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Peace and War in Josephus
 9783111146591, 9783111146034

Table of contents :
Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War
Considerations on Oaths of Loyalty under Augustus in Josephus
The “Coalition” Government of Jerusalem (66–67 CE) in Josephus’ Bellum and in Rabbinic Literature
Die vielschichtige Entwicklung des Verständnisses der Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus und seine Dilemmata
Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.
Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus
Frieden bei Josephus. Esra und die jüdische Restauration in den Antiquitates
The Greek Semantics of War and Peace: Between εἰρήνη and πόλεμος in Flavius Josephus
Στάσις und ὄχλος in der Geschichtsschreibung bei Josephus
The Theme of Stasis in Antiquities: Josephus’ Political Philosophy and Periodization of History
Der Begriff ἐλευθερία im Bellum Judaicum
List of Contributors
Works of Josephus
Index of Ancient Texts

Citation preview

Peace and War in Josephus

Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies

Edited by Kristin De Troyer, Beate Ego, Matthew Goff, Tobias Nicklas and Friedrich V. Reiterer

Volume 52

Peace and War in Josephus

Edited by Viktor Kókai-Nagy and Ádám Vér

ISBN 978-3-11-114603-4 e-ISBN (PDF) 978-3-11-114659-1 e-ISBN (EPUB) 978-3-11-114786-4 ISSN 1865-1666 Library of Congress Control Number: 2023936797 Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the internet at © 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston Typesetting: Integra Software Services Pvt. Ltd. Printing and binding: CPI books GmbH, Leck

Foreword Peace and war were central not only to Josephus, but also to antiquity in general. We deliberately chose this huge topic when preparing for the first international conference of the Josephus Research Institute, which we founded in Komárom in 2020: on the one hand, we knew that we could not paint a complete picture; on the other, we wanted to address as many people as possible. Covid intervened in the organisation of the conference and we were forced to reduce the two-day programme to one day. We thank our lecturers for their commitment to participate despite these difficulties. Although all of Josephus’ works are available in Hungarian, there is practically no literature on Josephus in Hungarian, with only two monographs and a few studies published on the subject until 2020. The primary aim of the Institute was therefore to support and promote research on Josephus in Hungarian, an important element of which was the organisation of conferences in Hungarian and the publication of papers presented at these conferences. Our third conference volume was published in 2022. But it is at least as important to bring international Josephus research to this region, and to actively participate in it when we have the opportunity. The international conference, which took place on 5 May 2022 at the Faculty of Reformed Theology of Selye János University, was a prominent step in this direction. We sent the poster of the conference to some colleagues who thought, based on the programme, it could be published abroad. This is how the news of the conference reached the De Gruyter publishing house, which, thanks to the recommendations, agreed to publish the book. We are grateful for the opportunity! We would especially like to thank Tobias Nicklas for his help and intervention and Kristin de Troyer and Friedrich Reiterer for their support. Thanks also go to the two mother-tongue proofreaders, Andrea Ackermann and Carson Bay, for their thorough and painstaking work. Budapest, 6 January 2023. the editors

Contents Foreword Abbreviations


Viktor Kókai-Nagy, Ádám Vér Introduction 1 Steve Mason Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


Tibor Grüll Considerations on Oaths of Loyalty under Augustus in Josephus


Tal Ilan The “Coalition” Government of Jerusalem (66–67 CE) in Josephus’ Bellum and in Rabbinic Literature 53 Jiří Hoblík Die vielschichtige Entwicklung des Verständnisses der Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus und seine Dilemmata 77 Ádám Vér Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.


József Zsengellér Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus 115 István Karasszon Frieden bei Josephus. Esra und die jüdische Restauration in den Antiquitates 137 Carson Bay The Greek Semantics of War and Peace: Between εἰρήνη and πόλεμος in Flavius Josephus 149



Martin Meiser Στάσις und ὄχλος in der Geschichtsschreibung bei Josephus


David R. Edwards The Theme of Stasis in Antiquities: Josephus’ Political Philosophy and Periodization of History 177 Viktor Kókai-Nagy Der Begriff ἐλευθερία im Bellum Judaicum List of Contributors Works of Josephus Index of Ancient Texts

215 217 223





Harper, Robert F. Assyrian and Babylonian Letters belonging to the Kuyunjik Collection of the British Museum. London – Chicago: Luzac and Co, 1892–1914 Soden, Wolfram von. Das Akkadische Handwörterbuch. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1965–1981 Australian Biblical Review The Anchor Yale Reference Library L’Année épigraphique Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity American Journal of Philology American Journal of Theology Analecta Biblica Alter Orient und Altes Testament Archiv für Religionsgeschichte Archiv für Religionswissenschaft The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries Baghdader Mitteilungen Berliner Beitrage zum Vorderen Orient Biblische Encyklopädie Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium Biblica et Orientalia Borger, Rykle. Beiträge zum Inschriftwerk Assurbanipals. Die Prismenklassen A, B, C = K, D, E, F, G, H, J und T sowie andere Inschriften. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1996 Biblische Notizen The Brill Reference Library of Judaism Bibliotheca Sacra Bulletin de la Société nationale des Antiquaires de France Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentlische Wissenschaft Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft Oppenheim, A. Leo ‒ Reiner, Erica ‒ Roth, Martha T. eds. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, Vol. 1‒21. Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1956‒2010 Catholic Biblical Quarterly Black, Jeremy – George, Andrew – Postgate, Nicholas. A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999 Culture and History of the Ancient Near East Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies Discoveries in the Judean Desert Dead Sea Discoveries Early Christinaity




Early Judaism and its Literature Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses Balz, Horst – Schneider, Gerhard, eds. Exegetisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament, Vol. 1–3. Stuttgart et al.: Kohlhammer, 1980–1983 Freiburger Altorientalische Studien Forschung zum Alten Testament Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies History of the Ancient Near East Harvard Dissertations in Religion Handbook of Oriental Studies History of Political Thought Historiography of Rome and its Empire Harvard Semitic Studies Harvard Theological Review Merkelbach, Reinhold, Die Inschriften von Assos. Bonn: Habelt, 1976 International Journal for the Semiotics of Law Inscriptiones Graecae Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes Journal of Ancient Judaism Journal of the American Oriental Society Journal of Cuneiform Studies Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Journal of Gender and Power Journal of Hellenic Studies Journal of Jewish Studies Journal of Near Eastern Studies Journal of Politics Jewish Quarterly Review Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus Jüdische Schriften aus hellenistisch-römischer Zeit Jewish Studies, an Internet Journal Journal of the Study of Judaism Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism Journal for the Study of the New Testament Journal for the Study of the Old Testament: Supplement Series Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha: Supplement Series Jewish Studies Quarterly Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte Loeb Classical Library The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic The Library of Second Temple Studies Meghillot: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls Münsteraner Judaistische Studien








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Michigan Law Review New International Version Novum Testamentum Supplement International Review for the History of Religions Österreichische Biblische Studien Oxford Classical Texts Series Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica Oriens et Occidens Old Testament Essays Old Testament Readings Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society Supplements Philia: International Journal of Ancient Mediterranean Studies Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum Ramus: Critical Studies in Greek and Roman Literature Revue Biblique Revue de Qumran Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie Tadmor, Hayim ‒ Yamada, Shigeo. The Royal Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III (744‒727 BC), and Shalmaneser V (726‒722 BC), Kings of Assyria. Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Period 1. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2011 Grayson, A. Kirk ‒ Novotny, Jamie. The Royal Inscriptions of Sennacherib, King of Assyria (704‒681 BC), Part 1. Royal Inscription of the Neo-Assyrian Period 3/I. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2012 Grayson, A. Kirk ‒ Novotny, Jamie. The Royal Inscriptions of Sennacherib, King of Assyria (704‒681 BC), Part 2. (Royal Inscription of the Neo-Assyrian Period 3/II) Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2014 Leichty, Erle. The Royal Inscriptions of Esarhaddon, King of Assyria (680‒ 669 BC). Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Period 4. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2011 Rheinisches Museum für Philologie Religion in the Roman Empire The Religion of the Roman Provinces Revised Standard Bible Parpola, Simo. The Correspondence of Sargon II: Part I. Letters from Assyria and the West. State Archives of Assyria 1. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1987 Parpola, Simo – Watanabe, Kazuko. Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths. State Archives of Assyria 2. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1988 Starr, Ivan. Queries to the Sungod: Divination and Politics in Sargonid Assyria. State Archives of Assyria 4. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1990 Lanfranchi, Giovanni B. – Simo Parpola. The Correspondence of Sargon II: Letters from the Northern and Northeastern Provinces. State Archives of Assyria 5. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1990 Parpola, Simo. Letters from Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars. State Archives of Assyria 10. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 1993


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Cole, Steven W. – Machinist, Peter. Letters from Priests to the Kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal. State Archives of Assyria 13. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1998 Fuchs, Andreas – Parpola, Simo. The Correspondence of Sargon II: Letters from Babylonia and the Eastern Provinces. State Archives of Assyria 15. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2001 Luukko, Mikko – Van Buylaere, Greta. The Political Correspondence of Esarhaddon. State Archives of Assyria 16. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2002 Dietrich, Manfried. The Babylonian Correspondence of Sargon and Sennacherib. State Archives of Assyria 17. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2003 Reynolds, Frances. The Babylonian Correspondence of Esarhaddon and Letters to Assurbanipal and Sin-šarru-iškun from Northern and Central Babylonia. State Archives of Assyria 18. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2003 Parpola, Simo. The Correspondence of Assurbanipal, Part I: Letters from Assyria, Babylonia, and Vassal States. State Archives of Assyria 21. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 2018 State Archives of Assyria Bulletin State Archives of Assyria Studies Studia Aarhausiana Neotestamentica Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam Religionemque pertinentia Scripta Classica Israelica Supplementum Epirgaphicum Graecum Studia Judaica Studia Post-Biblica Porten, Bezalel – Yardeni, Ada. Textbook of Aramaic Documents from Ancient Egypt, I: Letters. Jerusalem: The Hebrew University, 1986 Thureau-Dangin, François. Une relation de la huitième campagne de Sargon (714 av. J.-C.). Musée du Louvre. Département des Antiquités Orientales, Textes cunéiformes 3. Paris: Libraire Paul Geuthner, 1912 Texte und Arbeiten zum neutestamentlichen Zeitalter Müller, Gerhard, eds. Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Vol. 1–36. New York – Berlin: de Gruyter, 1976–2004 Transactions of the Royal Historical Society Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism Kittel, Gerhard – Friedrich, Gerhard, eds. Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament. Vol. 1–11. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1933–1979 Kittel, Gerhard – Friedrich, Gerhard, eds. Theological Dictionary to the New Testament. Vol. 1–10. Trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964 Texts & Sources Ungnad, Arthur. Vorderasiatische Schriftdenkmäler der Königlichen Museen zu Berlin, VI. Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1908 Vetus Testamentum Vetus Testamentum Supplements




Word Biblical Commentary Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten und Neuen Testament Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichung der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft Yale Classical Studies Zeitschrift für Altorientalische und Biblische Rechtsgeschichte Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentlichen Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche

Viktor Kókai-Nagy, Ádám Vér

Introduction Flavius Josephus life was defined by the Jewish war against Rome, about which he wrote his first book as a friend of the imperial family, enjoying the benefits of peace. But it was this dichotomy that defined not only the life of our author, but also the history of all ancient peoples, including the Jews, so it is not surprising that war and peace also play a central role in his second book. A broader theme could hardly have been chosen for this volume, which naturally brought with it the diversity of the studies it contains. At the conference held on 5 May 2022 at Selye János University in Komárom, in addition to two well-known scholars (Tal Ilan and Steve Mason), a Czech (Jiří Hoblík) and five Hungarian colleagues presented papers in English and German, revised and edited versions of which are presented in this volume. This is complemented by three papers that were not presented at the conference, but whose authors were happy to respond to our request to contribute their thoughts to the volume. In the first essay in this volume, Steve Mason examines the five speeches in the fourth book of the Judaean War, those given by: Vespasian at Gamala, the former high priests Ananus II and Jesus in Jerusalem, the Idumaean commander Simon in response to the latter, and the unnamed Zealot who later persuades the Idumaeans to leave. His propositions are: in general, that the speeches reveal Josephus to be a capable craftsman writing for an educated elite, who share his concerns with polis affairs; in particular, that these speeches are integral parts of the War 4 narrative. The appendix to the study contains the speeches analysed in Greek and a new English translation. In antiquity, the oath was a guarantee of a successful peace agreement, but refusing to swear an oath could also be seen as the first step in war. During the reign of Augustus, the Roman province of Judaea was established, and an important step in this process was the loyalty oath taken by the members of the people who had newly joined the empire. Tibor Grüll first surveys the Scriptural provisions and the Jewish tradition on oaths and vows and then examines the epigraphic material on the oaths taken in Augustus’ time with the peoples of other provinces and territories (e.g., Paphlagonia, Samos, Baetica) of the Roman Empire, in an attempt to answer the conflict in Josephus’ account of to swear an oath to the Roman emperor. The stories of the Roman-Jewish war appear not only in Josephus’ account, but also in the Jewish tradition. Although Josephus wrote at least a century before the earliest rabbinic compilations were redacted, the sources the rabbis used in relaying these traditions were not the works of Josephus. Both had access to the


Viktor Kókai-Nagy, Ádám Vér

same original (oral or written) sources and the differences between Josephus and the rabbis are a result of different interests. As an excellent illustration of this, Tal Ilan analyses the accounts of the “coalition” government in Jerusalem in 66–67 CE. Jiří Hoblík examines the phenomenon of “prophetizing, prophet, prophecy” in the works of Josephus. In his study, he concludes that Josephus, while accepting the widely held view in Judaism that prophets existed in Israel only until the time of Artaxerxes, reinterprets the Old Testament use of the term in a peculiar way. Moreover, he believes that certain features of prophecy are still present in his own time and play a role in his self-portrayal. Josephus’ account of the reign of Achaz in Antiquities follows the narrative of the Book of Chronicles, with minor differences. In his paper, Ádám Vér takes a closer look at a discrepancy between these texts and sheds light on its background in ancient Near Eastern texts. The system of Neo-Assyrian treaties (adê) reconstructed from cuneiform sources is much closer to Josephus’ narrative than to the biblical account of the Syro-Ephraimite War. The use of foreign mercenaries was an important aspect of ancient warfare. In his study, József Zsengellér explores how Jewish soldiers, who lived under a number of ritual restrictions and rules that were difficult for foreigners to understand, were still employed by foreign armies. Drawing on the writings of Josephus, he analyses the sources on Jews serving in foreign armies of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies, the Seleucids, and the Hasmoneans. There is a lot going on in a war, so, you could say, writing an exciting account of it doesn’t seem like a difficult task, but how do you write about peace in a way that is readable and overcomes the lack of information? This is a challenge not only for the ancient historian but also for the modern scholar of the period. István Karasszon’s study analyses the period of Ezra and the early Jewish restoration in the Antiquities of the Jews, and examines how Josephus manages to do this. There are several ways of trying to reconstruct what Flavius Josephus might have thought about war and peace. In his corpus linguistic analysis, Carson Bay explores the use of the terms εἰρήνη and πόλεμος in Josephus’ works. Through careful analysis, he shows how Josephus’ language and vocabulary hint at a larger feature of his writings: namely, that Josephus wrote, and probably thought, primarily about regions, eras and peoples that were characterised by war, conflict, and violence, not peace. Martin Meiser uses two concepts, ὄχλος and στάσις, to illustrate the distinctive features of Josephus’ word usage. After briefly reviewing the use and meaning of the terms in the texts of the Greek historians and the LXX, his study concludes that Josephus’ choice of words reflects his value judgement: where he



wants to describe the behaviour of the people as being in accordance with the Torah, the use of these two words is reduced. David R. Edwards analyses also the use of the concept of στάσις in the works of Josephus. Since Greco-Roman historians in their accounts of the Roman civil wars paid particular attention to this concept, Josephus could have confidently expected that στάσις would also be important and familiar to his elite GrecoRoman readers. However, Edwards shows in his study that Josephus uses the language of στάσις in the Jewish War with different functions than in Antiquities, and seeks to explain the reasons for this. In the Bellum Judaicum, despite the length of the work, the term ἐλευθερία is rarely used. In his study, Viktor Kókai-Nagy examines the meaning of the concept of freedom, which, in his opinion, Josephus uses as a religious and political concept, essentially in accordance with the Old Testament tradition. The meaning of freedom as we know it from contemporary philosophy is found only in Eleazar’s speech to the defenders of Masada.

Steve Mason

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War 1 Introduction This contribution is a sort of ground survey – not an excavation – of five linked speeches in the fourth and central book of Josephus’ Judaean War, those given by: Vespasian at Gamala, the former high priests Ananus II and Jesus in Jerusalem, the Idumaean commander Simon in response to the latter, and the unnamed rogue Zealot (or Disciple) who later persuades the Idumaeans to leave. My propositions are: in general, that the speeches reveal Josephus to be a capable craftsman writing for an educated elite, who share his concerns with polis affairs; in particular, that these speeches are integral parts of the War 4 narrative. Before proceeding, I would like to dislodge any impression that this exercise might be purely literary, caring nothing for what really happened. On the contrary, I write as a historian. My questions are about what happened and how we can know it. Making a case for that, however, depends on understanding the evidence we are using. Obviously, if we wish to understand what happened at Gamala or Masada, we must first understand what has survived from those sites, which we can now see and study: including, for example, the wartime coins and Masada’s ramp. In just the same way, there is no point in trying to reconstruct what happened behind Josephus’ War Book 4 unless we first have some understanding of the text that narrates those events. This essay is an effort to enhance that understanding, which will never be perfect of course, to prepare for imagining the real events. This question of method is all the more important because War 4 has been curiously neglected in popular as in academic portraits of the war. Consider four planks of a standard picture: (1) Judaea, regarded as a province, united in rebellion against an oppressive Roman empire in 66 CE; (2) Jerusalem led this revolt and created an independent state from 67 until its merciless destruction in 70; (3) the war was long, bitter, and bloody, lasting from 66 to 73/74; and (4) the only historian whose accounts have survived, Josephus, was a mouthpiece of the victorious Flavians who programmatically obscured what had happened, to exculpate himself, his patrons, and his priestly class.1 The middle volume of War would, however,

 E.g., Graetz, History of the Jews; Farmer, Maccabees, Zealots, and Josephus; Hengel, Die Zeloten; Goodman, The Ruling Class of Judea; Price, Jerusalem under Siege; Gambash, “Foreign Enemies of the Empire”; Rudich, Religious Dissent in the Roman Empire; Rogers, For the Freedom of Zion.


Steve Mason

preclude all of these impressions. It describes the flight of native leaders and upper classes from Jerusalem to Vespasian as well as a counter-flow into the city from Judaea’s, Peraea’s, and Galilee’s villages. This last current brings John son of Leius from Gischala to a crucial role in Jerusalem’s fate, very much in opposition to Jerusalem’s leaders. Then comes a large force of armed Idumaeans, who murder those native leaders, and finally Simon bar Giora (from Gerasa), who entrenches the lethal internal conflict that endures to the holy city’s destruction. As for the Flavians’ campaign: Vespasian has Galilee in hand within three months of arriving (mid-67: Book 3), and Judaea all but settled by the following spring, after a winter in quarters, when the civil war following Nero’s death halts military activity for nearly two years. The siege of Jerusalem, thus postponed to half of the year 70 and left in young Titus’ hands, will be the main scene of conflict in the Judaean War (Books 5–6). War 4’s account of the Flavians, finally, and especially of Vespasian’s rise to power, knocks out the foundations of the Flavian narrative. It is conceivable that Josephus’ account is a fantasy constructed with exquisite care, its characters and their interactions the products of fervid imagination. But how and to what purpose? Granted his thematic choices, omissions, and hyperbole, large-scale invention seems implausible given that his audiences included people who knew what had transpired, and that some characters are attested.2 Anyway, virtually everyone continues to use Josephus, if paying special attention to his account of Herod (Book 1), the opening of the war (Book 2), and Masada (Book 7), while homogenising much of what lies between in the simple scheme of a national-provincial revolt. This essay cannot take up the subjects just canvassed. They are part of the framework and suggest potential stakes. This is a modest probe of the speeches mentioned and found (in the Appendix). I hope that it can serve as a sort of biopsy of War 4, exposing the nature of the tissue so that we have a better idea of what we are dealing with. Only then is it worthwhile to begin imagining the reallife scenarios that best explain this material.

2 Soundings in Relevant Scholarship Studies of War’s speeches are relatively numerous, and have taken one of two paths. Either they have abstracted War’s main speeches, so as to examine them together for common features, or article-length studies have focused on one major speech, its structure, and rhetorical influences. All this is helpful. Lacking so  See Tal Ilan in this volume.

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


far, however, are studies of the speeches as integral parts of a stretch of narrative. This can be done only in sections unless one embarks on a monograph. Although this is a brief probe, I would like to offer some preliminary observations in this direction. Discussion of speeches in ancient historiography usually begins from Thucydides’ famous, and exquisitely slippery, explanation of his practice (1.22.1): As for the speech that each man uttered, when they were about to make war or when they were already in it, it is hard to recollect with precision what was said – whether things I myself heard or things that others report to me from another source. So, each man has [in my account] been given to say what it seemed to me he should have said in the prevailing circumstances, though staying as close as possible to the overall gist of what was truly uttered. (emphasis mine)

This marvelous obfuscation has contradictory implications: we stay close to what was actually said, which requires that this is known; we do not know exactly what was said, but offer the gist (how can we be sure?); and, because we do not know we relate what such a person would or should have said on the occasion. Whatever Thucydides intended, he made it possible for successors to suppose that speeches in history were up for grabs. By the time of Polybius a century and a half later, they had become a zone of free creativity for authors, which he was reluctant to indulge. That is why Dionysius of Halicarnassus could criticize Thucydides – not his characters – for artistic defects in his speeches (even that of Pericles), and why Lucian, though he insists that historians make every effort to report the truth, viewed speeches as a chance for the historian to show off his rhetorical skills.3 Scholars have applied this background to Josephus’ War in ways that reflect changing frameworks in Josephus research. In the 1920s, Wilhelm Weber and Henry St-John Thackeray were convinced that Josephus was writing Roman propaganda. Weber thought that he borrowed an official source for much of War 3–7, but the speeches were his own “oriental” contributions, full of bombast with little serious content. Thackeray, by contrast, read them as the clearest indications of Josephus’ propagandistic aims. These “oratorical displays” drove home the theme: “Bow to the invincible world empire.”4 The Judaean transplant must have written these fine compositions, Thackeray thought, with the help of slaves more accomplished in Greek. When serious Josephus research resumed after the half-century hiatus of the Second World War and its aftermath, three dissertations tackled the speeches. Donna Runnalls’ 1971 analysis of eight speeches in War, never published, was a

 Polybius 12.25–25a.4–5, 25i–26b, especially 12.25i.9 (Loeb numbering); Dionysius, Thuc. 16, 18; Lucian, Hist. conscr. 58.  Weber, Josephus und Vespasian, 15; Thackeray, Josephus, 43.


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fine-grained technical study of their classical and biblical elements. A year later, Helgo Lindner took three major speeches in War as the most secure vantagepoint for understanding Josephus’ view of history – as safe ground because they were not attributable to the sources he may have used for his narrative. Runnalls and Lindner independently found that, although the speeches reveal familiarity with Greek rhetorical principles, their outlook is ultimately influenced by the biblical prophets, especially Jeremiah. Josephus’ characters drive home prophetic themes of submission to a divine governance that supervises the rise and fall of world powers, and also expose the folly of rebel groups for missing this foundation of true piety, anchored in the temple and relying on divine providence.5 Pere Villalba i Varneda’s detailed study of Josephus’ historiography, submitted for publication in 1981, devotes about thirty pages to the speeches. Although he acknowledges their shared atmosphere and themes as well as their traffic in rhetorical commonplaces, he stresses the distinctiveness of each one and its appropriateness to the speaker and occasion – highlighting that side of Thucydides’ remarks. A 1991 essay by Tessa Rajak on the great speech of Agrippa II makes a similar point. Whereas Villalba i Varneda thought the situational fit resulted from a correspondence with what was actually said on the occasion, however, Rajak more plausibly attributes it to Josephus’ art. Recent article-length contributions assume Josephus’ complete freedom in crafting the speeches, focusing on one or two to seek out their inspirations, sources, and/or programmatic themes.6 Jonathan Price’s insightful survey of all the main speeches in War reads them against Thucydides’ analysis of stasis – the political strife that is also War’s Leitmotif (Bel. 1.10, 25–27, 31) – as something fundamentally irrational. In the world of convoluted values that stasis produces, Price proposes, Josephus presents rational appeals as unsuccessful. Only the irrational arguments of Eleazar at Masada find their mark.7 My main contribution argues that ancient historians, although they controlled the script, were not as preoccupied as we are with ideology, ideas, or

 Runnalls, “Speeches”, ii (they convey “his own moderate Pharisaic theological and ideological evaluation of the conflict [. . .] against the radical rebels – that is, the Zealots – whom he believed had destroyed the Temple and the state”), 346–55; Lindner, Geschichtsauffassung des Flavius Josephus im Bellum Judaicum, 18–20, 142–50.  Sources and inspirations: Ladouceur, “The Language of Josephus,” 18–38; Luz, “Eleazar’s Second Speech on Masada,” 25–43. Ideology: Saulnier, “Flavius Josèphe et la propagande flavienne,” 199–221; Stern, “Josephus and the Roman Empire,”: Agrippa’s speech reflects a combination of Thucydidean realism and traditional Jewish views (78).  Price, “The Failure of Rhetoric”.

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


world-views. Ancient rhetoric was not, after all, designed for the expression of sincere views.8 Persuasion required attention to one’s audience and their capacity to receive.9 Aristotle and Plutarch agreed that a political leader must be frank and truthful, but only with peers and not in public orations. Speeches to the masses require a measure of deception or dissimulation, a principle still cherished by modern politicians. This assumption creates the conditions of irony or “playfulness” of language. I have argued, accordingly, that we should not draw direct lines between any speech that Josephus writes for a character and his sincere views. But saying this much leaves open the question of how speeches advance the narrative in particular cases. In considering these five speeches in the first half of Josephus’ War, Book 4, I shall illustrate their “playful” character, even in their seriousness, and suggest ways in which they serve the unfolding drama.

3 Five Characters and their Speeches in War 4 3.1 Vespasian at Gamala (4.40–48) 241 words In spite of the common impression that War is a Flavian product, Vespasian does not appear until nearly half-way through (Book 3), and Josephus’ portraits of him differ from those of the conquering hero of Flavian myth. Josephus’ audiences did not need a Judaean to introduce the current emperor to them. Flavian propaganda was everywhere, in a city undergoing an Augustus-like reconstruction following the Great Fire of 64, Nero’s abortive building projects thereafter, and the devastating civil wars. His audiences were presumably more interested in hearing how this Judaean, who had lived to tell the tale of facing the great man in battle, would portray events of which the outcome was clear, which had vaulted Vespasian to power, and which were endlessly celebrated around the city, indeed around the empire in ever-new coin series. Not surprisingly, Josephus exploits Vespasian’s well-known image to enhance his own and that of his people. That is the frame of War 3, for example. Josephus interrupts his description of Vespasian’s imposing order of battle, as he leads 60,000 professional soldiers into Galilee (Bel. 3.64–69, 115–26), for a digression on the legions, which claims that they have never been beaten (3.70–109). Although this is obviously untrue (Roman legions had met disaster at Carrhae in 53 BCE and in the Teutoburg forest in 9 CE, not to mention in devastating civil wars), it

 Mason, “Speech-Making in Ancient Rhetoric”.  Aristotle, Eth. nic. 1124b; Plutarch, Prae. ger. reip. 799b–801e. Cf. Mason, “Figured Speech”.


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heightens the drama of Josephus’ own predicament. He has allegedly been tasked (Vita 28–29 modifies the story) with defending Galilee – without soldiers. He claims to have trained an army of 60,000, but they vanish at the first rumour of the Romans’ arrival (Bel. 3.129). What can he do now against the mighty commander and this massive unbeatable force? The digression heightens the drama of his doomed efforts. Josephus disarmingly confesses that he tried to flee Iotapata and save his life (Bel. 3.194–204), but once compelled to stay he managed to keep the Romans at bay for over a month – by a series of Caesar-like tricks and deceptions (cf. Frontinus, Strategemata) – before the inevitable end. One of Josephus’ men even hit Vespasian with an arrow in the foot, and the sight of the commander’s blood caused sheer panic among the legions. Titus’ frantic concern exacerbated their terror, though tough old Vespasian brushed it off (3.236–39). In sharp contrast to this legionary sensitivity, when Vespasian captures a prisoner and has him tortured, burned, and crucified, this ordinary Judaean of Iotapata, who is no trained soldier, meets death with the calm smile typical of the national character (3.321–22). All of this supports War’s theme of the Judaeans’ masculine toughness, against the prevailing denigration of his people in post-war Rome (1.1–8). The siege of Gamala occurs, according to Josephus, because, after Vespasian has quickly finished a perfunctory campaign in Galilee (by ca. 1 July 67), his hostally King Agrippa II requests help with unrest in the lakeside cities that Nero recently granted the king, which were otherwise not on Vespasian’s itinerary. Many residents of Tiberias and Tarichea are not happy about falling under the absent king’s ownership. They had joined other cities in sending delegations to welcome Vespasian and Agrippa at Ptolemais (Vita 410). so they apparently wish no problems with Rome, but there is a potent strain of anti-Agrippa feeling among the sailors and traders. We do not know the exact causes, but disadvantageous changes in the economic situation and/or Judaean law are not hard to imagine (cf. Vita 36–42, 64–66). Vespasian, grateful for Agrippa’s hospitality, recalls his army from winter quarters, to which he had sent them early – at Scythopolis and coastal Caesarea – in order to intimidate the towns into coughing up their trouble-makers. He will not attack the cities as such, so as not to damage his friend’s possessions (3.443–46). He captures and destroys many culprits, but some escape to the natural fortress of Gamala across the lake in the Golan, which has also had issues with Agrippa. It will become Vespasian’s last stop in the north, in late September 67, before he resumes his focus on Jerusalem. Josephus’ portrait of Vespasian to this point does not contradict his image in Rome as a no-nonsense commander, who enjoys the respect of his soldiers and is

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


personally tough.10 Josephus builds on this picture from his experience, but to serve his narrative interests. Vespasian is, in keeping with Roman tradition, riskaverse in using his precious legionary troops. He prefers to win by intimidation and manoeuvre, though he is happy to let them burn the villages of unarmed, fleeing foreigners, for the sake of display violence and revenge for Cestius’ ambush (Bel. 3.132–34). Although he was sent to take over the late Cestius Gallus’ planned return to Jerusalem in force (3.1–5), Vespasian lingers for a year in the north (67 CE), evidently in no hurry to reach the Judaean capital. Even in early 68 he does not rush to the highland objective, but encircles Judaea, increasing the sense of terror as his army tightens the noose with garrisons a day’s march in each direction from Jerusalem. All the while he takes conspicuous care of his soldiers, maintaining their morale in this alien environment, attentive to their needs for rest and recreation in the region’s Graeco-Roman cities. They fight only where they have an overwhelming advantage, in sieges with easy resupply or in open terrain where the cavalry can run down motley enemies. Vespasian’s risk-aversion becomes surprisingly clear in Josephus’ portrait of his rise to imperial power at the end of the volume (Bel. 4.588–663). After rejecting as too dangerous the acclamation of his soldiers as imperator, when they force him to oblige their ambitions at sword-point, he claims – in June – that he cannot possibly travel to Rome in “winter”, then proposes that the way to defeat Vitellius is not to fight him (the reason the soldiers acclaimed him) but to cut off the grain supply from Alexandria. Then he sends Mucianus to lead his army in Italy, as he waits things out in Alexandria for nearly a year – until the war in Italy is won and all possible challenges removed. None of this matches Flavian image-making. Josephus’ Vespasian – the man turned 60 in November 69 CE – is well aware of the succession problem that has plagued his predecessors, and carefully prepares his not yet 30-year-old son for rule by giving him a series of graduated responsibilities. These begin with command of the Fifteenth Legion at just 27 and end with the siege of Jerusalem at 30, under the tutelage of such senior advisors as Philo’s nephew Tiberius Julius Alexander (Bel. 5.45–46). At each stage, even for this biggest test, Titus’ father remains nearby (in Alexandria). Josephus’ Vespasian is not only supremely cautious, but also a ready liar and deceiver, as all generals need(ed) to be. For example, he tries to get Josephus to leave the cave at Iotapata with claims about his great respect for the Judaean defender and pledges of safety, which Josephus wisely mistrusts. When he does finally surrender, not because he believes Vespasian but because he is confident of divine protection, Josephus claims that he would in fact have been killed on entering the

 Cf. Suetonius, Vespasianus; Tacitus, e.g. Hist. 1.50; 2.1, 4–5, 78–80.


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Roman camp, had Titus not intervened with his cold-hearted father (Bel. 3.345–54, 392–99). Later, Vespasian promises those whom he arrests in Taricheae safe passage out of the city, but then proceeds to kill the old and weak while sending the fitter men as slaves for Nero’s canal project at Corinth (3.532–42). Against this background, the siege of Gamala is an oddity, though an understandable one. When Vespasian arrives, with a sizeable force and Agrippa as leading figure, Titus is on a diplomatic visit to Mucianus in the north. Vespasian, with his massed force in the middle of nowhere and no established supply lines in the changing autumn weather (they must forage), wants the operation over quickly. Since his army is many times the size of the helpless resident population, Agrippa approaches the walls in hopes of persuading the residents to give up the town and its refugees. When the king is injured by a stone from a defiant resident (4.14), however, an indignant Vespasian decides on a direct, violent assault. His men quickly batter a hole in the weakest part of the wall and pour in, screaming battle-cries (4.20). Once inside, however, they find themselves in trouble, in the town’s steep and narrow alleyways. Josephus claims that most of them die, because men keep pouring through the breach but those in front cannot keep advancing. Defenders are on the top ridge firing rocks and arrows downward. The soldiers have nowhere to escape with the pressure from behind. Eager Vespasian has himself advanced up the hill without realising it (4.31). Eventually, soldiers at the rear exit through the breach, leaving Vespasian almost alone near the summit. While giving cover to the few men around him, he manages to walk backward, skilfully but perilously, down the slope and also to flee through the gap in the wall. When Titus returns, according to Josephus, he is appalled at the costly fiasco (4.70). Gamala will fall, of course, but only after Titus leads a more cautious attack: undermining the watchtower at night, causing panic, and entering by stealth with a small detachment. Vespasian follows up, as he had always done in support of his son, when the advance party is secure. The first speech of War 4, then, comes from Vespasian after the debacle at Gamala before Titus’ arrival. His army is despondent, because they are not used to setbacks and because they have left him in the lurch. Vespasian does not immediately rub salt in their wounds by accusing them, but opens with airy reflections on the nature of war. Fortune always moves from one side to the other – as unmentioned Polybius had shown. They need to be Stoic (my term), face this temporary defeat, and press on regardless. Victory will come! Vespasian gives no credit to the Judaean side, insisting only that his men learn how to manage fortune’s turns (4.43). This is not Josephus’ view, which celebrates the strong sites and stout hearts of Judaeans. Given the nature of rhetoric, the speech may not even be supposed to represent Vespasian’s real views. He must encourage his troops. Untrained Judaean irregulars

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


have given them a serious bloody nose. Vespasian blames the terrain at first, but a competent force would have taken that into account. His diplomacy wears out quickly, at any rate, as he turns to direct criticism. They should never have got themselves trapped in such a predicament, he scolds. They should have controlled the terrain and forced the enemy to come to them, to fight where they had the advantage. A half-critical reader realises that this sounds fishy and self-serving, for Vespasian himself not only planned the assault but personally led it. Following his own logic, he should be as guilty as anyone of losing situational awareness, finding himself vulnerable at the hilltop where the enemy has a decisive advantage. His men are at least full of remorse for their failings, whereas he drills down on their guilt with no recognition that his escapade has caused many deaths. Josephus does not spell out such criticisms, of course, but anyone willing to look between the lines would see them. Vespasian is normally a highly competent commander, according to Josephus and all other sources. But in this case, the circumstances – anger at the injury to Agrippa, impatience at an isolated site, and over-confidence in his strength – led to rashness. Above all, he did not reckon with Judaean courage and the qualities of their site. He deflects criticism onto his soldiers, however, to buck up their morale for another round. It fits with Josephus’ view of the power of rhetoric (cf. Eleazar’s second speech at Masada) that the pep talk achieves its aim.11 Notice three features of the speech. First, it is unmistakably Josephus’ composition, full of his thematic language about fortune’s twists and turns. Reversals of fortune constitute a root theme in War, announced in the prologue (1.9–12), and King Herod has made very similar remarks to his troops after a reverse (1.373–79). Second, the speech is not transportable to any other place in War, but suits this commander at this moment. It is brief, dense, and terse – laconic in Spartan-like simplicity. Its language is that of a commander in combat. Vespasian describes easy victories in the past, uses the wrestling-word πταῖσμα (stumble, fall) for this little setback, digresses on the nature of combat, and otherwise invokes the simple and clear language of masculine virtue or valour (ἀρετή), eschewing any softness, and of spirit, nerve, tactics, charging, vigour, and victory. He may stretch the truth in referring to the μυριάδας of Judaeans the soldiers have killed already (4.41). Finally, notice the AB-A structure. Vespasian opens and closes the speech with attention to himself. He suppresses his self-regard at the beginning, though Josephus remarks that it is on his mind. But he concludes by promising that he will be there, personally risking his body, in the next round. This fits with the rhetorical imperative that one

 See Mason, “Speech-Making”.


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end a speech on a high emotional note, which such a pledge of personal sacrifice achieves better than anything else.

3.2 Ananus II in Jerusalem (4.162–92) 832 words Although the next speech is more than three times as long, it boasts a similar A-BA structure. Here the speaker is Ananus II, who served a brief term as high priest four years before hostilities broke out in Jerusalem. Many of his class reportedly fled the city after the ambush of Cestius’ legion in 66 and affirmed their loyalty to Rome – even more do so when Vespasian reaches Caesarea in late 67. Meanwhile, the men who rebuffed and attacked Cestius have elected leaders to help Jerusalem deal with whatever is to come now. Tellingly, they keep the most vigorous fighters out of leadership positions, electing the chief priest Ananus and a prominent Pharisee (Bel. 2.562–68) – perhaps because they trust such men to both care for the city (cf. 2.411–15) and find a safe way forward. After all, their violence against the auxiliary garrison and Cestius’ force was provoked by the brutality of Nero’s agent Gessius Florus, not by a deeper anti-Roman animus. The situation now, at any rate, is that even as many residents of Jerusalem have fled, Ananus faces the growing contra flow mentioned earlier. A steady current of migrants from the villages, who do not feel safe with the legions roaming the countryside (whatever their outlooks or motives), are seeking refuge in the mother-city’s thick walls. Some are coating their flight in glory by posturing as brave fighters, haranguing others to embrace “freedom” instead of slavery to these advancing Romans and claiming to be national saviours. Like many wouldbe revolutionaries, however, they are effectively enslaving their fellow-Judaeans, seeking to shame those who do not accept their leadership, portraying them as traitors. Although they would not dream of facing the legions in combat, they find it easy to elevate their standing inside Jerusalem’s walls by claiming to be champions in a brave struggle. Chief among these imports is John son of Leius, from Gischala in northern Galilee.12 John evidently hoped that the Flavians would ignore his town and let him alone, and he nearly succeeded. But when Titus arrived outside with 1,000 cavalrymen, after Vespasian returned the army to winter quarters, John used a ruse to escape overnight and make his way to Jerusalem with a band of others. Upon reaching Jerusalem, after a desperate flight and losing many en route, John boldly claims that he has come for a final reckoning with Rome, for even Rome’s

 See Rappaport, ‫יוחנן מגוש חלב‬.

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


army could never surmount Jerusalem’s walls! Some believe him, especially young men, whereas mature people shudder at what this portends. Although John then pretends to ally himself with Ananus’ efforts to keep calm, becoming his trusted aide, he secretly insinuates himself into leadership of the “Zealots” (or Disciples of Eleazar son of Simon), who have a base among the younger priests on the temple esplanade. With greater or lesser coordination, they begin to assault, rob, and eventually murder Judaeans who oppose their leadership (Bel. 4.92–161). The speech of Ananus comes after Josephus has given many examples of the Zealot-led crimes. Among the most serious, for the proud establishment-priest Josephus, is their replacement of the serving high priest, from a traditional highpriestly family, with a country priest whom they choose by lot (Bel. 4.131–57). The speech by Ananus has correspondences with Vespasian’s. For example, both begin with a reference to the speaker’s courage and isolation. Both proceed with an analysis of the enemy and the reasons for understandable fear on the part of their addressees, which the speaker tries to negate. Both evoke the spirit of righteous vengeance for injuries caused by that adversary, and conclude with the speaker’s rousing pledge to be in the forefront of the fight. Nevertheless, the speech of Ananus occupies a completely different literary register and its diction, tone, and themes differ accordingly. I limit myself to four observations. First, as a former high priest would, Ananus focuses on the temple, the dignity of the high priesthood, the sacred spaces, and their fateful pollution by the Zealots. Josephus frames the speech with Ananus looking toward the temple with tears, because the Zealots have turned the holy place into a tyrant fortress (4.151). His opening appeal is that “murder-polluted feet” have entered the sanctuary, and lingers on his own high-priestly status. He continually returns to the temple, using it also for his emotional ending as he calls upon the citizens to fight the Zealots and be willing, if necessary, to die at the sacred gates (4.191–92). Nevertheless, second, Josephus interweaves Ananus’ priestly temple focus with a worldly-wise, statesman-like outlook. He does this in part by frequent allusions to the speeches of the fourth-century BCE orator Demosthenes, in particular Demosthenes’ speeches against Philip II of Macedon: the Philippics. In Flavian Rome Demosthenes was intensively studied as the consummate Greek orator, a model for Cicero, Quintilian, Pliny, and many others, and Josephus elsewhere shows affinities with his style.13 Not long after Josephus’ War, Plutarch will advise a young man entering politics (Prae. ger. reip. 802d–803b):  Cf. after Cicero’s abundant citation of Demosthenes and admission that the Philippics have been his model of statesman-like discourse (Att. 2.1.3), Pliny, Nat. 33.25; Quintilian, Inst. 2.5.16; 3.8.65; 6.5.6–8; Valerius Maximus 8.7 (ext.).1 and Dio Chrysostom, Or. 2.19. Cf. Marrou, A History of Education in Antiquity, 168; Cribiore, Gymnastics of the Mind, 38, 144.


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They say that one cannot control a wolf by the ears, but a populace and a polis one must lead chiefly by the ears. [. . .] [Those who try to rule by means of bread and circuses are treating the people as ‘wild animals’ (ἀλόγων ζῷων), 802e.] Leading a populace means leading those who are persuaded by speech [or: reason, διὰ λόγου]. [. . .] Political speech [. . .] allows maxims, histories, tales, and metaphors, by which those who use them can especially move their audiences – in a calibrated way and at the right moment [. . .] On the whole, dignity and grandeur are more suited to political speech, for example the Philippics [by Demosthenes] and, among the orations in Thucydides . . . .

Although he did not know Plutarch’s essay, Josephus gives Ananus a speech that matches these prescriptions, even down to the image of a populace as wild animals (Bel. 4.170; Plutarch, Prae. ger. reip. 802e), taking Demosthenes as a partial model. In the Philippics, singled out by Plutarch, Demosthenes tries to rouse the Athenians to protect their city against encroachment by Philip. He points out how the tyrant has gradually advanced throughout Greece, even “ensconcing a tyranny” in Euboea to intimidate Athens (Phil. 4.8). Demosthenes’ Third Philippic in particular anticipates Ananus. Both men essentially plead: “What are you waiting for? You have stood by and watched as the tyrants have steadily increased their insults and outrages, from the mild to the worrying to the dangerous. They have succeeded so far because of our disunity. If we wait any longer it will be too late and they will be on top of us. We must unite now and face our duty. If we stand up to tyranny, we will be able to stop it. They will back down in the face of our united strength. Otherwise, we are condemning ourselves to slavery.” Allusions to Demosthenes are clear not only in the general content but also in specific phrases, such as the dumb animals metaphor (4.170) and the ensconced tyranny (4.172, from the 4th Philippic, its authenticity being irrelevant for this question). In Josephus’ narrative, Ananus’ promise of success turns out to be true – for a time. He manages to raise a citizen army that outnumbers the Zealots and drives them into the temple compound, hemming them in. The Zealots are on the verge of surrender, in that hopeless situation, when they get word out to Idumaean fighters to come to their aid. The arrival of these ferocious fighters from the south, ready to ally with John and the Zealots, will spell the death of Ananus and the beginning of the chaos that will spell bring Jerusalem’s end. Third, in keeping with the sophistication of the allusions to Demosthenes, which Josephus’ audience should recognise, Ananus speaks at a far higher level of sophistication than Vespasian had with his troops. Donna Runnalls has shown that this speech and the one following by Ananus’ colleague Jesus satisfy the requirements of the grand or elevated style described in Demetrius’ later work On Style. Namely, Ananus uses contrasts between elaborate and short, sharp periods and questions, with long syllables predominating, frequent superlatives, such

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


figures of speech as asyndeton (omission of conjunctions) and aposiopesis (concision by the omission of understood words), and a diction that is “rarefied, strange, and distinctly unfamiliar’ (Eloc. 77).14 Examples of strange vocabulary abound. Most striking are σεβάσμιος (‘august’, 4.163), ἀκαταιτίατος (‘uncharged’, 4.169), and προσθάλπω (‘find warm comfort’, 4.172), which are either first or only attested here in ancient Greek literature. Other terms – ἐπιστένω (‘utter a groan’, 4.165), ἀναφανδά (‘in the open’ 4.165), ἀνεξικακία (‘putting up with wrongdoing’, 4.166), ἀλιτήριος (‘deviant’, 4.168), φιλόδουλος and φιλοδέσποτος (‘slavery- and mastery-lover’, 4.175), ἐμπεριπατέω (‘amble about’, 4.183), βεβαιωτής (‘guarantor’, 4.184) – are extremely rare and elegant formations, befitting Ananus’ stature. The image of honing or whetting one’s soul for defence against mortal danger (τὰς ψυχὰς [. . .] θηξετε πρòς τὴν ἄμυναν) seems borrowed from Xenophon (Mem. 3.3.7; Cyr. 1.2.10, 6.41; 2.1.11, 20), another esteemed author in first-century Rome, while the resonant phrase “longing for freedom” (ἐλευθερίας ἐπιθυμία) may be Josephus’ appealing coinage. Ananus is, fourth and finally, in spite of his unique way of speaking, a carrier of ongoing themes initiated in War’s prologue (1.9–12): tragic calamities (συμφοραί), sufferings (πάθη), and groaning (ἐπιστένω) or lamentation, and the deviant, profane, or obnoxious men (οἱ ἀλιτήριοι), synonymous with the scoundrels (οἱ πονηροί) at 4.187, tyrants (τύραννοι) who have caused these evils by preying upon the cowed mass of the people. No audience could fail to notice that this oration is woven from the threads of Josephus’ War. But it is in no sense a flat ideological statement that could be dropped anywhere. And it does not simply reflect Josephus’ outlook. He crafts a fitting speech for Ananus that applies his themes to this unique situation in late 67 CE, as part of the tragic build-up to the speaker’s murder. The speech could only have been given by Ananus, or someone in the same position such as his colleague Jesus.

3.3 Jesus son of Gamalas at Jerusalem’s Gate (4.238–69) 886 words Jesus’ turn comes later, and many of the same observations hold for his effort. His oration occurs when a reported 20,000-strong Idumaean force (2,000 would be impressive and more plausible) arrives at Jerusalem’s western gate, after being secretly summoned by the Zealots. It is curious that Josephus gives this speech to Ananus’ colleague, who wore the high-priestly robes just two or three years before the story time (Ant. 20.213, 223), though they are both present in the tower watching

 Runnalls, “Speeches,” 108–11.


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the Idumaeans’ arrival (4.238), and Josephus later remarks that Ananus was the more impressive of the two (4.322). Although Jesus may have given a speech at this point, we might guess that on the occasion, if anything of the kind happened, there were many spontaneous exchanges between the two chief priests and the Idumaeans below them, which Josephus has honed into a neat speech and given it to Jesus son of Gamalas for the sake of variety. Like that of Ananus, this one exhibits the grand or elevated style described by Demetrius and suits a high priest’s dignity of subject and language. Arresting vocabulary comes thick and fast. In a single sentence (4.241–42) we have κατασωτεύομαι (‘squander’, first attestation in the TLG, and rare later), παρεισρέω (‘trickle in’, 3 earlier attestations), λεληθότως (‘imperceptibly’, 15 earlier), ἀβέβηλος (‘inviolable’, first known user), and ἐμμεθύσκομαι (‘act like a drunk’, the only attestation in ancient literature). The rest is sprinkled with striking compounds: ἐξαγριόω (‘brutalise’) and λογοποιέω (‘write speeches’) in 4.246, ἐπίπλαστος (‘fabricated’) at 247, ἀπόρθητος (‘unravaged’) at 248, συναναστρέφω (‘wholly occupied’, 4.253), ἀποστατέω (‘keep aloof from’, 255), συνεξαιρέω (‘root out’, 258), προαικίζομαι (‘torture beforehand’, 259), μελανειμονέω (‘dress in black’, 260), νεανιεύομαι (‘strut like an adolescent’) and στρατολογέω (‘enlist for combat’) in 263, συναγανακτέω (‘share indignation’) in 264, διακαλύπτω instead of ἀποκαλύπτω (‘expose’) and προσοικέω (‘station against’) at 268, εὔγνωμος (‘agreeable’) at 269. Even the simple-looking compound προσπωλέω in 248 (‘sell out to’), is attested only here in Greek literature. The result is an elegant speech suited to a figure of such dignity and culture. Its diction is matched by an impressive rhetorical structure. Whereas Ananus’ oration was aimed at persuasion to action, and marshalled every moral, practical, and pious consideration to that end, this is a speech of dissuasion. Like Agrippa II in Book 2, Jesus begins with the declared intention of his audience and proceeds to dismantle it by an exercise in logic-chopping. His premise: the Zealots have summoned the Idumaeans to enter the city and support them against Ananus and Jesus. The Idumaeans have naively accepted, however, the Zealots’ purity of intention. Jesus opens by expressing astonishment at the unprecedented spectacle of their presence in arms outside the mother-city, before taking apart their motives and intentions. Immediately we are reminded of the lack of sincerity in all rhetoric, for Jesus’ first gambit is to drive a wedge between the Idumaeans and the men they have come to help, whom he writes off as criminals and scum deserving 10,000 deaths: mere murderers and robbers who have invaded the holy ground, behaving as drunks in the sacred precinct. This looks duplicitous to Josephus’ literary audience because he has portrayed the Idumaeans themselves in not dissimilar colours, as innately violent men who live for fighting and killing (Bel. 4.231).

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


Josephus’ literary audience might have expected Jesus, therefore, to lash out at the interlopers as fellow-scum. Instead, he opens with honeyed words and a soft approach by pleading that such virtuous men could surely have nothing in common with those who called them. In 4.244, Jesus moves to the central question of their motives. Why have they come? Here Josephus faces a small problem, in that he has reported that the Zealots’ letter was a secret (4,228–32, 236). How, then, could Jesus know to analyse their motives? Josephus’ clever solution (4.245) is to say that the two chief priests have heard the words “Romans” and “betrayal” thrown about by the assembled Idumaeans, along with “freedom of the mother-city”. Joining the necessary dots, they have reconstructed the Zealots’ appeal. Jesus can now deconstruct, so to speak, the claims that he and his colleagues are planning secret dealings with Vespasian, while the Zealots are concerned with Jerusalem’s freedom. He begins with a classic argument from probability (4.246–47), which is to say, one based on character. Look at the character of the parties involved, and decide which is trustworthy: the chief priests or the murderous Zealots. He then (4.248) extends this to an argument from honour: he and Ananus would indeed have preferred peace from the start, but for them to beg the Romans for an accommodation now, after a year of Jerusalem’s resistance, would be a disgrace. Next (4.251) he begins the logic-chopping, forcing the audience repeatedly to make choices and demolishing each option: it must be either X or Y, but either is absurd. For example, if the Zealots claim that they have been secretly negotiating, they must believe either that the leaders contacted the Romans with no one else knowing or that it was a public decision to do so. Either possibility is unbelievable given the physical circumstances. Nearing the half-way point of the speech (4.258), Jesus turns from abstract arguments to the concrete situation: Here you are in arms outside Jerusalem. What are you going to do? You have three options. First, you are welcome to enter the city with us and see what is actually happening, which is not as you have been told. When you see the devastation caused by the Zealots, you (being fine fellows) will join us in destroying those deviants (4.264). Or second, if you do not trust us and want to find out for yourselves alone, as impartial judges, drop your weapons outside and we shall let you go and look. You will come out convinced of our cause. Third, if you do not like either of those options, and remain convinced that we are treating with the Romans, you can stay outside with your weapons and monitor all access roads, to see whether anyone is communicating with Vespasian in Caesarea. These are the reasonable options we can offer. If you cannot accept any of them, you will have to sit here and stew. The speech by Jesus is a tour de force, its relentless logic matched by elegant turns of phrase and the gradual move from diplomatic flattery of the Idumaeans


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to tough-minded confrontation from an assumed position of strength and truth. In this too there is an echo of Vespasian’s movement from consoling, abstract concerns, to scolding his troops.

3.4 Simon son of Cathlas, Idumaean Leader at the Gate (4.271–83) 267 words Just as Josephus gives Jesus a speech befitting his dignity and culture, so he scripts for the Idumaean commander Simon a speech suited to such a man. Notice Josephus’ language at 4.270: although Jesus spoke such words as these (τοιαῦτα) – Josephus is congratulating himself for Jesus’ impressive analysis – the Idumaean ruffians are distinctly unimpressed. Such elevated moral reasoning and fancy diction flies far above their heads. It does not belong to their world. True to form as thugs, they are only annoyed at being delayed from entering the city. Josephus chooses one of their leaders, Simon, to convey the group sentiment. This is another artful composition, but for a very different kind of speaker. The complete absence of fancy talk suits a military commander more used to the direct style of Vespasian, though without his philosophical refinements. The only thing Simon took from Jesus’ brilliance was that it oozed arrogant dissimulation (279): Who can tolerate such εἰρωνεία, he asks, when we can see that the truth is the opposite of what Jesus claims? The “tyrants” in Jerusalem are obviously not the men who are besieged in the temple, but the ones who are besieging them in the holy place and who are barring entry to Idumaeans, though they have always enjoyed free access. Simon sees right through Jesus’ attempt to flatter the Idumaeans – as if the chief priest Jesus could ever have trusted them as impartial judges. So 4.274: You say you would trust us to be fair judges, but you want to disarm us first. Some trust! You are the ones throwing your weight around, obviously planning to reach terms with the Romans. You are traitors, and if we have the chance we will kill you. Simon minces no words and is incapable of irony, deception, or indirection. Believing that this is a straightforward issue of freedom and honour, he will violently but justly oppose the tyranny of Jesus and Co. His speech is thus an exercise in sarcasm and ridicule. Its only fancy words are those he throws back at Jesus, as in 4.280: those whom you call “most distinguished” and “uncharged” (ἐπισημους κα`ι ἀκαταιτιάτους). It is impressive that Josephus would devote such care to crafting compelling speeches for such distinctive characters. The audience is drawn in, even by Simon’s speech, which seems to have a point. This happens elsewhere. The speech that Josephus writes for Korach when he leads a popular rebellion against Moses’

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


authority, appealing to democracy and against authoritarianism (Ant. 4.14–23), might also sound more appealing to post-Enlightenment readers than Moses’ response based on divine authority (4.24–34). Although Josephus is quite capable of ridiculing Zealots, Idumaeans, or false prophets without concern for their motives, he can add depth to his narrative by scripting such speeches for his characters, sometimes creating duelling perspectives as Thucydides and Sallust did.

3.5 A Rogue Disciple Blows the Whistle (4.345–52) 173 words Josephus’ care makes our final example one of the most intriguing speeches in his corpus. As for style and vocabulary, this one is brief and direct, like that of Vespasian, but with a tone of trusting intimacy. The diction and main point, though supposedly from a Zealot, reprises terms that have been used by Ananus, Jesus, and Josephus as narrator: mother-polis, betrayal, tyranny, brazen acts, internecine murder, undoing the ancestral ways, the destruction of the citizenry, unbridled savagery, crimes, ensconced tyranny, and vile people. It is a crucially important speech because it is the vehicle through which the Idumaean fighters, whose entry into Jerusalem has now had its disastrous effects, are persuaded to leave in disgust. It is thus a recognition scene, in tragic terms. A Zealot decides to reveal that the Idumaeans were in fact called to the city under false pretences, as Jesus had said. They have committed terrible crimes under this illusion, thinking that they were doing unpleasant but necessary and righteous work. Now they must depart immediately, or they will face serious consequences, and leave the Zealots who deceived them to bear the sole blame for the carnage in the capital. What is strange about the speech? Almost everything. 1.) The speaker has no name, though it is Josephus’ practice otherwise to name speakers and give a specific context to significant speeches. 2.) The content is highly implausible from a Zealot, because it requires a level of wholesale self-criticism that no Zealot could express and remain part of the group. Its three main points echo charges made by Jesus against the Zealots when he was trying keep the Idumaeans out. 3.) First (347–48), the Zealots’ assertion that Ananus and Jesus were negotiating with Romans – the pretext that brought the Idumaeans – is exposed as a lie. The Idumaeans by now know that they have seen no evidence of such intended betrayal. Incidentally, this speech, like that of Vespasian and Ananus, has an A-B-A structure, in which betrayal to the Romans is the first point (4.347) and reiterated


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in the conclusion (4.352). The Idumaeans had no grievances against Ananus and Jesus, aside from that slander by the Zealots and their annoyance at being kept outside the walls in the winter. But the men who ordered that are now dead at their hands, and they have no further grievances in the city. So they must leave. 4.) The whistle-blower’s second point is that the Idumaeans have witnessed heinous crimes committed by the Zealots alone, not by Ananus and Jesus, again exactly as Jesus promised, if they could see for themselves. Accusing the chief priests was the Zealots’ ploy to deflect attention from their own murderous brutality. Again, Josephus’ audience must ask, how could a Zealot make such confessions? 5.) The third point assumes that the Idumaeans have been fairly innocent observers of this, and men completely unlike the contemptible Zealots – again as Jesus flattered them in the opening part of his speech, though the literary audience knew that not to be true. After seeing the Zealots in action, the Idumaeans have begun reconsidering their alliance (4.345), and now this actual Zealot is urging them to follow their instinct and leave, to avoid complicity in the Zealots’ crimes. This flatly contradicts Josephus’ narrative, however, which has portrayed Idumaeans as “savage by nature and given to murder” (4.310; cf. 4.231) and detailed their furious bloodletting (4.305–315). They have provided the lethal muscle for the Zealots, murdering without qualms everyone they encountered, making members of the elite suffer gruesome tortures, and killing the common people of Jerusalem like a herd of unclean animals (3.326–27). Until the set-up line of this speech (4.345), Josephus has given no hint of second thoughts among the Idumaeans. Now he says that the recent killing spree has got to them and made them regret their presence (τῆς παρουσίας μετέμελε κα`ι προσίστατο). Again, how could a Zealot flatter the Idumaeans in this way while denigrating his own group as criminals? 6.) A final puzzle is that, although the Idumaeans are now said to leave en masse at the Zealot’s urging, a few paragraphs later (4.566) we find them in Jerusalem still, tiring of John of Gischala’s tyranny and breaking from him. This suggests that Josephus has created the mass departure of the Idumaeans as a literary book-end to their massed arrival, to serve his isolation of the Zealots as chief culprits. This oddity highlights the artificiality of the speech. It seems to me that we face a stark choice in trying to understand this speech. Either Josephus, who has exercised such extraordinary care with the other speeches, just gave up and created a completely implausible episode to move the story along, or he retained his craftiness and intended something more subtle on the part of the Disciples. We cannot reject the former possibility out of hand, since many passages, especially in the later volumes of Antiquities and the Vita but also in the central

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


books of War, leave puzzling loose ends or make implausible claims. Nevertheless, we should try to make sense of his moves where we can, especially since the preceding speeches have been so attentively designed. In this case, what he says in his narrator’s voice before and after the speech might offer clues. Just before the speech he does say, albeit without prior hints in this vein, that Idumaeans were reconsidering their presence. Historically speaking, this is not implausible, putting aside ideological or moral concerns. This was, after all, a military expedition for the Idumaeans, with an objective: removing the native leaders and handing power to the Zealots led by John. The Idumaeans reportedly regretted coming already when Jesus and Ananus locked them out. Compare Cestius Gallus’ decision to leave a year earlier, with a larger army, when he found the city gates locked. The Idumaeans persisted only because they were too ashamed to return home empty-handed (4.284–85). In the unfolding story, it stands to reason they would think of returning to their families once the objective has been accomplished. They have dispatched many native leaders and given the Zealots control. It is also psychologically plausible that a group from outside might have come to resent their hosts after such a spree of killing, in which they were expected to do the dirty work for the others’ benefit, even if they believed it necessary at first. Likewise from the other side, immediately after the Idumaeans leave Josephus claims that, whereas the populace hoped this would bring an end to violence in the city, the Zealots became yet more intent on killing prominent targets, including the popular figures Gourion and Niger the Peraean (4.354–65). They are happy to be relieved of the Idumaeans because they were nagging critics, according to Josephus. This too is not historically implausible. Niger was not part of the chief-priestly group that the Zealots had wanted the Idumaeans to remove. Niger had served as governor of Idumaea, before the defensive preparations of late 66 (2.566). He was likely known to the Idumaeans and possibly respected by them. After all, he fought bravely in Judaea’s interests, leading the attacks on Ascalon (3.20, 28). He was trusted and loved by the people of Jerusalem, at least. It is conceivable, therefore, that the Idumaeans drew the line at killing such men. If so, their departure would have given the Zealots a freer hand to dispatch additional enemies, whom they considered threats to their control but the Idumaeans would not touch. If we reconsider the speech from this perspective, we might read it not as a clumsy plot device from Josephus but as a clever ploy by his Zealots to get rid of their Idumaean allies, once they have outworn their usefulness. Just as Jesus had absurdly flattered them in order to keep them out, the Zealots (led by the wily and scheming John of Gischala) concoct a plan to persuade them to leave. Just as secret messengers had invited them in, a secret messenger now spills the “truth” to persuade them to leave. If the Zealots had wanted them to stay, after all, the


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smart play would have been to implicate the Idumaeans in their crimes: You are up to your necks in this with us, so you cannot leave now. We will blame you for all the violence in the city until now. Compare the complex arguments that Josephus registers among John’s followers at Bel. 4.390–94: some wanted John as leader; some disliked him but stayed so that he would receive all the blame for their crimes; others left because they could not bear his tyranny, though they knew that he could implicate them in earlier crimes and so felt they had to destroy him. There, however, John wants the Zealots to stay. If the Zealots here want the Idumaeans gone, it could make sense to tack in the opposite way. If many Idumaeans were getting restless anyway, and friction was increasing over the Zealots’ still-planned victims, the Zealots might have wanted to persuade them that staying around would involve them with the Zealots’ “crimes”, including those ahead that the Idumaeans cannot support. Why don’t they leave, then, and wash their hands of the whole business? Since the Zealots do not consider their actions crimes, of course, this understanding of the speech would see it as wholly ironic. But irony pervaded ancient rhetoric, and Josephus’ works provide numerous examples of ironic speech. So that is not a problem. I cannot claim certainty for this interpretation of such a surprising speech, but it seems to me much more likely that Josephus intended another Zealot deception than that he suddenly forgot his art and gave this one Zealot a naïve perspective that clumsily echoed that of Jesus at the gate, with no regard for scene or situation.

4 Conclusions My conclusions are straightforward. First, although Josephus wrote all the speeches in his corpus, he did not use them in a mechanical way, to reflect his own or anyone else’s ideology. He was alive to the possibilities of rhetoric and took the trouble to draft a suitable oration for each character: the style and vocabulary each would use, as well as the tone – somber seriousness, intimate confidentiality, encouragement, condescension, or sarcasm. He recognised the opportunities that speeches afforded him and, unlike Polybius, took full advantage of their dramatic potential. Presumably, he expected his audiences to respect the skill involved. My other main conclusion has to do with the use of Josephus’ works for history. On the one hand, he is telling a story that does not simply – as no story could simply – reflect the complexity of the lived reality behind it. The speeches are the clearest examples of pure craftsmanship, which likely bear little relationship to anything said at the time. On the other hand, we may not discard his account for this reason. The fact that he had biases and limited perspectives, and

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


used his intelligence to make a story, only makes him less than divine. He was a contemporary eyewitness to the scene, even if he was a prisoner in Vespasian’s camp while all this was happening. The speeches that he imaginatively crafts are embedded in a detailed story line filled with names, some of which have independent verification. The historian today needs to explain his evidence in some way. It would be reckless to dispense with everything – the Zealots’ precarious position, entry of Idumaean fighters, murder of Ananus, Jesus, Niger, and many others, or the importance of John of Gischala and later Simon bar Giora in shaping Jerusalem’s fortunes. Although much of Book 4 is ignored in simple schematisations of the war, I hope that this probe of the speeches helps to expose the level of care Josephus expended in making his story come alive. We must then decide in each case, as we investigate our historical questions, whether it is more likely that Josephus invented figures and their relationships out of whole cloth or whether, knowing the main players and their relations in some measure from experience, he tried to bring them to life and make their positions textured and plausible for his first audiences in Rome.

Appendix: Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War 1. Vespasian at Gamala (4.40–48): 241 words15  With the army unnerved, in perplexity at the setbacks and because in all this time they had never met with calamity, and feeling all the more ashamed that they had left their general exposed, alone with the dangers, Vespasian began consoling them. : περ`ι μὲν τοῦ καθ’ αὑτòν ὑποστελλόμενος, ὡς μηδὲ τὴν ἀρχὴν μέμφεσθαι δοκοίη, δεῖν δὲ τὰ κοινὰ λέγων ἀνδρείως φέρειν τὴν τοῦ πολέμου φύσιν ἐννοοῦντας, ὡς οὐδαμοῦ τò νικᾶν ἀναιμωτ`ι περιγίνεται, δαπανᾷ δ’ ἡ τύχη τι κα`ι παρίσταται.

 Suppressing anything about himself, so that he might not be seeming to assign any hint of blame, he spoke about the need to bear these common [sufferings] manfully, and how they should reflect on the nature of war, which never brought about victory bloodlessly, and that Fortune visits with reversible steps:

 Greek text: Benedictus Niese. Flavii Iosephi opera. 7 vols. Berlin: Weidmann, 1887–1895.


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 τοσαύτας μέντοι μυριάδας Ἰουδαίων ἀνελόντας αὐτοὺς ὀλίγην τῷ δαίμονι δεδωκέναι συμβολην.  εἶ ναι δ’ ὥσπερ ἀπειροκάλων τò λίαν ἐπαίρεσθαι ταῖς εὐπραγίαις, οὕτως ἀνάνδρων τò καταπτησσειν ἐν τοῖς πταίσμασιν· “ὀξεῖα γὰρ ἐν ἀμφοτέροις ἡ μεταβολη, κἀκεῖνος ἄριστος ὁ κἀν τοῖς εὐτυχημασιν νηφων, ἵνα μένῃ κα`ι δι’ εὐθυμίας ἀναπαλαίων τὰ σφάλματα.  τὰ μέντοι συμβεβηκότα νῦν οὔτε μαλακισθέντων ὑμῶν οὔτε παρὰ τὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἀρετὴν γέγονεν, ἀλλὰ κἀκείνοις τοῦ πλεονεκτῆσαι κα`ι τοῦ διαμαρτεῖν ἡμῖν αἴτιον ἡ δυσχωρία.  καθ’ ἣν ἄν τις ὑμῶν μέμψαιτο τῆς ὁρμῆς τò ἀταμίευτον ἀναφυγόντων γὰρ ἐπ`ι τὰ ὑψηλὰ τῶν πολεμίων αὑτοὺς ὑποστέλλειν ἐχρῆν, κα`ι μὴ κατὰ κορυφὴν ἱσταμένοις τοῖς κινδύνοις ἕπεσθαι, κρατοῦντας δὲ τῆς κάτω πόλεως κατ’ ὀλίγον προκαλεῖσθαι τοὺς ἀναφεύγοντας εἰς ἀσφαλῆ κα`ι ἑδραίαν μάχην. νυν`ι δὲ ἀκρατῶς ἐπ`ι τὴν νίκην ἐπειγόμενοι τῆς ἀσφαλείας ἠμελησατε.  τò δ’ ἀπερίσκεπτον ἐν πολέμῳ κα`ι τῆς ὁρμῆς μανιῶδες οὐ πρòς Ῥωμαίων, οἳ πάντα ἐμπειρίᾳ κα`ι τάξει κατορθοῦμεν, ἀλλὰ βαρβαρικόν, κα`ι ῷ̔ μάλιστα Ἰουδαῖοι κρατοῦνται.  χρὴ τοίνυν ἐπ`ι τὴν αὑτῶν ἀρετὴν ἀναδραμεῖν κα`ι θυμοῦσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ προσαθυμεῖν τῷ παρ’ ἀξίαν πταίσματι.  τὴν δ’ ἀρίστην ἕκαστος ἐκ τῆς ἰδίας χειρòς ἐπιζητείτω παραμυθίαν· οὕτω γὰρ τοῖς τε ἀπολωλόσι τιμωρησεσθε κα`ι τοὺς ἀνελόντας ἀμυνεῖσθε.  πειράσομαι δ’ ἐγώ, καθάπερ νῦν, ἐπ`ι πάσης μάχης προάγειν τε ὑμῶν εἰς τοὺς πολεμίους κα`ι τελευταῖος ἀποχωρεῖν.”

 After doing away with so many tens of thousands of Judeans, to have given a [single] engagement to that power is a small thing.  Just as it is vulgar to be elated by the successes, so it is unmanly to be downcast by the setbacks. For reversal from one to the other is abrupt, and he does best who is sober in times of good fortune, so that he can remain in good spirits while wrestling his way back from stumbles.  What has happened just now is certainly not a matter of your having turned soft, or of valor on the Judean side! No, the reason those people could take advantage and we fell badly short was the harsh terrain.  In that regard, one might perhaps blame the unregulated nature of your charge. As the enemy fled up to the heights, you should have restrained yourselves and not followed, to be standing amid the dangers below the peak. Rather, while you had control of the lower city, you should gradually have coaxed those who had fled upward to give battle [on] secure and stable [ground]. As it was, in straining for the victory without control, you disregarded security.  Lack of situational awareness in war and manic behavior in the charge are not for Romans, we who succeed in all cases by expertise and tactics; they are a barbarian trait – and why the Judeans are being controlled.  We need to get back to our own valor, and be infuriated rather than unnerved by this unworthy setback.  But let each man figure out the best consolation by his own hand, for in this way you will avenge the lost and repay those who did away with [them].  For my part, I shall try in every battle, just as [I have done] already, to lead you against the enemy and be the last to withdraw. (.)  By saying such things he reinvigorated the army.

