shows in this way, that Philo, prior to this book, had written about a “first” persecutor of the Jews, probably Sejanus, who persecuted the Jews in Rome (cf. In Flacc. 1; Leg. 159–160 and footnote 27 above). Slightly before the end of this treatise, Philo lets Flaccus himself express the same idea about his cruel fate, being the Jewish divinity’s just retribution for Flaccus’ persecution of the Jews in Alexandria. Philo tells us that one night Flaccus became “possessed”, stepped out of his cottage and lifted his eyes to heaven saying: “King of gods and men – he cried – so then Thou dost not disregard the nation of the Jews, nor do they misreport Thy Providence (pronoia), but all who say that they (the Jews) do not find in Thee a Champion and Defender, go astray from the true creed (“sound teaching”). I am a clear proof of this, for all the acts which I madly committed against the Jews I have suffered myself” (In Flacc. 170, cf. 174; the translation is from Colson 1941, 395).

4.

The Embassy to Gaius32

After a very Philonic introduction (Leg. 1–7) about body and soul, nature and coincidence, reason and emotion, knowledge and ignorance, culminating in a confession of belief that God in his Providence (pronoia) looks after all people, and especially the Jewish people, who – as the only people (?) – is able to “see God” (Leg. 3–4), Philo goes on describing the situation when Gaius Caligula became Emperor. Just like in Against Flaccus, Philo starts in a cheerful tone, describing the happiness, peace and joy that prevailed in the Roman Empire in the beginning of Gaius Caligula’s reign (Leg. 8–13). This period lasted for about seven months, i. e. from March to October 37, when Gaius fell ill, according to Philo because of his unhealthy luxurious living (Leg. 14). When the Emperor had recovered, however, according to Philo, he was completely transformed. His personality had changed from that of a “saviour” and “benefactor” to that of a cruel amok runner (Leg. 22). Caligula began this destructive stage of his life by murdering Tiberius’ grandson, Tiberius Gemellus, 31 Thus Colson 1941, 403. Similar translations are made by Box 1939, 67: “Such were the sufferings of Flaccus too …”; Pelletier 1967, 155: “Voilà, ce qu’endura Flaccus lui aussi …,” and van der Horst 2003, 244–245: “Such were the sufferings of Flaccus too …”. 32 The text is published in the Loeb-series by Colson 1962. Other editions are published by Smallwood 1961; Pelletier 1972.

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who was his main rival to the office as Emperor (Leg. 23–31).33 Then follows a long account of Gaius’ execution of the commander of the Praetorian Guard, Macro, who had even assisted Gaius to become Emperor, of Macro’s family (Leg. 32–74), and of other distinguished Romans (Leg. 66–74). According to Philo, this massacre made Caligula believe that he was divine, and Philo provides a number of examples of how this manifested itself (Leg. 75– 114). Only at this point, about one third into the writing, does Philo arrive at his principal issue, the Jewish people: Gaius now turned against the Jews since they were the only ones among the empire’s population who, because of their religion, refused to honour him as a god (Leg. 115–118). “So then,” Philo tells us, “a vast and truceless war was prepared against the nation” (Leg. 119, Colson 1962, 59). And the remainder of the treatise is about this war. First, there is an account of the events in Alexandria, which here (Leg. 120– 137) – as opposed to the account in Against Flaccus (25–101) – are claimed to be started by the Emperor himself and his Anti-Jewish advisers, in particular the “Egyptian” Helicon.34 Philo maintains that in Alexandria, Gaius had an easy job, as the non-Jewish population, who had an implacable hatred of the Jews (cf. section 2–3 above), assumed that the emperor had now left the fate of the Jews to their whim (Leg. 120–121). In the following section (Leg. 138–161), Philo contrasts this anarchy caused by Gaius and Flaccus with the traditional Roman – and earlier Ptolemaic – policy of protecting the Jews and allowing them to live according to their own laws (the Law of Moses) in Alexandria (as well as in other cities, cf. section 2 above). This policy had previously only been broken by Sejanus (Leg. 159–160, cf. In Flacc. 191 above), a fact, which, however, Philo passes lightly over here. After this “digression” (Leg. 138–161), Philo, in Leg. 162, reverts to Caligula’s “war” against the Jews, which in Alexandria was supported by the city’s “Greek” population. Philo has now finally reached the “embassy,” which is the main topic of this treatise. From and including Leg. 178 – probably in the summer of 40 (cf. section 2 above) – we are suddenly in Rome with the Jewish delegation, which, according to Leg. 370, consisted of five members and which, according to Jose33 Cf. In Flacc. 9. The two treatises overlap in their descriptions of Caligula’s cleansing of the relatives and “friends” of Tiberius in Rome and of the disasters that befell the Jewish population in Alexandria (In Flacc. 8–101 and Leg. 22–74, 120–137). There are many similarities between the two accounts, but there are also differences, which are probably due to the different aims of the two books. Whereas, in the first writing, the prefect Flaccus was charged with the responsibility for the persecution of the Jews, the second writing places the main responsibility with the Emperor Caligula. 34 Cf. Leg. 166–178 (and In Flacc. 29). In Leg. 166, Philo points out that most of Caligula’s servants and assistants were “Egyptians,” a stereotyped feature reflecting both the traditional hostility between Jews and Egyptians and a general contempt for Egyptians in the Roman Empire, cf. Mendelson 1988, 116–122.

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phus (AJ 18.259), was led by Philo. Philo now tells us that, through the mediation of King Agrippa I, the Jews had already in advance sent a long petition to the Emperor, and Philo adds that the delegation, during its stay in Rome, formulated an abbreviated version of the same petition, which they attempted to pass on to the Emperor. It was very difficult for the delegation to get to see the Emperor because access to him had to go through the Egyptian “Jew-hater” Helicon (Leg. 178–179). When, according to Philo, the delegation was eventually called for an audience, Caligula received them quite kindly (Leg. 180–181). But by virtue of his age and education, Philo was able to comprehend this kindness as hypocrisy (Leg. 182), and he envisaged that the Emperor in reality had hostile intentions towards the Jews (Leg. 183). Then follows a new, long digression, namely a detailed account of Caligula’s statue project in Palestine (Leg. 184–348). This digression is interlaced with a smaller digression: a new description of the traditionally positive Roman policy towards the Jewish population (Leg. 291–320, cf. 138–161). In Leg. 349, finally, Philo returns to the principal issue of the treaty, the account of the Alexandrian-Jewish delegation’s stay in Italy to plead for the Jews with the Emperor. We are now told that the delegation, this time in Puteoli, together with the “Greek” delegation, was called for a second audience with the Emperor “to take part in the contention about our citizenship” (cf. section 2 above). Philo gives a vivid description of this audience. The conversation was dominated by Gaius’ wish to be treated as a god (cf. also Josephus in AJ 18.257– 258), and the Emperor again concluded with relatively gentle words to the Jewish delegation (Leg. 351–367). Still, Philo ends his writing in a pessimistic tone (Leg. 368–372) and concludes in Leg. 373 with the following cryptic sentence: “So now I have told in a summary way the cause of the enmity which Gaius had for the whole nation of the Jews, but I must also describe the palinode.”

5.

Literary genre, aim, intended readers and dating of the two treatises

The key to the correct understanding of these two writings is probably to be found exactly in Leg. 373, compared with the conclusion of Against Flaccus. In Leg. 373, the main problem is the interpretation of word palino¯idia, constructed by palin and o¯idein, i. e. “sing again,” but what does this expression mean? In the translation of the Loeb-edition, used above, Colson omits to translate te¯n palino¯idian, or rather, he uses the English transcription “palinode,”35 but the 35 Thus also Smallwood 1961, 146: “… I must now proceed to the palinode.” In her commentary, Smallwood refers to the scholarly discussion about this problem and concludes as follows:

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meaning of this is not clear either. In a note, Colson proposes to translate “palinode” to “counter-story” or “reversal.”36 At the end of the note, however, Colson proposes to change the text from palino¯idia to palinodia (constructed by palin and hodos), which he interprets to mean “the opposite way” (1962, 186– 187). In any case, Colson presumes that the “pal-inode” refers to a lost work.37 Pelletier, who in 1972 published The Embassy to Gaius in the large French edition of the complete works of Philo, Les oeuvres de Philon d’Alexandrie, proposes the following translation: “… Il faudrait dire aussi le juste retour des choses.”38 The large Greek-English dictionary (Liddell, Scott & Jones 1940, 1293), suggests to translate the word palino¯idia into “recantation,” in the sense that an author, for example, in a new poem recants previous poems, but, in my opinion, this interpretation is of little help here.39 I am inclined to think that the meaning of the word should be based on an analysis and interpretation of the treatise as a whole (combined with an interpretation of Against Flaccus). The term palino¯idia might in the context refer to the withdrawal by Caligula of his order to have a statue of him-self erected in the Temple of Jerusalem, which, according to both Josephus (AJ 18.297–301) and Philo (Leg. 261–329), was due to the intervention of Agrippa I. However, the last sentence of Leg. undoubtedly refers to a positive contrast to its first sentence, which seems to be an ultra-short summary of the entire treatise. In the context of the writing, the “cause of the enmity which Gaius had for the whole nation of the Jews” therefore most probably refers to the Jews’ refusal to honour him as a god. And the “contrast” to this can hardly be anything else than the whole complex of events which are not described in Philo, but in Josephus, and which include the murder of Caligula (21 January 41), Claudius’ way to the imperial throne, assisted by King Agrippa I, and Claudius’ re-establishment of Rome’s traditional relation

36

37 38

39

“… and it therefore seems better to suppose that Philo is using the word in the unparalleled (?) sense of ‘an account of a reversal of fortune.’” Colson writes that such a “counter-story” probably “… gave an account of Gaius’s death and probably also the change of policy adopted by Claudius, as shown in the two edicts recorded by Josephus, Ant. XIX. 5. If, that is, it was never written, for it is curious that Eusebius in his brief notice of the Legatio, see Introd. pp. XVII, shows no knowledge of it” (1962, 186–187). Colson thus interprets the word palino¯idia in the same way as Smallwood. Cf. 1962, XXIV, and references in footnote 27 above. Pelletier 1972, 321. According to Pelletier, however, this work was never written but only suggested in the writing, cf. especially Leg. 206 (on the divine retribution towards Caligula’s Anti-Jewish freedmen Apelles and Helicon) and 348 (which indicates a similar retribution towards Caligula). Colson 1962, 187, note a, however, agrees to this translation of palino¯idia, which Philo also uses in De posteritate Caini 179 and De somniis 2.232; and Colson continues: “The only sense in which the story of these events would be a recantation would be that it would force the doubters of providence to recant.” This view is shared by Frick 1999, 188, who mentions that Philo in the introduction to the writing also refers to and emphasises the divine providence (Leg. 3).

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to the Jewish people, including recognition of their right to live in Alexandria according to “the customs of their fathers” (cf. section 2 above with footnote 7), i. e. the Law of Moses, which again means a re-establishment of the traditional rights of the Jews in Alexandria as well as Palestine.40 In the light of this, I think that the “palinode” must be interpreted as an account of the Jewish divinity’s just punishment of Gaius Caligula in return for his actions against the Jewish people.41 Philo presumably refers to an account of Caligula’s death on 21 January 41, Claudius’ accession to the throne (cf. Josephus’ detailed description in AJ 19.1–273) and the rescue of the Jews that was closely related to these two events (cf. section 2 above). This “palinode” may be implicit, lost or never have been written, but it is certainly present as an idea in The Embassy to Gaius. And when it thus is included in the treatise, The Embassy to Gaius has the same dual fundamental structure as Against Flaccus, where both parts of this basic structure have been described in detail.42 This fundamental structure, however, is well-known in contemporary and earlier Jewish literature. Obvious examples are the Book of Esther (on the disaster for the Jewish people in Persia planned by Haman, the salvation of the Jews, and Haman’s punishment), the 1 Maccabees (on Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ violent attack against the Jews in Judea, on the Hasmonean revolt against and victory over the king and thus on the Jews and the salvation of the Jews), the 2 Maccabees (with the same content and, especially, the narrative in chapter 2 about Heliodorus’ attack on the Temple in Jerusalem, Yahweh’s intervention and punishment of Heliodorus and the rescue of the Temple) and the 3 Maccabees (on the Ptolemaic King Ptolemy Philopator’s threats towards the Temple in Jerusalem and towards the Jews in Egypt, and the salvation through intervention of Yahweh and his punishment of the king and the Egyptians).43 This type of literature, however, also includes other books in the Hebrew Bible than the Book of Esther, especially Exodus (with the description of the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt, Moses’ plea to the Pharaoh to let his people go, Pharaoh’s refusal to do so and his persecution of the Israelites as well as their salvation

40 Cf. Josephus in AJ 19.1–291 and Claudius’ letter to the two opposing ethnic groups in Alexandria (cf. the end of section 2 above). 41 This interpretation is widely accepted. In addition to Colson, Smallwood and Pelletier, it is shared by, e. g., Leisegang 1938, 402; Smallwood 1976, 43–44; Morris 1987, 861; Barclay 1996, 179, note 129; Borgen 1999, 293, 302–303, 309. 42 It is easy to imagine that Philo also planned and maybe even wrote a similar account about Sejanus with the same fundamental structure, cf. In Flacc. 1; Leg. 159–60; footnote 27 above and Bilde 1983, 62–64. 43 Cf. Collins 1983, 104–111, who argues that the 3 Maccabees also reflects the crisis for the Jews in Alexandria in the years 38–41. Against this interpretation is, e. g., Barclay 1996, 203.

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through intervention of Yahweh and his destruction of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army).44 Josephus as well is writing according to this “recipe”, as, for example, in his description of the fates of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Herod the Great, Archelaus, Pilate, Herod Antipas and, of course, the Emperor Caligula.45 In all these circumstances, Josephus explains the violent death or the tragic misfortune of the ruler concerned as a result of divine justice caused by the injustice that the ruler in question committed against the Jewish people. Later, the Church Father Lactantius put this fundamental structure on a formula, namely through the title of his writing on the persecution of the Christians under Diocletian and his successors: De mortibus persecutorum (On the death of the persecutors).46 It follows that the two treatises by Philo examined in this essay seem to have been cast in a fixed, traditional and effective Jewish literary form or genre, religious apologetics, which was later taken over by and continued in Christianity. However, this insight does not tell us which aim and which target audience and readers Philo had in mind. It is possible, but not certain, that Philo chose this form or genre in order to comfort and edify Jewish readers.47 In that case, Philo’s intended readers were probably the same as those of the writings of the Hebrew Bible, the books of Maccabees and the other Jewish writings mentioned above. Another possibility is to interpret Philo’s two historical treatises as intended for Roman readers, primarily the new Roman emperor, Claudius, the new imperial prefect in Egypt, Pollio, and other leading roman circles, a hypothesis, which has been advocated in particular by Goodenough in several works.48 I am inclined to accept Goodenough’s interpretation. On this basis, I tend to argue that both treatises can be understood as having a political-apologetic as well as a theological-apologetic character.49 Philo places great emphasis on both

44 Thus also Pelletier 1967, 16–17, who describes this literary genre as an “aretalogy” (16, 199); cf. Barclay 1996, 196. 45 In Ap. 2.43–144, Josephus describes the fate of the Jew-hater Apion in the same way. 46 Cf. also Bludau 1906, 77–78; Fuchs 1924, 19; Schürer 1973–87, vol. III.1, 543; Borgen 1999, 293, 302–303, 309. 47 Thus, e. g., Krüger 1906, 24, 64; Bludau 1906, 78; Leisegang 1938, 390. Professor Maren Niehoff has orally confirmed that she shares this opinion. 48 Cf. Goodenough 1938, 19–20; 1940, 20, 31, 59–60. Thus also Daniélou 1958, 39, 75; Pelletier 1971, 17. According to Box 1939, LXI, Against Flaccus is aimed at both Jewish and pagan readers, whereas Meiser 1999, 426, thinks that this treatise was intended for pagan readers. 49 Krüger calls both treatises “apologetic writings,” which, however, do not contain any “coherent, closed apology against all pagan accusations,” but relate to specific attacks (1906, 12). Goodenough describes the two treatises as “Philo’s two works of apology” (1938, 100). Meiser settles for describing Against Flaccus’s aim as “apologetic” (1999, 426–429). Morris, on the other hand, refuses that these two writings should be apologetic, arguing that Hypothetica is

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features. He emphasises that it will go hard with the ruler who commits (“illegitimate”) assaults against the Jewish people. This is a classic theological-apologetic feature (topos), which may primarily be intended for internal consumption. Another thing that Philo places great emphasis on is that a Roman ruler’s positive (“legitimate”) treatment of the Jewish people always used to go hand in hand with a Roman policy, which was also generally for the benefit of Rome itself as well as of the citizens of empire. According to Philo, it is the generally respected Roman Emperors like Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius (and Claudius?) who have been most favourable towards the Jews (cf. Leg. 291–320). The moral seems to be that under the reigns of these “good” Emperors, Rome prospered because they treated the Jews well. On the contrary, Philo relates Gaius Caligula’s assaults against the Jews to the Emperor’s hostile acts against the Roman aristocracy. After that Gaius “had run amok”, Philo tells us, he first killed Tiberius’ grandson, Tiberius Gemellus (Leg. 23–31); then the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the knight Macro (Leg. 32–61); besides that Gaius Caligula’s own father in law, the senator Silanus (Leg. 62–65) and other distinguished Romans (Leg. 66–75, 108). Philo thus seems to communicate that the Emperor Caligula, this “mortal enemy” of the Jews, was also an enemy of the Roman aristocracy and the true and healthy Roman traditions. By linking together Caligula’s hostile policy towards the Jews with his breach of other Roman traditions, Philo manages very cleverly to agree with the aristocratic critique of this Emperor, which dominates in Roman historiography, e. g., Suetonius (Calig. 26–27) and Dio Cassius (Hist. 59.24–25). On this interpretation, Philo’s two historical treatises, and in particular the Embassy to Gaius, may also be regarded as pieces of effective political apologetics. It thus seems as if Philo wished to show Claudius’ new government in Rome that the conflict between Caligula and the Jews was part of a policy damaging to Rome itself, whereas the traditional Roman policy towards the Jewish people was an inseparable part of a policy favourable to Rome itself.50

the only one of Philo’s works, “which could be described as apologetic …” (1987, 867, note 231). 50 This means that Philo’s apologetics in the two treatises discussed here is of a different character than the one found in On the Life of Moses (de vita Mosis), which emphasises Moses as the founder of culture, and the one found in The Contemplative Life (de vita contemplativa), in which Philo maintains that the Jewish ascetics, the so-called “therapists” serve as general religious and moral models (cf. Friedländer 1903, 216, 248–267). Elmgren, however, rightly stresses the connections between these different types of Philonic apologetics (1939, 65–66).

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Philo’s barely disguised menaces against Rome

Behind these pragmatic and rational political apologetics, however, a menacing under-tone may be heard in both Against Flaccus and The Embassy to Gaius. Admittedly, both writings are based on the idea that the Jewish people do not defend their rights by force of arms because the Jewish divinity takes care of the nation’s needs. And certainly, Philo stresses in Against Flaccus that Flaccus’ suspicion that the Jews in Alexandria had arms reserves in their houses was unfounded and false (In Flacc. 86–96). In spite of a thorough search, the Roman soldiers found no arms, not even kitchen knives (In Flacc. 90). Philo is truly outraged about the Roman suspicions, for the Jews have “certainly” never taken up arms; they have never even thought about revolting, and they have always been peacefully disposed towards all people (In Flacc. 94).51 But at the same time there is a remarkable accentuation in this treatise of the huge number of Jews. Philo tells us that there were no less than a million Jews in Alexandria and Egypt alone (In Flacc. 43). According to the same text, the Jews made up one of the two population groups in the country, as Philo generously includes “Greeks” and “Egyptians” in one and the same group. The Jews are also extremely numerous in other cities, Philo records (In Flacc. 46). And in the case that non-Jewish population groups in other cities should take inspiration from the events in Alexandria in the summer of 38 and, in the same way, violate their Jewish fellow citizens and ravage their synagogues (In Flacc. 47), then, according to Philo, the Jews would react: “Now the Jews though naturally well-disposed for peace could not be expected to remain quiet whatever happened, not only because with all men the determination to fight for their institutions outweighs even the danger to life, but also because they are the only people under the sun who by losing their meetinghouses (proseuche¯) were losing also what they would have valued as worth dying many thousand deaths, namely their means of showing reverence to their benefactors (the emperors), since they no longer had the sacred buildings where they could set forth their thankfulness” (In Flacc. 48, translated by Colson 1941, 329). Also the Embassy to Gaius shows this ambiguity. On the one hand, Philo emphasises that the Jewish god alone is the true protector of the Jews (Leg. 6–7, 107, 373) and that the Jews are therefore peacefully disposed in both Alexandria and (in particular) Palestine (Leg. 225–245). On the other hand, we find statements such as Leg. 190: When the five members of the Jewish embassy, who stayed in Puteoli, heard the news about Gaius’ project in Palestine, they reacted, Philo records, by saying: “‘Let us struggle’, we said, ‘to save us from delivering 51 Several scholars notice that Philo here exaggerates the peaceful nature of the Jewish people, e. g., Bludau 1906, 71; Bell 1926, 19–20; Barclay 1996, 54; Collins 2005, 12.

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ourselves altogether to fatal acts of lawlessness’”.52 This interpretation of Leg. 190 is supported by the fact that Philo elsewhere, more or less incidentally, tells us that the Jewish inhabitants in Jamnia pulled down the imperial altar, which the city’s non-Jewish citizens had erected in honour of Caligula (Leg. 202). This view also seems to be confirmed by Philo’s account of Caligula’s statue project in Palestine. Philo here writes that Petronius, who was responsible for the accomplishment of the Emperor’s project, knew that the Jews in no circumstance would allow that the statue was erected in the Temple of Jerusalem (Leg. 209–210). Finally, a little later, Philo again stresses the huge number of Jews assembled to protest against Gaius’ project (Leg. 214–215, cf. In Flacc. 43), their willingness to “die for the law” (cf. Leg. 209–210), and the danger that the Jews in this precarious situation might get assistance from the Jews on the other side of the Euphrates (Leg. 216). These menacing features in the two writings, which most scholars do not pay attention to, cannot and should not be explained away. I therefore share Goodenough’s interpretation that they are Philo’s barely disguised warnings to the Roman élite: If the traditionally positive Roman policy towards the Jewish population is changed to negative, as it happened under the Emperor Caligula, there is a real risk that such a change will provoke armed Jewish resistance of an extent that will cause serious problems to Rome.53 Over the following almost hundred years, this prophecy was amply fulfilled during the three great Jewish revolts against Rome in 66–70 (74), 115–117 and 132–135.

7.

Conclusions

We can now conclude, first, that Philo took an active part in politics, at least for a certain period, especially during the years 38–40, when he led the AlexandrianJewish delegation of five representatives on its journey to Italy and Rome, where he pleaded for the Alexandrian Jews with the Emperor Caligula. Goodenough has argued that this political activity of Philo does not contrast with, but is in continuation of his exegetic and philosophical activity. To this can be added that Philo’s significant political effort should also be considered in relation to his family background (cf. section 1 above): Philo’s brother, Alexander the Alabarch, had close relations with the Roman imperial family (the Julians) as well as with 52 The translation is from Colson 1962, 97. The same attitude is expressed by Josephus in Ap. 2.272. 53 Cf. Goodenough 1938, 6–7, 10–11, 19–20, 101. According to Goodenough, Philo did not give up the Jewish expectation of the coming Messiah, cf. 1938, 115–118. Thus also Geiger 1932, 106–108; Elmgren 1939, 104–118. Against, e. g., Sandmel 1979, 109. More reluctant is Collins 1983, 113–117.

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the Herodian royal family in Palestine. These relations also seem to have included Philo, who, according to our two treatises, communicated directly with both Caligula and Agrippa I. Second, we can conclude that Philo, during and immediately after this critical period, probably in the year 41, wrote the two historical books analysed here, and maybe others of the same kind, which may be lost and which may and should be characterised as both political-apologetic and theological-apologetic writings aimed at Jewish as well as non-Jewish, especially Roman, readers. The theological-apologetic character of these writings places them on the same footing as a great number of earlier and contemporary Jewish writings of the same character, first and foremost the works of Josephus. Third, I believe to have demonstrated a contrast in these two writings between Philo’s “pacifist” ideology and his barely disguised military threat to Rome. However, I do not find any features in these two treatises that can be interpreted as eschatological and/or messianic (cf., however, the references in footnote 53), which would have brought Philo even closer to the Jews who initiated the later great revolts against Rome. Finally, I wish to emphasise that, with this interpretation of Philo’s two historical writings, I have to place him solidly within the mainstream of Jewish literature in Antiquity.

11: Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden über die Aufstellung einer Kaiserstatue im Tempel von Jerusalem*

1.

Thema, Ziel und Gliederung

Im Jahre 40 n. Chr. erließ der römische Kaiser Gaius Caligula (37–41) den Befehl, im Tempel in Jerusalem eine große Statue seiner selbst aufzustellen. Dazu beauftragt wurde der kaiserliche Legat der römischen Provinz Syria, Publius Petronius. Petronius traf sofort die notwendigen Vorbereitungen und rückte bald mit einem großen Heer, zusammengesetzt aus zwei Legionen, von Antiochia im römischen Syrien nach Palästina. Jüdische Massen zogen Petronius entgegen, um ihn zu überzeugen, den katastrophalen Befehl nicht auszuführen. Diese Verhandlungen zogen sich bis zum Ende des Jahres 40; das kaiserliche Projekt wurde schließlich vielleicht nur deshalb abgebrochen, weil der Kaiser am 24. Januar 41 ermordet worden war.1 Diese dramatischen Ereignisse sind verhältnismäßig gut bezeugt (Abschnitt 2), und sie sind auch in der Vergangenheit mehrmals untersucht und interpretiert worden (Abschnitt 3). In diesem Aufsatz ist es meine Intention, herkömmliche Interpretationen und Rekonstruktionen dieser Ereignisse noch einmal zu überprüfen. Besonders konzentrieren werde ich mich in meiner Analyse auf das Thema „Kult und Macht“ (was m. E. quasi gleichbedeutend ist mit „Religion und politische Herrschaft“) und die Wechselbeziehung dieser beiden Faktoren zueinander (Abschnitt 4, 5 und 10–12). Schon an dieser Stelle ist jedoch zu sagen, dass die folgende Untersuchung zeigen wird, dass eben diese Formulierung der Problemstellung nicht ganz angemessen ist. Wir fangen mit einer Vorstellung der überlieferten Quellen an und setzen mit einem kurzen Überblick über die bisherige Forschung fort. Auf dieser Grundlage folgen einige wichtige Überlegungen in Bezug auf die genaue Formulierung der * Ich danke Frau Astrid Bamberger, Institut für Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft und Biblische Archäologie der Wiener Evangelisch-Theologischen Fakultät, für die Editionsarbeit an der deutschen Fassung des vorliegenden Textes. 1 Früher habe ich mich mehrmals mit der Caligula-Krise beschäftigt, vgl. Bilde 1978, 67–93; Bilde 1983; u. a.

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Problematik der Caligula-Krise. Diese einleitenden Ausführungen sind maßgeblich für die Auswahl unserer Methoden, die ihrerseits die weitere Gliederung der Untersuchung bestimmen: Paraphrase der Quellen, Analyse der Tendenzen der Hauptquellen, kritische Analyse sämtlicher Quellen, historische Rekonstruktion der Caligula-Krise, Überblick über vergleichbare Konflikte im Altertum und in unserer Zeit, Diskussion der Interpretation der Caligula-Krise und Ergebnisse.

2.