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War



Ananus II in Jerusalem (4.162–92): 832 words  So, when the mob had come together into the assembly, they were all indignant about the seizure of the holy places, the robberies, and those who were still being murdered, but they had not yet rushed to the defense because of the difficult prospect – this was real enough – of quashing the Disciples. Ananus positioned himself down in the middle of them. After looking away repeatedly at the shrine, his eyes having filled with tears, he spoke:

: “ἦ καλόν γε”, εἶ πεν, “ἦ ν ἐμο`ι τεθνάναι πρ`ιν ἐπιδεῖν τòν οἶ κον τοῦ θεοῦ τοσούτοις ἄγεσι καταγέμοντα κα`ι τὰς ἀβάτους κα`ι ἁγίας χώρας ποσ`ι μιαιφόνων στενοχωρουμένας.  ἀλλὰ περικείμενος τὴν ἀρχιερατικὴν ἐσθῆτα κα`ι τò τιμιώτατον καλούμενος τῶν σεβασμίων ὀνομάτων, ζῶ κα`ι φιλοψυχῶ, μηδ’ ὑπὲρ τοὐμοῦ γηρως ὑπομένων εὐκλεῆ θάνατον εἰ δεῖ μὴ μόνος εἰμ`ι κα`ι καθάπερ ἐν ἐρημίᾳ τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ ψυχὴν ἐπιδώσω μόνην ὑπὲρ τοῦ θεοῦ.  τί γὰρ κα`ι δεῖ ζῆν ἐν δημῳ συμφορῶν ἀναισθητοῦντι κα`ι παρ’ οἷ ς ἀπόλωλεν ἡ τῶν ἐν χερσ`ι παθῶν ἀντίληψις; ἁρπαζόμενοι γοῦν ἀνέχεσθε κα`ι τυπτόμενοι σιωπᾶτε, κα`ι τοῖς φονευομένοις οὐδ’ ἐπιστένει τις ἀναφανδόν.

 It would truly be well for me to have died before watching the house of God being filled with such accursed things: the impassable and holy spaces crammed with the feet of murderpolluted men.  But, wearing the high-priestly robe and being called by the most honored of the august names, I live and love my soul, not subjecting myself to a glorious death befitting my age. If it is necessary, then, I shall go alone and, just as if in a desert, I shall give up my soul alone for the sake of God.  For why should one live among a populace that cannot feel the calamities, and among whom the remedy for their sufferings, though it is in their hands, has been lost? Look: When you are being robbed, you put up with it! When being struck, you are silent! And no one utters a groan, in the open, for those who are being murdered.


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 ὢ τῆς πικρᾶς τυραννίδος. τί [δὲ] μέμφομαι τοὺς τυράννους; μὴ γὰρ οὐκ ἐτράφησαν ὑφ’ ὑμῶν κα`ι τῆς ὑμετέρας ἀνεξικακίας;  μὴ γὰρ οὐχ ὑμεῖς περιιδόντες τοὺς πρώτους συνισταμένους, ἔτι δ’ ἦ σαν ὀλίγοι, πλείους ἐποιησατε τῇ σιωπῇ κα`ι καθοπλιζομένων ἠρεμοῦντες καθ’ ἑαυτῶν ἐπεστρέψατε τὰ ὅπλα,  δέον τὰς πρώτας αὐτῶν ἐπικόπτειν ὁρμάς, ὅτε λοιδορίαις καθηπτοντο τῶν συγγενῶν, ὑμεῖς δὲ ἀμελησαντες ἐφ’ ἁρπαγὰς παρωξύνατε τοὺς ἀλιτηρίους, κα`ι πορθουμένων οἴκων λόγος ἦ ν οὐδείς· τοιγαροῦν αὐτοὺς ἥρπαζον τοὺς δεσπότας, κα`ι συρομένοις διὰ μέσης τῆς πόλεως οὐδε`ις ἐπημυνεν.  οἱ δὲ κα`ι δεσμοῖς ᾐ κίσαντο τοὺς ὑφ’ ὑμῶν προδοθέντας, ἐῶ λέγειν πόσους κα`ι ποδαπούς· ἀλλ’ ἀκαταιτιάτοις ἀκρίτοις οὐδε`ις ἐβοηθησε τοῖς δεδεμένοις.  ἀκόλουθον ἦ ν ἐπιδεῖν τοὺς αὐτοὺς φονευομένους ἐπείδομεν κα`ι τοῦτο καθάπερ ἐξ ἀγέλης ζῴων ἀλόγων ἑλκομένου τοῦ κρατιστεύοντος ἀε`ι θύματος, οὐδὲ φωνην τις ἀφῆκεν οὐχ ὅπως ἐκίνησε τὴν δεξιάν.

 What a bitter tyranny! But why am I blaming the tyrants? Were they not nurtured by you and your putting up with wrongdoing?  You looked on as the first of them were forming up, when they were still few, and created more of them by your silence. By being idle while they armed themselves, you turned those arms against yourselves.  You should have cut off their very first forays, when they were imposing on the family members with insults. But since you showed no concern about their robberies, you provoked these deviants, and when households were utterly ravaged there was no word at all. That is why they seized the owners, and when these were dragged through the middle of the city no one rose to their defense.  So then they tortured – in chains – those whom you had betrayed. I refrain from describing their number and different situations, but no one helped those who were bound, uncharged and untried.  The result was [our] watching those same people being murdered. Even this we have watched – just as from a herd of dumb animals the choicest one is always pulled out for sacrifice. No one emitted a sound, and certainly none moved his right hand.

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War

 φέρετε δὴ [τοίνυν], φέρετε πατούμενα βλέποντες τὰ ἅγια κα`ι πάντας ὑποθέντες αὐτο`ι τοῖς ἀνοσίοις τοὺς τῶν τολμημάτων βαθμοὺς μὴ βαρύνεσθε τὴν ὑπεροχην· κα`ι γὰρ νῦν πάντως ἂν ἐπ`ι μεῖζον προύκοψαν, εἴ τι τῶν ἁγίων καταλῦσαι μεῖζον εἶ χον.

κεκράτηται μὲν οὖ ν τò ὀχυρώτατον τῆς πόλεως· λεγέσθω γὰρ νῦν τò ἱερòν ὡς ἄκρα τις ἢ φρούριον· ἔχοντες δ’ ἐπιτετειχισμένην τυραννίδα τοσαύτην κα`ι τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑπὲρ κορυφὴν βλέποντες, τί βουλεύεσθε κα`ι τίσι τὰς γνώμας προσθάλπετε;  Ῥωμαίους ἄρα περιμενεῖτε, ἵν’ ἡμῶν βοηθησωσι τοῖς ἁγίοις; ἔχει μὲν οὕτως τὰ πράγματα τῇ πόλει, κα`ι πρòς τοσοῦτον ἥκομεν συμφορῶν, ἵνα ἡμᾶς ἐλεησωσι κα`ι πολέμιοι.  οὐκ ἐξαναστησεσθε, ὦ 

τλημονέστατοι, κα`ι πρòς τὰς πληγὰς ἐπιστραφέντες, ὃ κἀπ`ι τῶν θηρίων ἔστιν ἰδεῖν, τοὺς τύπτοντας ἀμυνεῖσθε; οὐκ ἀναμνησεσθε τῶν ἰδίων ἕκαστος συμφορῶν οὐδὲ ἂ πεπόνθατε πρò ὀφθαλμῶν θέμενοι τὰς ψυχὰς ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς θηξετε πρòς τὴν ἄμυναν;

ἀπόλωλεν ἄρα παρ’ ὑμῖν τò τιμιώτατον τῶν παθῶν κα`ι φυσικώτατον, ἐλευθερίας ἐπιθυμία, φιλόδουλοι δὲ κα`ι φιλοδέσποτοι γεγόναμεν ὥσπερ ἐκ προγόνων τò ὑποτάσσεσθαι παραλαβόντες. 176 ἀλλ’ ἐκεῖνοί γε πολλοὺς κα`ι μεγάλους ὑπὲρ τῆς αὐτονομίας πολέμους διηνεγκαν κα`ι οὔτε τῆς Αἰγυπτίων οὔτε τῆς Μηδων δυναστείας ἡττηθησαν ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ ποιεῖν τò κελευόμενον. 175


 Well, be tolerant then! Be tolerant as you see the holy places being trampled! Since you have supported all the footholds for the brazen acts of these profane [men], by all means don’t cave in [when they are] at the top! By now they certainly would have advanced to something even greater – if they had anything greater than the holy places to undo.  And so the strongest point of the city has been mastered – yes, let the temple now be spoken of as some citadel or fortress. Facing such an ensconced tyranny, and seeing your adversaries over the summit, what do you advise? And where do you find warm comfort for your resolve?  Are you going to wait around for the Romans, that they might bring aid to our holy places? Is this how the public affairs stand in the city? Have we come to such a state of calamities that our enemies should feel sorry for us?  Will you not rise up, you who are so extremely care-worn, and turn to face the blows – which even beasts are seen to do – and repel those who are striking you? Will you not remember, each of you, your private calamities and, bringing the things you have suffered before your eyes, hone your souls against them for defense?  We have lost that most honored and most natural of feelings: a longing for freedom. We are both slavery-lovers and master-lovers, as if we had received the legacy of submissiveness from our ancestors.  But they bore the burden of wars, many and great, for the sake of self-government – for the sake of not doing what they were directed to do – and they were not defeated by the supreme power of Egyptians or of Medes.


Steve Mason


κα`ι τί δεῖ τὰ τῶν προγόνων λέγειν; ἀλλ’ ὁ νῦν πρòς Ῥωμαίους πόλεμος, ἐῶ διελέγχειν πότερον λυσιτελὴς ὢν κα`ι σύμφορος ἢ τοὐναντίον, τίνα δ’ οὖ ν ἔχει πρόφασιν; 178 οὐ τὴν ἐλευθερίαν; εἶ τα τοὺς τῆς οἰκουμένης δεσπότας μὴ φέροντες τῶν ὁμοφύλων τυράννων ἀνεξόμεθα; 179 καίτοι τò μὲν τοῖς ἔξωθεν ὑπακούειν ἀνενέγκαι τις ἂν εἰς τὴν ἅπαξ ἡττησασαν τύχην, τò δὲ τοῖς οἰκείοις εἴκειν πονηροῖς ἀγεννῶν ἐστι κα`ι προαιρουμένων.

 But why should one speak of the ancestors? There is now a war against Romans. I shall not debate whether it is in your interest and advantageous or the opposite, but what does it have for a justification?  Isn’t it freedom – for which cause, though not tolerating the masters of the world, we are putting up with compatriot tyrants?  Yet one has had to obey those from outside because Fortune has comprehensively defeated us, whereas yielding to these homegrown contemptibles is ignoble and something we are consciously choosing!


 Since I have once mentioned Romans, I shall not hold back from telling you what occurred to me in the middle of my words and diverted my thinking: that even if we were captured by those [people] – may the proof of these words remain unrealized! – we would have nothing harsher to suffer than what these [fellows] have arranged for us.  How is it not worthy of tears to see the votive offerings of those [Roman men] in the temple, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, compatriots who have stripped the spoils and done away with the nobility of our mother-city, and men left murdered – things those others [Romans] would have refrained from, if they had taken control?  And [to see] that the Romans have never overstepped the boundary for commoners or transgressed any of the sacred customs – watching the precincts of the holy places from afar in shuddering awe –  whereas some born in this very land, nurtured by our own customs, and calling themselves Judeans, amble about the holy places with their hands still hot from compatriot murders?  Can anyone still be anxious about the external war, then, against those who by comparison with the home-grown [men] are far more reasonable with us? If it is necessary to apply true labels to public affairs, one would quickly find that Romans are guarantors of the laws for us, and [their] enemies are those inside.

ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἅπαξ ἐμνησθην Ῥωμαίων, οὐκ ἀποκρύψομαι πρòς ὑμᾶς εἰπεῖν ὃ μεταξὺ τῶν λόγων ἐμπεσòν ἐπέστρεψε τὴν διάνοιαν, ὅτι κἂν ἁλῶμεν ὑπ’ ἐκείνοις, ἀπείη δὲ ἡ πεῖρα τοῦ λόγου, χαλεπώτερον οὐδὲν παθεῖν ἔχομεν ὧ ν ἡμᾶς διατεθείκασιν οὗ τοι.  πῶς δὲ οὐ δακρύων ἄξιον ἐκείνων μὲν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ κα`ι ἀναθηματα βλέπειν, τῶν δὲ ὁμοφύλων τὰ σκῦλα σεσυληκότων κα`ι ἀνελόντων τὴν τῆς μητροπόλεως εὐγένειαν, κα`ι πεφονευμένους ἄνδρας ὧ ν ἀπέσχοντο ἂν κἀκεῖνοι κρατησαντες;  κα`ι Ῥωμαίους μὲν μηδέποτε ὑπερβῆναι τòν ὅρον τῶν βεβηλων μηδὲ παραβῆναί τι τῶν ἱερῶν ἐθῶν, πεφρικέναι δὲ πόρρωθεν ὁρῶντας τοὺς τῶν ἁγίων περιβόλους,  γενηθέντας δέ τινας ἐν τῇ δε τῇ χώρᾳ κα`ι τραφέντας ὑπò τοῖς ἡμετέροις ἔθεσι κα`ι Ἰουδαίους καλουμένους ἐμπεριπατεῖν μέσοις τοῖς ἁγίοις θερμὰς ἔτι τὰς χεῖρας ἐξ ὁμοφύλων ἔχοντας φόνων;  εἶ τά τις δέδοικεν τòν ἔξωθεν πόλεμον κα`ι τοὺς ἐν συγκρίσει πολλῷ τῶν οἰκείων ἡμῖν μετριωτέρους; κα`ι γὰρ ἄν, εἰ ἐτύμους δεῖ τοῖς πράγμασι τὰς κλησεις ἐφαρμόζειν, τάχα ἂν εὕροι τις Ῥωμαίους μὲν ἡμῖν βεβαιωτὰς τῶν νόμων, πολεμίους δὲ τοὺς ἔνδον.

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War

 ἀλλ’ ὅτι μὲν ἐξώλεις οἱ ἐπίβουλοι τῆς ἐλευθερίας, κα`ι πρòς ἂ δεδράκασιν οὐκ ἄν τις ἐπινοησειεν δίκην ἀξίαν κατ’ αὐτῶν, οἶ μαι πάντας ἥκειν πεπεισμένους οἴκοθεν κα`ι πρò τῶν ἐμῶν λόγων παρωξύνθαι τοῖς ἔργοις ἐπ’ αὐτούς, ἂ πεπόνθατε.  καταπλησσονται δ’ ἴσως οἱ πολλο`ι τό τε πλῆθος αὐτῶν κα`ι τὴν τόλμαν, ἔτι δὲ κα`ι τὴν ἐκ τοῦ τόπου πλεονεξίαν.  ταῦτα δ’ ὥσπερ συνέστη διὰ τὴν ὑμετέραν ἀμέλειαν, κα`ι νῦν αὐξηθησεται πλέον ὑπερθεμένων· κα`ι γὰρ τò πλῆθος αὐτοῖς ἐπιτρέφεται καθ’ ἡμέραν παντòς πονηροῦ πρòς τοὺς ὁμοίους αὐτομολοῦντος,  κα`ι τὴν τόλμαν ἐξάπτει μέχρι νῦν μηδὲν ἐμπόδιον, τῷ τε τόπῳ καθύπερθεν ὄντες χρησαιντο κα`ι μετὰ παρασκευῆς, ἂν ἡμεῖς χρόνον δῶμεν.  πιστεύσατε δὲ ὡς, ἐὰν προσβαίνωμεν ἐπ’ αὐτούς, ἔσονται τῇ συνειδησει ταπεινότεροι, κα`ι τò πλεονέκτημα τοῦ ὕψους ὁ λογισμòς ἀπολεῖ.  τάχα τò θεῖον ὑβρισμένον ἀναστρέψει κατ’ αὐτῶν τὰ βαλλόμενα, κα`ι τοῖς σφετέροις διαφθαρησονται βέλεσιν οἱ δυσσεβεῖς. μόνον ὀφθῶμεν αὐτοῖς, κα`ι καταλέλυνται.


καλòν δέ, κἂν προσῇ τις κίνδυνος, ἀποθνησκειν πρòς τοῖς ἱεροῖς πυλῶσι κα`ι τὴν ψυχὴν εἰ κα`ι μὴ πρò παίδων ἢ γυναικῶν, ἀλλ’ ὑπὲρ τοῦ θεοῦ κα`ι τῶν ἁγίων προέσθαι.  προστησομαι δ’ ἐγὼ γνώμῃ τε κα`ι χειρί κα`ι οὔτε ἐπίνοιά τις ὑμῖν λείψει πρòς ἀσφάλειαν ἐξ ἡμῶν οὔτε τοῦ σώματος ὄψεσθε φειδόμενον.”


 That these plotters against freedom are pernicious, however, and that one could not conceive of a fitting judgment against them for what they have done, I suppose you were already convinced when you left your houses. Before my words, you were already provoked against them by their actions, which you have suffered.  Perhaps most of you feel terrified by their mass and their brazenness, and again by the advantage of their position.  But just as these things came about because of your neglect, so they will be made all the worse by your delaying, for their mass is growing every day, as every contemptible man deserts to those like him,  and inflames their brazenness until now there is no impediment. As for their occupying the superior position, yes, and they would certainly exploit it – with added preparation if we were to give them time.  But trust me now: if we go up against them, they will become humbler in their conscience, and reasoning will nullify the advantage of their elevation.  Maybe the Deity, having been so insulted, will even turn back their projectiles on them, and the irreverent [men] will be wrecked by their own arrows! Let us only make our appearance to them, and they are undone!  And it is well, if there is a certain risk, to die at the sacred gates and relinquish the soul, if not also for children and wives, then for the sake of God and the holy places.  I myself shall support you with my resolve as well as my hand. From our side, no possible scheme for your security will be lacking; nor will you see any sparing of the body.



Steve Mason

Jesus son of Gamalas at the Gate (4.238–69): 886 words  Accordingly, the most senior of the high priests with Ananus, Iesous, stood in the tower opposite them and declared that many and varied disturbances had seized this city, but none caused one to marvel at fortune as this, that they would team up with these contemptibles, and at these extraordinary circumstances:

παρεῖναι γοῦν ὑμᾶς ἀνθρώποις ἐξωλεστάτοις μετὰ τοσαύτης προθυμίας ἐπαμυνοῦντας καθ’ ἡμῶν, μεθ’ ὅσης εἰκòς ἦ ν ἐλθεῖν οὐδὲ τῆς μητροπόλεως καλούσης ἐπ`ι βαρβάρους. 240 “κα`ι εἰ μὲν ἑώρων τὴν σύνταξιν ὑμῶν ἐξ ὁμοίων τοῖς καλέσασιν ἀνδρῶν, οὐκ ἂν ἄλογον τὴν ὁρμὴν ὑπελάμβανον· οὐδὲν γὰρ οὕτως συνίστησι τὰς εὐνοίας ὡς τρόπων συγγένεια· νῦν δ’, εἰ μέν τις αὐτοὺς ἐξετάζοι καθ’ ἕνα, μυρίων ἕκαστος εὑρεθησεται θανάτων ἄξιος. 241 τὰ γὰρ θύματα κα`ι καθάρματα τῆς πόλεως ὅλης, κατασωτευσάμενα τὰς ἰδίας οὐσίας κα`ι προγυμνάσαντα τὴν ἀπόνοιαν ἐν ταῖς πέριξ κώμαις τε κα`ι πόλεσι, τελευταῖα λεληθότως παρεισέρρευσαν εἰς τὴν ἱερὰν πόλιν, 242 λῃστα`ι δι’ ὑπερβολὴν ἀσεβημάτων μιαίνοντες κα`ι τò ἀβέβηλον ἔδαφος, οὓς ὁρᾶν ἔστι νῦν ἀδεεῖς ἐμμεθυσκομένους τοῖς ἁγίοις κα`ι τὰ σκῦλα τῶν πεφονευμένων καταναλίσκοντας εἰς τὰς ἀπληστους γαστέρας. 243 τò δ’ ὑμέτερον πλῆθος κα`ι τòν κόσμον τῶν ὅπλων ὁρᾶν ἔστιν οἷ ος ἔπρεπεν καλούσης μὲν τῆς μητροπόλεως κοινῷ βουλευτηρίῳ, συμμάχους δὲ κατ’ ἀλλοφύλων. τί ἂν οὖ ν εἴποι τοῦτό τις ἢ τύχης ἐπηρειαν, ὅταν λογάσι πονηροῖς αὔτανδρον ἔθνος ὁρᾷ συνασπίζον [αὐτοῖς]; 239

 So, here you are helping to defend these truly abominable people against us, with such a degree of eagerness that its like would not come about if the mother-city had issued a call against barbarians!  If your body of troops were found to be of the same sort as the men who summoned you, I would not have considered your foray so absurd. For nothing unites acts of good will like kinship in manners. But as it is, if one could examine them one by one, each would be found deserving of , deaths.  For the carcasses and dregs of the whole country, after squandering their own property and training their recklessness in the surrounding villages and cities, eventually trickled imperceptibly into the holy city –  bandits who pollute inviolable ground, given the excess of their impieties, now to be seen acting like drunks in the holy places with impunity, and devouring the spoils of those who have been murdered into their insatiable stomachs.  Now, seeing your mass and the polish of your weapons is the sort of thing that would have been fitting if you had been called by the mother-city in general council, as allies against foreigners. What could one possibly call this – an affront by fortune? – when one sees a nation, down to the last man, sharing the cover of their shields with these contemptible specimens?

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War



μέχρι πολλοῦ μὲν ἀπορῶ, τί δη ποτε κα`ι τò κινῆσαν ὑμᾶς οὕτω ταχέως ἐγένετο· μὴ γὰρ ἂν δίχα μεγάλης αἰτίας ἀναλαβεῖν τὰς πανοπλίας ὑπὲρ λῃστῶν κα`ι κατὰ δημου συγγενοῦς· 245 ἐπε`ι δὲ ἠκούσαμεν Ῥωμαίους κα`ι προδοσίαν, ταῦτα γὰρ ὑμῶν ἐθορύβουν τινὲς ἀρτίως, κα`ι τῆς μητροπόλεως ἐπ’ ἐλευθερώσει παρεῖναι, πλέον τῶν ἄλλων τολμημάτων ἐθαυμάσαμεν τοὺς ἀλιτηρίους τῆς περ`ι τοῦτο ψευδοῦς ἐπινοίας· 246 ἄνδρας γὰρ φύσει φιλελευθέρους κα`ι διὰ τοῦτο μάλιστα τοῖς ἔξωθεν πολεμίοις μάχεσθαι παρεσκευασμένους οὐκ ἐνῆν ἄλλως ἐξαγριῶσαι καθ’ ἡμῶν ἢ λογοποιησαντας προδοσίαν τῆς ποθουμένης ἐλευθερίας. 247 ἀλλ’ ὑμᾶς γε χρὴ σκέπτεσθαι τούς τε διαβάλλοντας κα`ι καθ’ ὧ ν, συνάγειν τε τὴν ἀληθειαν οὐκ ἐκ τῶν ἐπιπλάστων λόγων ἀλλ’ ἐκ τῶν κοινῶν πραγμάτων.

 For a while I have been at a loss as to what in the world it was that moved you so urgently, for you would not have taken up your full kit for the sake of bandits – and against a kindred populace – without a great reason.  We heard “Romans” and “betrayal” when some of you were recently causing a disturbance about these things, and about being here “for the freedom of the mother-city,” and we marveled at the deviants for the conception of this lie, even more than for their other brazen acts.  Indeed, men who are by nature freedom-friendly, and especially prepared to fight enemies from outside on that account, would not be in a position to be brutalized against us other than by having made up stories about a betrayal of that cherished freedom.  But you need to consider who is doing the slandering, and against whom, and figure out the truth not on the basis of fabricated stories but from the common public affairs.


 Seriously, what could we have possibly suffered now, that we would sell ourselves out to the Romans? It was possible for us either not to revolt at all initially or, having revolted, quickly to capitulate while the surrounding area was still unravaged.  But now, even for those who want to reach a settlement it is not easy, when a submissive Galilee has made the Romans contemptuous, and trying to conciliate them when they are nearby brings a disgrace harsher than death.  As for me personally, although I would certainly prefer peace to death, once I am making war and have joined the fray [I prefer] a glorious death over life as a captive.

τί γὰρ δὴ κα`ι παθόντες ἂν ἡμεῖς Ῥωμαίοις προσπωλοῖμεν ἑαυτοὺς νῦν, παρòν ἢ μηδὲ ἀποστῆναι τò πρῶτον ἢ προσχωρῆσαι ταχέως ἀποστάντας ὄντων ἔτι τῶν πέριξ ἀπορθητων;  νῦν μὲν γὰρ οὐδὲ βουλομένοις διαλύσασθαι ῥᾴδιον, ὅτε Ῥωμαίους μὲν ὑπερόπτας πεποίηκεν ὑποχείριος ἡ Γαλιλαία, φέρει δ’ αἰσχύνην ἡμῖν θανάτου χαλεπωτέραν τò θεραπεύειν αὐτοὺς ὄντας ἢδη πλησίον.  κα`ι ἐγὼ καθ’ ἑαυτòν μὲν ἂν εἰρηνην προτιμησαιμι θανάτου, πολεμούμενος δ’ ἅπαξ κα`ι συμβαλὼν θάνατον εὐκλεᾶ τοῦ ζῆν αἰχμάλωτος.


Steve Mason

251 πότερον δέ φασιν ἡμᾶς τοὺς τοῦ δημου προεστῶτας πέμψαι κρύφα πρòς Ῥωμαίους ἢ κα`ι τòν δῆμον κοινῇ ψηφισάμενον; 252 εἰ μὲν ἡμᾶς, εἰπάτωσαν τοὺς πεμφθέντας φίλους, τοὺς διακονησαντας τὴν προδοσίαν οἰκέτας. ἐφωράθη τις ἀπιών; ἀνακομιζόμενος ἑάλω; 253 γραμμάτων γεγόνασιν ἐγκρατεῖς; πῶς δὲ τοὺς μὲν τοσούτους πολίτας ἐλάθομεν, οἷ ς κατὰ πᾶσαν ὥραν συναναστρεφόμεθα, τοῖς δὲ ὀλίγοις κα`ι φρουρουμένοις κα`ι μηδ’ εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ προελθεῖν δυναμένοις ἐγνώσθη τὰ κατὰ τὴν χώραν λαθραίως ἐνεργούμενα; 254 νῦν δ’ ἔγνωσαν, ὅτε δεῖ δοῦναι δίκας τῶν τετολμημένων, ἕως δ’ ἦ σαν ἀδεεῖς αὐτοί, προδότης ἡμῶν οὐδε`ις ὑπωπτεύετο;

 Which is it? Are they claiming that we, the leaders of the populace, sent [word] secretly to the Romans, or that the populace voted for this in public?  If it is us, on the one hand, do let them tell which friends were sent, or which members of their households negotiated the betrayal! Was someone detected leaving? Apprehended returning? Have they come into possession of letters?  And how did we keep this hidden from so many citizens, with whom we are wholly occupied every hour – while they [Disciples], few and closely watched and unable to advance even into the city from the temple, knew what was being done secretly throughout the countryside?  And they learned of this now, just when they are about to face justice for their brazen acts, whereas as long as they were acting with impunity none of us was suspected as a traitor?

255 εἰ δ’ ἐπ`ι τòν δῆμον ἀναφέρουσι τὴν αἰτίαν, ἐν φανερῷ δηπουθεν ἐβουλεύσαντο, οὐδε`ις ἀπεστάτει τῆς ἐκκλησίας, ὥστε τάχιον ἂν τῆς μηνύσεως ἔσπευσεν ἡ φημη πρòς ὑμᾶς φανερωτέρα. 256 τί δέ; οὐχ`ι κα`ι πρέσβεις ἔδει πέμπειν ψηφισαμένους τὰς διαλύσεις; κα`ι τίς ὁ χειροτονηθείς; εἰπάτωσαν

 If, on the other hand, they are bringing this charge against the populace, presumably they deliberated in the open and no one kept aloof from the assembly, so that the report of this decision would have sped to you more quickly and also more openly.  But how? Would it not have been necessary, after voting for the settlement, to send emissaries? Well, who was hand-elected? Do let them tell!

ἀλλὰ τοῦτο μὲν δυσθανατούντων κα`ι πλησίον οὔσας τὰς τιμωρίας διακρουομένων σκῆψίς ἐστιν· εἰ γὰρ δὴ κα`ι προδοθῆναι τὴν πόλιν εἵμαρτο, μόνους ἂν τολμῆσαι κα`ι τοῦτο τοὺς διαβάλλοντας, ὧ ν τοῖς τολμημασιν ἓν μόνον [κακòν] λείπει, προδοσία.

 No, this is the excuse of those who, finding it hard to die, are trying to evade the acts of retribution that are near. If it were fated for the city to be betrayed, these slanderers are the only ones brazen enough to do that too – the one thing alone that remains undone among their brazen acts: betrayal.


Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War


258 χρὴ δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἐπειδηπερ ἅπαξ πάρεστε μετὰ τῶν ὅπλων, τò μὲν δικαιότατον, ἀμύνειν τῇ μητροπόλει κα`ι συνεξαιρεῖν τοὺς τὰ δικαστηρια καταλύσαντας τυράννους, οἳ πατησαντες τοὺς νόμους ἐπ`ι τοῖς αὐτῶν ξίφεσι πεποίηνται τὰς κρίσεις. 259 ἄνδρας γοῦν ἀκαταιτιάτους τῶν ἐπιφανῶν ἐκ μέσης τῆς ἀγορᾶς ἁρπάσαντες δεσμοῖς τε προῃκίσαντο κα`ι μηδὲ φωνῆς μηδ’ ἱκεσίας ἀνασχόμενοι διέφθειραν.

 But seeing that you are now present with the weapons, you are obliged – it is indeed supreme justice – to defend the mother-city, and join in rooting out the tyrants who are undoing the lawcourts, who are trampling the laws and have been rendering verdicts by their swords.  Uncharged men of the most illustrious kind they have seized from the middle of the market-place in chains and executed, after first torturing them, while showing no tolerance for utterance or even a plea for mercy.

260 ἔξεστιν δ’ ὑμῖν παρελθοῦσιν εἴσω μὴ πολέμου νόμῳ θεάσασθαι τὰ τεκμηρια τῶν λεγομένων, οἴκους ἠρημωμένους ταῖς ἐκείνων ἁρπαγαῖς κα`ι γύναια κα`ι γενεὰς τῶν ἀπεσφαγμένων μελανειμονούσας, κωκυτòν δὲ κα`ι θρῆνον ἀνὰ τὴν πόλιν ὅλην· οὐδε`ις γάρ ἐστιν, ὃς οὐ γέγευται τῆς τῶν ἀνοσίων καταδρομῆς·

 You are welcome to come inside, not by the law of war but to see for yourselves the proofs of what has been said: houses emptied by the robberies of those men, women and families of those who have been butchered dressed in black, shriek and dirge across the whole city. For there is no one who has not had a taste of the onslaught of these profane men.


 They persisted so far on their course of recklessness that they transferred their bandit brazenness not only from the countryside and outside cities to the face and head of the whole nation, but also from the city to the temple.  At least, this became for them a base, a refuge, and a depot for their preparations against us. The place where obeisance is made by the world, and which is honored by reputation among foreigners from the limits of the earth, is being trampled down by the beasts who were created in it.  They strut around like adolescents in their antagonisms, cause friction between populace and populace and between city and city, and enlist the nation for combat against its own vital organs.  In this situation, the finest and most fitting thing, as I stated, is for you to join in rooting out these deviants and to pay them back for this trick: that they were so brazen as to call as allies those avengers they should have been anxious about!

οἵ γε ἐπ`ι τοσοῦτον ἐξώκειλαν ἀπονοίας, ὥστε μὴ μόνον ἐκ τῆς χώρας κα`ι τῶν ἔξωθεν πόλεων ἐπ`ι τò πρόσωπον κα`ι τὴν κεφαλὴν ὅλου τοῦ ἔθνους μετενεγκεῖν τὴν λῃστρικὴν τόλμαν, ἀλλὰ κα`ι ἀπò τῆς πόλεως ἐπ`ι τò ἱερόν.  ὁρμητηριον γοῦν αὐτοῖς τοῦτο κα`ι καταφυγὴ ταμιεῖόν τε τῶν ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς παρασκευῶν γέγονεν, ὁ δ’ ὑπò τῆς οἰκουμένης προσκυνούμενος χῶρος κα`ι τοῖς ἀπò περάτων γῆς ἀλλοφύλοις ἀκοῇ τετιμημένος παρὰ τῶν γενηθέντων ἐνθάδε θηρίων καταπατεῖται·  νεανιεύονταί τε ἐν ταῖς ἀπογνώσεσιν ἢδη δημους τε δημοις κα`ι πόλεσι πόλεις συγκρούειν κα`ι κατὰ τῶν σπλάγχνων τῶν ἰδίων τò ἔθνος στρατολογεῖν.  ἀνθ’ ὧ ν τò μὲν κάλλιστον κα`ι πρέπον, ὡς ἔφην, ὑμῖν συνεξαιρεῖν τοὺς ἀλιτηρίους κα`ι ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἀπάτης ἀμυνομένους, ὅτι συμμάχους ἐτόλμησαν καλεῖν οὓς ἔδει τιμωροὺς δεδιέναι·


Steve Mason

265 εἰ δὲ αἰδεῖσθε τὰς τῶν τοιούτων ἐπικλησεις, ἀλλά τοι πάρεστι θεμένοις τὰ ὅπλα κα`ι παρελθοῦσιν εἰς τὴν πόλιν σχηματι συγγενῶν ἀναλαβεῖν τò μέσον συμμάχων τε κα`ι πολεμίων ὄνομα δικαστὰς γενομένους. 266 καίτοι λογίσασθε, πόσον κερδησουσιν ἐφ’ ὁμολογουμένοις κα`ι τηλικούτοις κρινόμενοι παρ’ ὑμῖν οἱ τοῖς ἀκαταιτιάτοις μηδὲ λόγου μεταδόντες· λαμβανέτωσαν δ’ οὖ ν ταύτην ἐκ τῆς ὑμετέρας ἀφίξεως τὴν χάριν.

 If, however, you continue to be impressed by the appeals of such people, well look, it is open to you, if you park the weapons and enter the city in the role of relatives, to become judges and take on the middle role between allies and enemies.  Consider, too, how much those people, who would not exchange even a word with the uncharged men, will gain from being judged by you – for their openly confessed and egregious acts. Let them receive this favor, then, from your expedition!


 If you cannot bring yourself either to share our indignation or to serve as judges, a third [possibility] is that you leave both sides alone, and neither enter upon our calamities nor join in the plots against the mother-city.  For if you really suspect that some people have been in discussion with Romans, you are welcome to surveil the approaches, and if anything of what has been slanderously alleged should be exposed in the act, then, since you have come to guard the mother-city, you can punish those who are detected as culprits. Surely no enemies could possibly get past you, when you have been stationed hard up against the city.

εἰ δ’ οὔτε συναγανακτεῖν ἡμῖν οὔτε κρίνεσθαι δεῖ, τρίτον ἐστ`ι καταλιπεῖν ἑκατέρους κα`ι μητε ταῖς ἡμετέραις ἐπιβαίνειν συμφοραῖς μητε τοῖς ἐπιβούλοις τῆς μητροπόλεως συνέρχεσθαι.  εἰ γὰρ κα`ι τὰ μάλιστα Ῥωμαίοις ὑποπτεύετε διειλέχθαι τινάς, παρατηρεῖν ἔξεστι τὰς ἐφόδους, κἄν τι τῶν διαβεβλημένων ἔργῳ διακαλύπτηται, τότε φρουρεῖν τὴν μητρόπολιν ἐλθόντας κολάζειν τε τοὺς αἰτίους πεφωραμένους· οὐ γὰρ ἂν ὑμᾶς φθάσειαν οἱ πολέμιοι τῇ πόλει προσῳκημένους.


εἰ δ’ οὐδὲν ὑμῖν τούτων εὔγνωμον ἢ μέτριον δοκεῖ, μὴ θαυμάζετε τὰ κλεῖθρα τῶν πυλῶν, ἕως ἂν φέρητε τὰ ὅπλα.”

 If none of these [options] seems agreeable or reasonable to you, don’t be amazed at the blocking of the gates, as long as you continue to bear the weapons!  Although Iesous said such things as these, the mass of the Idumeans paid no attention, but were infuriated that their entry into the city was not forthcoming.

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War



Simon son of Cathlas (?), Idumaean Commander Responds (4.271–83): 267 words  One of the commanders, Simon son of Cathlas, having barely quelled the uproar among his people and positioned himself within ear-shot of the high priests, declared:

: οὐκέτι θαυμάζειν ἔφη φρουρουμένων ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ τῶν προμάχων τῆς ἐλευθερίας, εἴ γε κα`ι τῷ ἔθνει κλείουσί τινες ἢδη τὴν κοινὴν πόλιν,  κα`ι Ῥωμαίους μὲν εἰσδέχεσθαι παρασκευάζονται τάχα κα`ι στεφανώσαντες τὰς πύλας, Ἰδουμαίοις δὲ ἀπò τῶν πύργων διαλέγονται κα`ι τὰ ὑπὲρ τῆς ἐλευθερίας ὅπλα κελεύουσι ῥῖψαι,  μὴ πιστεύοντες δὲ τοῖς συγγενέσι τὴν τῆς μητροπόλεως φυλακὴν τοὺς αὐτοὺς δικαστὰς ποιοῦνται τῶν διαφόρων, κα`ι κατηγοροῦντές τινων ὡς ἀποκτείνειαν ἀκρίτους, αὐτο`ι καταδικάζοιεν ὅλου τοῦ ἔθνους ἀτιμίαν·  τὴν γοῦν ἅπασι τοῖς ἀλλοφύλοις ἀναπεπταμένην εἰς θρησκείαν πόλιν τοῖς οἰκείοις νῦν ἀποτετείχισθε.  πάνυ γὰρ ἐπ`ι σφαγὰς ἐσπεύδομεν κα`ι τòν κατὰ τῶν ὁμοφύλων πόλεμον οἱ διὰ τοῦτο ταχύναντες, ἵν’ ὑμᾶς τηρησωμεν ἐλευθέρους.  τοιαῦτα μέντοι κα`ι πρòς τῶν φρουρουμένων ἠδίκησθε, κα`ι πιθανὰς οὕτως ὑποψίας οἶ μαι κατ’ ἐκείνων συνελέξατε.

 When the champions of freedom are being watched in the temple, and some people are closing our common city to the nation,  even as they prepare to welcome the Romans and perhaps even festoon the gates, it should no longer cause amazement that they talk with Idumeans from the towers and direct them to discard their weapons “for the sake of freedom” –  not trusting the kinfolk they would make “judges” with guarding the mother-city! And while they accuse some of having killed without trial, they themselves condemn the whole nation to dishonor.  At any rate, a city that has been opened wide for worship even to foreigners you have now walled off against its own.  Oh sure, we sped here for slaughter and war against our compatriots – we who came only for this: to keep you free!  Such were no doubt your unjust verdicts against those now being watched; I suppose that the grounds for suspicion you collected against them are just as persuasive.


 On top of that, while you control inside, under sentry-watch, those who show real concern for the public affairs, and you have shut the city against the most closely related nations gathered here, and issued the most insulting orders, you say that you are being tyrannized, and attach the label of [seeking] absolute power to those who are being tyrannized by you!  Who can bear such dissimulation with words, when he can plainly see the opposite in the public affairs – unless it is the Idumeans, whom you are shutting out of the ancestral sacred rites, who are barring you from the city?

ἔπειτα τῶν ἔνδον φρουρᾷ κρατοῦντες ὅσοι κηδονται τῶν κοινῶν πραγμάτων, κα`ι τοῖς συγγενεστάτοις ἔθνεσιν ἀθρόοις ἀποκλείσαντες μὲν τὴν πόλιν ὑβριστικὰ δ’ οὕτως προστάγματα κελεύοντες, τυραννεῖσθαι λέγετε κα`ι τò τῆς δυναστείας ὄνομα τοῖς ὑφ’ ὑμῶν τυραννουμένοις περιάπτετε.  τίς ἂν ἐνέγκαι τὴν εἰρωνείαν τῶν λόγων ἀφορῶν εἰς τὴν ἐναντιότητα τῶν πραγμάτων; εἰ μὴ κα`ι νῦν ὑμᾶς ἀποκλείουσιν Ἰδουμαῖοι τῆς μητροπόλεως, οὓς αὐτο`ι τῶν πατρίων ἱερῶν εἴργετε.


Steve Mason

 μέμψαιτ’ ἂν εἰκότως τις τοὺς ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ πολιορκουμένους, ὅτι θαρσησαντες τοὺς προδότας κολάζειν, οὓς ὑμεῖς ἄνδρας ἐπισημους κα`ι ἀκαταιτιάτους λέγετε διὰ τὴν κοινωνίαν, οὐκ ἀφ’ ὑμῶν ἢρξαντο κα`ι τὰ καιριώτατα τῆς προδοσίας μέρη προαπέκοψαν.  ἀλλ’ εἰ κἀκεῖνοι τῆς χρείας ἐγένοντο μαλακώτεροι, τηρησομεν Ἰδουμαῖοι τòν οἶ κον τοῦ θεοῦ κα`ι τῆς κοινῆς πατρίδος προπολεμησομεν ἅμα τούς τε ἔξωθεν ἐπιόντας κα`ι τοὺς ἔνδον προδιδόντας ἀμυνόμενοι πολεμίους.  ἐνθάδε πρò τῶν τειχῶν μενοῦμεν ἐν τοῖς ὅπλοις, ἕως ἂν Ῥωμαῖοι κάμωσι προσέχοντες ὑμῖν ἢ ὑμεῖς ἐλεύθερα φρονησαντες μεταβάλησθε.”

 One might reasonably blame those who are under siege in the temple for this: that although they were bold enough to punish traitors, they did not [punish] the men you describe as “most distinguished” and “uncharged” (because of your association with them) – and they did not begin with you, and cut off in advance the most vital elements of the betrayal.  But if they were rather soft in their treatment, we Idumeans will preserve the house of God and serve as guards for our common homeland, defending equally against enemies who attack from outside and traitors from within.  We are staying right here, before the walls and with the weapons, until either the Romans become exasperated after extending their offers to you, or you yourselves reverse course and set your minds on free things.  At these [remarks] the mass of the Idumeans kept shouting applause, but Iesous withdrew unnerved, seeing the Idumeans in no reasonable state of mind and the city at war from two directions.


The Anonymous Rogue Disciple (Zealot) to the Idumaeans (4.345–52): 173 words

: Τοῖς δὲ Ἰδουμαίοις ἢδη τῆς παρουσίας μετέμελε κα`ι προσίστατο τὰ πραττόμενα.  συναγαγὼν δὲ αὐτούς τις ἀπò τῶν ζηλωτῶν κατ’ ἰδίαν ἐλθὼν ἐνεδείκνυτο τὰ συμπαρανομηθέντα τοῖς καλέσασι κα`ι τò κατὰ τῆς μητροπόλεως διεξῄει·

 By this point, the things that were being done made the Idumeans regret their presence and caused them offense.  Someone from the Disciples got them together, came to them privately, pointed out the joint crimes committed by those who had called them, and analyzed the situation in the mother-city:

Five Speeches in the Fourth Book of Josephus’ Judaean War



παρατάσσεσθαι μὲν γὰρ ὡς ὑπò τῶν ἀρχιερέων προδιδομένης Ῥωμαίοις τῆς μητροπόλεως, εὑρηκέναι δὲ προδοσίας μὲν τεκμηριον οὐδέν, τοὺς δ’ ἐκείνην ὑποκρινομένους φυλάττεσθαι κα`ι πολέμου κα`ι τυραννίδος ἔργα τολμῶντας.  προσηκειν μὲν οὖ ν αὐτοῖς διακωλύειν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς· ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἅπαξ εἰς κοινωνίαν ἐμφυλίου φόνου προέπεσον, ὅρον γοῦν ἐπιθεῖναι τοῖς ἁμαρτημασι κα`ι μὴ παραμένειν χορηγοῦντας ἰσχὺν τοῖς καταλύουσι τὰ πάτρια.

 Although you are in formed up for battle because the mother-city was supposedly being betrayed to Romans by the chief priests, you have found no proof of betrayal – rather, that those pretending to protect it [the city] are brazenly perpetrating war and acts of tyranny.  It was your job to prevent [this] from the outset, but since you have fallen in with partnership in internecine murder, you should at least put a lid on your errors and not stay around providing muscle to those who are undoing the ancestral ways.

 κα`ι γὰρ εἴ τινες χαλεπαίνουσι τò κλεισθῆναι τὰς πύλας κα`ι μὴ δοθῆναι μετὰ τῶν ὅπλων αὐτοῖς ἑτοίμην τὴν εἴσοδον, ἀλλὰ τοὺς εἴρξαντας τετιμωρῆσθαι· κα`ι τεθνάναι μὲν Ἄνανον, διεφθάρθαι δὲ ἐπ`ι μιᾶς νυκτòς ὀλίγου δεῖν πάντα τòν δῆμον·  ἐφ’ οἷ ς τῶν μὲν οἰκείων πολλοὺς αἰσθάνεσθαι μετανοοῦντας, τῶν ἐπικαλεσαμένων δὲ ὁρᾶν ἄμετρον τὴν ὠμότητα μηδὲ δι’ οὓς ἐσώθησαν αἰδουμένων·  ἐν ὄμμασι γοῦν τῶν συμμάχων τὰ αἴσχιστα τολμᾶν, κα`ι τὰς ἐκείνων παρανομίας Ἰδουμαίοις προσάπτεσθαι, μέχρις ἂν μητε κωλύῃ τις μητε χωρίζηται τῶν δρωμένων.  δεῖν οὖ ν, ἐπειδὴ διαβολὴ μὲν πέφηνε τὰ τῆς προδοσίας, ἔφοδος δὲ Ῥωμαίων οὐδεμία προσδοκᾶται, δυναστεία δ’ ἐπιτετείχισται τῇ πόλει δυσκατάλυτος, αὐτοὺς ἀναχωρεῖν ἐπ’ οἴκου κα`ι τῷ μὴ κοινωνεῖν τοῖς φαύλοις ἁπάντων ἀπολογησασθαι πέρι, ὧ ν φενακισθέντες μετάσχοιεν.

 If some are still harshly disposed because the gates were shut and you were not granted ready access to the mother-city with the weapons, well, those who shut you out have suffered retribution: Ananus has died. Indeed, in a single night the populace was destroyed in very nearly all its parts.  As these things were happening, one could perceive that many of your own were changing their minds, whereas among those who had summoned you one could see only unbridled savagery, showing no regard for those by whose agency they had been saved.  So, before their allies’ very eyes, they brazenly committed the most shameful deeds. Their crimes are being ascribed to you Idumeans too – as long as no one either prevents or detaches himself from the goings-on.  Since on the one hand, the betrayal matter has been exposed as slander, and no approach by the Romans is expected, but on the other hand, a power-base that is hard to smash has been ensconced in the city, you need to to withdraw homeward and, by not continuing to partner in all that those vile people do, make the defense that what you did share in was because you were duped.  Now the Idumeans were wholly persuaded by this . . .


Steve Mason

Bibliography Cribiore, Rafaela. Gymnastics of the Mind: Greek Education in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. Farmer, William R. Maccabees, Zealots, and Josephus. New York: Columbia University Press, 1973. (orig. 1956). Gambash, Gil. “Foreign Enemies of the Empire: The Great Jewish Revolt and the Roman Perception of the Jews.” SCI 32 (2013): 173–94. Goodman, Martin D. The Ruling Class of Judea: The Origins of the Jewish Revolt against Rome AD 66–70. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Graetz, Heinrich. History of the Jews. Vol. 1–6. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1949. (orig. 1893). Hengel, Martin. Die Zeloten: Untersuchungen zur jüdischen Freiheitsbewegung in der Zeit von Herodes I. bis 70 n. Chr. (3rd edition, ed. Roland Deines and Claus-Jürgen Thornton). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. (orig. 1961). Ladouceur, David J. “The Language of Josephus.” JSJ 14 (1983): 18–38. Lindner, Helgo. Geschichtsauffassung des Flavius Josephus im Bellum Judaicum: Gleichzeitig ein Beitrag zur Quellenfrage. AGJU 12. Leiden: Brill, 1972. Luz, Menahem. “Eleazar’s Second Speech on Masada and its Literary Precedents.” RMP 126 (1983): 25–43. Marrou, Henri Irénée. A History of Education in Antiquity. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1956. Mason, Steve. “Figured Speech and Irony in T. Flavius Josephus.” In Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome, edited by Jonathan Edmondson et al., 244–88. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Mason, Steve. “Speech-Making in Ancient Rhetoric, Josephus, and Acts: Messages and Playfulness.” Part I. EC 2 (2011): 445–67 Mason, Steve. “Speech-Making in Ancient Rhetoric, Josephus, and Acts: Messages and Playfulness.” Part II. EC 3 (2012): 147–71. Price, Jonathan J. Jerusalem under Siege: The Collapse of the Jewish State, 66–70 C.E. Leiden: Brill, 1992. Price, Jonathan J. “The Failure of Rhetoric in Josephus’ Bellum Judaicum.” Ramus 36 (2007): 5–24. Rappaport, Uriel. ‫ מהרי הגליל אל חומות ירושלים‬:‫יוחנן מגוש חלב‬. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar, 2006. Transl. R. Toueg with J. Pastor and G. Silberman, John of Gischala: From the Mountains of Galilee to the Walls of Jerusalem. 2013. Rogers, Guy M. For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66–74 CE. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2022. Rudich, Vasily. Religious Dissent in the Roman Empire: Violence in Judaea at the Time of Nero. London: Routledge, 2015. Runnalls, Donna. Hebrew and Greek Sources in the Speeches of Josephus’ “Jewish War”. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Toronto, 1971. Saulnier, Christine. “Flavius Josèphe et la propagande flavienne.” RB 98 (1991): 199–221. Stern, Menachem. “Josephus and the Roman Empire as Reflected in the Jewish War.” In Josephus, Judaism and Christianity, edited by Louis H. Feldman – Gohei Hata, 71–80. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987. Weber, Wilhelm. Josephus und Vespasian: Untersuchungen zu dem Jüdischen Krieg des Flavius Josephus. Berlin: W. Kohlhammer, 1973. (orig. 1921). Thackeray, Henry St. J. Josephus: The Man and the Historian. New York: Jewish Institute of Religion, 1967. (orig. 1929).

Tibor Grüll

Considerations on Oaths of Loyalty under Augustus in Josephus Jews, like any other people in antiquity, often made oaths and vows.1 The guiding principle of taking oaths was written in Deuteronomy chapter 6: “You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name” (Deut 6:13).2 Naturally, the oath taken in the name of the Lord had to be kept in all cases: “When a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth” (Num 30:2). The false oath was also strictly prohibited by the Law: “And you shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord” (Lev 19:12). A problem that arose after the conquest of Canaan was swearing in the name of foreign gods, something severely forbidden: “you may not be mixed with these nations left here among you, or make mention of the names of their gods, or swear by them” (Josh 23:7). Oaths and vows had to be kept even if they were made to a stranger, or were elicited fraudulently. The best example of this is the case of the Gibeonites. After the destruction of Jericho and Ai, the Hivite people of Gibeon sent ambassadors to trick Joshua and the Israelites into making a treaty with them. The Gibeonites presented themselves as ambassadors from a distant, powerful land (Josh 9:3–27). Without consulting God, Israel entered into a covenant or peace treaty with the Gibeonites. Josephus summarized the events as follows: “Joshua, believing them when they said they were not of the nation of the Canaanites, entered into friendship with them, and Eleazar the high priest, along with the elders, swore to them to esteem them their friends and associates and undertake nothing unfair against them; the people also assented to the oaths that were made to them” (Ant. 5.55). However, this oath was broken in the time of Saul, and only David was able to mend the serious consequences of such a breech.3

 On oaths and vows in the Old Testament in general see Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine, 115‒43; Cartledge, Vows in the Hebrew Bible, 36–71; Conklin, Oath Formulas in Biblical Hebrew; Azuelos-Atias, “The Use of the Biblical Oath and its Development”; Schumann, Gelübde im antiken Judentum.  Text here and hereafter from RSV.  On the story see Begg, “Israel’s Treaty with Gibeon according to Josephus”.


Tibor Grüll

Breaking oath was a serious transgression, rightly punished by the wrath of God and the contempt of men.4 Josephus emphasizes that Jews are obliged to keep their oaths by the Law of God. In the time of Josiah, the people swore to keep the Law: “Then he [Josiah] sent round to all the people, ordering the priests and the Levites to assemble in Jerusalem, and that people of all ages should also be present. When they had assembled he first read to them the holy books, and then stood on a pulpit, in the middle of the crowd, and got them to pledge under oath, to worship God and keep the laws of Moses” (Ant. 10.62‒63).5 The Egyptian king Ptolemy II also recognized the perseverance of the Jews in this field: “he knew that the people of Jerusalem were most faithful in keeping oaths and covenants” (Ant. 12.8). Swearing was very common among all peoples of antiquity, not just Jews. People swore and adjured on every occasion: they affirmed their statements by an oath in business affairs, in formulas of courtesy when they invited their friends, accepted or rejected invitations, and in support of stories which strained credulity – as stated by the Mishna (m. Ned. III. 1‒2). As the Epistle to the Hebrews puts it: “you may not be mixed with these nations left here among you, or make mention of the names of their gods, or swear by them” (Heb 6:16). However, the pious, valid, and just giving of an oath was not a simple matter in Judaism. A number of persons and groups within Judaism offered solutions to this problem: Philo (Spec. 2.3‒5, 9‒17);6 the Qumran community;7 the Mishna (tract. Ned. e.g.);8 the vast Talmudic literature;9 not to mention Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the New Testament, whose solution was clear-cut: “do not swear an oath at all” (Matt 5:34).10 This radical attitude was not unique among the Jews. According to Josephus, the Essenes were famous for their trustworthiness: “their word is more

 For a general overview see Blidstein, “Losing Vows and Oaths in the Roman Empire and Beyond”.  On Josephus’s picture of Josiah see Feldman, Studies in Josephus’ Rewritten Bible, 424–36.  Belkin, Philo and the Oral Law.  Schiffman, “The Law of Vows and Oaths”; Qimron, “Further Observations on the Laws of Oaths”.  Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine, 115‒43; Fishbane, Deviancy in Early Rabbinic Literature, 16–41.  Falk, “On Talmudic Vows”.  The interpretation of this passage has provoked scholarly debate on the pages of the JSHJ: see Meier, “Did the Historical Jesus Prohibit All Oaths?”; Hagner, “A Response to John P. Meier”; Klawans “The Prohibition of Oaths”; Meier, “The Historical Jesus and Oaths”. For oaths and vows in the synoptic Gospels see Mann, “Oaths and Vows in the Synoptic Gospels”; Buchanan, “Some Vow and Oath Formulas in the New Testament”; Te Velde, “De Juramento”.

Considerations on Oaths of Loyalty under Augustus in Josephus


reliable than any oath, since they avoid swearing, considering it worse than perjury” (Bel. 2.135).11 And now let us move on to the Roman imperial age, since our topic at present is a special type of oath: the oath of loyalty or oath of allegiance. This is a special kind of oath whereby a subject or citizen acknowledges a duty of allegiance and swears loyalty to a monarch or – in modern republics – a country’s constitution.12 In the Roman Empire, sooner or later, all subjects encountered this oath. For the Jews, it caused no small headache. For the Romans, an oath (ius iurandum or sacramentum) involved the invocation of a divinity (or rather divinities) to guarantee that a promise would be fulfilled or that a statement was true.13 The divinity was to help the oath-taker remain faithful to his obligations and would punish any violation. Any god could be called on, but the most powerful was Zeus/Jupiter. Apuleius suggests that the most solemn oath was per Iovem lapidem, which apparently meant “by Jupiter and by this stone”; the stone symbolized unbreakability (cf. Soc. 131–132).14 Men often invoked Hercules and Pollux, women preferred Castor. Family members might invoke the genius (divine spirit) of the master of the house. With the divinization of their rulers, Romans also came to swear oaths by the genius of the emperors.15 Under Augustus the loyalty oath was extended to the people as a whole, who swore to protect the emperor and his family. Augustus claimed that before the campaign of Actium in 31 BCE, “all Italy voluntarily swore an oath to me” (RG. 25.2).16 Loyalty oaths survive in inscriptions from the provinces. The earliest of the imperial

 Vanderkam, “The Oath and the Community”.  Greenberg, “Loyalty Oaths”; Levinson, “Constituting Communities Through Words That Bind”; Spurr, “A Profane History of Early Modern Oaths”.  For the role of divinities in oath-formulas see Beare, “The Meaning of the Oath”; Price, “Gods and Emperors”; Chaniotis, “Under the Watchful Eyes of the Gods”; for the non-divine invocations in Roman-era oaths see Blid-stein, “Invoking Humans in Roman-Era Oaths”.  Cf. Richardson, “The Oath per iovem lapidem”.  Fishwick, “Genius and Numen”; Katz, “Not Just by Jove”.  In fact, the connection of Augustus’s policy with the oaths of local communities was not novel. In his Res gestae (chapter 25), he mentions that, prior to the Battle of Actium, all Italy, Gaul, Spain, Africa, Sicilia and Sardinia “swore with the same words” (iuravit in eadem verba). Cassius Dio (Hist. 50.6.6) also confirms that Mark Antony’s eastern allies – among whom was king Deiotarus – did the same. The military component of such oaths of loyalty also appears in the Paphlagonian example (lines 15–25). Thus, references to enemies (ἐχθροί) and weapons (ὅπλα) replicate the formulas found in the treaties of friendship and alliance established between the Roman Republic and some communities in the eastern Mediterranean; e.g. Mytilene: IG XII 2.35. The final imprecatory clause (lines 26–35) is equally connected to the Greek precedents mentioned above.


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oaths are those recorded at Conobaria (Baetica)17 and Samos,18 both dating from 6/ 5 BCE. These oaths should probably be related to the political changes within the Augustan principate which occurred during Augustus’ twelfth consulship, and the same context is relevant to assessing the Paphlagonian document.19 The Paphlagonian oath was initially taken in Gangra/Neapolisin Pontus on 6 March 3 BCE. By coincidence, this was also the year when the Paphlagonian communities began a new era following the annexation of the client kingdom ruled by Deiotarus Philadelphus to the province of Galatia. On the above-mentioned day, all the inhabitants, not just the citizens of the city of Gangra/Neapolis, gathered by an altar in front of the temple of Augustus and took a lengthy oath of loyalty to the emperor. The oath reads as follows: In the time of emperor Caesar Augustus, son of a god, in the third year from the twelfth consulship, on the day before the Nones of March, in Gangris in [. . .] oath that was completed by the inhabitants of Paphlagonia and the [. . .] Romans [. . .] engaged in business (pragmateuomenoi) alongside them. By Zeus, Ge (Earth), Helios (Sun), all the gods and goddesses, Augustus himself, and all his children and descendants, I swear with word, deed, and thought to regard as friends any of those they may regard as friends and [. . .] to consider (?) [. . .] as enemies any they may judge to be enemies for my whole life. I will spare neither my body, nor my soul, nor my life, nor my children for their interests, but in every way will endure any danger for the things that involve them. Whatever I may notice or hear being spoken, planned, or done against them, I will report it and be an enemy to the one saying, planning or doing any such thing. I will pursue and defend against anyone they may judge to be enemies on land and sea using weapons and arms. But if I do anything contrary to this [. . .] oath (?) [. . .] or anything not conforming to what I swore, I invoke curses of total and complete destruction against myself, my body, my soul, my life, my children, my entire family, and my interests till the end of all my successors and my descendants, and may [. . .] the bodies (?) [. . .] of my family and my descendants not be received by earth or sea, and (the earth) not bear fruit [. . .] for them (?) [. . .] In the same way, everybody [. . .] in the land [. . .] swore in the Augustan temples in each [. . .] district (?) [. . .] by the altars [. . .] of Augustus (?) [. . .] Likewise, the Phazimoneitians who inhabit what is now called [. . .] Neapolis (?) swore together in the temple of Augustus by [. . .] the altar (?). (Trans. Philip Harland)20

The universal acceptance of the oath would explain that our inscription records its content with the first person in the singular. After the verb ὀμνύω (“I swear”), the lists of gods appearing can be ascribed to the Greek tradition. Consequently, it is important to understand the oath from Phazimon/Neapolis according to such

 AE 1988, 723.  IG XII/6, 1; Herrmann, “Die Inschriften römischer Zeit,” 70–84.  IGR III 137 (= OGIS 532 = PHI 265936 = AGRW ID# 13519); cf. Cumont, “Inscription grecque de Vézir-Keupru”; Sørensen, “A Re-examination of the Imperial Oath from Vezirköprü”.  nians-and-roman-businessmen-3-bce/.

Considerations on Oaths of Loyalty under Augustus in Josephus


precedents,21 particularly in a region such as Paphlagonia that had been ruled by Hellenistic kings until this point. The mixed nature of the oath is evident from the moment at which Augustus appears, immediately after the list of gods and goddesses (line 11). This degree of adaptation also explains that the traditional formula εὐνοήσειν is addressed not only to the living ruler but also to his sons and descendants. It is not coincidental that we have two of such texts which mentioned both Augustus and his descendants presumably in the same year and which were discovered on opposite sides of the Mediterranean – Samos and Baetica.22 This mixture of Hellenistic tradition and Augustus’ central policy resembles closely the testimonies attesting the genesis of the Roman imperial cult in the Greek East.23 On the one hand, local communities were used to being subject to rulers and displaying their devoted loyalty. On the other hand, the Roman leader himself authorised and regulated the continuity of a tradition that made him godlike. For this precise reason, his name in the Paphlagonian oath appeared after Zeus, Earth, Sun, and the rest of deities. Neither is it coincidental that, when the text reached the community of Phazimon/Neapolis, the inhabitants completed it at the sacred space dedicated to him and next to his altar. Like other contemporary inscriptions relating to the imperial cult, this source is fundamental to assessing the impact and early stages of the corresponding change of paradigm. In the case of Paphlagonia, it is particularly striking that our copy assumes the presence of Sebasteia and altars dedicated to Augustus in all the communities of the region just three years after the Hellenistic kingdom became part of a Roman province. Likewise, the reasonable completeness of the document allows us to compare its content with more fragmentary or later examples of oaths in both the eastern and western provinces.24

 See Herrmann, Der Römische Kaisereid.  See González, “The First Oath Pro Salute Augusti”.  For this topic in general see Price, Rituals and Power; Kropp, “King—Caesar—God”; Gordon, “The Roman Imperial Cult and the Question of Power”.  For instance, under Tiberius, the oath from Palaipaphos (Cyprus) does not include this emperor among the gods but focuses instead on Augustus’ and Rome’s eternity. This again demonstrates, despite the apparent formulaic format, the adaptability of such texts to convey central Roman ideals – in this case, Tiberius’s refusal of divine honors (Suetonius, Tiberius 26; Tacitus, Annals 4.38; SEG 11.922). Analogies and distinctions can equally be drawn with the famous testimonies from Assos (I.Assos 26) and Aritium (CIL 2.172) under Caligula. More importantly, all such precedents can better contextualize the increasingly important role played by oaths and other displays of verbal loyalty towards the rulers of the Empire (see Gall, “Un serment à l’empereur Auguste”; Cancik, “Der Kaiser-Eid”).


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But to what extent could the oath of allegiance be applied in Judea? Interestingly, in the same period, Flavius Josephus reports that Judea demonstrated with oaths its good-will towards the Caesar and the dynasty. However, there were problems with its implementation: There was also a Jewish party called Pharisees, who claimed to set a high value on detailed knowledge of the ancestral laws which are pleasing to God, by whose guidance this circle of women was ruled. This party could have greatly helped the king but were set on opposing and harming him. When all the rest of the Jews swore allegiance to Caesar and the rule of the king, more than six thousand of these men did not swear, and when the king imposed a financial penalty on them, Pheroras’s wife paid the fine on their behalf. To repay her goodwill, since they were believed to have the foreknowledge of the future under divine inspiration, they foretold how God had decreed that Herod’s rule would end and the royalty be taken from his descendants and come to her and Pheroras and their children. (Ant. 17.41‒43)

According to Søren Lund Sørensen – who addressed the issue in detail in an article in 2018 – the taking of an imperial oath in the kingdom of Herod implies the promotion of the imperial cult, and the refusal of the Pharisees to take the oath may be seen as a rejection of the divinity of Augustus.25 The taker of the Paphlagonian oath swears that he show preference toward Augustus (εὐνοή[σειν Καί-] σαρι) and, in addition, that he or she will take any risk in defence of the interests of the imperial family (ὑπὲρ τε τῶν τούτοις διαφερόντων). This last phrase provides an analogy to the oath in Josephus, taken to guarantee not only the speaker’s favour toward Augustus but also toward the king’s interests and affairs. Though expressed differently (the oath from Neapolis employs a lengthy preposition, and Josephus uses the noun πράγμασιν), the reference between the two oaths is clearly to an identical clause.26 In the authentication formula of the Paphlagonian oath-text, the taker of the oath is invoking as witness “Zeus, the Earth, the Sun, all the gods and goddesses, and Augustus himself,” which presupposes that Augustus was a living god, who, in the case of perjury, would mete out punishment to the violator of the oath. The invocation of witnesses is followed by another authenticating element, the use of a verb of swearing (ὄμνυμι), which constructs a relationship between the gods invoked and what is sworn, including an imprecation clause. The imprecation clause itself includes a self-curse extending to the lives of one’s children. Oaths were often accompanied by a sacrifice and the oath from Paphlagonia is no exception,

 According to Ralph Marcus, Josephus wrongly mentioned Pharisees instead of Essenes (Marcus – Wikgren, eds. Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, 185; cf. Mason, Josephus, Judea and Christian Origins, 185‒215).  Mahieu, Between Rome and Jerusalem, 247–48; Sørensen, “Herod’s Oath of c. 6 BCE,” 262.

Considerations on Oaths of Loyalty under Augustus in Josephus


as it specifically mentions an altar and sanctuary of the living Augustus, thereby establishing a connection to the imperial cult. To turn back to Judea, elsewhere Josephus narrates how Herod had compelled his subjects to take a similar oath to him earlier in his reign (around 20 BCE), securing their loyalty (πίστις) and favour (εὔνοια) (Ant. 15.368). On this occasion, the Pharisees and the Essenes were exempted without any consequences. Now, Josephus does not relate by whom the Jews had to swear, but he explicitly states that a very large number among the Pharisees (allegedly 6,000) refused to take the oath, for which decision they were heavily fined.27 What happened in 6 BCE? As in many other places in the Roman Empire, events in the imperial family, including the increasing political importance of the Augustan princes, prompted many to display their joy and to confirm their loyalty toward Augustus. In Conobaria (Lusitania) the oath was taken by the citizens, presided over by the local magistrates,28 and in the city-state of Samos the council and popular assembly decided on the institution of an oath to be taken by the citizens to the emperor. In the vast territories of Paphlagonia and in Neapolis in Pontos, Roman citizens, travellers, and even those enjoying no rights were required to pledge their allegiance to the omnipotent ruler in Rome. However, Sørensen did not answer the most important question: why did “all the rest of the Jews” swear “allegiance to Caesar and the rule of the king,” aside from the six thousand Pharisees? First, notice that the entire population had to take an oath. Only the Pharisees, who were experts in the Law, rejected swearing to Augustus and Herod. There may have been quite a few reasons for the rejection of this oath. Even if the names of the pagan gods (Zeus, Ge, Helios) were taken from the formula, it may not have seemed right in the least for them to swear to a ruler who was called the “son of God.”29 Not to mention that swearing in the Augustan temples and altars – a fair number of them were built in the time of Herod, even if not in Jerusalem itself30 – would have been the most serious idolatry, which was considered a deadly sin. In my opinion, it was equally unacceptable for a Pharisee to place himself under a curse for the sake of a pagan ruler. It is clearly stated in the Paphlagonian oath: “I invoke curses of total and complete destruction against

 On Josephus’ picture of the Pharisees see Schwartz, “Josephus and Nicolaus on the Pharisees”; Mason, Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees.  Scharf, “Conobaria 5 v. Chr.: Der erste römische ‘Kaisereid’”.  On the name “son of god” (divi filius) for the emperor in the Roman Empire see Peppard, The Son of God in the Roman World; and for its impact on the Jews and Christians see Collins, “Mark and His Readers: The Son of God among Jews”; Hengel, The Son of God.  On the temples, shrines, statues, altars, and dedications to Augustus in Judea see Belayche, Iudaea-Palaestina.


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myself, my body, my soul, my life, my children, my entire family, and my interests till the end of all my successors and my descendants.” Such a grave curse could be taken up by a faithful Jew only in order to keep the Law of God.31 We assume that the Pharisees, who were praised by Josephus for their “detailed knowledge of the ancestral laws,” denied the oath not only out of dislike for the gentile ruler and Herod, but because of obedience to the Sacred Laws. However, it is completely understandable that Josephus did not want to emphasize the contradiction between the oaths taken at the behest of a pagan ruler and those affirming the sacred laws of Moses. Quirinius, a Roman senator who had ascended through the magistracies up to the consulship and also enjoyed high dignity in other ways, came to Syria at this time, with some others, sent by Caesar to judge that nation and assess their property. A man of equestrian rank, Coponius, was sent with him, to take full charge of the Jews, though Quirinius came into Judea too, which was now annexed to Syria, to assess their property and dispose of Archelaus’s money. The Jews were at first alarmed to hear about this tax-registration but were persuaded to give up their opposition to it by the high priest Joazar, the son of Boethus, and, won over by Joazar’s words, they gave an account of their estates without argument. But Judas, a Gaulanite from a city called Gamala, with the support of the Pharisee Sadduc, stirred them to revolt by calling this taxation nothing but an introduction to slavery and urging the nation to reassert its freedom. This would allow them to regain prosperity and retain their own property, as well as something still more valuable, the honour and glory of acting with courage. (Ant. 18.1–5.)

This is a well-known, and well-analyzed text, as it narrates nothing other than making Judea a Roman province.32 However, it is highly probable that Josephus is being silent about something important in this description. True, the annexation of Judea in 6 CE was followed by a provincial census. Josephus repeats four times that the initial resistance of the Jews was due to the apographe, that is the assessment of property in order to gaugetaxes. However, Jews had had to pay taxes to Rome ever since Pompey captured Judea in 63 BCE.33 Appian’s notice concerning Herod’s appointment to the throne provides explicit evidence that he also paid tribute to Rome: “[Marc Antony] set up kings here and there as he pleased, on condition of their paying a prescribed tribute” (Bel. civ. 5.75). Many scholars agree that Herod’s reign was economically oppressive, since Jewish peasants were crushed by the system of triple taxation: Herod’s own excessive taxes were paid

 For the role of curses in oaths and vows see Manekin-Bamberger, “The Vow-Curse in Ancient Jewish Texts”.  Schneider, Die Schätzung des Quirinius bei Flavius Josephus; Corbishley, “Quirinius and the Census”; McLaren, “The Census in Judea”; Rhoads, “Josephus Misdated the Census of Quirinius”.  Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar’s, 117.

Considerations on Oaths of Loyalty under Augustus in Josephus


on top of tribute to Rome, as well as temple taxes and tithes.34 Thus, what may have been the novelty of the census of Quirinius in 6 CE? Perhaps the fact that the Jews had to pay the tax directly to the emperor? This offense may have been the reason why the Pharisees – a quarter of a century after Quirinius’ census – asked Jesus: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matt 22:17). In my opinion, the main reason for refusal would have been the compulsory taking of an oath in the name of the emperor before the Roman authorities. This time, then, those who refused to take the oath could not skate by with an alternative oath. For radicals adhering to the Sacred Law, there was nothing left but to launch an open rebellion. (It is remarkable that besides the Gaulanite Judas there reappears a Pharisee called Sadduc.35) The annexation of Judea had serious consequences for the followers of Judaism. From this time on – to quote Clifford Ando – “filing any official declaration with the imperial bureaucracy required swearing an oath regarding its truth value, and that oath was sworn by the genius of the current emperor.”36 Provincials had also to swear an oath of loyalty to the emperor each year. On January 3, all undertook prayers for the health of the reigning emperor (vota pro valetudine or pro salute principis) and for the eternity of the Roman Empire. Individuals then repeated their prayers for the emperor’s safety and renewed their oaths of loyalty on the reigning emperor’s dies imperii. In these oaths – as preserved in Philo, Menander and Valerius Maximus, for instance – the emperor appears as a superhuman who even controls the weather: “rains in season, abundance from the sea, unstinting harvests come happily to us because of the emperor’s justice.”37 I do not think there is any need to explain why a faithful Jew could not take such an oath. Likewise, it is not necessary to explain why Josephus did not want to talk about this. Nevertheless, hundred years after swearing the first obligatory oath to the name of the emperor in 6 CE, Jews seem to have adapted to the new situation. In the archive of a Jewess refugee called Babatha, an apographe or declaration of property has been found from after 106 CE which contained the oath formula: “I, Babtha, daughter of Simon, swear by the genius of our Lord Caesar, that I have in good faith registered as has been written above.”38 But let  Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar’s, 113–206.  Ant. 18.4; cf. Goodblatt, “Priestly Ideologies of the Judean Resistance”.  Ando, Imperial Ideology, 359.  Ando, Imperial Ideology, 389.  P.Yad. 16, l. 2. cf. Haensch, “Zum Verständnis von P. Jericho 16 gr.,” 160–65. The same oath is found in X H.ev 61, l. 2, another land declaration, from Salome Komaise’s archive: see Cotton, “Fragments of a Declaration,” 266–67 and Cotton ‒ Yardeni, eds., Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek Documentary, 178–79 on the oath formula. We find another Jew swearing an oath by the emperor’s person (not his genius) in CPJ II 427 (= BGU IV 1068): here, Soteles son of Josepos, a Jew, affixed an oath by the emperor to the notification of his son’s death (101 CE).


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us not forget that this document was made a generation after a losing war involving massive blood loss and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Bibliography Ando, Clifford. Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empire. Berkeley ‒ Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2013. Azuelos-Atias, Sol. “The Use of the Biblical Oath and its Development.” IJSL 29 (2016): 685–707. Beare, Rhona. “The Meaning of the Oath by the Safety of the Roman Emperor.” AJPh 99 (1978): 106–10. Begg, Christopher T. “Israel’s Treaty with Gibeon According to Josephus.” OLP 28 (1997) 123–46. Belayche, Nicole. Iudaea-Palaestina: The Pagan Cults in Roman Palestine (Second to Fourth Century). RRP 1. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001. Belkin, Samuel. Philo and the Oral Law: The Philonic Interpretation of Biblical Law in Relation to the Palestinian Halakah. HSS 11. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1940. Blidstein, Moshe. “Losing Vows and Oaths in the Roman Empire and Beyond: Authority and Interpretation.” ARG 20 (2018): 275–303. Blidstein, Moshe. “Invoking Humans in Roman-Era Oaths: Emotional Relations and Divine Ambiguity.” Numen 68 (2021): 382–410. Buchanan, George Wesley. “Some Vow and Oath Formulas in the New Testament.” HTR 58 (1965): 319–26. Cancik, Hubert. “Der Kaiser-Eid.” In Die Praxis der Herrschrverhrung in Rom und seiner Provinzen. Akten der Tagung Blaubeuren, edited by Hubert Cancik – Konrad Hitzl, 29–45. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003. Cartledge, Tony W. Vows in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. JSOTSup 147. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992. Chaniotis, Angelos. “‘Under the Watchful Eyes of the Gods’: Divine Justice in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor.” In The Greco-Roman East: Politics, Culture, Society, edited by Stephen Colvin, 1–43. YCS 31. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Collins, Adela Yarbro. “Mark and His Readers: The Son of God among Jews.” HTR 92 (1999): 393–408. Conklin, Blane. Oath Formulas in Biblical Hebrew. LSAWS 5. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2011. Corbishley, Thomas. “Quirinius and the Census: A Re-study of the Evidence.” Klio 29 (1936): 81–93. Cotton, Hannah M. “Fragments of a Declaration of Landed Property from the Province of Arabia.” ZPE 85 (1991): 263–67. Cotton, Hannah M. ‒ Yardeni, Ada, eds. Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek Documentary Texts from Naḥal Ḥever and Other Sites: With an Appendix Containing Alleged Qumran Texts. The Seiyâl Collection II. DJD 27. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997. Cumont, Franz. “Inscription grecque de Vézir-Keupru dans l’anciennePaphlagonie (Asie Mineure).” Comptes-rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 44 (1900): 687–91. Czajkowski, Kimberley. “Jewish Attitudes towards the Imperial Cult.” SCI 34 (2015): 181–94. Falk, Zeev W. “On Talmudic Vows.” HTR 59 (1966): 309–12. Feldman, Louis H. Studies in Josephus’ Rewritten Bible. JSJSup 58. Leiden: Brill, 1998. Fishbane, Simcha. Deviancy in Early Rabbinic Literature. BRLJ 27. Leiden: Brill, 2007. Fishwick, Duncan. “Genius and Numen.” HTR 62 (1969): 356–67.

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González, Julián. “The First Oath Pro Salute Augusti Found in Baetica.” ZPE 72 (1988): 113–27. Goodblatt, David. “Priestly Ideologies of the Judean Resistance.” JSQ 3 (1996): 225–49. Gordon, Richard. “The Roman Imperial Cult and the Question of Power.” In The Religious History of the Roman Empire, edited by John North – Simon Price, 37–70. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Greenberg, Milton. “Loyalty Oaths: An Appraisal of the Legal Issues.” JP 20 (1958): 487–514. Haensch, Rudolf. “Zum Verständnis von P. Jericho 16 gr.” SCI 20 (2001): 155–67. Hagner, Donald. “A Response to John P. Meier’s Did the Historical Jesus Prohibit All Oaths?” JSHJ 6 (2008): 25–32. Hengel, Martin. The Son of God: The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2007. Herrmann, Peter. “Die Inschriften römischer Zeit aus dem Heraion von Samos.” Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts, Athenische Abteilung 77 (1960): 68–183. Herrmann, Peter. Der Römische Kaisereid: Untersuchungen zu Seiner Herkunft und Entwicklung. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1968. Katz, Nathaniel S. “Not Just by Jove: The Emperor in Roman Oaths.” Historia 70 (2021): 494–523. Klawans, Jonathan. “The Prohibition of Oaths and Contra-scriptural Halakhot: A Response to John P. Meier.” JSHJ 6 (2008): 33–58. Kropp, Andreas. “King–Caesar–God: Roman Imperial Cult among Near Eastern ‘Client’ Kings in the Julio-Claudian Period.” In Lokale Identität in Römische Nahen Osten. Kontexte und Perspektiven, edited by Michael Blömer et al. 99–105. OO 18. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2009. Le Gall, Joël. “Un serment à l’empereur Auguste trouvé près de Séville.” BSAF 1991 (1993): 165–68. Levinson, Sanford. “Constituting Communities Through Words That Bind: Reflections on Loyalty Oaths.” MLR 84 (1985): 1440–70. Lieberman, Saul. Greek in Jewish Palestine: Studies in the Life and Manners of Jewish Palestine in the 2.–4. Centuries C.E. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1942. Mahieu, Bieke. Between Rome and Jerusalem: Herod the Great and His Sons in Their Struggle for Recognition; A Chronological Investigation of the Period 40 BC–39 AD, with a Time Setting of New Testament Events. OLA 208. Leuven: Peeters, 2012. Manekin-Bamberger, Avigail. “The Vow-Curse in Ancient Jewish Texts.” HTR 112 (2019): 340–57. Mann, Jacob. “Oaths and Vows in the Synoptic Gospels.” AJT 21 (1917): 260–74. Marcus, Ralph – Wikgren, Allen, eds. Josephus: Jewish Antiquities. With an English Translation VIII. LCL. London: Heinemann, 1963. Mason, Steve. Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees: A Composition-critical Study. Leiden: Brill, 2001. Mason, Steve. Josephus, Judea and Christian Origins: Methods and Categories. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2008. McLaren, James S. “Jews and the Imperial Cult: From Augustus to Domitian.” JSNT 27 (2005): 257–78. McLaren, James S. “The Census in Judea.” ABR 53 (2005): 70–75. Meier, John P. “Did the Historical Jesus Prohibit All Oaths? Part 1.” JSHJ 5 (2007): 175–204. Meier, John P. “The Historical Jesus and Oaths: A Response to Donald A. Hagner and Jonathan Klawans.” JSHJ 6 (2008): 49–58. Peppard, Michael. The Son of God in the Roman World: Divine Sonship in Its Social and Political Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Price, Simon R. F. “Gods and Emperors: The Greek Language of the Roman Imperial Cult.” JHS 104 (1984): 79–95. Price, Simon R. F. Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.


Tibor Grüll

Qimron, Elisha. “Further Observations on the Laws of Oaths in the Damascus Document 15.” JQR 85 (1994): 251–57. Richardson, James H. “The Oath per iovem lapidem and the Community in Archaic Rome.” RMP 153 (2010): 25–42. Rhoads, John H. “Josephus Misdated the Census of Quirinius.” JETS 54 (2011): 65–87. Scharf, Ralf. “Conobaria 5 v. Chr.: Der erste römische ‘Kaisereid’.” In Hommages à Carl Deroux. 3. Histoire et épigraphie, edited by Paul Defosse, 415–25. Bruxelles: Latomus, 2003. Schiffman, Lawrence H. “The Law of Vows and Oaths (Num. 30,3–16) in the ‘Zadokite Fragments’and the ‘Temple Scroll’.” RevQ 15 (1991): 199–214. Schneider, Johannes Ferdinand. Die Schätzung des Quirinius bei Flavius Josephus. Leipzig: Dörffling & Franke, 1930. Schumann, Daniel. Gelübde im antiken Judentum und frühesten Christentum. AJEC 111. Leiden: Brill, 2021. Schwartz, Daniel R. “Josephus and Nicolaus on the Pharisees.“ JSJ 14 (1983): 157–71. Sørensen, Søren Lund. “A Re-examination of the Imperial Oath from Vezirköprü.” Philia 1 (2015): 14–32. Sørensen, Søren Lund. “Herod’s Oath of c. 6 BCE.” RRE 4 (2018): 260–72. Spurr, John. “A Profane History of Early Modern Oaths.” TRHS 11 (2001): 37–63. Te Velde, Dolf. “De Juramento.” In Synopsis Purioris Theologiae/Synopsis of a Purer Theology, edited by Henk van den Belt et al., 488–511. T & S 204/8. Leiden: Brill, 2015. Udoh, Fabian E. To Caesar What Is Caesar’s: Tribute, Taxes and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine (63 B.C.E. – 70 C.E.). Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2006. Vanderkam, James C. “The Oath and the Community.” DSD 16 (2009): 416–32.

Tal Ilan

The “Coalition” Government of Jerusalem (66–67 CE) in Josephus’ Bellum and in Rabbinic Literature 1 Introduction In the last decade I have concentrated (with colleagues – Vered Noam, Meir Ben Shahar, Dafna Baratz and Yael Fisch) on the parallels between Josephus and rabbinic literature, and the results were published in Hebrew in 2017 in two volumes – one about parallel traditions dating to the Second Temple period and the second about similarities between Josephus and the rabbis when they speak of the war against Rome and the destruction of the Temple.1 In our work, we noted a conceptual difference between the content of the two volumes. While traditions from the Second Temple period, collected in the first volume, were for Josephus available as either written or oral sources, because he had not been alive when the events they relate occurred, concerning the war, he was very much alive and involved in the events of the Roman-Jewish War and the events leading to it, sometimes even being an eyewitness to recorded events. For the first sort of traditions, if rabbinic literature records the same things, or even just similar stories, it is very likely that both the rabbis and Josephus had access to the same literary/historiographical tradition. Although Josephus wrote at least a century before the earliest rabbinic compilations were redacted, we have concluded that the sources the rabbis used in relaying these traditions were not the works of Josephus. We have argued that both had access to the same original (oral or written) sources. Furthermore, we think the differences between

 See: Ilan – Noam, Josephus and the Rabbis: Volume I: The Lost Tales of the Second Temple Period; Volume II: Tales about the Destruction of the Temple (Hebrew). I wish to explain how the reference system in this article works: Since most of the topics I summarize have been discussed at length in this book, I refer to it for further literature, instead of needlessly compiling a long bibliography. I refer to specific research when a topic was not detailed in our book. Also, sometimes, in order not to rewrite what I have written previously, I occasionally quote extensively from my other previous works. Acknowledgment: I am grateful to my friend and colleague Steve Mason for reading this article before publication and alerting me to some points I had missed or misinterpreted. I think this piece is now considerably better informed, even if we do not agree on every point. Any mistakes left in the manuscript are, of course, all my own.


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Josephus and the rabbis are a result of different interests. Even though Josephus had personal and apologetic motives, especially in light of his intended audience, he was of the opinion that he was writing history. Historical precision in dates and details were very important for Josephus. Rabbinic literature had no such pretensions. Theirs was much more a religious-didactic literature in which lessons are taught, and if a lesson contradicts the facts of the tradition, facts are altered without any qualms. The rabbis are famous for having stated concerning the past ‫( מאי דהוה הוה‬e.g. b. Yoma 2b – on the clothes in which Moses dressed Aaron the High Priest in the desert) – “what had happened, happened”; it is in no one’s interest to dwell on it, and its details are not sacred. The second volume of our project is different. Here, we could not argue that the rabbis and Josephus had used the same sources, because Josephus was a close contemporary of the events of the war – he told what he saw and experienced firsthand, and what he heard from other direct eyewitnesses, or from rumors and direct reports he heard or read. He was his own source. The rabbis, writing many years later, had here, as with events of the Second Temple period, used sources. Of course, one of them could have been Josephus himself. In the case where Josephus prophesies to Vespasian that he will be the next emperor, and the rabbis make Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai the bearer of the same prophecy, this is even likely. However, we did not find in any of the examples (not even this one2) explicit proof that the rabbis cite Josephus. There are no traces of his style, arguments or details in rabbinic literature. We thus concluded that the rabbis knew about this war from a sort of narrative frame that became the canonical way for Jews (including Josephus) to speak about it, including a story about a Jew who prophesized to Vespasian that he would become emperor. Both Josephus and the rabbis claim that the war began with the cessation of the sacrifices offered in the Temple for the wellbeing of the Roman emperor (although Josephus, at least, offers a host of other causes for the outbreak of the war as well). They both know that it ended with the destruction of the Temple. They both record similar details about it: that often the Jews fought among themselves instead of using their resources against Rome; that they burnt their own food supplies so that a terrible hunger fell upon a besieged Jerusalem; both know of a woman who in these circumstances ate her own child. Concerning the destruction itself, the details which Josephus and the rabbis share are many: Both report warning signs that appeared prior to the destruction, foremost among them the Temple gates opening of their own accord after being locked in the evening; both know of

 On which see Ben Shahar, “The Prediction to Vespasian,” specifically on the use of Josephus see 661–64 (Hebrew).

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a meeting convened by Titus (or Vespasian) to discuss the fate of the Temple once conquered; both report on Titus’ visit to the Holy of Holies before it was torched; both list the same vessels that were taken from the temple to Rome as booty; finally, both report a story about priests who committed suicide by throwing themselves into the flames while the Temple burned. Aside from these events, the two corpora also share knowledge of a number of persons who were active during the war, though the sort of information provided by each is completely different. In what follows I will discuss an event first reported in Bel. 2.562–68, which ends in Bel. 4.158–365, which mentions many people, and which is also known to the rabbis. The story Josephus tells runs as follows: A government was established in Jerusalem after the defeat of the Roman general Cestius Gallus at his withdrawal from Jerusalem in the fall of 66 CE, and this government fell in the winter of 67–68 CE. I follow Jonathan Price in calling it the “coalition” government, because it included among its ranks both priests and lay people; both Pharisees and Sadducees.3 This coalition is never reported in rabbinic literature, but I wish to argue that details about it may have been known to the rabbis, because of the extraordinary number of individuals, who participated in this episode, that are also known to the rabbis. Even though the rabbis do not associate these people with these (or sometimes any) events of the war, the fact that all are mentioned by Josephus in the context of this government and its activities indicates that the rabbis probably knew something about it. I will also imply once in a while that rabbinic literature may be supplying us with information associated with these events that Josephus fails to articulate.

2 The Foundation of the “Coalition” Government in Bel. 2 In Bel. 2.562–65 Josephus tells of the aftermath of the failed attack of Cestius Gallus on a rebellious Jerusalem: The Jews who had pursued Cestius, on their return to Jerusalem, partly by force, partly by persuasion, brought over to their side such pro-Romans as still remained; and, assembling in the Temple, appointed additional generals to conduct the war. Joseph, son of Gorion, and Ananus, the high priest, were elected to the supreme control of affairs in the city, with a special charge to raise the height of the walls. As for Eleazar son of Simon, notwithstanding that he had in his hands the Roman spoils, the money taken from Cestius, and a great part

 Price, Jerusalem under Siege, 51–62.


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of the public treasure, they did not entrust him with office, because they observed his despotic nature, and that his subservient admirers conducted themselves like his bodyguard. Gradually, however, financial needs and the intrigues of Eleazar had such influence with the people that they ended by yielding the supreme command to him.4

This last statement is a hint at what Josephus will be telling us about this government in Book 4, and to which we shall have recourse presently. Following this text, a list of other appointments to commander-positions in the country is presented, including of course “Josephus, son of Matthias [who] was given the two Galilees, with the addition of Gamala, the strongest city in that region” (Bel. 2.568). From that moment on, the thrust of the narrative is directed away from Jerusalem and toward Galilee, where the author, Josephus, was then headed. The foundation of this government and its many exploits are not mentioned at all in the Josephus-rabbinic literature project because the rabbis seem not to have known anything about it. The persons mentioned by name in this government – Joseph son of Gorion, Ananus the High Priest and, on the other side, the Zealot, Eleazar son of Simon – are also not mentioned in rabbinic literature, as opposed to persons associated with the demise of that government, related in Bel. 4 (on which see below). While it is true that a House of Hanan (‫ )בית חנן‬is mentioned by the rabbis in a semi-poetic text (t. Men 13:21; b. Pes 57b) in association with corrupt high priests active at the end of the Second Temple, the lists that Josephus gives of corrupt high priests of the same period (Ant. 20.179–81, 205–7, 213–21), does not include Ananus son of Ananus of the “coalition” government.5 Therefore in our project, Yael Fisch, who wrote about this topic, suggested that: “it makes sense that the tannaitic tradition on the House of Hanan should be associated with evil deeds tied in Josephus with the name of the High Priest Hananiah (Ἀνανίας) son of Nebedaios (first mentioned with his full name in Ant. 20.103; his corrupt exploits are related in Ant. 20.205–7).”6 The establishment of the “coalition” government is a prologue to what, in the eyes of Josephus, are the most important events of the war – his command of Galilee. After all, it was this government that gave him his command. After assuming it, he describes his actions in Galilee to the end of Book 2 and throughout Book 3. Even Book 4, after his capture (down to §120), is still devoted to events in Galilee. Only as of §121 does the narrative return to Jerusalem. Bel. 4.121–54 relates the exploits of the Zealots after the Galilean rebel John of Gischala arrives in Jerusalem. It

 The Josephus translations are consistently taken from the Loeb Classical Library translation.  Although Josephus does not refrain from criticizing him on other counts, see Ant. 20.197–203. I am grateful to Steve Mason for this comment.  Fisch, “The Corruption of the High Priests,” 534 (Hebrew).

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is at this point that persons associated with the events Josephus relates begin to populate the pages of rabbinic literature.

3 The Fall of the “Coalition” Government in Bel. 4 and Rabbinic Literature One of the most audacious actions of the Zealots, reported right at the beginning of Josephus’ narrative on the fall of the “coalition” government, was to appoint a high priest who was not from among the traditional and aristocratic high-priestly families but was a commoner, and they did so by lot. This episode is related in Bel. 4.155–57:7 They accordingly summoned one of the high-priestly clans called Eniachin, and cast lots for a high priest. The lot fell to one who proved a signal illustration of their depravity; he was an individual named Phanni, son of Samuel, of the village of Aphthia, a man who was not only not descended from high priests, but was such a clown that he scarcely knew what the high-priesthood meant. At any rate they dragged their reluctant victim out of the country and dressed him up for his assumed part, as on the stage, put the sacred vestments upon him and instructed him how to act in keeping with the occasion. To them this monstrous impiety was a subject for jesting and sport, but the other priests, beholding from a distance this mockery of their laws, could not restrain their tears and bemoaned the degradation of the sacred honours.

Unlike all that precedes it, this episode has a clear parallel in rabbinic literature (t. Yoma 1:6; Sifra emor parashah 2:1). It was told of Phineas of Havtha, to whom the lot fell to be high priest, that treasurers and administrators went after him and found him quarrying (stones) and they filled the entire quarry with golden denarii. Said Rabbi Hanina ben Gamaliel: He was not a stone-cutter; he was our son-in-law, and they found him ploughing, like Elisha . . .8

When I discussed this episode in the Josephus-and-the-rabbis project, I suggested that “here too we are looking at a tradition that reached Josephus as a complete story . . . and it interrupts Josephus’ narrative before and after it and creates doublets and contradictions.”9 If this is the case, we have entered a zone in the Josephus narrative that has some contact with rabbinic stories concerning this period.

 See further Baratz, “Phanni of Aphthia (Phinehas of Habata)” (Hebrew).  Translations of rabbinic texts are my own.  Tal Ilan, “Introduction,” (Josephus and the Rabbis II) 552 (Hebrew).


Tal Ilan

This is the place to investigate whether it is just this episode, or whether a wider field of traditions are here shared by the two narratives. Indeed, immediately following this text the following appears: This latest outrage was more than the people could stand, and as if for the overthrow of despotism one and all were roused. For their leaders of outstanding reputation, such as Gorion son of Joseph, and Symeon son of Gamaliel, by public addresses to the whole assembly, and by private visits to individuals, urged them to delay no longer to punish those wreckers of liberty and purge the sanctuary of its bloodstained polluters. Their efforts were supported by the most eminent of the high priests, Jesus son of Gamalas and Ananus son of Ananus, who at their meeting vehemently upbraided the people for their apathy, and incited them against the Zealots . . . (Bel. 4.158–61).

Obviously, this passage refers back to Bel. 2.562–68, where Josephus describes the establishment of the “coalition” government. First of all, it lists at least one of the two leaders mentioned there – Ananus the high priest. It also mentions a Gorion son of Joseph, who may be (but is not certainly) identical with Joseph son of Gorion from the previous passage. Both, as I argued above, are not protagonists in stories of the Second Temple told by the rabbis. Yet aside from these two, who each represents the priests and the lay aristocracy here, as in Bel. 2.562–68, two additional leaders of these two groups are mentioned: the eminent lay aristocrat Simeon son of Gamaliel and the high priest Jesus son of Gamalas. As opposed to Ananus and Gorion (or Joseph), both these figures are well known from the rabbinic repertoire. Josephus’ description of the Zealots’ coup continues: They invite their allies the Idumeans, let them into the city by stealth, and liquidate the leaders of the coalition government, after which the Idumeans leave the city. Josephus’ description here is very long, due to the fact that it is interlaced with extended speeches given by Ananus (Bel. 4.162–92) and Jesus son of Gamalas (Bel. 4.238–69) and counter speeches presented by John of Gischala (Bel. 4.216–23) and the leader of the Idumeans, Simon son of Kathla (Bel. 4.271–83 – all these speeches are obviously Josephan compositions).10 In between these speeches, Josephus adds some more detail and mentions some names. Thus, at Bel. 4.225, he lists the names of the Zealot leaders. This list has been the cause of much confusion, because even though it may be seen as partly supporting Bel. 2.564, which had mentioned an Eleazar son of Simon, it could just as easily be viewed as a complete departure from it. Josephus’ text runs as follows: But in order to incense the personal feelings of the Zealot leaders as well, he (i.e. John of Gischala) accused Ananus of brutality, asserting that the special threats were directed at

 On which see Steve Mason’s contribution to this volume.

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them. These leaders were Eleazar son of Gion, the most influential man of the party, from his ability both in conceiving appropriate measures and in carrying them into effect, and a certain Zacharias son to Amphikalleos, both being of priestly descent.

It has long been noted that the second of the two is to be identified with ‫זכריה בן‬ ‫ אבקלוס‬of rabbinic literature. As to the first, much will be said about him presently. Further down, Josephus also lists the leaders of the Idumeans whom the Zealots invited to help them in Jerusalem (Bel. 4.235): Ioannes and Jacob sons of Sosas, Simon son of Kathla, and Phineas son of Klusoth. I will argue that the third in the list (Σίμων υἰὸς Καθλᾶ) is also known to the rabbis. In other words, in the story of the Zealots’ coup in 67 CE, right after relating the episode of the nomination of a high priest by lot, discussed above – which has a literary parallel in rabbinic literature – mention is made of five other men, who are also known to the rabbis. In the following I will discuss each of these individually and I will end by suggesting that, even though they have not recorded them (so far as we know), the rabbis knew of the Zealots’ exploits in Jerusalem in 67 CE. I shall begin with the Zealot leaders.

3.1 Zachariah son of Amphikaleos (Ζαχαρίας υἵος Ἀμφικάλλει)/Zachariah ben Avkalos (‫)זכריה בן אבקלוס‬ One of the two leaders of the Zealots that Josephus lists is a certain Zachariah son to Amphikalleos (Bel. 4.225), whom he names nowhere else. This same person is probably mentioned by the rabbis as Zachariah ben Avkalos (‫)זכריה בן אבקלוס‬.11 This person’s role is no less enigmatic in rabbinic literature than it is in Josephus. He is first mentioned in the tannaitic Tosefta, probably compiled about a century after Josephus’ work, though containing many earlier traditions. In t. Shab 16:7 we learn that, while eating on the Sabbath, the question arose as to what to do with leftovers like bones and peels. Should their disposal be considered the performance of labor? Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel are divided on this, and suggest different strategies for coping with the situation. Rabbi Zachariah ben Avkalos (note the  On whether this is the same person and on scholarly disputes on this, see Ben Shahar, “The Abolishment of the Sacrifice,” 579–84 (Hebrew). Scholars, who have invested much energy in explaining how the two forms of the patronymic differ, seem oblivious to the fact that each name is a hapax in the composition in which it appears. This is a phenomenon we often find in nicknames that are disguised as patronymics (see Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 46). If there is no fixed tradition about how to write the name, it should come as no surprise that when recorded in two literatures, in two different languages, divergences occur in the transmission process. In my Lexicon, 262, both are listed as the same person with the same name.


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title – Rabbi) acts neither like the one nor like the other. On his chosen course of action Rabbi Yosi comments: “Because of Zachariah ben Avkalos’ modesty (‫)ענוותנותו‬ the Temple was destroyed.” The truth is that no one knows what this statement means, but the mention of the destruction of the Temple suggests that the person in question lived at the time that the Temple was destroyed. Later amoraic rabbinic compositions – the Land-of-Israel midrash Eichah Rabbah and the Babylonian Talmud – both bring Zachariah ben Avkalos into the narrative that relates the trivial reason why the war against Rome broke out in 66 CE. The story they tell is about a person who invited to a banquet a certain Qamsa, whom he liked; but, due to a misunderstanding, a person with a similar name – Bar Qamsa – arrived. When the mistakenly-invited guest is thrown out, even though he pleads innocence at his unexpected appearance and asks not to be shamed, he goes to the Romans as revenge and tells them the Jews have rebelled against them. The story then ends with the statement: “Between Qamsa and Bar Qamsa the temple was destroyed.” While in the Land-of-Israel tradition (Eichah Rabbah 4:2) Zachariah ben Avkalos is placed at the scene of the banquet and it is stated that he could have protested but did not, in the Babylonian version (b. Gittin 56a) he plays a real role in the story. After the Roman emperor hears that the Jews refuse to sacrifice in his honor, he sends a sacrifice by which to test this report, which Bar Qamsa then maims and disqualifies. In order not to appear rebellious, some priests suggest sacrificing the disqualified animal, but Zachariah ben Avkalos tells them that this would be interpreted (by God?) as a transgression – does one sacrifice disqualified beasts? The priests then suggest killing Bar Qamsa, so that he not tell the emperor that the beast has not been sacrificed, to which Zachariah ben Avkalos reacts by saying that God would see this as a transgression – does one kill for disqualifying a sacrificial victim? With neither of these options open, the emperor infers that the Jews have rebelled. Both texts end with the inexplicable statement from the Tosefta (which has now acquired a context and a meaning): “Because of Zachariah ben Avkalos’ modesty (‫ )ענוותנותו‬the Temple was destroyed.” For our purposes, we can see that both Josephus and the rabbis know of a man with an almost identical name who lived at the time of the war with Rome. It is fairly obvious that, aside from this fact, the information the two sources divulge about him (he is either a Zealot leader or a sage at a feast) is completely different. Do these details contradict one another? Some scholars think so, though there is no decisive proof. In any case, both Josephus and the rabbis assumed that this person lived at the period in which the Temple was destroyed.

The “Coalition” Government


3.2 Eleazar son of Gion (Ἐλεάζαρος υἱος Γίωνος)/Eleazar . . . ben Geron (‫ בן גרון‬. . .‫)אלעזר‬ Eleazar son of Gion, like Zechariah son to Amphikalleos, is also only mentioned in Bel. 4.225. However, scholars have lost sight of this fact, because most editions assume that his patronymic is a scribal error, and that this person is to be identified with Eleazar son of Simon mentioned in Bel. 2.564 (and in 5.5), as indeed some of the manuscripts of Josephus attest.12 However, the principle of lectio difficilior warns us against dismissing the more difficult reading just because it is more difficult; if, indeed, we stay with “Gion,” then the identity of this Eleazar with the Eleazar of Bel. 2.564 (and 5.513) is cast into doubt, or alternatively requires that we dismiss “Simon” and adopt “Gion.” I wish to suggest here a complex move, together with rabbinic literature, that may help identify him with another person in this literary complex that the rabbis also know. Many years ago, I worried about the Eleazar son of Simon of Bel. 2.564. In an article I wrote with Jonathan Price,14 we wondered where he had come from all of a sudden, since the only Eleazar mentioned previously, as the active and undisputed leader of the Zealots,15 was a certain Eleazar son of Hananiah. We wrote (and I complete missing information in square brackets): The riddle of Eleazar son of Simon’s sudden appearance may be connected to Eleazar son of Ananias’ unexplained sudden disappearance after having exercised exclusive control over the rebel factions. Eleazar son of Ananias is named fully – that is, with his patronymic and title – only in Bel. 2.409–10, where Josephus relates that Eleazar [son of a high priest named Ananias], as strategos of the Temple, instigated the cessation of the sacrifices on behalf of the Roman emperor. After that daring act of rebellion Eleazar pursued revolution quite aggressively – or, an Eleazar did. In Bel. 2.424 an Eleazar (without patronymic) leads the Templebased rebel factions . . . in their struggle against the pro-Roman Jews and Agrippa II’s troops . . . Next, the followers of an Eleazar (οἱ περὶ τὸν Ἐλεάζαρον) were distracted from their battles with the pro-Romans by civil discord within the rebel factions themselves. This Eleazar prevailed, killed Menahem, and drove the Sicarii from Jerusalem (Bel. 2.443–45). Finally, an Eleazar and his followers ( . . . Bel. 2.450, 453) led the siege of Herod’s palace (Menahem had begun this siege), treacherously murdering the Roman troops after granting them a truce.

 Niese, Flavii Iosephi Opera, vol. vi/2, 376, mss. PALLat.  Steve Mason reminded me of this. This may imply that the scribal “correction” from Gion to Simon was quite consistent, making the lectio difficilior of Bel. 4.225 even more glaring, for it would then be the clear slip of a scribe’s pen. All the Eleazars mentioned further down in Bel. 5 (12, 21, 99, 250) are without patronymic, though they obviously refer to the same man.  Ilan – Price, “Seven Onomastic Problems in Josephus’ BELLUM JUDAICUM”. The following long citation is on pp. 204–06.  On Zealots and zealots, and on when a faction called Zealots actually appears, see the still relevant and comprehensive work of Smith, “Zealots and Sicarii”.


Tal Ilan

When an Eleazar is next mentioned it is Eleazar son of Simon, leader of the Zealots (Bel. 2.564), yet the reader naturally assumes that in each of the previous mentions of an Eleazar, it was Eleazar son of Ananias who was meant, for the following reasons: (1) there is no indication to the contrary; “those around Eleazar” (οἱ περὶ τὸν Ἐλεάζαρον) [repeated again and again in the above section] were based in the Temple where Eleazar officiated as strategos; and (2) no other Eleazar had been introduced except for Eleazar son of Jairus (Bel. 2.447), whose departure for Masada is clearly indicated. But Eleazar son of Ananias’ disappearance, coupled with the sudden appearance of Eleazar son of Simon, makes one wonder whether there is a confusion of Eleazars between Bel. 2.409 and 2.564–65. That is, in the narrative between the first appearances of Eleazar son of Ananias and Eleazar son of Simon, the latter may have gained control of the rebel factions in Jerusalem, and thus when Josephus described the revolutionary activities of an Eleazar in that narrative, not Eleazar ben Ananias (the most natural reading) but Eleazar ben Simon was meant. In Bel. 2.564 Eleazar ben Simon is introduced not only suddenly but oddly. Although his patronymic is given, his Zealot followers are mentioned as if the reader were already familiar with the group. Furthermore, Eleazar ben Simon himself was, like his namesake, based on the Temple Mount (most of the Zealots were priests), and he and his Zealots could easily have done what “those around Eleazar” are said to have done. In fact, the term is a clear party designation and is used later of Eleazar and his Zealots (Bel. 5.10, 21, 99). Finally, there is reason to believe that Eleazar ben Ananias was closely linked to the Zealots. There are [however] arguments against the idea that somehow the two Eleazars were exchanged. First is the difficulty in determining exactly when the Eleazars became confused; this difficulty seems insurmountable, even if it does not destroy the general possibility of confusion. Second, the hypothesis does not solve the problem of Eleazar ben Ananias’ disappearance and may even make the problem more complicated . . . Third, . . . the Eleazar in Bel. 4.443–45 who kills the Sicarius Menahem would most naturally be Eleazar ben Ananias, who had a long account to settle with the Sicarii: Menahem had killed the high priest Ananias and Ananias’ brother Hezekiah (Eleazar’s father and uncle, Bel. 2.441) . . .

I will make a bold attempt to solve this problem here, by using rabbinic literature in order to unite the two Eleazar’s into one. I begin with Eleazar son of Ananias. All would agree that in rabbinic literature, such a person would be designated Eleazar ben Hananiah, and indeed a person with this name is mentioned in that corpus four times – twice in tannaitic halakhic midrashim (Mekhilta de Rabbi Yishmael, ba-hodesh 7; Sifre Deuteronomy 294), once in the external Tractate Semahot 6:11, and once in the Scholion to Megillat Ta‛anit. The two (early) halakhic midrashim cite legal dicta in his name. The first, from the Mekhilta, places a strong prescription in his mouth: On the third of the Ten Commandments, “Remember the day of the Sabbath” (Exodus 20:8), he is said to have commented: “Remember it from the first day after the Sabbath, that if you encounter a fine portion, put it aside for the Sabbath.” It is interesting that the Babylonian Talmud seems to be creating a story out of this saying, in which the active party is not Eleazar ben Hananiah but rather Shammai the elder, one of the most important rabbis of the Second Temple period, and Hillel’s major opponent. The Babylonian

The “Coalition” Government


Talmud relates how this Shammai would set aside a fine beast he encountered on a weekday and consume it on the Sabbath (b. Betsah 15a). This is the first hint we find of a connection between Eleazar ben Hananiah and the House of Shammai. I will say more about this presently. In the second text, from the Sifre Deuteronomy, this same sage interprets a verse from Ezekiel (46:11). The story told about Eleazar ben Hananiah in Tractate Semahot is about losing a Torah scroll, and his actions thereafter show that he lived in the time of the Temple. In his mention in one of the versions of the Scholion to Megillat Ta‛anit he is said to have had a following (‫ )סיעה‬and, together with them, to have composed Megillat Ta‛anit – a list of days on which Jews celebrate victories and may not fast.16 In all these texts his full name is given – Eleazar ben Hananiah ben Hezikiah ben Geron. This last detail implies that Eleazar’s father was not merely any Hananiah, but rather the son of a Hezekiah ben Geron. Indeed, such a Hananiah is mentioned in two other rabbinic texts. In the Mishnah we learn that in the upper chamber of Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Geron there had been issued eighteen decrees according to Beit (House of) Shammai (m. Shab 1:4). The Yerushalmi adds that these decrees were associated with (perhaps sectarian) bloodshed (y. Shab 1:4, 3c). The Babylonian Talmud, which of course also mentions this event (though without the bloodshed), relates in a nearby passage that Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Geron also interpreted the biblical Book of Ezekiel so that it was deemed legitimate for the biblical canon (b. Shab 13b; cf. b. Hag 13a). Finally, in the Babylonian Talmud, unlike in the Scholion to Megillat Ta‛anit, the composition of Megillat Ta‛anit is assigned to the father rather than the son. All these texts suggest that both Hananiah and Eleazar ben Hananiah lived at the time of the Second Temple, and that both were associated with Beit Shammai. Many scholars, beginning with Graetz, assumed that Beit Shammai had supported the Zealots in the war with Rome (and perhaps for this reason disappeared after the Destruction).17 As is clear from this overview, rabbinic literature is not overly supportive of any identity between the Eleazar son of Ananias of Josephus and the Eleazar ben Hananiah of the rabbis. As Vered Noam observed, neither name is unique. Using a phrase taken from b. Pes 68b (=b. Qid 33a – ?‫כמה יוסף איכא בשוקא‬/How many Josephs are there in the market?) Noam asks rhetorically: “How many Eleazars and

 On Megillat Ta‛anit and its Scholion see Noam, Megillat Ta‛anit (Hebrew). The text of this version of the Scholion is on p. 132. A full discussion of this Eleazar and his identification with Eleazar son of Ananias in Josephus, with previous suggestions and assumptions, see pp. 333–36.  This most influential theory of Graetz is invisible in the translation of his book into English, which ignores his long footnotes and appendices. On his “Beit Shammai and the Zealots” theory see Heinrich Graetz, Geschichte der Judäer 3/2, 797–99 (n. 24); 813–15 (n. 27).


Tal Ilan

how many Hananiahs are there in the market?”18 Or on other words, none of the Eleazars and Hananiahs we meet in these two corpora need be identified with one or the other of these. Additionally, there is one very strong argument against identifying the two. We think we know what the name of Josephus’ Eleazar’s grandfather was, and it was not Hezekiah. If he is the son of the High Priest Ananias, as Josephus claims, then his grandfather is Nedebaeus, as Josephus designates this Ananias as Ananias son of Nedebaeus (Ant. 20.103). In rabbinic literature, in a parallel tradition about the corruption of this high priests, he is designated Yohanan ben Nadbai (as the printed edition and all manuscripts of the Babylonian Talmud read in b. Ker 28a), or (less likely) Narbai (as the printed addition of b. Pes 57a reads, while in the manuscripts the version is like in b. Ker 28a19). Having listed all the reasons why this identification is supposed to be unlikely, I would like to suggest one reason, not raised previously, as to why they should nevertheless be identified with each other. I begin with Josephus. As we observed above, unlike in Bel. 2.564, where Eleazar the Zealot’s patronymic is Simon, in Bel. 4.225 it is Gion. I wish to argue that this Gion is the Geron of rabbinic literature. I realize that some obstacles have to be removed before this can be claimed, and I intend to remove them now. First, the name itself: Gion and Geron are not the same. This is true, but as I argued above about Amphikalleos and Avkalos, they are also not really personal names,20 but rather nicknames disguised as patronymics (also in the case of Geron – a papponymic of Hananiah). I suggest this was a family name. Priests were famous for having family names.21 The reason there is no agreement between the rabbis and Josephus about its form is because it is a rare, otherwise unknown, name. It is no surprise that a very early scribe of Bel. 2.564 transformed this Gion into Simon. I

 Noam, Megillat Ta‛anit, 335.  On this priest see Fisch, “The Corruption of the High Priests,” 532, 542 (Hebrew).  Within Second Temple Judaism, where the name pool was extraordinarily limited and most people bore exceptionally common names, the name Geron is recorded in my Lexicon, 270 twice, under the Greek name Γέρων, which I claimed is recorded for another Jew in Ant. 20.14. However, that man is recorded as Keron (Κέρων), and there are no manuscript variants. The suggestion that the name is Geron I took from Schalit, Namenwörterbuch, 34. Moreover, our Geron is recorded persistently in all the Mekhilta manuscripts as ‫גרן‬, which could be read with any combination of vowels one chooses. The name Gion is recorded neither in Greek (Γίων) nor in Hebrew (‫)גיון‬, neither in my volume 1 (relevant for our study here), nor in any of the other volumes of my Lexicon.  See e.g. the family of Kalon in a priestly burial cave (see Cotton et al., Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palestinae I/1, 386–94, nos. 366–72), and other examples in t. Men 13:11, discussed in Fisch, “The Corruption of the High Priests,” 526–35 (Hebrew).

The “Coalition” Government


think the similarity between Gion and Geron is close enough to argue for them being textual variants of the same name.22 But what are we to do with Hezekiah stacked between Hananiah and Geron in all the rabbinic texts? If Hananiah ben Hezekiah of the rabbis is the high priest Hananiah ben Nedebaeus of Josephus, they clearly do not have the same patronymic. Let us begin by dispensing with Nedebaeus. There is little doubt that this too is a nickname. It is singular and disguised as a patronymic.23 That it is ironic and satirical, based on the Hebrew root ‫“( נדב‬generous”), but implying the exact opposite in the case of this priest – that he was exceedingly greedy – has been suggested by many before me.24 Do I then suggest that this was his nickname, and that Hezekiah was his real patronymic? This is of course a possibility, but equally plausible is that Hezekiah (or, as in Josephus, Ezechias) is a reference to Ananus’ brother. In Bel. 2.441 (as already mentioned above) we learn that Ananias and his brother Ezechias were found by the rebels hiding in a tunnel and both were executed. How the latter became in rabbinic literature a father of Hananiah instead of a brother, if he is indeed our figure, belongs to the mysteries of transmission. Does rabbinic literature’s treatment of this person contradict the information about him/them in Josephus? Josephus says he was priest. The rabbis identify him as having been in close association with the House of Shammai. Is this a contradiction? I think not. So, I conclude – Eleazar ben Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Geron of rabbinic literature represents the same person whom Josephus mentions in Bel. 2.409–10 (and 5.5) and Bel. 4.225. This identification helps resolve a long-standing debate about the relationship between the leader of the rebellious faction in Jerusalem at the outbreak of the war with Rome (designated by Josephus as Eleazar son of Ananias) and the leader of the Zealots who routed Cestius Gallus sometime later (designated by him as Eleazar son of Simon/Gion). I have argued here that they are the same person and that rabbinic literature helps us resolve the historic conundrum on the relationship between them. The rabbinic tradition further allows  In Inscriptions the Hebrew form ‫ גיון‬and ‫ גרון‬are very similar. In Greek, Γιρων and Γιων can also easily be mistaken.  If Hananiah ben Hezekiah of rabbinic literature is identical with its Yohanan ben Nadbai, this is an internal contradiction within rabbinic literature itself, which calls the same person by two completely different names. In our study of Josephus and the rabbis, however, I pointed out that two traditions may preserve a memory of the same event but with the transmission channels so different that one cannot easily identify one event with the other. Thus, the same Yohanan ben Nadbai of b. Pes 57a is called in Song of Songs Zuta 8:14 Hanan ben Metron, see Ilan, “Introduction,” (Josephus and the Rabbis vol. 2) 563, and n. 70 (Hebrew).  For a summation of the literature see Amit, “A Rabbinic Satire on the Last Judgment,” 684, n. 21.


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us to see that, just as the rabbis were familiar with the leader of the Zealots mentioned in Bel. 4.225 at the dissolution of the coalition government in the winter of 67 CE – Zachariah ben Avkalos –, so too did they knew the other leader – Eleazar . . . ben Geron/Gion.

3.3 Simon son of Kathla (Σίμων υἵος Καθλᾶ)/Son of the Murderer (‫)בן הרוצחן‬ Simon son of Kathla is one of the names recorded in Josephus’ manuscripts for one of the leaders of the Idumeans,25 the allies of the Jerusalem Zealots. He is mentioned in Bel. 4 several times, and then again in Bel. 5, because he was probably the most prominent Idumean in the war with Rome: In Bel. 4.235 he is merely one of a list of Idumean leaders, but in 4.271–83 he gives a speech in reply to Ananus son of Ananus’ abusive speech to the Idumeans; in Bel. 5.249 he is described as the highest-ranking Idumean to have stayed in Jerusalem to fight the Romans, and in Bel. 6.148 he merits mention as a distinguished combatant. In my contribution to our volume on Josephus and the Rabbis, I wrote about this person because I translated the Aramaic patronymic of this Idumean as “son of the Murderer” and identified him with a certain person designated in Hebrew “ben Ha-Rotshan” (i.e. son of the Murderer) mentioned in m. Sot 9:9. In the Mishnah this person is coupled with an Eleazar ben Dinai (and perhaps even identified with him26), also mentioned by Josephus (Bel. 2.235–36; 253; Ant. 20.121; 161), who was active long before the war with Rome began. However, of the two, “ben Ha-Rotshan,” could be identified with “son of Kathla” because in Aramaic this designation adds up to the same thing. Indeed, the commentary on m. Sot 9:9 in the Yerushalmi explicitly states: “Ben Ha-Rotshan = bara Qatula,” using the same Aramaic term as the name of the Idumean leader to translate the Hebrew “murderer.” I wrote about this: “Since it is unlikely that the Yerushalmi is interested in translating to its readership this word from Hebrew into Aramaic, because it never does this, assuming its readers are versed in both languages, perhaps he is interested in identifying for its readers this ‘son of a Murderer’ with one ‘bar Qatula’ who may very well be ‘son of Kathla’, mentioned in Josephus.”27

 Other forms of his name recorded in manuscripts are Θακήου, Κααθά, Ἀκατελᾶ (on which see Ilan, “Eleazar son of Deinaeus,” 524 [Hebrew]), but the version that shows up most prominently is Καθλᾶ, and it is also the most understandable, as I will argue.  On which see Ilan, “Eleazar son of Deinaeus,” 522–23 (Hebrew).  Ilan, “Eleazar son of Deinaeus,” 525 (Hebrew).

The “Coalition” Government


The text of m. Sot 9:9 is not very forthcoming in chronological detail, but the episode in which his name is incorporated is about troubled times: It begins with a time when murderers became many; it continues with a time (associated with Rabban Yohanan be Zakkai, one of the protagonists of the revolt-against-Rome period) when adulterers multiplied; then with a time when the Sanhedrin was annulled (m. Sot 9:11); and when the early prophets died (9:12); soon (9:14) it arrives at the war of Vespasian (‫)פולמוס של אספסינוס‬. There is no reason to think that the “son of the Murderer” belongs to another time.28 Thus, “son of Kathla” is another rebel-leader mentioned in Josephus in association with the fall of the “coalition” government in 67 CE, a person of whom the rabbis were aware.

3.4 Jesus son of Gamalas (Ἰησοῦς υἵος Γαμάλας)/Joshua ben Gamla (‫)יהושע בן גמלא‬ I move now to the members of the “coalition” government themselves. Jesus son of Gamalas is the other high priest, next to Ananus son of Ananus, mentioned as a member of the coalition government in Bel. 4.160. Unlike Ananus, whose presence within rabbinic literature was unclear, concerning Jesus son of Gamalas there is no room for doubt. Josephus tells us quite a lot about him, as nicely summarized by Yael Fisch: Josephus relates that he had paramilitary units who conducted street-combat with the paramilitary units of the previous high priest (Ant. 20.213–14). Josephus also claims that this Jesus son of Gamalas held an important position in the rebellion [against Rome], since he was a member of the moderate government in Jerusalem together with Ananus son of Ananus and Josephus himself [Bel. 2.562–65]. Josephus knew him personally, and when he was the commander of Galilee saw in him a supporter against his enemies in Jerusalem (Vita 193, 204). His speech against the armed Idumeans who stood at the gates of Jerusalem waiting to join the Zealots is presented at length in Bel. (4.238–69). Despite his pleading, the Idumeans eventually entered the city and murdered him together with Ananus son of Ananus and abused their corpses (Bel. 4.314–17).29

But it is not only Josephus who has much to say about him. Fisch goes on to summarize what the rabbis know about this high priest. She states that in this literature

 Or worry that he is not designated “Idumean” by the rabbis. This designation appears nowhere in rabbinic literature for Second Temple (or later) contemporaries. Also, by Josephus’ time this was a geographic rather than an ethnic designation.  Fisch, “The Corruption of the High Priests,” 532 (Hebrew).


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he is mentioned both negatively and positively. In the Mishnah (m. Yev 6:4) he is mentioned as one who betrothed the widow Martha bat Boethus, and married her after he was nominated to the high-priesthood. In the Babylonian Talmud (b. Yoma 18a) this story is interpreted negatively, for Rav Asi states that Joshua ben Gamla received the high priesthood only after Martha bat Boethus bought it for him for a high sum . . . as opposed to this story, Joshua ben Gamla is listed among those who are mentioned favorably because he made the lots for the scapegoats on Yom Kippur of gold, instead of the wooden ones that were used down to his days (m. Yoma 3:9). He is also exceptionally commended because he nominated teachers of school-children “in every state and every city” and not only in Jerusalem, that he instituted that the education of children will begin at the age of six or seven and not from their teens, and that the education of sons will no longer be the obligation of the father alone, but will fall on the entire community (b. Bava Batra 21a).30

Here again we observe that the rabbis know the same person as Josephus, and share with him the knowledge that as high priest he had been corrupt, even if the details they impart about his corruption are dissimilar to those Josephus relates. They say he used bribes, while Josephus accuses him of having a private army to do his bidding. He is favorably assessed by both sources, but in ways that are not at all similar. When we come to his dramatic role at the dissolution of the “coalition” government, the rabbis are silent. We have no way of knowing whether they had any idea about his role in the war, or his death in it.

3.5 Simon son of Gamaliel (Σίμων υἵος Γαμαλίηλου)/ Shimeon ben Gamaliel (‫)שמעון בן גמליאל‬ Simon son of Gamaliel (ὁ Γαμαλιήλου Συμμεών Bel. 4.159; τοῦ Γαμαλιήλου Σίμωνα Vita 190) is the most prominent person I have listed, both in Josephus and in rabbinic literature, and I will suggest that the information about him in the two sources complement one another and together allow for a better reconstruction of the events in which he was involved.31 Josephus mentions this person twice, in two completely different capacities. In Vita 191 he describes him as follows: “a native of Jerusalem, of a very illustrious family, and of the sect of the Pharisees.” Next, he portrays him as working closely with the priests Ananus son of Ananus and Jesus son of Gamalas (Vita 193). This information ties in nicely with what we saw in Bel. 4.159, where he is listed next to the same two high priests, together with a certain Gurion son of

 Fisch, “The Corruption of the High Priests,” 532–33 (Hebrew). On this last tradition see specifically David Goodblatt, “The Sources on the Beginnings” (Hebrew).  On this person see in detail Ilan, “Shimeon the Son of Gamaliel,” (Hebrew).

The “Coalition” Government


Joseph, as a leader of the revolt who opposed the coup initiated by the Zealots. Further down in the report, and as we already saw concerning Jesus son of Gamalas, the Zealots and the Idumeans murder the two high priests (Bel. 4.314–16) and a certain Gurion (Bel. 4.358), probably the Gorion son of Joseph just mentioned. All of this information leaves one big question open – what was the fate of the fourth leader of this coalition – Simon son of Gamaliel? If indeed this quartet was the team that led the “coalition” government, would it not have made sense for the Zealots also to assassinate him? Josephus does not provide this information. Rabbinic literature, though, seems to fill in this gap. The importance of Shimeon ben Gamaliel in rabbinic literature requires no special pleading. Scholars are almost universally agreed that he was the son of Gamaliel, mentioned in the New Testament as the Pharisee teacher of Paul (Acts 5:34; 22:3), and that he was the father of Rabban Gamaliel – mentioned most frequently in rabbinic literature in a leadership role in Yavneh and understood almost universally, and certainly already also narratologically in the Babylonian Talmud, as head of the dynasty of Patriarchs that included Rabbi Yehudah ha-Nasi – editor of the Mishnah.32 Rabbinic literature identifies the members of this family as the descendants of the mythical Second Temple sage, Hillel. The Babylonian Talmud states explicitly: “Hillel and Shimeon, Gamaliel and Shimeon were patriarchs (‫ )נשיאים‬one hundred years before the destruction of the Temple” (b. Shab 15a). The details of this genealogy are suspect; nowhere else is a son of Hillel, named Shimeon, mentioned; but the inclusion of the New Testament’s Gamaliel (known in rabbinic literature as Rabban Gamaliel the elder – ‫ )הזקן‬and Josephus’ Simon son of Gamaliel (also mentioned once in a while by the rabbis) shows that the information at the disposal of the Bavli was not so very different from ours. Its editors probably included the Shimeon son of Hillel because they calculated that a hundred years covered about four generations, and one generation, between Hillel and Gamaliel the Elder, was blank.33 In rabbinic literature both Gamaliels and Shimeons of this line are endowed with an illustrious title, reserved for a select few in this literature – Rabban. Aside from three (or four, or perhaps five) persons of this family, this title was borne only by Yohanan ben Zakkai, the person who in rabbinic literature masquerades as Josephus, prophesying to Vespasian that he shall become emperor. Whether this was the title of whoever was recognized as patriarch at a given time, and whether any or all of those who bore this title were indeed recognized as such, cannot be  On this dynasty much has been written. An excellent summation is still Goodblatt, Monarchic Principle, 131–231; Jacobs, Die Institution des jüdischen Patriarchen; and more recently Appelbaum, The Dynasty of the Jewish Patriarchs.  This interpretation is inspired by Goodblatt, Monarchic Principle, 187.


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answered definitively.34 Perhaps the most important personage in this dynasty – Rabbi Yehudah the Patriarch (Ha-Nasi), who according to the recognized genealogy of this family was the great-grandson of our Shimeon ben Gamaliel, universally acknowledged as the editor and publisher of the Mishnah, did not bear this title. Rabbinic literature, like Josephus, knows that Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel the elder was a prominent Jerusalemite. We are told that in the Sukkot festivities in the Temple his dancing performance was prominent and memorable (t. Suk 4:4); that he sat with other elders on the stairs of the Temple and decided calendrical issues (t. Sanh 2:5); and that when the price of sacrifices went up disproportionally, he issued a decree that changed the halakhah (m. Ker 1:7). Unlike in Josephus, we are not told that he was a Pharisee, but this is no surprise. No one in rabbinic literature is designated “Pharisee.” The word “Pharisee” (‫ )פרושי‬in rabbinic literature is derogatory, and only used by their opponents.35 Unlike Josephus, however, one post-rabbinic text transmits information about Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel’s death. The source is Rav Sherira Gaon. The Gaonim were the heads of the Babylonian study houses in the post-talmudic era, under Islam (7th to 11th centuries). One of the 10th-century Gaonim, Sherira of Pumbaditha, recorded a historiographic composition on the rabbinic period in an Aramaic responsa letter. Of Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel he wrote: And after [Hillel], his son Shimon [was head of the Sanhedrin]; after him Rabban Gamaliel the Elder, his son; and after him was Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel the first, who was executed prior to the Temple’s destruction and Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha was high priest. And these are the four generations which spanned one hundred years as taught in Tractate Shabbat, “Hillel and Simon, Gamaliel and Simon were patriarchs (‫ )נשיאים‬one hundred years before the destruction of the Temple” (b. Shab 15a).36

In this text we see how Rav Sherira the historian worked. In his attempt to record the early history of the rabbinic movement and its near-mythic roots before the destruction of the Second Temple, he used sources. Yet these were rabbinic texts, which, as I argued above, were not really very interested in history. The text he used here to reconstruct this dynasty is cited explicitly, and it is exactly the one we saw above, i.e. the one from the Babylonian Talmud about the descendants of Hillel, who led Palestinian Jewry before the destruction of the Temple. However, aside from this text, Rav Sherira probably had another source, for he provides one piece of information here which is absent from b. Shab 15a but

 Goodblatt, Monarchic Principle, 224–25, n. 102.  As asserted by Rivkin, “Defining the Pharisees,” a position still relevant today.  This is in Chapter 8 of the book, for which see the English translation in Rabinowich (ed.), The Iggeres of Rav Sherira Gaon, 86.

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which is of great interest to scholars of Josephus. He describes our Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel with the words: “who was executed prior to the Temple’s destruction.” If the information at Sherira’s disposal was reliable, then he knew from somewhere, but certainly not from Josephus,37 that Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel (like his colleagues from the early coalition government) was killed before the destruction of the Temple. Rav Sherira does not say who killed him, but it seems likely that it was the same faction that killed the other three leaders of this coalition government. Since Rav Sherira Gaon did not obtain this information from the Babylonian text cited above, we must ask: where does it come from? On the assumption that the source is also a rabbinic text, perhaps the next words Rav Sherira wrote, can help us: “and Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha was high priest.” Rabbi Yishmael is a prominent personality in rabbinic literature, but he was a contemporary of Rabbi Aqiva, and of the Bar Kokhba Revolt – not of the War against Rome in 66–70 CE. Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha may be a different person. A person by this full name is mentioned in the Responsa CD thirty-nine times, but only the first nineteen mentions appear in proper rabbinic texts (including no. 19 – the Tanhuma), and among these there are repetitions of the same text.38 In tannaitic literature, as son of Elisha, he appears only once – in t. Shab 1:13 – as the name by which Rabbi Yishmael identifies himself, after having committed a transgression on the Sabbath. In the Yerushalmi he appears as such only in a comment on this same toseftan text (y. Shab 1:3, 3b). It thus appears that the Bavli is responsible for making much of this patronymic. For example, in b. Git 58a we learn that when Rabbi Yehoshua was in Rome, he met a young captive in the slave-market, tested him, discovered that he was a great scholar, and bought and released him. The Babylonian Talmud then tells us that this was Yishmael ben Elisha. This story however, is found already in the Tosefta (t. Hor 2:5–6), but there the young boy has no name. Rav Sherira states that Yishmael ben Elisha was a high priest. This is certainly taken from the Bavli. In b. Ber 7a Yishmael ben Elisha describes how he entered

 This sort of information is available from other contemporary and later sources as well. For example Tacitus, Historiae 5.12.4 relates: “Then John (of Gischala – T.I.) got possession of the temple, by sending a party under pretense of offering a sacrifice, to slay Eleazar (son of Gion? Tacitus gives no patronymic – T.I.) and his troops.” For this episode cf. Josephus’ Bel. 5.99. Could one assume that Eleazar was killed on this occasion, though Josephus does not say so? As suggested to me by Steve Mason, this is possible, but the information in Josephus Bel. 5.250 seems to contradict it.  For example, nos. 14–15 are both the same Yerushalmi text, one in the Vilna and one in the Venice print.


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the Holy of Holies of the Temple and met a divine being (‫)אכתריאל יה ה' צבאות‬, a manifestation of the God of Israel. Since only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, this person must have been a high priest. It is clear that if Rabbi Yishmael was alive at the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, but Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha was high priest while the Temple was standing, the two could not have been the same person. However, the sources keep repeating this mistaken identification over and over again. I have attempted to explain who Rav Sherira Gaon may have thought that Rabbi Yishmael was. Now I return to the question of his source. In t. Sot 13:4, a certain Shmuel Ha-Qatan is said to have stated on his death-bed: “Shimeon and Yishmael to the slaughter (‫ )לקטלא‬and the rest of the colleagues to the sword (‫)לחרבא‬, and the rest of the people to destruction (‫)לביזה‬, and there will be great suffering (‫עקן‬ ‫)רברבן‬.” This story occurs at Yavneh, which housed the rabbinic academy between the War of Destruction and the Bar Kokhba Revolt. If the Shimeon and Yishmael mentioned in this prophecy are the ones to which Rav Sherira refers, he has made a grave chronological error. This prophecy probably spoke of the coming Bar Kokhba Revolt. Although it mentions both a Shimeon and a Yishmael, they do not appear to be the ones Rav Sherira had in mind. Another tannaitic source confirms t. Sotah’s chronology. In the Mekhilta de Rabbi Yishmael we read that Rabbi Shimeon and Rabbi Yishmael were taken out for execution; in the process, they held a theological discussion about the reason for this. Both names are prefaced with the title Rabbi, and the entire story has an epilogue in which Rabbi Aqiva – the ultimate Bar Kokhba Revolt martyr – warns his students that the death of these sages signifies the coming of much greater troubles. Here too, chronologically, the persons involved were neither alive in the days of the Temple, nor was one of them a high priest. Both of them are referenced without a patronymic. Again, it is unlikely that these are the people Rav Sherira was talking about. Nevertheless, this is probably the original source on which Rav Sherirah based himself, for the same story of the execution of Shimeon and Yishmael is told in the late (post-talmudic) midrash – Avot de-Rabbi Nathan (A38; B41). However, unlike the story in the Mekhilta, this one has no epilogue from the time of Bar Kokhba, and the persons involved are described in greater detail: “When Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel and Rabbi Yishmael were captured.” Further down, when they converse, the text states explicitly (in version A): “Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha said to him.” Then, when they are about to be executed, Rabbi Yishmael says: “I am a high priest, son of a high priest” and Rabban Shimeon says: “I am a patriarch, son of a patriarch.” This, then, is the source that Rav Sherira Gaon used when he described Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel being executed before the destruction of the Temple, when Yishmael ben Elisha was high priest.

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What sort of historical situation did the editor of the Avot de Rabbi Nathan version of the story have in mind? It seems that he imagined a public execution, and assumed that the executioners were the Romans. Rav Sherira Gaon is not taken in by this picture. He does not assume that the execution was in any way a Roman affair. He just states that Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel was killed before the destruction of the Temple, and that Yishmael ben Elisha was at this time high priest. Thus, although he is using a source from rabbinic literature (=Avot de Rabbi Nathan) that has a long prehistory, which we have just traced (t. Sotah and Mekhilta de Rabbi Yishmael), he refuses to be confused by it. He uses only the parts of this source that fit within a wider chronological picture of Simon son of Gamaliel of the revolt against Rome, and confirms that he died before the destruction. This is the missing piece in Josephus’ narrative. Since this is not exactly what Rav Sherira’s sources say, we cannot know how he knew this detail, but since, as I have tried to show, this sage had the makings of a real historian, we can assume that he got this information from elsewhere and inserted it into the information he retrieved from Avot de Rabbi Nathan. I assume that the source of information is the missing story about the coalition government’s fate, which the rabbis nowhere relate, but whose protagonists keep cropping up in all sorts of texts they produced. Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel is not just any historical person that appears both in Josephus and in rabbinic literature. He is the key to the question of Josephus’ connection to rabbinic literature, and with it the question of the relationship between the Pharisees and the rabbis. Josephus knew Simon son of Gamaliel personally, and praised him. Despite how my learned friend Steve Mason explains this statement,39 Josephus also says that he himself followed the Pharisees in his political career (Vita 12). He also says Simon son of Gamaliel was a Pharisee (Vita 191). Rabbinic literature says nothing of Pharisees in this context, but it does crown this Simon, and his father Gamaliel (described as a Pharisee in the New Testament), as heads of their ruling dynasty – the nesiim (patriarchs). This is the closest we ever get to identifying the rabbis as the heirs of the Pharisees.

4 Conclusion Let us conclude. Josephus tells a story of the “coalition” government. It was created after the victory of the rebels/Zealots in Jerusalem against Cestius Gallus. It was toppled and mostly annihilated after the fall of Galilee, when more rebel  Mason, Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees, 355–56.


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militias flowed into the city (John of Gischala, the Idumeans). In his description of the second half of the story, Josephus lists many protagonists from the “coalition” government (including Jesus son of Gamalas and Simeon son of Gamaliel) and from among its enemies (including the Zealots Eleazar son of Gion and Zachariah son of Amphikalleos and the Idumean Simon son of Kathla). All these persons are also mentioned in rabbinic literature. Does the story of the “coalition” government constitute another example of a parallel narrative between Josephus and the rabbis? Obviously, it does not. The rabbis tell no such story anywhere, and what they tell about all these protagonist touches only marginally upon what Josephus reports. However, a close reading of both corpora has produced two examples of how reading rabbinic literature carefully can help solve mysteries that Josephus’ narrative creates. The first touches on the identity of Eleazar son of Ananias and Eleazar son of Simon the Z/zealots. Rabbinic literature alerts us to the fact that the lectio difficilior in Josephus implies that he does not actually mention an Eleazar son of Simon, but rather one “son of Gion,” and this person could probably be identified with the rabbinic ben Geron, the forefather of the rabbinic Eleazar ben Hananiah. The second touches on the fate of the coalition member, Simeon son of Gamaliel, that Josephus fails to mention, but which Sherirah Gaon identifies as one who was executed before the destruction of the Temple. Since all three other members of the “coalition” government were executed by the Zealots, a similar fate for Simeon son of Gamaliel should come as no surprise. How did Sherira Gaon know this? And indeed, how did the rabbis know of all these persons that populate the story of the “coalition” government if they are not telling the story Josephus tells? To answer this question, I cite here the conclusion to a similar conundrum that Meir Ben Shahar faced when he wrote about one of the episodes for which a parallel is available, but when it was retold in the Babylonian Talmud it was closer in historical detail to the version Josephus told than to its rabbinic source: It seems to me that when the editors of the Bavli dealt with the story of the destruction of the Second Temple they had other pieces of information aside from the ones embedded in . . . [earlier T.I.] midrashim. These pieces of information were not textual constants that can be detected and defined in literary formats, like the Land-of-Israel midrashim that were transmitted to and received in Babylonia, but were rather oral stories that were passed on with no obligation to any set versions and styles. Echoes and echoes of echoes of these pieces of information were diffused into the Babylonian Talmud and influenced the redaction and reconstruction of the set Land-of-Israel traditions. Thus, in contrast to the consensual approach, according to which [the Babylonian versions of stories T.I.] are a retelling of the Land-of-Israel versions according to Babylonian values, I believe that the retelling was influenced not just from the Babylonian culture, but also from echoes of historical traditions

The “Coalition” Government


on the destruction that coincide [and in our case complement T.I.] Josephus’ description, but are independent of him.40

Bibliography Amit, Aaron. “A Rabbinic Satire on the Last Judgment.” JBL 126 (2010): 679–97. Appelbaum, Alan. The Dynasty of the Jewish Patriarchs. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013. Baratz, Daphne. “Phanni of Aphthia (Phinehas of Habata).” In Josephus and the Rabbis, Volume II: Tales about the Destruction of the Temple, edited by Tal Ilan – Vered Noam, 665–72. Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2017. (Hebrew) Ben Shahar, Meir. “The Abolishment of the Sacrifice on Behalf of the Emperor.” In Josephus and the Rabbis, Volume II: Tales about the Destruction of the Temple, edited by Tal Ilan – Vered Noam, 566–96. Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2017. Ben Shahar, Meir. “The Prediction to Vespasian.” In Josephus and the Rabbis, Volume II: Tales about the Destruction of the Temple, edited by Tal Ilan – Vered Noam, 604–64. Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2017. (Hebrew) Cotton, Hannah M. – Werner Eck – Leah Di Segni. Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palestinae I/1. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010. Fisch, Yael. “The Corruption of the High Priests.” In Josephus and the Rabbis, Volume I: The Lost Tales of the Second Temple Period, edited by Tal Ilan – Vered Noam, 526–43. Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2017. (Hebrew) Goodblatt, David. “The Sources on the Beginnings of Organized Jewish Education in The Land of Israel.” Studies in the History of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel 5 (1980): 83–103. (Hebrew) Goodblatt, David. The Monarchic Principle: Studies in Jewish Self-Government in Antiquity. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1994. Graetz, Heinrich. Geschichte der Juden von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart, Bd. 3/2: Geschichte der Judäer von dem Tode Juda Makkabi’s bis zum Untergange des judäischen Staates. Leipzig: Leiner, 1906.5 Ilan, Tal – Jonathan Price. “Seven Onomastic Problems in Josephus’ BELLUM JUDAICUM.” JQR 84 (1994): 189–208. Ilan, Tal – Vered Noam. Josephus and the Rabbis, Volume I: The Lost Tales of the Second Temple Period; Volume II: Tales about the Destruction of the Temple. Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2017. (Hebrew) Ilan, Tal. “Eleazar son of Deinaeus and Son of the Murderer.” In Josephus and the Rabbis, Volume I: The Lost Tales of the Second Temple Period, edited by Tal Ilan – Vered Noam, 521–25. Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2017. (Hebrew) Ilan, Tal. “How Did the Babylonian Talmud Rework the Traditions It Received?” Josephus and the Rabbis, Volume I: The Lost Tales of the Second Temple Period, edited by Tal Ilan – Vered Noam, 70–76. Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2017. (Hebrew)

 Ben Shahar, “Abolishment of the Sacrifice,” 596 (Hebrew). Also, on the Babylonian Talmud incorporating historical data to its stories see Ilan, “How Did the Babylonian Talmud Rework the Traditions It Received?” (Hebrew).


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Ilan, Tal. “Shimeon the Son of Gamaliel.” In Josephus and the Rabbis, Volume II: Tales about the Destruction of the Temple, edited by Tal Ilan – Vered Noam, 673–78. Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2017. (Hebrew) Ilan, Tal. Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity Vol. I: Palestine 330 BCE–200 CE. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002. Jacobs, Martin. Die Institution des jüdischen Patriarchen. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1995. Mason, Steve. Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees: A Composition-Critical Study. Leiden: Brill, 1991. Niese, Benedictus. Flavii Iosephi Opera, vol. vi/2. Berlin: Weidmann, 1894. Noam, Vered. Megillat Ta‛anit: Versions, Interpretation, History. Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 2003. (Hebrew) Price, Jonathan. Jerusalem under Siege: The Collapse of the Jewish State 66–70 CE. Leiden: Brill, 1992. Rabinowich, Nosson Dovid, ed. The Iggeres of Rav Sherira Gaon. Jerusalem: Moznaim, 1988. Rivkin, Ellis. “Defining the Pharisees: The Tannaitic Sources.” HUCA 40–41 (1970): 205–49. Schalit, Abraham. Namenwörterbuch zu Flavius Josephus. Leiden: Brill, 1968. Smith, Morton. “Zealots and Sicarii: Their Origins and Relation.” HTR 64 (1971): 1–19

Jiří Hoblík

Die vielschichtige Entwicklung des Verständnisses der Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus und seine Dilemmata Das Werk von Joseph ben Matatjahu lässt sich gut dazu benutzen, um einen Teil der Prophetiegeschichte zu rekonstruieren. In dieser Perspektive zeigt sich, dass Flavius Josephus einerseits an der Tradition des hellenistischen Judentums teilhat, die er auch der antiken Leserschaft zu vermitteln versucht. Er steht andererseits aber zugleich im Einklang mit der jüdischen Vorstellung von Prophetie, obwohl er kein ganzheitliches Bild von ihr zeichnet. Aus religionsgeschichtlicher Sicht stellt er eine sehr gewichtige Quelle dar, die man jedoch stets auch kritisch hinterfragen sollte. Vor dem Hintergrund der Geschichte des frühen Judentums in hellenistischer und römischer Zeit ist die Bedeutung der Prophetie, sowohl der historischen als auch der literarischen, nicht zu übersehen. Es sei aber auch darauf hingewiesen, dass mit zeitlicher Distanz zur Geschichte der klassischen Prophetie eine neue Etappe der Prophetie anbrach, die als spätes Folgephänomen, als eine Art Nachspiel erscheint. Ein Nachtrag zu einer bewundernswerten Geschichte. Der große Einfluss der klassischen Prophetie und das damit verbundene umfangreiche literarische Werk sind unbestritten. Dagegen hat die Prophetie der späteren Zeit nichts Vergleichbares hervorgebracht. Die klassische prophetische Literatur bereitet der Exegese durch ihre Komplexität immer neue Schwierigkeiten, jedoch liegt uns die eigentliche Tradition der späteren Prophetie nicht unmittelbar vor. Es gibt einige Analogien zwischen der vorhellenistischen und späteren Prophetie, insbesondere in Bezug auf Personen, die als inspirierte göttliche Sprecher galten. Zunächst soll jedoch zur grundlegenden Orientierung geklärt werden, was hier unter Prophetie verstanden wird. Es geht um einen ganzen Komplex prophetischer Phänomene, die in der Kommunikation zwischen einer Gottheit und einem göttlichen Beauftragten bestehen, der zwischen Gott und den Menschen vermittelt und insbesondere den göttlichen Willen anderen mitteilt. Diese Rolle war in früheren Zeiten offenbar über mehrere Jahrhunderte konstant und mit einem gewissen Maß an Respekt verbunden, auch wenn viele Propheten auch Gegner hatten. Im Vergleich dazu zeigt Josephusʼ Darstellung Anzeichen von Unsicherheit bezüglich dessen, was wirklich als Prophetie angesehen werden kann; doch gerade das macht deutlich, dass es wichtig ist, sich mit diesem Thema zu befassen. In unserem Fall ist also eine Analogie besonders wichtig, nämlich jene,


Jiří Hoblík

dass die alttestamentliche Prophetie und die späteren Propheten eine Rolle in der Geschichte gespielt haben.