Die zur Verfügung stehenden Quellen

Es stehen drei ältere, relativ umfassende jüdische Quellen zu Verfügung: eine bei Philo und zwei bei Josephus. Diese drei Quellen werden hier zu den Hauptquellen gezählt, während die nicht so umfangreichen und späteren Quellen bei Tacitus, im Talmud und anderswo als Nebenquellen bezeichnet werden. Zuerst der zeitgenössische Zeuge, Philo von Alexandrien (ca. 20 v. Chr.-ca. 45 n. Chr.): In seinen zwei politischen Traktaten, Flaccus2 und Legatio ad Gaium,3 hat Philo die ethnischen Zusammenstöße in Alexandrien im Jahre 38 n. Chr. dargestellt.4 Im zweiten Traktat, Legatio, hat Philo aber auch die Ereignisse im jüdischen Palästina ganz ausführlich geschildert, nämlich in LegGai 184–348. Josephus (37 n. Chr.-ca. 100 n. Chr.) hat die Caligula-Krise in seinen zwei historischen Werken beschrieben, relativ kurz gefasst im älteren Jüdischen Krieg (Bellum Judaicum): Bell 2, 184–2035 und ausführlicher in seinem späteren Hauptwerk Die Jüdischen Altertümer (Antiquitates Judaicae): Ant 18,261–309.6 Leider gibt es nur sehr knappe römische Quellen. Die relevanten Teile der Darstellung des Tacitus (ca. 55 n. Chr.-ca. 120 n. Chr.) in seinen Historien (Historiae [Hist]) sind größtenteils verschwunden. Wir verfügen nur über zwei kurze Bemerkungen in Hist V 9 und in seinen Jahrbüchern (Annales) 12,54. In Hist V 9 finden wir folgende Sätze: Unter Tiberius herrschte Ruhe. Als sie (die Juden) danach von Gaius Caesar den Befehl erhielten, sein Standbild im Tempel aufzustellen, griffen sie zu den Waffen, aber Caesars Tod hat diesen Aufstand beendet.7 2 Zitiert nach Colson 1941 (LCL), 293–403. Ergänzend Box 1939; Pelletier 1967; Van Der Horst 2003. Vgl. auch Meiser 1999, 418–430. 3 Zitiert nach Colson 1962, X, IX–187; gl. Smallwood 1970; Pelletier 1972; Vgl. auch Bilde 2009, 97–114. 4 Vgl. Bilde 2006, 257–267; Ders. 2009 (Anm. 3); Bernett 2007, 272–277, beide mit reichhaltigen bibliographischen Auskünften. 5 Zitiert nach der Ausgabe von Thackeray 1929 (LCL); Vgl. Michel & Bauernfeind 1959–1969, I, 180–313. 6 Zitiert nach der Ausgabe von Thackeray 1929. 7 Zitiert nach der Ausgabe von Hutton 1931, V 9.

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Etwas Ähnliches ist in den Annales bewahrt. In einer Beschreibung der Brüder Pallas und Felix zur Zeit des Kaisers Claudius (41 n. Chr.–54 n. Chr.) gibt Tacitus einen kurzen Rückblick auf die Zeit seines Vorgängers, Gaius Caligula: Die Juden hatten allerdings Zeichen der Unruhe gesetzt in dem Aufstand, … Und als die Nachricht seines (Caligulas) Mordes bekannt wurde, konnte die Ruhe kaum wiederhergestellt werden, weil die Furcht (unter den Juden) verblieb, dass etwas Ähnliches in Zukunft befohlen werde.8

In seiner Biographie über Caligula nennt Sueton (ca. 70 n. Chr.-ca. 130 n. Chr.) merkwürdigerweise überhaupt nicht diese für die Juden so bedeutungsvollen Ereignisse. Auch Cassius Dio (ca. 165 n. Chr.-ca. 230 n. Chr.) und andere römische Quellen schweigen davon. Zu diesen jüdischen und römischen Quellen ist eventuell eine hypothetisch ältere Vorlage für die synoptische Apokalypse in Mk 13 (mit Parallelen [m.Par.]) dazuzuzählen. Im Jahre 1864 haben Th. Colani und C. Weizsäcker diese Hypothese formuliert.9 Unter vielen anderen haben sich G. Hölscher, M. Hengel, S.G.F. Brandon und G. Theißen dieser Hypothese angeschlossen.10 Im Jahr 1976 habe ich versucht zu demonstrieren, dass dieser Text eher als eine allgemeine, zeitlose, apokalyptische, redaktionelle Konstruktion zu betrachten sei, die nichts Spezifisches von den Ereignissen im Jahre 40, wie Philo und Josephus sie beschreiben, wiedergibt.11 Auch wenn man die Hypothese einer älteren Vorlage hinter Mk 13 (m.Par.) akzeptieren würde, ist diese Quelle wenig ergiebig und trägt nichts Neues zu den übrigen Quellen bei. Letztlich heben einige Forscher hervor, dass auch spätere jüdische Texte die Caligula-Krise bezeugen.12

8 Tacitus Ann 12,54 (1937, IV, 392). – Theißen 1992, füllt mit Koestermann 1967, 200–201, die Lücke aus und übersetzt den Text folgendermaßen: „Allerdings hatten die Juden Anschein erweckt, als solle es zu einer Empörung kommen: Es war nämlich ein Aufstand ausgebrochen, nachdem (sie von C. Caesar den Befehl erhalten hatten, sein Bild in ihrem Tempel aufzustellen; und obwohl) man auf die Kunde von dessen Ermordung dem nicht Folge geleistet hatte, blieb die Besorgnis, ein anderer Kaiser könne dieselbe Weisung erteilen“ (159). 9 Colani 1864, 201–209; Weizsäcker 1864, 124ff. 10 Hölscher 1933, 193–202; Hengel 1976, 110; Brandon 1967, 89–90, und insbesondere Theißen 1992, 132–176. 11 Bilde 1976, 105–134. 12 Es handelt sich einerseits um die sogenannte Fastenrolle (Megillat Ta ’anit), vgl. Zeitlin 1918– 1919, 71–102 und 1919–1920, 49–80, 237–290, 237–240; Bilde 1983, Note I,9, 184–185. In der Fastenrolle heißt es zum 22. im Mont Schebat: „Am 22. Tag dieses (Monats) wurde die Arbeit, das, was der Feind befohlen hat, in den Tempel zu bringen, abgebrochen“. Auf der anderen Seite heißt es im BT Sota 33a: „Ferner hörte einst Simon der Gerechte folgende Hallstimme aus dem Allerheiligsten ertönen: Aufgehoben worden ist, was der Feind in den Tempel bringen wollte. Damals wurde Gaius Caligula erschlagen und seine Verordnungen wurden aufgehoben. Sie schrieben die Stunde auf, und es stimmte genau. Dies wurde in aramäischer

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Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Interpretationen der früheren Forschung

Wie haben die Forscher früher die Ereignisse der Caligula-Krise verstanden und interpretiert? 13 Betrachten wir diese Krise vom Gesichtspunkt der Römer aus, gibt es in der Forschungsgeshichte eine deutliche Entwicklung von einer Fokussierung auf die ungewöhnliche Persönlichkeit des Kaisers zu einer wachsenden Aufmerksamkeit bezüglich einer möglichen kaiserlichen Realpolitik hinter dem Statuen-Projekt. Früher haben Forscher oft versucht, dieses Projekt durch einen Hinweis auf die Gemütskrankheit des Kaisers, seiner mania, zu erklären.14 Andere Forscher nahmen an, dass sich Caligula wegen der Zerstörung des Kaiseraltars in Jamnia durch Juden persönlich beleidigt gefühlt hätte.15 In den letzten Jahrzehnten hat die „realpolitische“ Interpretation doch mehrere Anhänger gefunden. Sie verstehen das Statuen-Projekt als eine – mehr oder weniger – relevante „religionspolitische“ Antwort auf palästinensisch-jüdische Handlungen, die der Kaiser als Zeichen eines bevorstehenden bewaffneten jüdischen Aufstandes gedeutet haben könnte.16 Betrachten wir die Caligula-Krise von der jüdischen Seite aus, hat die neuere Forschung auch der Episode in Jamnia mehr Aufmerksamkeit geschenkt, eben verstanden als eine entscheidende religionspolitische Handlung. Dazu kommt, dass M. Bernett die Caligula-Krise mit der Geschichte in Ant 18,240–256 über die Anklage Agrippas I. gegen Antipas (Antipas hätte sich mit dem Parther-König Artapanos gegen die Römer verschworen: Ant 18,250–251) verbunden hat und darin ein weiteres Zeichen für einen realpolitischen Konflikt zwischen Juden und Römern gesehen hat.17

13

14 15 16 17

Sprache gesprochen.“ Meine Übersetzung, vgl. Bilde 1983, I, 11, 185; Theißen 1992, 15, Anm. 37 (mit einer anderen Übersetzung); vgl. auch Winter 1956, 129–132. Einige Bücher, die das Judentum in römischer Zeit oder das Verhältnis zwichen Rom und den Juden als ihr Hauptthema haben, erwähnen überraschenderweise die Caligula-Krise überhaupt nicht, z. B. Noethlichs 1996; Baltrusch 2002; Eck 2007; Horsley 2008; McCready & Reinhartz 2008. Außerdem gibt es zahlreiche kurze und oberflächliche Besprechungen der Caligula-Krise, z. B. Zeitlin 1989, II, 176–185; Rhoads 1976, 62–64; Cohen 1989, 29–30; Ferrill 1991, 140-–148; Goodman 2007, 401–403. Gründlicher und tiefgehender scheinen mir die folgenden Arbeiten zu sein: Willrich 1903, 85–118, 299–317, 397–470; Balsdon 1934, 111–147; Smallwood 1970; Ders. 1976, 174–180; Schürer 1979, I, 394–398; Bilde 1978; Stern 1975, 136–139; Bilde 1983, 62– 121; Barrett 1989, 182–191; Theißen 1992, 132–176; Schwartz 1990, 67–89; McLaren 1991, 114– 126; Krieger 1994, 65–95; Winterling 2003, 139–152; Bernett 2007, 277–287. So z. B. Hengel 1976, 109–110.213; Zeitlin 1989, 177–179.183; Goodman 2007, 85–87.401. So z. B. Fuhrmann 1940, 29; Brandon 1967, 84; Bernett 2007, 279–280 nähert sich dieser Interpretation. So z. B. Willrich 1903, 412; Balsdon 1934, 142; Smallwood 1976, 175; Bilde 1978, 70–76; Ders., 1983, 69–72; Barrett 1989, 190–191; Schwartz 1990, 82–83; Winterling 2003, 148; Bernett 2007, 279–280. Vgl. Bernett 2007, 238–239.280.

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Darüber hinaus entwickelten sich Divergenzen in der Forschung über die entscheidende Ursache zum „glücklichen“ Ende der Caligula-Krise: Ist dieser Ausgang der Krise auf den Mut und die Besonnenheit von Petronius und Agrippa zurückzuführen? 18 Beruht er auf dem einheitlichen und entschlossenen Widerstand der Juden Palästinas? 19 Oder war die Ursache nur Caligulas Tod? 20 Diese neuen „realpolitischen“ Tendenzen in der Forschung deuten auch die Caligula-Krise als einen nur mit knapper Not entgangenen jüdischen Aufstand gegen Rom,21 wobei man sich auch auf die knappe Darstellung des Tacitus stützen kann (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 2 und unten in Abschnitt 8). Wenn wir die Hypothese akzeptieren, dass eine ältere Vorlage hinter Mk 13 (m. Par.) steckt, so zeugt diese Vorlage nach G. Theißen (Anm. 8) von einer akut eschatologischen Interpretation der Caligula-Krise unter den Jesus-Gläubigen in Palästina. Schließlich finden wir in der Forschung eine Divergenz in der Interpretation der Chronologie der Caligula-Krise.22 Wie wir unten sehen werden, scheint Philo eine längere und Josephus eine kürzere Chronologie vorauszusetzen; dementsprechend verschiedene Chronologien vertreten auch die Forscher. Bei Philo scheinen die entscheidenden Verhandlungen zwischen Petronius und den Juden im Mai/Juni des Jahres 40 stattzufinden, während sie in den zwei Darstellungen des Josephus im Herbst desselben Jahres angesetzt sind.

4.

Die Problematik der Caligula-Krise im jüdischen Palästina

Worin besteht nun diese große Krise im jüdischen Palästina im Jahr 40? Was stand da eigentlich auf dem Spiel? Wie können wir diesen Konflikt am besten sachgemäß verstehen, formulieren und interpretieren? Als einen Konflikt zwischen Religion/ Kult und politischer Herrschaft? 23 Als eine Konfrontation zwischen zwei Religionen? 24 Als einen Konflikt zwischen zwei politischen Mächten? 25 Oder begegnen wir hier der Grundproblematik der Juden unter fremder Herrschaft? 18 So z. Grant 1973, 131–132; Schürer 1973, I, 396; Smallwood 1987, 120. 19 So z. B. Lichtenberger 2002, 92. 20 So z. B. Hengel 1976, 110.213; Stern 1975, 137–139; Smallwood 1976, 178–179, vgl. unten in Abschnitt 8. 21 So zahlreiche Autoren, z. B. Hengel 1976, 110; Goodman 1987, 22.174. 22 Vgl. Bilde 1983, 106–117; Smallwood 1976, 174–180; Ders. 1987, 122–123; Bernett 2007, 276– 277. 23 So z. B. Moore 1927, II, 112–118; Goodman 1987, 11. 24 So z. B. Winterling 2003, 147, der von zwei verschiedenen Begriffen von „Religion“ spricht. 25 Vgl. Goodman 2007, der – ohne einen expliziten Hinweis auf die Caligula-Krise in seinem letzten großen Buch – das Verhältnis zwischen Rom und Jerusalem als einen „Clash of Ancient Civilizations“ beschreibt.

230

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Diese Fragen nach dem genauen Charakter der Problematik der CaligulaKrise sind die Basis aller wissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen dieses Konfliktes. Die vorgeschlagenen Antworten auf diese Fragen bestimmen, welche Sprache und welche Begriffe die Forscher wählen, um diese Krise so sachgemäß wie möglich zu beschreiben und zu interpretieren. Philo und Josephus behaupten beide, dass die in Palästina entstandene gefährliche Konfrontation auf die außergewöhnliche und unrömische Behauptung des Kaisers, er wäre göttlich, zurückzuführen sei.26 Unsere zwei jüdischen Autoren meinen, dass eine solche Konfrontation unter „normalen“ römischen Kaisern undenkbar wäre.27 Ihre Darstellungen betonen somit, dass die Juden den Beschluss des Kaisers, ein Standbild im Jerusalemer Tempel aufstellen zu lassen, als einen Bruch mit der bisherigen römischen Politik den Juden und dem Judentum gegenüber betrachteten.28 Nach dieser Politik, die von Caesar und Augustus initiiert und formuliert worden war, wurden die Juden als ein altes Volk (ethnos) angesehen deren herkömmliche Sitten als ehrwürdig und legitim betrachtet wurden. Deshalb hatte Rom den Juden eine Reihe von Privilegien geschenkt, die ihnen erlaubten, ihre Sitten frei zu praktizieren.29 Das wichtigste Vorrecht war, dass die Juden von der Teilnahme am Kaiserkult ausgenommen waren, und dass ihnen erlaubt war, ihre Loyalität gegenüber Rom und dem Kaiser auf andere Weise auszudrücken, vor allem in Gestalt zweier täglicher Opfer für Rom und den Kaiser im Tempel Jerusalems.30 Nun ist zu fragen, ob Philo und Josephus mit dieser Interpretation Recht hatten oder ob Gaius Caligula für seinen Beschluss möglicherweise andere Gründe gehabt haben könnte. Wünschte er vielleicht diese herkömmliche römische Politik den Juden gegenüber zu ändern? 31 Oder können wir uns andere Ursachen für sein Projekt vorstellen (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 3)? Haben wir hier eventuell eine Konfrontation zweier Prinzipien vor uns? Keine Konfrontation von politischer Herrschaft und Kult und auch keinen Konflikt zweier Religionen

26 Vgl. LegGai 22ff., 114–119.188.373; Bell 2,184–185; Ant 18,256.257–258.277–278.306; 19,1–10. Diese Behauptung drückt sich auch in der Anklage aus, dass Caligula „wahnsinnig“ war, vgl. LegGai 93 und Ant 18,278 (vgl. Bilde 1983, 227–228) und oben in Anm. 14. Vgl. Auch Yavetz 1996, 105–129. 27 Vgl. LegGai 138–161.291–30; Ant 18,306; 19,274–291. 28 Vgl. besonders Teile aus Agrippas Brief an Caligula in LegGai 294–306 und Ant 19,280–291, wo Josephus von Claudius’ Wiederherstellung dieser „normalen“ römischen Politik gegenüber den Juden schreibt. 29 Vgl. Josephus’ Wiedergabe zahlreicher römischer Dekrete über die Rechte der Juden, z. B. Ant 14,144–155.196–267.306–322; 16,162–173; 19,280–311 und dazu Rajak 1984, 107–123; Ben Zeev 1998. 30 Vgl. LegGai 157.280.317; Bell 2,197.404.409–410; Ap 2,77; vgl. Krauter 2004, 197–200; Bernett 2007, 194–199. 31 So z. B. auch Rhoads 1976, 62; Balsdon 1934, 142.

Methoden

231

– sondern vielmehr eine Auseinandersetzung zweier religionspolitischer Mächte? Diese möglichen Interpretationen bedeuten, dass die Problematik der Caligula-Krise im Voraus nicht eindeutig zu definieren ist, sondern dass sie vielmehr als ein wesentlicher Teil unserer Interpretations-Aufgabe angesehen werden muss.

5.

Methoden32

Damit haben wir auch die Methoden angedeutet, die wir anwenden wollen: Abgesehen von einer detaillierten Paraphrase und einer kritischen Analyse der Quellen unter Anwendung der herkömmlichen philologischen und historischen Methoden scheinen mir besonders die folgenden zwei Zugänge aussichtsreich zu sein: eine tendenz- oder redaktionskritische Methode und eine komparative Methode. Dazu kommt die wichtige Aufgabe, die Problematik der Untersuchung, die wir schon oben in Abschnitt 4 berührt haben, so genau wie möglich zu bestimmen. Diese Aufgabe können wir als Teil einer theoretischen oder begriffstheoretischen Methode definieren. Unter der tendenz- oder redaktionskritischen Methode verstehe ich eine Methode, deren Schwerpunkt eine sorgfältige Analyse und Einkreisung von Ziel und Tendenz der betreffenden Quelle und ihres Verfasser (Abschnitt 7) ist. Unter der komparativen Methode verstehe ich eine Interpretation der Quellen aufgrund eines Vergleichs mit verwandten Fällen und Quellen sowohl in der antiken Welt (Abschnitt 9) als auch in der Gegenwart (Abschnitt 11). Um meine literarische und historische Analyse und Interpretation in einen optimalen Kontext zu bringen, füge ich also zwei Skizzen einer Reihe verwandter Konflikte hinzu: Eine umfassendere Skizze einiger ähnlicher Konflikte damaliger Zeit zwischen Rom und seinen Vertretern auf der einen Seite und den Juden (und Christen) auf der anderen Seite sowie eine kurze Skizze einiger gegenwärtiger Konflikte, in denen Religion und politische Herrschaft große Bedeutung haben.

32 In den Untersuchungen der Caligula-Krise ist es ungewöhnlich, Überlegungen über methodologische Fragen anzustellen.

232

6.

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Paraphrase der drei Hauptquellen über den Verlauf der Caligula-Krise33

Auf der Grundlage einer Kombination der drei Hauptquellen in Philo und Josephus unter Einbeziehung der relevanten Nebenquellen ist es möglich, die folgende skizzenhafte Paraphrase der Ereignisse in den Jahren 38–41 vorzustellen. Im Vergleich zu Josephus, der in Ant 18,261 behauptet, Caligula begründe sein Statuen-Projekt mit dem Argument, die alexandrinischen Juden hätten zu wenig Respekt vor dem Kaiser, nennt Philo etwas anderes als Grund, nämlich ein Ereignis im kaiserlichen Besitz Jamnia in der Küstenebene Palästinas (LegGai 199– 202): Die nicht-jüdischen Einwohner Jamnias hatten hier (vermutlich im Frühjahr 40) 34 offensichtlich im Hinblick auf den Kaiserkult einen Altar gebaut, und die Juden hatten kurz danach diesen Altar niedergerissen. Der kaiserliche Prokurator Herennius Capito (vgl. Anm. 15) hatte daraufhin dieses Vorkommnis in einem Brief an Caligula beschrieben. Folgt man Philo, so spielte Capito in Zusammenhang mit diesem Ereignis eine sehr negative Rolle, weil er die gewaltsame Handlung der Juden in Jamnia in seinem Brief stark übertrieb. Damit war Capito nach Philo „der Urheber der ganzen Geschichte“.35 Philo beschreibt weiter das Jerusalemer Projekt des Kaisers als eine direkte Antwort auf die gewaltsame Handlung der jamnischen Juden (LegGai 203–206). Caligula befahl, dass anstelle des einfachen Altars in Jamnia „etwas viel Reicheres und Größeres“, nämlich ein „kolossales Standbild bekleidet mit Gold sollte aufgestellt werden im Tempel der Mutterstadt“ (LegGai 203). Später schreibt Philo, dass es die Intention des Kaisers war, den Tempel in Jerusalem zu einem Kaisertempel zu transformieren, wo Caligula als „Gaius, den (auf Erden) neu manifestierten Zeus“ geehrt werden sollte.36 Nach Philo LegGai 203–206 war diese kaiserliche Antwort von den zwei Judenfeinden Helikon und Apelles, die zum Hof des Kaisers gehörten und die Philo auch sehr negativ darstellt, beeinflusst worden (LegGai 203–205). Philo fügt aber sofort hinzu, dass diese zwei Missetäter bald nach ihrer Untat ihre gerechte göttliche Strafe bekommen haben.37 33 Theißen 1992, 150–152, hat eine kleine Synopse mit den Informationen unserer drei Hauptquellen aufgestellt; Krieger 1994, 65–92, bietet eine sehr ausführliche Paraphrase der beiden Darstellungen des Josephus, die er mit einem kritischen Vergleich dieser beiden Versionen kombiniert. Übrigens soll vermerkt werden, dass die meisten Autoren in ihren Bemerkungen zur Caligula-Krise und ihrer Quellengrundlage sich auf eine Paraphrase – oder öfter: auf eine Kombination zwischen einer kurzen Paraphrase und einigen oft sehr willkürlichen Postulaten – beschränken. 34 Zur Begründung dieser Chronologie, vgl. Bilde 1978, 89–92; Ders. 1983, 106–117. 35 Meine Übersetzung von LegGai 202. 36 Meine Übersetzungen, die letzte von LegGai 346. 37 LegGai 206. Schon hier treffen wir somit die jüdische apologetische Idee vom „Tod des Verfolgers“ (vgl. unten in Abschnitt 7).

Paraphrase der drei Hauptquellen über den Verlauf der Caligula-Krise

233

Der kaiserliche Plan wurde sofort im Gang gesetzt. Nach allen drei Hauptquellen schickte Caligula einen Brief mit den relevanten Instruktionen an den kaiserlichen Legaten der römischen Provinz Syria, Publius Petronius. Dieser Legat sollte ein geeignetes Standbild des Kaisers in Syrien wählen und dieses, von zwei römischen Legionen geschützt, nach Jerusalem bringen, um es im dortigen Tempel aufstellen zu lassen (LegGai 188.207–222; Bell 2,185–187; Ant 18,261–262). Die Größe dieser militärischen Streitmacht war beträchtlich; Philo und Josephus betonen beide, dass die Ursache dafür die Gefahr war, dass die Juden den kaiserlichen Plan nicht akzeptieren könnten und möglicherweise auch zu den Waffen greifen würden, um ihn zu verhindern.38 Wenn es zur Charakterisierung der Handlung des Petronius kommt, drücken Philo und Josephus sich noch einmal unterschiedlich aus.39 Während Petronius nach Philo „langsam“ (bradus) handelt (LegGai 213, 217, 221–222, 246, 248), „eilte“ er, Josephus zufolge, den Befehl des Kaisers auszuführen (Ant 18,262). Alle drei Hauptquellen erzählen jetzt, dass es nach dieser ersten Phase der Ereignisse zu Verhandlungen und jüdischen Massendemonstrationen gekommen ist. Während die Arbeit in Bezug auf das Standbild in Sidon vorwärtsschritt (LegGai 222), rief Petronius Philo zufolge jüdische Führer und Priester nach Phönikia, um ihnen den kaiserlichen Plan zu erläutern und um sie zu überreden, den Plan zu akzeptieren – jedoch vergeblich (LegGai 222–224). Gleichzeitig, erzählt Philo, zogen alle Juden aus Jerusalem und anderen Städten und Dörfern nach Phönizien, um Petronius zu begegnen (LegGai 225–227). Als sie ihn gefunden hatten, warfen sie sich alle zu Boden. Ihre Sprecher, die „Ältesten“, hielten eine lange Rede (LegGai 229–242), die schließlich zur Bitte wurde, Petronius möge das Projekt einstellen, um ihnen die Möglichkeit zu geben, eine Delegation nach Rom zu schicken, um Caligula zu bitten, seinen Befehl zurückzuziehen. Petronius lehnte dies ab, entschloss sich jedoch, einen Brief an Caligula zu schreiben, mit der Bitte, das ganze Projekt auszusetzen, um die bevorstehende Reise des Caligula nach Ägypten nicht in Gefahr zu bringen (LegGai 243–253). Die Darstellung des Josephus ist an allen Stellen kürzer als die des Philo. Es ist aber deutlich, dass auch Josephus großes Gewicht auf diesen Teil der Ereignisse legt, die er zwar nicht in Phönizien, aber teils in der Gegend um Ptolemais, teils in der Nähe von Tiberias ansetzt (Bell 2,192–194; Ant 18,262–272). Die Substanz der Erzählung betreffend unterscheidet sich Josephus trotzdem nicht sehr von Philo. Auch nach Josephus’ Darstellung kommen große Mengen von Juden ohne Waffen zu Petronius und bitten ihn, den Plan aufzuschieben oder ganz aufzugeben (Bell 2,192–200; Ant 18,262–276). Auch bei Josephus gelingt es 38 Vgl. LegGai 190.207–208.214–217.220. etc., Bell 2,185–187.194; Ant 18,261–262.269–271.277– 278.287.302. Vgl. unten in Abschnitt 7 und 8. 39 McLaren 1991, 115–122, hat die Unterschiede zwischen Philo und Josephus kommentiert.

234

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

den Juden und ihren Fürsprechern, Petronius zu überreden. Nach Bell 2,201–202 kehrte Petronius mit seinem Heer nach Antiochia zurück und berichtete Caligula davon. Die spätere Quelle in Ant 18 ist an dieser Stelle beträchtlich erweitert. Josephus hat hier teils eine Darstellung der Verhandlungen zwischen Petronius und den königlichen jüdischen Fürsprechern (Ant 18,273–276), teils eine Beschreibung eines wunderbaren Regenschauers (Ant 18,284–288) hinzugefügt. Aber auch in dieser Version kommt Petronius den Juden entgegen und fasst den Beschluss, einen Brief an Caligula zu schreiben, mit der Empfehlung, das Projekt aufzugeben (Ant 18,277–278.287–288). Allen drei Hauptquellen zufolge – aber nicht gemäß den sehr kurz gefassten Nebenquellen – spielt die Besorgung der jüdischen Landwirtschaft eine wichtige Rolle – sowohl für Petronius’ Überlegungen als auch für die genaue Chronologie der Ereignisse. Bei Philo lesen wir in LegGai 249, dass der Weizen und die anderen Getreidearten gerade reif waren, und dass Petronius fürchtete, dass die Juden in ihrer Verzweiflung die Felder entweder vernachlässigen oder abbrennen würden. Bei Philo machte Petronius dieses Problem zum Hauptpunkt seines Briefes an Caligula (vgl. LegGai 250–253.257). Gleichzeitig teilt LegGai 249 mit, dass dieses entscheidende Ereignis sich in der Erntezeit, d. h. im Sommer abspielte, genauer gesagt in den Monaten Mai und Juni. Diese Information wird eventuell durch Philos Bemerkung in LegGai relativiert, Petronius’ Sorge hätte auch die Obsternte umfasst.40 Bei Josephus gilt die Sorge des Petronius nicht der Ernte, sondern dem Besäen der Felder (Bell 2,200; Ant 18,272); wie wir bei ihm lesen, vernachlässigten die Juden ihre Felder über 40 (Ant) oder 50 Tage (Bell). Damit befinden wir uns eindeutig im Herbst, wahrscheinlich im Oktober oder November.41 Damit stimmt auch überein, dass Josephus die Reise Caligulas nach Ägypten nicht nennt. Während Josephus in seinem Jüdischen Krieg König Agrippa I. (37/41–44 n. Chr.) nicht erwähnt, fügt er in seinem späteren Werk eine relativ umfassende Erzählung vom Eingreifen des jüdischen Königs in die Caligula-Krise zu seiner früheren Darstellung hinzu (Ant 18,289–301). Damit folgt Josephus Philo, der eine noch umfangreichere Beschreibung dieses Eingreifens gibt (LegGai 261– 333). Der wichtigste Unterschied zwischen diesen beiden Darstellungen ist, dass Agrippa bei Philo ein umfassendes Schreiben über die herkömmliche römische Politik gegenüber den Juden abfasste und zu Caligula schickte (LegGai 276–329). Auch der Abschluss des kaiserlichen Projektes wird in den drei Hauptquellen unterschiedlich dargestellt. Philo berichtet, dass Caligula auf das Schreiben Agrippas günstig reagierte. Er gab nach und schickte Briefe an Petronius, um das 40 Theißen 1992, 156, meint doch, dass die Mitteilung Philos mit einer Frühjahrschronologie nicht unvereinbar ist. So auch McLaren 1991, 120. 41 Vgl. Bilde 1978, 90; Ders. 1983, 106–117, der den Autoren, die in Anm. 40 angeführt sind, somit nicht folgt.