1 Josephusʼ Grundverständnis von Prophetie Doch wenden wir uns nun direkt Josephus zu und skizzieren sein Verständnis von Propheten und Prophetie. Josephus verwendet allgemein das Wort προφήτης, das zu seiner Zeit aufgrund der Septuaginta schon lange für die biblischen Propheten verwendet wurde. Auch aus religionsgeschichtlicher Sicht gehörte die Prophetie in erster Linie zur Tradition Israels, und so bezieht sich Josephus vor allem auf die alten biblischen Propheten. Er unterscheidet ihre Epoche von der Gegenwart als eine Art goldenes Zeitalter der Prophetie, das Zeitalter der prophetischen Sukzession, das bis nach Artaxerxes (465–424 v. Chr.) andauern sollte (vgl. C.Ap. 1,41).1 Die biblische Geschichte endete Josephus zufolge mit der persischen Periode und der Thronbesteigung Alexanders des Großen, denn das letzte im Alten Testament erwähnte Ereignis ist das Purimfest im Buch Esther, nach dem Josephus einen Bericht über Alexander einfügt.2 Die prophetischen Bücher fallen in die Zeit zwischen dem Tod des Moses und Artaxerxes (C.Ap. 1,40). Diese Interpretation spricht sowohl für einen Wandel in der Prophetengeschichte als auch für die immer stärkere Verbindung der Vorstellung von Prophetie mit der prophetischen Literatur, bzw. mit dem Corpus Propheticum. Dabei handelt es sich um eine maßgebliche Sammlung prophetischer Schriften, die von den Propheten selbst verfasst würden (C.Ap. 1,37), und zwar als treue Zeugen der Vergangenheit, und die glaubwürdiger wären als die griechischen Historiker. Josephus behält den Titel Prophet in erster Linie für sie vor. Er steht damit in etwa im Einklang mit der jüdischen Tradition, in der die Auffassung vertreten wurde, dass die Tradition der Prophetie ganz aufgehört habe (nach m. Sota 13,2 hörte die Prophetie mit Haggai, Sacharja und Maleachi auf; nach b. Bat. 12b nach der Tempelzerstörung). Dieser Ansatz hinderte Josephus sogar daran, sich selbst und seine Zeitgenossen in direkter und selbstverständlicher Kontinuität zu ihr zu sehen. Vielmehr hat er diese Kontinuität teilweise neu bewertet.3  Vgl. Leiman, „Josephus and the Canon of the Bible,“ 51.55 f. und 56: „Once there was a break in the exact succession of the prophets, after the period of Artaxerxes, isolated instances of prophecy were possible but not literary prophecy.“  Vgl. Leiman, „Josephus and the Canon of the Bible,“ 54.  J. Barton zufolge hat die These vom Erlöschen der Prophetie keine absolute Gültigkeit, sondern ist Ausdruck einer Art von idealisierender Erinnerung an die Vergangenheit, als er die Menschen Gott näher waren, vgl. Barton, Oracles of God, 5–6. 115–16. 125.

Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus


Interessant an Josephusʼ Ansatz ist, dass die Geschichte der Prophetie bei ihm zwar in erster Linie eine Geschichte der biblischen Prophetie ist, die aber in Johannes Hyrkanos (Ant. 13,300; Bel. 1,68) gipfelt, der durch sein „Prophetentum“ (προφητεία, Bel. 1,68–69) charakterisiert wurde (vgl. dazu auch das Testament des Levi 8,11–15, wo mit dem erwähnten „Propheten“ wohl Johannes Hyrkanos gemeint ist).4 An anderer Stelle sagt er von Johannes Hyrkanos, dass er, während er im Tempel Opfer darbrachte, eine Stimme (φωνή) hörte, die ihm mitteilte, dass seine Söhne Antiochus VII. besiegt hätten (Ant. 13,282). Die göttliche Stimme ist das Medium göttlicher Offenbarung im Altertum,5 aber auch im Alten Testament. Daher wurde vermutet, dass Josephus von der rabbinischen Idee der Bat Qol, der „Tochter der Stimme“, beeinflusst wurde.6 Diese „Tochter der Stimme“ lässt zumindest Vorhersagen zu, die nicht wie die prophetische Sukzession verschwanden.7 Noch bedeutsamer ist, dass Josephusʼ Bericht an die biblische Offenbarung an Samuel im Tempel (1Sam 3) erinnert; zudem besteht die plausible Möglichkeit, dass die biblischen Propheten oft auditive Visionen hatten, was sich in ihren Aussagen widerspiegelt, dass Jahwe ihnen etwas „gesagt habe“. Daraus lässt sich rückblickend die Idee einer Stimme ableiten. Als Hauptquelle für seine Vorstellungen von der Prophetie diente Josephus die griechische Bibel. Zu seiner eigenen Zeit beobachtete er jedoch vor allem die prophetischen Anführer von Bewegungen, die in die sozialen und politischen Situationen und Prozesse der Zeit eingriffen. Er selbst wurde so zum wichtigsten Zeugen dieser Prophetie. Es handelt sich um eine neue Art von Prophetie, die wir in der biblischen Literatur nicht kennen. Es scheint aber auch eine abgeschwächte Form davon zu sein. Man sollte sich jedoch davor hüten, die alte Prophetie als Vollform zu idealisieren. Diese späteren Propheten werden jedoch von Josephus als falsche angesehen – und er verwendet für sie den Begriff ψευδοπροφήτης (Bel. 2,261), der von Septuaginta eingeführt wurde (Jer 6,13; 33,; 35,1; 36,1.8; Sach 13,2) und der offenbar zu seiner Zeit bei den Juden bekannt war (während in der griechischen Welt der Begriff ψευδόμαντις gebräuchlich war, der heute als zoologische Gattungsbezeichnung für die Gottesanbeterin dient).8 Er war eigentlich ein hellenistisch-jüdisches Mittel zur Auslegung der Prophetie, präziser gesagt einer Seite der prophetischen Konflikte. In der vorhellenistischen prophetischen Tradition hatte

 Vgl. Franklin W. Young, „Jesus the Prophet: A Re-Examination,“ 288 f.  Vgl. Betz, „φωνή κτλ.,“ 279.  Vgl. Betz, „φωνή κτλ.,“ 291.  Vgl. Feldman, „Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus,“ 227; Jay Rovner, „Hillel and the Bat Qol,“ 171–72.  Mason, Judean War 2., 212.


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er keinen Platz, denn der Prophet war Träger einer Rolle, an der sich, auch wenn einige scheiterten, nichts änderte. Aber es schien, als ob der Titel Prophet dann zu einem Begriff für eine Autorität an sich wurde, die man verkörpern oder umgekehrt auch vortäuschen konnte. Josephus bezeichnet die angebliche Pseudopropheten in der Regel nicht als Propheten oder erwähnt nur, dass sie sich selbst als solche betrachteten. Typischerweise versprachen sie ihren Anhängern, dass diese Zeuge einer gewaltigen Tat werden würden. So spricht Josephus z. B. von einem namenlosen ägyptischen Juden („Ägypter“), den er sogar als „Prophet“ (προφήτης, Ant. 20,169) bezeichnet – an anderer Stelle aber als „Pseudoprophet“ (ψευδοπροφήτης, Bel. 2,261) charakterisiert, der sich nur als Prophet ausgab. Unter dem Prokurator Felix (52–59/60) versprach der „Ägypter“, inspiriert von der legendären Eroberung Jerichos (Jos 6), dass man vom Ölberg aus die Mauern Jerusalems fallen sehen würde (Bel. 2,261). Doch Felix unterdrückte die Bewegung grausam, der Ägypter konnte allerdings entkommen. Außerdem weist Josephus darauf hin, dass sich die Zahl der prophetischen Persönlichkeiten nicht nur auf einige wenige prophetische Anführer beschränkte, sondern im Zusammenhang mit dem Fall Jerusalems und dem Brand des Tempels sogar zunahm (Bel. 6,285–90). Man kann jedoch nicht mit Sicherheit sagen, ob es sich dabei tatsächlich um Wahnsinnige oder nur um bloße Marionetten handelte, wie Josephus selbst behauptet. Josephus bietet auch einen recht ausführlichen Kommentar zu diesem Thema, der den Ernst der Lage unterstreicht und einige psychologisierende Bemerkungen über Menschen enthält, die in der Not bereit sind, sich überreden zu lassen, sich einer Bewegung anzuschließen, und sich der Hoffnung hinzugeben, die ihnen eingeredet wurde. Wir erfahren jedoch nicht, von wem und warum Menschen durch falsche Propheten verführt wurden und wie diese davon profitierten. In günstigerem Licht lässt Josephus hingegen die Propheten unter den Essenern9 erscheinen, ohne sie ausdrücklich als Propheten zu bezeichnen.10 Zunächst denkt er an diejenigen, die die heiligen Bücher auslegen und dadurch fähig sind, die Zukunft vorauszusagen: „Es gibt unter ihnen solche, die voraussehen (προγιγνώσκω), was geschehen wird, indem sie in den heiligen Büchern, in den verschiedenen Läuterungen und Aussprüchen der Propheten (προφητῶν ἀποφθέγματα) unterrichtet sind.11 Sie irren sich nur selten in ihren Voraussagen (προαγόρευσις).“

 Zu den zeitgenössischen Propheten als Mitglieder eier religiösen Gemeinschaft vgl. KókaiNagy, „Die Propheten und die religiösen Gemeinschaften bei Josephus,“ 244–47.  Vgl. Rebecca Gray, Prophetic Figures, 20–26; Mason, Judean War 2, 129.  Der Begriff ἀπόφθεγμα kommt nur hier im Werk des Josephus vor. Vgl. Mason, Judean War 2, 129: „An apophthegm was a pithy, pregnant saying located in a briefly described context.“

Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus


(Ant. 2,159) An anderer Stelle sprechen diese Propheten sogar davon, mit Inspiration begabt zu sein (θειάζω, Ant. 15,379). Lässt man Josephusʼ Unterscheidung zwischen wahrer und falscher Prophetie außer Acht, so stellt sich die Frage nach dem eigentlichen Charakter der zeitgenössischen Prophetie. Diese zu beantworten ist nicht einfach, denn es ist nicht klar, wann man tatsächlich von (echter) Prophetie sprechen kann und wann nicht. Wenn sich jemand selbst als Prophet bezeichnet, macht ihn das noch lange nicht zu einem echten Propheten. Wir wissen jedoch nicht genau, wie es zur Zeit des Josephus dazu kam, dass jemand von seinen Zeitgenossen als Prophet anerkannt wurde. Reichte es aus, dass er ein überzeugendes Auftreten hatte und den zeitgenössischen Vorstellungen von der Prophetie entsprach? War die Initiative immer auf seiner Seite? Josephus’ voreingenommenes Werk gibt uns keine sicheren Antworten auf diese Fragen. Aber dürfen wir seine Position verallgemeinern? Können wir pauschal und automatisch sagen, dass jeder, der in der Römerzeit als Prophet galt, zu Unrecht als Prophet angesehen wurde? Dann müssten wir die Prophetie des frühen Christentums, die der prophetischen Tradition Israels gefolgt sein muss, aus der Kategorie der Prophetie ausschließen. Die frühen Christen vertrauten allerdings mehr als die Juden darauf, dass die Propheten unter ihnen wirken können, und wir können selbst vermuten, dass weniger Vertrauen auch weniger Aufmerksamkeit bedeutet.

2 Prophetie als Mittel der Konfliktinterpretation In Bellum Judaicum schreibt Josephus von unruhigen Zeiten; von solchen zeugt auch die Existenz zeitgenössischer Prophezeiungen. Hierin liegt eine weitere Analogie zur biblischen Prophetie. Denn im alten Israel sprachen Propheten zu sozialen, politischen und religiösen Konflikten, ja sogar zu kriegerischen Auseinandersetzungen. Dies wirft die grundlegende Frage auf, wie man eine solche Situation überhaupt bewältigen kann. Eine andere Frage – eine, die sich wohl auch Josephus stellte –, war, wie man eine göttliche Macht verstehen kann, die äußere, ja sogar imperiale militärische Kräfte einsetzt, um ihre Ziele zu erreichen. Diese beiden Themen haben ihre Quellen in Josephusʼ Lektüre der biblischen Literatur und seiner Beobachtung zeitgenössischer religiöser und politischer Prozesse. Josephusʼ Verhältnis zur Prophetie kann natürlich als uneindeutig angesehen werden. Josephus war davon überzeugt, dass Gott durch die Propheten in die Geschichte der Menschen eintritt. Gleichzeitig wehrte Josephus sich dagegen, Radikale und Extremisten anzuerkennen, von denen es zu seiner Zeit einige gab, die sich als vermeintliche Sprecher Gottes ausgaben. Die Radikalen provozierten den


Jiří Hoblík

Krieg gegen die Römer, und als Widerstandsbewegung wecken sie auch heute noch Sympathien, vor allem, wenn sie das Judentum repräsentieren – obwohl auch die Römer in der Geschichte Europas traditionell bewundert wurden. Josephus befand sich damals, wie wir wissen, in einer schwierigen Situation. In einem Krieg stehen sich immer mindestens zwei Parteien gegenüber. Wenn man jedoch nicht mit der Seite übereinstimmt, die beispielsweise der eigenen Nationalität oder der eigenen Religion nähersteht, befindet man sich in einer schwierigen Lage. Dies gilt umso mehr, wenn man, wie Josephus, unmittelbar an diesem Krieg beteiligt ist. Es war für ihn kaum vorstellbar, sich vollständig von der Bühne der Geschichte zurückzuziehen, und so musste er sich für eine von mehreren moralisch problematischen Optionen entscheiden. Josephus widmete sich den Propheten seiner Zeit besonders im Zusammenhang mit den Konflikten mit den Römern, also hauptsächlich den Protagonisten des Radikalismus. Da Josephus in seinen Ansichten den Pharisäern nahestand, dürfte er gegen die apokalyptische Botschaft dieser Propheten gewesen sein. Es ist daher anzunehmen, dass er inhaltlich nicht mit der zeitgenössischen Prophetie übereinstimmte; wobei er in seiner Darstellung manches wohl auch verallgemeinerte. Man kann vermuten, dass er dazu neigte, viele Dinge seiner eigenen Sichtweise anzupassen.

3 Die Auflösung der biblischen Prophetievorstellung Doch kehren wir zurück zur Frage nach den Besonderheiten der Prophetie seiner Zeit, wie sie von Josephus dargestellt wird. Wie unterscheidet sich Josephusʼ Vorstellung von der zeitgenössischen Prophetie von der biblischen Prophetie? Ein wichtiges Element ist, dass die biblische Prophetie schon vor Josephus zu einer literarischen Größe geworden war, das heißt, in ihrer Entwicklung von der klassischen Prophetie zur hellenistischen Periode. Ihre Beliebtheit ist durch das frühe Christentum bezeugt. Aber die prophetische Literatur wurde dank dem hellenistischen Judentum mit dem Aufkommen des griechischen Bibeltextes verbunden. Die darin enthaltene Terminologie deckt sich oft nicht vollständig mit den hebräischen Äquivalenten, was auch auf die Ausdrücke für Prophetie zutrifft. Josephus’ Vorstellung von Prophetie weicht aber auch infolge seiner eigenen Interpretation sowie der religionsgeschichtlichen Entwicklung von seiner biblischen Vorlage ab. Denn Josephus kennt einerseits keine Unterscheidung zwischen dem Nabi, der mit seiner prophetischen Autorität und mit seinem Wort auftrat, und dem Seher oder Visionär, die zur alten hebräischen Prophetie gehörte und die längst ver-

Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus


wischt worden war. Zum Teil ist dafür die Septuaginta verantwortlich, die den Begriff προφήτης nicht nur für den hebräischen Begriff ‫ונביא‬, sondern mitunter auch für ‫( הראה‬1Chr 26,28; 2Chr 16,7.10) und ‫( חזה‬2Chr 19,2; 29,30; 35,15) verwendet. Ferner werden von Josephus, wie Feldman bemerkt, auch Gestalten zu den biblischen Propheten gezählt, die in der Bibel nicht als Propheten bezeichnet werden (oder wird der Titel „Prophet“ in Bezug auf biblische Stellen verwendet, an denen dieser Titel nicht vorkommt).12 Eher im Einklang mit der frühjüdischen Tradition als mit den biblischen Quellen zählt Josephus auch David (Ant. 6,166; vgl. Apg 2,29–31)13 und Daniel (Ant. 10,266) zu den Propheten. Dagegen geht er14 mit dem Titel „Prophet“ im Bezug auf die zeitgenössische Propheten sparsam um. Und nicht nur das. Während in der biblischen Überlieferung die Geschichte der Prophetie in die Königs-, exilische und nachexilische Zeit fällt – eine Ausnahme stellt die (wahrscheinlich sekundäre) Bezeichnung des Mose als Prophet in Dtn 18,18 dar –, so begegnet bei Josephus bereits in der Zeit der Vorväter eine „Prophezeiung“ (προφητεία in Ant. 2,194, bezogen auf Jakobs Vorhersage in Gen 49,1, dass seine Nachkommen in Kanaan leben würden). Die Häufigkeit des Titels „Prophet“ sagt also weder etwas über die Rolle der einzelnen Figuren in der Geschichte aus noch über die religiöse Rolle des jeweiligen Trägers. Es handelt sich um einen Ehrentitel für die Vertreter der biblischen Offenbarung. Diese Auffassung ist als eine aus der biblischen Literatur abgeleitete Interpretation des Autors zu respektieren – aber sie ist keine Norm für eine religionsgeschichtliche Betrachtung. Ein Prophet äußert sich vor allem durch seine Rede. Im Griechischen wird der Gegenstand seiner Rede unter einer Bezeichnung zusammengefasst, die sich etymologisch von seinem Titel προφήτης ableitet. Während die biblische prophetische Tradition von „dem Wort Jahwes“ oder von dem, was Jahwe „gesagt“ hat, spricht, verwendet Josephus das abstrakte Wort „Prophezeiung“ (und bezieht sich dabei nur manchmal auf eine „göttliche Prophezeiung“), allerdings in einem doppelten Sinne. Denn der Begriff προφητεία bezeichnet sowohl die „prophetische Rede“ (biblische Prophezeiung, Bel. 3,352; 4,387; 5,391; die Prophezeiung des Nathan in Ant. 7,214; usw.) als auch das „Prophet-Sein“ (Aaron in Ant. 4,192; Josua in Ant. 4,165; Samuel in Ant. 4,39; usw.). Aber Josephus verwendet auch den Begriff der Weissagung (χρησμός in Bel. 4,386–88; 6,313; usw.) für das Prophetenwort. Zwei weitere, allgemeine charakteristische Merkmale im Allgemeinen seien erwähnt: Zum einen scheinen die Propheten, die Josephus kritisiert, apokalypti Vgl. Feldman, „Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus,“ 213.  Zu David als Prophet vgl. Brooke – Najman, „Dethroning David and Enthroning Messiah,“ 113–16.  Vgl. Hoblík, Proroci, jejich slova a jejich svět, 256–59.


Jiří Hoblík

sche und messianische Ideen gehabt zu haben, die sie nicht mit den alten Propheten teilten. Zum anderen setzen sich die Propheten zur Zeit des Josephus nicht einmal mit einheimischen Königen auseinander – anders als in der klassischen Prophetie –, sondern mit den Römern und mit den Vertretern ihrer Macht in der Provinz Judäa. Es wurde bereits dargelegt, dass sich die Prophetie zur Zeit des Josephus von der Prophetie des Alten Testaments unterschied.15 Jedoch sollte man sich nicht nur mit der Feststellung der Unterschiede befassen, denn es gab einen tiefgreifenderen Wandel im Verständnis von Prophetie. Ein Blick in die alttestamentliche Prophetenliteratur lässt erkennen, dass diese Propheten keine Wahrsager waren, die nur sagten, dass dies und jenes in der Zukunft geschehen würden. Diese Propheten hatten Einblick in gegenwärtige wie auch in kommende Ereignisse, die Gegenwart werden würden. Aber es ist nicht leicht, diese Besonderheit von einer bloßen Zukunftsvorhersage zu unterscheiden. So werden Propheten oft nur als diejenigen angesehen, die „voraussagen“. Eine solche Vorhersage interessiert die Menschen zwar in ihrer konkreten Ungewissheit und Sorge um die Zukunft. Doch lässt dieses Interesse oft schnell nach, wenn eine Situation ihren Abschluss findet; dann verliert die Vorhersage ihren Sinn. Die hebräischen Propheten erlangten dagegen dauerhafte Bedeutung, weil ihr Wirken und ihre Botschaft den Israeliten halfen, auch größere militärische Konflikte (mental, psychisch und lebenspraktisch) zu bewältigen. Die Propheten wiesen auf die tiefere Natur dieser Konflikte hin und darauf, dass in ihnen die Zukunft von göttlicher Macht bestimmt würde. Einfach ausgedrückt: Sie eröffneten nicht nur Wissen, sondern auch tieferes Verständnis. Den späteren Propheten fehlte offenbar diese Fähigkeit. Um jedoch nicht nur als Wahrsager zu gelten, ihre Botschaft stützte sich auf Messianismus und Apokalyptik,16 auch wenn letztere nicht direkt prophetischen Ursprungs ist. Die Apokalyptik beschäftigte sich sehr stark mit geschichtlichen Konflikten. Sie bestand darin, verborgene Aspekte der geschichtlichen und sogar kosmischen Entwicklung zu enthüllen. Aus dieser Perspektive führt Gott die Geschichte des Kosmos zu einem Höhepunkt und zu einer endgültigen Auflösung.

 Vgl. Crone, Early Christian Prophecy, 146: „In neither case [Josephus or the Essenes], however, was this prediction considered prophecy in the literal sense. It was much more in the strict apocalyptic tradition.“  R. A. Horsley bestreitet, dass es im Judentum des ersten Jahrhunderts eschatologische Propheten gab; Propheten dieser Zeit seien vielmehr Weissager oder Führer von Bewegungen gewesen, vgl. Horsley, „Like One of the Prophets of Old“. Diese Momente können jedoch nicht gegeneinander ausgespielt werden.

Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus


Die Prophetie der römischen Zeit kann also nicht direkt und in all ihren Elementen mit der biblischen Prophetie gleichgesetzt werden. Sowohl die religiöse Entwicklung als auch ihr historischer Kontext haben sich stark verändert, was sich auch in der Geschichte der Prophetie zeigt.

4 Die Folgen der Übernahme der antiken Termini Mit der Entstehung der Septuaginta änderte sich auch das Bedeutungsspektrum der übernommenen Ausdrücke. Dies gilt auch für Ausdrücke, die sich auf Prophetie beziehen. Wenn wir bedenken, dass in der antiken Literatur auch von Propheten die Rede ist, ergibt sich ein seltsames Paradoxon. Die Juden haben den Begriff προφήτης für ihre Propheten so sehr übernommen, dass der biblische Prophet für mehr als nur eine Variante der griechischen Propheten wurde. Das griechische Wort bedeutet προφήτης „Verkünder, Sprecher“. Wenn es sich um einen Mantiker handelte, dann in der Funktion eines Sprechers. Herodot erwähnt in Hist. 8,135 einen thebanischen Wahrsager (πρόμαντις), der eine Weissagung vermittelt, und nennt ihn auch προφήτης als den, der sein Orakelspruch ausspricht. Während der Begriff πρόμαντις Inspiration impliziert, bezieht sich προφήτης eher auf die Vermittlung einer Botschaft. Wenn also die Septuaginta das Wort προφήτης in der jüdischen Welt einführte, dann sicherlich aufgrund des Verständnisses des Propheten als eines göttlichen Sprechers, nicht als eines Weissagers – auch wenn das Vorhersagen im hellenistischen Judentum, Josephus zufolge, häufig damit verbunden war. Obwohl man die hebräischen Propheten – phänomenologisch gesehen – unter die intuitive Mantik als deren besondere Vertreter einordnen kann, unterscheidet die Septuaginta diese Propheten durch den Ausdruck προφήτης von den heidnischen ekstatischen Mantikern (πρόμαντις) wie etwa der delphischen Wahrsagerin. In der Septuaginta begegnet der Ausdruck μαντεία gewöhnlich in negativem Sinne (vgl. Dtn 18,10.14; 2Chr 17,17; Sir 34,5; Jes 16,6; 44,25; Jer 14,14; Ez 13,7.8; 13,23; 21,26.28). In Analogie dazu verwendet Josephus μάντις / μαντεία / μαντεῖον für heidnische Wahrsager (für ägyptische Seher in Ant. 2,241; C.Ap. 1,; für Bileam in Ant. 4,104.112.157 [die Septuaginta hat den Ausdruck μαντεία in diesem Fall in Num 22,7; cf. μαντεῖον Spr 16,10; Ez 21,27]; für die Hexe von Endor in Ant. 6,330.331.338; für die babylonischen Orakel in Ant. 10.195; für die Seher im Heer Alexanders des Großen in C.Ap. 1,203.204; für die Seher im Heer des Kaisers Tiberius in Ant. 18,217.223; für das delphische Orakel in C.Ap. 2,162; sowie für Wahrsager allgemein in Ant.


Jiří Hoblík

6,327.331; 17,345; Bel. 2,112).17 Darüber hinaus gebraucht Josephus den Ausdruck μάντις als Terminus technicus für Wahrsager, unter anderem für Judas den Essener (Bel. 1,79; Ant. 13,312–13) oder für sich selbst (Bel. 4,625).18 Im Gegensatz zur negativen Vorstellung von den Mantikern kam bei προφήτης selbstverständlich hinzu, dass dies nicht nur ein Terminus technicus war, sondern auch eine konkrete Persönlichkeit bezeichnete, die ihre Vorbilder in der biblischen Literatur hatte. Josephus verglich dann sich selbst und seine Zeitgenossen mit ihnen.

5 Josephusʼ Betrachtungen der biblischen Prophetie Versuchen wir nun, das vielschichtige Bild von Prophetie, das sich aus Josephusʼ Werk ergibt, beschreiben. Zunächst wird dazu Josephusʼ Darstellung der biblischen Propheten in den „Jüdischen Altertümern“ Blick genommen. Es sollen hier nur einige charakteristische Merkmale angedeutet werden, die zugleich nur ausgewählte Beispiele dafür sind, wie er von seiner biblischen Vorlage abweicht. Erstens wurde bereits erwähnt, dass Josephus die Verwendung des Prophetentitels ausweitet. Dann ist zweitens natürlich die schon erwähnte Rolle des Wahrsagers hervorzuheben (vgl. Moses in Ant. 4,303 über die Tora, die eine Vorhersage [πρόρρησις] dessen enthält, was geschehen sollte, und somit dessen, was geschehen ist und geschieht). Einige der Propheten sagten Josephusʼ Meinung nach die Ereignisse seiner Zeit oder sogar die von ihm erwarteten Ereignisse voraus.19

 Vgl. Feldman, „Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus,“ 235.  Vgl. Feldman, „Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus,“ 235.  Vgl. Gray, Prophetic Figures, 32: „Josephus believed that the ancient prophets had predicted many of the events of his own day. Jeremiah (Ant. 10.79), Ezekiel (10.79), Daniel (10.276), and others had predicted the destruction of the temple and the capture of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. In the course of his narrative concerning the Jewish revolt against Rome, Josephus refers several times to ancient prophecies which he believed were being fulfilled in the events of the time (War 4.386–88; 6.108–10, 311–13).“ Vgl. 31: „Moses ‚prophesied to each of the tribes the things that in fact were to come to pass‘ (4.320). The prophet Nahum predicted the downfall of Nineveh ‚and many more things beside,‘ and ‚all the things that had been foretold concerning Nineveh came to pass after a hundred and fifteen years‘ (9.242). Both Ezekiel and Jeremiah predicted Zedekiah’s capture and exile, but the king refused to believe them because their predictions appeared to contradict one another (10.104–7); Isaiah predicted the rise of Cyrus (11.5–6), Daniel the rise of Alexander the Great

Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus


Drittens kannte Josephus aus der biblischen Geschichte wörtlich inspirierte Propheten, die nämlich mit dem Geist begabt waren (in Bezug auf Davids Aufenthalt im Prophetenhaus in Rama in 1Sam 19 erwähnt er etwa „göttliche [τοῦ θείου] Propheten“, die den Geist [μεταλαμβάνουσι πνεύματος] haben) und „prophezeien“ (προφητεύω), aber er geht an dieser Stelle nicht näher darauf ein, was es bedeutet zu prophezeien (Ant. 6,221). Viertens soll Elia ein Enthusiast gewesen sein, der von Gott besessen war (ἔνθεος, vgl. auch zu Saulus Ant. 6,56 und 1Sam 10,10), wie es z. B. von der delphischen Pythia20 bekannt ist. Dies habe Elia geholfen, Ahabs Wagen vom Karmel nach Jesreel zu treiben (Ant. 8,346). Das ist allerdings eine etwas eigenwillige Interpretation von 1Kön 18,46, wo der Begriff ἔνθεος im Übrigen gar nicht vorkommt (er kommt in der Septuaginta gar nicht vor). Stattdessen war er in der griechischen Welt bekannt, wo er sich auf diejenigen bezog, durch die eine Gottheit spricht (Euripides, Bacchae 300). Besonders charakteristisch für Josephusʼ Bild der Prophetie ist jedoch, dass ein Prophet jemand ist, der Gott zuhört (Ant. 4,329). Josephus folgt damit der Tradition, die Moses als den größten der Propheten ansieht, und sagt von ihm, dass er als solcher Prophet dem Volk das Beste vermittelte (Ant. 4,328). Sechstens ist ein Prophet nicht nur einseitig Sprachrohr Gottes, sondern er vermittelt auch zwischen den Menschen bzw. dem König und Gott. Josephus fügt dieses Motiv in die Geschichte von der dreijährigen Hungersnot unter König David ein, als dieser sich mit den Gibeonitern versöhnen muss, weil König Saul versucht hatte, sie auszurotten. Nach 2Sam 21,1 suchte David „das Angesicht Gottes“ und fragte nach dem göttlichen Willen, was er mit Hilfe von Propheten tun konnte; in der biblischen Darstellung werden jedoch keine Propheten erwähnt (Ant. 7,321). Josephus ergänzt in diesem Fall die biblische Überlieferung stimmig. Siebtens konnte ein Prophet in gewisser Übereinstimmung mit der alttestamentlichen Tradition sein: „wunderbare und unerwartete Taten zeigen, die durch die Propheten geschehen sind“ (θαυμαστὰ γὰρ καὶ παράδοξα διὰ τῆς προφητείας ἐπεδείξατο ἔργα) (Ant. 9,182). Aber Joseph interpretierte die Prophetie nicht nur in seiner geschichtlichen Rückschau, sondern wandte sein Konzept der Prophetie in Bellum Judaicum direkt auf die historische Situation seiner Zeit an. Denn als Kaiser Titus Josephus entsandte, um das belagerte Jerusalem zur Kapitulation vor den Römern zu bewegen,

(11.337). John Hyrcanus foretold that his two elder sons would not remain in power (13.300; cf. Bell. 1.69). The list could go on.“ Und 38: „. . . it was also used by other Jewish writers attempting to come to terms with the events of 70 c.e.“  Vgl. Crystal, „Divination and the kairos in Ancient Greek Philosophy and Culture,“ 157.186.


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erinnerte Josephus an die „Prophezeiung“ (προφητεία) des Propheten Jeremia (Bel. 5,391–92 und dazu Jer 27), nach der Gott damals durch den babylonischen König auf die Sünde des Volkes geantwortet habe. Ebenso sei es auch jetzt angemessen, das göttliche Gericht anzunehmen.21 Auch ein feindlicher König könne ein Werkzeug Gottes sein.22 Josephus tritt hier m. E. als Prediger auf, der die biblische JeremiaErzählung aktualisierend auslegt; er setzt sich jedoch nicht mit Jeremia gleich.23 Aus militärischer Sicht war der jüdische Krieg sinnlos, aber nach Josephus war er eine Folge von Sünde. Jeremia ist hier allerdings nicht ganz mit Josephus vergleichbar, denn er sprach in göttlicher Beauftragung, nicht als Exeget und auch nicht als Abgesandter einer Besatzungsmacht. In ähnlicher Weise sagte Josephus wenig später in einer Ansprache an seinen Gegner, den Anführer der galiläischen Rebellen, Johannes von Gischala (Ἰωάννης ἀπὸ Γισχάλων), die kommende Zerstörung Jerusalems voraus: Wer kennt nicht die Aufzeichnungen der alten Propheten (παλιοί προφήτης), und wer weiß nicht, daß das Orakel (χρησμός), das die unglückliche Stadt bedroht, schon gekommen ist? Sie haben vorausgesagt (προεῖπον), daß ihr Umsturz kommen wird, wenn jemand ein brudermörderisches Blutvergießen beginnt. Und ob die Stadt und der ganze heilige Bezirk nicht mit euren Leichen gefüllt sind? Es ist also Gott, Gott selbst, der die Römer und das reinigende Feuer über sie bringt und die Stadt entwurzelt, die vor lauter Verbrechen überläuft. (Bel. 6,109–10)

So, wie die Babylonier einst auf Gottes Geheiß gegen Juda und Jerusalem vorgingen, so tun es jetzt die Römer. Dabei darf man nicht vergessen, dass der jüdische Krieg teilweise auch in Konflikten zwischen den verschiedenen jüdischen Parteien bestand. So sympathisierten bei weitem nicht alle Juden mit den Radikalen, die den Krieg angezettelt hatten. Später suchten die jüdischen Gelehrten auf der Seite ihres eigenen Volkes nach Ursachen des Krieges,24 was teilweise der Mentalität der Zeit entsprach.

 Zur dieser Adaptation des alten prophetischen Schemas, vgl. Cohen, „Josephus, Jeremiah, and Polybius,“ 370–71; Gray, Prophetic Figures, 38; Rajak, Josephus, 94–98. Für Verhältnis von Josephus und der Baruch-Apokalypse zur Frage nach der Rolle der Römer als Diener des göttlichen Gerichts vgl. Böcher, „Die heilige Stadt im Völkekrieg.“  Vgl. Cohen, „Josephus, Jeremiah, and Polybius,“ 374; Gray, Prophetic Figures, 41.  Dagegen L. H. Feldman meint: „. . . he apparently looked upon himself, in a certain sense, as a latter-day Jeremiah . . .“, („Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus,“ 212). Unseres Erachtens ist eine solche Charakterisierung etwas vage.  Vgl. Seth Schwartz, „Political, Social and Economic Life in the Land of Israel,“ 24.

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6 Josephusʼ Selbstverständnis in Bezug auf die Prophetie Eine ganz besondere Rolle nimmt im Zusammenhang mit Josephusʼ Prophetieverständnis die geschichtstheoretische Frage ein, wie sich die Persönlichkeit des Historikers in seiner historischen Arbeit widerspiegelt. Im Hinblick auf sein Werk ist bemerkenswert, dass Josephus auch über sich selbst schreibt, einschließlich seiner persönlichen Beziehung zur Prophetie. Deshalb kann man darüber streiten, inwieweit Josephus sich selbst als Prophet stilisierte und inwieweit er wirklich ein solcher war. Er bezeichnet sich zwar nicht ausdrücklich als Prophet, doch ist das noch nicht die ganze Antwort auf diese Frage. Seine Rolle als Historiker stand nicht im Widerspruch zu den prophetischen Zügen seines Selbstverständnisses, die wir nun darzulegen versuchen wollen. Wie David E. Aune schreibt: „That portion of the canon labelled ‫נביאים‬, for example, consists of a section of historical books designated ‚Former Prophets‘. Josephus himself regarded the canonical prophets as inspired and gifted historians (Ag.Ap. 1.37–38), and he appears to have regarded himself as a successor to the prophet-historians of the OT.“25 Er ist darüber hinaus, wenn auch nicht konsequent, unübersehbar ein Interpret der Prophetie – sowohl rückblickend (in den „Jüdischen Altertümern“) als auch in Bezug auf seine Gegenwart (im „Jüdischen Krieg“), und dabei sogar praktisch (im Kontext des Krieges). Nehmen wir zunächst an, dass ihm prophetische Erlebnisse zuteil wurden, bei denen Gott ihm etwas mitzuteilen hatte. Josephus erwähnt mitunter seine Träume (Vita 208–12; Bel. 3,351–54) und rühmt sich seiner Fähigkeit, Träume zu deuten (κρίσις ὀνείρων), die er aus seiner Kenntnis der biblischen Prophetie als Priester ableitet (Bel. 3,352). Vielleicht schätzt er deshalb Daniel so sehr, den er im Unterschied zur biblischen Tradition als Propheten bezeichnet (Ant. 10,246 und 249). Es ist nicht ausgeschlossen, dass die alten Propheten u. a. Träumer waren, aber es war im Alten Orient üblich, dass die Götter den Menschen im Traum begegneten. Auch erklärt Josephus, dass er seinerzeit dank der Träume eine enthusiastische Erfahrung (ἔνθεος)26 machte (3,353). Er beruft sich auf sein eigenes Wissen über Gottes Willen an der berühmten Stelle, die auf die Belagerung durch die Römer der in der Höhle bei Jotapata verborgenen bedeutenden jüdischen Männer folgt (Bel. 3,8). In der Überzeugung, dass Gott ihm kommende Dinge offenbaren wollte und dass er (den Römern) eine Botschaft zu überbringen hatte (362), führte er nämlich, von den Aufständischen

 David E. Aune, „The Use of ΠΡΟΦΗΤΗΣ in Josephus,“ 420–21.  Vgl. z B. Sophokles, Antigone, 964 für eine Besessenheit durch Gottheit; für „göttliche Raserei“, inspiriert durch den Gott vgl. Iamblichos, De vita pythagorica, 32,216.


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bedroht, einen Losentscheid durch, der zu dem Ergebnis führte, dass sich die Rebellen einer nach dem anderen gegenseitig umbrachten, damit sie den Römern nicht in die Hände fielen; endlich blieben so nur noch Josephus und ein Rebell am Leben. Josephus deutet dieses Ergebnis als Wunder, durch das Gott den an ihn ergangenen Auftrag bestätigte. Die ganze Erzählung wirkt wie eine Apologie, in der Josephus sich gegen den Vorwurf der Flucht oder des Verrats verteidigt.27 Dagegen hätte er sich wahrscheinlich bis heute zu wehren.28 Aber ihn des Betrugs  Vgl. Gray, Prophetic Figures, 41: „The purpose of the extended narrative under consideration here is apologetic, in a personal sense. Josephus’ account of the revelation in the cave at Jotapata, his surrender to the Romans, his prediction to Vespasian, and his later release is designed to counter accusations of cowardice and treachery that were leveled against him at the time of the events he is depicting, and that were apparently still being made when the War was written. These accusations seem to have arisen, in the first instance, as a result of the surrender itself; but they probably also reflect Josephus’ later activities and circumstances, as we shall see.“ Und 42: „I shall argue there that Josephus claims that he only agreed to surrender because he had been commissioned by God with an important prophetic task that required his survival: to inform Vespasian that he was about to become emperor. At a more general level, however, Josephus is attempting to explain not only his decision to surrender, but also his later circumstances and efforts on behalf of the Romans. He does this by presenting the revelation at Jotapata as the decisive turning point in his life, as the moment in which he first came to understand God’s plans for his people and the true significance of the events unfolding around him.“ Und zuletzt 51: „If it is correct that Josephus is writing with Jewish accusers in mind, and if it is also correct that he defends himself by claiming that he had been called as God’s prophet, then it follows that his portrayal of himself as a prophet in this narrative is one that he thought would appeal to Jewish readers.“ Daneben vgl. Rajak, Josephus, 186: „Rational calculation can hardly have led a man, even one much more involved in Roman politics than was Josephus, to conclude that Nero would be toppled and eventually replaced by none other than Vespasian.“ Weiter 187: „Some may believe that our author truly had a divine prompting – or a brilliant hunch. Others will suppose that he pre-dated his prophecy to make it appear more impressive [. . .]. We need not imagine him literally fettered at this time: in his late work [. . .]. So the prisoner could well have been active in the camp. And his prediction will then have been a performance rigged with his patron’s connivance; or else a trick of his own devising. I shall not try to choose between the different possibilities.“ Und 190: „The omens had become truly a popular theme. The main surviving chroniclers of this period, Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio, all report them, each in his own manner (Tac. Hist. 1.10; 2.4, 78; Suet. Vesp. 4–5; Tit. 5; Dio Epit. 66.1). When Josephus mentions in his preface that the signs of Vespasian’s future rise will be one of the themes covered by his history, he evidently expects his readers to know just what he means (BJ 1.23).“  Vgl. Schürer – Vermes – Millar, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C. – A.D. 135), vol. 1., 57: „No-one would wish to defend his character. The basic features of his personality were vanity and complacency. And even if he was not the dishonourable traitor that his Life would seem to imply, nevertheless his going over to the Romans and his intimate alliance with the Flavian imperial house was performed with more ingenuity and indifference than was

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zu verdächtigen, wäre zu einfach. Man sollte vor allem sein Selbstverständnis als „Bote Gottes“ berücksichtigen, zu dem eine Lüge nicht passt, und sein Wissen um die Ernsthaftigkeit der Prophezeiung. Außerdem war es für ihn angesichts seiner pharisäischen geistigen Wurzeln nicht zulässig, Selbstmord zu begehen.29 Vielmehr ist davon auszugehen, dass Josephus die Fiktion als literarisches Werkzeug nutzt, um eine Botschaft zu vermitteln. Mit der vorliegenden Erzählung wollte er wohl eine göttliche Bestätigung für seine Mission zum Ausdruck bringen. Als er eine Audienz bei Vespasian bekam (dem er angeblich voraussagte, dass er Kaiser werden würde), stellte Josephus sich ihm mit den Worten vor: „Ich bin der Gesandte, der für größere Dinge zu euch gekommen ist (ἐγὼ δὲ ἄγγελος ἥκω σοι μειζόνων), gesandt von Gott (μὴ γὰρ ὑπὸ θεοῦ προπεμπόμενος).“ (Bel. 3,400) Mit diesen Worten stellt er sich tatsächlich in der Rolle eines Propheten dar – wenn auch ohne die Bezeichnung „Prophet“ zu verwenden, aber vielleicht mit Anspielung auf den „Boten Jahwes“ Maleachi. Der Eroberer glaubte ihm, weil Josephus angeblich bestätigen konnte, dass seine Vorhersagen eintrafen (etwa, dass Jerusalem in 47 Tagen erobert und er selbst lebend gefangen genommen werden würde) (3,406). Interessant ist auch, dass sogar Tacitus von der Vorhersage wusste, dass Vespasian Kaiser werden würde, doch Josephus’ „Jüdischen Krieg“ schien der römische Geschichtsschreiber nicht zu kennen. Man könnte den Eindruck gewinnen, dass Josephus in Rom eher als Prophet denn als Historiker bekannt gewesen war.30 Obwohl Josephus also mehrere Eigenschaften eines Propheten für sich in Anspruch nahm, nannte er sich nicht „Prophet“. Es ist zwar umstritten, ob er sich

seemly in a person mourning the downfall of his nation. As a writer, too, he had his great imperfections.“  Vgl. Newell, „The Forms and Historical Value of Josephus’ Suicide Accounts,“, 288–89. Vgl. auch Cohen, Josephus in Galilee and Rome, 229–30: „It is not our task to condemn or excuse. Two points need to be emphasized. (1) We have no indiction of treasonous conduct in all of Josephus’ actions in Galilee before Jotapata. He was sent to Galilee to prepare the country for war and this commission he executed. His vanity could brook no opponent and so much energy and time was wasted on internal squabbles that effective organization for war was impossible, but this complaint cannot be confused with the accusation of treachery. (2) Rather than die at Jotapata Josephus surrendered; he sold his services to the Romans as the price for his life. Josephus’ vanity probably played a part here too. He considered himself much too important for a death in a cave near an obscure fortress in the country district of a small province. He must have been born for greater things.“  Vgl. Goodman, Josephus’s the Jewish War, 17.


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selbst als Prophet betrachtete,31 aber sachlich gesehen tat er es. Seine Selbstidentifikation mit dem „göttlichen Boten“ ist sehr stark. Dass Josephus zurückhaltend ist, sich selbst als Prophet zu bezeichnen, Zurückhaltung kann auch folgende Gründe haben: Sein Bild von der zeitgenössischen Prophetie war nicht abschließend geklärt; es setzte sich aus mehreren Elementen zu einem unvollständigen Bild zusammen, das in mehrfacher Hinsicht nicht mit dem des biblischen Propheten übereinstimmte. Dabei spielte wohl auch die Tatsache eine große Rolle, dass Josephus offenbar keine Erfahrung gemacht hatte, die er als göttliche Berufung (Initiation) zum Propheten ansah – obwohl ihn einige Erfahrungen davon überzeugt hatten, dass er von Gott mit bestimmten Aufgaben betraut war. Es wäre daher übertrieben, ihn direkt als Propheten zu bezeichnen,

7 Überlegungen zu Josephus’ Auffassung von Prophetie An Josephusʼ Auffassung von Prophetie ist positiv zu würdigen, dass sie einen Wandel in der Entwicklung der Religion und des religiösen Denkens belegt. Kritisch zu betrachten ist jedoch, dass der Gebrauch des Begriffs „Prophet“ historisch einschränkt, sachlich verengt und in seiner Anwendung angesichts der biblischen Tradition auf einige neue Phänomene erweitert wird. Aus religionsgeschichtlicher Sicht ist es jedoch mit großer Unsicherheit verbunden, jemanden als Propheten zu bezeichnen, denn dazu muss man wissen, ob ihm echte Visionen zuteilwerden. Zweitens ist es Angelegenheit eines bestimmten religiösen Milieus (in dem jemand als Prophet anerkannt wird) zu klären, ob er tatsächlich ein Vermittler zwischen Gott und den Menschen ist; die säkulare Religionsgeschichtswissenschaft dagegen kann nicht zu dieser Überprüfung beitragen, wobei es allerdings auch fraglich ist, ob die Theologie dafür zuständig ist. Schließlich können wir nicht wissen, ob Josephus über andere, weniger umstrittene Propheten seiner Zeit schlichtweg nichts berichtet (sie vielleicht gar absichtlich verschweigt), oder sie ihm überhaupt nicht bekannt waren. Es ist nicht unwahrscheinlich, dass es weitere Propheten gab (an-

 Entgegen den Bedenken schlägt H. Schreckenberg eine indirekte (in Bezug auf die prophetische Tradition) und teilweise künstliche (in Bezug auf das Priestertum) Begründung von Josephs Propheten-Sein vor: „Offenbar glaubt er sich in der prophetischen Tradition eines Jeremia stehend (vgl. b. Iud. 5, 391/3) oder fühlt sich wie ein neuer Daniel, jedenfalls wie ein durch sein Priestersein legitimierter Prophet (ebd. 3, 351/4. 361).“ (Schreckenberg, „Josephus,“ 766).

Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus


gesichts des bereits erwähnten Hinweises, dass Propheten unter den Christen aktiv waren). Was die Geschichte der Prophetie betrifft, so endete diese nicht mit dem Abschluss der biblischen Prophetensammlung. Allerdings handelt es sich bei den prophetischen Phänomenen der römischen Zeit zugleich um Ableger, die sich nach historischen Wendepunkten entwickelten, sodass es schwierig ist, die späteren Formen mit den früheren gleichzusetzen. Damit hat die These vom Ende der Prophetie eine begrenzte sachliche Berechtigung. Man würde Josephus wahrscheinlich Unrecht tun, wenn man ihm nur ein Verständnis von Propheten zubilligte, das diejenigen umfasst, die wissen, was geschehen wird. Denn es stellt sich die Frage, warum es überhaupt sinnvoll ist, etwas vorherzusagen. Josephus beantwortet diese Frage, indem er die Visionen des Buches Daniel interpretiert, die mit Antiochus IV. in Verbindung gebracht werden. Dabei polemisiert er gegen die Epikuräer, weil sie die Vorsehung (πρόνοια) leugnen, die im menschlichen Leben und im Lauf der Welt wirkt, und Josephus leugnet somit, dass die Welt von einer mechanischen Notwendigkeit geleitet wird (Ant. 10,276–81). Gott wirkt tatsächlich in der Geschichte. Darin stimmt Josephus mit den alten Propheten überein, auch wenn er die Geschichte in den Kontext des Kosmos stellt, wie es die Apokalyptik tut. Wir können sehen, wie in dieser Reflexion des Josephus das Prophetenbild einen hellenistischen und posthellenistischen Charakter annimmt, der nicht vollständig mit der vorhellenistischen hebräischen Prophetie übereinstimmt und der zu den bereits erwähnten Merkmalen hinzukommt.

8 Fazit Zur Josephusʼ Auffassung von Prophetie gehört sein Bild der biblischen wie auch der zeitgenössischen Prophetie – und auch sein eigenes Prophet-Sein muss berücksichtigt werden. Aus all oben ausgeführten Aspekten ergibt sich ein vielschichtiges, aber nicht ganz vollständiges Bild. Josephus hinterließ ein großes Werk und damit auch große dringende Fragen, von denen er einige selbst verkörperte – und von denen einige mit seinem Verständnis von Prophetie verbunden sind. Seine Arbeit als Historiker und prophetische Züge seiner Person sind in diesem Werk miteinander verwoben. Eine Kette der dringenden Fragen ist mit dem Verdacht verbunden, dass er seine Kollaboration mit den Römern rationalisiert hat. Wir haben gesehen, dass er sich in persönlicher Hinsicht in einer äußerst schwierigen und ambivalenten Situation, ja in einem Dilemma befand, auch in Bezug auf das Judentum seiner Zeit. Nicht nur,


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dass keineswegs alle Juden Sympathisanten der Radikalen oder sogar Radikale waren, die den Krieg angezettelt hatten. Für Josephus stellte sich zudem die Frage, wie er selbst Jude bleiben konnte, wie er nicht nur sein nacktes Leben, sondern auch dessen Sinn bewahren konnte – und wie er gleichzeitig die unbeliebte römische Macht in dieser Konfliktsituation respektieren konnte. Schließlich stellte er die Macht Gottes über die römische Macht – ein Schritt, der zwar theoretisch möglich, aber in seiner Legitimität unsicher ist. Ebenso war es theoretisch gerechtfertigt, sich den Rebellen entgegenzustellen – im Interesse der anderen Juden. So viel zu seiner ethisch-politischen und theologischen Fragestellung. Eine andere war die Frage nach der Autorität, prophetisch zu sprechen. Josephus war stark von der biblischen Prophetentradition angeregt inspiriert, auch wenn er über ein nur begrenztes Wissen darüber verfügte; gleichzeitig grenzte er sich gegen „falsche Propheten“ ab. Er behauptete nicht, ein Prophet zu sein, aber er war davon überzeugt, dass er mit einer prophetischen Mission ausgestattet war. So bleibt die religionsgeschichtlich schwierige Frage: Wie sind die Propheten seiner Zeit zu definieren? Ein Prophet ist ein Visionär, der den göttlichen Willen vermittelt. Ob man die prophetischen Führer der verschiedenen Bewegungen dazu zählt, sei dahingestellt.

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Prophetie bei Flavius Josephus


Feldman, Louis H. “Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus.” In Prophets, Prophecy, and Prophetic Texts in Second Temple Judaism, hg. v. Michael H. Floyd – Robert D. Haak, 210–39. LHBOTS 427. New York – London: T & T Clark, 2006. Flavius Josephus, Against Apion. Flavius Josephus – Translation and Commentary 10. übers. und komment. John M. G. Barclay. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2007. Flavius Josephus, The Complete Works of Josephus. übers. v. William Whiston. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1981. Flavius Josephus, Judean War 2. Flavius Josephus – Translation and Commentary 1B, hg. und übers. v. Steve Mason – Honora Chapman. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2008. Flavius Josephus, Life of Josephus. Flavius Josephus – Translation and Commentary 9, hg. und übers. v. Steve Mason. Leiden – Boston – Köln: Brill 2001. Goodman, Martin. Josephus’s the Jewish War: A Biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019. Gray, Rebecca. Prophetic Figures in Late Second Temple Jewish Palestine: The Evidence from Josephus. New York – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Hoblík, Jiří. Proroci, jejich slova a jejich svět. Praha: Vyšehrad, 2009. Horsley Richard A. “‘Like One of the Prophets of Old’: Two Types of Popular Prophets at the Time of Jesus.” CBQ 47 (1985): 435–63. Kókai-Nagy Viktor, “Die Propheten und die religiösen Gemeinschaften bei Josephus.” In Propheten der Epochen – Prophets during the Epochs. Festschrift für István Karasszon zum 60. Geburtstag, hg. Viktor Kókai-Nagy – László Sándor Egeresi, 233–47. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2015. Leiman, Sid Z. “Josephus and the Canon of the Bible.” In Josephus, the Bible, and History, hg. v. Louis H. Feldman – Gohei Hata, 50–58. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1989. Mason, Steve, Hg. Judean War 2. Flavius Josephus – Translation and Commentary 1B, übers. v. Steve Mason – Honora Chapman. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2008. Newell, Raymond R. “The Forms and Historical Value of Josephus’ Suicide Accounts.” In Josephus, the Bible, and History, hg. v. Louis H. Feldman – Gohei Hata, 278–94. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1989. Rajak, Tessa. Josephus. London: Duckworth, 22002. Rovner, Jay. “Hillel and the Bat Qol: A Toseftan Discourse on Prophecy in the Second Temple and Tannaitic Periods.” Oquimta 2 (2014): 165–205. Online aspx (19.7.2022). Schreckenberg, Heinz. “Josephus [Flavius Josephus].” RAC 18: 761–801. Schürer, Emil – Vermes Géza –Millar, Fergus. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C. – A.D. 135). Vol. 1. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1973. Schwartz, Seth. “Political, Social and Economic Life in the Land of Israel.” In The Cambridge History of Judaism vol. 4: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, hg. v. William D. Davies – Louis Finkelstein – Steven T. Katz, 23–52. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Young, Franklin W. “Jesus the Prophet: A Re-Examination.” JBL 68 (1949): 285–99.

Ádám Vér

Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E. 1 Introduction Josephus’ account of the reign of Achaz in Antiquities follows the narrative of the Book of Chronicles, with minor differences. In this paper, I would like to take a closer look at an interesting discrepancy and shed light on its background in ancient Near Eastern texts. According to the biblical account (2Chron 28:5–7; 2Kings 16:5–6),1 Judah, the country of king Achaz, was attacked by a series of raids: first Rezin, king of Damascus, attacked Judah, and his armies reached the Red Sea, capturing Eilat, which was then invaded by Edomite troops. This was followed by Pekah’s campaign against Judah, and finally there was a Philistine attack. The biblical text gives no reason for the attacks, but does opine that Achaz may well have merited the title of the worst king of Judah. Finally, in his distress, Achaz sent a message from the besieged Jerusalem to the Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser III, saying “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me” and, adding to the persuasive power of his words, he bribed the Assyrian ruler with a substantial sum of money (2Kings 16:7–9). Josephus adds a small detail to this scene of Achaz’s call for help: Ἄχαζος δ᾽ ὁ βασιλεὺς ταῦτα παθὼν ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰσραηλιτῶν πέμψας πρὸς τὸν τῶν Ἀσσυρίων βασιλέα Θαγλαθφαλλασάρην συμμαχίαν αὐτὸν παρασχεῖν παρεκάλει πρὸς τὸν πόλεμον τὸν πρὸς τοὺς Ἰσραηλίτας καὶ Σύρους καὶ Δαμασκηνοὺς χρήματα πολλὰ δώσειν ὑπισχνούμενος, ἔπεμψε δ᾽ αὐτῷ καὶ λαμπρὰς δωρεάς. (Ant. 9.252)

 Text here and hereafter from RSV. 2Chron. 28:5–7: “Therefore the Lord his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who defeated him with great slaughter. For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew a hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day, all of them men of valor, because they had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers. And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king’s son and Azrikam the commander of the palace and Elkanah the next in authority to the king.”; 2Kings 16:5–6: “Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to wage war on Jerusalem, and they besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. At that time the king of Edom recovered Elath for Edom, and drove the men of Judah from Elath; and the Edomites came to Elath, where they dwell to this day.”


Ádám Vér

But King Achaz, after suffering this defeat at the hands of the Israelites, sent to Thaglathphalaserēs [Tiglath-pileser III], the king of Assyria, asking him to give aid as an ally in the war against the Israelites, the Syrians and Damascenes, and promising to give him much money; he also sent him splendid gifts.2

To understand the significance of this small insertion that the Assyrian king was a symmachos of king Achaz, let us step back and try to explain this series of attacks on Judah and place these events in their historical context. The subsequent survey of ancient Near Eastern treaties helps create the historical world within which Josephus’ “ally” addition would have made sense.

2 Coalitions of Smaller States against the Assyrian Empire By the middle of the ninth century B.C.E., the expansion of the Assyrian Empire had reached the great bend of the Euphrates, and Shalmaneser III began the process of subduing one-by-one the politically fragmented Syrian territories. These smaller Syrian states first formed a coalition in 853 and successfully fought against the Assyrian army at the Battle of Qarqar. From then on, they formed alliances again and again in every subsequent generation against the Assyrian power with less and less success. The Assyrians attacked with unrelenting regularity, and against the Assyrians’ overwhelming force the Syrian coalition was invariably forced to rely on the support of great powers outside Syria (namely Urartu, Egypt, or Babylonia). These territories thus defended themselves by means of a series of alliances.3 After the fall of these coalitions, all the states in Syria-Palestine surrendered and signed a treaty with Assyria. Yet, from then on, there was always at least one state that tried to stay out of the proceeding anti-Assyrian alliances, and several times these states acted in favour of Assyria. But of course, the members of the

 For the Greek text see Niese, Flavii Iosephi opera, vol. 2: Antiquitatum iudaicarum libri VI–X; for the English translation see: Marcus, Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 135.  An interesting section of Esarhaddon’s royal inscription (Niniveh A prism [RINAP 4, no. 1] iii 20–27) sheds more light to what kind of ceremony could it be when he writes of an alliance between a ruler of Southeastern Anatolia and the king of Sidon against Assyria: “Moreover, Sandauarri, king of the cities Kundi and Sissû, a dangerous enemy, who did not fear my lordship (and) abandoned the gods, trusted in the impregnable mountains. He (and) Abdi-Milkūti, king of Sidon, agreed to help one another, swore an oath by their gods with one another, and trusted in their own strength.” (translated by E. Leichty).

Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.


anti-Assyrian coalitions always tried to force those outside of their coalitions to join in their rebellions. In the following paragraphs I will briefly summarise the history of these coalitions. Coalition 1:4 In response to the invasions of Shalmaneser III, the countries of the lands behind the Euphrates formed the coalition of the 12 kings, which fought against the Assyrians in the battle of Qarqar 853 B.C.E. The members of the alliance are enumerated in the Kurkh Monolith Inscription.5 The main powers of the coalition were Hadadezer (Aram/Damascus), Irhuleni (Hamath), and Ahab (Israel); the nine other member-states were the Kingdom of Guā (Que/Cilicia), the land of Masura, the land of Irqanata, Matin-Baal (Arwad), the land of Usanata, AdunuBaal (ruler of Ušnatu), Gindibu (a ruler from Arabia), and Ba’asa, son of Ruhubi (king of Ammon). The coalition fought against Shalmaneser III in the subsequent years (849, 848, 845), but the description of the later alliances are schematic and comprise shorter texts within the Assyrian royal inscriptions. Coalition 2:6 In 805 B.C.E.,7 an anti-Assyrian coalition of eight kings led by Ataršumki, king of Arpad fought against Adad-nērārī III, as described in the text of the obverse of the Pazarcık Stele.8 The royal inscription says that the king of Kummuh, Ušpilulume persuaded the Assyrian king to cross the Euphrates River.9 Since the ruler of Kummuh did not join to the anti-Assyrian coalition, he was attacked by the members of the alliance, and after the Assyrian military victory, Adad-nērārī III established the new boundaries between Kummuh and Gurgum, apparently for the benefit of Ušpilulume, who remained loyal to him.10 Coalition 3:11 One of the most prominent early Aramaic texts is the so-called Zakkur Stele,12 erected by Zakkur, king of Hamath and Luash, in honour of ‘Il-wēr (Baal-shamayin), in which he describes how the alliance of 17 Syrian states led by

 Na’aman, “Forced Participation,” 82.  RIMA 3, A.0.102.2, ii. 89–102.  Na’aman, “Forced Participation,” 84–85.  Zaccagnini, “Notes on the Pazarcık Stela,” 58. The Assyrian Eponym Chronicle names Arpad as the aim of the Assyrian campaign in this year (see Millard, The Eponyms of the Assyrian Empire 910–612 BC).  RIMA 3, A.0.104.3, 11–15a.  RIMA 3, A.0.104.3, 7–10: “When Ušpilulume, king of the Kummuhites, caused Adad-nērārī, king of Assyria (and) Semiramis, the palace woman, to cross the Euphrates.” (translated by A. K. Grayson).  RIMA 3, A.0.104.3, 15b–18.  Na’aman, “Forced Participation,” 84–86.  Gibson, Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions, Vol. II, no. 5; Lipiński, The Aramaeans, 254–55; Millard, “The Inscription of Zakkur, King of Hamath,” 155; Noegel, “The Zakkur Inscription”.


Ádám Vér

Bar-Hadad (son of Hazael, ruled 796–770 B.C.E.), king of Aram/Damascus, attacked him in the city of Hazrach. The inscription names only seven members of the alliance:13 Bar-Hadad (king of Aram/Damascus), Bar-Gush, and the kings of Que, ‛Amuq, Gurgum, Sam’al, and Melid. Coalition 4:14 Under the reign of Sarduri II (764–735 B.C.E.), Urartu became a substantial superpower of the ancient Near East, who challenged Assyrian interests in the territories west of the Euphrates in the middle of the 8th century B.C.E. A coalition of Syrian states led by Mati’-il, king of Arpad, supported Urartu against Assyria. The decisive battle took place in Kummuh, between the cities Kištan and Halpi in 743 B.C.E. According the inscription of Tiglath-pileser III on his Iran Stele,15 the coalition of Sarduri, Mati’-il, Tarhulara (king of Gurgum), and Sulumal (king of Melid) suffered a heavy defeat.16 Coalition 5:17 This coalition took part in the so-called Syro-Ephraimite War in 734–732 B.C.E., described in several biblical passages (2Kings 15:23–31, 37; 16:1–9; Isa. 7:1–9). Unfortunately, the annals of Tiglath-pileser III for these years are almost entirely lost,18 but even from these sources we can discern that an antiAssyrian coalition was formed by Rezin, king of Damascus, with the support of Pekah, king of Israel, Mitinti, the ruler of Ashkelon, and the kingdom of Edom. Because of the poor military potential of the alliance, modern historians assume that the coalition was counting on substantial help from Egypt.19 Achaz, king of Judah, however, tried to opt out of this coalition, so the members of the alliance tried to force him to join. This would be the historical context for the event mentioned in the introduction involving King Achaz, i.e. his request for the aid of Assyrian troops. According the Assyrian Eponym Chronicle, Tiglath-pileser III led campaigns to Philistia in 734 B.C.E. and to Damascus in the years 733–732 B.C.E. By

 According Edward Lipiński’s (The Arameans, 254) reconstruction, the text further mentions Tabal(?), Kittik(?), and the seven kings of Amurru, so the coalition would have been formed by sixteen states.  Na’aman, “Forced Participaton,” 90–91.  RINAP 1, no. 35: i 21ʹ–43ʹ.  For a detailed historical overview, see Astour, “The Arena of Tiglath-pileser III’s Campaign”.  Na’aman, “Forced Participation,” 91–94.  For the year 734 B.C.E. see RINAP 1, nos. 42:8ʹ–15ʹ and 48:14ʹ–19ʹ; for 733 B.C.E. see RINAP 1, no. 21:12ʹ–16ʹ: “Mitinti the land of Ashkelon neglected the loyalty oath [adê] (sworn by) the great gods [. . .] and revolted against me.” (translated by H. Tadmor).  Na’aman, “Forced Participation,” 92, with further literature.

Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.


the end of this series of campaigns, the Assyrian Empire had completely annexed the kingdom of Damascus and the larger part of the kingdom of Israel.20 Coalition 6: The last anti-Assyrian alliance to be mentioned came after Sennacherib’s accession to the throne. The Assyrian campaign of 701 B.C.E.,21 a focal-point of historical (and biblical) research,22 defeated both the coalition and the supporting Egyptian Pharaoh’s army. The members of the alliance were Lulî, king of Sidon, Hezekiah, king of Judah, and Ṣidqâ, king of Ashkelon; however, Padî, the king of Ekron, opposed this coalition, so the members of the anti-Assyrian coalition captured him and placed him under arrest in Jerusalem. So Padî found himself in a very similar situation to Achaz a generation earlier: members of the coalition against Assyria tried to force him to join the rebellion, and they punished his non-compliance. Yet, here also, the Assyrian king of the day came to his aid and, presumably as a result of diplomatic negotiations, freed Padî from his captivity in Jerusalem.23 Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, no Assyrian royal inscriptions describing the Achaz episode have survived. The analogy is so strong, however, that it is worth taking a closer look at the relationship between Padî and the Assyrian king. Sennacherib’s inscription on the Rassam cylinder (RINAP 3/I, no. 22, ii 74–7524) reads: Padî šarrušunu bēl adê u māmīt ša māt Aššur = “Padî, their king who was bound by treaty and oaths to Assyria”. (translated by A. K. Grayson and J. Novotny)

In the following, I will describe the institution of the adê-treaty and will explain its function within Assyria and for the territories with diplomatic relations with Assyria.

 See inter alia Otzen, “Israel under the Assyrians”; Parpola, “Assyria’s Expansion”; Bagg, Die Assyrer und das Westland, 235; Bagg, “Palestine under Assyrian Rule”.  The most important cuneiform sources are: Chicago and Taylor Prisms (RINAP 3/I, no. 22: ii 37–iii 49), Rassam Cylinder (RINAP 3/I, no. 4: 32–58), Bull 4 Inscription (RINAP 3/II, no. 46: 16–32), fragment K 6205 (RINAP 3/II, no. 1015 – it is disputed whether the fragmentary text is an inscription of Sargon II or Sennacherib), which is probably a part of a Letter to the God Assur, and label inscriptions of the orthostat reliefs of the Lachish Room (RINAP 3/II, no. 66). The biblical sources are: 2Kings 18:13–16; 18:17–19:36 (the Rabshakeh narration); Isa 36–37; 2Chron 32:1–23.  For an overview of the sources and the scholarly literature, see Mayer, “Sennacherib’s Campaign”; and the articles in Sennacherib at the Gates of Jerusalem.  For a detailed analysis of the Padî episode, see Dubovský, “Assyrians under the Walls of Jerusalem”.  Parallel versions: RINAP 3/I, no. 4, 42; no. 15, iii 8ʹ–13ʹ; no. 16, iii 40–45; no. 17, iii 5–10; no. 23, ii 69–73.


Ádám Vér

3 The Treaty (adê) of Assyria The first occurrence of the word dates back to 754 B.C.E., in the text of the treaty between Aššur-nērārī V, king of Assyria and Mati’-il, king of Arpad (SAA 2, no. 2), the word adê denoted the treaty itself and the relationship laid down in it. This treaty is almost contemporaneous with an Aramaic treaty recorded on the Sefire stelae25 between the same Mati’-il and a certain Bar-Ga’yah, king of the land KTK – neither the latter king nor the name of his country is known from any other source. The Aramaic phrase for treaty is (‛dy) appears here as well. In the Neo-Assyrian period, the Assyrian king’s treaty, with the rulers of other states or with his Assyrian subjects, included an oath and is referred to as adê. Until the late 1980s, the concept of adê was discussed in the scholarly literature mainly in the context of treaties between states26 – and it is undeniable that the Akkadian terms riksu, rikiltu, riksu u māmītu, the termus technici27 used in the second millennium to denote peace treaties and inter-state agreements, were replaced in Assyria from the 8th century onwards by the terms adê and adê u māmītu. In 1958, Donald Wiseman published the text of an adê found in the temple of Nabû at Nimrud,28 in which Esarhaddon makes a treaty with eight nobles from the Zagros mountains to protect and support the newly appointed crown prince29  Lemaire –Durand, Les inscriptions araméennes de Sfiré el l’Assyrie de Shamshi-ilu; Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Inscriptions; for the context: Morrow, “The Sefire Treaty Stipulations and the Mesopotamian Treaty Tradition”; Fales – Mazzoni, “Sefire”.  Radner, “Neo-Assyrian Treaties,” 313 refers to these texts as “bilateral treaties;” we have six texts in this genre: SAA 2, no. 1 (treaty between V. Šamši-Adad and Marduk-zakir-šumī, ca. 882 B.C.E.); SAA 2, no. 2 (treaty between V. Aššur-nērārī and Mati’-il, ca. 754 B.C.E.); SAA 2, no. 5 (treaty between Esarhaddon and Baal, king of Tyre, ca. 677 B.C.E.); SAA 2, no. 9 (treaty between Assurbanipal and his Babylonian allies, 652 B.C.E.); SAA 2, no. 10 (treaty between Assurbanipal and two leaders of the Qedar tribe, ca. 652 B.C.E.); SAA 2, no. 11 (treaty between Sîn-šarru-iškun and his Babylonian allies, ca. 625–616 B.C.E.).  The legal terminology of Hittite interstate treaties was reviewed by Altman, “Rethinking the Hittite System”.  Wiseman, “The Vassal-Treaties of Esarhaddon”; for a newer edition see Watanabe, Die adêVereidigung anläßlich der Thronfolgeregelung Asarhaddons.  We have four treaties, which aim to protect the newly appointed crown princes: a fragmented treaty of Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 B.C.E.), though we do not know when it was made and for whose benefit (Frahm, Historische und historisch-literarische Texte, no. 66); a treaty of Sennacherib for the benefit of Esarhaddon, concluded in 683/682 B.C.E. (one fragment was published in SAA 2, no. 5, with two new fragments were re-published by Frahm, Historische und historisch-literarische Texte, no. 67–69); the above-mentioned treaty of Esarhaddon for the benefit of the crown prince Assurbanipal (SAA 2, no. 6; Lauinger, “Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty at Tell Tayinat”; Frahm, Historische und historisch-literarische Texte, 70–71); and a treaty of the queen mother Zakūtu/Naqī’a which was concluded with high officials of the royal court for the

Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.