Paraphrase der drei Hauptquellen über den Verlauf der Caligula-Krise

235

Projekt einzustellen (LegGai 330–333). Gaius fügte aber hinzu, dass Petronius dafür sorgen sollte, dass die Juden außerhalb Jerusalems niemanden daran hindern dürften, den Kaiser mit Altären, Tempeln, Bildern oder Statuen zu ehren (LegGai 334). Philo zufolge war dieser Zusatz zur offiziellen kaiserlichen Zurücknahme des Projektes im Jerusalemer Tempel gleichbedeutend mit einer Rückgängigmachung derselben, weil die Judenfeinde in Palästina sofort solche Veranstaltungen versuchen würden (LegGai 335). Doch, so Philo, dank Gottes wundervoller Vorsehung über sein erwähltes Volk verhielten die Feinde der Juden sich ruhig (LegGai 336). Kurz danach bereute Caligula jedoch die Zurücknahme seines Projektes und befahl, eine neue Statue in Rom anzufertigen, die er im Zuge seiner Reise nach Alexandrien im Jerusalemer Tempel aufstellen wollte (LegGai 337–338). Auch in Josephus’ älterer Darstellung schließt Petronius seine Verhandlungen mit den Juden und seine Beobachtungen der landwirtschaftlichen Arbeit mit der Entscheidung ab, dass er bereit wäre, Caligula einen riskanten Brief zu schreiben. Ja, Josephus lässt Petronius sogar sagen: „… dann bin ich bereit, mein Leben für so viele Menschen hinzugeben“ (Bell 2,201).42 Danach sammelte er seine Truppen, verließ Ptolemais und kehrte nach Antiochia zurück. Von dort schickte er an Caligula einen Bericht über seine Expedition im jüdischen Palästina. Darin empfahl Petronius, dass der Kaiser sein Jerusalemer Projekt aufgeben sollte, weil es ihm sonst das ganze Volk und das ganze Land kosten würde (Bell 2,202). Dieser Brief freute Caligula nicht. Er antwortete Petronius mit einem Todesurteil, weil der Legat gezögert hatte, den kaiserlichen Befehl auszuführen (Bell 2,203a). Petronius aber empfing die Botschaft, dass Caligula am 24. Januar 41 ermordet worden war – 27 Tage vor seinem eigenen Todesurteil (Bell 2,203b). Auch in Josephus’ späterer Darstellung finden wir das Motiv des Selbstopfers des Petronius (Ant 18,280.282), um die Juden zu retten. Dieses Motiv ist hier mit einer expliziten Kritik am kaiserlichen Projekt und einer deutlichen Sympathie für die Juden verbunden (Ant 18,280–283). Josephus geht in dieser Neudeutung des Petronius sogar einen Schritt weiter, indem er die kleine Erzählung vom wunderbaren Regenschauer hinzufügt, den er als Zeichen der göttlichen Vorsehung über Petronius und die Juden interpretiert (18,284–286). In den Jüdischen Altertümern inkludiert Josephus auch dieses Ereignis in den Brief des Petronius an Caligula (Ant 18,287–288). Das Motiv des heroischen Selbstopfers taucht wieder auf in Josephus’ Erzählung von der Intervention König Agrippas in Rom (Ant 18,289–300): Auch Agrippa riskierte sein eigenes Leben, als er Gaius bat, sein Jerusalemer Projekt aufzugeben (Ant 18,298). Wie bei Philo, so gab Caligula auch bei Josephus nach und gewährte Agrippa seinen Wunsch (Ant 18,300). Gaius schrieb einen Brief an 42 Die Übersetzung stammt von Michel & Bauernfeind 1959–1969, I, 221.

236

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Petronius, lobte ihn wegen seiner Bestrebungen, Caligulas Projekt zu realisieren und setzte fort: Wenn du schon das Standbild aufgestellt hast, lass es stehen. Wenn du es aber noch nicht eingeweiht hast, dann mach dir keine weiteren Anstrengungen, aber löse das Heer auf und kehre selbst zu den Aufgaben zurück, zu denen ich dich am Anfang geschickt habe … (Ant 18,301).43

Dieses Schreiben war schon abgeschlossen und abgeschickt, als Gaius den Brief von Petronius empfing, den er als einen Hinweis darauf deutete, dass die Juden zum Abfall von Rom und zum Krieg gegen die Römer bereit waren (Ant 18,302). Gleichzeitig deutete Gaius Petronius’ Brief als Zeichen seiner Illoyalität, Bestechung und Unfolgsamkeit und befahl ihm deswegen, sich selbst (mit dem Tod) zu strafen (Ant 18,304.308). Die spätere Version des Josephus wird dann auf ähnliche Art und Weise wie seine ältere Version abgeschlossen (Ant 18,305).44 Josephus fügt aber eine explizite theologische Deutung dieses Endes des kaiserlichen Jerusalemer Projektes hinzu, das er als Ausdruck der gerechten göttlichen Vorsehung Jahwes über sein Volk und zugleich als Ausdruck des göttlichen Schutzes des rechtschaffenen Petronius interpretiert (Ant 18,306). Josephus erzählt auch, dass sowohl Rom als auch das ganze römische Reich sowie die vornehmsten Senatoren alle mit Petronius sympathisierten und alle gegen Caligula waren (Ant 18,306). Am Ende betont Josephus schließlich, dass auch Petronius die Vorsehung des jüdischen Gottes anerkannte (Ant 18,309).

7.

Tendenzen der drei Hauptquellen45

Im vorhergehenden Abschnitt haben wir schon wesentliche Aspekte der Tendenzen unserer Hauptquellen kennen gelernt; hier versuchen wir jetzt, dieses Thema systematischer darzustellen. 43 Übersetzung nach dem griechischen Text. 44 Bernett 2007, 283, hebt hervor, dass Josephus in seinen Jüdischen Altertümern ganz mechanisch die Geschichte der Intervention Agrippas hinzufügt, ohne ihren Inhalt substantiell in seiner älteren Version einzuarbeiten. Im Jüdischen Krieg ist Petronius der Held der Geschichte über die Statuenaffäre. In den Jüdischen Altertümern dagegen wird Agrippa als neuer Held eingeführt ohne die Darstellung des alten Helds zu ändern. Mir scheint jedoch, dass Josephus in seiner späteren Version einen neuen Helden desselben Charakters zum alten Helden hinzufügt. Beide „Helden“ wenden sich gegen Caligulas „gottloses“ Projekt. Jeder ist bereit, sein eigenes Leben für diese Sache zu opfern. Josephus zufolge spielt jeder Held seine Rolle entweder als der „ideale“ römische Beamte oder der „ideale“ jüdische König, vgl. Bilde 1983, 134–147. 45 Fast keiner der früheren Forscher bietet eine eigentliche Tendenzanalyse, obwohl viele gerne von Philos und Josephus’ jüdischer Voreingenommenheit reden. Nur Krieger 1994 verwirk-

Tendenzen der drei Hauptquellen

237

Die umfangreichen jüdischen Hauptquellen bei Philo und Josephus und die zwei sehr knappen römischen Quellen bei Tacitus scheinen unmittelbar anzudeuten, dass die Caligula-Krise von Zeitgenossen als für die Juden außerordentlich bedeutungsvoll erlebt wurde, aber möglicherweise als weniger wichtig für die Römer. Das Ende der Caligula-Krise in Josephus’ längerer Version zeigt deutlich, dass er seine ganze Erzählung in Form und Gestalt der wohlbekannten jüdisch-religiösen apologetischen Dichtung verfasst hat.46 Das geht auch aus der Fortsetzung in Ant 19,1–211 hervor, wo Josephus eine umfangreiche Darstellung vom Ende und vom Mord an Caligula bietet. Wenn wir Josephus’ Darstellung der CaligulaKrise in Ant 18 in Zusammenhang mit diesem umfangreichen Bericht über den Kaisermord in Ant 19 lesen, wird deutlich, dass wir hier den Topos vom Mord des Verfolgers vor uns haben (de mortibus persecutorum).47 Dieser Topos, den die Christen von den Juden geerbt und übernommen haben,48 begegnet oft in der jüdischen Literatur, insbesondere im Esterbuch (vgl. unten in Abschnitt 9.2) und in den Makkabäerbüchern (vgl. unten in Abschnitt 9.3). Er taucht aber auch schon in der Darstellung von Ex 1–14 vom Tod des Pharaos im Roten Meer auf. Dieser Topos wird von Josephus in mehreren Fällen benutzt, wie z. B. in seinen Darstellungen von den Übeltaten und den damit korrespondierenden tragischen Toden von bösen Fürsten wie Antiochos IV. Epiphanes (Ant 12,354–359, insbesondere 357, vgl. 1 Makk 6,1–17), Herodes dem Großen (Ant 17,191–192; 18,127–129/ 142), Pilatus (Ant 18,89) und Herodes Antipas.49 Doch nicht nur Josephus bedient sich dieses Motivs, sondern auch Philo folgt in seinen Darstellungen von Flaccus und Gaius Caligula diesem Muster.50 Dieser Topos erscheint am deutlichsten in der Schrift Flaccus, deren erste Hälfte (Flacc 20–101) die „Verbrechen“ des Flaccus gegen die Juden in Alexandrien beschreibt und deren zweite Hälfte (Flacc 102–191) seine damit zusammenhängende göttliche Bestrafung darstellt.51 In LegGai tritt dieses Muster nicht so deutlich hervor, weil diese Schrift nicht explizit eine göttliche Vergeltung für Caligulas Untaten gegen die Juden erwähnt. Anderswo habe ich zu zeigen versucht, dass Philo mit dem letzten Satz in LegGai zu versprechen scheint, dass er diese Vergeltung in einem

46 47 48 49 50 51

licht eine solche Analyse, doch nur von den zwei Versionen des Josephus, weil Philo nicht in sein Projekt fällt. Zu Flaccus, siehe Meiser 1999. Obwohl K.-S. Krieger sich mit Josephus’ Geschichtsschreibung „als Apologetik“ beschäftigt, sagt er überraschend wenig über das Verhältnis zwischen Josephus und der übrigen apologetischen jüdischen Literatur. Vgl. Gauger 2002, 42–64. Vgl. besonders Lactantius 1897. Ant 18,240–255; vgl. Bilde 1983, 149–151. Vgl. Bilde 1983, 64–67; Ders. 2006, 258–260; Ders. 2009, 50–103. Vgl. Meiser 1999, 426–429.

238

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

anderen Werk beschreiben würde.52 In LegGai 373 schließt Philo folgendermaßen ab: Die Ursache der Feindschaft des Gaius gegen das ganze jüdische Volk ist damit in seinen Hauptzügen erzählt. Aber die Palinode muss auch dargestellt werden.53

Der erste Satz ist klar: Die Feindschaft des Kaisers gegen die Juden – sowohl in Alexandrien als auch in Palästina – ist in dieser Schrift ausführlich dargestellt. Das gilt auch für die Ursache dieser Feindschaft, die nach Philo in der Weigerung der Juden besteht, Caligula als Gott anzuerkennen und zu verehren (vgl. LegGai 115–119). Es ist auch klar, das Philo im letzten Satz eine neue Erzählung verspricht. Unklar ist nur die Bedeutung der „Palinode“, die ich mit F. H. Colson als „counter-story“ oder „reversal“, d. h. „Gegengeschichte“ oder „Antithese“, verstehe.54 Kurz gesagt: Philo hatte also vor, später die zweite Hälfte seines Werkes über Caligula zu schreiben, deren Inhalt mehr oder weniger mit Ant 19,1–211 korrespondieren würde. Wir wissen aber nicht, ob dieser Plan verwirklicht worden ist. In unserem Zusammenhang ist das auch nicht so wichtig wie die Einsicht, dass Philo sein ganzes Werk nach dem Muster des oben genannten Topos vom „Tod des Verfolgers“ gedacht und verfasst hat. Was die Hauptdarsteller – das jüdische Volk, Kaiser Caligula, die jüdische Gottheit – angeht, sehen wir also, dass Philo und Josephus in den hier besprochenen Werken genauso denken und schreiben wie die Autoren der älteren jüdischen apologetischen Literatur.55 Diese apologetische Darstellung hat auch etwas mit der späteren römischen Auffassung und Darstellung Caligulas zu tun, wo Caligula ebenso als eindeutig böse beschrieben worden ist.56 Neben dieser Haupttendenz unserer drei Hauptquellen können wir auch andere Tendenzen beobachten: Zuerst eine politisch-apologetische Tendenz, die teils in einer „pazifistischen“ Charakterisierung der Reaktionen des jüdischen Volkes und teils in einer idealisierenden Zeichnung sowohl des Petronius als auch der früheren römischen Kaiser Caesar, Augustus und Tiberius besteht (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 4). Oben in Abschnitt 6 haben wir gesehen, dass Philo und Josephus – im Gegensatz zu Tacitus – sich sehr bemühen, ihre Leser davon zu überzeugen, dass das jüdische Volk sich in seinem Widerstand gegen Caligulas Jerusalemer Projekt ausschließlich friedlicher Mittel bediente. Philo schreibt, dass die jüdische 52 53 54 55 56

Bilde 1983, 64–67; Bilde 2009, 105–107. Übersetzung aus dem griechischen Text. Vgl. Colson 1962, 186–187. Vgl. Friedländer 1903; Edwards, Goodman & Price 1999. Vgl. Sueton Cal; Cassius Dio LIX; dazu z. B. Willrich 1903, 85–87; Yavetz 1996, 105–129; Winterling 2003, 175–180.

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Massendemonstration in Phönizien friedlich war (LegGai 229–230). Er betont, dass die Juden eher den Tod vorzogen als das kaiserliche Projekt realisiert zu sehen (LegGai 233–235). Schließlich baten sie Petronius um die Erlaubnis, eine Delegation zu Caligula zu schicken (LegGai 239–242). Ein ähnliches Bild begegnet uns in Josephus’ älterem Bericht (Bell 2,187–197). Nach Bell 2,197 fragt Petronius die Juden, ob sie vorhätten, einen Krieg gegen den Kaiser einzuleiten, woraufhin die Juden auf ihr tägliches Opfer für den Kaiser im Tempel von Jerusalem hinweisen (vgl. Anm. 30), sowie darauf (vgl. auch die Darstellung bei Philo), dass die Römer, bevor sie das kaiserliche Projekt realisieren könnten, zuerst das ganze Volk opfern müssten (Bell 2,197). Josephus fügt außerdem hinzu, dass das jüdische Volk die Felder nicht bestellte (Bell 200–202). In den Jüdischen Altertümern herrscht dieselbe Tendenz, bloß noch deutlicher ausgedrückt. Dabei denke ich zuerst an Ant 18,267–268, wo die Juden ihre Bereitschaft, für ihre Gesetze zu leiden, ausdrücken57 – verbunden mit der Hoffnung, von ihrem jüdischen Gott aus dieser Krise gerettet zu werden. Zweitens denke ich an Ant 18,271, wo Petronius die Juden fragte: „Wollt ihr kriegerisch gegen den Kaiser kämpfen?“, worauf die Juden antworteten: „Unter keinen Umständen wollen wir einen Krieg führen“.58 Schließlich scheint Josephus hier explizit zu sagen, dass die Juden das Besäen der Felder bewusst vernachlässigten, also einen veritablen landwirtschaftlichen Streik durchführten.59 In Philos und Josephus’ Darstellungen ist die Friedlichkeit der Juden so stark betont, dass viele Leser unwillkürlich misstrauisch werden.60 Dieses Misstrauen verstärkt sich, wenn wir einen Blick auf Flaccus und den alexandrinischen Teil von Legatio ad Gaium werfen, worin Philo auf genau dieselbe Weise die konsequente Friedlichkeit der Juden hervorhebt (Flacc 86–96; LegGai 161). Philos und Josephus’ Beschreibung von Petronius ist in hohem Grade idealisiert. Schon im Jüdischen Krieg wird Petronius als für die Juden opferbereit dargestellt: Entweder wird er mit den Juden vom jüdischen Gott gerettet werden, oder – wenn Caligula nicht nachgibt – bereit sein, sein eigenes Leben für viele hinzugeben.61 In den Jüdischen Altertümern wird diese Haltung des Petronius noch deutlicher charakterisiert. Josephus lässt Petronius über den „Wahnsinn“ und „Übermut“ des Gaius reden (Ant 18, 277–278.280). Dazu kommt, dass Petronius 57 Dieses Motiv ist auch apologetisch, vgl. Rajak 1997, 39–67. 58 Übersetzung aus dem griechischen Text: Ant 18,274. 59 So auch z. B. Grant 1973, 130; Bilde 1978, 79–82; Goodman 1987, 60; McLaren 1991, 124; Lichtenberger 2002, 92. 60 So auch z. B. Smallwood 1976, 176 (fragend). Das gilt jedoch nicht für eine Reihe von Autoren, die Philos und Josephus’ Hervorhebung der Friedlichkeit der Juden in Palästina für bare Münze nehmen, z. B. Rhoads 1976, 63–64; Cohen 1989, 29–30.34; McLaren 1991, 124. 61 Bell 2,201.

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Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

hier die Juden wegen ihrer Treue gegenüber ihrem Gesetz lobt (Ant 18,280). Ja, hier wird Petronius ausdrücklich als mit dem Judentum sympathisierend dargestellt (Ant 18,277–280). In Ant 18,305–308 spricht Josephus unmissverständlich von Gottes Lohn für Petronius und in Ant 18,309 schreibt Josephus, dass Petronius sich über diese gerechte Vergeltung Gottes freute. Diese „Entwicklung“ in der Charakterisierung des Petronius hat ihren Höhepunkt bei Philo, unserem ältesten Zeugen. Hier sieht Petronius von Anfang an sowohl die Unmöglichkeit des kaiserlichen Projektes (LegGai 209) als auch dessen Gottlosigkeit (LegGai 213) ein. Deshalb zögert Petronius und versucht immer wieder, das Projekt hinauszuzögern (LegGai 220ff.). Auch Philo beschreibt Petronius explizit als „rechtschaffen und fromm“ (LegGai 213). Später (LegGai 245) sagt er, dass Petronius „im Besitz einiger Funken jüdischer Philosophie und Religion zu sein“62 scheint. Es scheint also, dass unsere drei jüdischen Hauptquellen unzweideutig die Caligula-Krise klar im Sinn jüdischer Apologetik darstellen. Daraus entsteht die Frage, ob diese apologetische Überzeichnung so dicht ist, dass wir die geschichtlichen Ereignisse dahinter nicht mehr identifizieren können (vgl. unten Abschnitt 8). Eine zeitgenössische jüdische Quelle, die Fastenrolle, und die späteren rabbinischen Quellen (vgl. oben in Anm. 12) scheinen die älteren jüdischen und römischen Quellen zu kennen, weil sie den Abschluss der Caligula-Krise auf dieselbe Weise theologisch interpretieren wie die jüdischen Hauptquellen. Dass sie die Tatsache hervorheben, dass es nur die Nachricht vom Mord am Kaiser war, die das StatuenProjekt verhindert hatte, zeugt auch von ihrer Kenntnis von Tacitus. Die Hypothese einer älteren Vorlage zur synoptischen Apokalypse in Mk 13 (m.Par.) betreffend bemerkt G. Theißen, dass diese Quelle nur besagt, dass die Jesus-Gläubigen von Kriegen und Kriegsgerüchten gehört hätten, dass sie den „Gräuel der Verwüstung“ im Jerusalemer Tempel, den sie mit der Caligula-Statue identifizierten, vorausgesehen hätten und dass sie deswegen zur Flucht aufgefordert worden wären.63

8.

Kritische Analyse der Quellen und Rekonstruktion der geschichtlichen Caligula-Krise

Obwohl Philo seine Darstellung der Caligula-Krise in Palästina in seine Beschreibung des Konfliktes in Alexandrien eingewoben hat und obwohl auch Josephus in seiner späteren Darstellung die Caligula-Krise (Ant 18,261–309) in direkten Zusammenhang mit seiner kurzen Erwähnung des Streits in Alexan62 Meine Übersetzung. 63 Theißen 1992, 161–176.

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drien (Ant 18,257–260) gebracht hat und zugleich behauptet, dass der Befehl des Kaisers von der negativen Haltung der Juden in Alexandrien zum Kaiserkult verursacht wurde (Ant 18,261), ist es in der Forschung noch nicht gelungen, einen eindeutigen Zusammenhang zwischen den ethnischen Konflikten in Alexandrien und dem Projekt im jüdischen Palästina nachzuweisen.64 Vor dem Hintergrund der durchgeführten Tendenzanalyse ist es relativ einfach zu konstatieren, dass Philos und Josephus’ Darstellungen der an der Caligula-Krise Beteiligten nicht als geschichtlich zuverlässig zu betrachten sind.65 Aber wie kommen wir weiter mit unserer kritischen Analyse der Quellen? Vor allem drei Zugänge scheinen mir möglich: Erstens können wir Tacitus als Ausgangspunkt nehmen. Zweitens können wir die kritische Analyse der Konflikte in Alexandrien sowie andere ähnliche Konflikte miteinbeziehen, um mit Hilfe von Vergleichen zu Ergebnissen zu gelangen (vgl. Abschnitt 9). Drittens können wir hoffentlich mit einer internen kritischen Analyse unserer drei Hauptquellen weiter kommen. Tacitus ist mit seiner expliziten Bezeichnung der jüdischen Reaktion auf Caligulas Befehl als aufständisch allein. In seiner Beschreibung kommt vielleicht auch der römische Charakter dieser Quelle zum Ausdruck. Die zwei Notizen bei Tacitus (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 2) sprechen unzweideutig von einem jüdischen Aufstand in Verbindung mit der Caligula-Krise. Deshalb könnte eine erste kritische Frage sein, ob es legitim sein kann, diese Auskunft einfach als Tacitus’ sekundäre, unhistorische Verzeichnung der geschichtlichen Wirklichkeit zu betrachten? Obwohl Tacitus am Anfang von Hist V die Juden im Allgemeinen kritisch und negativ darstellt, reicht diese Tatsache meiner Meinung nach nicht als Ursache einer taciteischen Verzeichnung seiner kurzen Darstellungen der Caligula-Krise. Daraus schließe ich, dass es einfacher ist, Tacitus’ Auskünfte eher als die offizielle römische Interpretation der jüdischen Reaktion auf das Projekt des Kaisers zu betrachten.

64 Josephus’ Behauptung in Ant 18,261 ist wenig überzeugend, und ich glaube, dass die Ursachen für die zwei Krisen verschieden waren: In Alexandrien scheinen es die ständigen ethnischen Streitigkeiten gewesen zu sein, und in Palästina war die unmittelbare Ursache das Statuenprojekt, woraufhin die jüdischen „Eifrigen“ („Zeloten“) in Jamnia den neu errichteten Kaiseraltar zerstörten. Anderen Forschern folgend hat Bernett, Kaiserkult (Anm. 3) 264–295, die explizite Selbstvergötterung Caligulas als die Hauptursache beider Krisen vorgeschlagen (vgl. oben Anm. 14). Sowohl in Alexandrien wie auch in Palästina soll Caligula die Anerkennung derselben von den Juden verlangt haben. Aber mit diesem Vorschlag übersieht man die anderen möglichen Ursachen für diese beiden Krisen (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 3 und unten). 65 Dieses kritische Ergebnis, d. h. die Unterscheidung zwischen den ideologischen Tendenzen, die die Darstellungen unserer Hauptquellen beherrschen, und die hypothetische wissenschaftliche Rekonstruktion der geschichtlichen Vorgänge wird doch von vielen Forschern übersehen, so z. B. Sanders 1993, 35–43.

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Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Die erste Stelle bei Tacitus (Hist V 9) stimmt mit den älteren jüdischen Hauptquellen in Philo und Josephus in ihrer Darstellung vom Ende der CaligulaKrise überein: Nicht Petronius’ und Agrippas mutige Eingriffe, sondern – allein? – die Nachricht über den Kaisermord in Rom vom 24. Januar 41 hat Caligulas Statuen-Projekt beendet.66 Dieses Bild vom Ende der Caligula-Krise scheint mir deswegen am ehesten der geschichtlichen Wirklichkeit zu entsprechen. Die Information in Ann 12,54, dass diese Nachricht den jüdischen Aufstand nicht zu beenden vermochte, ist einmalig und bemerkenswert unter den oben angeführten Quellen. Vielleicht kann diese Behauptung eine indirekte Stütze in Ant 19,278–279 finden, worin Josephus erzählt, dass die Juden in Alexandrien kurz nach Caligulas Tod und nach der Machtübernahme des Claudius zu den Waffen griffen, um sich an ihren nicht-jüdischen Mitbürgern zu rächen. Weiter könnte man überlegen, ob nicht auch der merkwürdige Satz in Claudius’ Brief an die Bürger Alexandriens, dass die Juden dieser Stadt nicht „Juden aus Syrien oder Ägypten, nach Alexandrien’ zu segeln einladen sollen“, eine solche kriegerische Situation im jüdischen Palästina widerspiegeln könnte.67 Im vorigen Abschnitt (7) haben wir gesehen, dass wir auch bei Philo und Josephus zahlreiche Spuren derselben Interpretation finden. Auf der Oberfläche sind die älteren jüdischen Hauptquellen zwar „pazifistisch“, aber die genannten Spuren zeigen, dass auch diese drei Quellen wissen, dass eine militärische Konfrontation während der Caligula-Krise eine realistische Möglichkeit war.68 Damit wenden wir uns der zweiten der oben genannten drei Möglichkeiten für die weitere kritische Analyse unserer Quellen zu: Eine umfassende Analyse der Geschichte der Juden in Alexandrien zeigt, dass diese in der römischen Epoche von mehreren gewaltsamen und kriegerischen Konflikten, teils mit ihren nicht-jüdischen Nachbarn in der Stadt, teils mit den Römern betroffen waren.69 Vor allem zeigen Claudius’ Brief an die Bürger von Alexandrien vom November 41 und Josephus’ Erwähnung in Ant 19,278 von erneuten bewaffneten jüdischen Angriffen auf nichtjüdische alexandrinische Bürger, dass auch Philos Darstellungen in Flacc und LegGai von der pazifistischen Haltung der Juden in Alexandrien von 38 apologetisch sind und kaum geschichtlichen Wert haben. Stimmt das, dürfen wir auch misstrauisch

66 Vgl. Anm. 18–20 oben in Abschnitt 3; Krieger 1994, 71, Anm. 13, behauptet, dass Hist V 9 „nicht das Gewicht hat, um das gemeinsame Zeugnis von BJ, AJ und Philo LegGai, dass es gewaltlosen Widerstand von den Juden gab, einfach zu widerlegen“. Aber damit übersieht K.S. Krieger, dass Tacitus und die jüdischen Quellen sich darin einig sind, dass es Caligulas Tod war, der dieser Krise ein Ende bereitete. 67 Papyrus London 1912, Linie 96–97, nach Bell 1924, 25. 68 Gegen viele Forscher, z. B. Goodman 2007, 402; McLaren 1991, 124. 69 Vgl. Bell 1924; Smallwood 1976, 229–255; Bilde 2006; Ders. 2009 mit einer umfassenden Bibliographie.