Assurbanipal in 67230 – this is the so-called Esarhaddon Succession Treaty. The 670-line treaty was deliberately torn to shreds in antiquity, but the eight surviving copies have enabled Wiseman to reconstruct the text with great accuracy. The treaty quickly became a key text in the scholarly discourse, especially in theological and/or historical debates about the origins of the Tanakh, but I cannot deal with these aspects of the history of scholarship here.31 During the archaeological excavation of Tell Tayinat in 2009, a new copy of Essarhadon’s Succession Treaty was found, containing the oath of the Assyrian governor of Kullania province.32 The form and wording of the treaty are roughly identical to the eight copies previously recovered from Kalhu. The fragments of two further copies of this treaty were published by Eckart Frahm from the Assur collection of the Vorderasiatische Museum.33 The word adê in Akkadian itself is probably of Western Semitic origin (Aramaic ‛dy).34 Hayim Tadmor argues that the appearance of adê in Akkadian sources is not merely a case of an adoption of the word, but of the Mesopotamian

benefit of her grandson, the crown prince Assurbanipal (SAA 2, no. 8). The appointment of Assurbanipal as heir to the throne (12 Ajjār month (II) 672) is reported in his royal inscription (Borger, Beiträge zum Inschriftwerk Assurbanipals, 15 [A prism]: i 10b–22).  SAA 2, no. 6. The clients of the oath by name: Humbareš bēl āli of Nahšimarti, Bur-Dadi bēl āli of Karzitali, Hatarna bēl āli of Sikris, Larkutla bēl āli of Māzamua, Ramataja bēl āli of Urakazabanu, Tunî bēl āli of Ellipi, [xxx] bēl āli of Izaja, [xxx] bēl āli of [xxx]. The name of the last two bēl ālis are broken, and we even do not know the territory of the last one. For the title of bēl āli see Lanfranchi, “The Assyrian Expansion in the Zagros”; Radner, “An Assyrian View on the Medes”; and Vér, “The Local Elite and the Assyrian Administration”.  See first Tsevat, “The Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Vassal Oaths and the Prophet Ezekiel”; and for newer overviews see Steymans, “Die neuassyrische Vertragsrhetorik”; Kitz, “An Oath, Its Curse and Anointing Ritual”; Levinson, “Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty”; Steymans, “Deuteronomy 28 and Tell Tayinat”; and Crouch, Israel and the Assyrians. On the theological concerns of the Hittite and Assyrian treaties, see the good summary by Wiseman, “’Is It Peace?’: Covenant and Diplomacy”.  Lauringer, “Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty at Tell Tayinat”.  Frahm, Historische und historisch-literarische Texte, nos. 70–71.  On the West-Semitic origins of the Akkadian word see: McCarthy, Treaty and Covenant, 142; Tadmor, “Treaty and Oath,” 143; Tadmor, “The Aramaization of Assyria,” 455; Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Inscriptions, 57–59; Watanabe, “Esarhaddon’s Succession Oath,” 162. In the Bible, see Isaiah 33:8. However, referring to a fragment of the Tukulti-Ninurta Epic (Machinist, The Epic of TukultiNinurta I, 102: iv.8ʹ: . . . a-de-e EN-ni). Brinkman expresses doubt about the West Semitic origin of the word: “here is a faint, though lingering suspicion that this picture may not be correct if an apparent attestation of adê some five centuries earlier in a damaged passage of the TukultiNinurta Epic should be verified: but this is at present an isolated and not incontrovertible witness” (Brinkman, “Political Covenants,” 82–83). For the evaluation of this passage, see Radner, “Assyrische ṭuppi adê,” 352–53 with note 5; and Lauringer, “The Neo-Assyrian adê,” 100.


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establishment of a specifically Syrian treaty-type.35 Simo Parpola, on the other hand, argues that the adoption of the word was purely a matter of terminology, and that adê thus denoted the same concept in first-millennium Assyria as riksu did in second-millennium Babylonia.36 And just as the Aramaic words qarābu (battle), šalṭu (quiver) and yābilu (ram) did not imply the appearance of Aramaic battles, quivers and rams in Assyria, so adê does not necessarily denote a new quality to the interstate treaties. Neither Syrian adê from the pre-Assyrian period has survived, nor any treaty text from Mesopotamia in the second millennium that is suitable for analysis, so the debate is hardly conclusive. The West-Semitic origin of the word is not accepted by Akkadian dictionaries,37 and according to Jean-Marie Durand’s etymological argument,38 the plural world adê originated from the Old-Babylonian word adû(m) (‘work assignment’), which was derived from the Sumerian word a2.du13. In this case, lexical adoption occurred in the opposite direction, and we could expect a western spread of an oath of Mesopotamian origin.39 In addition to the 10 texts which are copies of certain adê texts mentioned above, there are 60 other texts dating to the Neo-Assyrian period which contain information on the establishment of adê.

Assyrian kings

adê partner


Tiglath-pileser III

Tutamû, king of Unqi

RINAP , no. :’

Tiglath-pileser III

Samsi, queen of Arabia

RINAP , no. :’

Tiglath-pileser III

Mitinti, king of Ashkelon

RINAP , no. :’; no. :’

Tiglath-pileser III

Zaqiru, king of Bit-Ša’alli

RINAP , no. :

Sargon II

Ilu-bi’di, king of Hamath

Fuchs, Die Inschriften Sargons II, Ann. .

Sargon II

Kiakki, king of Šinuhtu

Fuchs, Die Inschriften Sargons II, Ann. .

Sargon II

Pisiri, king of Karkemiš

Fuchs, Die Inschriften Sargons II, Ann. 

    

Hayim Tadmor, “Assyria and the West,” 42–43; and Tadmor, “Treaty and Oath”. Parpola, “Neo-Assyrian Trieties,” 180–83. AHw, 14, s.v. adû I; CAD A/I, 131–34 s.v. adû A; CDA, 5 s.v. adû I. Durand, “Précurseurs syriens aux protocoles néo-assyriens,” 70 with note 170. Radner, “Neo-Assyrian Treaties,” 312.

Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.


(continued) Assyrian kings

adê partner


Sargon II

Urzana, king of Muṣaṣir

Fuchs, Die Inschriften Sargons II, Ann. ; TCL , 

Sargon II

Tarhunazi, ruler of Melid

Fuchs, Die Inschriften Sargons II, Prunk. –

Sargon II

II. Marduk-apla-iddina, king of Babylon

Fuchs, Die Inschriften Sargons II, Ann. –.

Sargon II

Muttallu, king of Kummuhu

Fuchs, Die Inschriften Sargons II, Prunk. .

Sargon II

Rusa, king of Urartu

TCL ,  and 

Sargon II

Gurdî, Anatolian, king of Til-Garimme

SAA , no. 

Sargon II

Sealand (Marduk temple in Nēmed-Laguda)

SAA , no. 

Sargon II

Išpabara, king of Ellipi

SAA , no. 

Sargon II

the city of Kuluman

SAA , no. 

Sargon II

nobles of Zabaga

SAA , no. 

Sargon II

runaways in Harhar

SAA , no. 

Sargon II (?)

in broken passage

SAA , no. 

Sargon II (?)

in broken passage

SAA , no. 

Sargon II

Humbê, of Bīt-Zualza (in broken passage)

SAA , no. 

Sargon II

the cities of Ušha and Kuda

SAA , no. 


Padî, king of Ekron

RINAP /I no. :ii 



RINAP , no. :ii 


Abdi-Milkūti, king of Sidon

RINAP , no. :ii 


Šamaš-ibni, ruler of BitDakkūri

RINAP , no. :iii 


Urtaku, king of Elam

RINAP , no. :v ; SAA , no. ; SAA , no. 


Mugallu, king of Melid

SAA , no. 


Bartatua, Schythian ruler

SAA , no. ; SAA , no. ; SAA , no. 


Ádám Vér

(continued) Assyrian kings

adê partner



Hu-Tešub, king of Šubria

RINAP , no. :ii.


Rusa II, king of Urartu

RINAP , no. :iii.


Babylonian qēpus

SAA , no. 

Esarhaddon (?)

in broken passage

SAA , no. 

Esarhaddon (?)

in broken passage

SAA , no. 


LU.MAH.MEŠ from Māzamua

SAA , no. 


a ruler from Syria?

SAA , no. 


citizens of Borsippa and Babylon

SAA , no. 


the adê as a means to conquer a city

SAA , no. 


Kaštaritu, lord of KārKaššî

SAA , no. 



SAA , no. 



SAA , no. 


Assyrian officials and palace staff

SAA , no. ; SAA , no. ; SAA , no. ; SAA , no. ; SAA , no. ; SAA , no. 


Assyrian officials: reports of Nabû-rēhtu-uṣur

SAA , no. ; SAA , no. ; SAA , no. 


the people of Nineveh

BIWA,  (A prism):i b–


Egyptian rulers

BIWA,  (A prism):i 


pharaoh Necho

BIWA,  (A prism):ii ; and BIWA,  (Large Egyptian Tablets):


Nabû-bēl-šumāte, Sealand

BIWA,  (A prism):vii 


Uwaite’, son of Bir-Dada

BIWA, (A prism):vii 


Abijate’, Qedar tribe

BIWA, (A prism):viii ; SAA , no. 


Indabigaš, Elam

BIWA,  (label inscription of the palace relief): G.’‒’


Urtaku, Elam

BIWA,  (B prism):iv 

Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.


(continued) Assyrian kings

adê partner



Nippurian šandabakku

BIWA,  (B prism):iv 


Ummanigaš, king Elam

BIWA,  (B prism):vii 


Jauta’, son of Haza-El

BIWA,  (B prism):vii 


Natnu, the Nabataean

BIWA,  (C prism):x ‒


Babylon, Nippur, Uruk, Kabtīya

SAA , no. 



SAA , no. 



ABL 



SAA , no. 


Nabû-ušabši, Uruk

ABL 

An examination of these texts shows that the term adê, as the Assyrians called it, had a very complex meaning. It was used to refer to treaties between states,40 or to the oaths and contracts guaranteeing the succession of the Assyrian heir to the throne,41 and there were contracts between private individuals sealed with an oath called adê,42 and several private contracts included a formula among the penalties for breach of contract, according to which: “the king’s adê shall be his judge” (adê ša šarri lū bēl dēnišu) or “the king’s adê shall be held responsible” (adê ša šarri ina qâtišu luba’iu).43 The term thus covers a very wide range of concepts, but the adê-s with the king have some common elements: 1. The ceremony of the adê is either performed in temples or cult statues are brought to the ceremony. 2. One of the most common elements of an adê is that the contracting party is obliged to pass on information to the Assyrian king.44

 S. Parpola categorises treaties between states as follows: 1, Mutual Assistance and Nonagression Pacts; 2, Alliance Pacts; 3, Vassal Treaties; 4, Allegiance Pacts (“International Law in the First Millennium,” 1054–55). For the political covenants, treaties and loyalty oaths between Babylonia and Assyria, see Brinkman, “Political Covenants”.  See note 29.  See Ponchia, “Notes on the Legal Conventions”.  Cf. Radner, “Neo-Assyrian Treaties”, 322–24 with detailed tables of the sources.  The texts of the treaties refer to this: SAA 2, no 4:r. 4ʹ–7ʹ; SAA 2, no. 6:73–82, 108–122, 130–137; SAA 2, no. 8:r. 7–27; SAA 2, no 9:32–36; SAA 2, no. 13:iii. 16–20. It is also a recurrent element in the letters


3. 4.


Ádám Vér

The adê ends with a series of sanctions guaranteed by the gods (it always contains a long section of curse formulae). It contains no economic clauses, no mention of the various taxes and services to be paid by the vassal – a partial exception to this is the treaty of Esarhaddon with Baal, king of Tyre, where certain maritime issues have an economic dimension. In connection with this feature, Hayim Tadmor assumes that another type of contract, the ardūtu, which recorded such economic obligations, operated in parallel with the adê system.45 Unfortunately, no ardūtu text has yet been found, so Tadmor’s hypothesis cannot yet be tested. The party that enters into a treaty with the king recognises the power and primacy of the Assyrian monarch.46

Being an adê partner of the king (bēl-adê) constituted a rank, referred to several times by members of the administration at various levels when they wanted to clear themselves of denunciations by other members of the administration before the king.47 Those taking the king’s oath received distinctive clothes and precious metal jewellery from the king.48 Contrarily, to claim that someone was not familiar with the king’s treaty was a highly offensive thing to say. In the letter SAA 10, no. 111, Bēl-ušezib, a scholar of Esarhaddon’s court, writes of the Cimmerians:

that the text of the adê contains the obligation to pass on the news of the treaty: SAA 10, no. 199; SAA 15, no. 90; SAA 16, no. 21; SAA 16, no. 60; SAA 16, no. 71; SAA 18, no. 80; SAA 18, no. 81; SAA 18, no. 83.  Tadmor, “Treaty and Oath,” 149–50.  An exception to this may have been the adê between Aššur-ah-iddina and Urtaku, king of Elam, in 674, in which several members of the Assyrian royal family were taken hostage in Susa. This treaty has been analysed on the basis of letters SAA 16, no. 1 and SAA 18, no. 7 by Waters, A Survey of Neo-Elamite History, 42–44.  In SAA 13, no. 45: o.2–8: “I confirmed the king’s order, and gave (what was due) to the king. Now then, Nergal-bēlu-uṣur, the chief cook, can report on me. The king’s order is now fixed in my mouth, and I keep the king’s treaty (bēl adê ša šarri anāku)” (translated by S. W. Cole and P. Machinist). SAA 16, no. 71: (o.1ʹ–10ʹ.) “The governor of Que hates me. May the king ask Sasî, just as the king wrote to us in Harran. The king [ra]ged at me and I got very scared”; and a few lines later (r.2–6.) “I am a servant of the king; his [fat]her [made] me enter the treaty. You will h[ear w]hatever [I he]ar in Go[mer]” (translated by M. Luukko and G. Van Buylaere). SAA 18, no. 153: A long fragmentary letter in which Nergal-ibni tells the king about several things, including the fact that a haruspex has turned several influential members of the royal court against him. After a lengthy fragmentary passage in which he complains, probably about his undignified position, he says: (r.18–21) “I am a treaty partner of the king. I have come forward for a good cause. Why has a kallāpu-soldier carrying an arrow been standing over me for (all) these seven months?” (translated by F. Reynolds).  SAA 15, no. 90: o.25–26: “[I dres]sed them in [purple] garmen[ts], put silver bracelets [on their wrists]” (translated by A. Fuchs and S. Parpola).

Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.


(o.12–16.) “The Cimmerians who said, ‘The Manneans are at your disposal, we shall keep aloof’ – maybe it was a lie; they are barbarians who recognize no oath sworn by god, nor treaty (māmēti ša ilu u adê ul idû)”49 (transleted by Simo Parpola). The bēl-adê could also count on the protection of the Assyrian king. Adad-nīrārī III came to aid Ušpilulume, the king of Kummuh in 805 B.C.E. when the army of the coalition led by the king of Arpad attacked him. Sennacherib freed Padî – “who was bound by treaty and oaths to Assyria” – from his captivity in Jerusalem and restored his rule over Ekron in 701 B.C.E. The newly appointed provincial governor of Harhar, Mannu-kī-Ninua, sent a letter to Sargon II (SAA 15, no. 90) in which he described some details of the adê-ceremony that had been concluded with the members of the local elite of his province. He said to the bēl-āli-s: [Just] as [you] previo[usly stood at the dis]posal of Nabû-bēlu-ka’’[in, found out wha]tever there was to report and [tol]d it to him, [in like] manner [stan]d now at my disposal and send me whatever news [of th]e Medes you hear! I shall protect you just as Nabû-bēlu-ka’’in protected you and shall say a good word about you before the king, my lord.

How can we imagine the form such an adê-ceremony took? The text of the Esarhaddon Succession Treaty with the bēl-āli-s from the Zagros area enumerates possible ways of making an adê (in order to prohibit it, of course): 1, before the god(s); 2, on a table (standing); 3, sipping from a cup; 4, lighting a fire; 5, with water; 6, with oil; 7, with the breast held in the hand; all these are forms of undertaking an adê attested in this text.50 Mutakkil-Aššur reports to Esarhaddon (SAA 13, no. 32) that he received this instruction from the king: “Bring the gods to the adê (ceremony)!” The author then goes on to say that Nabû will stay in his bedroom until the 12th of the current month.51 In another letter, Ṭāb-ṣill-Ešarra, the governor of the Aššur province, reported to the king that the adê-tablet of Gurdî – a client ruler in South Anatolia – had arrived at the temple of Assur, the appropriate rituals had been performed, and the adê-tablet was now on its way back to Gurdî.

 This passage is quoted by Radner, “Neo-Assyrian Treaties,” 310.  SAA 2, no. 6:153–55. An interesting method of oath-taking is described in the Old-Babylonian letter published by Kienast, Die altbabylonische Briefe, no. 175A: 11–16: “Thus you (have said to me): ‘Let your envoy grasp my testicles and my penis, and then I will give (it) to you.’” – M. Malul (“Touching the Sexual Organs”) pointed out parallels between this kind of ceremony and the passages of Genesis 24:2 and 47:29, in which a binding oath is sealed by one party placing his hand ‘beneath the thigh’ of another.  An attempt to analyse this letter and to situate the oath before the gods within the context of the letters from Mari is made by Anbar, “Let the Gods Come” (Hebrew).


Ádám Vér

According to SAA 10, no. 316, the king’s servants swore an oath before (the statues of) Assur and the great gods. From the report of Issar-šumu-ēreš to Esarhaddon (SAA 10, no. 6), it is clear that the scribes of the cities of Nineveh, Kilizi and Arbēla took the adê oath before the cult statues of the deities Bēl and Nabû. In 689 B.C.E., Sennacherib destroyed the whole city of Babylon and, of course, the temple of Marduk, the city’s chief god. His successor, Esarhaddon, ordered the rebuilding of Babylon and entrusted the complex task to his scholar-agent, MārIssar. He had to establish political relations with the smaller principalities of Babylonia, and the most appropriate way to do this was to conclude an adê treaty. In the absence of a temple, since the rebuilding of the city had only just begun, MārIssar concluded the treaty with the qēpu-delegates on the foundation stones of the Esagila temple: And since the king, my lord, told me to speak with them I said to them as follows: ‘Seven foundation stones of [x] cubits each will be placed [. . ., right and l]eft, and a ram [will be slaught]ered upon them. They will be covered with blood, and placed [in the foundations] until far-off days.’ – I continued: ‘The king, my lord, has now, [with the . . .] of the heavens which is not altered, concluded a treaty [with] you before the sanctuary, [in front of] the gods, and has adjured you: You shall not change [. . .] my words! [You shall retu]rn to me the [. . .]s and captives who [. . .] and [the Assyr]ians who have fled to your country; [You shall . . .] the rul[e . . . . . .]; [You shall not sp]eak [fraudulen]tly with me [. . . . . .]!’ (SAA 10, no. 354: o.13–27; translated by S. Parpola)

In the god lists of the bilateral treaties, we find the names of the gods and goddesses of both parties. The treaty of Assur-nērārī V with Mati’-il was guaranteed52 by the well known figures of the Mesopotamian pantheon53 as well as the members of the Syrian pantheon.54 Likewise, in the text of the treaty of the Sefire stelae we find the lists of deities from the Syrian and from the Mesopotamian pantheons (IA. 7b–14a). Achaz’ name appears in the list of tribute givers in the royal inscription of Tiglath-pileser III between the rulers of Ashkelon and Edom – mia-u2-ha-zi KUR.iau2-da-a-a.55 The king of Judah probably pledged allegiance to Assyria in 738 B.C.E. and became the client ruler, the bēl-adê of the empire. I suppose we can be sure that the wording of the adê of Achaz also contained the gods and goddesses of the Assyrian pantheon, whose names he will have had to articulate in the oath-taking

 SAA 2, no. 2:vi 6–25.  Assur, Anu and Antu, Illil and Mullissu, Ea and Damkina, Sîn and Nikkal, Šamaš and Nūr, Adad and Šala, Marduk and Zarpanitu, Nabû and Tašmetu, Ninurta and Gula, Uraš and Ninegal; Zababa and Bau, Nergal and Laṣ, Madanu and Ningirsu.  Hadad of Aleppo, Dagan of Muṣurna, Melqart of Ešmun, Ramman of Damascus.  RINAP 1, no. 47 (Summ. 7), rev. 11ʹ.

Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.


ceremony; perhaps it was by this act, for those who adhered to a strict biblical monotheism, that he truly came to deserve the title of the worst ruler Judah had ever seen. Josephus thus changed the meaning of the biblical narrative by inserting a single term, symmachos, and gave the historical context of the reign of Achaz a meaning much closer to the historical picture suggested by extra-biblical cuneiform sources.

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Kienast, Burkhart. Die altbabylonische Briefe und Urkunden aus Kisurra, Bd. II. FAOS 2. Stuttgart – Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1978. Kitz, Anne Marie. “An Oath, Its Curse and Anointing Ritual.” JAOS 124 (2004): 315–21. Lanfranchi, Giovanni B. “The Assyrian Expansion in the Zagros and the Local Ruling Elites.” In Continuity of Empire (?): Assyria, Media, Persia. HANE / Monographs 5, edited by Giovanni B. Lanfranchi – Michael Roaf – Robert Rollinger, 79–118. Padova: S.a.r.g.o.n., 2003. Lauinger, Jacob. “Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty at Tell Tayinat: Text and Commentary.” JCS 64 (2012): 87–123. Lauringer, Jacob. “The Neo-Assyrian adê: Treaty, Oath, or Something Else?” ZAR 19 (2013): 99–115. Lemaire, André – Durand, Jean-Marie. Les inscriptions araméennes de Sfiré el l’Assyrie de Shamshi-ilu. École pratique des Hautes Études, IVe Section, Sciences historiques et philologiques, 2: Hautes Études orientales 20. Genève – Paris: Librairie Droz, 1984. Levinson, Bernard M. “Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty as the Source for the Canon Formula in Deuteronomy 13:1.” JAOS (2010): 337–47. Lipiński, Edward. The Aramaeans: Their Ancient History, Culture, Religion. OLA 100. Leuven: Peeters, 2000. Machinist, Peter. The Epic of Tukulti-Ninurta I: A Study in Middle Assyrian Literature. PhD Diss., Yale University, 1978. Malul, Meir. “Touching the Sexual Organs as an Oath Ceremony in an Akkadian Letter.” VT 37 (1987): 491–92. Marcus, Ralph. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities. LBL 326. London – Cambridge, MA: William Heinemann – Harvard University Press, 1958. Mayer, Walter. “Sennacherib’s Campaign of 701 BCE: The Assyrian View.” In ‘Like a Bird in a Cage’: The Invasion of Sennacherib in 701 BCE, edited by Lester L. Grabbe, 168–200. JSOTSup 363. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2003. McCarthy, Dennis J. Treaty and Covenant: A Study in Form in the Ancient Oriental Documents and in the Old Testament. AnBib 21A. Rome: Biblical Institute, 21978. Millard, Alan. The Eponyms of the Assyrian Empire 910–612 BC. SAAS 2. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 1990. Millard, Alan. “The Inscription of Zakkur, King of Hamath.” In The Context of Scripture, Vol. II: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World, edited by William W. Hallo, 155. Leiden – Boston – Köln: Brill, 2000. Morrow, William S. 2001. “The Sefire Treaty Stipulations and the Mesopotamian Treaty Tradition.” In The World of the Aramaeans: Studies in Honour of Paul-Eugène Dion, Vol. 3, edited by P. M. Michèle Daviau – John W. Wevers – Michael Weigl, 83–99. JSOTSup 326. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001. Na’aman, Nadav. “Forced Participation in Alliances in the Course of the Assyrian Campaigns to the West.” In Ah, Assyria . . . Studies in Assyrian History and Ancient Near Eastern Historiography Presented to Hayim Tadmor, edited by Mordechai Cogan – Israel Eph‛al, 80–98. Scripta Hierosolymitana 33. Jerusalem: The Magness Press – The Hebrew University, 1991. Niese, Benedictus. Flavii Iosephi opera, vol. 2: Antiquitatum iudaicarum libri VI–X. Berlin: Weidmann, 1892. Noegel, Scott B. “The Zakkur Inscription.” In The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation, edited by Mark. W. Chavalas, 307–11. London: Blackwell, 2006. Otzen, Benedikt. “Israel under the Assyrians.” In Power and Propaganda: A Symposium on Ancient Empires, edited by Mogens Trolle Larsen, 251–61. Copenhagen: Akademisk, 1979. Parpola, Simo. “Neo-Assyrian Trieties from the Royal Archives of Nineveh.” JCS 39 (1987): 161–89.

Coalitions and Alliances in 8th Century B.C.E.


Parpola, Simo. “Assyria’s Expansion in the 8th and 7th Centuries and Its Long-Term Repercussions in the West.” In Symbiosis, Symbolism, and the Power of the Past, edited by William G. Dever – Seymour Gitin, 99–111. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2003. Parpola, Simo. “International Law in the First Millennium.” In A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law, edited by Raymond Westbrook, 1047–66. HOS 72. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2003. Ponchia, Simonetta. “Notes on the Legal Conventions and on the Practice of the adê in the Early NeoBabylonian Letters from Nippur.” SAAB 14 (2002–2005): 133–67. Radner, Karen. “An Assyrian View on the Medes.” In Continuity of Empire (?): Assyria, Media, Persia. edited by Giovanni B. Lanfranchi – Michael Roaf – Robert Rollinger, 37–64. HANE / Monographs 5. Padova: S.a.r.g.o.n., 2003. Radner Karen. “Assyrische ṭuppi adê als Vorbild für Deuteronomium 28, 22–44?” In Die deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerke. Redaktions- und religionsgeschichtliche Perspekti-ven zur „Deuteronomismus”-Diskussion in Tora und Vorderen Propheten, edited by Markus Witte – Konrad Schmid – Doris Prechel – Jan Christian Gertz, 351–78. BZAW 365. Berlin – New York: De Gruyter, 2006. Radner, Karen. “Neo-Assyrian Treaties as a Source for the Historian: Bonds of Friendship, the Vigilant Subject and the Vengeful King’s Treaty.” In Writing Neo-Assyrian History: Sources, Problems, and Approaches, edited by Giovanni B. Lanfranchi – Raija Mattila – Robert Rollinger, 309–28. SAAS 29. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 2019. Steymans, Hans Ulrich. “Die neuassyrische Vertragsrhetorik der ‘Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon’ und das Deuteronomium.” In Das Deuteronomium, edited by Georg Braulik, 89–152. ÖBS 23. Frankfurt am Main et al.: Peter Lang, 2003. Steymans, Hans Ulrich. “Deuteronomy 28 and Tell Tayinat.” Verbum et ecclesia 34/2 (2013): 1–13. Tadmor, Hayim. “Assyria and the West: The Ninth Century and It’s Aftermath.” In Unity and Diversity: Essays in the History, Literature, and Religion of the Ancient Near East, edited by Hans Goedicke – Jimmy J. M. Roberts, 36–48. Baltimore – London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975. Tadmor, Hayim. “Treaty and Oath in the Ancient Near East: A Historian’s Approach.” In Humanizing America’s Iconic Book, edited by Gene M. Tucker – Douglas A. Knight, 127–52. Chicago: Scholars Press, 1982. Tadmor, Hayim. “The Aramaization of Assyria: Aspects of Western Impact.” In Mesopotamien und seine Nachbarn. Politische und kulturelle Wechselbeziehungen im Alten Vorderasien vom 4.–1. Jht v. Chr. XXV Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Berlin 3. bis 7. Juli 1978., Teil 2., edited by HansJörg Nissen – Johannes Renger, 449–70. BBVO 1. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1982. Tsevat, Matitiahu. “The Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Vassal Oaths and the Prophet Ezekiel.” JBL 78 (1959): 199–204. Vér, Ádám. “The Local Elite and the Assyrian Administration in the Neo-Assyrian Provinces in the Zagros.” In Broadering Horizons 5: Civilizations in Contact, Vol. 2: Imperial Connections, edited by Katia Gavagnin – Rocco Parlermo, 217–28. Trieste: Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2020. Watanabe, Kazuko. Die adê-Vereidigung anläßlich der Thronfolgeregelung Asarhaddons. BaM Beiheft 3. Berlin: Mann, 1987. Watanabe, Kazuko. “Esarhaddon’s Succession Oath Documents Reconsidered in Light of the Tayinat Version.” Orient 49 (2014): 145–70. Waters, Matthew W. A Survey of Neo-Elamite History. SAAS 12. Helsinki: University of Helsinki – The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 2000. Wiseman, Donald J. “The Vassal-Treaties of Esarhaddon.” Iraq 20 (1958): 1–99. Wiseman, Donald J. “»Is It Peace?«: Covenant and Diplomacy.” VT 32 (1982): 311–26. Zaccagnini, Carlo. “Notes on the Pazarcık Stela.” SAAB 7 (1993): 53–72.

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Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus 1 Prelude There are several wars in ancient Jewish history in which Jews were heroic soldiers. The wars recorded in the Bible consisted mostly of Israel defending itself against aggressive or oppressive foreign powers. Foreign soldiers were regularly hired by Israelite and Judean monarchs, like the famous Uriah the Hittite employed by David, or the Cherethites and Pelethites (1Kgs 1:44 – Cyprians and Philistines) who comprised an elite guard of Solomon according to 1Kings.1 The Bible does not mention wars where Judeans or Israelites fought as mercenaries, but we are informed about such situations from several non-Biblical sources. The first real historical traces of Yahwistic military service in foreign army appear in the Lakish letters, where a military commandant refers to a troop led by a certain Hodayahu ben Ahiyahu, sent by the Judean king to the service of the Pharaoh.2 A cohort of involuntarily-recruited troops was formed by the Assyrians after the defeat of Samaria. The inscriptions of Sargon II record a troop of 50 or 200 chariots are from the Samarian deportees within the Assyrian army.3 A later cuneiform list of soldiers bearing Yahwistic names attests the existence of this type of Samarian cavalry or chariot troops operating under Assyrian leadership.4 The existence of Judean soldiers in the Assyrian army is not confirmed by written sources, but by iconographic depictions discovered by Tamás Dezső.5 Three reliefs in the royal palace of Nimrud depict some of the bodyguards of Sennacherib (704–681 B.C.E.) in the same clothes as the Judean soldiers captured during the victory at Lachish in another relief.6 These are the only ancient images of Judean

 Cf. the kittiim on the Arad osrtaca, and also the Hasmonean rulers, who also had foreign auxiliaries like Alexander Yannai (Bel. 1.88).  Lakish letter 3:13–18. See Renz, Die Althebräischen Inschriften, 418.  Nimrud Prism IV.25–41. See the textedition of Gadd, “Inscribed Prisms of Sargon II from Nimrud”; Chronicle of Chorsabad 7–8. See Fuchs, Die Inschriften Sargon II. aus Khorsabad, 87–89.  Dalley, “Foreign Chariotry and Cavalry”; Dezső, “A Reconstruction of the Army of Sargon II”.  Dezső, The Assyrian Amry I., 117–18. (I am grateful for Ádám Vér for bringing this detail of this publication to my attention.).  Dezső, The Assyrian Amry I., Plates 40, 130.132; 44, 150.


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soldiers in a foreign army, discovered so far. At about the same time, the garrisons of Elephantine (Yeb) and Syene employed Yahwistic (Judean/Aramean) soldiers who were integrated into the ‫( דגלים‬standards) in the ‫( חילא יהודיא‬Judean force) of the fortress.7 In addition, the papyri and ostraca inform us about the existence of Jewish military presence in Memphis, Daphne and Pelusium, all posts of the Persian army in Egypt.8 In Babylon, a military note was made about Judeans who were registered as soldiers to be sent to an unknown destination, to one of the garrisons of the Persian army.9 Jewish historiography such as the Letter of Aristeas (12–13) reports on some presence of Jews in the military of Ptolemaic Egypt. Josephus writes of further situations where Jewish troops had been recruited and were sent to fight in wars between two foreign powers. Jews in these conflicts were mercenaries or auxiliaries of foreign armies. Though – as we saw – there had been previous occasions when Jewish troops had collaborated with the Assyrian and Persian armies or served as soldiers in Persian military colonies, it is only in the Hellenistic period when Josephus provides stories for this type of military activity of the Jews. Josephus’ narrative contains four epochs: the time of Alexander the Great; the period of the Ptolemies; the period of the Seleucids; and the time of the Maccabees and Hasmoneans. We will follow these four parts in the discussion.

2 The Time of Alexander the Great The short narrative unit of Alexander the Great in Antiquities (11.304–47) is based on the articulation of the difference between the Jews of Jerusalem and the Samarians of Gerizim.10 The ideas of the Samaritans’ origin, the building of their temple on Mount Gerizim and their relation to Jews and to the dominant political power are built into this short unit.11 As part of this special taxonomy, the foreign military service of the Jews and that of the Samarians are juxtaposted:

 See e.g. Siljanen, Judeans of Egypt; van der Toorn, Becoming Diaspora Jews.  TAD A3.3,1.4; TAD A4.2,11. Cf. Fitzpatrick-McKinley, “Preserving the Cult of YHW in Judean Garrisons,” 394–95.  VS 6 128 2,5–9. See Waerzeggers, “The Carians of Borsippa”.  Pummer, The Samaritans in Flavius Josephus, starts this unit on the temple of Gerizim and Alexander with 11.297, but his emphasis is on the Samaritans and not on Alexander.  The scholarly discussion of the unit up to 2009 is presented and analized by Pummer, The Samaritans in Flavius Josephus, 128–52. See also the previous study of R. Marcus, “Appendix C: Alexander Great and the Jews (Ant. XI.317–345)”.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus


Alexander’s contacts with Jews

Alexander’s contact with the Samari(t)ans

 And Alexander, coming to Syria, took Damascus, became master of Sidon and besieged Tyre from there he dispatched a letter to the high priest of the Jews, requesting him to send him assistance and supply his army with provisions and give him the gifts which they had formerly sent as tribute to Darius, thus choosing the friendship of the Macedonians, for, he said, they would not regret this course.

 Now Sanaballetes, believing that he had the favourable opportunity for his design, abandoned the court the cause of Darius and came, along with eight thousand of the people under his rule, to Alexander, whom he found beginning the siege of Tyre, and said that he was giving up to him the places under his rule and gladly accepted him as his master in place of King Darius.

 But the high priest replied to the bearers of the letter that he had given his oath to Darius not to take up arms against him, and said that he would never violate this oath so long as Darius remained alive. When Alexander heard this, he was roused to anger,

 As Alexander received him in friendly fashion, Sanaballetes now felt confident about his plan and addressed him on that subject, explaining that he had a son-in-law Manasses, who was the brother of Jaddus, the high priest of the Jews, and that there were many others of his countrymen with him who now wished to build a temple in the territory subject to him.

 and while deciding not to leave Tyre, which was on the point of being taken, threatened that when he had brought it to terms he would march against the high priest of the Jews and through him teach all men what people it was to whom they must keep their oaths.

 It was also an advantage to the king, he said, that the power of the Jews should be divided in two, in order that the nation might not, in the event of revolution, be of one mind and stand together and so give trouble to the kings as it Alexander had formerly given to the Assyrian rulers.  When, therefore, Alexander gave his consent, Sanaballetes brought all his energy to bear and built the temple and appointed Manasses high priest, considering this to be the greatest distinction which his daughter’s descendants could have. a But Sanaballetes died after seven months had been spent on the siege of Tyre and two on that of Gaza.

 and for this reason continuing the siege with a And so, having regulated these matters at greater effort, he took Tyre After he had settled Jerusalem, Alexander marched off against the affairs there, he advanced against the city of court neighbouring cities. Gaza and besieged it together with the commander of its garrison, named Babemesis.


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Alexander’s contacts with Jews

Alexander’s contact with the Samari(t)ans

b and Alexander, after taking Gaza, was in haste to go up to the city of Jerusalem.  When the high priest Jaddus heard this, he was in an agony of fear, not knowing how he could meet the Macedonians, whose king was angered by his former disobedience. He therefore ordered the people to make supplication, and, offering sacrifice to God together with them, besought Him to shield the nation and deliver them from the dangers that were hanging over them.  But, when he had gone to sleep after the sacrifice, God spoke oracularly to him in his sleep, telling him to take courage and adorn the city with wreaths and open the gates and go out to meet them, and that the people should be in white garments, and he himself with the priests in the robes prescribed by law, and that they should not look to suffer any harm, for God was watching over them.  Thereupon he rose from his sleep, greatly rejoicing to himself, and announced to all the revelation that had been made to him, and, after doing all the things that he had been told to do, awaited the coming of the king.

b But all those peoples to whom he came received him in a friendly spirit, whereupon the Samaritans, whose chief city at that time was Shechem, which lay beside Mount Garizein and was inhabited by apostates from the Jewish nation, seeing that Alexander had so signally honoured the Jews, decided to profess themselves Jews.  For such is the nature of the Samaritans, as we have already shown somewhere above. When the Jews are in difficulties, they deny that they have any kinship with them, thereby indeed admitting the truth, but whenever they see some splendid bit of good fortune come to them, they suddenly grasp at the connexion with them, saying that they are related to them and tracing their line back to Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph.

– Alexander in Jerusalem  on the following day he summoned them again and told them to ask for any gifts which they might desire.  When the high priest asked that they might observe their country’s laws and in the seventh year be exempt from tribute, he granted all this. Then they begged that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media also to have their own laws, and he gladly promised to do as they asked.

 So, then, with splendour and a show of great eagerness on his behalf, they met the king when he was hardly out of Jerusalem. And, when Alexander encouraged them, the Shechemites approached him, bringing along the soldiers whom Sanaballetes had sent to him, and invited him to come to their city and honour the temple there as well.  Thereupon he promised to grant this request another time when he should come back to them, but, when they asked him to remit their tribute in the seventh year, saying that they did not sow therein, he inquired who they were that they made this request.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus

Alexander’s contacts with Jews


Alexander’s contact with the Samari(t)ans  And, when they said that they were Hebrews but were called the Sidonians of Shechem, he again asked them whether they were Jews. Then, as they said that they were not, he replied, “But I have given these privileges to the Jews. However, when I return and have more exact information from you, I shall do as I think best.” With these words, then, he sent the Shechemites away.

 And, when he said to the people that if any wished to join his army while still adhering to the customs of their country, he was ready to take them, many eagerly accepted service with him.

 But the soldiers of Sanaballetes he ordered to accompany him to Egypt there, he said, he would give them allotments of land, as in fact he did shortly afterwards, in the Thebaid, and this territory he ordered them to guard.

After his description of the military victory of Alexander the Great over Darius III, king of the Medes, Josephus refers to a delicate situation in which Alexander sent a request to the Jews to help him (Ant. 11.317–19). There are three intriguing points to this request. First, it is the conqueror of the world who is trying to contact the Jews to gain their military help. This indicates the importance of the Jews. Although the other nearby province of Samerin (Samaria) was greater, stronger and wealthier than Yehud (Judah), in spite of this Alexander chose to reach out to Yehud. The plot of Josephus’ story requires this decision, for this is how the Hellenistic king comes into contact with the Jews. Josephus, like all the other biographers of Alexander, wanted to tell exciting stories about the great king, and his goal was to involve the Jews in this tradition as well. Second, Alexander sent his message to the high priest of the Jews, and not to a political leader, i.e. the governor of the province of Yehud. The previous book of the Antiquities, however, ended with the doings of the political leaders in Yehud. Having Alexander address the high priest of the Jews gives the pericope a religious overtone. The sight of the high priest evokes a previous vision of Alexander, which urges him to adore and praise God (Ant. 11.336). Third, and in our case most important, Alexander refers to the previous military service the Jews performed for the Persians. The parallel includes both the sending of auxiliaries and the supplying of an army with provisions (Ant. 11.317). Josephus implies here that Jews had been involved in the military actions of the Persian Empire long before. This reference is significant, since Josephus does not mention any such action before or after. The counterpart of the description of the Jews in Ant. 11.317–19 is told that of the Samarians in Ant. 11.320–23. Here a distinction should be made between the Samarians and Samaritans. Josephus is talking about the Samaritans, which is the later


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designation of YHWH-worshippers connected to Mount Gerizim after the destruction of their temple by John Hyrcanus.12 Samarians are the inhabitants of the Persian province of Samerin, and the non-Greek inhabitants of the hyparchia of Samaria, also mostly Yahwistic in belief. Thus in this passage the governor of Samaria, Sanballat – who seems to be identical with the one in the book of Nehemiah – offers the military help of the Samarians to Alexander for the siege of Tyre. With his eight thousand soldiers, Sanballat joined Alexander (Ant. 11.321) and offered the control of his province to the Macedonian king. We do not need to analyze all the antithetical parallels of the two parts of the text, but we do have to emphasize the directions of the two communications described. In the first, Alexander asked or rather ordered the Jews to give military support; in the second, the Samarians voluntarily offered and performed their military assistance during the same siege. Both situations imply political and military alliance with the new power, the Hellenistic kingdom of Alexander the Great. Later in the story, both former Persian provinces, Samerin and Yehud, became part of this new kingdom, and military assistance became a de facto obligation for them. The last two parallel passages (Ant. 11.325–39 and 11.340–45) are about privileges. The Jews were allowed by Alexander to practice their ancient religious costums in Palestine, in the diaspora and in the army as well. He also remitted the taxes of every seventh year to the Jews. He did this voluntarily, as an outcome of his positive experience in Jerusalem. At the end of his visit, Alexander offered the Jews the possibility to serve in his army, which was welcomed by many.13 The Samarians requested Alexander to give them the same privileges, but without immediate success. At the end of his meeting with the Samarians, he ordered the soldiers of Sanballat to go with him to Egypt, where he wanted to settle them. Josephus adds that he commanded them to guard the district of Thebaid. Although the juxtaposition of Jews and Samaritans in the whole unit forces a contrast between voluntary and forced enlistment into the Hellenistic army, these would indeed have been the two ways of enlarging military forces for someone like Alexander. Three points are to be emphasized here. First, Josephus’ reference to the settling of the Samarians in Thebaid is his first mention of the origin of the Samarian/Samaritan diaspora in Egypt. There is a town called Σαμάρεια in the Fayyum which is documented in papyri since the 3rd century BCE.14 It was most probably founded by people from

 Cf. Zsengellér, “Kutim or Samarites,” 104.  C.Ap. 2.42 reckons the motive of Alexander to settle Jews in the newly founded Alexandria: “he accorded this privilege to our people as a reward for their virtue and loyalty (ἀρετῆς καὶ πίστεως)”. These two characteristics of the Jews are connected later on to their military service as well. Cf. Barclay, Agains Apion, 192, n. 143.  See the Flinders Petrie Papyri. Mahaffy –Smyly, The Flinders Pertrie Papyri; and CPJ I. 22 and 128.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus


Samaria, who also could have been soldiers.15 But this Samareia is far to the north of Thebaid. Thus there is no historical confirmation at our disposal of this datum given by Josephus. Second, the settling of soldiers (with their families) and the forming military colonies for the protection and policing of a given region was part of the military policy of the Hellenistic kings, like their predecessors the Persians and the Assyrians before them. Third, in the case of the Jews, the text says that Alexander promised them that if they joined his army they could practice their ancient religious costumes during their military service. This is a cardinal issue, since Jews do not work on Shabbat and on various festival days, they perform particularized offerings, not to speak of their dietary laws. Consequently, tolerating Jewish religious rules within an army means working out special flexibility for particular soldiers within a corporate body that will undertake unforeseeable actions in space and time.16 The reality and the know-how of this religious tolerance in the Hellenistic army remains a question. In Contra Apionem (1.192–204), Josephus “cites” stories of Alexander and the Jews from the book of Hecataeus the Abderite on the Judeans. He mentions an episode in which the Jewish soldiers of his army were not willing to work on the reconstruction of the temple of Bel in Babylon (C.Ap. 1.192). From this “quotation” we are indirectly informed by Josephus that there were Jewish soldiers in Alexander’s army fighting in his eastern campaigns. Later, he further comments that Hecataeus “has testified that they campaigned with Alexander the King and later with his Successors. He says that he himself was present at an incident during the campaign involving a Judean man . . .”, called Mossolamos. (C.Ap. 1.201–04). He was a calvary soldier (ἱππεύς). This is the sole example of Josephus indicating the branch of service of a Jewish soldier.

3 The Time of the Ptolemies Josephus has a short narrative on the rule of the Ptolemies. His focus is on the translation of the Torah during the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (Ant. 12.11–118). Before this story in the Antiquities, here lates that after Ptolemy I Soter conquered  Tcherikover, Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum I., 161. remarks that the town “was probably a military settlement of Syrian soldiers (particularly Jews and Samaritans).” Detailed discussions on the town and the Egyptian Samarian diaspora are in Pummer, The Samaritans in Flavius Josephus, 184–86; Pummer, “The Samaritans in Egypt,” 213–32; Zsengellér, “The Samaritan Diaspora in Antiquity,” 163–67.  This question is extensively discussed concerning Jewish military service in the Roman army. See e.g. most recently González-Salinero, Military Service and the Integration of Jews.


József Zsengellér

Palestine, he “had taken a great many captives, both from the mountainous parts of Judea, and from the places about Jerusalem and Samaria, and the places near Mount Gerizim, he led them all into Egypt, and settled them there” (Ant. 12.7). Josephus mentions that due to the faithfulness of the Jews, Ptolemy “distributed many of them into garrisons and at Alexandria gave them equal privileges of citizens with the Macedonians themselves” (Ant. 12.8). According to this narrative, Ptolemy recruited soldiers from among Jewish captives and settled them in different garrisons across Egypt. This maneuver seemed to be a forced settling on the one hand, but on the other it could have been a free choice whether to accept the military service. Anyway, Josephus not only hereby explains the presence of the great number of Jews living in Egypt, but states that most of them were operating as soldiers of the Egyptian army, either forced or voluntarily. The same story is mentioned in Contra Apionem too. In C.Ap 2.44 Josephus writes of Ptolemy I, that “he entrusted to them [to the Jews] the fortresses throughout Egypt, reckoning that they would guard them loyally and nobly; and when he wanted to establish firm control over Cyrene and the other cities in Libya, he dispatched a segment of the Judeans to settle there.” This remark highlights the perceived trustworthiness of the Jews as soldiers, and informs the reader about the Ptolemaic policy of manning border-posts and fortresses in conquered neighboring countries with Jewish soldiers.17 Contemporary papyri (CPJ 18–32) mention Jewish soldiers in the Ptolemaic army from the 3rd–2nd century BCE,18 and their presence was well known in the time of Josephus. The story of C.Ap 2.44 provides one more piece of the picture by saying that the foreign soldiers settled in Egypt were transferred from one garrison to another or from one city to another in or outside of Egypt.

4 The Time of the Seleucids The whole narrative of Josephus on the Seleucids starts with a general statement concerning our topic. “The Jews also obtained honors from the kings of Asia when they became their auxiliaries; for Seleucus Nicator made them citizens in those cities which he built in Asia, and in lower Syria, and in the metropolis itself, Antioch; and he gave them privileges equal to those of the Macedonians and

 Cf. Barclay, Agains Apion, 193, n. 149, who assumes that Ariesteas 13 and 36 were the sources of Josephus here. But he refers to 3Macc 6:25 as well.  Tcherikover, Corpus Papyrorum Judeorum I., 11–15; Modrzejewski, The Jews in Egypt, 83–87; Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora, 22–23.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus


Greeks, who were the inhabitants” (Ant. 12.119).19 This statement indicates that, like the Ptolemies, the Seleucids also took Jews as soldiers in their armies, and they were settled in the cities along the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean. In his narrative on Antiochus the Great, Josephus informs us about the process of a military settling in the form of a letter sent by the king to one of his governors called Zeuxis. King Antiochus to Zeuxis, his father, greeting. If you are in health, it is well. I also am in sound health. Learning that the people in Lydia and Phrygia are revolting, I have come to consider this as requiring very serious attention on my part, and, on taking counsel with my friends as to what should be done, I determined to transport two thousand Jewish families with their effects from Mesopotamia and Babylonia to the fortresses and most important places. For I am convinced that they will be loyal guardians of our interests because of their piety to God, and I know that they have had the testimony of my forefathers to their good faith and eagerness to do as they are asked. It is my will, therefore – though it may be a troublesome matter – that they should be transported and, since I have promised it, use their own laws. And when you have brought them to the places mentioned, you shall give each of them a place to build a house and land to cultivate and plant with vines, and shall exempt them from payment of taxes on the produce of the soil for ten years. And also, until they get produce from the soil, let them have grain measured out to them for feeding their servants, and let there be given also to those engaged in public service sufficient for their needs in order that through receiving kind treatment from us they may show themselves the more eager in our cause. And take as much thought for their nation as possible, that it may not be molested by anyone. (Ant. 12.149–53)

Apart from the exaggerations of the faithfulness of the Jews, this passage generally states that in the case of a serious revolt in a given area of the empire, trustworthy soldiers in particular were transported into that region. The ruler had to consult with his advisors before making a decision. The type and amount of soldiers had to be specified. Soldiers were to be transported to the existing fortresses but also to the most important settlements connected with the uprising. Transportation concerned not just individual soldiers but their whole families. This meant a permanent settling in garrisons like that of Elephantine or in villages, towns or cities. Their livelihoods and housing were secured through land donations. All these provisions are to provide a tolerable or rather attractive situation for those who are planned to transport into a new habitat. The method of choosing these people is not given in the text, but it seems that it could have been voluntarily. We will not discuss here the authenticity of the letter of Antiochus in Josephus,  Marcus translates: „They also received honour from the kings of Asia when they served with them in war. For example, Seleucus Nicator granted them citizenship in the cities which he founded in Asia and Lower Syria and in his capital, Antioch, itself, and declared them to have equal privileges with the Macedonians and Greeks who were settled in these cities.” (Marcus, Josephus VII., 59).


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but will only say that its content could present the real procedure of the transportation of a compact – ethnically and religiously uniform – military unit. A special reference is made to the allowance of living according to Jewish laws, which seems to mean the prescriptions of the Jewish religion. This poses the same question we mentioned at the end of the first subchapter. How was it possible for Jews to practice certain types of observancnes, i.e. those restricting their activity and the motion of the people (Shabbat) and limiting the types of food they could eat?

5 The Time of the Maccabees and the Hasmoneans The period of the Maccabees and the Hasmoneas is an era defined by wars, from the first guerilla attacks of Mattathias till the last fight between Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II. In Josephus’ long series of descriptions of these wars, there are several episodes referring to Jewish military service in foreign army and in foreign wars. First, the alliance of Judas with Rome has to be mentioned. The source of this description is 1 Maccabees 8.20 There is a point in the contract where the two parties promise mutual assistance in case of foreign aggression: “if any attack be made upon the Jews, the Romans shall assist them, as far as they are able; and again, if any attack be made upon the Romans, the Jews shall assist them” (Ant. 12.418).21 This is a hypothetical situation, which really did not come to pass during the Hasmonean period. Though when the Armenian king, Tigranes the Great, threatened Judea with his army while coming through the Phoenician coast up to Ptolemais (Bel. 1.116), there was indirect Roman help. In 69 BCE, during the long war against Mithridates, the king of Pontos, the son in law of Tigranes, Mithridates was put to flight by the Roman general Lucullus and the Romans forged ahead to Armenia. Having heard this news, Tigranes withdrew from Syria, and the Jews, under the leadership of queen Salome Alexandra, were rid of the Armenian army (Ant. 13.421). This story gives the historical background of the book of Judith.22

 Sherwin-White denies that there was any formal treaty between Rome and the Jews in the 2nd century BCE (Sherwin-White, Roman Foreign Policy, 70–79). See also Kókai-Nagy, “Die Beziehung der Makkabäer,” 108–10 and MacRae, “Reading the Roman-Jewish Treaty”.  See 1Macc 8:24–27.  Boccaccini, “Tigranes the Great as ‘Nebuchadnezzar’”.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus


A second topic for the Hasmonean period is the Jewish mercenaries in Egypt. There are five somewhat connected or parallel stories in Josephus about Jewish soldiers serving in Egypt. The central point in the parallels is the high priest Onias, who built a Jewish temple in Egypt, but was also involved in military affairs. These texts are a) Ant. 13.32–73 (esp. 13.65); b) C.Ap. 2.48–56; c) Ant. 13.248–87; d) Ant. 13.348–51; e) Bel. 1.8–9.

5.1 Building a Temple – Leading an Army First, in the story of the building of a temple in Heliopolis/Leontopolis (Ant. 13.32–73), Onias, the son of the previous high priest of Jerusalem,23 sent a letter to king Ptolemy and queen Cleopatra to let him build a Jewish temple. The main assertion for his right of request was the military service he had done for the king and queen: “Many and great are the services which I have rendered you in the course of the war, with the help of God, and when I was in Coele-Syria and Phoenicia” (Ant. 13.65). This is the first occasion where Josephus states that the military service of the Jews to foreign powers was supported by God’s help (μετὰ τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ βοηθείας). The goals of these wars do not benefit the Jews as an ethnic or religious group, nevertheless the Jews as small military groups or as individuals enjoyed the assistance and grace of their God. This text, however, does not explicitly present the details of the services provided by the Jews. Furthermore, the identity of Onias the temple’s builder is problematic in Josephus. In Bel. 1.31–33 and 7.423 he is Onias III, the former high priest of Jerusalem who was displaced by Jason and later fled to Alexandria in the time of Antiochus IV. By contrast, in Ant. 12.237.383; 13.62; 20.235–37 it is his son, Onias IV, who went to Egypt and lived in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy Philometor.24 In the first case, the rebuilding of the temple precincts occurred around 170–164 BCE, while in the second Josephus puts it in the fifties of the 2nd century BCE.25 Here Onias IV is the actor who could have had the opportunity to serve as a soldier in the army of Ptolemy VI. In our text (13.65) the reference to the “many and great” (πολλὰς καὶ μεγάλας) military services done by Onias, and to his official journeys to Syro-Phoenicia,

 Ant. 12.387–89; 13.62–73; 20.235–67. Josephus’ main narratives on Onias’ Temple appear in Bel. 7.421–36 and Ant. 13.62–73.  This option is supported by 2Macc 4:30–38. See also Dan 9:26. While in both cases Onias is assassinated, Josephus reports a natural death.  Piotrkowski, “Priests in Exile: On the Identity of the Oniad Jewish Community of Heliopolis,” 167; Piotrkowski, Priests in Exile, 27–107.


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would indicate not only an earlier long-time stay of Onias in Egypt, but a war-free situation in Syro-Phoenicia. In this case the Onias of the text is Onias IV,26 and his military service is connected to the internal family dynamics between Ptolemy VI Philometor and Ptolemy VIII Euergetes. But according to the analysis of Meron Piotrkowski, Josephus did not simply confuse the two Oniases, but made a mistake in the Oniad genealogy and created a nonexistent Onias, Onias IV.27 Chronologically, Onias III might have been the Onias in the time of the Sixth Syrian War in 170–168, and during the family conflict after the death of Ptolemy VI., though his templebuilding must have been earlier. This timing connects Ant. 13.65 with C.Ap. 2.48–56, which is our next point of discussion.

5.2 Jewish Military Leaders of Egypt C.Ap. 2.48–56, Ant. 13.248–87, and Ant. 13.348–51 are closely related. On the one hand, the key actors of the stories are Onias28 and his sons. On the other hand, the texts narrate family conflicts among the Ptolemies, though in different times in the second half of the 2nd century BCE during the reign of Hyrcanus, or Alexander Jannai. C.Ap. 2.48–56 depicts the struggle between Cleopatra II and her later husband Ptolemy VIII, after the death of Ptolemy VI. Ant. 13.284–87 and Ant. 13.348–51 is about the fight between Cleopatra III and her son Ptolemy IX.29 The three texts deal with parallel topics: the activity of Jewish military leaders (στρατηγοὶ / ἡγεμώνας)30 in the Egyptian army.31  R. Marcus observed that this war was “Probably not the war between Antiochus Epiphanes and Ptolemy Philometor, but the war between Philometor and his rival Ptolemy VII Euergetes, in which case Onias is to be identified with the Jewish general Onias mentioned in Ap. ii. 49” (Marcus, Josephus, 258). On the contrary, Piotrkowski identifies the time clause containing Coele-Syria and Phoenicia as connected to the πόλεμος of the main clause. He maintains that this time clause refers to the pro-Ptolemaic efforts of Onias within inner-Jewish political struggles during the Sixth Syrian War, as recorded in Bel. 1.31–33. Though, since the two clauses are separated by reference to the help of God in the war, which indicates that the time clause is apposite to “war” in the main clause and does not refer to previous war service in Syro-Phoenicia (Piotrkowski, Priests in Exile, 57–58).  Piotrkowski, Priests in Exile, 109.  This Onias as Onias IV and not Onias III, see Stern, Greek and Latin Authors, 405–406. Cf. Barclay, Against Apion, 195, n. 167.  This situation is connected to Ptolemy IX’s siege of Gaza against Alexander Yannai in 103 BCE.  In the context of Ant. 13.286 ἡγεμών (also) means military leader.  Although the ἡγεμόν is not exclusively a military function, the expression ἡγεμόνας τῆς ὅλης στρατιᾶς (“generals of the whole army”– Ant. 13.349) clarifies such meaning in the context of the text.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus


C.Ap. .–

Ant. .–

Ant. .–

 It has escaped Apion’s notice how the [Macedonian] kings of his ancestors, almost every one of them in succession, were extremely kindly disposed towards us. Thus Ptolemy III, called Euergetes, after winning the whole of Syria by force, did not sacrifice thank-offerings for his victory to the Gods in Egypt but came to Jerusalem and, as is our rule, performed many sacrifices to God and dedicated votive offerings befitting the victory

 Now it happened at this time, that not only those Jews who were at Jerusalem and in Judea were in prosperity, but also those of them that were at Alexandria, and in Egypt and Cyprus

 When Cleopatra saw that her son was grown great, and laid Judea waste, without disturbance, and had gotten the city of Gaza under his power, she resolved no longer to overlook what he did, when he was almost at her gates; and she concluded, that now he was so much stronger than before, he would be very desirous of the dominion over the Egyptians;

 Ptolemy Philometor and his wife Cleopatra entrusted their whole kingdom to Judeans, and the commanders of the whole army were Onias and Dositheos, Judeans. Apion mocks their names, but one should admire their achievements and not insult them, rather thank them for saving Alexandria, of which he claims to be a citizen.

 for Cleopatra the queen was at variance with her son Ptolemy, who was called Lathyrus, and appointed for her generals Chelcias and Ananias, the sons of that Onias who built the temple in the prefecture of Heliopolis, like to that at Jerusalem, as we have elsewhere related.

 but she immediately marched against him, with a fleet at sea and an army of foot on land, and made Chelcias and Ananias the Jews generals of her whole army, while she sent the greatest part of her riches, her grandchildren, and her testament, to the people of Cos

 For when the Alexandrians were at war with Queen Cleopatra and were in danger of coming to a terrible end, these men forged a treaty and freed them from their internecine woes. But subsequently, Apion says, Onias led a considerable army against the city, when Thermus the Roman ambassador was there and actually on the spot.

 Cleopatra intrusted these men with her army, and did nothing without their advice, as Strabo of Cappadocia attests, when he saith thus,

 Cleopatra also ordered her son Alexander to sail with a great fleet to Phoenicia; and when that country had revolted, she came to Ptolemais; and because the people of Ptolemais did not receive her, she besieged the city;


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C.Ap. .–

Ant. .–

 Rightly done, I would say, and with full justification. For the Ptolemy surnamed Physcon, on the death of his brother Ptolemy Philometor, set out from Cyrene with the intention of expelling Cleopatra and the king’s children from the kingdom, in order to acquire the kingdom for himself unjustly.  For this reason Onias waged war against him in support of Cleopatra, and did not abandon his loyalty towards the kings, whatever the exigency.

 Indeed, God visibly attested to the justice of his cause. For when Ptolemy Physcon was not bold enough to fight Onias’ army, but had gathered and arrested all the Judeans in the city, with their children and wives, and placed them, naked and bound, in front of elephants, to be crushed to death by them, and for this purpose had also got the animals drunk, things turned out quite contrary to what he had planned.

Ant. .–  but Ptolemy went out of Syria, and made haste unto Egypt, supposing that he should find it destitute of an army, and soon take it, though he failed of his hopes. At this time Chelcias, one of Cleopatra’s generals, happened to die in Celesyria, as he was in pursuit of Ptolemy.

 “Now the greater part, both those that came to Cyprus with us, and those that were sent afterward thither, revolted to Ptolemy immediately; only those that were called Onias’ party, being Jews, continued faithful, because their countrymen Chelcias and Ananias were in chief favor with the queen.” These are the words of Strabo.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus

C.Ap. .–

Ant. .–


Ant. .–

 For the elephants left untouched the Judeans placed in front of them, but charged at Physcon’s friends, killing many of them. Subsequently, Ptolemy saw a terrifying apparition, which forbade him to harm those people, and  when his favorite concubine (whom some call Ithaca, others Eirene) urged him not to perpetrate so great an impiety, he yielded to her and repented of what he had already done and was about to do. Hence, the Judeans who are settled in Alexandria are known to celebrate this day as a festival, rightly, since they were visibly granted deliverance by God.  Apion, however, who brings malicious charges against everyone, dared to accuse the Judeans even for the war waged against Physcon, when he ought to have commended them for it.

The conditions are different but the situations are the same. The foreign ruler is in trouble and needs to effect military intervention, and he/she appoints Jewish commanders/generals to lead his/her army. All the stories end with great success and the vicarious victory of the ruler. In these stories, Josephus depicts Jews as achieving the highest military ranks in the Egyptian army. They are not only simple soldiers or middle level officers, but the generals (στρατηγοὶ or ἡγεμώνας) of the foreign army.32 And this army was one of the strongest armies of that time. These Jews became not the rulers of Egypt but actually the “number two” leaders

 Ch. Fischer-Bovet remarks that “It is more difficult to define the position of the military strategoi in the Ptolemaic army, as they too appear at more than one level and no source specifies how many men they have under their command.” (Fischer-Bovet, Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt, 156).


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of the country. The description Josephus uses here makes the situation similar to that of Joseph after he interpreted the dream of the Pharaoh. τὴν βασιλείαν ὅλην τὴν ἑαυτῶν Ἰουδαίοις ἐπίστευσαν καὶ στρατηγοὶ πάσης τῆς δυνάμεως ἦσαν entrusted their whole kingdom to Judeans and the commanders of the whole army were . . . (C.Ap. 2.49) καθίστημί σε σήμερον ἐπὶ πάσης γῆς Αἰγύπτου I put you in charge of all the land of Egypt today. (Gen 41:41 LXX)

Ant. 13.28 raises the stakes, stating that Cleopatra “did nothing without their advice”. This sounds like an exaggeration; nonetheless, in a letter from the court to a στρατηγός called Onias on 21 September 164 BCE (CPJ 132), this person was greeted by such an unusual formula on behalf of the king that he could have been a member of the court personally known to the king.33 The verb ἐπίστευσαν is connected to loyalty, which is the keyword in all of the three passages (C.Ap. 2.49.52; Ant. 13.286–87; 13.351). Josephus proves this by citing Strabo, who also wrote on the loyalty of Chelcias and Ananias, the two Oniad generals.34 At the end of the first narrative, the righteousness and justice of the service of the Jewish chief commanders is attested theologically by the help and deliverance of God (C.Ap. 2.55.).35 During the war of Caesar in Egypt, Antipatros the stratēgos of Idumea and an ally of Hyrcanus II, in his conflict with Aristobulus II, assisted two campaigns, the first led by the proconsular governor of Syria, Gabinius, and the second led by Mithridates, king of Pergamon, both allies of Caesar. In both campaigns the Jewish soldiers of Pelusion are mentioned. Their job was to defend the “the avenues at Pelusium” also known as the “gates of Egypt.” During the first campaign, Antipatros successfully negotiated the passing through of the Roman army (Bel. 1.175), but during the second the fortress had to be besieged (Bel. 1.190). This narrative continues with the successful negotiation of Antipatros with other Jewish soldiers who “inhabited the country called the country of Onias”,36 and with the march of the army through the area called the “Jewish camp” (Ἰουδαίων στρατόπεδον Bel. 1.191; Ant. 14.133). According to this description by Josephus, the “Land of Onias” and the “Jewish camp” seem to be two separate, but not too distant areas in the  Cf. Tcherikover, Corpus Papyrorum Judaorum I., 245. Other Jewish intellectuals were also known in the court of the Ptolemies, like Aristobulus (2Macc 1:10 and Ant. 13.74–79).  On C.Ap. 2.49 see Barclay, Against Apion, 195, n. 166.  This is the only text in C.Ap. where Josephus refers to divine intervention in history. Barclay Against Apion, 198, n. 181.  The “Land of Onias” (Όνίου γᾶ) is known on an epitaph from Tell el Yehudieh in the mid 2nd century BCE (JIGRE 38). See Horbury – Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 91.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus


Nile Delta populated by Jewish soldiers and their families. It is not clear if they were only cities or fortresses as well. But the temple of Onias was built somewhere in these regions. Avoiding the question of which Onias was the templebuilder, this figure was a (high) priest and a soldier at the same time. In the case of the Maccabees and Hasmoneans this was commonplace. In Egypt, military and the priesthood had been connected since the 2nd century BCE.37 Fischer-Bovet demonstrated that there were nome-stratēgoi with priestly offices, and the stratēgoi were in charge of financing temple-buildings and the costs of the cults from the money of the population devoted to the local gods, since royal founding and support was very limited.38 Among the population there were lot of soldiers, especially if the settlement was a temple garrison. This seems to have been the case with the temple of Onias. If he was a stratēgos with a priestly office, the temple he built was also in a military colony or especially in a fortress in an area later called the “Land of Onias,” or the “Jewish camp.”39 Both of these expressions, and the inscriptions mentioning them, imply the multiplicity of Jewish military settlements in these areas under the leadership of a Jewish military commander or general (στρατηγός/ἡγεμών). This military rank – together with the priestly office – was heritable, as we see Chelchias and Ananias the sons of Onias later bearing this title (Ant. 13.285).40

5.3 Jewish Military Actions Abroad The third topic to be discussed regarding the period of the Maccabees and Hasmoneans is the foreign military situation during the period of local Jewish rule in Judea. There are two stories told by Josephus on this topic. First, in Ant. 13.249–53 we read that just after the siege of Jerusalem by Antiochus VII, John Hyrcanus, in order to pay his indemnity, opened the tomb of David and took out three thousand silver talents. Part of this sum was spent to hire foreign soldiers and form a professional mercenary troop out of them (Ant. 13.249). This troop was part of his army, by which he had to take part in the campaign of Antiochus VII against the Parthians. Hyrcanus was forced to join this military campaign, and he took not (only) this mercenary troop, but his Jewish soldiers too. This is a situation in which Jewish

 Fischer-Bovet pointed out that since the 120’s BCE it was not rare for priest to be employed as strategoi (Fischer-Bovet, Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt, 305–06).  Fischer-Bovet, Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt, 330–31.  Tcherikover already suggested that the temple building of Onias was only incidental to the settling of a Jewish military colony (Tcherikover, Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum, 286–88).  Cf. Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism, 15–17.


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soldiers were involved in a foreign war on the side of a foreign ruler. In this longer narrative on the early events of Hyrcanus career, Josephus reflects the delicate situation Jewish soldiers fell into due to their religious duties. Three episodes can be mentioned in this regard. a) Hyrcanus had to cease the long siege of the fortress Dragon near Jericho, defended by his enemy and brother in law, Ptolemy, when the Shabbat-year arrived. For the Jews to observe this rest year “as they do every seventh day”, they could not fight for this entire year. As a consequence, Hyrcanus failed in the siege, and lost his mother and brothers, because Ptolemy killed them before he escaped from the fortress (Ant. 13.230–35). b) During the siege of Jerusalem, Hyrcanus, the defender of the city had to require a cease-fire from Antiochus, since Sukkot (the feast of tabernacles) was at hand. The Seleucid king was gracious and let them celebrate the festival (Ant. 13.236–44). c) During the above mentioned war against the Parthians, Antiochus VII had to wait for two days in his advance, since the Jews were observing Shavuot (Pentecost). This remark is quoted by Josephus from Nicolaus of Damascus (Ant. 13.429–53). In all three cases, the leader of the Jewish soldiers was a Jewish commander, but it seems inconceivable that this kind of religious tolerance would have been afforded to Jewish troops under nonJewish leadership. The second foreign military situation under Jewish leaders in the period of the Maccabees and Hasmoneans was the case of Alexander Yannai. When part of the Jews rebelled against Alexander, their king, they joined the army of the Seleucid king, Demetrius III. In this war Jews fought against Jews, but after the victory of Alexander eight thousand Jewish soldiers went into voluntary exile till the death of the king. This was again a new situation: it was not captivity, they were not asked to go, but rather they simply fled, and Josephus does not tell anything about their lot during this exile.

5.4 Jews Fighting Against Jews The fourth and last topic is a sad one. As Haggai Olshanetsky observes, “Josephus, in his writings, refers to those who enlisted in the Seleucid armies during the Maccabean Revolt, as either ‘criminals’ or ‘Jews who abandoned their forefathers’ faith’”.41 But this is not all they were called: they are dubbed φυγάδες (deserters), ἀσεβεῖς (impiouses), πεφευγότες (runagates), ἀποστάντες (apostatizers) and συμμάχεις (allieds). All three Maccabean leaders had to face this phenomenon of

 Olshanetsky, “Jewish Soldiers in Hellenistic Armies,” 22.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus


Jewish traitors, who voluntarily or through fear joined the troops of the enemies (Judas: Ant. 12.289, 299, 305; Jonathan: Ant. 13.4, 27, 133; Simon: Ant. 13.216).

6 Conclusion Josephus portrays several possibilities for how Jews served as foreign troops from the time of Alexander the Great to Caesar. They joined a new military individually or in groups, voluntarily or forced. They could be settled in fortresses or in cities in exchange for material goods and/or money. They mostly formed separate Jewish troops with their own commanders within these foreign armies. Sometimes the whole Jewish army was obliged to fight on the side of foreign armies in a foreign country. Only in this latter case does Josephus mention the problem of religious differences, namely that the observances of regular feast days like Shabbat or festivals like Shavuot and Sukkot impeded military campaigns. He does not deal with the other main issues, i.e. dietary problems and the ethical dimensions of Jewish practice in these situations. In Egypt, the military colonies had their own temples, according to the religious needs of the troops. In this context, but with a different accent, Josephus mentions the temple-building project of Onias who, according to Josephus and his sources, was not only a priest but a general, a stratēgos of the Egyptian army. This position, like the job of the soldier, was heritable, as is observable in the stories of Onias’ sons. Josephus is the only one who describes the process of the establishment of Jewish military settlements. The central message of Josephus about Jewish soldiers and troops serving in foreign armies is that they are highly skilled, liable and loyal warriors. Due to these qualities, they played an important and essential role in the Hellenistic armies. Josephus juxtaposes these extremely loyal Jewish soldiers to those bad, impious and apostate traitors who despite their Jewishness were hired for alien military pay to fight against their own flesh and blood. The most sorrowful but life-like situation presented by Josephus was the case when Jewish mercenaries fought against Jewish mercenaries in the campaign of Caesar against Egypt. He presented but did not comment on this ethically problematic situation. For Josephus, Jewish mercenaries were exemplary heroes of Judea and the Jews and they were supported and blessed by God during their fights, even as members of foreign armies.


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Bibliography Barclay, John M. G. Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan (332 BCE – 117 CE). Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996. Barclay, John M. G. Agains Apion. Josephus Flavius: Translation and Commentary 10. Leiden: Brill, 2007. Boccaccini, Gabriele. “Tigranes the Great as ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ in the Book of Judith.” In A Pious Seductress: Studies in the Book of Judith, edited by Géza G. Xeravits, 55–69. DCLS 14. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011. Dalley, Stephany. “Foreign Chariotry and Cavalry in the Armies of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II.” Iraq 47 (1985): 31–48. Dezső Tamás. “A Reconstruction of the Army of Sargon II (721–705 BC): Based on the Nimrud Horse Lists.” SAAB 15 (2006): 93–140. Dezső Tamás. The Assyrian Amry I. The Structure of the Neo-Assyrian Army as Reconstructed from the Assyrian Palace Reliefs and Cuniform Sources. 1. Infantry, Antiqua et Orientalia 2; Assyriologia 8/1. Budapest: Eötvös University Press, 2012. Fischer-Bovet, Christelle. Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt, Armies of the Ancient World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Fitzpatrick-McKinley, Anne. “Preserving the Cult of YHW in Judean Garrisons: Continuity from Pharaonic to Ptolemaic Times.” In Sybils, Scriptures, and Scrolls: John Collins at Seventy, Vol. 1., edited by Joel Baden et al., 375–408. JSJSup 175. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2017. Fuchs, Andreas. Die Inschriften Sargon II. aus Khorsabad. Göttingen: Cuvillier Verlag, 1993. Gadd, Cyril John. “Inscribed Prisms of Sargon II from Nimrud.” Iraq 16 (1954): 173–201. González-Salinero, Raúl. Military Service and the Integration of Jews into the Roman Empire. BRLJ 72. Leiden: Brill, 2022. Hengel, Martin. Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974. Horbury, William – Noy, David. Jewish Inscriptions of Graeco–Roman Egypt. Camberidge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992. Kókai-Nagy Viktor. “Die Beziehung der Makkabäer zu fremden Nationen – die Bündnisse mit Rom und Sparta.” In The Stranger in Ancient and Mediaeval Jewish Tradition, edited by Géza G. Xeravits – Jan Dušek, 107–17. DCLS 4. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010. MacRae, Duncan E. “Reading the Roman-Jewish Treaty in 1 Maccabees 8: Narrative, Documents and Hellenistic Culture.” Hermathena 200/201 (2016): 73–94. Marcus, Ralph. “Appendix C: Alexander Great and the Jews (Ant. XI.317–345).” In Josephus VI: Jewish Antiquities Books IX–XI, transl. Marcus Ralph, 512–32. LCL. London – Cambridge, MA: Heinemann – Harvard University Press, 1937. Marcus, Ralph transl. Josephus VII. Jewish Antiquities Books XII–XIV. LCL. London – Cambridge, MA: Heineman – Harvard University Press, 1957. Modrzejewski, Joseph. The Jews in Egypt form Ramses II to Emperor Hadiran. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. Mahaffy, John Pentland – Smyly, J. Gilbart. The Flinders Pertrie Papyri. Vol. 1–3. Cambridge Library Collections – Egyptology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Olshanetsky, Haggai. “Jewish Soldiers in Hellenistic Armies: Warriors of Zion.” Ancient Warfare 9 (2015): 20–24.

Jewish Troops in Foreign Wars in the Hellenistic Period According to Josephus


Piotrkowski, Meron. Priests in Exile: The History of the Temple of Onias and Its Community in the Hellenistic Period. SJ 106. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019. Piotrkowski, Meron. “Priests in Exile: On the Identity of the Oniad Jewish Community of Heliopolis.” In A Question of Identity: Social, Political, and Historical Aspects of Identity Dynamics in Jewish and Other Contexts, edited by Dikla Rivlin Katz et al., 165–82. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019. Pummer, Reinhard. “The Samaritans in Egypt.” In Études sémitiques et samaritaines offertes à Jean Margin, edited by Christian-Bernard Amphoux – Ursula Schatter-Rieser, 213–32. Histoire du Texte Biblique 4. Lausanne: Editions du Zèbre, 1998. Pummer, Reinhard. The Samaritans in Flavius Josephus.TSAJ 129. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009. Renz, Johannes. Die Althebräischen Inschriften. Teil 1. Text und Kommentar. Handbuch der Althebräischen Epigraphik 1. Darmstadt: WBG, 1995. Sherwin-White, Adrian Nicholas. Roman Foreign Policy in the East: 168 BC to AD 1. Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1984. Siljanen, Esko. Judeans of Egypt in the Persian Period (539–332 BCE) in Light of the Aramaic Documents. Helsinki: Unigrafia, 2017. Stern, Menahem. Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism. Vol. 1. From Herodotus to Plutarch. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1974. Tcherikover, Viktor A. Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum. Vol. 1. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press – Magness Press, 1957. Van der Toorn, Karel. Becoming Diaspora Jews: Behind the Story of Elephantine. The Anchor Yale Reference Library. New Haven – London: Yale University Press, 2019. Waerzeggers, Carolina. “The Carians of Borsippa.” Iraq 68 (2006): 1–22. Zsengellér, József. “Kutim or Samarites: A History of the Designation of the Samaritans.” In Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress of the Société D’Études Samaritaines Helsinki, August 1–4, 2000, edited by Haseeb Shehadeh – Habib Tawa, 87–104. Paris: Librairie Orientaliste P. Geuthner, 2005. Zsengellér, József. “The Samaritan Diaspora in Antiquity.” Acta Antiqua 56 (2016): 157–75.

István Karasszon

Frieden bei Josephus. Esra und die jüdische Restauration in den Antiquitates 1 Vorbemerkungen Wie auch immer man die literarische Tätigkeit von Josephus bewerten mag – ihm kommt zweifellos das Verdienst zu, das Augenmerk seiner Zeitgenossen auf das Judentum gelenkt zu haben, auf ein besiegtes Volk. – Zudem gelang es ihm, durch seine Geschichtsschreibung die Bedeutung dieses kleinen und ansonsten wenig beachteten Teils des Römischen Reiches aufzuzeigen. Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, zog er vor allem die großen Ereignisse der Geschichte seines Heimatlandes heran, insbesondere Kriege, die er plastisch wiederzugeben vermochte. Das führt zu der Frage: Wie schildert Josephus eigentlich Friedenszeiten, in denen die angesprochenen großen Ereignisse weitgehend fehlten? Wie macht er den friedlichen Aufbau der jüdischen Gesellschaft anziehend für seinen Leserkreis? Zur Beantwortung solcher Fragen bietet es sich an, seine Darstellung der Heimkehr und des Wiederaufbaus des gefallenen Staates Juda, bzw. der neuen Satrapie Jehud genauer zu untersuchen. Dabei ist jedoch Vorsicht geboten, denn über diese ungefähr anderthalb Jahrhunderte von der Mitte des 6. bis zum Ausgang des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. hat die Forschung der letzten Jahrzehnte grundlegend neue Erkenntnisse hervorgebracht.1 Früher meinte man, diese Periode sei in der Geschichte Israels ein weißer Flecken, und man wisse nur sehr wenig, wie die jüdische Restauration von statten ging. Heute zieht man viele Hilfswissenschaften heran, um diese Lücken zu schließen, etwa die Archäologie und Soziologie; auch in der vergleichenden Literatur- und Religionswissenschaft findet man viel Material, das zur Rekonstruktion der Ereignisse beiträgt. Es hat sich inzwischen herausgestellt, dass diese Jahrzehnte durchaus bewegt waren, geprägt von Umwälzungen. Doch drängen sich heute vielleicht noch mehr Fragen sich auf. Dies alles war Josephus zwar kaum zugänglich, doch er konnte den biblischen Befund deutlich sehen. Als Quellen boten sich ihm das Buch  Hier ist nicht der Ort, diese Wende der Forschung in voller Breite darzulegen. Man vergleiche nur den seinerzeit sehr wichtigen Band von Ackroyd, Exile and Restoration, mit der zu Ackroyds Ehren herausgegebenen Sammlung: Knoppers – Grabbe –Fulton, Hg., Exile and Restoration Revisited, um sich die großen Umwälzungen zu vergegenwärtigen. Im deutschsprachigen Raum mag ein ähnlicher Vergleich hilfreich sein: K. Galling war mit seinen Kommentaren zu Esra–Nehemia und den Chronikbüchern ziemlich alleinstehend (Galling, Die Bücher des Chronik, Esra, Nehemia); seine Studien zur Geschichte Israels im persischen Zeitalter, war bahnbrechend. Ein Blick auf R. Albertz, Die Exilszeit, zeigt deutlich die Veränderungen.


István Karasszon

des Deutero-Jesaja, für die nachexilische Zeit die Bücher Haggai und (Proto-)Sacharja, und, für Geschichtsschreibung vielleicht weniger geeignet, Trito-Jesaja, sowie für das Ende des 5. Jahrhunderts die Bücher Esra und Nehemia. So reichhaltig dieses Material auch ist, so ist es doch mit Schwierigkeiten verbunden, wenn man darauf basierend ein Geschichtswerk schreiben will: Die zu Verfügung stehenden Quellen weisen Widersprüche, Doppelungen, Wiederholungen auf, und auch der Verlauf der Geschichte ist nicht durchgängig und überall gleich: Manchmal werden die Ereignisse eingehend, ja sogar mehrfach geschildert, manchmal überspringen die Quellen willkürlich 20 oder 30 Jahre, von denen wir wenig wissen und über die man nur Mutmaßungen anstellen kann. Es war für Josephus also keine leichte Aufgabe, eine zusammenhängende Jüdische Geschichte zu schreiben, welche – so war ja seine Zielsetzung2 – für seine Leser eindeutig, widerspruchlos und überzeugend erscheinen sollte. Heute müssten wir, um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, uns vieler verschiedener Methoden und auch weiterer Quellen bedienen, die Josephus nicht bekannt waren. Umso interessanter ist die Frage, wie er dies schriftstellerisch bewerkstelligte.

2 Scheschbazar und Serubbabel Fest steht: Josephus hat eine der ihm zu Verfügung stehenden Quellen zur Grundlage seines Geschichtswerkes gemacht, nämlich das Buch Esra.3 Dies ist zunächst eine gute Wahl, denn das Buch Esra, vor allem die Kapitel 1–6, ist selbst eine Geschichtsdarstellung. Freilich trägt auch diese Züge, die wir vorhin erwähnt haben; vor allem ist das Esrabuch eine eher kompakte Wiedergabe der Ereignisse eines Zeitraums von etwa 120 Jahren, welche manchmal rasch von statten gingen, manchmal aber in der Geschichtsschreibung schlicht ganz fehlten. Es war also nicht die

 Das bezieht sich natürlich nicht nur auf die Antiquitates, sondern auf Josephusʼ Auffassung von Geschichte überhaupt. Siehe hier Rajak, „The Sense of History in Jewish Intertestamental Writing,“ 13: „He (=Josephus) puts up the paradoxical and in some ways even absurd argument that the Greek historical tradition exposes its weakness through the contradictions between its various authors.“  Grabbe, Ezra–Nehemiah, 79: „It is almost universally accepted that Josephus’ account of Ezra uses 1 Esdras as a source. He gives the story in his own words and makes many small changes and additions, and generally adapts it to fit his account; however, this is his normal procedure with his sources.“

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Jüdische Geschichte, die Josephus sich wünschte; von daher ist besonders auf die Veränderungen zu achten, die er gegenüber der Darstellung in Esra vornahm.4 Zuerst zur Rolle des Perserkönigs Kyros: Bekanntlich pries Deuterojesaja ihn hoch, nannte ihn den Gesalbten JHWHs, und obwohl der persische König davon nicht wusste, hat er ihn von Osten her kommen lassen (Jes 41,2). Das ändert sich dann ein wenig in der Darstellung des Esrabuches, in dem Kyros von sich selbst sagt, JHWH habe ihm die ganze Erde gegeben mit dem Auftrag, den Tempel durch die heimkehrenden Juden wieder aufbauen zu lassen. Josephus geht noch einen Schritt weiter: In seiner Darstellung erging, während der König Jesaja las, eine Offenbarung an Kyros.5 Beides ist typisch für Josephus: einerseits die göttliche Offenbarung, andererseits die Rolle der Propheten. Noch wichtiger aber ist, dass dadurch auch der Schwerpunkt der Erzählung verschoben wird: Während das Buch Esra den königlichen Erlass6 und den Gehorsam des Volkes betont, hebt Josephus besonders die göttliche Vorsehung, den Plan Gottes hervor, den Kyros umsetzt. Dadurch wirkt Josephus’ Schilderung einen erheblich konsistenter; für ihn ist die Geschichte nicht nur eine Folge von Ereignissen, sondern eine Entfaltung von Gottes Heilsplan. Es bleibt jedoch ein Problem, für das es auch mit heutigem Kenntnisstand keine zufriedenstellende Lösung gibt: In Esra 1 wird Scheschbazar als Anführer der Heimkehrenden genannt; Esra 2 bringt dann eine Liste der Heimkehrenden; und im dritten Kapitel nimmt schließlich Serubbabel eine Führungsrolle ein. Wie verhalten sich diese beiden führenden Gestalten bei der Rückkehr aus dem Exil zueinander? Gab es zwei Heimkehrer-Wellen? Oder waren diese beiden Männer Zeitgenossen, gehörten aber zwei verschiedenen Gruppen von heimkehrenden  Josephus’ Nacherzählen ist dermaßen durchgehend, dass es kaum auszumachen ist, welchen Text er gekannt hat. Ob er den hebräischen Text kannte (was sehr wahrscheinlich ist), oder sich der LXX bediente, lässt sich nicht mehr sagen. Siehe die Diskussion in Feldman, Studies in Josephus’ Rewritten Bible, 473–74.  Ant. 11,5: Ταῦτα δ᾽ ἔγνω Κῦρος ἀναγινώσκων τὸ βιβλίον ὃ τῆς αὐτοῦ προφητείας ὁ Ἡσαΐας κατέλιπεν πρὸ ἐτῶν διακοσίων καὶ δέκα οὗτος γὰρ ἐν ἀπορρήτῳ εἶπε ταῦτα λέγειν τὸν θεόν ὅτι βούλομαι Κῦρον ἐγὼ πολλῶν ἐθνῶν καὶ μεγάλων ἀποδείξας βασιλέα πέμψαι μου τὸν λαὸν εἰς τὴν ἰδίαν γῆν καὶ οἰκοδομῆσαί μου τὸν ναόν. Ob es den Lesern glaubwürdig erschien, dass Kyros Jesaja gelesen hat und erfüllen wollte, sei dahingestellt.  Dass der Text des Kyrosedikts und seine Widergabe in Esra nicht miteinander in Einklang stehen, soll hier nicht weiter ausgeführt werden. Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, 46–48 mag richtig urteilen: Offensichtlich interpretiert die jüdische Quelle eine Jehud-zentrierte Auffassung. Eines steht fest: Josephus korrigiert leicht die „narrowly Judaeo centric“ Schilderung der Ereignisse und hebt sie auf das Niveau der Weltgeschichte – ohne dabei den jüdischen Glauben zu verletzen! Bei der Korrektion fällt der Unterschied auf: Weder Esra 1, noch Esra 6 sprechen von der Rückführung des Volkes, nur vom Tempelbau. Josephus aber erwähnt auch den Beschluss des Kyros, die Heimkehr anzuordnen.


István Karasszon

Juden an? Der Kenntnisstand über diese ca. 30 Jahre ist nach wie vor lückenhaft. – Zunächst hat man den Eindruck, dass Josephus dieses Problem übergeht: Am Anfang des elften Buch der Antiqutates nennt er beide, Scheschbazar und Serubbabel (vgl. Ant. 11,12). Später fügt er allerdings eine Episode ein, die sich im Hof von Darius I. abspielt und Serubbabel als Hauptfigur nennt. Da Darius ab 521. v. Chr. regierte, ist diese Geschichte rund ein Vierteljahrhundert später anzusetzen als das Kyrosedikt. Die vorhin erwähnte Lücke ist bei Josephus also gefüllt: erst Scheschbazar, danach Serubbabel! Die von Josephus erzählte Episode (vgl. Ant. 11,35–57) ist allerdings neu und entstammt nicht den uns bekannten Quellen: Beim großen Symposium des Königs wetteifern die Höflinge darum zu beweisen, was die stärkere Macht sei: der Wein, die Könige oder die Frau. Serubbabels Aufgabe ist es, die Macht der Frau zu begründen; er fügt jedoch noch ein Viertes zu: Es existiere keine größere Macht als die der Wahrheit. Durch seine Rede wird ihm die Gunst des Königs zuteil,7 der ihn daraufhin reich beschenkt und die Rückkehr von heimkehrwilligen Juden gestattet. So sind zusammen mit Serubbabel dann auch der Hohepriester Jeschua sowie Mordechai und Serebaios nach Jerusalem gekommen (vgl. Ant. 11,73–74). Die Kontinuität der Geschichtsdarstellung ist auf diese Weise sichergestellt, allerdings bleibt die Frage, woher Josephus diese Episode genommen hat. Grosso modo erinnert die Geschichte an 1Esra 3,1–4,41, jedoch ist die Erwähnung Serubbabels in 4,13 eine Glosse. Es kann natürlich vorausgesetzt werden, dass auch Josephus diese Glosse gekannt hat, nur ist der ganze Passus als Einschub in 1Esra anzusehen.8 Es scheint also, dass Josephus für sein Geschichtswerk biblische und parabiblische Texte gleichermaßen benutzt hat und dabei anscheinend keinen Unterschied zwischen kanonischen und außerkanonischen Schriften machte. Im vorliegenden Fall bediente er sich zudem eines bekannten Topos der nachexilischen jüdischen Literatur: Ein Jude am Hof eines fremden Königs ist das Thema der Josefsgeschichte, der aramäischen Daniel-Erzählungen, der nichtbiblischen Achikar-Geschichte und des Esterbuches.9 Unsere Erzählung weist vor allem Ähn Die Übereinstimmung mit 1Esra ist groß, die literarische Abhängigkeit steht außer Zweifel. Nicht nur, dass Serubbabel die Wette gewinnt, indem er das Richtige sagt, und dass der König seinen Wunsch erfüllt, sondern Serubbabel wird auch Verwandter des Königs genannt: κεκλήσῃ συγγενὴς ἐμός (Ant. 11,57). Der legendarische Charakter der Erzählung ist eindeutig. Für moderne Leser spricht das vielleicht gegen die Historizität der Darstellung; für Josephus aber schien das ein Zeichen besonderer Begabung gewesen zu sein.  Siehe hierzu den Kommentar von Myers, I and II Esdras, 53: „It is regarded by nearly all scholars and an insert in the story of I Esdras. It may have been designed to introduce Zerubbabel, as the likely gloss of identification in 4:13 and the subsequent events related in chapter 5 seem to indicate ....“  Siehe dazu Wills, The Jew in the Court of the Foreign King.

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lichkeiten mit dem Stil des Esterbuches auf, wie etwa die üppige Redeweise in Est 1 und die eingehende Schilderung der Geschenke. Natürlich sind auch Mittel und Zweck der Erzählung ähnlich: Der loyal zu seinem Volk und Glauben stehende Jude erweist seine Loyalität auch gegenüber dem fremden König, und kraft seiner Klugheit erlangt er eine hohe Position, in der er seinem Volk helfen kann. – Josephus hat die erwähnten Lücken in der Geschichtsdarstellung und die damit verbundenen Schwierigkeiten also geschickt durch eine außerbiblische Erzählung überbrückt.

3 Die Samaritaner Das nächste Problem der nachexilischen Geschichte ist der Bruch mit den Samaritanern.10 Dabei handelt es sich um jahrzehntelange Feindseligkeiten, die immer schwerwiegender wurden bis zum endgültigen Bruch. Die uns bekannten Punkte der Auseinandersetzungen betreffen zuerst den Wiederaufbau des Tempels, dann die Wiederherstellung der Stadtmauern Jerusalems; mit eine Rolle spielten wahrscheinlich auch die ökonomischen Verhältnisse von Samaria und Jerusalem. Diese Konflikte wurden gegen Mitte des 5. Jahrhunderts auch militärisch ausgetragen. In welchen Etappen verliefen diese Auseinandersetzungen, und was war der Grund für die späteren Ressentiments? Die Quellen dazu sind nicht eindeutig: Haggai 2 erwähnt eine kultische Begründung: Die Samaritaner seien ein unreines Volk und dürften daher am Wiederaufbau des Tempels nicht teilhaben – eine Argumentation, die grosso modo auch 2Kön 17 (ein spätes Stück innerhalb des deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerkes) vertritt, wonach die Samaritaner ein Mischvolk seien und auch fremde Götter verehrten.11 Demgegenüber beziehen sich Serubbabel und Jeschua in Esra 4,3 auf das Kyrosedikt: Nur sie, die heimkehrenden Juden, hätten von

 Ich teile nicht die Meinung von Kartveit, The Origin of the Samaritans, 17: der Josephus’ Darstellung als „great source“, und „most valuable source from antiquity“ bezeichnet. Natürlich darf Josephusʼ Geschichtswerk nicht gänzlich unberücksichtigt bleiben, denn es enthält eine antike Interpretation der damals verfügbaren Quellen, die insbesondere im Hinblick auf die Herkunft der Kutäer interessant ist. Aber gerade die Tatsache, dass Josephus aus 2Kön 17,24 nur die Kutäer erwähnt, nicht aber die Stätten Awa, Hamat und Sefarwajim, zeigt, dass er auch nicht mehr weiß als die von ihm benützte biblische Quelle. Immerhin ist es bemerkenswert, dass er das Selbstverständnis der Samaritaner als Nachkommen des Hauses Josef dokumentiert.  Man kann sich fragen, ob und inwiefern 2Kön 17 historisch ist. Hjelm, The Samaritans and Early Judaism, 46–48, argumentiert, dass die Voraussetzung der Historizität mehr Fragen aufwerfen als beantworten würde. Das bezieht sich auf Josephus’ Darstellung. Unsere Fragestellung ist allerdings nicht die Historizität, sondern Behandlung von Quellen durch Josephus.


István Karasszon

Kyrus die Erlaubnis bekommen, den Tempel aufzubauen, woraufhin die Samaritaner den Wiederaufbau zu verhindern suchten – aber all dies ereignete sich noch zur Zeit des Kyros, also bis etwa 520 v. Chr. Soweit der hebräische Teil des Esrabuches; mit Vers 4,7 beginnt jedoch der aramäische Teil, also eine andere Quelle, die mit brieflicher Korrespondenz zwischen den Samaritanern und Artaxerxes I. rechnet – damit befinden wir uns in der Mitte des 5. Jahrhunderts. Dennoch heißt es in Esra 6, dass der Aufbau fortgesetzt und beendet wurde unter Darius. Damit kann nur Darius II. gemeint sein, der nach Artaxerxes I. und Xerxes II. herrschte (424–404). Dies kann aber so chronologisch nicht stimmen, denn der Tempel wurde bereits unter Darius I. eingeweiht. – Josephus hatte also unrecht: Nicht nur die griechischen, sondern auch die jüdischen Quellen stehen mitunter in Widerspruch zueinander! Es kann sein, dass unser kanonisches Esrabuch die Geschehnisse in falscher Anordnung erzählt, bzw. dass es die Probleme um den Tempel- und den Stadtmauerbau miteinander vermischt; unsere Frage ist jedoch, wie Josephus dies löst und daraus eine fortlaufende Geschichtsdarstellung konstruiert. In Ant. 11,19 erzählt Josephus von den Kutäern/Samaritanern. Seine Auffassung von den Samaritanern entspricht durchaus der Darstellung von 2Kön 17 und Esra 4 sowie der Ansicht Haggais: es handelt sich um Mischvolk. Die Feindseligkeiten beginnen schon unter Kyros, doch der König erfuhr nichts davon. Sobald allerdings Kambyses den Thron bestieg, wandten sich die Samaritaner an ihn und versuchten mit Hilfe des königlichen Hofs, den Tempelbau zu behindern (vgl. Ant. 11,21–25). Josephus setzt also den Anfang der Querelen sehr früh an, spätestens 530. v. Chr. Haggai und Esra 4 datieren dagegen etwas später. Mit unseren Quellen stimmt jedoch überein, dass unter Darius (wir behaupten, Darius I.) der Tempel wieder aufgebaut und auch fertiggestellt wurde. Josephus legt Wert darauf, seine Chronologie an die der Weltgeschichte rückzubinden, denn er erwähnt die Eroberung Ägyptens durch Kambyses (525 v. Chr.) sowie die dynastischen Schwierigkeiten bei der Thronbesteigung des Darius I. Wir haben schon gesagt, dass Serubbabel erst unter Darius nach Jerusalem kommt, der Tempelbau wieder beginnt (Ant. 11,79) – und gleichzeitig beginnen auch die Samaritaner ihre Intrigen am königlichen Hof (vgl. Ant. 11,88.97). Laut dem aramäischen Teil des Esrabuches ist dies erst unter Artaxerxes I (465–424 v. Chr.) der Fall; hier ist die Abweichung in der Datierung schon ziemlich groß: der Unterschied beträgt etwa 30–40 Jahre. Esra und später Nehemia sind unter Xerxes nach Jerusalem gekommen; das wäre geradezu ein Widerspruch zu Esra 4, wenn wir an Xerxes I. denken, denn die Regierungszeit von Xerxes II. war sehr kurz (nur 424 v. Chr.), und Josephus setzt den Beginn von Nehemias Wirken ausdrücklich im 25. Regierungsjahr des Xerxes an (Ant. 11,168). Das kann nur das Jahr 461 v. Chr. bezeichnen. Nach heutigem Forschungsstand herrschte zu dieser Zeit schon Artaxerxes, aber der Unterschied beträgt nur einige Jahre; wir befinden uns auf jeden Fall um die Mitte des 5. Jahrhunderts. Bei der Darstellung der Auseinandersetzung mit

Frieden bei Josephus. Esra und die jüdische Restauration in den Antiquitates


den Samaritanern und auch beim Wirken von Esra und Nehemia stützt Josephus sich weitgehend auf die kanonischen Bücher – seine große Leistung ist jedoch, dass er deren verwirrende Darstellung der Ereignisse in eine gute Ordnung gebracht und eine Geschichtserzählung mit kontinuierlichem Verlauf entworfen hat, die mit der für die Griechen und Römer bekannten Weltgeschichte im Einklang stand – zeitgenössischen Lesern dürfte dies viel glaubwürdiger erschienen sein als die biblischen Angaben.

4 Der Preis für die lückenlose Version der Geschichte Allerdings zahlt Josephus dafür einen ziemlich hohen Preis: Josephus kann zwar fortlaufend die Geschichte Judas bis zur Mitte des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. erzählen. Die Lücken,12 die wir in der zweiten Hälfte des 6. und in der ersten Hälfte des 5. Jahrhunderts empfanden, scheinen verschwunden; in Wirklichkeit haben sie sich aber nur verlagert und begegnen nun in der zweiten Hälfte des 5. Jahrhunderts. Hier behalf sich Josephus damit, die Geschichte von Ester und Mordechai einzuschieben (Ant. 11,184–296). Für eine Weile verlässt er damit das Heilige Land; die Esternovelle fungiert hier eindeutig als Füllmaterial. Mit Kapitel 7 (Ant. 11,297–303) kehrt er wieder nach Jerusalem zurück und schildert, wie der Sohn (bei Josephus: der Bruder) des Hohepriesters Jojada die Tochter von Sanballat heiratet.13 Diese Geschichte ist aus Nehemia 13 bekannt. Josephus nennt sogar den Namen von Sanballats Tochter: Nikaso, und weiß zudem zu berichten, dass Sanballat seinem Schwiegersohn das Amt des Hohepriesters angeboten habe. Dies markiere den Beginn des Kultes auf dem Berg Garizim (vgl. Ant. 11,302–03.309–10). Damit sind wir wirklich am Ende des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. angelangt. Josephus erwähnt wiederum einen zeitgenössischen persischen König, nämlich Darius II.,

 Besonders auffallend ist dies, wenn man Josephus‘ Version im Vergleich mit Esra 1–6 liest. Die ersten sechs Kapitel des Esrabuches sind ihrerseits auch Geschichtsschreibung, aber man muss stets im Blick behalten, um welche Zeit und um welchen König gleichen Namens es jeweils geht. Die Geschichte des Esrabuches ist auch aufgrund von Quellen geschrieben worden. Williamson, Ezra, Nehemiah, xxiv, unterscheidet 8 verschiedene Quellen: das Edikt des Kyros, die Tempelschätze, die Liste der Heimkehrer, sowie verschiedene Briefe. Die Anordnung der Ereignisse ist aber eher verwirrend und nicht chronologisch fortlaufend.  Allerdings mag Gary N. Knoppers Recht haben, wenn er vermutet, dass es in diesen Streitigkeiten um die Konfrontation von Assimilationsfreudigen und Separatisten ging. Siehe seinen Beitrag: Knoppers, „Nehemiah and Sanballat.“


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der zwischen 424–404 v. Chr. regierte. Die Episoden aus Esra und Nehemia bilden gleichsam eine Klammer um die Esternovelle! Der Preis, den Josephus für seine lückenlose Version der Geschichte zahlt, ist noch aus einem weiteren Grund ziemlich hoch: Josephus schrieb vor allem Personengeschichte; die Sozialgeschichte tritt dahinter völlig zurück. Dabei wäre Letztere höchst wichtig, wenn es um einen Wiederaufbau des Landes geht. Wir erfahren beispielsweise nichts von der Steuerreform des Darius, die dem Hof zwar Reichtum bescherte, vielen Bauern jedoch hohe Verschuldung. Neh 5 markiert einen Wendepunkt, indem die solidarische Einführung des Jobeljahres die jüdische Gesellschaft rettete.14 Darüber hinaus fällt auf, dass Nehemias Bemühen, die Einwohnerzahl Jerusalems zu erhöhen, nur in einem kurzen Satz erwähnt wird. Man findet auch nicht die Euphorie eines Haggai anlässlich der Einweihung des Zweiten Tempels. Merkwürdigerweise wird sogar das Amt des Hohepriesters vernachlässigt, obwohl dieses in der neuen Gesellschaftsordnung eine zentrale Rolle spielte. Ist es ein Zufall, dass Josephus nur die Hohepriester Jeschua und Eljaschib beim Namen nennt?15 Stattdessen lesen wir immer von bedeutenden Persönlichkeiten, die große Taten vollbringen16 – das macht die Geschichte des

 Zur Geschichte und Bedeutung des Jobeljahres siehe Bergsma, The Jubilee from Leviticus to Qumran.  All das steht im Einklang mit dem Ant. 20,224–51, wo eine Liste der jüdischen Hohepriester angeführt ist – doch nicht einmal dort wird Eljaschib, sondern nur Jeschua genannt, und dieser auch nur, damit der Anschluss an die vorexilischen Hohepriester gewährleistet wird (20,234). Ist daher anzunehmen, dass Josephus keine weiteren Hohepriester gekannt hat? Das ist durchaus möglich, aber in Anbetracht seiner ansonsten gründlichen Geschichtskenntnisse vielleicht weniger wahrscheinlich, zumal seine Quellen weitere Hohepriester kennen (vgl. Neh 12,10). Es ist zwar richtig, was Brutti, The Development of High Priesthood, 39 schreibt: „As a matter of fact, we ought to remember that in Jewish Antiquities we find the broadest swath of information about the high priests of the pre-Hasmonean period“ – aber das betrifft nicht die persische Zeit! Es sei zudem darauf hingewiesen, dass es möglich gewesen wäre, auch Esra selbst als Hohepriester zu bezeichnen, denn die Genealogie in Esra 7,1–5 führt die Abstammung Esras auf Zadok zurück. Aber Josephus wollte ihn nur als einen großen Mann darstellen, der große Taten vollbrachte. Das Amt des Hohenpriesters (so wichtig es beim Wiederaufbau der nachexilischen Gesellschaft war) wäre der Absicht des Josephus nicht förderlich gewesen: Er wollte lieber den Willen Gottes und den Glauben der Gottesfürchtigen ins Zentrum stellen.  Der Widerspruch zu L. H. Feldmans Behauptung ist nur ein scheinbarer: Feldmann sagt, Josephus „has diminished his (=Ezra’s) role considerably“ (Feldman, Studies in Josephus, 487). Das stimmt natürlich, allerdings nur im Vergleich zu den Rabbinen, die die Gesetzgebung durch Esra hervorheben und die Inkraftsetzung des Gesetzes für den wichtigsten Augenblick in der Jüdischen Geschichte halten. Das ist zwar auch in den Antiquitates zu lesen, doch für Josephus ist es wichtiger, dass Esra durch die erzwungene Auflösung von Mischehen die Existenz der Gesellschaft (politeuma!) sichergestellt hat. So steht hier Esra, der vor Nehemia eine führende Position in Juda hatte, in der Reihe der bedeutenden Persönlichkeiten.

Frieden bei Josephus. Esra und die jüdische Restauration in den Antiquitates


Josephus aus. Man kann sich fragen, ob diese großen Taten nicht die Rolle der großen Kriege übernahmen, die er von den weitgehend friedlichen rund anderthalb Jahrhunderten nach dem Exil nicht erzählen konnte.17 Allerdings ersetzen hier die aus den Büchern Esra und Nehemia übernommenen Dokumente die Funktion der Dialoge, die sonst in seinem Geschichtswerk wichtig sind, damit man sich in die Gedankenwelt der großen Persönlichkeiten hineinversetzen kann. – Der Preis ist zwar hoch, doch das Ergebnis zeigt Josephus als Autor, der auch in einem anderen Bereich als der Kriegserzählung sich selbst und seiner Erzählweise treu bleibt. Das ist den hohen Preis wert.

5 Zusammenfassung Fassen wir zusammen: in der Schule haben wir gelernt, Josephus wiederhole nur die biblische Geschichte. Unausgesprochen meinte man damit, das sei zwar als Interpretation interessant, doch im Großen und Ganzen weniger wertvoll.18 Rich-

 Es scheint, dass Josephus gern über viel mehr Ereignisse berichtet hätte, diese aber fehlten. In Ant. 11,297–303 schildert er etwa, dass der Hohepriester Johanan seinen Bruder im Tempel ermordete, weil dieser ebenfalls Hohepriester sein wollte. Der Strategos, Bagoas, empörte sich über den Mord und führte zur Strafe im ganzen Land eine neue Steuer ein. All dies sei noch unter Artaxerxes, also zur Zeit Nehemias, geschehen. – Nun wissen wir von einem solchen Todesfall in der Familie des Hohepriesters nichts. Handelt es sich etwa um eine Erfindung des Josephus? Hugh G. M. Williamson, der die Historizität dieser Erzählung untersucht hat („The Historical Value of Josephus‘ Jewish Antiquities xi 297–301“), schlägt vor, dass sich der Vorfall erst unter Artaxerxes III. ereignet habe, also rund 80 Jahre später: 344–343 v. Chr. Artaxerxes III. hatte auch einen General namens Bagoas, der bei der Rückeroberung Ägyptens eine wichtige Rolle spielte. Williamson vermutet, dass es innerhalb des Judentums eine Spaltung zwischen ägyptenfreundlichen und perserfreundlichen Juden gab. Diese Voraussetzung ist umso wahrscheinlicher, weil Josephus die Gründung des Heiligtums auf dem Berg Garizim sowie die Einrichtung des samaritanischen Hohepriesteramtes mit der Unterstützung von Alexander d. G. erklärt; – Neh 13 interpretiert er infolgedessen dahingehend, dass mit Sanballat nicht der erste, sondern der dritte gleichen Namens gemeint sei, sodass die Verwechselung von Artaxerxes I. und III. wiederum wahrscheinlich ist. Wenn sich dies alles so verhält, dann geschieht hier dasselbe wie bei der Beschreibung der Ereignisse des 6. Jahrhunderts v. Chr.: spätere Ereignisse werden rückprojiziert.  Im ehemaligen Ostblock, wo ich mein Theologiestudium absolviert habe, war man vielleicht noch etwas konservativer, aber es entsprach durchaus dem, was S. Mason mit Verweis auf Richard Laqueur schreibt: „From the 1870s through about 1920, Josephus was more or less a cipher for his various source collections. He was a ‚stupid copyist‘ (stumpfer Abschreiber), in the words of the man who did the most to bring this period to an end. The author more or less disappeared before the massive anonymous source collections that he was thought to have borrowed wholesale and sewn together with the flimsiest thread.“ (Steve Mason, „Aim and Audience,“ 65).


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tig ist, dass Josephus auch in seiner Darstellung der jüdischen Restauration auf der biblischen Grundlage, insbesondere auf dem Esrabuch, aufbaut. Aber er macht aus diesem Material viel: Wie ein Restaurator bei einem alten, beschädigten Gemälde, so nimmt auch Josephus Glättungen, Retouchierungen an einem ziemlich verzerrten Bild der Geschichte vor – sein Werk ist Geschichtsschreibung, und nicht kerygmatisches Schreiben! Und was macht ein Restaurator, wenn einfach Material fehlt oder es verloren ging? Auch Josephus sah sich vor einer solchen Aufgabe und versuchte, die weißen Flecken mit parabiblischem Material zu ersetzen. So ist die höfische Geschichte von Serubbabel, aber auch der Einschub der Esternovelle am Ende des 5. Jahrhunderts zu erklären. Die Kontouren des Bildes sind neu gezeichnet, die Farben aufgefrischt: Die bekannten Hauptfiguren der Geschichte wie Kyros, Serubbabel und Esra sind zwar nicht neu, erscheinen nun aber neu profiliert. Dadurch verändert sich auch die Geschichte selbst ein wenig: Es handelt sich zwar um die Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes, und der Duktus dieser Geschichte wird vom Gott der Juden bestimmt. Doch diese Geschichte ist Teil der universalen Weltgeschichte geworden.

Bibliographie Ackroyd, Peter R. Exile and Restoration. London: SCM Press, 1968. Albertz, Rainer. Die Exilszeit. 6. Jahrhundert v. Chr. BE 7. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2001. Bergsma, John S. The Jubilee from Leviticus to Qumran. A History of Interpretation. VTSup 115. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2007. Briant, Pierre. From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2002. Brutti, Maria. The Development of High Priesthood during the Pre-Hasmonean Period: History, Ideology, Theology. JSJSup 108. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2006. Feldman, Louis H. Studies in Josephus’ Rewritten Bible. JSJSup 58. Leiden – Boston – Köln: Brill, 1998. Galling, Kurt. Die Bücher des Chronik, Esra, Nehemia. ATD 12. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1954. Galling, Kurt. Studien zur Geschichte Israels im persischen Zeitalter. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (P. Siebeck), 1964.

Wir stehen im Einklang mit Masons Schlussfolgerungen: Die Darstellung des Wiederaufbaus von Juda ist nicht polemisch, richtet sich weder gegen Diasporajuden noch gegen Rom noch gegen die Rabbinen, sondern sie ist eine umfassende Geschichtsschreibung, die die Geschichte, das Gesetz und die Kultur der Juden für alle interessierten Leute erzählt (vgl. Mason, „Aim and Audience,“ 101). Nur möchten wir hinzufügen, dass in unserem spezifischen Fall die Konstruktion einer kontinuierlichen, lückenlosen und überzeugenden Geschichtserzählung keineswegs selbstverständlich war – sie ist die große Leistung eines Historikers, der seinem Fach sowie seinen Lesern verbunden war.

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Grabbe, Lester L. Ezra–Nehemiah. OTR. London – New York: Routledge, 1998. Hjelm, Ingrid. The Samaritans and Early Judaism: A Literary Analysis. JSOTSup 303. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000. Kartveit, Magnar. The Origin of the Samaritans. VTSup 128. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2008. Knoppers, Gary N. “Nehemiah and Sanballat: The Enemy Without or Within?” In Judah and the Judeans in the Fourth Century B.C.E., hg. v. Oded Lipschits – Gary N. Knoppers – Rainer Albertz, 305–31. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2007. Knoppers, Garry N. – Grabbe, Lester L. – Fulton, Deirdre N., Hg. Exile and Restoration Revisited: Essays on the Babylonian and Persian Periods in Memory of Peter R. Ackroyd. LSTS 73. London – New York: T&T Clark, 2009. Mason, Steve. “‘Should any Wish to Enquire Further’ (Ant. 1.25): The Aim and Audience of Josephus’s Judean Antiquities/Life.” In Understanding Josephus. Seven Perspectives, hg. v. Steve Mason, 64–103. JSPSup 32. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998. Myers, Jacob M. I and II Esdras. AB. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974. Rajak, Tessa. “The Sense of History in Jewish Intertestamental Writing.” In The Jewish Dialogue with Greece and Rome: Studies in Social and Cultural Interactions, hg. v. Tessa Rajak, 11–37. AGJU 48. Leiden – Boston – Köln: Brill, 2001. Williamson, Hugh G. M. Ezra, Nehemiah, WBC 16. Waco: Word Books, 1985. Williamson, Hugh G. M. “The Historical Value of Josephus‘ Jewish Antiquities xi 297–301.” In Studies in Persian Period History and Historiography, hg. v. Hugh G. M. Williamson, 74–89. FAT 38. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004. Wills, Lawrence Mitchell. The Jew in the Court of the Foreign King: Ancient Jewish Court Legends. HDR 26. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.

Carson Bay

The Greek Semantics of War and Peace: Between εἰρήνη and πόλεμος in Flavius Josephus 1 Introduction By the numbers, Josephus’ writings appear deeply committed to the theme of war, as opposed to peace: the noun πόλεμος appears a whopping 539 times across Josephus’ corpus, while its erstwhile antonym εἰρήνη shows up a comparatively meager 106 times.1 This thematic imbalance appears to loom even larger when one accounts for the relative verbs: while Josephus uses the verb εἰρηνεύω a grand total of 8 times, he employs πολεμέω 243 times – within Josephus’ Greek prose, subjects “make war” or “fight” thirty times as often as they “make peace” or “pacify,” to judge by these twin terms alone.2 But of course, such a judgment stands on shaky ground. The relative use of terminology tells us precious little about an author in and of itself. Were we to assess Josephus’ literary bellicosity, as it were, by his use of adjectives, we would in fact reach a different conclusion than that implied above: Εἰρηνικός, “peaceful,” appears almost as often as πολεμικός, “bellicose,” within Josephus’ oeuvre (18x to 23x respectively), and more often, in fact, in the Jewish War (11x to 9x).3 But language does not work such that we can simply count words and come to equally simple conclusions. There is no one-to-one correlation between vocabulary and meaning, and the lexical register of any language, Greek’s included, submits not easily to dichotomies. Rather, in doing interpretive lexicography, much nuance is involved. For that reason, the present essay does not lean heavily upon the quantitative textual data presented above. Instead, it begins with the more modest hypothesis that πόλεμος and εἰρήνη are good places to start in looking to ascertain at a basic level how Josephus conceived of, or at least expressed, ideas concerning ‘war’

 Rengstorf, Concordance, 3:457–61; 2:35–36 respectively. These numbers are complicated to a very limited extent by textual variants.  Rengstorf, Concordance, 2:35; 3:450–52. πολεμέω appears 76x in Bel., 153x in Ant., 9x in Vita, 5x in C.Ap., εἰρηνεύω appears 2x in Bel., 4x in Ant. (3x in Book 20 alone), 2x in Vita.  Rengstorf, Concordance, 2:36; 3:452. See appendix for book-by-book and work-by-work numerical data for εἰρήνη, πόλεμος, εἰρηνικός, πολεμικός.


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and ‘peace.’4 But even here, we need to narrow the field. To do this, the present essay will first constrain its analysis to Josephus’ Jewish War. Then it restricts itself to analyzing instances in Josephus’ Greek where the anarthrous genitive singular appears – i.e., πολέμου or εἰρήνης sans article – attached to a noun, often abstract, so as to communicate an assumed attribute or aspect of war or peace. Such a filter presents us with a field of realities that Josephus the author (and, indeed, the warrior) thought of as part of war, or peace, or both. The linguistic cue represented by the lack of the definite article suggests that, perhaps, Josephus considers these entities as features of war and/or peace per se, not as accidents of the war under discussion. By isolating this aspect of Josephus’ language, we come to appreciate a few things about Josephus’ thought at a finer level of detail, as I argue in the conclusion, after surveying the pertinent passages.

2 Readings in πολέμου from Josephus’ Jewish War Josephus attaches nine different nouns to πολέμου across Bel. in ways that betray aspects of war that are features of his thinking.5 Mundane though many of them may seem, singly and together they have something to tell us about Josephus’ conceptualization of war as such.

2.1 κακὰ πολέμου at Bel. 1.304 Here Josephus records how Herod, having taken Sepphoris in the winter of 39–38 BCE, began to fight against the “cave-dwelling brigands” in that area who were “inflicting nothing less than the evils of war upon the inhabitants of the region (οὐκ ἐλάττω κακὰ πολέμου διετίθεσαν τοὺς ἐπιχωρίους).”6 Straddling the line between abstract and concrete noun, one can easily guess what the “evils” (κακὰ)

 For parallels between Josephus’ use of εἰρήνη and those of early and late classical authors, see Faber van der Meulen, Das Salomo-Bild im hellenistisch-jüdischen Schrifttum; as per Feldman, Josephus and Modern Scholarship, 808, 813.  I have not included here Bel. 6.146, in which Josephus describes a battle at Jerusalem as being “like some theatrical production of war” – ὥσπερ τι πολέμου θέατρον: Thackeray, Josephus, 3:220–21, as this seems to me to be less than abstract; however, it does connote something of how Josephus conceives of war (i.e., as something that is reproducible on a different scale for purposes of entertainment).  Greek here and hereafter from Thackeray, Josephus, 1:142, whose English translations are also consulted.

The Greek Semantics of War and Peace


here would be: pillage, rape, murder, destruction.7 Josephus understands such evils as a class to constitute standard features of war.

2.2 ῥοπή (ῥοπαί) πολέμου at Bel. 2.52, 4.399, 5.60 At Bel. 2.52 Josephus casts the royal Roman commanders Rufus (cavalry) and Gratus (infantry) as being so competent that, even without his army, either man “was through bravery and acumen a deciding factor in battle” (δι᾽ ἀλκὴν καὶ σύνεσιν ἦν πολέμου ῥοπή).8 Later, at Bel. 4.399, he describes Masada as having been built specifically for the safekeeping of persons and property “during the vicissitudes of war” (ἐν πολέμου ῥοπαῖς).9 At Bel. 5.60, Josephus depicts a scene in which Titus, stranded in a battle outside Jerusalem’s walls, perilously cuts his way through enemy lines. His safety seems a miracle. Thus Josephus proffers a proverb whereby “the hazards of war and the perils of princes are under God’s care” (καὶ πολέμων ῥοπαὶ καὶ βασιλέων κίνδυνοι μέλονται θεῷ).10 Here, though πόλεμος is in the plural, Josephus once more nods to another truism of war, or battle: namely, that it involves turning points and decisive factors that tip the balance.

2.3 νόμος πολέμου at Bel. 2.90, 4.260, 4.388, 5.332 (6.239), 6.353 This is the most intriguing construction that Josephus employs with πολέμου, resonating with other abstract ‘laws’ that Josephus cites, such as the “law of history” (νόμος ἱστορίας) and the “law of nature” (νόμος φύσεως).11 By νόμος πολέμου

 In the case of Bel. 1.304 and following, see Klawans, Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism, 131.  Thackeray, Josephus, 1:342–43 translates ἦν πολέμου ῥοπή as “was worth an army,” with the footnote: “Literally, ‘sufficient to turn the scale of war,’” which actually is not so literal a rendering. Much better is S. Mason’s translation: “a deciding factor in war” (Mason, Judean War 2, 37); or per footnote 323: “one who tipped the scales of war.” S. Mason also mentions the other uses of ῥοπή like this, noting that “the syntax is not entirely clear” and citing Isocrates, Pan. 50.3; Diodorus, Bib. 14.21.2; 17.8.7; Rhetorica Anonyma, Progymnasmata 1.607; Oenomaus, Frag. 6.63; Dio, Hist. 50.19.5.  Thackeray, Josephus, 2:272–72. S. Mason has: “in the turns of war.” (Mason, Judean War 4, 184).  Thackeray, Josephus, 3:20–21.  On the “law of history” see Price, “Josephus and the ‘Law of History’: A Note” and Bel. 1.11; 5.20; on the “law(s) of nature” see Bay, “Not ‘Natural Law’” and Bel. 3.370; 3.374; 4.382; Ant. 4.323; 17.95.


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Josephus refers to general tendencies or universal norms that characterize human decision-making and motivation in times of war.12 Steve Mason describes Josephus’ “law of war” as having “two main senses,” namely 1) “a special set of norms that justify, in the extreme context of conflict what would otherwise be barbaric behavior” and 2) “a set of minimal constraints even in extreme circumstances”.13 At Bel. 2.90 Josephus is describing Archelaus’ assumption of rule over Judea after his father Herod, a reign which he inaugurated by massacring 3,000 Judeans around the Temple at a festival (2.89). Josephus then says that those who survived this disaster desired to “turn toward their circumstances” and “take their beatings” “according to a law of war” (πολέμου νόμῳ);14 the implication is that it is natural for oppressed peoples to draw the line somewhere, at which point they will take corrective action, accepting their fate and moving through it. Somewhat different is Bel. 4.260, where the chief priest Jesus addresses the Idumean troops arrived in Jerusalem and describes a city torn apart by brigands. He tells them: “it is allowed to you to enter in, though not by a law of war (μὴ πολέμου νόμῳ), so as to see the proofs of the things which have been said”.15 The suggestion is that there is a ‘law’ that justifies soldiers’ entry into a city – i.e., if they have defeated or besieged that city – but that this is not how the Idumeans would enter Jerusalem; they were being invited in as witnesses (and, hopefully, as helpers), not as conquerors. At Bel. 4.388 Josephus is describing the turmoil within Jerusalem and around the Temple in terms of prophecy fulfilled by the evil machinations of the Zealots (4.386–87). To specify the oracles being confirmed, he states that “there was an ancient saying of inspired men that the city would be taken and the sanctuary burnt to the ground by a law of war (νόμῳ πολέμου)” whenever civil war and native sedition rose up within it.16 Here Josephus repeats the age-old truism that it is the prerogative of conquerors of a city to raze it to the ground. The same ‘right’ is cited at Bel. 5.332, where Caesar has breached a wall of Jerusalem and Josephus says that he could have, but did not, “by a law of war followed up his entry by sacking what he had captured” (πολέμου νόμῳ παρελθὼν ἐπόρθει τὸ  Mason states that, while the phrase “is well attested before and after Josephus . . . Josephus is its biggest known user.” (Mason, Judean War 2, 60). He also cites Bel. 3.363, not included in our list because of its syntax, part of Josephus’ speech contra suicide, in which “by the law of war one should die only by a conqueror’s hand” (Mason, Judean War 4, 60, n. 543). See also Bel. 6.346; Ant. 1.315; 6.69; 9.58; 12.274; 14.304; 15.157.  Mason, Judean War 2, 60, n. 543; cf. Mason, Judean War 4, 135, n. 1084; 179, n. 1598. S. Mason suggests that Livy’s use of ius belli in Ab urbe 1.1.1 may have influenced Josephus’ usage here.  Thackeray, Josephus, 1:356–57.  Thackeray, Josephus, 2:234–35.  Thackeray, Josephus, 2:268–69.

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ληφθέν).17 At Bel. 6.239, Josephus in fact qualifies this law as the law of war: as Titus consults with his commanders about what to do with Jerusalem’s Temple, “some were of the opinion that the law of war should be enforced” (τοῖς μὲν οὖν ἐδόκει χρῆσθαι τῷ τοῦ πολέμου νόμῳ).18 Josephus immediately clarifies what is meant: these commanders opined that, as long as the Temple stood, the Jews would resist Roman power; the “law of war” to be enforced, therefore, was the decomposition of the Temple, legislated by the unwritten rule of military conflict that victors may – indeed, perhaps should or even must – destroy the places they have overcome. Bel. 6.353 marks a turning point in Titus’ policies – here he vows that “all his actions henceforth would be governed by the law of war” (πάντα γὰρ αὐτὸς ἤδη πράξειν πολέμου νόμῳ);19 that is, Titus would no longer spare the resisting city and people, but would stamp them out. The next lines find his troops burning and sacking the city. In sum, Josephus conceives of ‘laws of war’ that, taken together, refer to justified and/or expected collective behaviors that predict or prescribe wartime norms.

2.4 πεῖρα πολέμου at Bel. 3.41 At Bel. 3.41 Josephus describes the two Galilees as regions that “always held out against every attempt of war” (πρὸς πᾶσαν ἀεὶ πολέμου πεῖραν ἀντέσχον).20 Josephus conceives of war as something that is waged, attempted, tried by one party: πόλεμοι are privy to πειραί.

2.5 ἀπειλή πολέμου at Bel. 3.307 Bel. 3.307 describes the Samaritans (Σαμαρεῖς) atop Mt. Garizim banding together and contemplating revolt against Rome. Josephus says that their gathering thus (σύνοδος) and their attitude (τὰ φρονήματα) “held a threat of war” (πολέμου δ᾽ εἶχεν ἀπειλὴν).21 The notion of ἀπειλή, often “boast” or “promise,” shows that Josephus considers war not only something actively initiated, but also theoretically contemplated or portended.

    

Thackeray, Josephus, 3:106–07. Thackeray, Josephus, 3:246–47. Thackeray, Josephus, 3:280–81. Thackeray, Josephus, 2:14–15. Thackeray, Josephus, 2:90–91.


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2.6 μοῖρα πολέμου at Bel. 4.86 At Bel. 4.86, the residents of Gischala are under the influence of John and his rebel compadres. For this reason, per Thackeray’s translation, “the townsfolk . . . now awaited the Roman onset in an attitude of defiance” (τὸ δημοτικὸν ἐν πολεμίου μοίρᾳ τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἔφοδον ἐξεδέχετο).22 Yet, as Thackeray notes, πολεμίου is here a conjecture based upon a phrase used by Demosthenes.23 The manuscripts read πολέμου.24 If we read ἐν πολέμου μοίρᾳ, we could read these townsfolk awaiting the Romans “in array for war,” or “in a place of war,” or “on a part of the war,”25 reading μοίρα as “division” or “portion;”26 or we could understand them as awaiting, or as waiting while caught within, the “fate of war,”27 reading μοίρα as “lot, fate, destiny, luck, chance.”28 William Whiston, and the ancient Latin translator of Bel., preferred the former.29 Following these authorities, we see in Bel. 4.86 the idea that there is a certain posture or formation (or place) that is appropriate for war; alternatively we could identify the idea that war relies upon chance. It seems likely that Josephus would have held both views to be common sense.

 Thackeray, Josephus, 2:182–83.  Demosthenes, Adv. Arist. (23.61) asks rhetorically why he cannot defend himself against someone plundering his property “as though I were an enemy” (ἐν πολεμίου μοίρᾳ). Other instances of ἐν μοίρᾳ + genitive appear in Ps-Plutarch’s Educ. 9 (ὡς ἐν φαρμάκου μοίρᾳ = “like a drug”) and Plato Phileb. 54c (ἐν τῇ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ μοίρᾳ ἐκεῖνό ἐστι = “this belongs in the class of the good”) and Lucian Zeux. 2 (ὥσπερ ἐν προσθήκης μοίρᾳ = “as a kind of supplement”).  Niese, De Bello Iudaico Libros VII, 358.  At Bel. 3.504 μοῖρα τοῦ πολέμου refers to “a portion of the [Roman-Jewish] war” (Thackeray, Josephus, 2:144–45).  Mason has: “was . . . awaiting the Romans’ approach as part of a war” (Mason, Judean War 4, 55).  That Josephus holds such a concept could be inferred from his well-known use of τύχη, applied to war directly at Bel. 7.115, where Josephus reports on how residents of Jerusalem had buried their goods within the city “given the uncertain fortunes of the war” (πρὸς τὰς ἀδήλους τοῦ πολέμου τύχας – Thackeray, Josephus, 3:340–41).  At Bel. 3.340 μοῖρα τοῦ πολέμου refers to “the fate of the [Roman-Jewish] war” (Thackeray, Josephus, 2: 98–99).  “. . . the populace [. . .] waited for the coming of the Romans in battle array.” (Whiston, The Genuine Works of Flavius Josephus, 2:332). The Latin of Bel. 4.86 reads Romanorum tamencongressum in parte belli praestolabatur (from Wolfenbüttel Cod. Guelf. 23 Weiss., saec. IX, fol. 82v, one of the earliest extant Latin Bel. manuscripts).

The Greek Semantics of War and Peace


2.7 ἔργα πολέμου at Bel. 4.347 At Bel. 4.347 the Judean factionalists who were supposed to be defending Jerusalem are portrayed as “perpetrators of acts of war and despotism” (καὶ πολέμου καὶ τυραννίδος ἔργα τολμῶντας).30 By collocating πόλεμος and τυραννίς as categories representing different types of ἔργα, Josephus nods to a taxonomy of unsavory deeds, the kinds he has been describing in his narrative up to this point (all manner of violence, injustice, theft, etc.). For Josephus, ἔργα πολέμου refer to irregular enormities characterized by violent action against others.

2.8 φήμη πολέμου at Bel. 4.592 At Bel. 4.592 Vespasian’s soldiers, during the course of discussions that will lead to their declaring him emperor a short time later (4.601), denigrate their fellow Roman soldiers currently resident at Rome as those “who cannot bear to hear even a rumor of war” (μηδ᾽ ἀκούειν πολέμου φήμην ὑπομένοντες).31 Used sarcastically, this phrase carries the idea of the report of war heard about from afar, an idea postulated more specifically (with definite articles) in Bel. 2.187,32 and more famously by Jesus in two texts roughly contemporaneous with Josephus: the Gospels of Mark and Matthew.33

2.9 ἐπίνοια πολέμου at Bel. 7.228 At Bel. 7.228 Josephus relates how Antiochus, King of Commagene, left his country rather than oppose Rome, never having even entertained the idea of war with Rome (πολέμου [. . .] ἐπίνοιαν πρὸς Ῥωμαίους).34 The ἐπίνοια πολέμου is a purely conceptual reality, a thought that exists in one’s mind.

 Thackeray, Josephus, 2:258–59.  Thackeray, Josephus, 2:330–31.  Bel. 2.187: “Among the Jews, some put no belief in the rumors about the war” – Ἰουδαίων δὲ οἱ μὲν ἠπίστουν ἐπὶ ταῖς τοῦ πολέμου φήμαις (Thackeray, Josephus, 1:394–97, emphases mine).  Both Mark 13:7 and Matt 24:6 have Jesus addressing his hearers by saying that they will hear “of wars and rumors of wars” (πολέμους καὶ ἀκοὰς πολέμων).  Thackeray, Josephus, 3:236–37.


Carson Bay

3 Readings in εἰρήνης from Josephus’ Jewish War A survey of εἰρήνης reveals no notions that truly fit within our parameters, unlike with πολέμου. As we will see, the nouns attached to εἰρήνης are not abstract, on the order of νόμος πολέμου (e.g.); even so, they are few in number.

3.1 ὑπουργοί εἰρήνης at Bel. 2.135 In Bel. 2.120–61, Josephus famously defines the Judean sect of the Essenes (Ἐσσηνοὶ) and their pious habits of life and community. At Bel. 2.135, he identifies this class of people as “masters over anger, champions of fidelity, ministers of peace” (θυμοῦ καθεκτικοί, πίστεως προστάται, εἰρήνης ὑπουργοί).35 Peace is something which, by supporting it, becomes a defining feature of particular groups.36

3.2 ἐπιθυμοῦντες εἰρήνης at Bel. 2.338, 4.131 Slightly different are those described as “desirers of peace” at Bel. 2.338. Here landholders are not necessarily active proponents of peace, but rather those who simply wish it for the sake of their interests.37 At Bel. 4.131 enthusiasts for peace are juxtaposed to those zealous for the war: “there was fierce contention on the part of the lovers of [the] war toward those desirous of peace” (ἦν δὲ τῶν ἐρώντων τοῦ πολέμου πρὸς τοὺς ἐπιθυμοῦντας εἰρήνης ἔρις χαλεπή).38 Such a divide is portrayed as having erupted into civil discord in every Judean city. Those yearning for peace, therefore – and ἐπιθυμία is a strong affect in Greek emotion language – are counterbalanced by those who are for war.39

 Thackeray, Josephus, 1:374–75.  As ministers of peace, the Essenes represent the polar opposite of the factional groups whom Josephus sees as responsible for Jerusalem’s and Judea’s downfall (Mason, Judean War 2, 109, n. 840). The Essenes thus also seem to be distinguished from the (or a) group represented at Qumran (Gottstein, “Anti-Essene Traits in the Dead Sea Scrolls”).  See Mason, Judean War 2, 261, n. 2128.  Thackeray, Josephus, 2:196–97.  The note of S. Mason is worth quoting here: “Longing for peace (ἐπιθυμέω εἰρήνης) was something of a cliché, found in Thucydides, Isocrates, Andocides, Xenophon, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Polybius, Diodorus, and Dionysius, before Josephus uses it 3 times, though only in War (also 2.338; 3.448). His contrast here is artful. Both verbs connote strong desire, but passion for war – ἐράω (τοῦ πολέμου) – suggests a self-serving passion and is more obviously sexual, whereas

The Greek Semantics of War and Peace


3.3 ἀσφάλεια εἰρήνης at Bel. 4.596 During the same conversation held by Vespasian’s soldiers as mentioned above – a discussion of discontent that would issue in Vespasian’s being proclaimed emperor – the idea is put forward that a legitimate succession to the throne carries with it “the best guarantee of peace” (μέγιστον γὰρ δὴ πρὸς ἀσφάλειαν εἰρήνης εἶναι τὰς γνησίους τῶν βασιλέων διαδοκάς).40 Peace, then, is something that can be given a guarantee or security (ἀσφάλεια) in Josephus’ mind.

4 Conclusion The above may strike the reader as a list of unforgivably mundane truisms, the listing of which is irredeemably banal. On the contrary: I propose that this survey can tell us several things about Josephus’ thinking on war and peace, at least insofar as these are discernible from Bel. First, according to the syntactical measures we set, Josephus has more to say about conceptual realities related to war than those related to peace. In fact, the latter is almost non-existent in the Greek language of Bel. On the other hand, nonarticular εἰρήνης is attached to two different types of adherents (ὑπουργοί, ἐπιθυμοῦντες). For Josephus, while peace is something that has supporters and seekers, and which can be given a guarantee, war is an entity that is privy to evils, turning points, laws, attempts, threat, arrangement, certain acts, rumor, and thought or intention. Josephus’ “war” is a highly contingent and volatile, yet moderately predictable, entity. Is the prevalence of “war” abstraction simply a feature of Josephus’ Greek syntax (or Greek syntax more generally), or does it point to certain emphases or trends within Josephus’ own writing and thinking about war and peace? At the very least, Josephus’ use of the unarticulated genitives of εἰρήνη and πόλεμος betrays a more sophisticated imagination of abstractions related to war than related to peace. To conclude, I suggest that this short chapter has shown how (a feature of) Josephus’ language points to a larger characteristic of his writing: namely, Josephus wrote, and probably thought, primarily about regions and periods and peoples characterized by war, conflict, and violence, not peace. While peace is a natural part of such conversations, it was seldom descriptive of the reality on the

ἐπιθυμέω (εἰρήνης) applies to a wider range of objects including the political, philosophical, and noble.” (Mason, Judean War 4, 73, n. 510).  Thackeray, Josephus, 2:332–33.


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ground to which Josephus’ prose addressed itself. Rather, Josephus wrote about war, in particular about what would have appeared to his mind to constitute the war, and his abstract vocabulary, at least by certain syntactical measures, mirrors this fact. Writing just half a decade after the fact, Josephus the author, looking back upon the rubble of his nation and recalling the details of its downfall, did not have his mind set on peace – ironic, perhaps, for a man who spent the last decades of his life in considerable peace at Rome. Instead, Josephus the scribe, once Josephus the general, had his writerly mind set on war.

Appendix: εἰρήνη and πόλεμος in Josephus’ Writings by the Numbers Antiquitates 

   

εἰρήνη πόλεμος εἰρηνικός πολεμικός

   

   

   

            Total

                       

   

                       

       

       

   



Contra Apionem



εἰρήνη πόλεμος εἰρηνικός πολεμικός

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

εἰρήνη πόλεμος εἰρηνικός πολεμικός

   

   

   

εἰρήνη πόλεμος εἰρηνικός πολεμικός

   

Bibliography Bay, Carson. “Not ‘Natural Law’: [The] Law(s) of Nature ([ὁ/οἱ] νόμος/νόμοι φύσεως) in Flavius Josephus.” JSIJ 22 (2022): 1–41. Faber van der Meulen, Harry E. Das Salomo-Bild im hellenistisch-jüdischen Schrifttum. Doctoral Dissertation. Kampen: Theologische Universiteit Kampen, the Netherlands, 1978. Feldman, Louis H. Josephus and Modern Scholarship (1937–1980). Berlin: De Gruyter, 1984. Gottstein, Moshe H. “Anti-Essene Traits in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” VT 4 (1954): 141–47. Klawans, Jonathan. Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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Mason, Steve. Flavius Josephus, Translation and Commentary. Vol. 1b, Judean War 2. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2008. Mason, Steve. Flavius Josephus, Translation and Commentary. Vol. 2a, Judean War 4. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2022. Niese, Benedict. Flavii Iosephi Opera. Vol. 6, De Bello Iudaico Libros VII. Berlin: Weidmanns, 1955. Price, Jonathan J. “Josephus and the ‘Law of History’: A Note.” In When West Met East: The Encounter of Greece and Rome with the Jews, Egyptians, and Others, edited by David Schaps et al., 8–20. Trieste: Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016. Rengstorf, Karl Heinrich. A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus. Vol. 1–4. Leiden: Brill, 1973–1994. Thackeray, Henry St. J. Josephus: The Jewish War. Vol. 1–3. LCL. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997 (orig. 1927–1928). Whiston, William. The Genuine Works of Flavius Josephus. Revised and Illustrated. Vol. 1–2. Philadelphia: J. Grigg, 1829.

Martin Meiser

Στάσις und ὄχλος in der Geschichtsschreibung bei Josephus Die Beschreibung der Geschichte Israels von den biblisch gegebenen Anfängen bis zur eigenen Zeit impliziert immer auch ein Urteil des durchaus selbstbewussten Historikers Flavius Josephus zu Recht oder Unrecht militärischer Gewaltanwendung. Jüdische Identität, immer wieder als von außen im physischen Sinne bedroht wahrgenommen, lässt einfache, neuzeitlichem Pazifismus geschuldete Schematisierungen eher als Kontrastfolie denn als Leitlinie der Geschichtsschreibung des Josephus erwarten. Für die präzise Erfassung der Beschreibung des Volksverhaltens durch Josephus sind – damit ist auch die Gliederung des folgenden Beitrages vorgegeben – zunächst terminologische Klärungen erforderlich, sodann der Blick auf die Beurteilung des Volksverhaltens in der griechisch-römischen Antike einerseits, im Alten Testament und antiken Judentum andererseits. Die These dieses Beitrages sei vorweggenommen: Terminologie und Konzept von στάσις und ὄχλος begegnen bei Josephus da, wo er sich vom Verhalten des Volkes, auch der jüdischen Volksmasse distanziert und dieses nur als Aufruhr zu beurteilen vermag; da hingegen, wo Josephus das Verhalten des Volkes – auch in Kriegszeiten – als im Einlag mit der Thora befindlich kennzeichnen will, treten Terminologie und Konzept von στάσις und ὄχλος zurück.1

 Für στάσις vgl. immerhin Ant. 15,291; 17,167; 20,115. 117, für ἀνάστασις vgl. Ant. 18,275, für ἀπόστασις vgl. Bel. 2,291; für ἐπανίσταμαι vgl. Ant. 17,148; für ὄχλος vgl. Ant. 15,267; 17,156. Doch sind nicht alle diese neun Gegenbelege vom gleichen Gewicht: Ant. 15,291 ist Befürchtung des Herodes, nicht Bewertung des Josephus (der in Ant. 15,281 geschilderte Mordanschlag wird von Josephus nicht kommentiert!); Ant. 18,275 ist zu erwartende Bewertung durch Caligula; Bel. 2,291 ist durch das gespaltene Verhalten des Volkes (Bel. 2,290) motiviert, Ant. 20,105. 117 durch den Ungehorsam des Volkes gegenüber dem einsichtigen Cumanus (Ant. 20,110). ὄχλος steht in Ant. 15,267 in dem Halbsatz „Da nun alles, was das Volk früher zur Frömmigkeit hinleitete“ (ὅσα [. . .] ἐπὶ τὴν εὐσέβειαν ἦγε τοὺς ὄχλους) bewusst, um die Einführung nichtjüdischer Gebräuche durch Herodes in ein umso schlechteres Licht zu stellen, in Ant. 17,156 zur Charakterisierung der jugendlichen Empörer, die sich bei der Ankunft der Soldaten nicht sofort zurückziehen – ein taktischer Fehler, aber kein moralisches Vergehen! Schwierig bleiben die Belege Ant. 17,148 (ἐπανίσταμαι); 17,167 (στάσις), die sich auf eine Empörung zur Verteidigung der väterlichen Gesetze beziehen und sich nicht als Fremdbewertungen erweisen lassen; ob die Zeichnung der beiden Gesetzeslehrer als „Sophisten“ (Ant. 17,152) und Demagogen (Ant. 17,155) die Anwendung der πολλοί-Antithese veranlasst hat? Das Koinzidenzprodigium (Ant. 17,167) zeigt jedoch, dass Josephus diese Hinrichtung missbilligt, wie auch die Schilderung der fortschreitenden Erkrankung des Herodes nach dem


Martin Meiser

1 Das semantische Feld „Volk/Volksmenge“ Für griechisch-römische Literatur gilt in der Regel: Die Menge wird mit δῆμος vorwiegend als politischer Faktor, mit δῆμος und πλῆθος / οἱ πολλοί im Gegensatz zu den Wenigen, mit ὄχλος in ihrem hierarchisch niedrigen Rang oder in ihrem pöbelhaften Verhalten bezeichnet; ein die πόλις übergreifendes Staatsvolk als Größe der Geschichtsbetrachtung heißt ἔθνος. Am ehesten ein negatives Profil hat der Begriff ὄχλος; er begegnet nie als Identifikationsbegriff seitens der Unterschicht selbst, sondern ist eine Fremdbezeichnung seitens der auf gute Sitte bedachten, politisch reflektierenden und philosophisch gebildeten Oberschicht, mit dem sie sich von Existenzverständnis und Lebensvollzug der Volksmassen betont abgrenzt. Es zeigt sich weiter, dass die Begriffe δῆμος, πλῆθος und οἱ πολλοί durchaus die negativen Konnotationen des Begriffes ὄχλος annehmen, während ὄχλος nie an den neutralen oder positiven Konnotationen partizipiert. In der Septuaginta begegnet häufig, wenngleich nicht durchgehend die bekannte Unterscheidung von λαός, auf Israel bezogen,2 und ἔθνη. Sie ist für die hier verfolgte Fragestellung insofern von Belang, als bei Josephus λαός und στάσις kaum im selben Zusammenhang begegnen.

2 Die Volksmenge in der Beurteilung griechisch-römischer Eliten Die Volksmenge wird, wenn auf die Unterscheidung von dem Herrscher geblickt wird, der ihr gegenüber auch Pflichten hat, vorwiegend mit δῆμος und πλῆθος bezeichnet. Da wo sie als Element politischer Instabilität gilt, überwiegt der Begriff ὄχλος.

Motiv „Tod des Gottesverächters“ (Ant. 17,168–70; zu dem Motiv vgl. Nestle, „Legenden,“ passim; für biblische Beispiele vgl. 2Makk 9,5–12; Apg 12,23) eine uneingeschränkt positive Stellungnahme des Josephus zu Herodes d. Gr. wenig wahrscheinlich macht. Ausnahmen sind ferner Ant. 7,86; 7,318; 8,215 für die Begriffe λαός und ὄχλος. Wahrscheinlich intendierte Josephus Abwechslung. Andernfalls müsste man für Ant. 7.138 zwischen λαός als Gottesvolk, πλῆθηος als der Menge und ὄχλος als der Volksmasse differenzieren, für Ant. 8,215 zwischendem ὄχλος als dem Gegenüber zum König und dem λαός wiederum als Gottesvolk. In Ant. 10,93 hat οἱ ὄχλοι vielleicht nicht an der üblichen Negativbewertung Anteil. Schlatter, Der Evangelist Matthäus, 128, verweist auf JSanh 29b als Parallele (‫ אכלסיא‬als Lehnwort).  Im außerjüdischen Sprachgebrauch bezeichnet der Begriff häufig ein Volk als Ganzes, aber auch das Volk im Gegenüber zu den Herrschenden (Strathmann, „λαός,“ 30–31).