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sein gegenüber Philos „pazifistischer“ Darstellung der palästinischen Juden während der Caligula-Krise. Damit haben wir auch einen zweiten Grund, in Bezug auf Josephus’ ähnliche pazifistische Gestaltung der Caligula-Krise vorsichtig zu sein. Eine solche Vorsicht kann sich überdies auf Josephus’ allgemeine politisch-apologetische Tendenz stützen.70 Vor dem Hintergrund des für die Juden so katastrophalen Ausgangs des ersten großen Jüdischen Aufstands gegen die Römer 66–70 (74) versucht Josephus überall in seinen Werken, die Erwähnung von bewaffneten jüdischen Bewegungen gegen die Römer zu unterdrücken oder zu marginalisieren. Umgekehrt versucht er wiederum, überall friedliche jüdische Initiativen hervorzuheben. In allen Fällen ist das Ergebnis, dass wir wenige Gründe haben, den Darstellungen bei Philo und Josephus, die die Haltung der Juden während der Caligula-Krise in Palästina als „pazifistisch“ beschreiben, Glauben zu schenken. Damit kommen wir endlich zum dritten Zugang zu dem hier verhandelten Problem, nämlich zu einer tiefer gehenden Analyse der Darstellungen unserer drei Hauptquellen. Hier finden wir in der Tat überraschend viele Auskünfte, die in dieselbe Richtung weisen wie Tacitus und die oben vorgelegten Andeutungen: 1) Schon Philos Bericht über die Jamnia-Episode zeigt, dass Gewalt von Anfang an ein wesentlicher Teil der Caligula-Krise war. 2) Aber insbesondere die große Armee, die Caligula dem Petronius befahl mitzuführen, um das Projekt in Jerusalem zu verwirklichen, zeigt, dass die Römer von Anfang an wussten, dass dieses Projekt kaum ohne Krieg durchzuführen war. 3) In dieselbe Richtung weist Bell 2,187, dessen Text sowohl von „Gerüchten vom Krieg“ als auch von „Verteidigungsmöglichkeiten“ spricht. 4) Auch bei Philo finden wir solche militärischen Reste: In LegGai 214–217 erwähnt Philo, wie zahlreich die Juden sind, und dass sie Hilfe von den Juden aus Mesopotamien bekommen konnten. 5) In LegGai 229 erwähnt Philo, dass einige Personen – offenbar Nicht-Juden – die Juden Palästinas beschuldigten, Krieg führen zu wollen. 6) In Ant 18,277 weist Josephus auf die „Bereitschaft der Juden zum Krieg“. 7) Da Caligula den Brief von Petronius empfangen hatte (Ant 18,302), deutete er dessen Inhalt als Zeichen jüdischer Kriegsbereitschaft. 8) Der abenteuerliche Ausgang des Projektes bei Philo und Josephus besagt, dass der Mord an Caligula vom 24. Januar 41 dieses Projekt auf genau dieselbe Weise beendete, wie im Jahre 37 n. Chr. die Mitteilung vom Tod des Tiberius die Strafexpedition des Vitellius gegen König Aretas abbrach (Ant 18,120–

70 Vgl. Bilde 1983, 134–147; Ders. 1988, 61–122.

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Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

125). Und wir wissen wirklich nicht, wie sich der Konflikt um das Statuenprojekt weiter entwickelt hätte, wenn Caligula nicht getötet worden wäre. Geschichtlich scheint es also eine Tatsache zu sein, dass nur der Mord an Caligula die palästinischen Juden gerettet und Rom einen blutigen Krieg erspart hat (vgl. oben Anm. 18–20). Alle unsere Quellen bezeugen diese Tatsache eindeutig; die verschiedenen Darstellungen des Verlaufes der Krise unterstützen diese Interpretation. Nach Caligula kam Claudius an die Macht; Josephus zufolge (Ant 19,236–273) obendrein mit Hilfe des jüdischen Königs Agrippa I. In dieser Situation haben alle „guten Kräfte“ in Rom und unter den Juden sich vereinigt, um – nach Caligula und seinen Krisen – einen neuen Anfang zu schaffen. Deswegen haben sowohl die Römer als auch die Juden versucht, die Interpretationen und die Darstellungen der drohenden Konflikte und Kriege in Alexandrien und im jüdischen Palästina zu verharmlosen. Mit diesem „edlen“ Ziel schrieb auch Philo seine zwei politischen Traktate. Später folgte Josephus dem Philo – aber damals, in den Siebzigerjahren, vor einem ähnlichen Hintergrund, nämlich dem eben überstandenen Jüdischen Aufstand gegen Rom in Palästina (66–70 (74)). Aus Josephus’ Perspektive forderte auch diese Situation dieselben apologetischen Bestrebungen wie die des Philo in den ersten Vierzigerjahren. Was eigentlich vorgegangen ist in Palästina des Jahres 40, war also ein bewaffneter Konflikt und ein drohender Krieg. Die großen Massendemonstrationen und der landwirtschaftliche Streik waren vielleicht nicht so friedlich, wie Philo und Josephus uns glauben machen wollen.71 Alle „guten Kräfte“ haben doch versucht, dieser Katastrophe zu entgehen, vor allem König Agrippa I., die königliche Familie in Tiberias und die übrigen jüdischen Behörden in Palästina, zusammen mit einem besonnenen und bedächtigen römischen Legaten, Publius Petronius. Gemeinsam ist es ihnen gelungen, die Verhandlungen und Vorbereitungen des kaiserlichen Projektes zu verzögern, so dass es in der Zwischenzeit für Petronius und Agrippa die Möglichkeit gab, Caligula zu überreden, das Projekt zurückzunehmen. Oder, was realistischer erscheint: das Projekt wurde ganz einfach erst durch den Kaisermord am 24. Januar 41 abgebrochen. Was wir als die „Caligula-Krise“ bezeichnen, war also in Wahrheit ein drohender Krieg zwischen Rom und dem jüdischen Palästina. Die sog. Krise war ein jüdischer Aufstand, der mit der jüdischen Zerstörung des Kaiser-Altars in Jamnia angefangen hatte. Auf dieses Zeichen eines möglichen Abfalls von Rom ant-

71 Gegen Taylor 2001, 55, Anm. 4: „There is no suggestion in the sources that the protests were armed or sought the expulsion of Roman power from Judaea“.

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worteten Caligula und Rom mit dem Standbild-Projekt im Jerusalemer Tempel und mit der Mobilisierung der großen Armee im syrischen Antiochia. Augenscheinlich wollten die Juden in Jamnia dort, d. h. innerhalb der Grenzen des „heiligen Landes“, eine Kaiserkultstelle unter keinen Umständen akzeptieren: „Als sie den Altar gesehen hatten und es nicht aushalten konnten, dass die Heiligkeit des Heiligen Landes damit aufgehoben wurde, kamen sie zusammen, um den Altar zu zerstören“.72 Das bedeutet, dass hinter der gewaltsamen jüdischen Aktion in Jamnia vielleicht eine radikale Interpretation der mosaischen Gebote über die Heiligkeit des Gelobten Landes und über die Heiligkeit des Tempels zu vermuten ist, wie wir sie von den „eifrigen“ Mitgliedern der „Vierten Philosophie“ des Judas des Galiläers kennen.73 Auf der anderen Seite konnte der römische Kaiser nicht akzeptieren, dass Juden – oder andere – etwas von so hoher symbolischer Bedeutung zerstörten.

9.

Vergleichbare Konflikte im Altertum

Meiner Meinung nach ist es notwendig, die Frage zu stellen, wie wir diesen Konflikt am besten verstehen können, d. h. welche Sprache und welche Kategorien am ehesten für eine sachgemäße Verständigung, Beschreibung und Interpretation des Konflikts geeignet sind. Stehen wir hier vor einem Streit zwischen Religion/Kult und Politik, d. h. Macht oder politischer Herrschaft? Oder ist es besser zu sagen, dass es sich um einen Kampf zwischen einem unterdrückten Volk und dem römischen Imperium handelt? Oder sollen wir eher von einem Zusammenstoß zwischen zwei Religionen/ Kulten reden (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 4)? Um diese Krise noch besser verstehen zu können, wollen wir sie im Folgenden einer Reihe von anderen, mehr oder weniger ähnlichen und vergleichbaren Konflikten gegenüberstellen.74

9.1.

Die Christen und Rom

Das am besten bekannte Beispiel im römischen Imperium ist wohl das Verhältnis zwischen Rom und den Christen. In der Zeit vor Konstantin dem Großen (306/ 312/324–337) blieben die Christen aus vielen Gründen unter sich und nahmen nicht vollständig am gesellschaftlichen und politischen Leben der römischen 72 LegGai 202a. 73 Vgl. Farmer 1956, 84–124; Hengel 1976, 61–78.151–234; Goodman 1987, 2.11. 74 Eine Reihe anderer Forscher hat auch solche Listen aufgestellt, doch in anderen Kontexten und mit anderen Zielen, so z. B. Hengel 1976, 211–215; Schwier 1989, 90–101; Sanders 1993, 36–40.

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Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Bürger Teil. Diese Tatsachen und auch andere Ursachen konnten zu gegenseitigem Misstrauen, gewaltsamen Konflikten und, in einigen Fällen, auch zu staatlichen Maßnahmen gegen die Christen führen.75 Nach den Religionsreformen Konstantins des Großen und Theodosius’ des Großen (379–395) befanden sich die Christen auf der Seite der Macht. Ab diesem Zeitpunkt konnten sie ohne große Gefahren die Heiligtümer ihrer Gegner angreifen und zerstören.76 Wir wollen aber fragen, ob dieser Konflikt wirklich als einer zwischen Religion und politischer Macht zu interpretieren ist, oder ob er nicht eher als eine Konfrontation zwischen zwei Religionen, vielleicht auch zwischen zwei Kulturen zu verstehen ist? Insofern gleicht dieser Konflikt dem zwischen dem römischen Kaiser Caligula und den Juden in Palästina, den wir hier analysieren. Im Vergleich zur Caligula-Krise sollten wir doch besonders auf den wesentlichen Unterschied achten, dass die Christen nicht wie die Juden ein physisches oder biologisches ethnos waren, das mit einem bestimmten geographischen Territorium verbunden war, sondern eher „ein drittes Volk“, zusammengesetzt von Menschen aus vielen physischen Ethnien und überall unter den anderen Völkern zerstreut.77

9.2.

Hamann und die Juden im Perserreich

Um dem jüdischen Palästina der Zeit Kaiser Caligulas näher zu kommen, wollen wir kurz auf einige andere Konflikte zwischen Juden und den herrschenden imperialistischen Mächten eingehen. Zuerst ein literarisches und vermutlich ein rein legendarisches oder sagenhaftes Beispiel. Im Buch Esther ist der Konflikt zwischen dem persischen hohen Beamten Hamann auf der einen Seite und Esthers verwandtem Vormund Mordokai und dem jüdischen Volk auf der anderen Seite nicht religiös oder kultisch, sondern rein machtpolitisch und persönlich. Deswegen können wir dieses Beispiel vernachlässigen. Doch bemerken wir den zentralen Topos, dass die jüdische Gottheit durch die Königin Esther ihr erwähltes Volk vor der von Hamann vorgesehenen Ausrottung rettet. In der jüdischen Bibel und auch in anderen Teilen der jüdischen Literatur ist dieser Topos von fundamentaler Bedeutung – auch in den vorherigen Abschnitten sind wir schon mehrmals diesem Topos begegnet. 75 Vgl. z. B. Engberg 2007. 76 Vgl. z. B. King 1961. 77 Vgl. Kapitel 5–6 im sogenannten Diognetbrief.

Vergleichbare Konflikte im Altertum

9.3.

247

Die seleukidischen Krisen unter König Antiochos IV. Epiphanes

Obwohl es schwierig ist, die wahre Geschichte hinter der Beschreibung über die seleukidichen Krisen in Judäa in den Jahren 175–164 v. Chr. in den Makkabäerbüchern zu rekonstruieren,78 so scheinen sie in vielen Beziehungen eng mit der Caligula-Krise verwandt zu sein. Zuerst gilt es, die literarische Darstellung der zwei Makkabäerbücher, wo der Verbrecher gegen das jüdische Volk, König Antiochos IV. Epiphanes (175–164), seine verdiente Strafe von Gott bekommt (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 7), zu untersuchen. Dasselbe gilt für die wundervolle Geschichte, die in 2 Makk 3 von Heliodor erzählt wird. Der seleukidische Kanzler Heliodor wurde vom König Seleukos IV. (187–175) nach Jerusalem geschickt, um die große Summe, die im jüdischen Tempel deponiert war, vom Hohepriester Onias III. ausgehändigt zu bekommen. Aber der Herr des Tempels, der jüdische Gott Jahwe, verhinderte diesen Übergriff und bestrafte Heliodor gewaltsam. Auf diese Weise wird diese Geschichte interpretiert als ein Zeugnis vom Schutz, den die jüdische Gottheit ihrem Heiligtum gewährt – genau wie in den jüdischen Geschichten bei Philo und Josephus über die Caligula-Krise. Das gilt aber auch für die seleukidische Hauptkrise in Jerusalem unter Antiochos IV. Epiphanes. Nach 2 Makk 4–5 beginnt diese Krise aufgrund jüdischer Initiative mit dem Bruder des Onias III., also mit Jasons unrechtmäßiger Übernahme des hohepriesterlichen Amtes (2 Makk 4,7–9). Jason war beeindruckt vom Hellenismus und führte in Jerusalem griechische Sitten ein – vor allem Athletik (2 Makk 4,9–20). Drei Jahre später gelang es einem gewissen Menelaos, das Amt als Hohepriester in Jerusalem vom König zu kaufen (vgl. 2 Makk 4,23ff.). Im Jahre 170–168 zog Antiochos auf einem Feldzug gegen das ptolemäische Ägypten. Als das Gerücht, dass König Antiochos dort gestorben war, Jerusalem erreichte, unternahm Jason einen Angriff auf die Stadt, der jedoch letztlich fehlschlug, da er nur die Stadt, nicht aber die Burg einnehmen konnte (1 Makk 1,16–19; 2 Makk 5,1–10). Diese Ereignisse in Jerusalem interpretierte Antiochos als Zeichen eines Aufstandes. Er brach von Ägypten auf, führte sein Heer nach Jerusalem, eroberte die Stadt, richtete ein großes Blutbad an, profanierte den Tempel durch das Betreten des heiligen Bezirkes (vgl. Abschnitt 9.4) und raubte eine große Summe (1 Makk 1,20–40; 2 Makk 5,11–26). Als er danach auch gegen das Judentum vorging, den Tempel zu einem Heiligtum des „Olympischen Zeus“ (1 Makk 1,41–62; 2 Makk 6,1–2) transformierte und die Beschneidung und das Einhalten des Schabbats verbot, führte das alles zum makkabäischen (oder hasmonäischen) Aufstand (1 Makk 2,1ff.; 2 Makk 5,27; 8–15). Der Aufstand war erfolgreich, und das jüdische Volk wurde gerettet. Dazu kam, dass König An78 Vgl. Bickermann 1937; Bringmann 1983; Harrington 1988; Cromhout 2007, 1092–1097.

248

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

tiochos in Persien vom jüdischen Gott unter großen Schmerzen getötet wurde (1 Makk 6; 2 Makk 9, vgl. Abschnitt 7), indem er kurz vor seinem Tod seine Fehltaten gegen die Juden erkannt hatte (2 Makk 9,9–29). Die beiden Darstellungen ein und derselben Geschichte in den Makkabäerbüchern haben also dieselbe Grundstruktur wie die Darstellungen der CaligulaKrise bei Philo und Josephus. Aber geschichtlich scheinen diese zwei Situationen doch verschieden gewesen zu sein. In der Caligula-Krise haben wir einen drohenden Krieg vor uns, der letztlich nicht ausbricht. In der seleukidischen Krise liegt dagegen eine doppelte Kriegssituation vor: Einerseits ein einheimischer Streit zwischen „Modernen“ (Jason & Co) und „Konservativen“ (die Oniaden, die Hasidäer und die Makkabäer), andererseits ein regulärer Krieg zwischen zwei Großmächten, den Seleukiden und den Ptolemäern, in welchen Judäa verwickelt wird. Und es ist nicht einfach zu entwirren, wie das königliche Vorgehen gegen das Judentum in diesem Kontext verstanden werden kann. Doch finde ich es wichtig zu bemerken, dass scheinbar sowohl Antiochos IV. Epiphanes als auch Caligula jüdische Handlungen in Palästina – in Jerusalem und Jamnia – als Zeichen von Abfall und Aufstand interpretierten und sie deswegen offenbar mit „religiösen“ Veranstaltungen bestraft hatten.

9.4.

Pompejus und seine Profanation des Jerusalemer Tempels im Jahre 63 v. Chr.

Im Jahr 63 v. Chr. eroberte der römische Heerführer Pompejus (Magnus) die Reste des Seleukidenreiches. Als der Hasmonäerfürst Aristobulos II. (67–63) sich den Römern nicht unterwerfen wollte, rückte Pompejus nach Judäa vor und eroberte Jerusalem. Josephus (Bell 1,152–153; Ant 14,71–72), den Psalmen Salomos (1,8; 2,2) und Tacitus (Hist V 9) zufolge, betrat Pompejus zusammen mit Mitgliedern des römischen Stabes nach der Einnahme der Stadt das Allerheiligste des Tempels und profanierte ihn dadurch. Josephus betont, besonders in Bell 1,152, dass diese Profanation unerhört und für die Juden schmerzlich war, aber er fährt nicht mit einer traditionellen jüdischen Deutung dieser Krise fort. Das ist hingegen in den Psalmen Salomos der Fall, worin Pompejus’ Betreten der heiligen Räume des Tempels in Jerusalem in traditionellen alttestamentlichen Kategorien beschrieben und gedeutet wird. Dieses Ereignis wird nicht nur als frevelhafte römische Gewalttat gedeutet, sondern auch als eine strafende Konsequenz der Sünden des jüdischen Volkes (Ps Sal 2,2–21). Außerdem wird zugleich Pompejus’ späterer Tod in Ägypten als göttliche Strafe dieser Freveltat interpretiert (Ps Sal 2,25–30). Meiner Meinung nach ist diese Episode wirklich eng mit der Caligula-Krise verwandt. Wir haben eine kriegerische Situation vor uns, im Rahmen derer die

Vergleichbare Konflikte im Altertum

249

Juden sich gegen die Römer verteidigten und eine Niederlage erlitten. In dieser Situation provozierten – und bestraften? – die Römer die geschlagenen Juden mit einer bewusst blasphemischen Profanation. Mit anderen Worten: Hier scheint jüdischer Widerstand gegen die Römer mit Profanation bestraft zu werden, eine Tat, die Caligulas Statuen-Projekt ähnelt.

9.5.

Die Adlerepisode: Symbolischer Aufstand gegen Rom?79

In seinem Jüdischen Krieg erzählt Josephus am Ende des ersten Buches die Geschichte von den zwei Schriftgelehrten Judas und Matthias, die ihre „eifrigen“ Schüler dazu aufforderten, einen goldenen Adler, den König Herodes über dem großen Tor zum Tempel aufgestellt hatte, abzubrechen (Bell 1,648–656; Ant 17,149– 163). Die Täter wurden später auf grausame Weise von Herodes hingerichtet. Der Adler war ein Symbol für Rom80 und repräsentierte zugleich eine Übertretung des jüdischen Bilderverbotes (vgl. Ex 20,4; Lev 26, 1; Dtn 4, 16). Deshalb können wir diese Handlung als mit der Jamniaepisode vergleichbar betrachten, d. h. als einen symbolischen Aufstand gegen Herodes I. als Repräsentanten der indirekten römischen Herrschaft. Doch gehört dieser Fall zugleich in die innerjüdische Geschichte und deshalb ist er vielleicht auch mit den jüdischen Erzählungen von den Gewalttaten des Königs David oder des Königs Achab zu vergleichen. Es ist doch sachgemäßer, diese Episode mit anderen herodianischen Gewalttaten zu vergleichen, wie z. B. mit Herodes Antipas’ Hinrichtung von Johannes dem Täufer81 oder dem Prozess des Hohepriesters Ananus gegen Jakobus, Jesu Bruder (Josephus Ant 20,197–202, vgl. unten in Abschnitt 9.11). Da Herodes und seine Nachfolger zunächst römische Klientelkönige waren und als solche die römische Herrschaft repräsentierten, interpretiere ich diese Episode als eine relevante Parallele zur Caligula-Krise.

79 Vgl. Hengel 1976, 110. 80 Vgl. Hengel 1976, 308–314. 81 Vgl. Mk 6,17–29 (m. Par.); Josephus Ant 18,116–119, und unten in Abschnitt 9.7.

250 9.6.

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Judas der Galiläer und die Weigerung der Juden, an Rom Steuern zu zahlen82

Im Jahre 6 n. Chr. wurde Archelaos, einer der Söhne Herodes des Großen, von Kaiser Augustus als Ethnarch über Judäa, Idumäa und Samaria abgesetzt und ins Exil verbannt. Seine Territorien wurden unter direkte römische Administration gestellt und so zu einer römischen Provinz transformiert (vgl. Bell 2,111; Ant 17,355; 18,1–3). Für einige Juden stand diese Situation in Opposition zu ihrer Auffassung vom Status des „Heiligen Landes“ (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 8 mit Anm. 72). Mit Judas dem Galiläer als ihrem Anführer griffen sie zu den Waffen und versuchten einen Aufstand gegen die Römer zu organisieren mit dem Hinweis, dass die Juden keinen anderen Herren als ihren Gott anerkennen konnten und dass sie deswegen auch dem Kaiser keine Steuern bezahlen dürften. Dieser Konflikt kann als ein eindeutiges Beispiel für die Konfrontation römischer politischer Macht mit lokaler jüdisch-religiöser Tradition bezeichnet werden. In der täglichen politischen Praxis konnten die Juden sich „pragmatisch“ verhalten und mit dem Faktum einer fremden Herrschaft leben – wenn diese Herrschaft nicht in direkte Konfrontation mit ihrer Interpretation der Bestimmungen des mosaischen Gesetzes trat und wenn sie von indirektem Charakter war und durch jüdische Vermittler ausgeübt wurde, insbesondere durch den Hohepriester (wie in der Perserzeit und in den folgenden Perioden unter ptolemäischer und seleukidischer Herrschaft) oder durch einen Klientelkönig (wie Herodes der Große und seine Söhne). Aber für Judas den Galiläer und seine „eifrige“, sogenannte „Vierte Philosophie“ war eine direkt nicht-jüdische Herrschaft offenbar nicht tolerierbar, weil sie augenscheinlich einer solchen Konfrontation mit grundlegenden jüdischen Gesetzen nicht entgehen konnte.

9.7.

Herodes Antipas und die Hinrichtung von Johannes dem Täufer83

Im Neuen Testament wird die Hinrichtung von Johannes dem Täufer in Mt 14,3– 12 und Mk 6,17–29 berichtet, aber nicht in den beiden anderen kanonischen Evangelien. Im Johannesevangelium kommt der Tod des Täufers überhaupt nicht vor. Im Lukasevangelium wird seine Hinrichtung in Lk 9,9 zwar vorausgesetzt, aber in Lk 3,19–20 wird nur berichtet, dass Antipas den Täufer wegen seiner Kritik sowohl an der Ehe des Königs mit Herodias als auch an anderen könig82 Vgl. Bell 2,117–118; Ant 18,4–11.23–25 und dazu Hengel 1976, 79–150; Rhoads 1976, 47–60. 83 Vgl. Webb 1991, 373–376; Taylor 1997, 213–259.

Vergleichbare Konflikte im Altertum

251

lichen Übeltaten ins Gefängnis geworfen hatte. Bei Mt und Lk lesen wir die Geschichte der bösen Herodias als der wirklich Schuldigen bezüglich der Hinrichtung von Johannes, die der König selbst eigentlich nicht gewollt hatte. Dass diese Geschichte als eine sekundäre Legende zu betrachten ist, geht aus dem Bericht des Josephus in Ant 18,116–119 hervor, der ganz anders und viel realistischer verläuft. Josephus beschreibt Johannes positiv als „einen guten Mann“ mit einer sympathischen Verkündigung und Taufpraxis. Herodes Antipas dagegen wurde wegen des großen Zulaufs, den der Täufer genoss, ängstlich. Er fürchtete, dass diese soziale Bewegung sich zu einer politischen Unruhe entwickeln konnte und, um dieser Möglichkeit zuvorzukommen, setzte er Johannes unter Arrest und ließ ihn schließlich in seiner Burg Machärus östlich des Toten Meeres hinrichten. Für mich gilt Josephus’ Bericht ohne weiteres als geschichtlich zuverlässiger als die Erzählungen in den Evangelien. Vor diesem Hintergrund können wir diesen Bericht als eng verwandt mit der oben in Abschnitt 9.5 vorgestellten Adlerepisode betrachten, d. h., dass wir es hier mit einem Konflikt zwischen einem römischen Klientelherrscher und einigen seiner religiös bewegten Untertanen zu tun haben. Meiner Meinung nach können wir also aus gutem Grund diese zwei Fälle als Beispiele von Konflikten zwischen Rom und religiös motivierten Juden betrachten. Andererseits finden wir in der Episode über die Hinrichtung des Täufers keine römischen Symbole direkt repräsentiert wie in Abschnitt 9.5 und 9.8.

9.8.

Kampf zwischen Pilatus und den Juden um kaiserliche Bilder84

Philo und Josephus erzählen drei Geschichten über Zusammenstöße zwischen Rom und den Juden im jüdischen Palästina während der Statthalterschaft des Pilatus. Philos Bericht finden wir in LegGai 299–305, wo er Teil eines längeren Schreibens ist, das Agrippa während seines Aufenthaltes in Rom (LegGai 261– 333) an Kaiser Caligula schreibt (LegGai 276–329). Philo erzählt hier, dass Pilatus einige mit Gold bedeckte Schilder Kaiser Tiberius zu Ehren im herodianischen Palast in Jerusalem aufstellen ließ. Obwohl auf den Schildern keine Bilder des Kaisers waren, interpretierten die Juden in Jerusalem die Aufstellung der Schilder als Zeichen einer Übertretung der väterlichen Gesetze (das Gesetz des Mose, vgl. oben in Abschnitt 9.5). Eine Gesandtschaft unter der Leitung von vier Söhnen des Herodes Antipas trat mit der Bitte an Pilatus heran, die Schilder wieder entfernen zu lassen. 84 Vgl. Hengel 1976, 109.213.

252

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Als Pilatus zögerte, antworteten sie: „… macht keine Unruhe, macht keinen Krieg, brecht den Frieden nicht …“.85 Da Pilatus noch nicht nachgab, schrieb die jüdische Behörde Bittschriften an Tiberius. Als er diese Briefe empfing, wurde der Kaiser sehr böse auf Pilatus und sandte sofort seine Antwort mit dem Befehl, die Schilder von Jerusalem nach Caesarea Maritima zu überführen. In Philos Traktat ist dieser Bericht Teil eines größeren Abschnitts, der Caligula zeigen soll, wie die Politik seiner kaiserlichen Vorgänger in Bezug auf die Juden und das Judentum gewesen war. Und möglicherweise ist unser Bericht in Hinblick auf eben dieses Ziel zugeschnitten und redigiert worden. Gleichwohl beleuchtet dieser Bericht auch unsere Problematik der CaligulaKrise. Er zeigt, dass die politische Loyalität der Juden den Römern gegenüber vom römischen Respekt für die besonderen jüdischen Gesetze und Traditionen abhängig war. Er zeigt auch, dass römischer Disrespekt für die jüdischen Gesetze gleichbedeutend mit einer causa belli war. Weiter zeigt dieser Text, dass die königliche herodianische Familie in solchen Konfliktsituationen eine wichtige Rolle spielen konnte. Schließlich sehen wir hier, dass ein schriftlicher oder mündlicher Appell an den Kaiser möglich war und diese Chance auch genutzt wurde. Josephus erzählt eine ähnliche Geschichte (Bell 2,169–171; Ant 18,55–59), doch nicht wie Philo über bilderlose Schilder, die dem Kaiser geweiht waren, sondern von militärischen Standarten, die mit Kaiserbildern geschmückt waren.86 Diese mit Kaiserbildern geschmückten Standarten hatte Pilatus von Caesarea Maritima mit nach Jerusalem gebracht. Danach war er nach Caesarea zurückgekehrt und hatte offenbar die Truppen mit den Standarten in Jerusalem zurückgelassen. Damit hatte Pilatus jedoch das jüdische Bilderverbot (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 9.5) übertreten und Josephus zufolge rief diese Handlung große friedliche Proteste und Demonstrationen der Juden in Caesarea hervor. Pilatus holte seine Truppen herbei und drohte den Juden mit dem Tod. Die Juden aber „antworteten“ auf dieselbe Weise wie im Rahmen der Caligula-Krise: Sie warfen sich zu Boden, legten ihre Kehlen bloß und riefen, dass sie lieber sterben wollten, als Zeugen dieser Übertretung der weisen Gebote der Tora zu werden.87 Diese zwei Berichte bei Philo und Josephus sind von genau derselben Art wie ihre Darstellungen der Caligula-Krise: Rom droht mit einer Verletzung der jüdischen Gesetze, die Juden demonstrieren und protestieren auf friedliche Weise so beeindruckend, dass der römische Befehlshaber den Ernst der Sache versteht und deswegen nachgibt. Jedoch enthalten die Texte über die Pilatusepisoden keine Spuren von bewaffnetem jüdischem Widerstand. 85 LegGai 301. 86 Bell 2,169. 87 Ant 18,59; vgl. Bell 2,174.

Vergleichbare Konflikte im Altertum

9.9.