Στάσις und ὄχλος in der Geschichtsschreibung bei Josephus


Für die Menge als instabilen Faktor unterscheiden wir im Folgenden zwischen der historischen und politischen Reflexion innerhalb der antiken Geschichtsschreibung,3 der sentenziösen Wiedergabe des Volksverhaltens und der Reflexion innerhalb der antiken Verfassungsdiskussion. Für Herodot und Xenophon hat Hannelore Edelmann die leichte Verführbarkeit des Volkes als zentrales Motiv herausgearbeitet,4 für Thukydides Unberechenbarkeit, Wankelmut, Egoismus und politische Inkonsequenz (2.65,4 [ὅμιλοι]). Nach Herodot konnte durch die Verführbarkeit der Volksmassen in Athen wie in Medien die Tyrannei eingeführt werden;5 Aristagoras von Milet kann die vielen Athener zum Krieg gegen Persien hetzen, was ihm bei dem Alleinherrscher, dem König Kleomenes in Sparta nicht gelungen war.6 Nach Thukydides führt die ungestüme Hartnäckigkeit des Volkes zur Nötigung gegen (äußerlich) unentschlossene Amtsbewerber,7 der Übermut des ὄχλος zu militärischen Fehlentscheidungen (Thukydides, 6,63,2). Xenophon berichtet von dem tumultuarischen Vorgehen der athenischen Volksmenge8 gegen sechs angeblich schuldige Feldherren, von dem Todesurteil und von der Reue über dieses Urteil, die die Forderung einschließt, die Verführer des δῆμος zu strafen.9 Nach Polybios ist die Volksherrschaft in Theben an der Heftigkeit und Bösartigkeit, in Athen an der Gewaltsamkeit und der ungezügelten Leidenschaft des regierenden ὄχλος zugrundegegangen10 und hat sich das Volk der Achaier durch den Demagogen Kritolaos in die endgültige Katastrophe hineintreiben lassen.11

 Zu Herodot, Thukydides und Xenophon vgl. Edelmann, „Volksmasse und Einzelpersönlichkeit,“ passim; zu Polybios vgl. Welwei, „Demokratie und Masse bei Polybios,“ passim.  Edelmann, „ Volksmasse und Einzelpersönlichkeit,“ 417, 423, 435.  Herodot, 1,59,5; 1,60,5 (δῆμος; von der List des Peisistratos erzählt auch Aristoteles (?), Staat der Athener 14,1,4); Herodot, 1,96,1 (οἱ δῆμοι).  Herodot, 5,97,1 (ὄχλος als Staatsorgan, πολλοί in der Antithese zu dem einen, der sich nicht täuschen lässt).  Thukydides, 4,28,3, mit dem Vermerk οἷον [. . .] ὄχλος φιλεῖ ποιεῖν.  Xenophon, Hell. 1,7,1–35, besonders 1,7,12–15. Es stehen dabei δῆμος und βουλή für die Volksversammlung als Organ (1,7,12. 34), πλῆθος und ὄχλος für die lärmende Volksmenge (1,7,12–13).  Xenophon, Hell. 1,7,35.  Polybios, 6,44,9 nennt ὀχύτης, πικρία, βίας, θυμός.  Neben der Aufhetzung durch Kritolaos erwähnt Polybios im Besonderen die Misshandlung einer römischen Gesandtschaft durch die ὄχλοι (Polybios, 38,17,2).


Martin Meiser

Gerade der Begriff ὄχλος bezeichnet das Tumultuarische12 und Pöbelhafte13 an der Volksmenge, ihre Neigung, sich von Demagogen aufhetzen zu lassen,14 ihre Bereitschaft zur besinnungslosen Gewalt.15 Was ὄχλος grundsätzlich ist, definiert Philo, Praem. 20: ὅτι [. . .] ἄτακτον, ἄκοσμον, πλημμελές, ὑπαίτιον, τοῦτο ὄχλος ἐστί (was ohne Ordnung, ohne Anstand, sündig und schuldbeladen ist, das ist Pöbel).16

3 Die Volksmenge in der Beurteilung alttestamentlicher und frühjüdischer Autoren In den Übersetzungsteilen der Septuaginta fehlt das Substantiv στάσις in der Bedeutung „Aufstand“ vollkommen; das Verbum ἀνιστάναι wird nur einmal in den Murr-Geschichten verwendet (Num 16,2), häufiger sind γογγύζειν und die dazugehörigen verba composita (Ex 16,2; 17,3; Num 11,1; 14,2; 17,6 etc.). Der Begriff ὄχλος wird in den Murrgeschichten und in darauf Bezug nehmenden Texten wie Ps 77 [78],15–40; 105[106],14–33; Ez 20,13.21 nie zur Bezeichnung der murrenden Volksmenge gebraucht. Insgesamt geht es nicht um den Gegensatz zu einem philosophisch orientierten Leben, sondern um die Selbstverweigerung gegenüber Gottes Gebot und der Autorität des Mose. Für die alttestamentliche und frühjüdische Geschichtsschreibung bedingt die Idee von der das Volksganze verpflichtenden Kraft der israelitischen Religion den entscheidenden Unterschied zur pagan-antiken πολλοί-Antithese. Die Autoren der Königsbücher und des Nehemiabuches verweisen zur Begründung nationaler Katastrophen unbeschadet der speziellen Verschuldung der Könige auf die Verschuldung des Volksganzen.17 Umgekehrt kann auch vom König eine Korrektur hin zur

 Bei Philo schwingt in den meisten der 60 Belege dieses Moment des Ungeordneten mit. Der Wechsel zwischen ὄχλος und πλῆθος bei Philo, MigrAbr. 60–61 zeigt, wie ὄχλος an der Menge den Aspekt der Unordnung, πλῆθος den der großen Zahl betonen kann. – Bei Herodian, 6,7,1 und Josephus, Bel. 3,475 wird eine Kriegsschar mit ὄχλος als ungeordnet einem στρατός gegenübergestellt.  Vgl. den Gebrauch von ὄχλος durch den ὀλιγαρχός bei Theophrast, Char. 26,3.  Polybios, 38,11,9; 38,12,11; 38,13,6.  Philo musste das an den antijüdischen Übergriffen des alexandrinischen ὄχλος selbst erleben, vgl. Philo, Flacc. 33, 41, 82, 95, 135; Legat. 120; vgl. auch Josephus, Vita 133, 149, 284.  Zu Philo von Alexandrias Haltung vgl. Meiser, Reaktion des Volkes, 46–47. Im Neuen Testament ist von dieser Haltung am ehesten Lukas geprägt, vgl. Lk 11,27–28; 12,13.54 und dazu Meiser, Reaktion des Volkes, 336–45.  Vgl. 1Kön 22,53; 2Kön 17,7–20.21–23 (Verschulden des Volkes insgesamt/Verschulden Jerobeams, unter dessen Einfluss das Volk sich versündigt); Neh 9,26 (vgl. Steck, Israel und das gewaltsame Geschick der Propheten, 60–65).

Στάσις und ὄχλος in der Geschichtsschreibung bei Josephus


rechten Gottesverehrung ausgehen oder wenigstens nachhaltig unterstützt werden (2Kön 23,1–27). Die Königsbücher kennen bereits die Stichworte der Verführung (ἐξωθεῖν [4Reg 17,21]; πλανᾶν [4Reg 21,9; 2Chr 33,9; zu dieser Terminologie vgl. Dtn 13,2–6]). und des Veranlassens zum Sündigen (ἐξαμαρτεῖν [3Reg 22,53: 4Reg 17,21]); im Chronistischen Geschichtswerk tritt die Bezeichnung der gottgemäßen Einflussnahme des Königs als „Bekehren“18 dazu. Wird von der Volksmenge auch bei anderen biblischen Schriftstellern mitunter eine akzeptable Reaktion erzählt, etwa die Reaktion des Dankes für die angekündigte oder geschehene Errettung durch Gott,19 so ist im Chronistischen Geschichtswerk neben dem Gehorsam des Thora-treuen Königs auch ein akzeptables Volksverhalten Teil jenes Programmes, Israel als geheiligte, an der Thora orientierte, von Priestern und Leviten geleitete Gemeinde darzustellen, die in Situationen der Gefahr wie der stattgehabten Verfehlung20 ähnlich wie aus erfreulichen Anlässen21 einmütig im Gottesdienst zu Gott betet und auch die äußeren Voraussetzungen dieser Frömmigkeit mitzutragen bereit ist22 – die Begriffe ὄχλος und πλῆθος u. a. werden promiscue verwendet; eine negative Nuancierung von ὄχλος liegt nicht vor. Mit der genannten Frömmigkeit soll sich der Leser identifizieren und sich so von dem in Neh 9,26 benannten Verhalten „der Väter“ distanzieren. In den Makkabäerbüchern wird στάσις nicht im Sinne von „Aufstand“ verwendet. Der Begriff ὄχλος ist in 1Makk 9,35; 2Makk 4,40 nicht negativ konnotiert, ebenso wenig in 2Makk 11,6; 3Makk 1,28: Das dort jeweils genannte Gebet um Hilfe seitens der ὄχλοι zeigt die äußerste Not der Lage.23 Das Zweite Makkabäerbuch ist hinsichtlich der Syntax eindeutig hellenistisch stilisiert; im Fall der Semantik von ὄχλος hingegen lässt sich solcher Einfluss nicht erkennen. Die Wirklichkeit der das Volksganze verpflichtenden Kraft der Religion Israels zeigt sich im zweiten Makkabäerbuch da, wo Israel als Ganzes ermahnt wird, aus einem strafenden Tat-Folge-Zusammenhang

 2Chr 19,4 (ἐπιστρέφειν). – Die Frömmigkeit eines Königs wird belohnt: Eine Menge aus Israel fällt Asa zu, weil er sich an Gott hält (2Chr 15,9: πολλοὶ τοῦ Ἰσραηλ).  Ex 4,31; 12,27; 14,31 (λαός). Vom Gehorsam des Volkes gegenüber den Weisungen zur Rast und zum Aufbruch vgl. Ex 40,34–38; Num 9,15–23, gegenüber anderen Anordnungen vgl. Ex 12,28; 35,20.29; Lev 24,23; Num 1,54; 8,20 (an allen diesen Stellen steht υἱοὶ Ἰσραηλ).  Vgl. 2Chr 20,1–19 (ἐκκλησία) bzw. 1Esdr 8,88 (ὄχλος, πλῆθος).  2Chr 29,28.31–32; 30,–25 (ἐκκλησία); 2Chr 29,36; 30, (λαός); 2Chr 30,5.17 (πλῆθος); 2Esdr 3,12; 1Esdr 5,62 (ὄχλος); vgl. auch 1Esdr 9,10.47 (πλῆθος).  2Chr 24,10 (λαός); 2Chr 31,3–7 (υἱοὶ Ἰσραηλ V. 5).  Ähnlich erwähnt Xenophon, Hell. 2,2,21 den ὄχλος, um die Bedeutsamkeit des im Folgenden Berichteten hervorzuheben.


Martin Meiser

die Konsequenzen zu ziehen (2Makk 12,42: πλῆθος), und im vierten Makkabäerbuch da, wo auch die Volksmenge die Erlasse zur Preisgabe der jüdischen Religion missachtet und deshalb von der Verfolgung betroffen ist (4Makk 4,26). In Pseudo-Philos Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, geschrieben nach der Tempelzerstörung, ist nicht der Tempel, sondern die Thora die entscheidende Heilsgabe Gottes an Israel, mit der Israel alles gegeben ist; der Ungehorsam gegenüber der Thora zieht in Geschichte und Gegenwart die Katastrophen des jüdischen Volkes nach sich, doch lässt der Gehorsam gegenüber der Thora die Hoffnung auf ein Eingreifen der unverbrüchlichen Treue Gottes zu seinem Volk erwachsen.24 Im Interesse dieser theologischen Konzeption wird die Richterzeit in den Bahnen des deuteronomistischen Schemas Abfall – Strafe – Bekehrung ausführlich nacherzählt, und in den Dienst dieser Konzeption wird auch die Zeichnung des Volksverhaltens gestellt. Der Gedanke der Bußfertigkeit des Volkes wird narrativ öfters eigenständig gestaltet.25 In dem neuerzählten Kenas-Zyklus (LAB. 25–29) ist das Volk damit einverstanden, als per Losverfahren die Sünder26 aus den einzelnen Stämmen ermittelt (LAB. 25,3) und die ermittelten Sünder getötet werden (LAB. 26,5); ebenso sind diejenigen, die anfangs gegen Kenas gemurrt hatten (LAB. 27,2), nach seinem Sieg mit ihrer Hinrichtung einverstanden und werden denn auch hingerichtet (LAB. 27,15). Auch das Bekenntnis des Volkes zu der Verheißungstreue Gottes in LAB. 21,927 fungiert in der Zeit Pseudo-Philos theologisch als Gerichtsdoxologie.28 So ist die Einsicht des Volkes in die Gerechtigkeit der Gerichte Gottes die angemessene Reaktion auf die Katastrophe von 70. n. Chr., und mit dieser Einsicht soll sich der Leser identifizieren.

 So Dietzfelbinger, Pseudo-Philo, 91. Dass das Volk insgesamt als Adressat des rettenden Handelns Gottes zu gelten hat, wird auch an dem erzählerischen Detail sichtbar, dass gemäß LAB. 32,1 abweichend von Ri 5,1 auch das Volk das Debora-Lied mitsingt.  In LAB. 39,7 wird das Bußgebet des Volkes aus Ri 10,11.15–16. repetiert.  Verführung zum Götzendienst (LAB. 34,1–5; 38,1; 44,5.7) schließt die Eigenverantwortlichkeit des verführten Subjektes nicht aus: Nach LAB. 47,7 wäre der Eifer des Pinchas gegen die Verführer zum Götzendienst angebracht gewesen, wie das Gleichnis LAB. 47,4–6 zeigt.  Der Passus ist Zusatz gegenüber Jos 8,30–35.  Ähnlich werden auch Episoden der Josua-Zeit nachgestaltet: Das »Weinen« als Bußgestus wird in die Nacherzählung von Jos 24 in LAB. 24,2 ebenso neu eingeführt wie – neben dem Fastenmotiv – in die Nacherzählung der Geschichte vom Altar im Jordan (Jos 22) in LAB. 22,7. Der Altar bleibt auch nicht wie in Jos 22,28 als Zeuge zwischen den zweieinhalb und den neuneinhalb Stämmen stehen, sondern wird auf Anordnung Josuas zerstört.

Στάσις und ὄχλος in der Geschichtsschreibung bei Josephus


4 Biblische und griechisch-römische Beurteilung der Volksmenge bei Josephus Auch Josephus ist insgesamt von der biblischen Sicht der das Volksganze Israels verpflichtenden Religion bestimmt;29 auch er kennt den theologischen Gebrauch des Begriffes λαός30 und kann das Einverständnis des Volkes mit guten Führungsgestalten positiv würdigen,31 während der Begriff ὄχλος bei ihm nicht selten in Negativcharakteristik erscheint32 und gelegentlich andere Ausdrücke der biblischen Vorlagen ersetzen kann.33 Josephus weiß, wie das Volk durch Verführungs- und Verstellungskünste zu Fehlentscheidungen und Fehleinschätzungen kommt,34 und bietet Beispiele dafür, dass die εὔνοια der Massen bei Aufrührern und potentiellen Herrschern Hoffnungen, bei Konkurrenten aber Neid und Gegenmaßnahmen erweckt.35

 Hatte früherer Josephus-Forschung Zweifel an der religiösen Einstellung des Josephus geäußert, erscheint die Frage mittlerweile in einem anderen Licht (Bilde, Josephus, 183–84). Auch für Josephus sind die Ideen der göttlichen Führung, des göttlichen Gesetzes, des Gehorsams Israels und der göttlichen Gerechtigkeit bindend, und insofern stimmt Josephus mit anderen zeitgenössischen Juden überein (Bilde, Josephus, 186).  Josephus vermeidet den Begriff λαός da, wo er in der LXX auf fremde Völker bezogen (vgl. Gen 41,55 [LXX] mit Ant. 2,94; Gen 47,21 [LXX] mit Ant. 2,192) oder von Israel in Erzählungen von kritikwürdigem Handeln der Volksmassen Israels verwendet wird (man vgl. Num 11,1.21 mit Ant. 3,295; ferner Num 13,30; 14,1.11 mit Ant. 3,306–16, dort πλῆθος). Auch in der Interpretation von Ant. 10,47–65 lässt sich diese Nuance finden, wenn in Ant. 10,61 λαός verwendet wird, um die Schwere der göttlichen Gerichtsankündigung emotional zu untermauern. Die Verpflichtung zum Gesetzesgehorsam wird in Ant. 10,63 in geraffter Wiedergabe der biblischen Vorgaben unmittelbar vom König auf den λαός das Volk übertragen (Begg, Josephus’ Account, 474 Anm. 133), um dem jüdischen Leser ein analoges Verhalten anzuempfehlen, dem römischen Leser klarzumachen, dass Israel im Idealfall seinem eigenen mos maiorum treu folgt.  Dass in der Wiedergabe der Berufung von Richtern und Amtleuten Ex 18 die charakterliche Einschätzung durch das Volk die Amtsträger qualifiziert, ist bei Josephus, Ant. 3,71 gegenüber Ex 18,21 neu. Vermerkt wird auch die Zustimmung des Volkes zu der Aussage Moses, dass Aaron aufgrund seiner Tugendhaftigkeit des Hohenpriesteramtes würdig ist (Ant. 3,188–89).  Kurz und treffend Feldman, Studies, 224: „ὄχλων, the keyword in Josephus’ denunciation of the masses.“  Ein Beispiel ist Ant. 10,103: ὄχλος (statt 2Chr 36,14 ὁ λαὸς τῆς γῆς) . . . ὕβριζεν ἃ ἤθελεν (das gemeine Volk verübte Schlechtigkeiten nach seinem Gutdünken).  Für ersteres vgl. Bel. 2,565 (δῆμος); für letzteres Bel. 4,575–76 (δῆμος); Ant. 17,204 (ὄχλος).  Für ersteres vgl. Ant. 12,398 (πλῆθος); Ant. 15,167 (ὄχλος), für letzteres Ant. 15,52 (ὄχλος); vgl. allgemein Ant. 15,367 (ὄχλος).


Martin Meiser

Die pagane πολλοί-Antithese ist aus apologetischen Gründen für die Zeichnung der z. B. durch Verehrung fremder Gottheiten36 oder auch durch Aufstände versagenden37 Volksmenge von Bedeutung; textextern ist das Signal gegeben, dass man auch im Judentum über die Problematik unreifen und unweisen Verhaltens der Volksmassen reflektiert. So besteht eine Konvergenz zwischen biblischer Sicht und griechisch-römischen Idealen. Die Begriffe ὄχλος und στάσις erscheinen nur selten, wenn das Motiv der Verteidigung der väterlichen Gesetze dominiert. Nicht im Sinne der πολλοί-Antithese abqualifiziert wird die Volksmenge bei Josephus auch da, wo von dem Einfluss einiger der drei ursprünglichen philosophischen „Sekten“, der Pharisäer und Sadduzäer, die Rede ist.

4.1 Vorkommnisse aus der biblischen Geschichte 4.1.1 Die Wiedergabe der Wüstenwanderungszeit In Ant. 3,12 wird in einem Zusatz gegenüber Ex 16,1–2 von der versuchten Steinigung des Mose erzählt,38 die wohl aus der Befürchtung Moses Ex 17,4 abgeleitet, in reales Vorhaben umgesetzt und zur ersten, grundsätzliche Mahnung enthaltenden Murrgeschichte vorgezogen wird. In der Nacherzählung von Num 11 wird nach Josephus, Ant. 3,297, in einem Zusatz gegenüber Num 11,1–3 die Volksmenge (πλῆθος) durch den Versuch eines Mannes, sie zu besänftigen, noch mehr erregt. Das in Num 11,1.21 gebotene Stichwort λαός fehlt in Ant. 3,306–16. Ein wesentliches Beispiel für die Anwendung der πολλοί-Antithese und des στάσις-Motivs ist die Wiedergabe von Num 16 in Ant. 4,12–66.39 Der Aufstand der

 Wenn das Gottesvolk, der λαός, aus der wahren Gottesverehrung herausfällt, ist es nicht mehr λαός, sondern ὄχλος (Ant. 8,296; vgl. auch Ant. 8,352). Begg, Josephus’ Account, 124 Anm. 783, notiert den Gegensatz von Ant. 8,296 zur Formulierung in 2Chr 15,2 („Israel“). Doch ist Josephus nicht immer konsequent: λαός wird in Ant. 2,301 vom Volk der Ägypter gebraucht, und steht in pejorativen Stellen, auf Israel bezogen in Ant. 6,128 (neben 6,118. 125. 139 πλῆθος); Ant. 4,24. 142. 150; 6,35; sowie 8,229; 9,18 (verführt durch Jerobeam).  Feldman, Studies, 553, fasst unter dem Stichwort „Contempt for the Masses“ Bel. 3,475; 7,191; Ant. 4,22; 8,121 zusammen.  In Ant. 1,113, wird der Turmbau zu Babel auf das demagogische Treiben des Nebrod zurückgeführt. Die Darstellung Nebrods und des Verhaltens der nichtjüdischen Völker ist vermutlich als Gegenpol zu Abraham und Israel intendiert.  Für Abweichungen des Josephus gegenüber den biblischen Vorlagen und Parallelen aus rabbinischer Literatur vgl. die ausführliche Kommentierung bei Feldman, Judean Antiquities 1–4, 333–49. Feldman, Studies, 101, macht darauf aufmerksam, dass das Substantiv στάσις in dieser langen Passage viermal (Ant. 4,12. 13. 32. 36), das Verbum στασιάζω zweimal (4,13.30) begegnet.

Στάσις und ὄχλος in der Geschichtsschreibung bei Josephus


Rotte Korah gilt als so groß, dass dies bei Griechen und Barbaren keine Parallele hat (4,12).40 Der Begriff πλῆθος steht für die Menge der Anhänger Korahs (Ant. 4,22. 23. 35, dann aber für die weiterhin rebellierende Masse Ant. 4,62–63).41 Das Verhalten Korahs wird als tyrannisch beschrieben.42 Er gilt als großer Redner,43 als erfahren in der Behandlung der δῆμοι (Ant. 4,14). Der Steinigungsversuch seitens der Menge in Ant. 4,22 ist Zusatz gegenüber Num 16. Das Volksverhalten wird in Ant. 4,22 mit ταραχή und θόρυβος beschrieben. Insgesamt betont Josephus weniger den religiösen als den politischen Konflikt.44 Anders als in der biblischen Vorlage wird in 4,59 von der Fortsetzung der στάσις berichtet. Die scheinbar der πολλοί-Antithese widersprechende gespaltene Haltung des Volkes anlässlich der Rebellion (Ant. 4,36: innerhalb des πλῆθος gibt es Boshafte und Vernünftige, φρόνιμοι) ist aus Num 16,22b heraus in Erzählung umgesetzt und signalisiert den Lesern, dass es auch in dieser Phase der Geschichte Israels Verhaltensweisen „philosophischer“ Vernunft und politischer Loyalität gegeben hat. Welche Funktion hat diese ausführliche Wiedergabe von Num 16 bei Josephus? (Diaspora-) jüdische Leser45 werden den Aufstand des Korah als Aufstand

 Feldman, Judean Antiquities 1–4, 334 Anm. 23, verweist auf Thukydides (3,82–84) als Parallele: Der Aufstand in Korfu wurde die Ursache für Unruhen in ganz Griechenland, darin begründet, dass die Anführer der Demokraten es mit den Athenern, die der Oligarchen es mit den Lakedämoniern hielten (Thukydides, 3,82,1; 3,83,1).  Das in Num 16 gebotene Stichwort λαός erscheint in der Wiedergabe bei Josephus in Ant. 4,24 als Objekt der Gefährdung durch die Rede Korahs, in Ant. 4,35 als Begriff, der den Adressaten der Wohltaten Moses benennt, im Gebet Moses in Ant. 4,50 als Gottesvolk, um das Gott selbst besorgt sein werde, und in der Rede der Aufständischen, die Mose eigensüchtige Rache an dem Gottesvolk vorwerfen (Ant. 4,61). Gerade Ant. 4,61 zeigt, dass in den Augen des Josephus die damaligen (wie die zeitgenössischen) Aufständischen einen ungerechtfertigten Anspruch erheben.  Die Bezeichnung Moses als Tyrannen wird stets Aufständischen und Sündern in den Mund gelegt (Ant. 4,16. 146), die Charakterisierung Moses als Demagogen dem ägyptischen Pharao (Ant. 2,285). Textextern bedeutet das, dass nur der Pöbel in Israel und die Gegner Israels daran zweifeln, dass in Mose das Ideal des gerechten und weisen Herrschers, des Philosophen, verwirklicht ist, das Judentum also im Imperium Romanum keinen Hort der Instabilität darstellt. Für den Verweis auf den „Eifer“ Korahs benennt Feldman, „Josephus’ Portrait of Korah,“ 411. Parallelen in der Darstellung der Zeitgeschichte bei Josephus (Bel. 4,357.391).  Feldman, Studies, 98–99, verweist auf Thukydides, 2,60,6 (Beschreibung des Perikles), aber auch auf die Beschreibung des Caligula in Ant. 19,208, des Johannes von Gischala in Bel. 4,212 und des Zeloten-Anführers Eleazar in Bel. 4,225 als Parallelen.  Feldman, Studies, 103–04. Er vergleicht das Portrait des Volkes dem Portrait, das Thukydides, 2,265, von den gegen Perikles revoltierenden Athenern zeichnet (107), das Portrait Korahs mit dem Todfeind aus eigenen Tagen, Johannes von Gischala (109). Das Ende der Rebellion Korahs zeigt, wohin der Aufstand gegen aktuelle Machthaber führen kann.  E. Nodet rechnet mit jüdischen Lesern, deren Identität Josephus von Rom aus neu aufbauen wolle (Nodet, „Josephus and the Books of Samuel,“ 167).


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gegen Mose und damit gegen die Thora empfinden; Sie sollen, so die Charakterisierung des Geschehens als στάσις, als Meinung des Josephus wahrnehmen, dass antirömische Aufstände der eigenen Gegenwart bzw. jüngeren Vergangenheit eher in die Tradition eines Korah als eines Pinchas zu stellen sind. Für nichtjüdische Leser46 verdeutlicht Josephus, dass die hohen Werte des Friedens und der Eintracht auch im Judentum gelten47 und ebenfalls zu einer kritischen Betrachtung der eigenen Geschichte führen, so dass der römischen Befürchtung jüdischer politischer Illoyalität der Boden entzogen ist.48 Nur auf den ersten Blick erstaunlich ist, dass Josephus auch das Verhalten der jungen Israeliten, die sich den Töchtern Moabs hingegeben haben (Num 25), als παρανομία und στάσις bezeichnen kann (Ant. 4,140). Eine politische Negativbewertung wird hier zur Charakterisierung religiösen Fehlverhaltens benutzt. Der Begriff στάσις verstärkt den emotionalen Aspekt des Abscheus vor einem solchen Verhalten. Der Begriff στάσις mochte Josephus als angemessen erscheinen, da mit der Aufgabe der Bindung Israels an seinen Gott die Grundlage des Staatswesens Israels erschüttert war.49

4.1.2 Die Wiedergabe der Königszeit Für deren Beginn ist auf Josephus‘ Bewertung zweier Aufstände gegen David zu verweisen, bei denen Josephus die Notwendigkeit der Loyalität gegenüber den jeweiligen Verhältnissen betont. Absalom wird als Demagoge gezeichnet (Ant. 7,196), mit Justus von Tiberias vergleichbar.50 In Ant. 7,278 gilt der Aufstand Shebas als στάσις. Bei der Wiedergabe von 1Kön 13 wird auch die Verschuldung der Volksmassen benannt.51

 S. Mason argumentiert dafür, dass die primäre Leserschaft des Werkes Heiden waren (Mason, „Aim and Audience,“ 65–68).  Vgl. Ant. 7,337: εἰρήνη καὶ πολέμων ἀπαλλαγὴ καὶ στάσεων ἐμφυλίων gilt als höchstes Gut, das ein regierender König erlangen kann.  So auch Krieger, Geschichtsschreibung als Apologetik, 327. Feldman, „Josephus’ Portrait of Korah,“ 399–400. sieht in der Aktualität dieses Korah-Bildes auch den Unterschied zwischen Josephus und Philo in der Behandlung dieser biblischen Person begründet. Ein weiterer Aspekt ist, dass Josephus Korahs Verhalten als Angriff gegen das Priestertum darstellt (Feldman, „Josephus’ Portrait of Korah,“ 408–09).  Van Unnik, „Josephus’ Account,“ 148.  Feldman, Studies, 224, mit Verweis auf Josephus, Vita 40.  Zu diesem Zweck lässt Josephus in seiner Wiedergabe von 1Kön 13,1–7; 2Kön 23,15–16 den Gottesmann seine Untergangsprophetie vor den Ohren des ganzen Volkes ausgesprochen haben. Die Worte καὶ πάντος ἀκούοντος τοῦ λαοῦ (Ant. 10,67) sind Zusatz gegenüber 2Kön 23,16, ähnlich wie die Bemerkungen, der König opfere „im Angesicht des Volkes“ (ἐν τῇ ὄψει τοῦ λαοῦ), und der

Στάσις und ὄχλος in der Geschichtsschreibung bei Josephus


In der Nacherzählung von 1Kön 19 fühlt sich Josephus genötigt, die Aussage von 1Kön 19,17 zu rechtfertigen, und liefert in Ant. 8,352 eine Begründung: Weil der ὄχλος ἀσεβής ist, sind die Hinrichtungen gerechtfertigt.52 Zugleich wird Elias von dem Vorwurf entlastet, selbst Blutschuld auf sich geladen zu haben.53 Joram von Juda wird unterstellt, das Volk zum Götzendienst gezwungen zu haben.54 Sein qualvolles Sterben, nach dem Motivarsenal des „Todes des Gottesverächters“ gestaltet, zeigt für den λαός Gottes Zorn. Damit rechtfertigt Josephus auch den verächtlichen Umgang des Volkes mit Jorams Leichnam.55 Zu notieren ist hier sowohl die positive Einschätzung des Volksverhaltens als auch der dementsprechende Gebrauch des Begriffs λαός durch Josephus. Analog zu 2Kön 17,7–23 wird das Ende des Nordreiches Israel mit kommentierenden Bemerkungen bedacht. Verachtung der Propheten und Abfall von Rehabeam gelten als Hauptursachen.56 Insgesamt werden vor allem die in 2Kön 7,7–18 erwähnten Sünden wenig bedacht.57 Ist mit der Konzentration auf den Abfall von Rehabeam eine implizite Wertung des Verhaltens der Zeloten eingeschlossen?

4.2 Vorfälle aus der nachbiblischen Geschichte 4.2.1 Vorfälle unter Pontius Pilatus (Bel. 2,169–77 // Ant. 18,55–62) Beide Vorkommnisse, die Episode mit den Feldzeichen und der Bau des Aquädukts, werden von Josephus in den beiden Hauptwerken gegensätzlich beleuchtet. Vergleicht man die Schilderungen im Bellum und in den Antiquitates, erscheint der Kontrast in den Antiquitates noch verschärft.58

Gottesmann stehe „mitten in der Menge“ (σταθεὶς ἐν μέσῳ τῷ πλήθει) in Ant. 8,231 gegenüber 1Kön 12,33.  Begg – Spilsbury, Judean Antiquities 8–10, 100 Anm. 1367.  Begg, Josephus’ Account, 195. Wiederum hat das textextern einen apologetischen Effekt: Religiöse Eliten des Judentums üben keine Gewalt aus.  Ant. 9,98, in Verschärfung gegenüber 2Chr 21,11 (in 2Kön 8,16–24 hat das keine Parallele).  Ant. 9,104 in einem Zusatz gegenüber 2Chr 21,19–20. Die Vergehen Jorams von Juda werden den Vergehen des Jerobeam I. parallelisiert (Begg, Josephus’ Account, 118).  Begg – Spilsbury, Judean Antiquities 8–10, 196 Anm. 1038. Aus dem semantischen Feld von στάσις begegnen ἀφιστάναι (Ant. 9,280) und das Substantiv στάσις selbst (Ant. 9,282).  Begg, Josephus’ Account, 372.  Von einer antithetischen Korrespondenz beider Passagen innerhalb der Antiquitates spricht auch D. R. Schwartz, „Composition and Sources,“ 135, 138–40. Schwartz vermutet, dass Josephus die Passage über den Aquäduktbau in Bel. 2,175–77 aus einer römischen, Pilatus gegenüber freundlichen Quelle eingefügt hat.


Martin Meiser

In der Feldzeichenepisode agiert die Volksmenge als Verteidigerin der väterlichen Gesetze (Bel. 2,171 // Ant. 18,59); ihr Verhalten gegenüber Pontius Pilatus wird mit termini aus dem Wortfeld ἱκετεύω umschrieben; das Stichwort στάσις fehlt. In der Episode um den Bau des Aquäduktes ist das Verhalten des Volkes gegenüber Pilatus mit κατεβόων (Bel. 2,175) / λοιδωρίᾳ χρώμενοι (Ant. 18,60) charakterisiert. Bei der Darbietung der Feldzeichenepisode in den Antiquitates wird im Vergleich zum Bellum die Volksmenge in ein besseres, Pilatus hingegen in ein schlechteres Licht gerückt. Die Begriffe ταραχή und ἀγανάκτησις (Bel. 2,170) fehlen in den Antiquitates;59 umgekehrt wird dort dem römischen Präfekten von vornherein eine Verachtung der jüdischen Gesetze attestiert (Ant. 18,55). Umgekehrt wird in der Episode um das Aquädukt das Volk in ein schlechteres, Pilatus in ein besseres Licht gerückt; das Handeln des Volkes gilt nicht mehr nur als ταραχή (Bel. 2,175), sondern als στάσις (Ant. 18,62).60 Die Intention dieser Kontrastierung ist wohl weniger die Mahnung zur Friedfertigkeit, die dann auch von römischen Präfekten gewürdigt werde,61 sondern die Mahnung zum Eintreten für die väterlichen Gesetze, an jüdische Leser gerichtet, und die Mahnung zum Respekt vor den Juden und ihren Gesetzen an die Adresse von Nichtjuden.

4.2.2 Die Anhänger des Asinaeus und des Anilaeus zur Zeit des Claudius (Ant. 18,317–50) Die Anhänger zweier Brüder aus Nearda in Mesopotamien, Asinaeus und des Anilaeus, als private Armee agierend und in 18,317 als φοβεροί bezeichnet,62 beschließen, in einer Zwangslage auch am Sabbat zu den Waffen zu greifen (18,323) – dies

 Das Motiv der „Glut der Frömmigkeit“ (δεισιδαιμονίας ἄκρατον) aus Bel. 2,174 wird in den Antiquitates nicht wiederholt, vielleicht wegen der Ambiguität des Begriffes δεισιδαιμονία.  Zur historischen Beurteilung des Agierens der Hohenpriester einerseits, der Volksmenge andererseits bei dem Konflikt um den Bau des Aquädukts vgl. Herzer, „Zwischen Loyalität und Machtstreben,“ 442. Die Hohenpriester werden dem römischen Präfekten die Zustimmung zu dem Vorhaben wohl kaum versagt haben. S. Mason zufolge hat Josephus beide Passagen (Feldzeichen- und Aquäduktepisode) aneinander angeglichen, sodass die Historizität mancher Einzelzüge fraglich ist (Mason, „Josephus and the New Testament,“ 33) Zu einer ähnlichen Beurteilung der Differenzen bei der Darstellung dieser Episode vgl. Yoder, Representatives, 164.  Krieger, Geschichtsschreibung als Apologetik, 67–69, gefolgt von Bond, Pontius Pilate, 49–62. Mason, „Josephus and the New Testament,“ 33 Anm. 51, hält fest: In beiden Fällen ist das Verhalten der Juden nicht gewaltsam.  Vgl. dazu Cohen, „Asinaeus and Anilaeus,“ passim; Rajak, „The Parthians in Josephus,“ 314–15.

Στάσις und ὄχλος in der Geschichtsschreibung bei Josephus


sei νομιμώτερον als ein Tod in der Schlacht ohne positive Folgen für die Juden. Sie erscheinen in Ant. 18,344–50 als Verteidiger der väterlichen Gesetze, als Anilaeus eine ausländische Frau geheiratet und ihr zuliebe mit der Thora gebrochen hatte. Die Begriffe ὄχλος und στάσις fehlen.

4.2.3 Vorfälle unter Cumanus Der Vorfall des sich entblößenden Soldaten (Bel. 2,223–27 // Ant. 20,105–12) Bemerkenswert ist ebenfalls die unterschiedliche Darstellung des Vorfalls mit dem unanständigen Soldaten Bel. 2,223–27 // Ant. 20,105–12: In Bel. 2,225 fehlt das Motiv der Blasphemie sowie die Erzürnung des Cumanus über den Vorfall, dafür wird umgekehrt von dem Steinigungsversuch einiger junger Männer berichtet, die als στασιῶδες bezeichnet werden. In der Variante Ant. 20,105–12 taucht der Begriff στάσις in der Einleitung in 20,105 auf und ist dadurch motiviert, dass das Volk dem einsichtigen (!) Cumanus nicht gehorcht (Ant. 20,110), doch fehlt das Motiv des Steinigungsversuches; auch wird in der Klage des Volkes gegen Cumanus explizit das Motiv der Blasphemie benannt (Ant. 20,108), so dass die Klage umso mehr als gerechtfertigt erscheint. Anders als im Bellum macht Josephus in den Antiquitates am Ende der Passage nochmals deutlich, dass die ἀσέλγεια eines einzigen römischen Soldaten den Juden soviele Leiden brachte (Ant. 20,112).63 Jüdische Leser können sich dadurch angespornt fühlen, friedfertig, aber selbstbewusst für die Belange des Judentums einzutreten; nichtjüdischen Lesern soll – das zeigt die Kontrastierung zwischen Cumanus und dem Soldaten – ein respektvolles Verhalten gegenüber Juden nachgelegt werden. Die Zerstörung einer Thora-Rolle (Bel. 2,228–31 // Ant. 20,113–17) Zur Strafe für einen Raubüberfall lässt Cumanus die Dörfer der Umgebung plündern. Dabei zerreißt ein römischer Soldat eine Thora-Rolle. Josephus berichtet von der Klage des Volkes angesichts dieser ὕβρις gegenüber Gott und dem Gesetz.64 Das Agieren der Volksmenge gegenüber Cumanus wird in beiden Darstellungen mit dem Begriff ἱκετευειν bezeichnet (Bel. 2,230 // Ant. 20,116); die Begriffe ὄχλος und στάσις fehlen.

 Nach W. Eck ist die Darstellung in Antiquitates kritischer gegenüber Cumanus als die Darstellung im Bellum (Eck, Judäa – Syria Palästina, 178). J. Yoder verweist auf das in den Antiquitates zusätzlich eingebrachte Motiv der Bestechlichkeit (Yoder, Representatives, 178).  Bel. 2, 230 // Ant. 20, 116. Bezeichnung für die Volksmenge ist πλῆθος (Bel. 2,231 // Ant. 20,117).


Martin Meiser

4.2.4 Die Volksmassen und die Zeloten Für die Darstellung der neueren jüdischen Geschichte, vor allem der Aufstandsbewegungen gegen Rom, richtet sich die Anwendung der politischen πολλοί-Antithese, d. h. das Vorkommen der Begriffe στάσις und ὄχλος als Stilmittel danach, wie Josephus das jeweilige Verhalten der von den Hierarchen und den Zeloten unterschiedenen Volksmasse beurteilt: Da wo sie als durch die zelotischen Unruhestifter zum Aufruhr verleitet in den Blick kommt,65 wird sie mit Hilfe der πολλοί-Antithese und der dazu gehörigen typischen Motivik charakterisiert; ὄχλος steht speziell von der verführten Volksmasse.66 Wenn Josephus als Motive der Zeloten πλεονεξία und κέρδος angibt (Bel. 2,346), rekurriert er wieder auf ein Motiv der philosophischen πολλοί-Antithese,67 mit dessen Hilfe er auch sich selbst und die seiner Meinung nach vernünftigen Vertreter des Judentums als intellektuelle Elite charakterisiert. In einem anderen Licht erscheint die Volksmasse jedoch als Verteidiger der väterlichen Gesetze.68 Hier stehen die Begriffe Ἰουδαῖοι und πλῆθος; auch ist das Verhalten der führenden Kreise anders gezeichnet: Von ihnen wird in diesen Fällen nicht nur berichtet, wie sie die Volksmasse beständig zu beruhigen versuchen, vielmehr können sie sich die Anliegen der Volksmenge gelegentlich sogar zu eigen machen und gegenüber der römischen Besatzungsmacht in Formen vorbringen, die der Oberschicht gemäß sind (vgl. etwa Bel. 2,292; Ant. 18,273), z. B. in Form von Gesandtschaften; manchmal haben sie sogar Erfolg.69 Die Begriffe ὄχλος und στάσις / ἀπόστασις treten in diesem zuletzt genannten Zusammenhang zurück. Auch in der Darstellung des Tempelbrandes hält Josephus die Unterscheidung zwischen den Volksmassen und den Aufständischen durch (Bel. 6,273. 277),  Josephus, Ant. 20,97. 130. 160. 167, jeweils mit dem Begriff ὄχλος. Im Kontext finden sich die Begriffe ἀπατάω in Ant. 20,97. 160 und ἀπόστασις in Ant. 20,131. Gesandtschaften agieren mit dem Ziel, einen Aufstand des πλῆθος zu verhindern (Ant. 20,7) – das legt nahe, dass über die Art des Vorgehens, nicht aber über den Anlass ein Dissens zwischen ihnen und dem Volk besteht.  Der Begriff begegnet in Josephus, Ant. 20,97. 130. 160. 167.  Zur negativen Wertung des Gewinnstrebens vgl. Aristoteles, Politik 1266b 40, von den πολλοί; Philo, Congr. 27. Bei Josephus ist u. a. Kain nach dem Muster dieser philosophischen Gesellschaftskritik gezeichnet, vgl. Kókai-Nagy, „Josephus’ Kaingeschichte.“  Bel. 2,228–31 (Ἰουδαίοι, πλῆθος); 2,289–92 (πλῆθος), mit gespaltenem Volksverhalten; Ant. 15,267–91 (πλῆθος). 365; 17,148–67; 18,55–59. 261–83. 340–52; 20,105–12. 113–17. Dass während der Petronius-Episode die Volksmenge mit wohlgesetzter Rede an Petronius herantritt (Ant. 18, 264–68), dürfte erzähltechnisch durch den von Josephus intendierten Grundsatzcharakter der Auseinandersetzung motiviert sein.  Vgl. Ant. 18,286. Das von Gott gegebene Erweiszeichen, ein völlig unerwarteter Platzregen (Ant. 18,284–85) als Koinzidenzprodigium, würde von Josephus nicht erzählt, wenn er nicht mit dem Anliegen der Menge und dem Vorgehen der κράτιστοι einverstanden wäre. – Vom Erfolg der Hartnäckigkeit der Volksmenge selbst vgl. Ant. 18,59.

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während Dio Cassius einheitlich das Volk im Widerstand sieht. Anders als KlausStefan Krieger halte ich die Darstellung des Josephus für historisch glaubwürdiger, da Josephus zeitlich wie sachlich dem Geschehen näherstand.70

Bibliographie Begg, Christopher T. Josephus’ Account of the Early Divided Monarchy (AJ 8,212–420): Rewriting the Bible. BEThL 108. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1993. Begg, Christopher T. Josephus’ Account of the Later Divided Monarchy (AJ 9,1–10,185). BEThL 145. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2000. Begg Christopher T. – Spilsbury Paul. Judean Antiquities 8–10. Translation and Commentary, hg. v. Steve Mason. Vol. 5. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Bilde, Per. Flavius Josephus between Jerusalem and Rome: His Life, His Works, and Their Importance. JSPSup 2. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1988. Bond, Helen. Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Cohen, Naomi G. “Asinaeus and Anilaeus: Additional Comments to Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews.” Annual of the Swedish Theological Institute 10 (1975–1976): 30–37. Dietzfelbinger, Christian. Pseudo-Philo, Antiquitates Biblicae (Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum). JSHRZ II.2. Gütersloh: Gerd Mohn, 1975. Dio, Cassius. Dio’s Roman History, übers. v. Earnest Cary. Vol. 8. LCL. London – Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968. (orig. 1925). Eck, Werner. Judäa – Syria Palästina. Die Auseinandersetzung einer Provinz mit römischer Politik und Kultur. TSAJ 157. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014. Edelmann, Hannelore. “Volksmasse und Einzelpersönlichkeit im Spiegel von Historiographie und Publizistik des 5. und des 4. Jahrhunderts.” Klio 56 (1974): 415–44. Feldman, Louis H. “Josephus’ Portrait of Korah.” OTE 6 (1993): 399–426. Feldman, Louis H. Judean Antiquities 1–4. Translation and Commentary, hg. v. Steve Mason, Vol. 3. Leiden: Brill, 2000. Feldman, Louis H. Studies in Josephus’ Rewritten Bible. JSJSup 58. Leiden – Boston – Köln: Brill, 1998. Flavius, Josephus. De Bello Judaico. Der jüdische Krieg, hg. v. Otto Michel – Otto Bauernfeind. Darmstadt: WBG, 1959–1969. Flavius, Josephus. Jewish Antiquities, hg. v. Henry St. J. Thackeray – Ralph Marcus et. al., LCL. London – Cambridge, MA: William Heinemann – Harvard University Press, 1930–1965. Flavius, Josephus. Jüdische Altertümer, übers. v. Heinrich Clementz, Vol. 1–2. Wiesbaden: Furier, 1989. Herodot. Historiae, hg. v. Carl Hude, Vol. 1–2. OCT. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1927. Herzer, Jens, “Zwischen Loyalität und Machtstreben. Sozialgeschichtliche Aspekte des Pilatusbildes bei Josephus und im Neuen Testament.” In Josephus und das Neue Testament. Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. II. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum 25.–28. Mai 2006 Greifswald, hg. v. Jens Herzer – Christfried Böttrich, 429–50. WUNT 209. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007. Kókai-Nagy Viktor. “Josephus’ Kaingeschichte.” BN (im Erscheinen).

 Krieger, Geschichtsschreibung als Apologetik, 297, mit Verweis auf Dio Cassius, 65(66),6,2–3.


Martin Meiser

Krieger, Klaus-Stefan. Geschichtsschreibung als Apologetik bei Flavius Josephus. TANZ 9. Tübingen: Francke, 1994. Mason, Steve. Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees? A Composition-Critical Study. Leiden: Brill, 1991. Mason, Steve. “Should Any Wish to Enquire Further (Ant. 1.25): The Aim and Audience of Josephus’s Judean Antiquities/Life.” In Understanding Josephus. Seven Perspectives, hg. v. Steve Mason, 64–103. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998. Mason, Steve. “Josephus and the New Testament, the New Testament and Josephus: An Overview.” In Josephus und das Neue Testament. Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. II. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum 25.–28. Mai 2006 Greifswald, hg. v. Jens Herzer – Christfried Böttrich, 15–48. WUNT 209. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007. Meiser, Martin. Die Reaktion des Volkes auf Jesus. Eine redaktionskritische Untersuchung zu den synoptischen Evangelien. BZNW 96. Berlin – New York: De Gruyter, 1998. Nestle, Wilhelm. “Legenden vom Tod der Gottesverächter.” ARW 33 (1936): 246–69. Nodet, Étienne. “Josephus and the Books of Samuel.” In Studies in Josephus and the Varieties of Ancient Judaism. Louis H. Feldman Jubilee Volume, hg. v. Shaye J. D. Cohen – Joshua J Schwartz, 141–67. AJEC 67. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2007. Philo. Works with an English Translation, hg. v. Francis H. Colson et al., Vol. 1–10. LCL. London – Cambridge, MA: William Heinemann – Harvard University Press, 1962. (orig. 1929). Philo. Die Werke Philos von Alexandrien in deutscher Übersetzung, hg. v. Leopold Cohn et al., Vol. 1–7. Breslau – Berlin: Jüdischer Verlag – De Gruyter, 1909–1964. Platon. Werke in acht Bänden griechisch und deutsch, hg. v. Gunther Eigler. Darmstadt: WBG, 1973–1977. Polybios. The Histories, with an English translation, hg. v. William Roger, Vol. 1–6. LCL. London – Cambridge, MA: William Heinemann – Harvard University Press, 1960 (orig. 1922–1927). Rajak, Tessa. “The Parthians in Josephus.” In Das Partherreich und seine Zeugnisse, hg. v. Josef Wiesehöfer, 309–24. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998. Schlatter, Adolf. Der Evangelist Matthäus. Seine Sprache, sein Ziel, seine Selbständigkeit. Stuttgart Calwer, 1963. Schwartz, Daniel R. “Composition and Sources in Antiquities 18.” In Making History. Josephus and Historical Method, hg. v. Zuleika Rodgers, 125–46. JSJSup 110. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2007. Steck, Odil Hannes. Israel und das gewaltsame Geschick der Propheten. Untersuchungen zur Überlieferung des deuteronomistischen Geschichtsbildes im Alten Testament, Spätjudentum und Urchristentum. WMANT 23. Neukirchen: Neukirchener Verlag, 1967. Strathmann, Hermann. “λαός.” TWNT 4: 29–39. Thukydides. Historiae, hg. v. Henry Stuart Jones – Johannes E. Powell, Vol. 1–2. OCT. Oxford: Clarendon, 1942. Van Unnik, Willem Cornelis. “Josephus’ Account of Israel’s Sin.” In Sparsa Collecta. The Collecetd Essays, hg. v. Cilliers Breytenbach – Pieter Willem van der Horst, 137–57. NT.S 156. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2014. Voigtländer, Hanns-Dieter. Der Philosoph und die Vielen. Die Bedeutung des Gegensatzes der unphilosophischen Menge zu den Philosophen (und das Problem des argumentum e consensu omnium) im philosophischen Denken der Griechen bis auf Aristoteles. Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1980. Welwei, Karl-Wilhelm. “Demokratie und Masse bei Polybios.” Historia 15 (1966): 282–301. Xenophontis. Opera omnia, hg. v. Edgar Cardew Marchant, Vol. 1. OCT. Oxford: Clarendon, 1953 (orig. 1900). Yoder, Joshua. Representatives of Roman Rule. Roman Provincial Governors in Luke-Acts. BZNW 209. Berlin – München – Boston: De Gruyter, 2014.

David R. Edwards

The Theme of Stasis in Antiquities: Josephus’ Political Philosophy and Periodization of History 1 Introduction The topic of stasis as a prominent theme and explanatory device in Josephus’ works is not new.1 However, in the existing scholarly literature the bulk of studies have focused almost exclusively on Jewish War (hereafter Bel.). In part this is only natural since stasis plays a much more substantial role in Bel. There, it has the crucial function of explaining Jewish defeat by Rome in the war of 66–70 CE. Josephus skillfully employs stasis to suggest that the Jewish rebels were selfdefeated by fragmentation into warring factional parties; civil war was the ultimate cause of defeat, not Roman military might.2 Since Josephus in the second half of Antiquities (hereafter Ant.) closely reproduces much of his earlier work, though with notable expansions and alterations, there is good reason to expect that stasis reappears in the parallel passages of Ant. and with the same or similar usage and function, only occasionally or mildly augmenting those in Bel.3 In the first half of Ant., on the other hand, which parallels the Jewish scriptures, references to stasis occur relatively infrequently. Therefore, only isolated consideration of those passages would, apparently, need to be given and frequently the topic

 I cite scholarship in detail below but see at the outset the contribution by Martin Meiser in this volume, which I unfortunately was not able to read in preparation for this essay.  On the theme of stasis in Bel., see Mader, Josephus and the Politics of Historiography, 55–103; Rajak, Josephus, 91–96; Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, 78–81; Brighton, The Sicarii, 24–25, 65–68, 73–83, 86–89; Wiater, “Reading the Jewish War”; Price, “Josephus’ Reading”.  For example, Atkinson, A History of the Hasmonean State, 166–67. One example of a study that attends to how stasis is used in new contexts in Ant. is Schwartz, “Josephus on Hyrcanus II,” though the scope is quite narrow and he still assumes that stasis is used in the same overarching way as in Bel. Acknowledgment: I am grateful to Viktor Kókai-Nagy for the invitation to contribute to this volume even though I was not fortunate enough to be in attendance at the conference, the proceedings of which are collected here.


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receives no more than a passing comment.4 Such treatment is also the case, generally speaking, when stasis is discussed in the context of Josephus’ political thought, wherein it is frequently assumed that the main contribution of Ant. is to be found in Josephus’ more extensive discussion of the Mosaic constitution, but that stasis in Ant. otherwise largely mirrors what is found in Bel.5 Reasonable though these assumptions may be, I contend that a broader analysis of Josephus’ use of stasis as a significant topos in Ant. is needed, especially a synthesis of its function across both halves of the work. Although I cannot in this brief study exhaustively discuss every occurrence of the terminology (στάσις, στασιάζω), prior to writing this essay I undertook a review of each incidence in Ant. using a combination of Rengstorf’s concordance and a digital search of Niese’s critical edition, and on the basis of that research I will here analyze stasis as an overarching theme.6 While there are other relevant Greek terms that Josephus uses in Ant. which are commonplace in Greco-Roman political thought on factionalism, civil war, revolt, sedition, dissension, etc. (e.g., ταραχή, νεωτεροποία, θόρυβος, ἀπόστασις),7 in this study I am restricting analysis to occurrences of the στασ– lexical root.8 Beyond the simple considerations of space and scope, this restriction is also justified on the basis that stasis terminology receives disproportionate attention by GrecoRoman authors roughly contemporaneous with Josephus in the first centuries BCE and CE owing to the Roman civil wars, and, therefore, would have stood out to his

 As in Feldman, Studies in Josephus, 556; Feldman, Josephus’s Interpretation, 140–42; Tuval, From Jerusalem Priest to Roman Jew, 207. See also the isolated notes on stasis in the Brill commentaries: Feldman, Judean Antiquities 1–4; Begg, Judean Antiquities 5–7; Begg – Spilsbury, Judean Antiquities 8–10; Spilsbury – Seeman, Judean Antiquities 11; van Henten, Judean Antiquities 15.  As with Schwartz, “Josephus on the Jewish Constitutions”; Rajak, “Against Apion and the Continuities,” 212–13; Rajak, “Josephus,” 594.  Niese, Flavii Iosephi opera; Rengstorf, ed., A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus. The Greek text of Josephus is drawn from the Loeb edition of H. St. J. Thackeray, R. Marcus, A. Wikgren, and L. H. Feldman, eds. and trans., Josephus.  It is worth noting at the outset that Josephus’ use of stasis terminology from Bel. onward reflects ongoing evolution of the root’s semantic domain in Greek writing. As shown by Price, “Josephus’ Reading,” 90–98, Josephus is the first clear attestation of the usage of stasis to refer to a revolt or uprising against external parties rather than only internal factionalism and civil war. Josephus is most likely an early indicator of this broader evolution and reflects current understandings of the term in the Flavian period but did not himself coin a new application of it. My analysis encompasses both usages of the term in Ant., excluding only those occurrences that lack any broader political dimension (i.e., stasis as an isolated quarrel between two individuals or used in an unrelated sense for the appointment of an official or for the erection of a building or monument). On the earlier usage of stasis as a topos in Greek literature limited to internal dissent and factional strife, originating especially in Thucydides, see Price, Thucydides and Internal War.  Latin literature, naturally, had its own parallel set of terms, especially bellum civile.

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elite Greco-Roman readers as particularly significant.9 As I will argue in what follows, the language of stasis serves several interrelated purposes in Ant. distinct from its function in Bel. These include, first, reinforcing Josephus’ periodization of history into a broad schema of national decline; and, second, illustrating both the superiority of the Mosaic constitution, when properly implemented, to overcome stasis by virtue of its proximity to the deity, along with a corresponding susceptibility to stasis inasmuch as the Jewish nation departs from that most ideal of governments and its appropriate leaders, the priests.

2 Stasis and the Periodization of History in Antiquities Tracking occurrences of stasis terminology across the whole of Ant. is, today, relatively easy thanks to modern resources such as Rengstorf’s concordance and the digitization of Niese’s text. Interpreting that data, however, is significantly more difficult at a granular level for several reasons that suggest caution is in order. First, Josephus is frequently prompted by the narratives themselves in the Jewish scriptures towards the use of stasis language or conceptually-related terminology (noted above). Even though στασ– is not a lexical root used in the Greek translations of the Jewish scriptures to refer to political factionalism, partisan strife, civil war, or revolt until quite late, Josephus is not exactly importing the term de novo.10 He everywhere updates the language and style of the Greek scriptural translations to fit an elite Greco-Roman cultural milieu, so it should be unsurprising that he uses the terminology of stasis in places like the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1–9/Ant. 1.10, 17) or dissent against the leadership of Moses (Num 11:4–6/Ant. 3.295) even in the absence of that precise word in the source text. Other terminology might have been an equally appropriate word choice, but the use of stasis at any given occurrence in

 I refer to the readers of Ant. as “Greco-Roman” so as to include Romans as well as Greeks and other provincial elites residing in Rome with interests in Jewish history and customs, such as the “Epaphroditus” named in Ant. 1.8–9. See Mason, “Aim and Audience of Josephus”; Mason, Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins, 45–67; Mason, “Josephus as Roman Historian,” 91–97. On the identity of Epaphroditus, see den Hollander, Josephus, the Emperors, and the City of Rome, 279–85. Apart from attempts to connect him to known individuals, the frequent attestation of the name “Epaphroditus” among freed persons and its poor attestation among the freeborn makes the former status more likely.  Greek-English lexicons of the Septuagint show that it occurs as sedition, strife, revolt, etc. in the nominal form only in Prov 17:4 and as a verb in Judith 17:5 and 2 Macc 4:30; 14:6.


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the first half of Ant. often tells us much less than we might expect. Second, in the latter half of Ant. we should expect to find Josephus employing sources which themselves utilized the vocabulary of stasis with greater frequency than the nearly non-existent usage of the Greek scriptural translations that Josephus depended upon in the first half. This is a simple corollary of the fact that the second half of Ant. contains sources much closer to Josephus’ own time, and often with much more sophisticated style, such that stasis terminology should de facto be a great deal more common. Lastly, the second half of Ant. contains substantial parallels with Bel., upon which Josephus drew at many points.11 So as I discussed above, stasis language at such points may reflect merely his choice to carry over that term from his prior work. However, if we focus our attention very broadly on patterns of distribution rather than on specific occurrences, as I will do in this first part of the study, these cautionary statements need not hinder us from drawing important conclusions about Josephus’ overarching usage of stasis terminology in Ant., particularly in the context of the work’s periodization of history. What I mean by “periodization of history” is an organizational schema which a historiographical work applies to its material in order to indicate significant periods, important transitions, key figures and events, and overarching patterns. Such schemas can take varying forms, but two very common and compelling ones among Greco-Roman writers in Josephus’ day were triumph and decline, often some combination of the two. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, whose Roman Antiquities we will return to in the second part of this study, is a prominent example of a Roman history that optimistically depicts consistent virtue and continuous success.12 Livy, on the other hand, recounts a history of Roman

 There has been much debate over the question of whether Bel. was rewritten and expanded for Ant. or whether common sources were used for both. Cohen, Josephus in Galilee and Rome, 58–65, has argued the latter. Cohen’s focus on verbal similarities, however, is a major pitfall, since these are excellent indicators of dependence when present, but given Josephus’ almost pathological stylistic rewriting of sources (including himself), are weak evidence to the contrary when absent. For Ant. 18–20, at least, several studies have argued convincingly that Josephus rewrote his Bel. account and added much new material. See Krieger, Geschichtsschreibung als Apologetik; English summary in Krieger, “A Synoptic Approach”; Nodet, “Josephus and Discrepant Sources,” 265–77. É. Nodet, Flavius Josèphe, xxvi–vii, confirms these results for Books 12–14 as well. The diverging results of Cohen and Krieger/Nodet can be taken to suggest, as noted by D. R. Schwartz, “Many Sources But a Single Author,” 42, that “it seems that the same answer need not apply to all cases.”  “Yet this village [Rome] was ordained by fate to excel in the course of time all other cities, whether Greek or barbarian, not only in its size, but also in the majesty of its empire and in every other form of prosperity, and to be celebrated above them all as long as mortality shall endure.” (Dion. Hal., Ant. Rom. 1.31.3, trans. Cary) See Price, “Future of Rome,” 99–107.

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triumphs but within the context of progressive moral decline – though he is careful not to lay this at the feet of the reigning emperor, Augustus.13 The chaos of the late republican civil wars (staseis), which birthed the principate, contributed significantly to the sentiment that the contemporary age suffered by comparison with days gone by,14 though the pax Augusta could also serve as a reversal of a history of decline by implying a restored golden age in the author’s present.15 I contend that the distribution of stasis terminology is one of several features of Ant. by which a Greco-Roman reader might infer a general pattern of decline. The occurrences of stasis cluster in several notable places, excluding unimportant incidental references which punctuate Ant. intermittently. For the portion of Ant. paralleling the Jewish scriptures, these are: rebellion against the authority of Moses, especially by Korah (Ant. 3. 295; 4.12, 13 [x2], 30, 32, 59, 66, 76, 87); civil war during the period of the Judges (Ant. 5.135, 231); rebellion against David (Ant. 7.265, 278, 337, 372); and the dissolution of the northern kingdom of Israel (Ant. 9.282 [x2]). In the post-scriptural second half of Ant., occurrences of stasis first crop up at a slow drip. But beginning from the Tobiad family saga, in Book 12 immediately preceding the Maccabean revolt, they quickly become too numerous and frequent to list here, far outweighing the distribution of stasis terminology in the first half of the work. Across the Ant. accounts of the Hasmoneans and Herod, stasis is ubiquitous, continuing apace thereafter through the end of the work, abating only in Book 19, which, ironically, treats almost exclusively the Roman conspiracy against the emperor Gaius.16 I will discuss the function of the initial spike in Book 4 with the revolt of Korah below, but it is plain and indisputable that the theme of stasis peaks in the second half of Ant., especially over the course of Books 13–20.

 “. . . until the advent of our own age, in which we can endure neither our vices nor the remedies needed to cure them.” (Livy, praef. 9, trans. Luce) See further Harrison, “Decline and Nostalgia”; Hoyos, “Livy on the Civil Wars”.  As also in Sallust. See Biesinger, “Rupture and Repair,” 85–87.  As in the poetry of Horace and Vergil, contrasted with that of Petronius and Juvenal. See Bond, “The Augustan Utopia”.  No doubt Josephus was cognizant of the political and personal jeopardy to which he would be exposed should he label the conspiracy that issued in Gaius’ assassination a stasis – though that is both what it was and what it caused according to the measure of how Josephus employs the term throughout the rest of Ant. In only two places in this account, so apparently ripe for application of stasis language, does Josephus actually employ it. First, in a speech by Gnaeus Sentius Saturninus, the killer of Gaius is contrasted with the assassins of Julius Caesar, the former hailed as a hero and the latter blamed as laying the foundations of subsequent Roman stasis (Ant. 19.184). The second occurrence pointedly ignores both the conspiracy itself as a sedition as well as the civil unrest that it unleashed, instead reserving the term to approve of Claudius as a figure capable of averting stasis (Ant. 19.228).


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It is true, on the one hand, that this distribution of stasis weighted towards the end of Ant. is in part a function of the fact that these books parallel the earlier Bel. account, which prominently featured stasis as I noted earlier. Nevertheless, even if this overarching pattern of distribution was, to some degree, predetermined by Josephus’ reuse of Bel., he knowingly added many new references to stasis in Ant., and those which he reused were contextualized within a new and much larger framework. Whereas Bel. only provided the minimal Jewish background and history necessary to explain the causes of the war, effectively entering the story of the Jewish national past abruptly and three quarters of the way through, Ant. paints on a grander canvas going back to origins in the antiquarian past. The result is that, in contrast to Bel., stasis in Ant. points not towards the Jewish War, or at least not primarily to it. Instead, in Ant. it signifies an ongoing and increasingly aggravated decline in Jewish civic and political life construed much more broadly. That is not to say that this pattern of decline is uninterrupted by moments of renewal and vitality, as I will discuss in the second half of this study, but only to point out what any Greco-Roman reader would have found immediately obvious: that stasis is a malaise, and one that metastasizes if allowed to continue unchecked. If stasis terminology peaks in the second half of Ant., a pattern which even the most uncommitted reader would notice, then it naturally follows that the schema to which the narrative conforms is, broadly speaking, that of a decline and fall from brighter days. There is, in fact, little else that a reader could conclude from the preponderance of staseis erupting over and over in the last third of the work. There are also, however, other signals in Ant. that reinforce this interpretation of the distribution pattern of stasis terminology as a signal of periodization through historical decline. First, as many have noted it is only in the first half of Ant., which parallels the Jewish scriptures, that the technical term προφήτης is employed to refer to inspired figures.17 In the non-scriptural second half, by contrast, there are figures that are attributed with powers of προφητεία (e.g., John Hyrcanus) but they are never termed προφήτης as such. The implication is that there is a qualitative difference between inspired figures in the two halves of Ant. This distinction is made explicit in C.Ap. 1.37–41, where Josephus differentiates between the works written before and after Artaxerxes such that the chronologically last scriptural

 See Blenkinsopp, “Prophecy and Priesthood”; Aune, “The Use of ΠΡΟΦΗΤΗΣ in Josephus”; Gray, Prophetic Figures, 23–26; Feldman, “Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus”; Kókai-Nagy, “Die Propheten und die religiösen Gemeinschaften,” 240–44; and the contribution by J. Hoblík in this volume, which I unfortunately have not viewed.

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account in Ant., the Book of Esther, demarcates the shift to works of lesser status “due to there not being a precise succession of the prophets.” The precise meaning of this phrase has been much discussed and its exact import remains disputed,18 but, in any case, it assumes some kind of rupture consonant with a schema of decline as suggested by the distribution pattern of stasis terminology.19 Second, I have elsewhere explored the ways in which the Tobiad family and Agrippa I are modeled in Ant. upon the scriptural figures of Joseph and Esther, most notably through type-scenes such as false accusation and unjust imprisonment or an anti-Jewish plot with a desperate petition at a banquet.20 Yet in these scenarios, the more recent Jewish characters consistently fail to live up to the virtue, wisdom, and bravery of their scriptural forebears. In these cases, it is difficult not to infer a pattern of decline from the fact that recent Jewish history has pointedly failed to produce any more Esthers or Josephs. Thus, a broad pattern of decline in Ant. is suggested not just by the larger pattern of distribution of stasis terminology but by several other features as well. However, before turning to the second section of this essay, I will end this first part by noting that Josephus is not quite the pessimistic fatalist which the deluge of staseis that concludes Ant. might imply. If decline is the overarching pattern of history in Ant., nevertheless Josephus appears to hold out hope for an upward turn in the future. Indeed, for many Greco-Roman historians as well it was possible to imagine that the current nadir caused by incessant stasis might be reversed under the right circumstances, such as the victory of Augustus and the inauguration of a new age by the ludi saeculares. Hints of a similar optimism come through in Josephus’ renderings of the prophecies of Balaam from Num 22–24 and Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Dan 2, though Josephus is notoriously elliptical and allusive even here about the Jewish national future.21 The former passage contains his clearest statements, announcing openly that (Ant. 4.127–28, trans. Feldman):

 See Mason, “Prophecy in Roman Judaea”.  I am not reviving the now-discredited idea of a cessation of prophecy in the post-scriptural period – indeed the very distinction between scripture and not-scripture is blurry in Josephus – but only suggesting that Ant. displays a conception of historical degression from the distant past, whose figures, deeds, and character could be conceived of as inhabiting a sort of golden age by comparison with the present and with the more recent past, and that evolution of access to the divine through inspired figures and their writings is one arena in which this plays out.  Edwards, “Ancient Jewish Court-Tales”. More fully, see Edwards, In the Court of the Gentiles.  See Grabbe, “Eschatology in Philo and Josephus,” 180–81; Bilde, “Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism,” 165–67.


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Complete destruction will not befall the race of the Hebrews, neither in war nor in epidemic and famine and lack of the fruits of the earth, nor shall some other unexpected cause destroy it. For God’s providence is theirs, to save them from every misfortune and to allow no such suffering to come upon them, by which all would perish. But some few sufferings may befall them and for a brief period of time, through which they will appear to be humbled; but then they will flourish and bring fear upon those who caused injury to them.

This passage seems to envision a utopian swinging of the pendulum after the disastrous outcome of the recent Jewish War, though Josephus is careful to offer hope only for future Jewish flourishing that inspires fear in their oppressors but says nothing directly of vengeance or retribution against them. His rendering of the Daniel passage, however, is much more oblique. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of an image/statue consisting of layers of materials is interpreted by Josephus as a series of empires culminating in the Roman principate, which is the kingdom of iron that (Ant. 10.209) “will rule forever/everywhere (εἰς ἅπαντα).” In the dream, a giant stone smashes all of these empires, but Josephus refuses to explain its significance and identity (Ant. 10.210, trans. Marcus): 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.

As most commentators have agreed, Josephus here recognizes the imprudence of openly identifying the empire-destroying stone with the Jewish nation, though the connection is not difficult to make.22 Josephus’ handling of these two prophetic passages indicates, therefore, that like many Greco-Roman contemporaries he held a nuanced conception of history’s periodization and its ebbs and flows; in spite of the Jewish nation’s fall from the heights of the ancestral past, indicated by the distribution of stasis terminology among other data points, this decline would at some point in the future be reversed and the nation’s former glory would once again be restored.

 Note, however, the reservations expressed by Mason, “Josephus, Daniel, and the Flavian House,” 171–76, regarding the scholarly consensus that Josephus stops short out of consideration for the Roman reader.

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3 Stasis and Josephus’ Political Philosophy in Antiquities In the previous section, I analyzed the occurrences of stasis terminology in Ant. in broad strokes by focusing on patterns of distribution as an indication of historical periodization schematized by decline. However, while many specific occurrences of stasis in Ant. do not, for reasons I laid out above, yield much beyond those tracks which scholarship has already thoroughly trod, there are some individual references to stasis that are significant and must be examined more closely. These include the first clustering of stasis terminology in Book 4 with the revolt of Korah, as well as a series of comments with which Josephus enters the narrative as author to interpret for the reader the function of stasis as a cause of important events and a marker of key points of historical transition. I will review each of these briefly and then show how they relate to Josephus’ political philosophy in Ant. and the place of stasis within his political thought in the work as a whole. Firstly, however, I must summarize a few points of Josephus’ political philosophy, about which much has been written.23 Josephus presents the Mosaic constitution in Ant. as the most ideal form of government (Ant. 4.223–24, trans. Feldman): Now aristocracy and the life therein is best. Let not a longing for another government take hold of you, but be content with this. And having the laws as your masters do each thing according to them, for it is sufficient that God is your ruler. If, however, you should have a passion to have a king, let him be a compatriot and let him always have a concern for justice and the other virtues. Let him concede to the laws and to God their superiority of wisdom and let him do nothing apart from the high priest and the advice of the elders . . .

Josephus here claims that an aristocratic mode of governance (ἀρισοκρατία) is best.24 The species of aristocracy which is prescribed by God through Moses delegates divine rule to the high priest and the rest of the hierocratic caste as handlers and interpreter of the laws,25 just as is laid out explicitly in C.Ap. 2.158 (trans. Barclay): “What could be finer or more just than [a structure] that has made God governor of the universe, that commits to the priests in concert the management of the most important matters, and, in turn, has entrusted to the

 See Schwartz, “Josephus on the Jewish Constitutions”; Rajak, “Against Apion and the Continuities”; Rajak, “Josephus”; Mason, “Introduction,” xxiv–xxix.  See also Ant. 6.36 (trans. Begg), where Samuel “delighted intensely in aristocracy as something divine that renders blessed those who use it as their constitution.”  It is not insignificant that Josephus himself was descended from a priestly family (Vita 1–2). For discussion of this facet of his biography, see Gussmann, Priesterverständnis, 198–266; McLaren, “Josephus on the Priesthood,” 273–75.