253

Der römische Prozess gegen Jesus von Nazareth88

Im Gegensatz zur Hinrichtung des Täufers durch Herodes Antipas ist der römische Prozess gegen Jesus ein Beispiel direkter Konfrontation Roms mit dem Judentum. Gleiches gilt für den Fall Judas des Galiläers (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 9.6), den Fall Theudas (Ant 20,97–98) und den Fall des ägyptischen Propheten (Bell 2,258–263; Ant 20, 167–172), wovon Josephus uns erzählt. Darin gleichen diese kleineren Konflikte den zwei großen jüdischen Aufständen gegen Rom in den Jahren 66–70 (74) und 132–135. Die kanonischen Evangelien stellen den römischen Prozess gegen Jesus jedoch nicht als eine eindeutig römische Aktion gegen Jesus dar. Aus politisch-apologetischen Gründen versuchen die Evangelien, die Schuld für den Tod Jesu von den Römern auf die Juden zu schieben (vgl. Mt 27, 11–44 m.Par.). Deswegen tritt Pilatus als Advokat für Jesus auf und erklärt ihn für unschuldig. Trotz dieser Apologetik lässt sich die geschichtliche Wahrheit doch deutlich erkennen: Jesus wurde angeklagt, sich als der König der Juden und als „Christus“, d. h. der Gesalbte, der Messias, zu behaupten. Diese Anklage kommt auch in der Szene der Dornenkrönung zum Ausdruck (Mt 27,27–31 m.Par.), wo die römischen Soldaten Jesus als Narren-König pseudo-huldigen. In Lk 23,2 wird diese Anklage mit einer Anklage der Steuerverweigerung verbunden. Weil es sehr schwierig ist, sich vorzustellen, dass der „pro-römische“ Lukas eine solche Anklage erfunden hat, halte ich sie für Traditionsstoff. Mit dieser Anklage rückt Jesus in die Nähe von Judas dem Galiläer (vgl. oben in Abschnitt 9.6). Aus jüdisch-eschatologischer Sicht ist diese Position logisch: Kann der römische Kaiser nicht als legitimer Herrscher über das „Heilige Land“ anerkannt werden, dürfen die Juden ihm auch keine Steuern bezahlen. Diese Logik gilt konsequenterweise auch für den Messiastitel, weil der Messias als Jahwes auserwählter „Sohn“ in seinem Namen auch als legitimer König der Juden herrschen soll. Vor diesem Hintergrund können wir auch das berühmte Gespräch zwischen Jesus und den Pharisäern über die Legitimität der Steuerzahlung an die Römer in Mt 22, 15–22 (m.Par.) neu interpretieren: Die Antwort Jesu darf nicht als ein „sowohl – als auch“ interpretiert werden, sondern als ein kategorisches „Nein“: Die Juden schulden Gott alles und dem Kaiser nichts! 89 Auf diese Weise verstanden ist Jesu messianisches Projekt per definitionem anti-römisch und der römische Prozess gegen Jesus deshalb auch ein politischer Prozess, sowie seine Hinrichtung am Kreuz eine politische Exekution ist.90 Im Vergleich zur Caligula-Episode spielt Jesu Steuerverweigerung und Königsan88 Vgl. besonders Winter 1974; Sloyan 2006; Vermes 2005; Reinbold 2006. 89 Vgl. Bilde 2001, 139–140. 90 Vgl. Bilde 2008, 23–41.

254

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

spruch dieselbe symbolische Rolle wie die Zerstörung des Kaiseraltars bei den jamnischen Juden. Wir können diesen Abschnitt mit der Frage abschließen, ob wir hier einen Konflikt zwischen Religion und politischer Macht vor uns haben, oder ob wir es nicht eher mit einem Konflikt zwischen zwei religionspolitischen Systemen zu tun haben?

9.10. Der Streit in Alexandrien Wir setzen diese Reihe von verwandten und damit perspektivierenden Beispielen fort mit einem Hinweis auf die Kontroverse in Alexandrien in den Jahren 38–40 n. Chr., die schon oben mehrmals erwähnt worden ist.91 Diese Zusammenstöße können als inneralexandrinische, ethnische Konflikte verstanden werden. So werden sie sowohl von Josephus (Ant 18,257; 19,278–279, vgl. Bell 2,487–498) als auch teilweise von Philo dargestellt, und als solche wurden sie auch abgeschlossen.92 Philo zufolge ist Rom von Anfang an ebenfalls in diesen Konflikt miteinbezogen, und zwar auf der Seite der Nicht-Juden (d. h. des griechischen Teils der Bevölkerung Alexandriens), die Philo als „Ägypter“ bezeichnet. In seinem Traktat über die Delegation zu Gaius stellt Philo die mania Caligulas und seine damit zusammenhängende Selbstvergöttlichung als die eigentliche Ursache des Konfliktes dar. Oben, in Abschnitt 7, haben wir diesen Zug zumindest teilweise als Philos sekundäre redaktionelle Deutung bestimmt. Das Verhältnis zwischen den Parteien in diesem Konflikt ist nicht einfach zu bestimmen. Können wir ohne weiteres die Beiträge des Flaccus als „römisch“ bestimmen oder sind sie nicht eher von seinem eigenen Interesse dirigiert? Die Nicht-Juden in Alexandrien, die „Griechen“ oder „Ägypter“, wie Philo sie gerne bezeichnet, sind geschichtlich gleichzeitig anti-römisch und pro-kaiserlich.93 Das bedeutet, dass wir in diesem Konflikt nicht unbedingt einen Streit zwischen Juden und Römern finden und deswegen auch keine Konfrontation zwischen jüdischer Religion und römischer politischer Herrschaft. Wie können wir ihn dann verstehen und interpretieren? Wohl in erster Linie als einen ethnischen Streit zwischen Juden und Nicht-Juden ähnlich den Konflikten dieser Art in Caesarea (vgl. unten in Abschnitt 9.13).

91 Vgl. oben in Abschnitt 6–8, vgl. Bilde 2006; Ders. 2009. 92 Vgl. Claudius’ Brief an die Einwohner in Alexandrien (Papyrus London 1912 [Amn. 67]) und sein Dekret über den Konflikt in Ant 19,280–285. 93 Vgl. Bell 1924, 5–21; Smallwood 1976, 220–224; Bilde 2006, 257–267; Ders. 2009, 106.

Vergleichbare Konflikte im Altertum

255

Die Konklusion ist, dass dieser Konflikt die Caligula-Krise nicht unmittelbar beleuchten kann.

9.11. Der jüdische Prozess gegen Jakobus, den Bruder Jesu Wir kennen diesen Konflikt vor allem von Josephus, der ihn in Ant 20,197–203 beschreibt. Wir schreiben das Jahr 62 n. Chr. Der römische Statthalter Festus (60– 62) war eben gestorben und sein Nachfolger Albinus (62–64) noch nicht im jüdischen Palästina angekommen. Dieses Machtvakuum nutzte der neueingesetzte jüdische Hohepriester Ananus aus, der nach Josephus der Schule der Sadduzäer angehörte. Er berief einen Rat ein, vor welchem er den Bruder des Jesus, der als der Messias bezeichnet wird, dessen Name Jakobus war und einige andere anklagte, dass sie das Gesetz übertreten haben, und, nachdem sie vom Rat zum Tode verurteilt waren, übergab er sie zur Steinigung.94

Diese Handlung aber beunruhigte einige der verständigsten und gesetzestreuesten Einwohner in Jerusalem, die ihre Sorgen schließlich König Agrippa II. (53–90) meldeten. Andere zogen dem neuen Statthalter Albinus, der von Ägypten nach Judäa unterwegs war, entgegen und klagten Ananus an. Das Ergebnis war, dass der König den Hohenpriester absetzte und ihn durch einen anderen, nämlich Jesus, Sohn des Damnaios, ersetzte. In diesem Fall haben wir also keine römische Verletzung jüdischer Religiosität vor uns, sondern eher ein Beispiel eines lokalen jüdischen Machtkampfes innerhalb der von den Römern gesetzten Grenzen. Der jüdische Hohepriester war sowohl von den Römern als auch dem König abhängig und er versuchte, diese einmalige Gelegenheit des Machtvakuums auszunutzen, um seine eigene Macht auszuweiten. Deswegen ist auch dieser Streit nicht mit der Caligula-Krise vergleichbar.

9.12. Jesus, Sohn des Ananias Im sechsten Buch seiner Darstellung des Jüdischen Aufstandes gegen Rom, wo Josephus eine Reihe von übernatürlichen Ereignissen berichtet, die die Zerstörung Jerusalems und des Tempels angekündigt hätten, erzählt er auch die Geschichte eines Propheten, der – ebenso im Jahr 62 – anfing, Leid vorauszusagen, das über Jerusalem und den Tempel kommen würde (Bell 6,300–309).

94 Ant 20,200.

256

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Seine Prophetie war nicht populär. Zuerst wurden einige der angesehenen Bürger Jerusalems böse, ergriffen diesen Jesus und prügelten ihn (Bell 6,302). Da er aber nicht aufhörte seine Botschaft zu wiederholen, meinten die Behörden, dass Jesus von einer übernatürlichen Kraft getrieben war und brachten ihn zum römischen Statthalter Albinus (303). Dieser ließ Jesus verprügeln, aber Jesus setzte sein Prophezeien fort und antwortete nicht auf die Fragen des Statthalters. Albinus folgerte daraus, dass Jesus außer sich war und gab ihn frei (304–305). Jesus aber setzte seine Wehklage fort, solange, bis er selbst während der Belagerung Jerusalems von einem steinernen Geschoss getötet wurde (309). Dieser Fall gleicht den vorherigen: Es gab keinen Streit zwischen Rom/dem römischen Statthalter und den jüdischen Behörden in Jerusalem. Es standen keine jüdischen oder römischen Symbole auf dem Spiel. Der Konflikt war innerjüdisch – und als solcher eigentlich insofern typisch, als dass sich die jüdische Elite ärgerte und versuchte, die Verkündigung dieses eschatologischen Propheten zu beenden – vielleicht genau wie im Fall des Jesus von Nazareth. Die jüdische Behörde versuchte auch hier, mit dem römischen Statthalter zusammenzuarbeiten, aber nun im Fall von Jesus, dem Sohn des Ananias, vergebens. Wir schließen auch an dieser Stelle, dass dieser Fall nicht mit dem der Caligula-Krise vergleichbar ist.

9.13. Der Streit in Caesarea Maritima Josephus erzählt eine Geschichte über einen Streit im Jahre 59–60 n. Chr. zwischen Juden und Nicht-Juden in Caesarea über ihren Status und ihre Position in der Stadt (Bell 2,266–270. 284–292; Ant 20,173–178. 282–284). Dieser Bericht ist in mehreren Aspekten verwandt mit den Berichten über den Konflikt in Alexandrien während der Jahre 38–41 (vgl. Abschnitt 9.10 oben). Der Streit in Caesarea wurde zu einer blutigen Auseinandersetzung (Bell 2,267; Ant 20,175–177). Die Juden gewannen die Oberhand, und der Streit endete vorläufig mit einem bewaffneten Eingriff des Statthalters Felix (52–60). Er befahl, dass einige Vorstände aus beiden Parteien nach Rom reisen sollten, um dort ihren Streit Kaiser Nero (54–68) vorzulegen (Bell 2,270). Diese Reise dauerte Josephus zufolge bis zum Jahre 66 (Bell 2,284), also sehr lange, und Neros Entscheidung fiel zugunsten der Nicht-Juden aus. Dies führte zu neuen Zusammenstößen (Bell 2,284–292; Ant 20, 183–184), die, Josephus zufolge, zum Ausbruch des großen Jüdischen Aufstandes im Jahre 66 beitrugen (Bell 2,284). Wie in Alexandrien im Jahr 38 n. Chr. war der lokale Statthalter in Palästina den Juden nicht freundlich gestimmt, weshalb er dazu tendierte, die Nicht-Juden mehr zu unterstützen. Doch wie Flaccus’ Nachfolger in Alexandrien, Vitrasius Pollio, sorgte der Statthalter in Judäa dafür, dass zwei Delegationen zum Kaiser ge-

Vergleichbare Konflikte im Altertum

257

schickt wurden, um dort ihren Streit gelöst zu bekommen. Aber im Gegensatz zum Fall von Alexandrien im Jahr 38 fiel die Entscheidung des Kaisers Nero in Bezug auf Casarea zugunsten der Nicht-Juden aus. Wir folgern, dass dieser Konflikt auch nicht als mit der Caligula-Krise in Palästina im Jahre 40 verwandt und vergleichbar betrachtet werden kann, weil wir hier keinen direkten Streit zwischen den Juden und Rom finden und weil keine jüdischen und römischen Symbole in diesem Konflikt eine Rolle spielten.

9.14. Der jüdische Aufstand gegen Rom im Jahr 66 Natürlich können wir nicht ausführlich auf die Geschichte des Jüdischen Aufstandes gegen Rom von 66–70 (74) eingehen95, nicht einmal auf die Frage nach all den Gründen, die die Juden zu diesem entscheidenden Schritt brachten.96 Wir begrenzen uns auf die folgenden wesentlichen Gründe: In der Großen Rede, die Josephus König Agrippa II. in Jerusalem vor den Aufständischen halten lässt (Bell 2,345–404), wird auf folgende zwei symbolische Akte fokussiert: Die Juden hätten den Tribut an die Römer nicht bezahlt (Bell 2,403, vgl. oben in Abschnitt 9.6 und 9.9), und sie hätten die Säulenhalle zwischen der Burg Antonia und dem Tempel niedergerissen (Bell 2,404, vgl. 2,330–331). Dazu kommt eine dritte, entscheidende Ursache, nämlich die Abschaffung des täglichen Opfers für den Kaiser und das römische Volk (Bell 2,409–410, vgl. oben in Anm. 30). Wie ich in meiner Arbeit von 1979 gezeigt habe, gibt Josephus viele andere Gründe für den Aufstand an, aber für Rom – und damit für uns – scheint der letztgenannte entscheidend zu sein. Diese Opfer können – und sollen – nämlich als Ersatz für die Teilnahme der Juden am Kaiserkult verstanden werden. Damit kommen wir auf die Problematik der Caligula-Krise im Palästina des Jahres 40 zurück. Es wäre möglich, noch andere Konflikte dieser Reihe hinzuzufügen, insbesondere den zweiten großen Aufstand der Juden in Zypern, Ägypten, Cyrenaica (und Mesopotamien) gegen die Römer in den Jahren 115–117 und den dritten großen Jüdischen Aufstand gegen die Römer unter Simon Bar Kochba in den Jahren 132–135. Vermutlich spielten in diesen Konflikten auch religiöse Symbole wie die Beschneidung eine Rolle.97 Wir sind aber so dürftig über diese Konflikte unterrichtet, dass wir nichts Sicheres darüber sagen können, weswegen sie nicht in unsere komparative Übersicht einbezogen werden. 95 Vgl. Goodman 1987, 152–197; Goodman 2007, 397–444; Berlin & Overman 2002; Bilde 2006a, 23–43. 96 Vgl. Bilde 1979, 179–202. 97 Vgl. Schäfer 1981, 38–50.

258

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

9.15. Zusammenfassung Wir haben eine, wie ich hoffe, repräsentative Reihe vergleichbarer Konflikte beleuchtet, in welcher Politik und Religion auf verschiedene Weise ineinanderfließen bzw. zusammenstoßen. Diese komparative Übersicht kann uns hoffentlich helfen, die Caligula-Krise sachlich besser zu verstehen, zu beschreiben, zu interpretieren und zu beurteilen. Alle diese Konflikte sind von jüdischen (und christlichen, Nr. 1) Autoren dargestellt, und sie sind fast alle mit Hilfe derselben apologetischen Topoi redigiert, die wir oben in Philos und Josephus’ Beschreibungen der Caligula-Krise gefunden und identifiziert haben. Sechs der untersuchten Fälle zeigten sich als für die Caligula-Krise irrelevant, nämlich die Ereignisse, die in den Kapiteln 9.1; 9.2; 9.10; 9.11; 9.12 und 9.13 besprochen wurden. Damit meine ich, dass erstens keiner dieser sechs Fälle in einen ernsten Konflikt zwischen Juden und Römern mündete, und zweitens, dass keiner dieser Fälle von symbolischen, religiösen oder kultischen Konflikten handelt. Deswegen scheiden sie als für einen Vergleich mit der Caligula-Krise irrelevant aus. Dagegen habe ich in den Kapiteln 9.3; 9.4; 9.5; 9.6; 9.7; 9.8; 9.9 und 9.14 acht Konflikte als mehr oder weniger für unsere Untersuchung relevant bestimmt. Damit meine ich, dass diese Konflikte Fälle repräsentieren, die der Caligula-Krise mehr oder weniger gleichen. Aus diesen acht Fällen sind jedoch fünf viel näher mit der Caligula-Krise verwandt und verbunden als die übrigen, nämlich die fünf Ereignisse, die in den Kapiteln 9.2 (die seleukidische Krise), 9.6 (Judas der Galiläer), 9.8 (die Krisen unter Pilatus), 9.9 (Jesus von Nazareth) und 9.14 (der jüdische Aufstand gegen Rom der Jahre 66–70 (74)) dargestellt wurden. Der Caligula-Krise am ähnlichsten sind jedoch die in den Abschnitten 9.2, 9.6, 9.8 und 9.14 erörterten Geschehnisse, die Konflikte darstellen, die sich zu umfassenden Konfrontationen zwischen Römern und Juden entwickelten, wie später die zwei anderen großen jüdischen Aufstände gegen Rom. In all diesen Fällen treten auch jüdische oder römische Symbole als zentrale Elemente der Konflikte auf. Das in Abschnitt 9.9 erörterte Ereignis enthält zwei zentrale symbolische Konfliktelemente: den politischen Messiasanspruch und die Steuerverweigerung. Die jüdische Massenmobilisierung und der kollektive Streit zwischen Juden und Römern fehlen hingegen.

Zur Diskussion und Interpretation der Caligula-Krise

10.

259

Zur Diskussion und Interpretation der Caligula-Krise

Oben in Abschnitt 8 haben wir den Schluss gezogen, dass das, was im jüdischen Palästina der Jahre 40–41 geschichtlich stattgefunden hat, eine ernste Konfrontation zwischen römischen und jüdischen Symbolen war, die sich schnell zu einem militärischen Konflikt großer Dimension weiter entwickelte. Nicht-Juden hatten in Jamnia einen Kaiseraltar errichtet, den die „eifrigen“ Juden niedergerissen hatten. Kaiser Caligula scheint diese Handlung als ein Zeichen jüdischer politischer Illoyalität und als einen Schritt in Richtung eines bewaffneten Aufstandes gedeutet zu haben. Vor diesem Hintergrund befahl er, dass Petronius die Juden mit militärischen Mitteln zur gewünschten Loyalität zwingen, d. h. sie dazu bringen sollte, die Bildung eines Kaiserkultes im jüdischen Tempel in Jerusalem zu akzeptieren. In beiden Fällen war damit die Grenze des zerbrechlichen Friedens zwischen dem römischen Imperium und den Juden in Palästina überschritten worden. Offenbar kannte Caligula die jüdische Geschichte nicht. Wahrscheinlich wusste Caligula nicht, dass konservative Juden unter der Führung der Makkabäer eine vergleichbare Errichtung des Königs Antiochos IV. Epiphanes im Jahre 167 v. Chr. nicht akzeptieren wollten und dass die „eifrigen“ Juden zur Zeit des Pilatus nicht einmal römische Standarten und Schilder in Jerusalem akzeptieren konnten. Vielleicht versuchten sowohl Petronius als auch König Agrippa I., später Caligula diese Einsichten beizubringen. Auf der anderen Seite kannten die „eifrigen“ Juden in Palästina offenbar die römische Geschichte und die Grenzen römischer Toleranz nicht, bzw. wenn sie diese Geschichte und diese Grenzen tatsächlich gekannt hatten, waren sie nicht im Stande gewesen, sie zu respektieren. In seleukidischer und römischer Zeit hatte offenbar ein Teil der Juden, die „eifrigen“, diese klaren Grenzen ihrer möglichen Loyalität gegenüber einer imperialen Übermacht entwickelt und definiert. Die Geschichte über die Caligula-Krise gibt uns damit einen einmaligen Einblick in die römische Geschichte und die Grenzen römischer Toleranz. Die vergleichbaren Konflikte, die wir oben vorgestellt haben, gewähren uns andere Erkenntnisse und in Hist V 1–13; insbesondere in V 4–5, vermittelt Tacitus den Eindruck, es handle sich um ein römisches Erlebnis mit merkwürdigen Juden, die nicht in der Lage gewesen waren, die ihnen von den Römern gesetzten Grenzen zu akzeptieren. Die Caligula-Krise im jüdischen Palästina im Jahre 40 n. Chr. dreht sich also um dieselbe Angelegenheit wie die seleukidische Krise der Jahre 167–164 v. Chr., die Steuerverweigerungskrise in Zusammenhang mit Judas dem Galiläer im Jahr 6 n. Chr., die Krisen zur Zeit des Pilatus und die kritische Situation im jüdischen Palästina in Frühjahr 66.

260

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Bei diesen Krisen handelt es sich grundsätzlich um politische Macht im jüdischen Palästina. Aber die Sprache dieser Konflikte war und ist in hohem Grade eine solche, die wir „religiös“ nennen. Das darf uns nicht überraschen, denn das ist oftmals der Fall, sowohl im Altertum wie in unserer Zeit.98 In ihren grundlegenden Werken haben W. R. Farmer und M. Hengel hervorgehoben, dass die ständigen heidnischen Drohungen gegen das Jerusalemer Heiligtum den „eifrigen“ jüdischen Gegnern Roms – Judas dem Galiläer, seiner „Vierten Philosophie“, Sikariern, Zeloten und anderen radikalen Gruppen – „ein starkes Argument für die Unvereinbarkeit des jüdischen Gottesglaubens mit der Fremdherrschaft in die Hand“ gegeben haben.99 Diese Parteien hatten nämlich die heidnischen Drohungen gegen den Jerusalemer Tempel mit den Ideen der Heiligkeit des Gelobten Landes und ihrer legitimen Herrschaft über dieses Land verbunden. Sie entwickelten diese Ideen zu einer explosiven Vorstellung, dass die Heiligkeit des Tempels, Jerusalems und des Landes forderte, dass das Land überhaupt nicht von Heiden beherrscht und regiert werden konnte, weshalb es den Juden auch nicht erlaubt sein durfte, solchen Herrschern Steuern zu bezahlen. Die äußerste Konsequenz davon war, dass das „Heilige Land“ nur von einem von Jahwe selber erwählten jüdischen König, d. h. dem Messias, beherrscht werden konnte (vgl. Abschnitt 9.9). Die Caligula-Krise wurde nach allen überlieferten Quellen erfolgreich beendet, genau wie die Krise unter Pilatus (Nr. 9.8). Dagegen sind die seleukidische Krise (Nr. 9.3) und der jüdische Aufstand gegen Rom von 66–70 (74) (Nr. 9.14) Beispiele von Krisen, die sich nicht mit friedlichen Mitteln lösen lassen konnten, und die, obwohl die ersten militärischen Begegnungen siegreich waren, schlußendlich in einer katastrophalen Niederlage endeten. Unsere Untersuchungen deuten somit darauf hin, dass sich die Caligula-Krise nicht wirklich als eine Konfrontation zwischen Kult und Macht oder zwischen Religion und politischer Herrschaft interpretieren lässt. Es scheint genauer und befriedigender, diese Krise als eine Konfrontation zwischen zwei Völkern, den Römern und den Juden und zwischen zwei Religionen, oder, noch genauer, zwischen zwei religionspolitischen Mächten, Rom und Judäa (die Juden in Palästina), aufzufassen. Ja, vielleicht sollten wir lieber von einem Konflikt zwischen zwei unvereinbaren religionspolitischen Positionen bzw. Konflikten entlang religionspolitischer Grenzen reden. Das bedeutet, dass Religion und Politik sich auch hier nicht trennen lassen – eine Einsicht, ein Ergebnis, das uns nicht überraschen darf.

98 Vgl. Edwards 1996, 4–6. 99 Hengel 1976, 214; vgl. Farmer 1956, 90.

Religion und politische Macht heute

11.

261

Religion und politische Macht heute

In der Geschichte der Menschheit können wir überall beobachten, dass politische Macht oft eng mit Religion verbunden oder ganz darin integriert ist. Wenn neue Religionen auftauchen, die noch nicht mit politischer Macht verbunden sind, können wir auch beobachten, dass sie oft danach streben, politische Macht zu gewinnen.100 Um diese Problematik weiter zu illustrieren, können wir nicht nur Beispiele der antiken Welt oder des Mittelalters und dem vormodernen Europa einbeziehen. Es ist interessant und wichtig zu bemerken, dass diese Relation zwischen Religion und politischer Macht nicht aufhörte, in der modernen Welt Bedeutung zu haben. Es scheint, dass der Islam mehr in die Politik involviert wäre als andere Religionen, wenn wir heute bedeutende religionspolitische Konflikte in Ländern wie China, Indien, Indonesien, dem Iran, Afghanistan, dem Irak, Palästina, Ägypten, dem Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Bosnien und dem Kosovo beobachten, und wenn wir die internationalen Zusammenstöße zwischen der islamischen Welt und dem Westen betrachten. Auf der anderen Seite ist auch das Judentum tief in den Streit zwischen Israel und Palästina einbezogen, und das Christentum wird oft in Kämpfe um die politische Macht in Ländern wie Nord-Irland, Polen, Serbien, Kroatien, Bosnien, dem Irak und Afghanistan involviert. Wir kennen viele Konflikte um einzelne Heiligtümer, sehr oft um Kirchengebäude, die in islamischen Ländern wie Indien, Indonesien, dem Irak, Ägypten, dem Sudan und Nigeria zerstört oder abgebrannt worden sind. Dasselbe gilt aber auch für Moscheen und hinduistische Tempel in Ländern wie Indien, dem Sudan und Nigeria. In den Fällen, wo wir keine klassischen religiösen Symbole als zentrale Elemente in Konflikten und Kriegen finden können, lassen sich stattdessen ähnliche ideologische Symbole finden wie Sprache, Sitten, Traditionen, Rasse, Mythen und dergleichen, wenn ein Konflikt oder ein Krieg begründet oder legitimiert werden soll. Aus diesen Gründen ist es so schwierig, Politik – Interessensunterschiede, Konflikte und eben Kriege um Territorien, Macht, Einfluss, Handel usw. – und Religion zu unterscheiden, nicht nur im Altertum und Mittelalter, sondern auch heute, eben weil sich hinter dem Terminus „Religion“ ein beträchtlicher Teil jener 100 Gute Beispiele finden wir in der Unification Church, bei Scientology und den vielen neuen „evangelikalen“ Formen protestantischen Christentums in den USA, aber auch in Ländern wie dem Iran, Afghanistan und Somalia, wo neue, radikale islamische Gruppen sofort nach politischer Herrschaft streben.

262

Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden

Sprache und Symbole verbergen, mit denen politische Interessen ausgedrückt und legitimiert werden.

12.

Ergebnisse

Ein wichtiges methodologisches Ergebnis unserer Untersuchung ist die Einsicht, dass die jüdischen Hauptquellen so stark von den überlieferten jüdischen apologetischen Interessen beherrscht sind und so tief in traditionelle jüdisch-apologetische Topoi eingewoben sind, dass es eine veritable „Entapologetisierung“ erfordert, um die geschichtliche Wahrheit rekonstruieren zu können. Ein zweites methodologisches Ergebnis ist die Einsicht, dass ein adäquateres und qualitätvolleres Verständnis der Caligula-Krise durch komparative Untersuchungen vergleichbarer Krisen gewonnen werden kann. Ein drittes Ergebnis ist die durchgeführte historisch-kritische Demonstration des drohenden kriegerischen Charakters der Caligula-Krise – ein Charakter, den nur Tacitus direkt spiegelt, während unsere jüdischen Hauptquellen diesen Charakter mit allen Mitteln zu verbergen versuchen, was ihnen jedoch nicht ganz gelungen ist. Ein viertes Ergebnis ist, dass die Jahrzehnte des ersten Jahrhunderts gar nicht so friedlich zu interpretieren sind, wie das z. B. E. P. Sanders behauptet hat.101 Sowohl die Caligula-Krise als auch die anderen bekannten Konflikte, die wir aus dieser Periode kennen, zeugen vom explosiven Potential des schwierigen Verhältnisses zwischen den Juden Palästinas (und der Diaspora) und Rom. Unser Hauptergebnis ist jedoch, dass die Kategorien Kult und Macht, Religion und Herrschaft sich nicht scheiden lassen, weil Religion und Kult wichtige Teile politischer Symbole und Sprache sind. Das gilt insbesondere im Altertum, aber – vielleicht überraschend – auch für spätere Perioden und für unsere eigene Zeit. Vielleicht war uns das in Bezug auf die Zeit der Kreuzzüge und der späteren so genannten Religionskriege bewusst. Die letzten Jahrzehnte unserer eigenen Zeit haben uns aber erneut gelehrt, dass wir diese Wahrheit nicht vergessen sollten. Dieses Hauptergebnis haben wir aus dem Einblick in die Caligula-Krise im jüdischen Palästina der Jahre 40–41 hergeleitet, die einen zentralen symbolischen Ausdruck des Kampfes zwischen Juden und Römern um die politische Macht im Land dargestellt hat.

101 Vgl. Sanders 1993, 35–43.

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Per Bilde’s Place in Research on Josephus (Steve Mason)

In 1978, when I was an undergraduate just becoming acquainted with Josephus, the Dutch scholar W.C. van Unnik wrote, in an essay he called ‘Josephus the Neglected’: Josephus is and will continue always to be used and cited. Who can put a number on how often this has occurred?! Nevertheless, one might fairly ask whether the oft-cited historian is also genuinely known. Is he not [considered] much more a transmitter of data than a responsible author? Have we truly read his writings, exegeted them, and in a suitable way exploited them? 1

Van Unnik’s answer to his own questions was a decisive No. Outside of research on the biblical paraphrase, scholars were all but universally using Josephus as a database—looking past the author’s literary creations to sources and underlying events. They seemed happy to ignore the text itself, though it is the only form in which the ‘data’ have reached us. That peculiar if long-established situation was about to change dramatically, and Per Bilde of Aarhus played a pivotal role in generating the seismic shifts ahead. His 1988 book Flavius Josephus between Jerusalem and Rome, which developed lines from his 1983 dissertation on Josephus as historian with respect to the Caligula affair, quickly became the closest thing we had—and have—to an Einleitung in Josephus.2 Its chapters methodically cover Josephus’ life, writings, 1 My translation and emphasis: ‘Josephus ist und wird immer wieder benutzt und zitiert; wer kann zahlenmäßig ausdrücken, wie oft das geschehen ist?! Und doch läßt sich fragen, ob der vielzitierte Historiker auch wirklich gekannt wird. Ist er nicht viel mehr Lieferant von Daten als verantwortungsvoller Autor? Hat man seine Schriften wirklich gelesen, exegesiert und in richtiger Weise ausgeschöpft?’ W.C. van Unnik, ‘Flavius Josephus als historischer Schriftsteller’ (1978), reprinted in C. Breytenbach and P. van der Horst, Sparsa Collecta: The Collected Essays of W.C. van Unnik (Leiden: Brill, 2014), vol. 4, pp. 69–128 (quotation p. 75). 2 P. Bilde, Flavius Josephus between Jerusalem and Rome: His Life, His Works, and their Importance (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1988); cf. P. Bilde, Josefus som historieskriver: en undersøgelse af Josefus’ fremstilling af Gaius Caligulas konflikt med jøderne i Palæstina (Bell 2, 184–203 og Ant 18, 261–309) med særligt henblik på forfatterens tendens og historiske pålidelighed (Copenhagen: Gad, 1983).

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thought, meaning, and use, in dialogue with research in several languages. The English manuscript was completed in June 1985. Casting about for a way to characterise Bilde’s Josephus oeuvre, I settled on this. He was the first to lay out in a comprehensive way the case for understanding Josephus as an earnest, intelligent, and self-conscious author and to show how we might read Josephus’ works as whole compositions. The products of Bilde’s research became foundation stones in the emerging sub-discipline ‘Josephus studies’. To explain what I mean, I shall first situate his work in relation to what came before it, then review his methodological and substantive contributions, and finally survey what has happened since Bilde’s 1988 handbook. So: Before Bilde, Bilde, and Post-Bilde.

Before Bilde Bilde himself divided the history of Josephus research into three periods. First came the long night of uncritical, traditional use of the corpus as external guarantor of Christian theology. Eventually came a vehement critical reaction, especially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when Josephus was typically maligned as a mouthpiece of the Flavians, contemptible Pharisee, and sourceweaving pretender to the mantle of a historian. At Bilde’s time of writing, finally, new research was laying a new foundation from various directions, which he sought to draw together and strengthen with a new synthesis. These scholars were finding that Josephus was much more engaged with his literary-intellectual world than had been thought, that he must have had a serviceable command of Greek language and literature, that he was not utterly dependent on sources or assistants but controlled the content of his works, that indeed they were literary compositions with visible structures, plots, characters, and themes, that the Flavians played a much smaller role in his writing than earlier scholars had claimed, and that archaeological finds were proving Josephus ‘credible’ or ‘accurate’ (further below).3 A roll call of the scholars producing those green shoots in the 1970s and 80s might give the impression that they had already effected the fundamental shift, for among them were Horst Moehring, Heinz Schreckenberg, Louis Feldman, Helgo Lindner, Harold Attridge, Shaye Cohen, and Tessa Rajak.4 Bilde modestly 3 Bilde, Josephus, pp. 17–18. 4 H.R. Moehring, Novelistic Elements in the Writings of Flavius Josephus, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago (1957); cf. Moehring, ‘Joseph ben Matthia and Flavius Josephus: the Jewish Prophet and Roman Historian’, ANRW. II.21.2: pp. 864–917; L.H. Feldman, Studies in Josephus’ Rewritten Bible (Leiden: Brill, 1998 [including pre-Bilde articles]); H. Lindner, Die Geschichtsauffassung des Flavius Josephus im Bellum Judaicum (Leiden: Brill, 1972); H.

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presented his investigation as merely continuing the trend. But he correctly observed that their studies had more particular interests than he: Moehring in parts of the AJ, Schreckenberg in the mediaeval transmission of Josephus’ text, Feldman and Attridge in the biblical paraphrase, and Cohen and Rajak in Josephus’ life and situation at the outbreak of war. Though each study pointed toward, implied, and in different ways illustrated new ways of reading Josephus, none had yet taken on the project of reading Josephus’ life and works as coherent wholes. Bilde confirms this incidentally in Chapter 3, as he himself works through each text offering original interpretative proposals, without being able to cite much scholarship for conversation. The attached bibliographical summaries include such revealing comments as these: The contents of Bell. are not usually rendered in the literature on Josephus. (70) To the best of my knowledge, no contribution to a discussion on the arrangement and plan of Bell. is to be found. (70) On the question of Ant.’s contents and sources, one can only refer to Attridge (1984), pp. 211–16. (89) To my knowledge, the only available discussions of the disposition of Ant. to be found in Attridge (1984), pp. 211, 213, and Schalit (1967), p. lvii. (92) In general, it is almost impossible to refer to any literature concerning Josephus’ aim in Ant. Feldman’s recent bibliographical works contain nothing on this subject. (102) To my knowledge, no attempts at determining the disposition and structure of Ap. exist. (118)

A year before Bilde finished his work, Feldman’s 1,000-page annotated bibliography on Josephus research from 1937 to 1980 finally appeared (1984).5 This undeniably comprehensive project independently confirms Bilde’s impressions. For as we work through the twenty-nine major headings and hundreds of subheadings of Feldman’s elaborate Table of Contents, we find nothing on such introductory matters as the aims, structures, publication settings, or themes of Josephus’ major works. Instead, the ‘Josephus’ literature includes copious discussions of his supposed character and surrender to the Romans, reworking of

Schreckenberg, especially Rezeptionsgeschichtliche und textkritische Untersuchungen zu Flavius Josephus (Leiden: Brill, 1977); H.W. Attridge, The interpretation of Biblical History in the Antiquitates Judaicae of Flavius Josephus (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press for Harvard Theological Review, 1976); Attridge, ‘Josephus and his Works’, in M. E. Stone, ed., Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period: Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Qumran Sectarian Writings, Philo, Josephus. (Assen; Philadelphia: Van Gorcum; Fortress, 1984), pp. 185–232; S.J.D. Cohen, Josephus in Galilee and Rome: His Vita and Development as a Historian (Leiden: Brill, 1979); T. Rajak, Josephus: The Historian and his Society (London: Duckworth, 1983). 5 L.H. Feldman, Josephus and Modern Scholarship, 1937–1980 (Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1984).

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the Bible, accuracy as a historian, sources, views of Jewish religion and halakhah, value for archaeology, influence on later Western literature, and the manuscript tradition. Even the thirty-five pages devoted to Josephus’ vocabulary and style mainly take up speculative questions such as his possible knowledge of Latin, use of assistants, Aramaisms in his work, and Hebrew sources. Strangely enough, researchers had been interested in everything about Josephus except understanding the narratives and essays that he actually wrote. That Josephus had not commended himself as an author worthy of study was not a unique situation. Other ancient writings had been valued chiefly for their sources (Bible and gospels) or presumed data (classical texts). With Livy, Diodorus Siculus, or Pausanias, among others, the data-mining and fascination with compositional layers lasted until recently and it has not disappeared.6 There was long precedent for treating some classical historians as literary craftsmen,7 and occasional older studies had shown interest even in Josephus’ works as such,8 but in general scholars did not extend this regard to a writer from the backwater East whose presumed Pharisaic background was thought to preclude real Greek competence. The baby-boomers’ ‘linguistic turn’ across the humanities catalysed interest in even such modest achievements as the Gospel of Mark, and biblical studies’ preoccupation with sources and form criticism yielded to redaction and composition criticism from the 1960s. So it was that Josephus research eventually began to ask basic questions about ongoing themes and rhetoric, at least in patches. The single most important catalyst for all this, and a bridge to posing integrative literary questions of whole works, was the Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus, which appeared between 1973 and 1983.9 Though that suitcasefiller has now been largely (not entirely) supplanted by the digital tools on one’s 6 Correctives include T.J. Luce, Livy: The Composition of his History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977); K.S. Sacks, Diodorus Siculus and the First Century (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1990); C. Habicht, Pausanias’ Guide to Ancient Greece (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985). A general challenge: A.J. Woodman, Rhetoric in Classical Historiography: Four Studies (London: Croom Helm, 1988). 7 F.M. Cornford, Thucydides Mythistoricus (London: Arnold, 1907). It was decades before a full (and not wholly successful) effort to lay bare Herodotus’ structures came with H.R. Immerwahr, Form and Thought in Herodotus (Cleveland: Western Reserve University, 1966). 8 The great editor of Josephus’ Greek text, B. Niese, though he gave much space to Josephus’ sources and external questions, and did not spell out his literary structures, credited him throughout with a great deal of literary and artistic skill: ‘Der jüdische Historiker Flavius Josephus, Historische Zeitschrift N. F. 40, pp. 193–237. And B. Brüne was far ahead of his time in studying Josephus’ language, in Flavius Josephus und seine Schriften in ihrem Verhältnis zum Judentume, zur griechisch-römischen Welt und zum Christentume, mit griechischer Wortkonkordanz zum Neuen Testamente und I. Clemensbriefe nebst Sach- und Namenverzeichnis (Wiesbaden: M. Sändig, 1969 [1913]). 9 K.H. Rengstorf et al., A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus (4 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1973– 1983). The publisher packaged with it A. Schalit’s earlier Namenwörterbuch zu Flavius Josephus (Leiden: Brill, 1968).

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laptop, the Concordance first created the possibility of settling debates about what was and was not characteristic language of Josephus, in a given work or across the corpus. As Bilde pointed out, even Feldman and Schreckenberg, as they laboriously gathered and annotated bibliography in all languages for our common benefit, made no effort to interpret or frame the results in relation to trends, methods, or perspectives. They simply categorised publications by year and subject, leaving interpretation to the user. This gap created another opportunity for Bilde, which he took up in the fourth chapter of the 1988 book. There he assigned most preceding scholarship to the ‘classical conception’ of Josephus, in contrast to the ‘modern conception’ he was advocating. Though still partly embraced in many circles, the classical conception was crumbling like an old scientific paradigm as newer research ate away at its insupportable assumptions and arbitrary methods. Bilde never exactly defines the classical conception. His earliest statements associate it with a strongly ‘negative’ view of Josephus, as a person and historian alike, and the common supposition that he was an inept copyist of sources.10 But as we read on we discover so many approaches grouped under the umbrella that we might wonder about the singular ‘conception’ in question: the Destinon/ Hölscher source-based approach, Laqueur’s biographical-political rejection of source explanations, and Thackeray’s much more sympathetic reading, which attributes much of his work to assistants. What exactly distinguishes the classical from the modern conception? Putting the pieces together in a way that Bilde did not, I suggest that works he aligns with the classical conception have the following broad characteristics: 1. They approach Josephus first as a person susceptible of moral appraisal, rather than the surviving texts associated with his name; 2. When they look to the texts, treatment is piecemeal and connected with outside questions, showing little or no interest in the narratives as such; 3. Applying modern standards of morality, candour, and historical care, they find Josephus wanting, alleging incoherence, randomness, and sloppiness along with the root sin of cowardly betrayal; 4. The change in subject and sub-genre from war monograph (War) to ancient history (Antiquities) encourages them to postulate psychologizing motives that would have led Josephus to regret his putative early pro-Romanism and return to a proper nationalist-religious outlook; 5. Asserting such instability, they tend to find Josephus minimally responsible for his writings as a whole, demoting his intellectual and literary skill with his feckless character, and so are eager to credit other hands or influences for the estimable parts of his work (= those that do not concern his own life). 10 Josephus, pp. 127–28.

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The modern conception differs in every respect. It begins with the texts we have, taking them to be Josephus’ intelligent compositions. It expects continuities in and through them. It looks to ancient social, historiographical, and rhetorical values to explain many of their features, while suspending judgement about such unknowables as the author’s education and moral character. Bilde understandably considered Tessa Rajak’s publications of the immediately preceding years the purest expression of the modern conception.11

Bilde: Method and Substance It is a trait of great ideas—gravity, bacteria, the heliocentric solar system—that once they have found general acceptance, though it come by hard struggle, they seem obvious and basic. How could we have thought otherwise? When we read Bilde’s three-decade-old book today, we might imagine that he was merely stating the obvious. That this was not so I can attest from my dissertation research on Josephus’ Pharisees in the early 1980s. Bilde gave full credit to his forebears and inspirations, but he was embarked on a basically new paradigm, if that is not too grand a term for a sub-discipline, both for reading Josephus and for doing the history of Judaea in the early Roman period. Bilde characterised his method as holistic, on the one hand, and economical on the other: holistic in reading Josephus’ existing works as deliberately crafted compositions with distinctive structures, themes, and tones; economical in explaining both what is in the texts and what produced them with the smallest number of moving parts—without resorting to common but untestable assumptions about Josephus’ motives or suppositions about layers of sources.12 Bilde wrote: … these principles lead us always to begin with trying to understand what Josephus himself has to say. … And only in the second place will we resort to hypotheses … to explain unsolved problems in the texts. In this way, we will continually be in search of the simplest possible and, at the same time, the most trustworthy and convincing explanations … as well as the unity of and the driving forces in Josephus’ person, his life and his writings in their historical context.13

It was not that Bilde had found something new to do with Josephus, advocating literary study because it had been neglected and he was partial to it. He had a historian’s interests and simply argued that anyone who wished to use this evidence had to deal with Josephus’ narratives and essays because these are what 11 Josephus, p. 159. 12 Josephus, pp. 23–24. 13 Josephus, p. 24.

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Josephus wrote—not free-floating data for us to grab and use without getting our hands dirty. Historians could therefore no longer take a paragraph here or there and run off with it undisturbed by contextual and interpretative issues. If Josephus provided much of the evidence for our investigations, we had to reckon with the nature and meaning of that evidence before we could proceed. Whether we all realised it or not, Bilde had interposed a new step in historical investigation of ancient Judaea. As we are about to see, in arguing for closer attention to Josephus’ writings Bilde was not advocating a naïve, uncritical acceptance of them as reflective of reality. Perhaps because earlier scholarship had so often approached history as a matter of deciding whether Josephus’ account was reliable, colleagues can easily mistake sustained interest in Josephus for acceptance of his accounts as transparent of reality, an assumption I have met often.14 In fact, however, Bilde’s programme—like Tessa Rajak’s and my own—drives a sharp wedge between the interpretation of narrative, on the one hand, and reconstructing historical reality on the other—a different kind of activity. This methodological distinction was anticipated by Cornford’s 1907 study of Thucydides, which both argued the inadequacy and distortions of his account, in relation to what plausibly happened, and appreciatively explored the literary character of the work in unprecedented detail.15 Bilde’s book applied its own method to interpreting each of Josephus’ works. Spelling out the consequences for other particular questions came chiefly in his articles, some of which appeared well before the book. The rest of this section surveys his articles in relation to the book, noting where appropriate trajectories of impact in anticipation of the final section below. Bilde’s first English article, in the Nordic journal Studia Theologica 1978, preparatory to his dissertation on Gaius Caligula’s statue affair, is a clinic in historical method as he intended it to be (p. 92).16 Very deliberately, Bilde first identifies the available sources for this famous episode, then isolates six historical questions that are rarely explored in any depth, such as Gaius’ motives, the roles of Petronius and Agrippa I, the nature and motives of the Jewish opposition, or the precise chronology. Then he works through them seriatim, summarising what 14 For example, J.S. McLaren, ‘The Coinage of the First Year as a Point of Reference for the Jewish Revolt (66–70 CE)’, Scripta Classica Israelica 22 (2003), pp. 135–52 (150) divides scholars in two groups: those who consider Josephus basically ‘reliable’ on the war’s origins (including T. Rajak and S. Mason) and those who consider his alleged account of priestly noninvolvement ‘a deliberate distortion’ (J. Price, M. Goodman, and McLaren). Bilde is not mentioned but given his praise for Rajak he would presumably belong in the former group. 15 Cornford, Thucydides Mythistoricus. 16 ‘The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt to Erect his Statue in the Temple of Jerusalem’, Studia Theologica 32 (1978), pp. 67–93.

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each source says that bears on the issue, analysing how that presentation fits with each source’s literary project—noting its historical shortcomings—and finally conjecturing a hypothesis. This is unavoidably different from the claims of any existing source, since their concerns were different from ours, but it is the hypothesis that best explains all or most of the evidence. This essay is a powerful antidote for any suspicion that Bilde naïvely trusts of Josephus or Philo, because he is very interested in what they have to say. Systematic doubt about the adequacy of any literary portrayal does not mean that we can ignore the portrayal or not bother trying to understand it. Bilde’s first English study of Josephus was his 1979 JSJ essay on ‘The Causes of the Jewish War according to Flavius Josephus’. This illustrates his methodological foundations in other ways.17 It opens with a survey of the main explanations given for the war, with many permutations, until time of writing. Pointing out that our chief source for all such views is Josephus, Bilde makes the common-sense appeal that would ground his book (emphasis mine): There should, therefore, be good reason to analyse more systematically the reasons for the war, given by the historian himself. Such an analysis seems to be a necessary precondition for further progress in the learned discussion about the historical background of the Jewish rebellion.18

The underlying insight here was that scholars had not clearly separated the operations of reading Josephus’ narrative and reconstructing the past. Even those who had acknowledged the need in principle did not go very far. They would settle for one or two broad strokes as a sufficient characterisation of Josephus’ interests—he wanted to blame a few rebels or to vindicating the Romans or his own class—in order to expose this supposed ‘bias’ (which they had imputed to him) as inadequate, and then accuse him of mendacity and concealment. And having sufficiently accounted for Josephus’ Tendenz, they proceeded by rearranging other bits of the story in a new whole, as though they were free-floating data, and imagining that they had thereby produced something new and better.19 As Bilde put it: These interpretations reflect different conceptions of Josephus’ main interest … . But they seem to agree on the idea that Josephus emphasized mainly one interpretation and was … interested, for whatever reason, in covering up the historical truth about the responsibility for the war.20

17 ‘The Causes of the Jewish War According to Josephus’, Journal for the Study of Judaism 10 (1979), pp. 179–202. 18 ‘Causes’, p. 180. 19 ‘Causes’, pp. 180–82. 20 ‘Causes’, p. 183.

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Against this approach, Bilde tried to show how complex and multi-layered Josephus’ own narrative was: Josephus presents, scattered all over his works, a great number of different causes for the war, and it seems to be an important task to interpret the nature and purpose of these texts in a way corresponding to the author’s intentions.21

Echoing the ancient recognition that there are different kinds of causes (αι᾿τίαι, προφάσεις, ἄφορμαι), Bilde distinguishes what Josephus presents as ‘trigger’ events or ‘immediately releasing’ causes (e. g., Florus’ raiding the treasury, cessation of sacrifice for the emperor, and the quarrel in Caesarea) and catalytic (‘accelerating’) events from ‘more fundamental [i. e. structural or long-term] causes’, which were also numerous and disparate (e. g., Roman maladministration, a Jewish militant party, regional conflicts especially with the Samaritan auxiliary). Bilde further distinguishes all these from abstract ‘theological’ causes (disunity and civil strife, transgression of the Law, pollution of the sanctuary)— still in Josephus’ account.22 Ultimately Bilde finds Josephus struggling in a very human way to explain why the war happened: he cannot fully understand it and remains dissatisfied with his own varied and partial answers. Bilde imagines him as another Job, falling back on the inscrutability of God’s ways. The most that can be said about Josephus’ view, for Bilde, is that the war’s causes were a vital and absorbing personal issue for him, and that he never stopped pursuing the question from different vantage points throughout his whole corpus.23 In its brief section on War’s description of the war’s causes, Bilde’s 1988 book (above) reprises the main points of this article, though the tightly structured format there, perhaps, might make him seem to espouse a position he had forcefully rejected in the article: that the War has one overriding ‘politicalapologetic aim’, namely to exonerate the Jewish people of war guilt.24 Since we are back in the 1988 book, this is a good place to mention Bilde’s handling of Josephus’ Antiquities, Vita, and Against Apion, in all three cases swimming against the tide and making durable contributions. Bilde showed much interest, for example, in the macro-structure of Antiquities, advancing the discussion significantly, and rejected the view that the magnum opus is chiefly an apologetic work, defending Jewish law and tradition against calumny. Bilde argued that it makes much better sense as a missionary work, encouraging gentile audiences already interested in Jewish law.25 I have independently agreed with these directions, on partly different foundations: arguing for a large-scale ring 21 22 23 24 25

‘Causes’, p. 184. ‘Causes’, 184–94. ‘Causes’, pp. 198–202. Josephus, p. 74. Josephus, pp. 99–103.

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composition in the Antiquities and for its protreptic (if not precisely missionary) intentions.26 Taking Josephus’ works as wholes, Bilde rejected the nearly unanimous position of scholarship at the time (which I too had presented in my 1991 book), that Josephus could have written his Vita from a need to defend himself against the charges made by Justus of Tiberias, that he was responsible for stirring up rebellion. Bilde concisely but brilliantly tossed aside this whole line of argument on the grounds that Josephus had made no effort to hide his involvement in the war and that this little work is not suited to that purpose. Bilde proposed that the Life was Josephus’ effort, introduced in Ant. 20.265–67, to declare his genetic and educational qualifications for writing the two large histories.27 It was his selfpresentation. Jerome Neyrey’s 1994 article on the Vita as a self-encomium continued in somewhat the same direction, and both studies influenced my 2001 Brill commentary on the Vita.28 I presented the work as a celebration of Josephus’ character, which attacked Justus and others incidentally and ad hoc in the service of that aim. Bilde offered a way to bring the Vita in from the cold as an integrated part of the Antiquities (as the manuscripts and references in the Church Fathers also suggest), instead of regarding it as an independent work written from different and specific motives. The same is true of the Against Apion. Bilde’s method leads him to interpret this remarkable essay as what it claims to be: a sequel to the Antiquities (Apion 1.1–5). Although it is hard to believe now, only a few years ago scholars often considered the work a light paraphrase of Alexandrian-Jewish sources.29 Bilde showed, however, that the Apion was the crown of Josephus’ corpus, drawing into a compact and forceful whole many Grundthemen from the earlier works: the unparalleled antiquity and virtues of Moses’ Law; its administration by a uniquely worthy priestly aristocracy, of which Josephus is always the proud spokesman; the Law’s profound philosophical qualities, which compare fa26 E. g., S. Mason, ‘The Contra Apionem in Social and Literary Context: An Invitation to Judean Philosophy’, in L.H. Feldman and J.R. Levison (eds.), Josephus’ Contra Apionem: Studies in its Character and Context with a Latin Concordance to the Portion Missing in Greek (Leiden: Brill, 187–228). 27 Josephus, pp. 104–113. 28 J.H. Neyrey, ‘Josephus’ Vita and the Encomium: A Native Model of Personality’, Journal for the Study of Judaism 25 (1994), 177–206; S. Mason (ed.), Life of Josephus, vol. 9 of Mason (ed.), Favius Josephus: Translation and Commentary (Leiden: Brill, 2001). 29 S. Cohen, ‘Respect for Judaism by Gentiles According to Josephus’, HTR 80 (1987), pp. 409–30 (425): Apion’s perspective is that of ‘an Alexandrian Jew of the first half of the first century’; likewise S. Schwartz, Josephus and Judaean Politics (Leiden: Brill, 1990), pp. 23, 56 n. 127. This recalls older source-based explanations of the Apion, such as in G. Hölscher, ‘Josephus’, PWRE 9.2 [=18] 1916: cols. 1995–97, in which the author deduces from details that Josephus would not have discovered for himself (e. g., that Homer does not use the word nomos) that Josephus depended almost entirely on Jewish intellectuals, who did know such things.

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vourably with those of other political constitutions; and its unique welcome of foreigners willing to live by its discipline. Addressing the same group of interested gentiles that pleaded for him to write the Antiquities, Apion likewise continues the missionary work, actively encouraging ‘conversion to Judaism’. It is the key to Josephus’ corpus because it lays out most systematically ‘the political and spiritual status of the Jewish people’, which is ‘the central theme in all of Josephus’ works’.30 A decade after Bilde’s book, Rajak cautiously reinforced his insights about continuities between the Apion and the earlier works while rejecting his view of Josephus’ audience—she argued for readers in the Jewish Diaspora.31 With Bilde she insisted against common views that Josephus did not experience any significant ‘change of heart’ in his final production.32 It appears that Bilde also developed his basic insights about the Apion in a 2007 Danish chapter, which I have not been able to read.33 Another methodological paragon was the paper Bilde presented at the 1992 San Miniato conference, where I first met him. We enjoyed a memorably pleasant walk in the Tuscan countryside—as far as I recall in a legitimate break from the conference meetings. His contribution, published in the 1994 volume of papers by hosts Fausto Parente and Joseph Sievers, concerned Josephus’ geographical excursuses.34 In keeping with his method, again, Bilde first states his question and situates it in relation to scholarship. Other research presents the alternatives that Josephus either deliberately employed and crafted geographical excursus for his historical purposes or merely borrowed these digressions verbatim from other sources. Bilde then explains his method and terminology, reviews relevant passages in Josephus, and offers analysis. Finding that examples drawn from all over Josephus’ corpus share similar features, language, and contexts, Bilde concludes that they could not have come from, for example, a Roman source for War. Bilde’s conclusion seems unassailable and even commonsensical, though it was a significant advance at the time: ‘Josephus was deeply interested in geography’ and, even if he did use unrecoverable sources at times, he ‘gave them his own literary form and substantial character.’35 Yuval Shahar’s 2004 monograph on Josephus’ 30 Josephus, pp. 118–21. 31 T. Rajak, ‘The Against Apion and the Continuities in Josephus’s Political Thought’ in S. Mason (ed.), Understanding Josephus: Seven Perspectives (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), pp. 222–46. 32 Rajak, ‘Continuities’, p. 243. 33 P. Bilde, ‘Against Apion–a Key to the Interpretation of all Josephus’ Works’ [Danish], in A.K. Petersen, J. Hyldahl, and K.S. Fuglseth (eds.), Perspektiver på jødisk apologetik (Copenhagen: Forlaget Anis 2007), pp. 285–318. 34 P. Bilde, ‘The Geographical Excursuses in Josephus’, in F. Parente and J. Sievers (eds.), Josephus & the History of the Greco-Roman Period (Leiden: Brill, 1994), pp. 247–62. 35 ‘Geographical Excursuses’, p. 262.

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geography could assume Josephus’ control of his material, and it confirms Bilde’s perspective from various angles.36 Until now I have commended and admired Bilde’s clear method and sound conclusions. A couple of essays from the 1990s give me pause, largely because their method shifts noticeably from the standard. I highlight my disagreement in these cases because the issues at stake anticipate the research that has emerged post-Bilde (below). The 1998 volume that includes Rajak’s Apion chapter hosts one from Bilde on Jewish apocalypticism.37 In formal terms it seems yet another paradigm of careful method, moving from a statement of the problem (viz., the connection between Josephus and Jewish apocalypticism) to a summary of research, a definition of terms, and the exploration of seven issues from across Josephus’ corpus. Again it shows Josephus’ unity of conception, and argues influences from what Bilde defines as apocalypticism. My respect for Bilde’s analysis is barely dented by my sharp disagreement with two elements of this argument: that Josephus considered himself to be a ‘prophet’ and prophecy to be alive and well in his day, and that Josephus’ descriptions of the Essenes dovetail with impressions from the Qumran Scrolls. On both points Bilde was in close agreement with Rebecca Gray’s then-recent book.38 To address the issues it is best to go back a couple of years to Bilde’s 1996 contribution to the volume of essays edited by Feldman and Levison on the Against Apion.39 There, in a marked departure from his usual method, Bilde engages much more in deductive reasoning. After briefly stating his question concerning ‘Josephus’ view of his literary activity’ (in relation to the canon), he quickly asserts: that Josephus regarded himself as a prophet, ‘identified himself with the prophet Jeremiah’, and ‘appears to have seen himself as a prophet like Jeremiah and Daniel’; that Josephus considered prophecy to be alive in his time— against the supposedly narrow-minded view of scholars who imagine that it had ceased; and most remarkably, that Josephus’ Antiquities ‘was the Jewish Bible’ (his emphasis), for ‘Josephus puts his Jewish Antiquities on the same footing as the Jewish canon’.40 Such claims constitute Bilde’s oft-repeated thesis about Josephus’ prophetic consciousness, from which argues that other first-century 36 Y. Shahar, Josephus Geographicus: the Classical Context of Geography in Josephus (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004), pp. 190–268. 37 P. Bilde, ‘Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism’, in S. Mason (ed.), Understanding Josephus, pp. 35–61. 38 R. Gray, Prophetic Figures in Late Second Temple Jewish Palestine: the Evidence of Josephus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). 39 P. Bilde, ‘Contra Apionem 1.28–56: Josephus’ View of his own Work in the Context of the Jewish Canon’, in L.H. Feldman and J.R. Levison (eds.), Josephus’ Contra Apionem (Leiden: Brill, 1996), pp. 94–114. 40 ‘Contra Apionem’, respectively pp. 94, 97, 108.

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Jewish authors, such as Philo, may also have viewed themselves as effectively prophetic scripture-writers.41 And not only Antiquities but already War is ‘a direct continuation of the historiography of the Jewish “prophets”’, intended by Josephus to be on the same level with them. After all, its author possessed ‘the very same three qualifications of priestly status, prophetic gift and first-hand knowledge’ as the canonical authors.42 My concern is not with Bilde’s conclusions, which could be shocking but valid if the supporting arguments were plausible. My question is: How does he reach such a view? Siding with Gray, he dismisses as ‘inaccurate’ an important 1990 essay by Louis Feldman on prophets and prophecy in Josephus.43 But Feldman has the better argument. Gray and Bilde make claims that cannot be supported by Josephus’ text. Bilde’s assertion of Josephus’ ‘identification’ with the prophets is the crux of the matter. The rest of the chapter pursues what he variously calls Josephus’ ‘line of thinking’, ‘logic’, and ‘line of thought’, which he discovers by making deductions from statements culled from various places in the corpus. This is where the problems arise, because this procedure abandons the principle of contextual interpretation. It would work better within a brief and tightly argued philosophical essay. In the Apion, for example, Josephus’ alignment of himself with Oriental-Jewish writers against the Greeks, logically implies for Bilde that he presents his own works as Exhibit A of prophetic writing. But Josephus uses no such language, and seems to me to say something quite different (below). In the Antiquities Josephus’ priestly expertise in translating scripture must mean, for Bilde, that he assumes the authority of a scripture-writer.44 Of the Iotapata scene in War 3, where Josephus claims revelatory dreams and insight into scripture, Bilde writes revealingly (my emphasis): Although the word προφήτης does not appear, this text clearly presents Josephus as a prophet: ‘… but I come to you [Vespasian] as a messenger (ἄγγελος) of greater destinies. …’ Here, Josephus obviously claims to have functioned as a prophet.

This passage highlights the deductive reasoning that seems to me unsuited to narrative interpretation, and surprisingly akin to fundamentalist arguments for the ‘verbal inspiration’ of the New Testament: Since Josephus called himself a divine messenger, with news for Vespasian derived from scripture, the revelation he experienced in dreams makes him a prophet, and therefore he wrote War with the consciousness of a prophet mediating from the divine an authoritative text. In 41 ‘Contra Apionem’, pp. 108–110. 42 ‘Contra Apionem’, p. 110. 43 L.H. Feldman, ‘Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus’, Journal of Theological Studies 41 (1990), pp. 386–422. 44 ‘Contra Apionem’, pp. 103–107.

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the way it joins up quite disparate dots, however, this argument has the basic logic: ‘Dogs are domestic animals with fur and four legs; cats are domestic animals with fur and four legs; therefore dogs are cats’. Or: Prophets are people who experience and convey divine revelations; Josephus experienced and conveyed divine revelations; therefore Josephus was a prophet (and wrote as one). But if we are concerned about Josephus’ meaning and use of language—as we must be and Bilde usually was—we cannot say that he obviously presents himself as a prophet because he clearly avoids this language. Let us take a step back and ponder Josephus’ larger enterprise. Given that he everywhere extols the laws of Moses as the finest, most ancient, and most durable constitution ever crafted, fixed for long ages past, and shows that he aims to celebrate the glories of this Judaean constitution, it is inconceivable that he views his own current work to be part of, or equivalent in worth to, the inimitable original that he expounds. On the contrary, he writes self-consciously as a historian, not as a prophet, patently influenced by Herodotus, Thucydides, and Polybius as well as the great rhetoricians, tragedians, and philosophers of the past. He speaks openly of his mundane motives for writing, entering the fray competing accounts of the war or yielding the pressure of friends who want to learn about Moses’ constitution in Antiquities or celebrating his family line and character in the Vita, all the while he evokes parallels between himself and various prophets, especially Jeremiah and Daniel. But this only highlights their authoritative, over against his derivative, status. It does not mean that he identifies with them in the sense that he is their equal. Feldman was right. Josephus uses prophet-terminology 402 times, all but exclusively for the biblical prophets. That is why only 14 of the 402 occurrences are in War. Of those, 8 refer to the biblical prophets, 2 to John Hyrcanus—the last person granted genuine prophetic gifts (War 1.68–69)—and the other 4 to phoney prophets near the time of the war, some suborned by the tyrants to manipulate the masses (6.285–86). There is thus no genuine prophecy in Josephus’ day. This does not mean that he considers his age bereft or vestigial, lacking the former light of the prophets and living on nostalgia. On the contrary, he delights in the fact that Judaea’s prophets laid down their sacred texts in a golden age long past, as a venerable and permanent foundation for his people’s laws, which required no change. He admires and celebrates Judaea’s ancient prophets, to be sure, and presumably he would have been happy to use language of himself or his beloved Essenes. But it cannot apply and so he does not use it for current times. He reserves it, chronologically, for ancient figures, the most recent being John Hyrcanus in the second century BCE, and ethnically for Judaeans. Greek and oriental prophets, even the Oracle of Delphi, are labelled with words other than prophet.45 45 The few exceptions to Josephus’ reservation of prophet-language for ancient forebears of the

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This reservation of prophet-language for Josephus’ ancestors is the more impressive for not being advertised. The concordance alone allows us to see the pattern of his habitual and even unconscious language, confirming that prophets were for him a special category from Judaea’s past. Bilde’s reading of Apion 1.41 as though it said that post-biblical Judaean authors to Josephus’ time are also prophets contradicts Josephus’ enthusiastic point that only twenty-two ancient books are ‘trusted’ by Judaeans (1.38: τὰ δικαίως πεπιστευμένα), and that their authors were prophets (1.37), whereas more recent writings are not given the same trust (πίστεως δ᾿ οὐχ ὁμοίας ἠξίωται τοῖς πρὸ αὐτῶν) because that precise succession of ‘the prophets’ is no more (1.41). The whole drift of Apion 1 is to contrast the antiquity and fixity of Judaean sacred texts with fluidity, haphazardness and continuing uncertainty on the Greek side.

Post-Bilde In estimating Bilde’s influence on recent scholarship we face the usual difficulties attending any effort to find criteria for ‘impact’. Raw scores of citation frequency —from the Humanities index or ATLA database—would not necessarily tell us much about the degree to which Bilde’s ideas have actually shaped or sharpened research. It is common for scholars to cite Bilde’s Josephus book, for example, as a rare introduction to Josephus without taking account of his innovative arguments. Second, his work rapidly coalesced with that of other scholars, and these are often cited together as representative of a certain direction in Josephus research, perhaps misunderstood or mischaracterised (e. g., as purely literary), without the more recent scholar necessarily understanding the state of scholarship before Bilde’s (and the others’) efforts. I can best illustrate these problems by mapping three trajectories in Josephus research since Bilde’s 1979 article and 1988 book, and asking about the effects of these contributions.

1.

Josephus the Still Neglected (now with Bilde)

Alas, Bilde’s ground-breaking contributions are often ignored or, when acknowledged, misunderstood. I shall not try to list all the scholars who do not cite him when using Josephus. But let us take the problem of the war’s causes, as a

Judaeans (Hyrcanus as last outlier), where he is not speaking sarcastically of so-called prophets in his own time (16 references are to pseudoprophets), are in quotations of other writers (Ant. 1.240; Apion 1.249, 312).

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question of perennial interest on which Bilde made important contributions, to see how he has fared. Martin Goodman’s 1987 study of the war’s origins knew Bilde’s 1979 essay and mentioned it respectfully, using it first to support the observation that ‘Josephus blames the war on a wide variety of causes’.46 Yet within a page of that observation, Goodman is ascribing to Josephus a single apologetic line, namely: Jews of the richer class like himself were, despite the revolt, just like other aristocrats in the Greek East of the empire. Above all, he wanted to demonstrate that they should be entrusted again with the Jerusalem Temple and the flourishing Judaean society of which they had lost control…47

He now suggests that it is ‘all too likely that his instinct for apologetic overcame his conscience as a historian’, and cites Bilde alone in support—though Goodman’s proposal of a single overriding explanation runs directly counter to Bilde’s insistence on unfinished and incoherent variety (above). In a similar move but more puzzlingly still, James McLaren’s 1998 study of the war’s causes offers a full and attentive summary of Bilde’s 1979 essay.48 McLaren rightly points out that Bilde was unique in focusing on the interpretation of Josephus’ account by itself, rather than moving directly to the historical reality, and he recognises that Bilde found in Josephus many causes operating on various levels, which could not be neatly packaged in one explanation of the war. This is all welcome and helpful. The puzzling part is that McLaren discusses Bilde in the section of his book proving that virtually all modern scholars consider the historical revolt the inevitable consequence of a gathering storm, and that they do this because they are in thrall to Josephus’ allegedly simple story about that gathering storm. Bilde’s highly distinctive argument, though respectfully acknowledged by McLaren, seems to be lost in McLaren’s own characterisation of Josephus’ perspective, which is the basis for his book. This is what I mean about the difficulty of assessing Bilde’s influence. His work can be read and duly noted, without scholars feeling a need to defend their pre-Bilde position, that Josephus has a clear and simple apologetic bias when presenting the war’s causes. Likewise, in an important 1992 study Jonathan Price reconsiders the causes of the war in detail.49 But he refers readers to Bilde’s 1979 essay only for a summary of ‘traditional views’ of the war, which Bilde indeed offers.50 But Price’s ex46 M. Goodman, The Ruling Class of Judaea: the Origins of the Jewish Revolt against Rome AD 66–70 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 5. 47 Goodman, Ruling Class, p. 6. 48 J.S. McLaren, Turbulent Times? Josephus and Scholarship on Judaea in the First Century (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), pp. 152–53. 49 J.J. Price, Jerusalem under Siege: the Collapse of the Jewish State, 66–70 C.E. (Leiden: Brill, 1992), pp. 45–50. 50 Jerusalem, p. 45 n. 138.

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planation of the war’s actual causes again bypasses Bilde’s challenge—that since we must all use Josephus in our historical arguments, we need first to understand Josephus’ perspective responsibly. Price writes that ‘any account or interpretation of the Jewish rebellion [i. e., the events] is necessarily an interpretation of Josephus’ Bellum Judaicum [i. e., a narrative]’, seeming to equate or conflate the two processes.51 Like Goodman and McLaren, he finds in Josephus a simple, narrow, and unsatisfying explanation of the war, which he will counter with evidence—from Josephus. He thus claims that the ‘recorded actions’ of priestly aristocrats speak against Josephus’ presentation, though these actions are part and parcel of Josephus’ own complex presentation.52 It seems fair to say that research on the war and its origins continues to rehash (if also to refine) the long-familiar options of socio-economic, religious, political-nationalistic, and regional causes, as though Bilde had never made his plea for understanding Josephus as a separate operation, and as though he had never shown how complex Josephus’ perspectives themselves were. The greatest paradox is that those who (rightly) reject monocausal and growing-storm explanations of the historical war blame Josephus for the reductive view that scholars have uncritically followed. Bilde’s own argument that Josephus’ fascination with the war’s causes was deeply personal and never coherently finished has been lost.

2.

Josephus the Earnest

From disregard of Bilde’s method and substantive arguments, further examples of which we might have found in his interpretations of the Antiquities and Against Apion, we turn to developments in the field that are broadly consonant with the methodological directions pursued by Bilde. The undergirding principle of this work in the new field of ‘Josephus studies’ is that Josephus was a reasonably talented Greek author who controlled the content of his work in the service of purposes we have every reason to consider sincere—rather than Roman propaganda or cheap politicking, for example. Among the most obvious expressions of this approach are various ongoing commentary projects, in German, French, Italian, English, and other languages. Commentaries became desiderata only when Josephus was finally deemed worthy of study as an author, which is why these projects are so recent, having gathered steam only in the 1990s.53 Bilde himself was part of the Brill Josephus 51 Jerusalem, p. xi, my emphasis. 52 Jerusalem, p. 32. 53 See J. Sievers, ‘New Resources for the Study of Josephus’ (1999), online at http://www.biblico. it/doc-vari/sievers_josephus.html (accessed 10 October 2015), for a summary at the end of that decade.

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Project in its early years, working on Antiquities 18–20. When I was inviting the original team in 1997, he was an obvious choice for this important material, from the removal of Archelaus in 6 CE to the outbreak of war in Judaea, including an extensive narrative on the Emperor Gaius (his first research interest) along with substantial evidence for contemporary Parthia. It may be hard to believe now, but the state of scholarship was such that several eminent scholars declined my invitation. Bilde was keen, however. Even after his devastating illness, which immobilised him for more than a year, he wanted to remain involved as a motivation for recovering strength. After his eventual withdrawal, I was much consoled to find that Daniel Schwartz from Jerusalem was willing to handle these crucial volumes of Antiquities. Other manifestations of the new interest in Josephus as such were the international scholarly conferences that began to proliferate. First came the 1992 San Miniato gathering already mentioned, which was largely funded by a bequest from Morton Smith, where I first met Bilde and many other scholars. That was followed by annual or even more frequent colloquia, many of which produced significant volumes of essays. Energy was clearly gathering around the prospect that the 30-volume corpus of Josephus, though it was so well known by name, was still awaiting the sort of careful investigation long applied to other classical and biblical texts. The Josephus Seminar in the Society of Biblical Literature, begun in 1999, still typically holds two sessions at the Annual Meeting in the U.S. Perhaps the most important class of scholarly contributions reflecting the new perspective on Josephus was the flurry of dissertations and monographs exploring aspects of Josephus’ literary corpus. This ever-growing stream confirms that Bilde’s interest in Josephus as an author effectively new and rich vein for investigation. Questions that had been thought simply historical in the past— Herod, Pilate, Pharisees, Essenes, Samaritans, temple, priesthood, sicarii, women, calendar and feasts, sacrificial cult, the revolt—be reconceived first as questions of Josephus’ portrait of X. In addition, a slew of historiographical, literary, and rhetorical questions focused on the works of Josephus became possible. Contrary to widespread misunderstanding by a generation of scholars unfamiliar with the distinction, this did not mean that investigations had no interest in the real events, much less that they reduced events to narratives. With Bilde, rather, they found value in clarifying—before and as a condition of fuller historical investigations—the nature of Josephus’ evidence.54 54 I mention some that come readily to mind since about the turn of the millennium: H.H. Chapman, ‘Spectacle and Theater in Josephus’s Bellum Judaicum’, Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University (1998); A. Galimberti, I Giulio-Claudii in Flavio Giuseppe (Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2001); F.M. Colautti, Passover in the works of Josephus (Leiden: Brill, 2002); L. Sementchenko, ‘Hellenistic Motifs in the Jewish Antiquities of Flavius Josephus’ [Russian], Ph.D. dissertation, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (2002); R. Grünenfelder, Frauen an

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Perhaps I may be forgiven here for discussing my work in relation to Bilde’s. I do so partly for the entertainment of younger colleagues, who may not fully appreciate the degree to which technology has changed the conditions of our working lives. It was not uncommon in the 1980s for a technical or academic book to take three years to produce. Contrast that with Brill’s current pace of about six months, sometimes less, for the complicated volumes of the Josephus commentary. Although Bilde finished his manuscript in June 1985, therefore, it did not appear until September 1988. This means that I submitted my dissertation on Josephus’ portraits of the Pharisees, in August 1986, in blissful ignorance of Bilde’s work. I had found the same scholarly situation that Bilde describes, and in very much the same spirit argued that we could only undertake historical investigations of the historical Pharisees—a question then in vogue—if we first understood Josephus’ indispensable evidence in the contexts of his own narratives. This required an effort to interpret War, Antiquities, and the Life as whole compositions and then to understand the contribution of the Pharisees to each story, an effort that had surprisingly not been undertaken. Hence my subtitle, ‘a composition-critical study’, which other scholars found baffling. Bilde would have been a strong ally, but I simply did not know of his book. Between 1986 and 1988 I reworked the dissertation for publication as a book, and submitted it to Brill in the autumn of 1988. Even then, I did not know of Bilde’s book, which appeared that autumn. I could not read it until the following year. That is why, although my 1991 publication date would suggest that I should have known Bilde 1988, I could not have done so in the publishing environment of the time.

den Krisenherden: eine rhetorisch-politische Deutung des Bellum Judaicum (Münster: LIT, 2003); Shahar, Josephus Geographicus (n. 36 above); D. Nakman, ‘The Halakhah in the Writings of Josephus’ [Hebrew], Ph.D. dissertation, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2004); C.D. Elledge, Life after Death in Early Judaism: the Evidence of Josephus (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006); T. Landau, Out-Heroding Herod: Josephus, Rhetoric, and the Herod Narratives (Leiden: Brill, 2006); O. Gussmann, Das Priesterverständnis des Flavius Josephus (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008); M. Brighton, The Sicarii in Josephus’s Judean War: Rhetorical Analysis and Historical Observations (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009); T. Jonquière, Prayer in Josephus (Leiden: Brill, 2009); R. Pummer, The Samaritans in Flavius Josephus (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009); R.S. Olson, Tragedy, Authority, and Trickery: the Poetics of Embedded Letters in Josephus (Washington, DC; Cambridge, Mass.; Center for Hellenic Studies; Harvard University Press, 2010); J. von Ehrenkrook, Sculpting idolatry in Flavian Rome: (An)iconic Rhetoric in the Writings of Flavius Josephus (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011); B. Siggelkow-Berner, Die jüdischen Feste im Bellum Judaicum des Flavius Josephus (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011); J. Klawans, Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); M. Tuval, From Jerusalem Priest to Roman Jew: On Josephus and the Paradigms of Ancient Judaism (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013); W. den Hollander, Josephus, the Emperors, and the City of Rome: From Hostage to Historian (Leiden: Brill, 2014).

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When I finally read his book, in 1989–90, needless to say, I thought it wonderful. If only I could have cited it earlier! Nearly every scholar involved with Josephus studies today would, I suspect, assume that Josephus was an intelligent author with a coherent literary project, who controlled the content of his narratives. But this baseline was ground hard won in the 1980s, against much doubt and occasional derision. When I first explained the approach of my dissertation to world-famous scholars I met in 1984–1985, travelling beyond North America for research, they (separately) recoiled in bafflement. One confidently directed me to Gustav Hölscher’s sourcebased analysis of Josephus’ works (in Pauly-Wissowa) as the still definitive explanation of Josephus’ content. What more could one say, really? Through his 1988 book, in particular, Bilde did much to normalise research on Josephus and all that Josephus describes, making it seem the merest common sense to ask about Josephus’ narratives and their constituent elements. I might mention here a small index of change that could go unnoticed. What Bilde called the ‘classical conception’ of Josephus in scholarship was much invested in the lost Aramaic precursor to the Greek War, which Josephus mentions in passing only in War’s preface (1.3, 6–8), as the key to understanding the extant work.55 Rajak thoroughly undermined this preoccupation in principle,56 by opening a chasm between the two works. The Aramaic must have been ‘a slight production’, she said, which could not have matched our Greek War in scope or in form.57 So we should devote our energies to understanding the Greek work we have rather than speculating about a text we cannot see, which may have had little connection with our War anyway. Bilde, for his part, acknowledged the underlying Aramaic because Josephus had mentioned it, but only briefly and unavoidably as one consideration in determining War’s date and possible purposes.58 When it came to interpreting the text, his interest was exclusively in the Greek work we now possess. In this way too his work marked a watershed. Virtually all post–2000 studies of Josephus by younger scholars ignore the Aramaic precursor, evidently assuming that it is irrelevant for understanding our War. If mentioned at all, it appears in a footnote. Its quiet disappearance from centre stage is a telling change, though it is only noticeable if one is familiar with pre-Bilde (and pre-Rajak) scholarship.

55 E. g., R. Laqueur, Der jüdische Historiker Flavius Josephus: ein biographischer Versuch auf neuer quellenkritischer Grundlage (Gießen: Münchow, 1920), pp. 125–28; H.St.J. Thackeray, Josephus: the Man and the Historian (New York: Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, 1929), pp. 27–39, 51, 77. 56 Rajak, Josephus, pp. 174–84. 57 Rajak, Josephus, p. 176. 58 Bilde, Josephus, pp. 62, 76.

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Josephus the Double-Talker

If the first post-Bilde trajectory ignores some of Bilde’s key contributions or finds them inconvenient in method or substance, whereas the second has comprehensively vindicated his original insights, the third and final trajectory builds on the foundation laid by Bilde but develops it in ways that Bilde himself might not have entirely accepted. What do I mean? Bilde’s signal achievement was to establish Josephus as an earnest and capable author, showing both the thematic and structural unity of his corpus and arguing his personal stake in great issues concerning Judaea’s image and polity. But I have suggested that this interest in Josephus as thoughtful author could lead to a sort of systematic, even essentialist reading. In the case of Josephus’ apocalyptic influences and view of prophecy, we have seen, Bilde could assemble bits from various places in the corpus and subject them to syllogistic reasoning in the way of systematic theology: if Josephus says X and implies Y, then Z would logically follow—even if the narratives and essays in question do not propose Z and give reason to doubt that he would have accepted that conclusion. The question concerns tone and judgement, and whether it is appropriate to apply systematic reasoning to the interpretation of texts. There are reasons for doubt. First, Josephus himself makes it clear in many places—War’s narrative of his mission to Iotapata, the great speeches, various editorial asides, and often explicitly in the Vita—that political leaders of his day and not least his admirable self constantly said things they did not mean or believe. The Vita establishes double-talk as a programme when it reports early on that Jerusalem’s leading men opposed the popular move to arms, but nevertheless, ‘Given the clear and present danger to ourselves, we said that we concurred with their opinions’ (Life 22). The pervasive atmosphere of dissimulation has been explored in great detail for Roman elite society in the first century, and the teaching of rhetoric was all about misdirection and deception. Quintilian, Pseudo-Demetrius, and others were well aware of the need not to explain everything to one’s audience but to rely on them to make inferences—partly for the sake of art, partly for the author’s safety. Studies of ancient historians such as Josephus’ near contemporary Tacitus have stressed the ironic content of their work.59 From a different direction, social-scientific analysis, espe59 F. Ahl, ‘The Art of Safe Criticism in Greece and Rome’, American Journal of Philology 105 (1984), pp. 174–208; V. Rudich, Political Dissidence under Nero: the Price of Dissimulation (London: Routledge, 1993); V. Rudich, Dissidence and Literature under Nero: the Price of Rhetoricization (London: Routledge, 1997); S. Bartsch, Actors in the Audience: Theatricality and Doublespeak from Nero to Hadrian (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994); E. O’Gorman, Irony and Misreading in the Annals of Tacitus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Syntheses are in S. Mason ‘Figured Speech and Irony in the Works of T. Flavius Josephus’, in J. Edmondson, S. Mason, and J. Rives (eds.), Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome

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cially in relation to ‘post-colonial’ literature, has explored the strategies used by subject (‘subaltern’) populations and their elites to manage their relations with the great power. This typically involves a balancing act, asserting the national identity while absorbing the language and value system of the hegemon.60 Such considerations compound the more basic questions about how we should read narratives, and make it problematic to read Josephus’ works, after all, as (merely) the products of a sincere thinker who lays everything on the line for us to analyse by means of logic and deduction. If we interpret him in his social and political contexts, we must allow him also to dissemble for the usual reasons: for art, impact, and safety. This could mean, for example, that the surprisingly rare instances of over-the-top flattery, such as the passage on young Domitian in War 7.85–88, are not flat-out flattery at all, but are intended to be so outlandish that audiences in the know would recognise the barbs planted in the story, while the flattered autocrat would be unlikely to complain.

Conclusions Bilde’s research on Josephus laid a foundation for the new sub-discipline of ‘Josephus studies’. Even so, his work is not as well known as it deserves to be—not even the 1988 book, which is long out of print. Preparation for this critical tribute has convinced me, however, that his work merits not only careful attention but also periodic re-reading. As with everything we read, time has a way of condensing and reducing research to mnemonic signposts in our memory. Bilde’s research and ways of thinking were remarkably innovative and stood virtually alone, as far as he could have known, against entrenched but ultimately unsustainable views. I hope that I have gone some way toward recalling both their historic importance and their complexity.

(Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 243–88; S. Mason, ‘Speech-Making in Ancient Rhetoric, Josephus, and Acts: Messages and Playfulness, Part I’, Early Christianity 2 (2011), pp. 445–67. 60 J.M.G. Barclay, ‘The Empire Writes Back: Josephan Rhetoric in Flavian Rome’, in Edmondson, Mason, and Rives, Flavius Josephus, pp. 315–32; P. Spilsbury, ‘Reading the Bible in Rome: Josephus and the Constraints of Empire’, in J. Sievers and G. Lembi (eds.), Josephus and Jewish History in Flavian Rome and Beyond (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 209–27.

Messianic Figures in the Works of Josephus and their Impact on Per Bilde’s Understanding of the Historical Jesus (Mogens Müller)

1.

Introduction

The scholarship of Per Bilde had two central themes, Josephus, and the historical Jesus. The one focus, the rehabilitation of Josephus as a qualified and reliable historian, gave Per Bilde well-deserved international fame. It began when he, in 1988, published his second book Flavius Josephus between Jerusalem and Rome, thus following up on his Danish doctoral dissertation, Josefus som historieskriver from 1983, where he used Josephus’ description of the Gajus Caligula-episode as an illustrative example. Had Josephus been in bad standing previously in Denmark, it was now over. Maybe it should be mentioned that Per Bilde, together with New Testament colleagues, Bent Noack and Niels Hyldahl, in 1979 planned a complete translation of Josephus’ works in five volumes, scheduled to appear in 1982– 1985. This would be the first comprehensive Danish version since that of 1751–1757, and it should be a scholarly edition with notes, of course. There even exists a test of such a translation of Contra Apionem 1.1–72. Because of a claim from a colleague that he had a nearly finished translation of this corpus this project was abandoned. Regrettably also, because the competing edition never saw the light of the day. Instead we had a new translation of Bellum in 1997 (by Erling Harsberg with Per Bilde as editorial advisor) to succeed the one from 1905 (by Alexander Rasmussen), and in 2013 a translation of Contra Apionem (by Niels Henningsen) came out. A new translation of Antiquities, however, is not in sight. His other field of interest, the attempt to draw a picture of the historical Jesus and thereby of the rise of Christianity, represented more his profile locally, although there was also an English publication on this topic. He thought that the meagre Danish monograph literature on this subject was scandalous and a deficit, which he saw it as his task to repair. As we all know, in spite of his education, Per Bilde did not identify himself as a theologian, but as a historian of religion. As such, he even housed scepticism towards theologians. He was

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convinced that their investigations were governed by a theologically biased interest in the subject.1 After numerous contributions on the subject, Per Bilde published in 2001 En religion bliver til. En undersøgelse af kristendommens forudsætninger og tilblivelse indtil år 110/A religion comes into being. An investigation of the preconditions and rise of Christianity until 110 AD. In this monograph of more than 500 pages, Per Bilde naturally dedicates large parts to the question of the historical Jesus. In 2008, Per Bilde followed this book up with another, this time with the straightforward title Den historiske Jesus/The historical Jesus, consisting of c. 300 pages.2 Not surprisingly, this second book reproduces in large part the relevant chapters in the first. Finally, in 2011, Per Bilde published Hvor original var Jesus?, again more than 300 pages, a book which in 2013 enjoyed a translation into English with the title, The Originality of Jesus. A Critical Discussion and a Comparative Attempt. As the subtitle suggests, this book also consists of an overview of the scholarship with regard to the historical person, Jesus of Nazareth.3 Per Bilde is to be praised for this profound presentation to a Danish public of the international debate about this highly important issue. That he really met a demand with his books is also shown by the fact that the first of them soon experienced a reprint. In The Originality of Jesus Per Bilde emphasizes that it is the special characteristic of his scholarship to combine Jesus-studies with Josephus-studies. In all, the three books lead the reader from Jesus’ role in the rise of Christianity, over a more direct discussion of the “classic” question of the historical Jesus, to a renewed investigation of a mainly comparative kind. Common for all three are relatively extensive accounts for allegedly comparable figures of a messianic or prophetic type not least in the works of Josephus.4 1 See, for instance, his article, “Det Nye Testamente og kristendommens grundlæggelse mellem Religionsvidenskab og Teologi”, in Armin W. Geertz, Søren Jensen & Peter Widmann (eds.), Medspil og modspil – teologi og religionsvidenskab (Århus: Det teologiske Fakultet, 1996), pp. 59–67. 2 It was published in the autumn, and Per Bilde, therefore, was able to take into account my book about Danish Jesus-literature (Jesu-liv–litteratur i Danmark. Jesus-billeder eller tidsbilleder? (Copenhagen: Forlaget ANIS, 2008), which appeared in the spring and delivered the documentation for Per Bilde’s claim that his Jesus-book really was the first scholarly publication on this subject since the Second World War. 3 See also Per Bilde, “Hvorfor vil danske teologiske eksegeter ikke vide af den historiske Jesus? Et essay om den danske teologiske Jesus-forskning siden 1960”, in Tim Jensen & Michael Rothstein (eds.), Den sammenklappelige tid. Festskrift til Jørgen Podemann Sørensen (Copenhagen: Forlaget Chaos, 2011), pp. 27–37. As also indicated in its note 2, this article practically is identical with Hvor original var Jesus?, pp. 72–83. 4 See En religion bliver til. En undersøgelse af kristendommens forudsætninger og tilblivelse indtil år 110 (Copenhagen: ANIS, 2001, 22006), pp. 80–92, and pp. 96–122 (John the Baptist); Den historiske Jesus (Copenhagen: ANIS, 2008), pp. 70–82, and pp. 88–107 (John the Baptist); Hvor

Prophets and messianic pretenders in Josephus’ works

2.

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Prophets and messianic pretenders in Josephus’ works

The chief motifs in Per Bilde’s perception of the historical Jesus are already present in the 2001 book. Besides other chapters of a more introductory character, two chapters here are dedicated to specific subjects: the one to Jewish eschatological figures, the other to John the Baptist. With respect to Jewish eschatological figures, especially some of those described by Josephus are afforded special interest. These are Judas the Galilean, Theudas, the Egyptian prophet, Jesus, son of Ananias, and some anonymous prophets acting during the rise against Rome 66–70 AD. With the exception of Judas the Galilean, they all belong to the time after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. However, they all reflect the tense atmosphere of eschatological expectations of divine intervention as documented in Josephus’ writings.5 It will also be the only sensible explanation of why a tiny little nation like the Jewish could even think of an insurrection against the Roman Empire and its legions. It should be noted, however, that this was not the last time in history that religious fanaticism conquered realistic political deliberation and took the rest of the population as hostages. This is also the picture Josephus tries to convey in his descriptions, where all these figures – except for John the Baptist and Jesus, son of Ananias – are treated as adventurers and frauds of a more or less criminal sort who did nothing else but seduce the people. In spite of his outspoken negative attitude, Josephus does not hide the fact that some of them were thought to be prophets and messianic pretenders. Jesus, son of Ananias, is even handled as a true prophet, when he, during the siege of Jerusalem, performed his monotonous cry, “A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds; a voice against Jerusalem and the sanctuary, a voice against the bridegroom and the bride, a voice against all the people”, only to follow it with the shorter: “Woe to Jerusalem!” (Bell 6.300–308). Per Bilde here mentions the little monograph from 1975 about this Jesus by the late Bent Noack (1915–2004) as the only Danish work in this period (i. e. after the war) “which really deserves the designation Jesus-scholarship”,6 which also points to the many parallels between the two namesakes.7

original var Jesus? (Copenhagen: ANIS, 2011), pp. 211–265 (ET, pp. 190–234), this time also including John the Baptist, Jesus Barsabbas, Paul, and Josephus himself. 5 Per Bilde has written an article especially on this topic, “Den religiøse drivkraft i det første jødiske oprør mod Rom 66–70 (74)”. Chaos, No. 45 (2006), pp. 23–43.* (An asterisk here and in the following indicate, that a translation is incorporated in the present anthology). 6 Hvor original var Jesus?, pp. 78–79. 7 Bent Noack, Jesus Ananiassøn og Jesus fra Nazaret. En drøftelse af Josefus, Bellum Judaicum VI 5,3. Tekst & Tolkning 6 (Copenhagen: Gads Forlag, 1975).

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Per Bilde reveals only little sense for that difference between Jesus of Nazareth and the other figures that a later New Testament author, namely the author of the Lucan writings, provides for in the speech attributed to Gamaliel in Acts 5. Here it is argued that if a movement runs into the sand, it obviously is nothing, just as obviously was the case with Judas the Galilean and Theudas (in Acts 5 chronologically mentioned in the wrong order). If, however, God is behind it, it is unwise to fight it – implying that this exactly is the case with the Jesus-movement, proven by its existence long after the death of Jesus. I remark parenthetically that Per Bilde indeed thought it possible that the author of Acts had his examples from Josephus, just as Steven Mason, to my mind, now has proven it.8 However, Per Bilde’s main intention behind the comparison with these messianic pretenders and prophets is to give substance to an interpretation of the historical Jesus as a political actor. Thus he can claim “that the Jesus-movement in a period before his death must have been anti-Roman in that sense, that the eschatological liberation necessarily also must have included a liberation from the dominion of Rome over the Jewish Palestine” (p.439). Per Bilde also tries to substantiate this by a somewhat strained interpretation of the discussion about the tribute to Caesar.9 Perhaps more familiar is the introduction of John the Baptist. This figure naturally plays an important role in a historical investigation because it is incorporated into the Jesus-story itself. John the Baptist is the more fascinating in this connection because Josephus offers his activity and fate a relatively extensive treatment in Antiquities 18.116–119, while he does not mention him at all in Bellum. The fact that John the Baptist is more prominently presented in this way than Jesus provoked the so-called Testimonium Flavianum in Antiquities 18.63–64, which Per Bilde, in one of his earlier articles, claimed not even to be a Christian rewriting of an even shorter notice, but entirely spurious.10 In preparation for his books Per Bilde also wrote two lengthy articles on John the Baptist in 1995–1996, the first about Josephus’ account11, the second also covering the New Testament 8 See Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2nd ed. 2003 [1992], pp. 251–295. 9 Repeated in Hvor original var Jesus?, pp. 217–219 (ET, pp. 195–197). 10 Per Bilde, “Josefus’ beretning om Jesus”, DTT 44 (1981), pp. 99–135.* In his negative judgment Per Bilde concurred with one of the few earlier studies on Josephus in Denmark, Poul Otzen, “Bemærkningerne om Urkristendommen i den overleverede Josefos-Tekst”, Teologisk Tidsskrift 4. Række Bind 9 (1928), pp. 273–317. Later Per Bilde also worked with the other mentioning of Jesus by Josephus, in Antiquities 20.200, in connection with the martyrdom of his brother, James: “Josefus om henrettelsen af Jakob i Ant 20,197–203”, in Mogens Müller & Thomas L. Thompson (eds.), Historie og konstruktion. FS Niels Peter Lemche. Forum for Bibelsk Eksegese 14 (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2005), pp. 42–59*. 11 Per Bilde, “Johannes Døber ifølge Josefus”, in Lone Fatum & Mogens Müller (eds.), Tro og historie. FS Niels Hyldahl. Forum for Bibelsk Eksegese 7 (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 1995), pp. 9–22*.

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evidence.12 To Per Bilde, John the Baptist was an “eschatological prophet aiming, by his preaching and his baptism, at preparing the penitents for the definitive arrival of God and his kingdom. It appears that Jesus began as a disciple of John, but that he later broke out of his movement and founded his own group.”13

3.

Jesus was a Jew

Per Bilde’s approach is in full agreement with one of the main tendencies of the so-called third quest of the historical Jesus; namely to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew and that his project was a Jewish one. Per Bilde also mentions Geza Vermes’ book Jesus the Jew from 1973 as the starting point in this respect. Whereas Vermes addresses his interest mostly to the ethical teachings of Jesus, Per Bilde concentrates on Jesus as an eschatological prophet. Of course, these two aspects are not mutually exclusive. Both have something to contribute to give us an idea of how Jesus perceived himself and his mission. In this respect Per Bilde openly confesses himself to be in line with people like Hermann Samuel Reimarus, Johannes Weiss and not least Albert Schweitzer as representatives for the attempt to understand Jesus from the background of the Jewish eschatology of his day.14 Thus Per Bilde agrees with Schweitzer in viewing Jesus as a failing messianic prophet. In 2001, Per Bilde could summarize his understanding as follows (pp. 524– 525): Jesus was a figure belonging to the Judaism of Antiquity. He came from John the Baptist’s eschatological conversion movement. But he broke with John and made his appearance with his own eschatological message and program. At the same time, he acted as an apocalyptic prophet and as a teacher, healer and prophetic critic of social injustice. At some stage, he claimed to be designated a messiah, and thereby the authority with which he acted, was increased. He collected a group of adherents and began together with them to prepare the messianic upheaval and restoration of the justice and glory of the Davidic time… 12 Per Bilde, ”Johannes Døber – Et bidrag til en historisk rekonstruktion”, DTT 59 (1996), pp. 125–150. 13 From the Summary in DTT 59 (1996), p. 150. 14 Thus, in his last contribution, “Can It Be Justified to Talk about Scholarly Progress in the History of Modern Jesus Research since Reimarus?”, in Samuel Byrskog & Tobias Hägerland (eds.), The Mission of Jesus. Second Nordic Symposium on the Historical Jesus, Lund, 7–10 October 2012. WUNT 2 Reihe 391 (Tûbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015), pp. 5–24, p. 23, Per Bilde concludes “that Reimarus’s work should still be regarded as the most important contribution to modern Jesus research”. What could be characterized as progress since, in reality is only deepening the insights of Reimarus. Thus, Per Bilde also claims “that no fundamental progress has been made in modern Jesus research since Reimarus.”

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Also Jesus’ interpretations of the Law of Moses seem to have been peculiar and proposed with great authority… The whole program of Jesus was marked by an intense expectation that the eschatological events promised in the Jewish Bible stood before their immediate realization. It looks as if Jesus was disappointed several times in these expectations and for this reason had to revise and reinterpret his message. (My translation)

This understanding is more or less repeated in the book about the historical Jesus from 2008 where Per Bilde also tries to substantiate it by the fact of the execution of Jesus: Not only was it accomplished by the Romans, it was further – even if it perhaps happened on Jewish initiative – in full agreement with their praxis in anticipating religious-political projects by brutal suppression. Thus Per Bilde assumes that their intervention in this case did not owe itself to a misunderstanding (see esp. pp. 40–41). However, if the Romans considered Jesus politically dangerous, it is a good question why they only executed him and not also – at least some of – his followers. Two long chapters (9 and 10, pp. 157–212) thematize what Jesus said and what he did. Even if other aspects are taken up, the reader is left with the impression that Jesus preached that God’s dominion was just to arrive and that it was all about the restoration of the Jewish people. Not least, the saying in Matthew 19.28 about the twelve sitting on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel here becomes central. For this reason, Jesus also preached judgment on those not listening to him. He further followed up upon his preaching by healings, exorcisms and other miracles, which he interpreted as anticipating the final coming of God’s dominion. At the same time, he also pointed to his own central role in the eschatological sequence of events. Thus, these miraculous acts convinced Jesus that he was the Servant-Messiah spoken of in Isaiah, although for the time being he was only a designated Messiah. The full takeover still belonged to the future. All this of course affects the interpretation of the journey up to Jerusalem and Jesus’ public actions there (ch. 11). According to Per Bilde, Jesus really expected that the Kingdom of God would break through at his arrival in the city and that he in the same moment would be enthroned as Messiah, maybe, however, after being killed as the Yahweh-sent prophet. It really is possible that Jesus on his way to Jerusalem had predicted both possibilities and that it understandably could have filled his adherents with both anxiety and joy. Per Bilde finds this understanding confirmed in both the way of the entry into the city and the cleansing of the temple.

The question of continuity

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309

The question of continuity

As nothing of the kind happened, the rest could have been silence, or maybe a notice by Josephus about another failed prophet. However, the death of Jesus was not the end, but the beginning of an interpretative process. And now we come to what I find deeply problematic in Per Bilde’s reconstruction, namely his presupposition that there was next to no continuity between Jesus and his project on the one hand and on the other the interpretation of his impact in salvation history as we find it in several variants in the New Testament writings. Thus Per Bilde also adheres to the old paradigm looking upon the gospels as also containing traditions which more or less leads us directly back to the historical person, Jesus of Nazareth. However, if we accept the notion that the Gospel of Mark was produced just after 70, the authentic Pauline letters are remarkably older- being written in the early fifties. Thus at least I – but in this I am not alone – think it not only possible, but also likely, that the author of this first gospel was under the influence of Pauline theology. If so, it leaves us in a situation where Jesus-tradition is so permeated with post-Easter interpretation of the figure that we are left in an extremely difficult situation, if we deny a substantial continuity between the project of the Jesus of history and his later followers. In a review of his 2001-book, I expressed my wonder why Per Bilde nevertheless took his texts from the Gospel of Matthew, even where a Markan Vorlage existed.15 To this Per Bilde answered, first that he did not want to bind himself to the Markan hypothesis – or for that matter to the two-source-hypothesis – and second, that he really interprets the greater “Jewishness” of the Gospel of Matthew as a sign of the primitive character of its traditions.16 In contrast I think that we should look upon the formation of the gospels as a tradition process very much running in the track of the genre or interpretation strategy of “rewritten Scripture” as we know this phenomenon from a series of Jewish writings from Antiquity.17 One of the prominent examples here is, by the way, Josephus’ rendering of the holy scriptures of Judaism in books 1–11 of his Antiquities. It is possible to consider the Gospel of Matthew mostly a rewriting of the Gospel of Mark, among other reasons also because this author found his Vorlage too Pauline.18 He simply presents a Jewish 15 “Kristendommens forudsætninger og tilblivelse. En præsentation og kritik af Per Bildes “En religion bliver til””, DTT 65 (2002), pp. 130–143. 16 “Rekonstruktioner af Jesus-bevægelsen og kristendommens tilblivelse. Forskellige erkendelsesinteresser og forskningsformål? Tillader de en konstruktiv dialog om sagen? Et svar til Mogens Müller”, DTT 65 (2002), pp. 144–152. 17 See Mogens Müller, “The New Testament gospels as Biblical rewritings. On the question of referentiality”, ST 68 (2014), pp. 21–40. 18 I find it extremely interesting that Gerd Theißen, once, 1978–1980, New Testament professor in Copenhagen and thus my predecessor, has been able to write a noteworthy article with the title “Kritik an Paulus im Matthäusevangelium. Von der Kunst verdeckter Polemik im Ur-

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Christian interpretation of the Gospel of Mark, and I think that we easily underestimate his – as well as later Luke’s – freedom and creativity if we look for sources all the time for the additional material. It was Albert Schweitzer – but surely he was not alone in this regard – who in his Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung/The Quest of the Historical Jesus from 1913 [1906], expressed his satisfaction with the “fact” that the gospels were written by non-creative authors: “Jesus stands much more immediately before us, because he was depicted by simple Christians without literary gifts (literarisch unbegabten Christen).”19 However, this satisfaction was premature. Later scholarship has shown that it was not only the author of the Gospel of John, who was an able writer, but that also the other gospel-writers were highly creative theologians. Hereby we arrive at the crucial point, the question of continuity. It was Julius Wellhausen, who back in 1905 declared that in spite of good reasons to distinguish between the intention of Jesus and his impact, it is not possible to comprehend the historical Jesus without considering this impact. If one leaves it out of account, it probably means not to do Jesus justice.20 It could be added, that similar to the case of Socrates we only have access to the historical Jesus through his impact upon contemporaries, because neither of them left anything written behind.21 When we consider the difficulties in gaining a trustworthy picture of Socrates, although the three witnesses are contemporaries and eyewitnesses, the difficulties are certainly not smaller in the case of Jesus, where we probably only have authors who never met him during his earthly career. However, if we assume that the existing traditions about him are in conflict with his original intentions, we are at a loss. When Per Bilde, in his last book, concluding his chapter 4 on the eschatological project of Jesus, declares, “The historical Jesus did not break with Judaism and he had no intention of laying the christentum”, in O. Wischmeyer & L. Scornaienchi (eds.), Polemik in der frühchristlichen Literatur. BZNW 170 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011), pp. 465–490. This confirms the impression from the Gospel of Mark that Paul and his theology played an influential role also in the gospel tradition. 19 Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung (Tübingen: Mohr (Siebeck), 1913), p. 6/ Von Reimarus zu Wrede. Eine Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung (1906), p. 6. The Quest of the Historical Jesus, translated by W. Montgomery (Newburyport: Dover Publications, 2012), p. 19. 20 Julius Wellhausen, Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 2nd ed. 1911 [1905]), p. 104: „Reichlicher Anlass dazu, seine Absicht von seiner Wirkung zu unterscheiden, ist allerdings vorhanden. Trotzdem kann man ihn nicht ohne seine geschichtliche Wirkung begreifen, und wenn man ihn davon ablöst, wird man seiner Bedeutung schwerlich gerecht.“ 21 The difficulties in gaining a picture of the Socrates of history was the topic of Søren Kierkegaard’s dissertation in 1841, Om Begrebet Ironie med stadigt Hensyn til Sokrates. For Kierkegaard not being able to transfer his results here to the historical Jesus, see M. Müller, ”Søren Kierkegaard’s historical Jesus as the Christ of Faith”, in Heiko Schulz, Jon Stewart and Karl Verstrynge (eds.), Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 2014 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014), pp. 135–152.

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foundation of a new Christian religion”, most of us could agree. But when he continues that “therefore the ideas [of Christianity] must be characterized as a factual treason to Jesus”,22 I find that Per Bilde really neglects the fundamental character of reception. Nobody can take over traditions without interpretation. When the modernist Alfred Loisy in his saying: “Jésus annonçait le royaume, et c’est l’Église quie est venue”, famously expressed the transformation from Jesus to Christianity, it was not according to him a betrayal. It was a necessity, if the “project” of Jesus should survive. Innumerable times the words of Loisy – and even by a pope (Benedict XVI/Ratzinger) – has been adduced to a negative statement, but that does not do justice to Loisy. He continues, “Elle est venue en élargissant la forme de l’Évangile, qui était impossible à garder telle quelle, … le but de l’Évangile est resté le but de l’Église”23 When Per Bilde adduces his material for comparison from Josephus, I think it seduces him to misrepresent the New Testament evidence. First of all the comparative material from Josephus does not explain what was unique, if not “original”, with Jesus, and what made his movement pass the “Gamaliel test”. The oldest witness to the existence of a historical Jesus, the apostle Paul, points to a better explanation: The establishment of a new people of God founded on a new covenant making people able to fulfill the will of God. Paul also lived with an apocalyptic worldview and with eschatological expectations. In this regard, he did not differ from many of his contemporary fellow compatriots. However, at some time he came to the belief or conviction that the death of Jesus created a new situation. In addition, if Paul and the authors of the Synoptic Gospels were correct in interpreting the impact of Jesus’ life and death as the institution of the new covenant, making the believers fit to fulfil the commandments of God, then it speaks in favour of the ethical aspect being fundamental in the project of the historical Jesus. Thus a good bid on what is the third point of comparison between the project of the historical Jesus and the later Christbelief is the creation of the conditions for true obedience to the will of God, an obedience which also – but probably only after the death of Jesus – opened up participation for the non-Jewish world.

22 Hvor original var Jesus?, p. 189, where the words are a little more harsh than in the English rendering, namely when it is said that Christianity “derfor sagligt kan betegnes som et frafald og et forræderi mod Jesus.” Above quoted according to ET, p. 172. 23 See Alfred Loisy, L’Évangile et l’Église (Paris: Chez l’auteur, 1902, 41908), pp. 153 & 155. It is the merit of Peter Neuner, “Loisy, Alfred (1857–1940)”, TRE 21 (1991), pp. 453–456, to have relaunched the original meaning of Loisy’s dictum.

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5.

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The quietist solution

In The Originality of Jesus, Per Bilde, again and again, repeats that Jesus is best understood in the category of the “eschatological prophet” as we know such a figure not least from Josephus’ works. Per Bilde admits that we can leave the militant type of such a prophet out of sight. Thus the historical Jesus of Nazareth belongs to the quietist sort, as also seems to be the case with the Teacher of Righteousness, John the Baptist and – according to Per Bilde – Theudas. All these expected the restoration of Israel through God’s intervention. This quietist attitude follows patterns from biblical writings such as the Book of Daniel, where the stone in ch. 2 and the one like a son of man in ch. 7 both symbolize how God’s kingdom comes about without human cooperation. This, however, did not mean that the Jewish people should just sit and wait. They should prepare for this transformation through conversion and obedience to the Law. I cannot, in this connection, refrain from mentioning an old unease with the normal understanding of παρατήρησις in Luke 17.20 which nearly universally is rendered “to be observed” and the like, meaning that it is not manifesting itself in outer signs. Bent Noack once proposed that the context of the Pharisees’ question makes (law)observation much more sensible and much more probable, pointing to the extended belief in law-abiding circles that it was possible to promote the coming of God’s kingdom by keeping the law in all details.24 Scholars here remark that the word does not occur in the Septuagint (except in Aquila’s rendering of Ex 12.42). However, it turns up in Josephus’ Antiquities 8.96.25 In his description of the forecourt of the Jews in the Solomonic temple, he writes, “Into this precinct all the people who were distinguished by purity and their observance of the laws (παρατηρήσει τῶν νομίμων) might enter.” Together with the use of the verb παρατήρεω in Galatians 4.10 and of the simple form τηρέω, I think that we should take Bent Noack’s proposal seriously. “Law-observation” is really an option for translating παρατήρησις in Luke 17.20. In this context I find that Per Bilde makes too little of the fact that in preaching and interpreting the law, the Jesus of the gospels exclusively concentrates on those commandments which concern the relation to fellow human being, the Decalogue and the double commandment of love. This is in strong contrast to what we find in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the tradition of the elders, where the gospel picture is not only a caricature. In addition, I do think that the idea of a remnant also contributed to their concept of salvation history. Could it be that 24 See Bent Noack, Lukasevangeliets rejseberetning. En fortolkning (Copenhagen: Gad, 1977), p. 136. 25 Of course, this reference is included in Bauer/Aland, Griechisch-deutsches Wörterbuch (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1988) s.v. together with a reference to Athenagoras, De Resurrectione 15 (δικαιοσύνης παρατήρησις), and Diognet 4.5. Is it a too early dating of the Lucan writings, which has prevented to include Josephus’ use of the word in the interpretation of Luke 17.20?

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the whole enterprise was to prepare that remnant which, at least after Jesus’ death, also was believed to include non-Jews? The true obedience, however, was only possible through the gift of the Spirit of the New Covenant. Further, we have to find an explanation of what made an ardent, if not fanatical Pharisee like Paul, suddenly to be convinced that Messiah was Jesus and that the salvation brought about by him included the peoples to which the risen Lord then send him with the gospel. The expectation of the near return of Jesus dominated Paul’s horizon too. However, first the gospel should be preached to all the peoples, because it was the condition to be fulfilled before the end would come (cf. Mark 13.10; Matthew 24.14). In sum, I only find relatively little help in introducing the various messianic or prophetical figures depicted by Josephus with regard to understanding the historical Jesus. In spite of some parallel traits, they serve more to constitute contrasting alternatives. Even if we know of some disciples of John the Baptist being active after his death, none of the adduced figures explains the one important difference, namely that they did not give rise to an enduring movement, whereas Jesus of Nazareth made an impact on his followers that after his death unfolded itself in the creation of Christ-believing communities.

6.

Instead of a conclusion

Perhaps this paper has ended up being too much a declaration of my own understanding. However, Per Bilde and I have followed each other at some distance since we both, in 1969, answered the call for the same prize essay about the Christ hymn in Philippians 2.5–11. We both obtained a silver medal and at that time, the full assessments were even printed in the University Yearbook. This degree of transparency is long gone – in spite of all affirmations to the contrary. Through the years, I have reviewed all of Per Bilde’s books save the last one, and he has several times accused me of not working as a genuine historian. However, I think it is also to work as a historian when I address the gospels as sources of the theology and preaching of later generations. Thus, when Per, in his latest book, for the time being “conclude(s) that after 35 years of work with the historical Jesus, Müller has not yet mobilized the courage necessary to tackle this problem, whatever the cause may be”,26 then my answer is: I have found the reception more interesting – and too often underexposed. The divide, which Per Bilde thought to exist between a biblical exegete and a historian of religion, I am not willing to accept.27 Whether Per Bilde was less biased by his “prejudices” than I am, it will be 26 Hvor original var Jesus?, p. 81. Quoted according to ET, p. 81. 27 In addition, I ascertain that another friend of mine, Maurice Casey, who also passed away last

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up to our readers to decide. His honourable ardent engagement of long standing on the red side of the political specter, which I by the way shared with him, could have made him open to a revolutionary interpretation of the historical Jesus. Nevertheless, in spite of all disagreement, we were, through the years, always on friendly terms. And on at least one question we totally agreed. Thus, every time I wrote in the papers against Christian Zionism and other theological attempts to justify any injustice done to the Palestinian people, I immediately received a thankful mail from Per Bilde. In all, I look back on this friendship with gratitude. Therefore I am grateful to have been invited to contribute to a symposium in memory of Per Bilde. I want to express my thanks to Revd. Jim West, ThD, for generous help in improving my English.

year, and who, like Per Bilde, stressed his position as a non-believer and therefore independent, in his Jesus of Nazareth. An independent historian’s account of his life and teaching (London: T. & T. Clark, 2010), not least through the reconstruction of Aramaic traditions behind the Gospel of Mark (which Casey, not convincingly, by the way dated to around 40) and Q-traditions, arrived at conclusions much more like mine with regard to the dominant role of the ethical dimension of Jesus’ mission. However, for both these “agnostic” scholars, it is characteristic that they in some scholarly respects seem surprisingly conservative.

Bibliographical References – Places of First Publication of Per Bilde’s Articles1

1. 2. 3. 4.

5.

6.

7. 8. 9.

“The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt to Erect his Statue in the Temple of Jerusalem” Studia Theologica 32, 1978, 67–93 “The Causes of the Jewish War According to Josephus” Journal for the Study of Judaism 10, 1979, 179–202 “Josephus’ Report on Jesus” published in Danish: “Josefus’ beretning om Jesus” Dansk Teologisk Tidsskrift 41, 1981, 88–135 “The Geographical Excursuses in Josephus” in: Fausto Parente and Joseph Sievers (Eds.): Josephus and the History of the Greco-Roman Period. Essays in Memory of Morton Smith, Leiden – New York – Köln: Brill, 1994, 247–262 “Contra Apionem 1.28–56: An Essay on Josephus’ View of his own Work in the Context of the Jewish Canon” in: Louis H. Feldman and John R. Levison (Eds.): Josephus’ Contra Apionem. Studies in its Character and Context with a Latin Concordance to the Portion Missing in Greek. Leiden – New York – Köln: Brill, 1996, 94–114 “The Essenes in Philo and Josephus” in: Frederick H. Cryer and Thomas L. Thompson (Eds.): Qumran between the Old and the New Testament, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998, 32–68 “Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism” in: Steve Mason (Ed.): Understanding Josephus. Seven Perspectives, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998, 35–61 “Was hat Josephus über die Synagoge zu sagen?” Münsteraner Judaistische Studien 4, 1999, 15–35 ”The Jews in Alexandria in 38–41 CE” in: Inge Nielsen (Ed.): Zwischen Kult und Gesellschaft: Kosmopolitische Zentren des antiken Mittelmeerraumes als Aktionsraum von Kultvereinen und Religionsgemeinschaften. Akten eines Symposions des Archäologischen Instituts der Universität Hamburg (12.– 14. Oktober 2005), Hephaistos 24, 2006

1 We are grateful to all publishing houses for allowing the reissuing of the articles.

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Bibliographical References

10. “Philo as a Polemist and a Political Apologist. An Investigation of his Two Historical Historical Treatises Against Flaccus and The Embassy to Gaius” in: George Hinge and Jens A. Krasilnikoff (Eds.): Alexandria A Cultural and Religious Melting Pot, Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2009, 97–115 11. “Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula und den Juden über die Aufstellung einer Kaiserstatue im Tempel von Jerusalem” in: Anne Lykke und Friedrich T. Schipper (Hrsg.): Kult und Macht. Religion und Herrschaft im syro-palästinensischen Raum. Studien zu ihrer Wechselbeziehung in hellenistischrömischer Zeit, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011, 9–48.