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high priest of all the governance of the other priests?” In C.Ap. 2.165, written sometime after Ant.,26 Josephus modifies terminology somewhat and coins the term “theocracy” (θεοκρατία) to describe what would seem be the “aristocracy” (ἀρισοκρατία) of Ant. For the purposes of this study, the difference is mostly semantic, as God’s rule must by definition be delegated within the human sphere, though diachronic development in Josephus’ thought may also account for the discrepant terminology.27 As long as the high priest is deferred to, therefore, Josephus looks favorably upon other leaders that succeed the original legislator.28 He also distinguishes at times, somewhat confusingly, between monarchy (μοναρχία) as, apparently, a continuation of aristocracy under the direction of God, but with only one person alongside (below?) the priests as in the period of the Judges, and rule by a king (βασιλεύς), which he marks out as inferior.29 Leaving aside Josephus’ terminological inconsistency and imprecision, these are the fundamental points of his political philosophy. By Josephus’ day, the Roman civil wars had raised the challenge of stasis as a fundamental threat to any form of government. Anyone who wished to claim their constitution as the best and most effective would, therefore, need to show how it was capable of overcoming or weathering stasis. Dionysius of Halicarnassus is an especially usefully example of this, since his twenty-book history, Roman Antiquities, is widely regarded as the inspiration for Josephus’ Jewish history in its broad form, and perhaps in certain particulars as well.30 Dionysius consistently demonstrated that as a result of the unique qualities of the Roman constitution, it was “by rhetoric the Romans were able to avoid violence in their internal conflict; that is, reason and persuasion won out over violence and preserved the Republic.”31 The exception to this pattern is the primordial stasis of Romulus and Remus, the first of its kind in the narrative (Ant. Rom. 1.85–87). While the brothers’ strife ends in violence, I suggest that it serves in Dionysius as the initial negative example from

 The date of composition of C.Ap. is not known with any precision other than that it was subsequent to Ant., but it probably took place ca. 95–100 CE. See Barclay, Against Apion, xxvi–xxviii.  Amir, “Θεοκρατΐα as a Concept of Political Philosophy,” 83–105.  For example, when Joshua consults with the high priest Eleazar in Ant. 5.57 and dutifully follows his instructions. For the place of priests in Josephus’ theocratic/aristocratic constitution, see Gussmann, Priesterverständnis, 306–24.  The distinction between monarchy and kingship is made at Ant. 20.229 (cf. Ant. 11.112–13) and may be Polybian in origin. See Schwartz, “Josephus on the Jewish Constitutions,” 41–42. At Ant. 6.84–85, 268. Josephus subsumes the μοναρχία of the Judges under the ἀρισοκρατία that was legislated by Moses and continued under Joshua. See Feldman, Judean Antiquities 1–4, 414, n. 696; Kochin, “Freedom and Empire in Josephus,” 20–21.  See Shutt, Studies in Josephus, 92–101; Cowan, “A Tale of Two Antiquities”.  Price, “Future of Rome,” 105–06.

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which Rome learned and thereafter successfully avoided. Appian is even more positive than Dionysius about Rome’s ability to overcome stasis, as he focused intensely on the recent civil wars that Dionysius ignored but showed how Rome “had survived stasis by becoming stronger than before.”32 Retuning to Josephus, the testing of the Mosaic constitution comes soon after the initial establishment of the Jewish polity at Sinai, as Moses weathers several bouts of stasis in the wilderness. Most notably, the rebellion of Korah contains ten occurrences of stasis terminology (listed above), making it a key locus for this theme in Ant. Like Dionysius, then, Josephus reports an originary outbreak of stasis that threatens the viability of the nascent polity, and like Appian, the Jewish constitution is able to overcome the threat. What is particularly interesting about this initial spike in stasis terminology is the means by which the revolt against the leadership of Moses and Aaron is surmounted. Unlike the place given to rhetoric, reason, and persuasion which Dionysius credits as the virtues of the Roman constitution that allow it to overcome stasis, Josephus credits it entirely to God, who deals with the rabble directly. That method of proving the Mosaic constitution’s excellence in the face of stasis seems unlikely to have persuaded many Greco-Roman readers of its superiority, since it suggests that there is nothing inherent in the Mosaic constitution itself which can overcome civil strife. Rather, Josephus implicitly indicates that it is the unique proximity to God which the Mosaic constitution affords that protects the polity from stasis. That proximity is, however, carefully guarded and maintained by the divine delegates, the priests. The Mosaic constitution’s successful implementation as the best mode of government corresponds, then, directly to the extent to which the priests are properly consulted and obeyed by both the people as well as any other political leaders that accrue. When these conditions fail to obtain, stasis frequently results, as Josephus points out at significant turning points in Ant. at which the government changes hands, is altered in its mode, or departs from a close adherence to the laws. Several examples will illustrate this principle. Near the beginning of Josephus’ retelling of the Book of Judges, he prefaces the civic chaos of that period by explaining that (Ant. 5.135, trans. Begg): Now it happened that the aristocratic form of government (τὴν ἀριστοκρατίαν) was already destroyed. They no longer appointed the senates (τὰς γερουσίας) nor any other type of rulership (ἀρχὴν) that had earlier been customary, but were on their farms, addicted to the pleasure of profit-making. Due to their grave enervation, terrible civil strife (στάσις) came upon them once again, and they were induced to make war upon one another (πολεμεῖν ἀλλήλοις) for the following cause.

 Price, “Future of Rome,” 109.


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Kingship, on the other hand, though far from the ideal, is preferable to the anarchy described in this passage, and can still function as an effective if lesser constitution so long as the right person is ruling and remains deferent to the law and the priests. Unfortunately, that was frequently not the case. Thus, at the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel, Josephus claims that (Ant. 9.282, trans. Marcus): The beginning of their troubles was the rebellion they undertook (ἡ στάσις, ἣν ἐστασίασαν) against Roboamos, the grandson of David, when they chose as their king his servant Jeroboam, who sinned against the Deity and thereby made Him their enemy, or they imitated his lawless conduct.

Hence, Jeroboam was a mere servant unfit to be king and he led the people to transgress the law. In general, Josephus appears to have regarded the early postexilic period until the cusp of the Maccabean revolt as a restoration of the proper aristocratic constitution.33 From the Hasmonean period on, however, kingship returns until the arrival of the Romans under Pompey. Josephus laments the transition to Roman rule and blames it upon the staseis of the Jewish leaders (Ant. 14.77–78, trans. Marcus and Wikgren): For this misfortune which befell Jerusalem Hyrcanus and Aristobulus were responsible, because of their dissension (πρὸς ἀλλήλους στασιάσαντες). We lost our freedom and became subject to the Romans, and the territory which we had gained by our arms and taken from the Syrians we were compelled to give back to them, and in addition the Romans exacted of us in a short space of time more than ten thousand talents; and the royal power which had formerly been bestowed on those who were high priests by birth became the privilege of commoners.

Josephus returns later at the close of Book 14 to this complaint about the introduction of improper rulers over the nation, again noting the role of stasis (Ant. 14.490–91, trans. Marcus and Wikgren): Theirs [the Hasmoneans] was a splendid and renowned house because of both their lineage and their priestly office, as well as the things which its founders achieved on behalf of the nation. But they lost their royal power through internal strife (τὴν πρὸς ἀλλήλους στάσιν),

 At Ant. 11.111 he calls it a mixture of aristocracy and oligarchy, the latter term apparently denoting the sad reality that priests sometimes served their own interests and either did not adhere to the laws or to the constitution as established by Moses or became embroiled in staseis of their own. At Ant. 20.234 he says that in this period, during which time high priests held the highest office, the Jewish nation conducted itself δημοκρατικῶς. Given Josephus’ widespread disdain of the δῆμος, this probably is not a reference to “democracy” as a mode of governance, but a recognition that during this time period the high priests ruled in the interests and for the benefit of the Jewish people. These conflicting statements about the same period are difficult to reconcile. For two differing interpretations, see Schwartz, “Josephus on Jewish Constitutions,” 34–37; Mason, “Introduction,” xxvii, n. 4.

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and it passed to Herod, the son of Antipater, who came from a house of common people and from a private family that was subject to the kings.

Kingship might not be the best form of government but Josephus is quite capable of discerning gradations of quality within it; some kings are better than others. Hence, the Hasmoneans were, on the whole, far superior to the Herodians, and stasis is to blame for the rule of the nation passing from the former to the latter. Nevertheless, Josephus pragmatically recognizes that there are worse civil conditions than even kingship under the fundamentally unfit Herodians. Upon the death of Herod and while his heirs competed for his vacant throne before Augustus in Rome, a series of staseis erupt under Varus and Sabinus, for which circumstance Josephus casts blame upon the lack of a native ruler (Ant. 17.277): Such was the great madness that settled upon the nation because they had no king of their own (τὸ βασιλέα μὲν οἰκεῖον οὐκ εἶναι) to restrain the populace by his pre-eminence, and because the foreigners [the Romans and the soldiers they employed] who came among them to suppress the rebellion (τοῦ μὴ στασιάσοντος) were themselves a cause of provocation through their arrogance and their greed.

We see clearly now the degenerative cycle that Josephus depicts. Stasis begets inferior forms of government and unfit leaders, which by their very nature invite further staseis. This cycle can be – and indeed in the past has been – broken, such as during a brief period of return to the proper aristocracy of priests under Gabinius between the Hasmonean and Herodian kingships (Ant. 14.91). As it turns out though, according to Josephus this too ultimately degenerated further. Upon the removal of Archelaus for maladministration, Quirinius began to administer direct Roman rule of Judea beginning with a census. This led to widespread unrest, the blame for which Josephus principally casts upon the dangerous innovators of the so-called “fourth philosophy,” Judas of Gamala and Saddok the Pharisse, about whom he claims (Ant. 18.8–9, trans. Feldman): They sowed the seed from which sprang strife between factions (ἐξ ὧν στάσεις τε ἐφύησαν) and the slaughter of fellow citizens. Some were slain in civil strife, for these men madly had recourse to butchery of each other and of themselves from a longing not to be outdone by their opponents; others were slain by the enemy in war. Then came famine, reserved to exhibit the last degree of shamelessness, followed by the storming and razing of cities until at last the very temple of God was ravaged by the enemy’s fire through this revolt (ἥδε ἡ στάσις). Here is a lesson that an innovation and reform in ancestral traditions weights heavily in the scale in leading to the destruction of the congregation of the people.

This passage is paralleled quite closely in Bel. 2.118. Yet, although in that earlier account Josephus uses a very similar term for revolt (ἀπόστασις), the accompanying authorial commentary is lacking; this particular historical moment was


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marked out specifically and in a new way in Ant. Here, says Josephus, in a stasis whose conditions arose due to a progressive departure from the Mosaic constitution and from the proper leadership entrusted to administrate it, lies the root of the Jewish War and the basest point in a long decline.

4 Conclusion I will now conclude by drawing together the two parts of this study and proposing a synthesis of how stasis functions in Ant. as a whole, that is to show that the Mosaic constitution is the best instantiation of the best mode of government – aristocracy – but that its effectiveness requires fit leaders, these being the priests or those deferent to them. In the first part of this essay, I focused on broad patterns of distribution, which show stasis terminology clustering in just a few places in the first half of Ant. but appearing with increasing frequency in the second half, and in the final third of the work occurring at a disproportionately high rate. I pointed out that, since Josephus’ Greco-Roman readers would have immediately recognized the implications of stasis as a plague upon a nation’s civic life and political vitality, its consistent recurrence along with an increase in its frequency in Ant. would indicate the decline of the Jewish state. Thus, according to the measure of stasis terminology, along with several other features that I briefly detailed, Ant. conforms to a pattern of decline, one of the common models for periodizing historiographical writing among Josephus’ contemporaries. However, Josephus also appears to hold out hope for a better future for the Jewish nation than the one currently obtaining in the post-war era. Furthermore, in the second part of this study I undertook an examination of select occurrences of stasis terminology, points at which Josephus interprets the import of particular figures or events and which indicate a more complex use of the theme. Within a broad pattern of decline, Josephus makes room for occasional moments of constitutional reform and accompanying national and political renewal, even though these do not last. When priests are exclusively in charge of the Jewish polity, or when its other leaders defer to their judgements, stasis can be overcome by virtue of the unique proximity between polity and deity. Josephus uses the stasis of Korah, which challenges the viability of the Mosaic constitution at virtually the same moment it is born, to illustrate this principle early on in the nation’s history. Several other important moments of stasis punctuate the first half of Ant., such as the rebellions against David or the founding of the northern kingdom of Israel. These are surmounted or succumbed to depending on the fitness and fidelity of the leaders in charge at the time. Restoration follows the exile and endures

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for some centuries before kingship reasserts itself, further degenerating into the hands of unfit sovereigns and eventually non-native rule. These unfit rulers exacerbate the conditions for stasis and are unable to navigate successfully around or through its choppy waters; inevitably, stasis then invites even worse rulers. The cycle continues and the spiral intensifies. The principle is simple but also profound and effectively displayed. While pieces of this are to be found in Bel., there is little doubt that stasis plays a different role in Ant. owing to its much larger backdrop and extended coverage. Josephus was not necessarily a skilled political philosopher, nor should we expect such levels of precision and consistency of him. I likewise doubt that Greco-Roman readers would have been convinced that the Mosaic constitution was a superior option for dealing with stasis; certainly, the contemporary state of the Jewish nation after the war was no argument in its favor. Yet, he admirably maintains that this circumstance was due to the system’s misapplication and maladministration by its leaders but not a fundamental flaw in it. Regardless of his persuasiveness, Josephus does demonstrate remarkable consistency in deploying stasis through the whole of Ant. as a thematic thread, an apologetic device, a marker of historical periodization, and an interpretive tool. Further research is certainly still needed, however, to fully understand how he utilizes stasis in Ant.

Bibliography Amir, Yehoshua. “Θεοκρατΐα as a Concept of Political Philosophy: Josephus’ Presentation of Moses’ Politeia.” SCI 8–9 (1985–1988): 83–105. Atkinson, Kenneth. A History of the Hasmonean State: Josephus and Beyond. New York: T&T Clark, 2016. Aune, David E. “The Use of ΠΡΟΦΗΤΗΣ in Josephus.” JBL 101 (1982): 419–21. Barclay, John M. G., trans. with commentary. Against Apion. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary 10. Leiden: Brill, 2007. Begg, Christopher T., trans. with commentary. Judean Antiquities 5–7. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary 4. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Begg, Christopher T. – Paul Spilsbury, trans. with commentary. Judean Antiquities 8–10. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary 5. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Biesinger, Benjamin. “Rupture and Repair: Patterning Time in Discourse and Practice (from Sallust to Augustus and Beyond).” In Augustus and the Destruction of History: The Politics of the Past in Early Imperial Rome, edited by Ingo Gildenhard – Ulrich Gotter – Wolfgang Havener – Louis Hodgson, 81–96. PCPSSup 41. Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 2019. Bilde, Per. “Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism.” In Collected Studies on Philo and Josephus, edited by Eve-Marie Becker – Morten Hørning Jensen – Jacob Mortensen, 151–69. SAN 7. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016. Blenkinsopp, Joseph. “Prophecy and Priesthood in Josephus.” JJS 25 (1974): 239–62.


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Bond, Robin. “The Augustan Utopia of Horace and Vergil and the Imperial Dystopia of Petronius and Juvenal.” Scholia: Studies in Classical Antiquity 19 (2010): 31–52. Brighton, Mark Andrew. The Sicarii in Josephus’s Judean War: Rhetorical Analysis and Historical Observations. EJL 127. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009. Cohen, Shaye J. D. Josephus in Galilee and Rome: His Vita and Development as a Historian. CSCT 8. Leiden: Brill, 1979 [repr. 2002]. Cowan, J. Andrew. “A Tale of Two Antiquities: A Fresh Evaluation of the Relationship between the Ancient Histories of T. Flavius Josephus and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.” JSJ 49 (2018): 475–97. Den Hollander, William. Josephus, the Emperors, and the City of Rome: From Hostage to Historian. AGJU 86. Leiden: Brill, 2014. Edwards, David R. “Ancient Jewish Court-Tales, Scriptural Adaptation, and Greco-Roman Discourses of Exemplarity: Joseph, Esther, and Agrippa I in Josephus’ Antiquitates Judaicae.” In From Josephus to Yosippon and Beyond, edited by Jan Willem van Henten – Michael Avioz – Carson Bay. JSJSup. Leiden: Brill, forthcoming 2023. Edwards, David R. In the Court of the Gentiles: Narrative, Exemplarity, and Scriptural Adaptation in the Court-Tales of Flavius Josephus. JSJSup 209. Leiden: Brill, 2023. Feldman, Louis H. Josephus’s Interpretation of the Bible. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. Feldman, Louis H., trans. with commentary. Judean Antiquities 1–4. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary 3. Leiden: Brill, 2000. Feldman, Louis H. “Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus.” In Prophets, Prophecy, and Prophetic Texts in Second Temple Judaism, edited by Michael H. Floyd – Robert D. Haak, 210–39. New York: T & T Clark, 2006. Grabbe, Lester L. “Eschatology in Philo and Josephus.” In Judaism in Late Antiquity, Vol. 4: Death, Lifeafter-Death, Resurrection and the World-to-Come in the Judaisms of Antiquity, edited by Alan J. Avery-Peck – Jacob Neusner, 163–85. Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 1, No. 49. Leiden: Brill, 2000. Gray, Rebecca. Prophetic Figures in Late Second Temple Jewish Palestine: The Evidence from Josephus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Gussmann, Oliver. Das Priesterverständnis des Flavius Josephus. TSAJ 124. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008. Harrison, Stephen. “Decline and Nostalgia.” In A Companion to Latin Literature, edited by Stephen Harrison, 287–99. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005. Van Henten, Jan Willem, trans. with commentary. Judean Antiquities 15. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary 7b. Leiden: Brill, 2014. Hoyos, Dexter. “Livy on the Civil Wars (and After): Morality Lost?” In The Historiography of Late Republican Civil War, edited by Carsten Hjort Lange – Frederik Juliaan Vervaet, 210–38. HRE 5. Leiden: Brill, 2019. Kochin, Michael S. “Freedom and Empire in Josephus.” HPT 39 (2018): 16–32. Kókai-Nagy, Viktor. “Die Propheten und die religiösen Gemeinschaften bei Josephus.” In Propheten der Epochen / Prophets during the Epochs: Festschrift für István Karasszon zum 60. Geburtstag / Studies in Honour of István Karasszon for his 60th Birthday, edited by Viktor Kókai-Nagy – László Sándor Egeresi, 233–47. AOAT 426. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag 2015. Krieger, Klaus-Stefan. Geschichtsschreibung als Apologetik bei Flavius Josephus. TANZ 9. Tübingen: Francke, 1994. Krieger, Klaus-Stefan. “A Synoptic Approach to B 2:117–283 and A 18–20.” In Internationales JosephusKolloquium Paris 2001, edited by Folker Siegert – Jürgen U. Kalms, 90–100. MJS 12. Münster: Lit, 2002.

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Mader, Gottfried. Josephus and the Politics of Historiography: Apologetic and Impression Management in the Bellum Judaicum. Mnemosyne Supplements: Bibliotheca Classica Batava 205. Leiden: Brill, 2000. Mason, Steve. “Josephus, Daniel, and the Flavian House.” In Josephus and the History of the GrecoRoman Period: Essays in Memory of Morton Smith, edited by Fausto Parente – Joseph Sievers, 161–91. SPB 41. Leiden: Brill, 1994. Mason, Steve. “‘Should Any Wish to Enquire Further’ (Ant. 1.25): The Aim and Audience of Josephus’ Judean Antiquities/Life.” In Understanding Josephus: Seven Perspectives, edited by Steve Mason, 64–103. JSPSup 32. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998. Mason, Steve. “Introduction to the Judean Antiquities.” In Judean Antiquities 1–4, translation and commentary by Louis H. Feldman, xiii–xxxvi. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary 3. Leiden: Brill, 2000. Mason, Steve. Josephus and the New Testament. 2d ed. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2003. Mason, Steve. Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins: Methods and Origins. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2009. Mason, Steve. “Josephus as Roman Historian.” In A Companion to Josephus, edited by Honora Howell Chapman – Zuleika Rodgers, 89–107. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. Mason, Steve. “Prophecy in Roman Judaea: Did Josephus Report the Failure of an ‘Exact Succession of the Prophets’ (Against Apion 141)?” JSJ 50 (2019): 524–56. McLaren, James S. “Josephus on the Priesthood.” In A Companion to Josephus, edited by Honora Howell Chapman – Zuleika Rodgers, 270–81. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. Nodet, Étienne. “Josephus and Discrepant Sources.” In Flavius Josephus: Interpretation and History, edited by Jack Pastor – Pnina Stern – Menahem Mor, 259–77. JSJSup 146. Leiden: Brill, 2011. Nodet, Étienne. Flavius Josèphe: Les Antiquités Juives. Volume VI: Livres XIIà XIV. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 2021. Price, Jonathan J. Thucydides and Internal War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Price, Jonathan J. “Josephus’ Reading of Thucydides: A Test Case in the Bellum Iudaicum.” In Thucydides – A Violent Teacher? History and its Representations, edited by Georg Rechenauer – Vassiliki Pothou, 79–98. Göttingen: V&R unipress, 2011. Price, Jonathan J. “The Future of Rome in Three Greek Historians of Rome.” In The Future of Rome: Roman, Greek, Jewish and Christian Visions, edited by Jonathan J. Price – Katell Berthelot, 85–111. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. Rajak, Tessa. “The Against Apion and the Continuities in Josephus’ Political Thought.” In Understanding Josephus: Seven Perspectives, edited by Steve Mason, 222–46. JSPSup 32. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998. Rajak, Tessa. Josephus: The Historian and His Society. 2d ed. London: Duckworth, 2002. Rengstorf, Karl Heinrich, ed. A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus. 4 vols. Leiden: Brill, 1973–1994. Schwartz, Daniel R. “Josephus on the Jewish Constitutions and Community.” SCI 7 (1983): 30–52. Schwartz, Daniel R. “Josephus on Hyrcanus II.” In Josephus and the History of the Greco-Roman Period: Essays in Memory of Morton Smith, edited by Fausto Parente – Joseph Sievers, 210–32. Leiden: Brill, 1994. Schwartz, Daniel R. “Many Sources But a Single Author: Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities.” In A Companion to Josephus, edited by Honora Howell Chapman – Zuleika Rodgers, 36–58. Chichester: WileyBlackwell, 2016. Shutt, R. J. H. Studies in Josephus. London: S.P.C.K., 1961.


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Spilsbury, Paul – Chris Seeman, trans. with commentary. Judean Antiquities 11. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary 6a. Leiden: Brill, 2017. Thackeray, H. St. John – Ralph Marcus – Allen Wilkgren – Louis H. Feldman, eds. and trans. Josephus. LCL. 9 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1926–1965. Wiater, Nicolas. “Reading the Jewish War: Narrative Technique and Historical Interpretation in Josephus’ Bellum Judaicum.” Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici 64 (2010): 145–85.

Viktor Kókai-Nagy

Der Begriff ἐλευθερία im Bellum Judaicum Rein statistisch gesehen ist Freiheit kein wichtiger Begriff im Bellum Judaicum. In diesem monumentalen Werk begegnet er nur 44-mal.1 Heute würden wir dieses Wort wahrscheinlich viel häufiger benutzen, wenn wir ein Buch über einen Krieg schreiben würden, ganz zu schweigen von einem Werk über einen Freiheitskampf. Im vorliegenden Aufsatz soll kurz aufgezeigt werden, was Freiheit zur Zeit von Josephus bedeutete. Dann werden die Stellen, an denen Josephus diesen Begriff verwendet, näher betrachtet. Am Ende steht eine Zusammenfassung darüber, wie Josephus Freiheit im Bellum verstanden haben dürfte.

1 Einleitung Schon die Tatsache, dass ἐλευθερία 44-mal bei Josephus vorkommt, verdient Aufmerksamkeit. Ein entsprechendes hebräisches Wort ist nicht bekannt. „Im Alten Testament wird das Geschehen der Befreiung mit den Verben der Rettung und Erlösung theologisch interpretiert.“2 Das Wort für Befreiung kann in einem anderen Textzusammenhang Erlösung bedeuten. Die LXX benutzt ἐλευθερία, wenn es um die Freilassung von Sklaven geht, aber: „Slavery provides an important paradigm for submission to God in Jewish discourse. This can be traced back to the Exodus story, where liberation from Egypt consists in substituting service to God for service to Pharaoh.“3 Das Wort kommt in übertragenem Sinn vor, wenn es um das soteriologische Handeln Gottes geht, wo ἐλευθερία grundsätzlich eine politisch-heilsgeschichtliche Dimension gewinnt. Geht es um das heilsgeschichtliche Handeln Gottes, übersetzt LXX ga’al und padah einheitlich mit λυθροῦσθαι.4 Es gibt zwei Traditionslinien: die Hoffnung auf eschatologische Befreiung des Volkes und die Hoffnung auf die eschatologische Befreiung des Individuums von den Sünden. Was die diesseitige, politische Dimension der Freiheit betrifft, hat sie sich eng mit der religiösen Freiheit verflochten (vgl. Makkabäer, Zeloten) und

   

Rengstorf, Concordance, 75–76. Bartsch, „Freiheit im AT,“ 497. Lavan, „Slaves to Rome,“ 32. Vgl. weiter Mason, Judean War 2, 211. Heiligenthal, „Freiheit im Judentum,“ 499.


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wurde als Akt göttlicher Befreiung interpretiert.5 Außerdem soll noch die Entscheidungsfreiheit als Gehorsam gegenüber dem Gesetz erwähnt werden, die aber nie ein philosophisches Gepräge erhält, „sondern [. . .] sich durchwegs als unter dem Eindruck neuer Erfahrungen zustande gekommene Reinterpretation eigener theologischer Tradition verstehen“ lässt.6 Wenn man das klassische griechische Wort für Freiheit, ἐλευθερία, in den Blick nimmt, so hat dieses ursprünglich einen politischen Sinn: als Freie werden alle Rechte habenden Mitbürger in einer Polis bezeichnet: sie haben und genießen die Freiheit. „In ancient Greek, Roman and Jewish writers there is no hypostasized will: for them, freedom means freedom for the individual or collective to do what they think best, that is to say, to do what they think will most contribute to their success or flourishing amidst the things in which they live.“7 Später kamen noch die Freiheit der Polis, die Freiheit Griechenlands und schließlich Freiheit als Begriff und Problem der Philosophie hinzu.8 In der Polis bezeichnet Freiheit die Abwesenheit der Tyrannei, auf der individuellen Ebene den freien Menschen gegenüber dem Sklaven.9 In der Tat, das, was jetzt als Freiheit Gegenstand des Nachdenkens und dann auch der Propaganda wird, ist nur mehr zum geringsten Teil und immer mehr abnehmend die Freiheit des einzelnen Vollbürgers der Polis oder des Staates selbst. Es kommt das Bewußtsein auf, daß es noch eine viel radikalere Freiheit gibt: die Freiheit des auf sich und unter das Gesetz der eigenen bzw. der allgemeinen Natur gestellten Individuums.10

„In ethics, the external, legal or physical, freedom from the forces of tyranny and slavery is replaced by internal, psychological freedom: in order to be free, one must not be the slave of one’s passions, or under the tyranny of one’s desires for external, material goods.“11 Zudem darf mit Samuel Vollenweider angenommen werden, dass hauptsächlich die Stoiker den Zeitgeist – also die Vorstellung der Freiheit – bestimmt haben,12 obwohl die Philosophenschule „shared several general charac Zur Makkabäer-Zeit vgl. Vollenweider, Freiheit, 138–40; zum zelotischen Freiheitsbegriff 144–45.  Vollenweider, Freiheit, 146; detailliert 146–54.  Kochin, „Freedom and Empire in Josephus,“ 16.  Zu dieser Entwicklung vgl. Meier, Kultur, um der Freiheit willen, besonders 36–39, 73–76, 137–56.  Niederwimmer, „ἐλευθερία,“ 1053–54.  Heinrich Schlier, „ἐλεύθερος,“ 489.  Bobzien, Determinism, 338.  Vgl. Vollenweider, Freiheit, 16. Ähnlich G. Haaland: „The Roman upper class approached philosophy pragmatically and eclectically, with Stoicism as the main component.“ (Haaland, „Josephus and the Philosophers of Rome,“ 301). Eine gute Zusammenfassung über Freiheitsbegriff bei Epiktet bietet Wöhrle, Epiktet für Anfänger, 32–40.

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teristics“.13 Im stoischen Denken ist Freiheit in einem schöpfungstheologischen und soziologischen Horizont hineingestellt: Freiheit ist die Einfügung in Gottes Weltordnung, Nachfolge Gottes und Integration in den Kosmos. Gemäß stoischer Terminologie gründet die Freiheit in der sittlichen Einsicht oder Tugend. Aus dem politischen Freiheitsbegriff wird ein weltanschaulicher, ein „moralischer“ Freiheitsbegriff.14 Freiheit ist nach stoischer Definition nicht als partikulare Rechtsbestimmung einer Gruppe von Personen (Freie – Sklaven) zu verstehen. „Sie erhält damit offensichtlich eine Allgemeinheit, an der jedes Individuum partizipieren kann.“15 Man kann also sagen, dass der Inhalt des Freiheitsbegriffes durch hellenistisches Denken bestimmt und so auch von Josephus rezipiert worden ist: „Josephus’s use of ‚freedom‘ language is an aspect, or an index, of his own Hellenisation.“16

2 Freiheit im Bellum Judaicum Wenn wir nun den Begriff Freiheit im Bellum anschauen, ist unübersehbar, dass er hauptsächlich in Reden (34 ×) erscheint.17 Es fällt ebenfalls auf, dass es vor allem zwei Reden sind, in denen Freiheit eine sehr wichtige Rolle spielt: die Rede von Agrippa (Bel. 2,345–402: 11 ×) und von Eleazar (Bel. 7,323–88: 8 ×).18 Freiheit kommt zudem hauptsächlich als eine ideale religiöse und politische Größe vor: Man kann über sie in der jetzigen Situation zwar reden, sie aber nicht erreichen.

 Thom, „Popular Philosophy,“ 280–85. Es bedeutet natürlich auch, dass die Philosophen Begriffe aus mehreren philosophischen Schulen verwendet haben (vgl. Forschner, „Epiktets Theorie der Freiheit,“ 100–01).  Schlier, „ἐλεύθερος,“ 489; Bobzien, Determinism, 330; Forschner, „Epiktets Theorie der Freiheit,“ 98–99.  Wöhrle, Epiktet, 32.  Schwartz, „Rome and the Jews,“ 72.  Zu Form und Funktion dieser Rede vgl. Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“; Runnalls, „The Rethoric of Josephus,“; Schell, Die Areopagrede, 221–36. Zum Freiheitsbegriff in Ant. vgl. Schwartz, „Rome and the Jews,“ 72–74.  Ich zitiere die Texte aus Bellum in der Übersetzung von H. Endrös. Laut D. R. Runnalls, sind beide deliberative Reden (vgl. 2,345; und ab 7,342): „The speaker is trying to give advice about things to come (Arist. Rh. 1:3:1258b), but looks to the past for examples. The end of deliberative oratory is to persuade the assembly to decide to do what is honorable or expedient or to dissuade it from what is dishonorable or harmful“ (Runnalis, „The Rethoric of Josephus,“ 743).


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2.1 Freiheit als ideale politische Größe Als erreichbarer Zustand wird die Freiheit nur von den falschen Lehrern und den Rebellen definiert. Die Hoffnung auf Freiheit war unter den Juden so groß, dass sie leicht von Betrügern verführt werden konnten (Bel. 2,259.264).19 Freiheit war ein angemessener Vorwand für alle Parteien, den anderen vorzuwerfen, sie verraten zu haben (s. dazu Bel. 2,443; 4,–73.508; 7,255.410).20 Zu dieser Sicht gehört auch die persuasive Rede21 von Anan (Bel. 4,162–92): Der ganze Krieg sei wegen der Freiheit ausgebrochen (4,178). Wenn sie das Joch der Weltmacht nicht akzeptiert haben, warum akzeptieren sie dann die Tyrannei ihrer Volksgenossen? „Ist euch denn das edelste und natürlichste Gefühl, der Freiheitsdrang (ἐλευθερίας ἐπιθυμία) entschwunden?“ (4,175). Diese Apathie habe zuerst dazu geführt, dass die Zeloten erstarkten und dann die Macht über das Heiligtum erlangen konnten. Nicht die Römer seien die wahren Feinde, sondern die Tyrannen aus dem eigenen Volk. Sie seien die Feinde der Freiheit (185: οἱ ἐπίβουλοι τῆς ἐλευθερίας).22 Als Titus vor seinen Soldaten über Freiheit spricht (Bel. 3,472–84), macht er klar, dass die Freiheit und die Liebe zum Vaterland der Juden weniger wert seien als die von den Römern vertretenen Tugenden (ἀρετή) und der Ruhm (εὐδοξίας)23  An der ersten Stelle lesen wir über Schwindler, die die Leute mit der Verheißung: „Gott werde ihnen dort durch Wunderzeichen ihre Freiheit (Bel. 2,259: σημεῖα ἐλευθερίας – ‚sings of liberation – messianic or apocalyptic signs‘ [Mason, Judean War 2, 211]) verkünden“ in die Wüste geführt haben. Felix hat dies als Aufruhr verstanden und viele von den Leuten ermordet. Später haben sich „die Gaukler und die Räuber“ wieder gesammelt und stachelten viele Juden auf, für die Freiheit zu kämpfen (Bel. 2,264: συναχθέντες πολλοὺς εἰς ἀπόστασιν ἐνῆγον καὶ πρὸς ἐλευθερίαν). Beide Stellen haben eine Parallele in Ant. 20,168.172, aber ohne ἐλευθερία zu erwähnen. „Thus, it seems that Josephus of the Antiquitates did not want to characterize Jewish rebels against Rome as seekers of eleutheria“ (Schwartz, „Rome and the Jews,“ 72).  Gehorsam bedeutete für die Rebellen Sklaverei. Für ihre Gegner (Juden und Römer) war dieses Bild differenzierter. „They find ways to turn the slavery analogy into an argument for submission to Rome: suggesting that the very powerful can make worthy masters, mobilising contempt for the futility of servile resistance, and arguing that rational masters will not be needlessly cruel to their slaves“ (Lavan, „Slaves to Rome,“ 30).  Runnalls, „The Rethoric of Josephus,“ 743 ordnet die beide Reden von Josephus (Bel. 5,376–419; 6,99–110) und die erste Hälfte der Rede von Eleazar (Bel. 7,323–88) der selben Unterkategorie zu.  „True freedom is not incompatible with foreign rule, if the Judeans will allow their own priestly aristocracy to manage internal affairs“ (Mason, Judean War 2, 211).  Wichtig ist zu sehen, dass neben persönlichem Unglück, besonders der Ruhm und Vaterland (Freiheit gegenüber Knechtschaft), für Familie/Freunde bekannte Motivationen des Sterbens in der Antike sind (vgl. Swoboda, Tod und Sterben, 250–90). Aber Spezifika jüdischer Geschichtsschreibung sind: 1. „Todesbereitschaft für Gesetz, Religion oder Bräuche zu thematisieren – dies

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die Juden zu besiegen (3,479–80).24 Es ist wieder Titus, der den Verteidigern von Gischala garantiert, dass sie, wenn sie kapitulieren, ihr Leben retten können, „denn auf die Freiheit zu hoffen, könne man verzeihen, aber unter untragbaren Voraussetzungen zu trotzen, verdiene kein Erbarmen“ (Bel. 4,95).

2.2 Die Rede von Agrippa (Bel. 2,345–402) Als typisches Beispiel für diesen politischen Wortgebrauch wollen wir die Rede des Agrippa näher betrachten.25 Er spricht von einer unerreichbaren, irrationalen Freiheitshoffnung26 (2,346: ἐλπὶς ἀλόγιστος ἐλευθερίας), der gegenüber er die Realität der Knechtschaft (δουλεία – 12×) hervorhebt. Er macht klar, dass „es viele gibt, die die Fehlgriffe der Statthalter und den Lobpreis der Freiheit dramatisieren“ (2,348: . . . ὅτι πολλοὶ τὰς ἐκ τῶν ἐπιτρόπων ὕβρεις καὶ τὰ τῆς ἐλευθερίας ἐγκώμια τραγῳδοῦσιν). Deshalb ist es ihm so wichtig, dass er die Argumente für einen Aufstand gegen27 die Römer in moralisch ansteigender Reihenfolge detailliert widerlegt, um „die wirren Verknotungen eurer Voreingenommenheit aufzulösen“ (2,349). Wenn sie nur von den unrechten römischen Amtsträgern28 befreit werden möchten, warum berufen sie sich dann auf Freiheit? Wenn sie aber gegen die Knechtschaft rebellieren (Freiheit bedeutet nach Agrippa völlige Unabhängigkeit und nicht nur

ist in griechisch-römischen Historiographien nahezu nirgends belegt“, während es bei Josephus sehr markant ist und als weit wichtiger dargestellt wird als die Erlangung von Ruhm. 2. „Der Blick auf ein Leben nach dem Tod ist im Kontext dessen, was Sterbende in den untersuchten griechisch-römischen Werken tun und sagen, höchst ungewöhnlich“ (Swoboda, Tod und Sterben, 398.138).  „Der ständige Vergleich der römischen Armee mit den bekämpften Juden bestimmt den Grundton der Rede und eine Art captatio benevolentiae, die an die Emotionen der Zuhörer appelliert“ (Schell, Die Areopagrede, 164).  Zum Aufbau der Rede s. Schell, Die Areopagrede, 148–49; Runnalls, „The Rethoric of Josephus,“ 747–50; Es ist die erste und wegen diese Platzierung auch die wichtigste Rede im Bellum (vgl. Mason, Judean War 2, 265).  Agripa argumentiert, dass in der Politik rationale Entscheidungen gebraucht werden und nicht Emotionen und Hoffnungen (vgl. Mason, Judean War 2, 269).  „Aristotle lists five main subjects about which people deliberate: ways and means, war and peace, the defence of the country, imports and exports, and legalisation (Rh. 1,4,1359b). Of these five subjects the second, war and peace, is the topic of [. . .] the speech of Agrippa and the two speeches of Josephus appealing to those in the city of Jerusalem to surrender“ (Runnalls, „The Rethoric of Josephus,“ 744).  Die Exzesse der römischen Statthalter waren auch ein Problem für die lokale Elite – vgl. Rajak, „Friends, Romans, Subjects,“ 127–28.


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Autonomie29), dann ist die Person des Stadthalters doch irrelevant. Was die Freiheit betrifft, klingt schon der Auftakt zu diesem Thema nicht beruhigend: Es sei jetzt gar nicht zeitgemäß Freiheit zu begehren (2,355: ἀλλὰ μὴν τό γε νῦν ἐλευθερίας ἐπιθυμεῖν ἄωρον – vgl. auch die Rede von Josephus bei Jerusalem, bes. Bel. 5,396.408). Sie hätten die Freiheit vielmehr früher bewahren sollen (ähnlich Josephus in Bel. 5,365), als die Knechtschaft nur eine Bedrohung war, als Pompeius seinen Fuß in ihr Land setzte.30 Aber wenn man erst einmal unterlegen war, „dann kann nur ein eitler Sklave daran denken, wieder zu entwischen, aber nicht einer, der die Freiheit liebt“ (2,356: φιλελεύθερος31).32 Wenn es um den Freiheitskampf geht, müsse eine scharfe Grenze zwischen den Freien und den Sklaven gezogen werden.33 Die Juden haben die Chance verpasst, als freie Menschen um die Freiheit zu kämpfen. Jetzt sei ist dieser Drang unzeitig (ἄωρον). Es bleibe ihnen die politische Sklaverei als einzige Möglichkeit übrig. Sie sollen diese akzeptieren und das Beste aus der Situation machen, wenn sie überleben wollen. – Der längste Teil der Rede handelt von Völkern (Bel. 2,358–387),34 die stärker sind, die die Freiheit lieben und verlangen, aber trotzdem die Knechtschaft akzeptieren und sich vor den Römern beugen mussten, „deren Partei die Glücksgöttin (τύχη) ergriffen hat“ (2,360),35

 Vgl. Schwartz, „Rome and the Jews,“ 67–68. Aber Freiheit ist nicht nur gegenüber den Römern zu verstehen sondern gegenüber alle Tyrannen, auch wenn sie Juden sind (vgl. die Rede von Anan s. o.) – zum Thema Kochin, „Freedom and Empire,“ 23–24. In der Ant. ändert sich der Wortgebrauch „began to move from a definition of eleutheria as complete independence to one which amounts to religious autonomy“ (Schwartz, „Rome and the Jews,“ 74).  „Josephus repeatedly and quiet programmatically views the Hasmonean state as the epitome of Jewish eleutheria“ (Schwartz, „Rome and the Jews,“ 66; vgl. weiter 71).  Josephus verwendet dieses Wort nur im Bel. 2,299; 4,246.319.335 (vgl. Mason, Judean War 2, 274).  Eine interessante Parallele bietet dazu die Rede von Titus, in der er als freundlicher Haushalter und die Juden als seine Sklaven erscheinen (Bel. 6,350). „The explicit comparison (ὥσπερ) and the reference to a household (οἰκία̹) leave no doubt that this is an allusion to the domestic reality of slavery“ (Lavan, „Slaves to Rome,“ 27). Aber in dieser Rede erscheint Freiheit nicht mehr.  „For a slave to struggle against his condition is merely contemptible – the act of a recalcitrant slave (αὐθάδης δου̃λος) not a lover of liberty (φιλελεύθερος). By implication servile defiance is not even just (δίκαιος). [. . .] In short, Agrippa is appealing to his audience as masters“ (Lavan, „Slaves to Rome,“ 28–29).  Zum Aufbau und zu den Quellen dieses Teiles der Rede vgl. Kaden, „Flavius Josephus,“ 491–504; Mason, Judean War 2, 276–303.  Nach N. Kelley, Josephus hat τύχη (vgl. Bel. 2,373) in der Argumentation von Agrippa – die auch seine eigene Meinung spiegelte (vgl. Bel. 5,367–68) – hineingebracht, weil „that seems more suited to those readers who might not have been so familiar with the biblical prophetic tradition“ (Kelley, „The Cosmopolitan Expression,“ 261–62). Bei Josephus erscheint das Glück/Schicksal „als launisch und wechselhaft. Gott ist dagegen der rationale Geist, die Seele hinter dem Geschehen im Universum“ (Schell, Die Areopagrede, 152).

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obwohl diese Völker mächtiger und „von noch größerem Verlangen nach Freiheit erfüllt waren“ (2,361). Ihr Wunsch nach Freiheit sei viel berechtigter als der der Juden (vgl. 2,356.368.370), und sie haben auch gekämpft (2,373: πόλεμος ὑπὲρ τῆς ἐλευθερίας vgl. weiter 374). Aber jeder müsse das Glück (τύχη) der Römer anerkennen, das sie begünstigt und ihnen mehr Erfolge brachte als ihre Waffen. Ihnen bleibe nur noch die Hoffnung, auf Gottes Hilfe zu vertrauen. Aber Gott stehe den Römern bei, sonst hätten sie kaum ein Reich36 dieser Größe aufbauen können (2,390 – das gleiche sagt Josephus in Bel. 5,367.378.38937). Ganz zu schweigen davon, dass die Juden auch den Kult wegen des Krieges vernachlässigen mussten, was Gott sicherlich zornig machen würde (2,391–92). Wenn ihr Ziel sei, ihre alten Gesetze zu bewahren, sei Krieg nicht der richtige Weg, um dies zu erreichen (2,393–94). Am Ende der Rede soll man einsehen, „that those Jews who had been opposed to resistance had had every practical justification, as well as the logic of history on their side. The moral balance sheet was, on the other hand, a separate issue.“38 Es ist auch klar, dass Freiheit in diesen Fällen eine politische Bedeutung beigemessen wurde. Die Juden hätten aktuell keine Chance, Freiheit zu erreichen. Sie haben die Möglichkeit wohl verpasst, sie haben das römische Joch auf sich genommen. Die Römer seien nur „auserwähltes Instrument der Vollstreckung des Gottesgericht über die Juden.“39 Die Zeit werde noch kommen – es liege in Gottes Hand –, zu der sie ihre Freiheit erlangen können.40 Aber diese Freiheit ist keine eschatologische Größe, sie ist auch keine Utopie, sondern sie wird in der Geschichte erfolgen.

 Auffällig ist der häufige Gebrauch des Begriff οἰκουμένη in dieser Rede (9×). „Im Bellum dient er offenbar dazu, mit besonderem Nachdruck von der römischen Hegemonie zu sprechen [. . .] Obwohl Josephus eine persönliche, jüdische geprägte Sicht von Gottes Hegemonie über die bewohnte Erde vertritt, verwendet er den Begriff [. . .] ähnlich wie Strabon im römisch-politischen Sinn“ (Schell, Die Areopagrede, 151; vgl. weiter Mason, Judean War 2, 278). D. A. Kaden ahnt Ironie im Hintergrund dieser hybriden Anwendung von offizieller Propaganda und persönlichem jüdischen Glauben (vgl. Kaden, „Flavius Josephus,“ 504–07).  Agrippas Argumente werden auch in Josephus’ Rede fortgesetzt, aber diese Argumente drücken die Erkenntnis aus, dass sich Glück ändern kann – vgl. Kókai-Nagy, „The Speech of Josephus,“ 154. „Die Macht der Völker, auch die der Römer, ist nach Josephus immer Macht Gottes, die er einem bestimmten Volk zu einer bestimmten Zeit nach seinem Willen verleiht. Gott bleibt demnach immer die führende Gestalt der Geschichte . . .“ (Schell, Die Areopagrede, 181; vgl. weiter 179–82.226–29).  Rajak, „Friends, Romans, Subjects,“ 132.  Schell, Die Areopagrede, 228.  „For Josephus, as for the many rabbis, the conception of cycle of sin, punishment, and salvation, with an eventual new beginning, lay beneath the doctrine of the transference of God’s favour“ (Rajak, „Friends, Romans, Subjects,“ 133; vgl. Rajak, Josephus, 78–79.97–100).


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3 Freiheit als Begriff mit philosophischem Inhalt Es wurde von vielen Forschern schon bemerkt, dass die zweite Hälfte der Rede von Eleazar (Bel. 7,341–88) von griechischer Philosophie abhängig ist. Als Basis der Argumentation können wir Platon entdecken, aber es ist praktisch eine populärphilosophische Mischung (Platon, Aristoteles, Poseidonos).41

3.1 Die Rede von Eleazar (Bel. 7,323–88) Eleazar leitet seine Gedanken mit dem klassischen Gegensatz zwischen Knechtschaft und Freiheit (δουλ- 7,323.324[2 ×] – vgl. Bel. 4,508) ein. Es ist wohl Gottes Gnade, dass sie jetzt (νῦν καιρός), da die Festung nicht mehr zu halten ist (Gott hat zugunsten der Römer eingegriffen – Bel. 7,318–19) als freie Menschen gut sterben können (Bel. 7,325: καλῶς καὶ ἐλευθέρως ἀποθανεῖν vgl. 7,326).42 Wir sollten vielleicht schon am Anfang bemerken – sagt Eleazar –, als „unsere Freiheit“ (7,327: τῆς ἐλευθερίας ἡμῖν) den Widerstand der Volkgenossen provozierte, dass Gott das jüdische Volk zum Untergang verurteilt hatte. Die gewünschte Freiheit widerspreche Gottes Willen. Wegen der Sünden, besonders wegen „unserer Raserei gegen die eigenen Stammgenossen“43 habe Gott das Volk bestraft und ihm die Hoffnung genommen, die (politische) Freiheit zu bewahren (7,327–33.329: τὴν ἐλευθερίαν φυλάξαντες). Sein Urteil/Strafe (7,333: δίκη) sollen sie aber nicht durch die Römer, sondern durch ihre eigene Hand erleiden.

 Vgl. Morel, „Eine Rede bei Josephus,“ 107–10. „The philosophical tradition of the deuterosis seems, on closer scrutiny, to be more in line with later Platonistic tenets than with the authentic Plato. [. . .] This may imply that Josephus (or his source) exploited a well known Platonic commonplace, rather than that he had used Plato directly, where we would, perhaps, have expected him to bring a more diversified list of Platonic references“ (Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 26–27. vgl. auch 43).  Man kann diesen Gedanken vor jüdischem Hintergrund interpretieren, denn der Heldentod/ Martyrium war auch in der jüdischen Tradition ein Kennzeichen für Exzellenz und Tapferkeit. Aber wir finden die Idee (sich als freier Mensch für die Freiheit zu entscheiden) auch in der Stoa: Freiheit ist die Verwirklichung des universalen göttlichen Willens im konkreten Leben des Wissenden. Weil der freie Mensch ein Freund Gottes ist, gehorcht er freiwillig Gott (vgl. Epiktet, Dis. 4,3,9). Dies bedeutet „alles Schicksalhafte als göttliches Geschick [zu] verstehen und als solches [zu] bejahen“ (Forschner, „Epiktets Theorie der Freiheit,“ 114). Freiheit ist also die Übereinstimmung des eigenen Willens mit dem Willen Gottes (vgl. Epiktet, Dis. 4,1,89–90.98).  Eleazar sagt uns hier, was eigentlich Josephusʼ eigene Meinung über die Tätigkeit der Rebellen „als Werk weniger rücksichtsloser Tyrannen“ ist (vgl. Mason, Flavius Josephus und das Neue Testament, 284).

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Es gibt keinen anderen Weg: Entweder werden die Kinder und die Frauen mit den Überlebenden versklavt, oder sie fliehen alle in den Selbstmord.44 In diesem Fall ist es eine Gnade (7,334: εὐγενῆ χάριν), dass sie ihre Freiheit als schönes Sterbekleid bewahren (παράσχωμεν καλὸν ἐντάφιον τὴν ἐλευθερίαν φυλάξαντες). Obwohl die erste Hälfte (Bel. 7,323–36) der Rede einige Zuhörende überzeugte, waren viele andere skeptisch. Als Eleazar sieht, dass seine Argumentation die gewünschte Wirkung nicht erreicht, fügt er eine Bekräftigung der Richtigkeit von Selbstmord in einer solchen Situation hinzu (Bel. 7,341–88).45 Freiheit ist weiterhin ein Schlüsselbegriff. Aber seine Verwendung unterscheidet sich eindeutig von dem religiösen-politischen Sinn, wie das Wort bisher verstanden wurde. Die zweite Hälfte der Rede fasst Josephus selbst zusammen: Eleazar hielt, mit gerissen von Begeisterung, eine enthusiastische Rede über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (7,340: περὶ ψυχῆς ἀθανασίας).46 Gleich im ersten Satz begegnen wir der Freiheit. Eleazar ist sehr enttäuscht über seine Kameraden, weil er gedacht hat, mit hervorragenden Leuten für die Freiheit aufgestanden zu sein (7,341: ἀνδράσιν ἀγαθοῖς τῶν ὑπὲρ τῆς ἐλευθερίας ἀγώνων συναρεῖσθαι). Er sieht aber, dass sie im Moment der Entscheidung ihren Mut verloren haben, als wüssten sie nicht mehr, was sie aus den Worten ihrer Väter und Götter gelernt haben (7,343: παιδεύοντες

 Bei Stoikern hat sich der Suizid als extreme, aber doch akzeptierbare Form der Beantwortung existentieller Fragen durchgesetzt hat (vgl. Seneca, Ep. 58,23–24.34). – Vgl. Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 29; Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 16. Gründe dafür können heftige Schmerzen, eine unheilbare Krankheit oder der Schutz von Interessen des Vaterlandes oder von Freunde sein (vgl. Wöhrle, Epiktet, 104–10). O. Bauernfeind weist auf A. Strobel hin, der auf Grund des Datums (15. Nissan 73 [Bel. 7,401]) – eine Pessachnacht – meinte, dass es hier nicht nur um Selbstmord ginge. „Der Tod der Besatzung gehört zu den zahlreichen Fällen hochgespannter und enttäuschter Passaherwartung: man erwartet die Stunde der Erlösung und das Kommen der messianischen Wende, wobei die Selbsthingabe des heiligen Restes als eine Art vorbereitendes Opfer im Sinne einer »Beschleunigung„ verstanden wird. [. . .] Nach dem Josephustext handelt es sich also in Masada streng genommen nicht um einen Selbstmord“, sondern es sei ein Opfer gewesen (Bauernfeind, „Die beiden Eleazarreden,“ 271–72).  Für zwei Reden argumentiert Bauernfeind, „Die beiden Eleazarreden,“ 269–70 und M. Luz: „The theme of the first speech is the preservation of personal freedom (B. J., vii. 323–27, 329) through death (335–36); while the deuterosis is more interested in assuaging the fear of death (349–50) by various philosophical arguments“ (Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 26). Doch das ist nicht überzeugend. Einerseits spielt persönliche Freiheit auch eine wichtige Rolle in der zweiten Hälfte der Rede. Andererseits sehen wir eine ähnliche Konstruktion in der Rede von Josephus bei Jerusalem (Bel. 5,362–419) und der Grund für die neue Argumentation ist auch der gleiche (vgl. 5,375) – dazu Kókai-Nagy, „The Speech of Josephus,“ 153–56; vgl. weiter Runnalls, „The Rethoric of Josephus,“ 751–54. Übrigens enthalten nur diese beiden Reden zwei Teile.  Zu der Unsterblichkeit der Seele vgl. detailiert Swoboda, Tod und Sterben, 319–24.


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ἡμᾶς οἱ πάτριοι καὶ θεῖοι λόγοι),47 nämlich, dass nicht der Tod, sondern das Leben für die Menschen Unheil bedeutet, da der Tod den Seelen die Freiheit zurückgibt (7,344: οὗτος μὲν γὰρ ἐλευθερίαν διδοὺς ψυχαῖς),48 sie vom Körper befreit und an einen reinen Ort gelangen lässt,49 „wo sie beheimatet sind und wo kein Schmerz mehr auf sie wartet“ (7,349–50).50 Aus diesem Abschnitt kann man lernen, dass die Seele im sterbenden Körper nur siecht und gezwungen ist, all seine Schwachheit zu teilen.51 Die Seele ist tot, solange sie im Körper ist. Darüber hinaus zeigt Eleazar seinem Publikum auch, dass die Seele ein göttlicher Teil des Menschen ist;52 aber „jede Gemeinschaft von Göttlichem und Sterblichem ist wider die Natur“ (7,345: κοινωνία γὰρ θείῳ πρὸς

 Für nichtjüdische Leser könnten die folgenden Argumente als auch in der jüdischen Tradition bekannte Gedanken erscheinen (vgl. noch Bel. 7,387: ταῦθ᾽ ἡμᾶς οἱ νόμοι κελεύουσι). Zwar kann man einige Parallelen in der hellenistisch-jüdischen Weisheitsliteratur finden, doch: „in these terms, we should not seek Jewish parallels for this theme, [. . .]. The reference to traditional and divine precepts (vii. 343) is part of the original Greek source. In fact, even the point that the philosophy of life as man’s misfortune is ʻconfirmed by the deeds and noble spirit of our forefathersʼ (B. J., vii. 343) would seem to recall similar stock arguments in our ancient sources“ (Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 36; vgl. auch 27.35–36); vgl. weiter Ladouceur, „Josephus and Masada,“ 98–99.  Vgl. Seneca, Ep. 77,15: „So nahe ist die Freiheit, und doch gibt es noch Sklaven? [. . .] Unseliger du! Du bist ein Sklave der Menschen, der Dinge, des Lebens. Denn wenn der Mannesmut zum Sterben fehlt, so ist das Leben nichts als Knechtschaft“ (übers. v. O. Apelt); Epiktet, Dis. 4,1,30: „So sagt auch Diogenes irgendwo, daß es einen sicheren Weg zur Freiheit gebe: Heiter zu sterben . . .“ (übers. v. R. Nickel).  Seneca, Ad Marc. 23,1: „. . . ist der Weg zum Himmel den Seelen leichter, die bei Zeiten von dem Verkehr mit den Menschen frei werden [. . .] Noch ehe sie sich damit überzogen und den irdischen Stoff tiefer in sich aufnahmen, befreit, schweben sie unbeschwerter wieder zu ihrem Ursprung empor und spülen alles Häßliche, was ihnen anklebt, leichter ab“ (übers. v. A. Forbiger). „The parallel between the deuterosis and consolatory discussions on death and the soul is thus two-fold: – we should not be grieved about death since 1) life is a misfortune and 2) the soul enjoys immortal life on its release from the prison of life“ (Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 35).  Vgl. Seneca, Ep. 58,36 – „Josephus’ description of death as making the souls πάσης συμφορᾶς ἀπαθεῖς (B. J., vii. 344) carries with it the same pessimistic outlook on physical life“ (Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 30).  „Der Mensch ist frei, den nichts hindert und dem alles zur Verfügung steht, wie er es will. Wen man aber hindern, zwingen, hemmen oder in eine von ihm nicht gewollte Lage bringen kann, der ist ein Sklave. Wen aber kann nichts hindern? Den Menschen, der nichts haben will, was ihm nicht gehört oder nicht erreichbar ist. Was gehört ihm nicht? Die Dinge gehören uns nicht, bei denen es nicht von uns abhängt, ob wir sie besitzen oder nicht und in welchem Zustand oder unter welchen Bedingungen wir sie besitzen. Folglich ist unser Körper nicht unser Eigentum, ebenso seine Teile und jeder Besitz“ (Epiktet, Dis. 4,1,128–30).  „Der Mensch bzw. seine Seele ist auf diese Weise mit dem Göttlichen “verbunden und in Berührung, indem sie Teile und Bruchstücke von ihm sind„ (I 14.6). Ja, in Hinsicht auf seinen Kör-

Der Begriff ἐλευθερία im Bellum Judaicum


θνητὸν ἀπρεπής ἐστι).53 Die Seele kann zwar auch im Körper Hervorragendes erreichen, „doch erst, wenn sie frei ist von jener Schwerkraft, die sie zur Erde zieht und an sie bindet, erst wenn sie in ihre Heimat gelangt ist, hat sie Anteil an jener beseligenden Kraft und allseits fessellosen Stärke, für immer unsichtbar dem menschlichen Auge wie Gott selbst.“ (7,346)54 Die Seele ist unvergänglich (7,347: φύσιν ἔχουσα τὴν ἄφθαρτον). Als Beweis erwähnt Eleazar den Traum:55 Im Traum störe der Körper die Seele nicht, deswegen könne sie sich mit Gott, mit ihrem Verwandten (συγγένεια) unterhalten. „Ist es nicht töricht, der Freiheit im Leben nachzujagen, auf die unsichtbare Freiheit aber zu verzichten?“ (7,350: πῶς δ᾽ οὐκ ἀνόητόν ἐστιν τὴν ἐν τῷ ζῆν ἐλευθερίαν διώκοντας τῆς ἀιδίου φθονεῖν αὑτοῖς;) Die Zuhörer sollten es schon auf Grund ihrer Erziehung einsehen und den anderen ein Beispiel der Todesbereitschaft geben.56 Wenn man dies doch nicht anerkenne, trete man die Gesetze der Väter mit Füßen (7,357: πάτριος νόμος), „da wir nach Gottes Willen und nach dem Gesetz der Notwendigkeit sterben müssen“ (7,358: θεοῦ γνώμῃ καὶ κατ᾽ ἀνάγκας τελευτήσαντας).57 Gott habe nämlich schon längst das Schicksal des jüdischen Volkes beschlossen. Es sei also kein Verdienst der Römer, denn man hat die Juden auch dort geschlagen, wo die Römer nicht dagewesen sind (7,360–69). Ob-

per ist er vergänglich, in Hinsicht auf die Vernunft “ist er nicht geringer noch kleiner als die Götter„ (I 12.26)“ (Wöhrle, Epiktet, 66–67).  Die Fähigkeit, frei zu sein, erhalten wir ebenfalls von Gott (Epiktet, Dis. 1,19,9), und wir können uns darauf besinnen, weil wir mit Gott in einem Verwandtschaftsverhältnis stehen (vgl. Dis. 1,9), „das eigene wahre Selbst wird als Ausfluss oder Partikel Gottes identifiziert“ (Vollenweider, „Lebenskunst als Gottesdienst,“ 146). Das garantiert der Logos, der ebenso der Welt wie auch allen Menschen innewohnt – vgl. Hansen, „Philosophie, Stoa,“ 357–58; weiter Thom, „Popular Philosophy,“ 286.  Zu dieser Stelle erwähnt M. Luz u. a.: Cicero, Tusc. 1,70–71; Seneca, Cons. 24,5–25,1. (Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 30–31). Vgl. außerdem: „Der Tod ist doch der Hafen und Zuflucht aller Menschen“ (Dis. 4,10,27 – übers. von G. Wöhrle [Epiktet, 109]).  Zum Thema Traum in Josephusʼ Argumentation vgl. Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 37–39.  Eleazar verdeutlicht seine Interpretation am Beispiel der Inder (Bel. 7,351–356). Dieses Beispiel stammt ebenfalls aus der griechischen Philosophie, nämlich von Megasthenes (vgl. Morel, „Eine Rede bei Josephus,“ 111–12). M. Luz weist demgegenüber auf Clearchus hin (Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 40–42). Auch wenn dieses Beispiel mit verschiedenen Philosophen in Verbindung gebracht wird – sicher scheint, dass griechisches Denken dahintersteht.  Der Begriff ἀνάγκη ist sehr wichtig in der Argumentation für oder gegen Selbstmord. Klassisch hierzu Platon, Phaedo 62c: „Auf diese Weise nun wäre es also wohl nicht unvernünftig, daß man nicht eher sich selbst töten dürfe, bis der Gott irgendeine Notwendigkeit (ἀνάγκη) dazu verfügt hat“ (übers. von F. D. E. Schleiermacher). – Alles hängt davon ab, ob man eine Situation als ἀνάγκη versteht oder nicht. „. . . Josephus is playing on the interpretive possibilities of ἀνάγκη in his appropriation of the Phaedo, in order to express his theological and political belief that in the course of the Jewish war, God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked“ (Kelley, „The Cosmopolitan Expression,“ 267; vgl. weiter Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 20–21).


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wohl die Juden sich für ihre Freiheit jeder Gefahr stellten, konnten sie nicht gewinnen (7,370). „Wer in der Schlacht den Tod gefunden hatte, den mußte man noch glücklich preisen, war er doch in der Verteidigung gestorben, und ohne die Freiheit zu verraten“ (7,372: τὴν ἐλευθερίαν οὐ προέμενοι). Die Gefangenen aber erlitten ein grausames Schicksal (7,373–79). Nun sei der Tod in Ehren die einzige Möglichkeit, wenn wir Mitleid (7,380: ἐλεάω) mit uns selbst und mit unseren Familienmitgliedern haben möchten. Sterben sei ohnehin das Schicksal aller Menschen,58 und wenn man durch Selbstmord Tortur, Gefangenschaft und ein ehrenloses Ende vermeiden kann, gebe es keinen Platz für Feigheit (7,381–83). So lange wir frei sind und unser Schwert haben (7,386: ἕως εἰσὶν ἐλεύθεραι καὶ ξίφος ἔχουσιν), „wollen wir (sc. als Freie) zusammen mit Kindern und Frauen aus dem Leben scheiden“ (ἐλεύθεροι δὲ μετὰ τέκνων καὶ γυναικῶν τοῦ ζῆν συνεξέλθωμεν). – Am Ende hat Eleasar es wohl geschafft, seine Zuhörer zu überzeugen. Jonathan J. Price sagt treffend, dass diese die einzig erfolgreiche der sechs großen Reden in Bellum ist, mit der der Redner seine Zuhörer überzeugen kann. In dieser Erfolglosigkeit der Führer des Volkes spiegelt sich ihr Versagen, den Ausbruch des Krieges zu verhindern.59

3.2 Der Kontrapunkt: Josephusʼ Rede bei Jotapata (Bel. 3,362–82) Die Begriffe: Körper und Seele sowie Selbstmord spielen auch in der Rede von Josephus in Jotapata60 eine wichtige Rolle.61 Josephus wurde von seinen Kameraden befragt – weil er sich den Römern ergeben wollte –, ob er vergessen habe, wie viele  Epiktet argumentiert ganz ähnlich (Dis. 2,1,17): Die Seele muss sich früher oder später vom Körper trennen. Warum sollte man Angst haben, wenn es jetzt passiert? (vgl. weiter Dis. 2,10,4–6).  „This is one of Josephus’ profoundest comments on the war – not so much a critique of the Jewish leaders whose rhetoric failed, as a demonstration that reasonable words from reasonable minds had little power in a time of insanity. It shows furthermore [. . .] the breakdown of language and community in time of stasis, and had absorbed the idea that linguistic mutations signalled the breakdown of shared values, making communication between rivals not only impossible but dangerous“ (Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 12; vgl. 11–13).  Zu der Rede vgl. Kókai-Nagy, „The Speech of Josephus,“ 149–53; Schell, Die Areopagrede, 154–62. „Other speeches perforce represent one discrete and critical rhetorical occasion, such as Josephus’ speech in the cave, and Eleazar’s speeches at Masada“ (Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 9).  Es ist auch sehr wichtig zu bemerken, dass diese Ereignisse an dem Wendepunkt im Leben von Josephus stattfanden. „His status and mission as prophet, i. e. someone who has direct communication with God and is sent to deliver God’s urgent message, remains throughout the rest of the BJ. [. . .] The issue of life and death in the cave at Jotapata was far greater than the personal fate, the bravery or cowardice, of those holdouts. At stake was nothing less than God’s laws, and God’s intentions, both at the present moment and throughout history“ (Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 15).

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Juden ihr Leben für die Freiheit geopfert hätten (3,357: πόσους ὑπὲρ ἐλευθερίας ἀποθνήσκειν ἔπεισας). In seiner Antwort philosophiert er über ἀνάγκη (3,361: ἤρχετο πρὸς αὐτοὺς φιλοσοφεῖν ἐπὶ τῆς ἀνάγκης), und kommt zu dem Schluss, dass es nicht nötig sei, in den Tod zu eilen, Körper und Seele zu trennen (3,362: ἢ τί τὰ φίλτατα διαστασιάζομεν, σῶμα καὶ ψυχήν;). Obwohl es eine herrliche Sache sei, im Kampf zu sterben, würde Josephus dem Tod auch nicht entkommen, doch Selbstmord sei eine falsche Entscheidung. Schön ist es, für die Freiheit zu sterben (3,365: καλὸν γὰρ ὑπὲρ τῆς ἐλευθερίας ἀποθνήσκειν), aber nur durch die Hand derer, die die Freiheit rauben wollten (ὑπὸ τῶν ἀφαιρουμένων αὐτήν). „Feig ist, wer dann sich zu sterben weigert, wenn es die Notwendigkeit erfordert, feig ist aber auch, wer sterben will, ohne daß die Notwendigkeit besteht.“ Der Tod komme dann, wenn es sein muss. Wovor sollte man sich fürchten? „Da wird einer einwenden: ‚Nein, die Knechtschaft ist es, vor der wir uns fürchten.‘ Tatsächlich, jetzt verfügen wir ja wirklich über die Freiheit!“ (3,367). Gott habe die Juden mit dieser Knechtschaft bestraft.62 Man mag Selbstmord als Heldentat betrachten, in Wirklichkeit aber sei es eine beschämende Tat und Feigheit.63 Darüber hinaus widerspreche die Selbsttötung der grundlegenden Natur der Lebenswesen, ganz zu schweigen davon, dass wir die Seele – die ein Teil der Gottheit ist – als Geschenk (τò δῶρον) von Gott in diesen sterblichen Körper bekommen haben (3,372), und dass man Leib und Seele nicht voneinander trennen soll.64 Josephus sieht– im Gegensatz zu Eleazar – den Leib nicht als Gefängnis der Seele an, und er hält „die Trennung von Leib und Seele durch Selbstmord gerade nicht für eine Befreiung, sondern für einen schlechten Umgang mit der Seele und für eine Verachtung das Guten, nämlich der Seele als ein Teil, in dem Gott sich selbst den Menschen schenkte.“65 Nicht zufällig scheint, dass sich gerade Josephus und Eleazar in ihren Reden mit dem Thema Selbstmord beschäftigen. Wenn man die Argumentation von Josephus bei Jotapata liest, wird klar, dass sie mindestens Fragen bezüglich ihrer jüdi-

 Vgl. Lavan, „Slaves to Rome,“ 32–33.  Hier muss erwähnt werden, dass Josephus seinen eigenen Argumenten widerspricht, wenn er mit Vespasian spricht. Vor Vespasian erkennt er an, dass er sich nach jüdischem Gesetz umbringen sollte. Er tat es aber nicht wegen der Bedeutung der Botschaft, die Gott ihm anvertraut hat (Bel. 3,400) – vgl. Kókai-Nagy, „The Speech of Josephus,“ 152–53.  Vgl. Mason, Flavius Josephus und das Neue Testament, 282–83; Kókai-Nagy, „The Speech of Josephus,“ 151.  Schell, Die Areopagrede, 158–59.


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schen Herkunft66 aufwirft. Wenn man dasselbe Thema in der Rede von Eleazar untersucht, ist schon eindeutig, dass die Argumentation nicht aus dem jüdischen Denken stammt. Es sieht so aus, als ob die beiden Redner miteinander diskutieren, aber sie tun dies nicht im Rahmen der alttestamentlichen, jüdischen Tradition. Obwohl die Argumente und die Situation ähnlich sind,67 versucht Josephus das Gegenteil von dem zu beweisen, was später Eleazar sagt.68 Besonders hervorzuheben ist, dass Freiheit an diesen Stellen (nur in 3,365 und vor seiner Rede 3,357) nicht als Folge des Todes begegnet, sondern in ihrem politischen Sinn.69 Exkurs: Folgendes Gespräch zwischen Epiktet und seinen Schülern hätte genauso auch zwischen Eleazar und Josephus stattfinden können. Epiktet lässt einmal seine Schüler in einem fiktiven Gespräch sagen: Epiktet, wir halten es nicht mehr aus, an diesen armseligen Körper gefesselt zu sein, ihn zu speisen und zu tränken, ihn schlafen zu legen und zu reinigen, und dann um seinetwillen mit dem und dem zu tun zu haben. Sind das nicht gleichgültige Dinge, die uns nichts angehen? Und ist nicht der Tod kein Übel? Sind wir nicht mit Gott verwandt und kommen von ihm her? Lass uns dorthin gehen, woher wir gekommen sind! Lass uns einmal von diesen Fesseln befreit werden, die uns anhängen und uns drücken! Hier sind Räuber und Diebe und Gerichtshöfe und so genannte Tyrannen, die sich wegen dieses armseligen Körpers und seiner Habe einbilden, Macht über uns zu haben. Lass uns ihnen zeigen, dass sie über keinen Macht haben!

 Vgl. Ladouceur, „Masada,“ 248–51. „The argument against suicide is essentially philosophical and grounded not in Jewish teaching but in Greek philosophy“ (Ladouceur, „Masada,“ 250). J. J Price hingegen hält gerade dieses Argument für aus der jüdischen Tradition hergeleitet („The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 17–18). Weiter schreibt er: „Josephus had phrased the idea of the soul’s immortality in such a way as to recall the Jewish idea of resurrection of the dead, but this idea is far from Eleazar’s reflections, which focus exclusively, using Platonic language on the imprisonment and defilement of the soul by the body . . .“ (Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 21).  In jüngerer Zeit hat G. E. Sterling auf die Parallelen zwischen der Beschreibung der Ereignisse in Masada und der in Gimala aufmerksam gemacht und die Ähnlichkeit der Situation hervorgehoben (Sterling, „The End of Military Campaings“).  Ob die Schlussfolgerungen, zu denen Eleazar kommt, von den Lesern wirklich „als eine falsche Interpretation durchschaut werden“ können (Schell, Die Areopagrede, 191), ist zwar möglich, aber nicht sicher. Für jüdische Leser ist es vielleicht eindeutig. Aber diese Gedanken waren – wie wir gesehen haben – den heidnischen Lesern insbesondere durch den Einfluss der Stoa nicht fremd und klangen in ihren Ohren nicht falsch (vgl. Swoboda, Tod und Sterben, 140–45).  Vgl. Sievers, „Josephus on the Afterlife,“ 27–31. Demgegenüber meint D. J. Ladouceur, dass Josephus hier ἐλευθερία kaum im politischen Sinne hätte verwenden können. „Rather it expresses a sort of freedom in relation to choosing the time and manner of one’s death: it is slavery to inflict death unwillingly upon oneself simply in fear of death at the hands of one’s enemies (3.366–68)“ (Ladouceur, „Masada,“ 251; vgl. auch Ladouceur, „Josephus and Masada,“ 97).

Der Begriff ἐλευθερία im Bellum Judaicum


[. . .] Und so antwortet Epiktet: Wartet auf Gott, ihr Menschen! Wenn jener euch das Zeichen geben und von diesem Dienst entlassen wird, dann geht zu ihm zurück! Für jetzt aber haltet es aus, diesen Platz zu bewohnen, auf den jener euch gestellt hat. Kurz ist doch die Zeit, die ihr hier wohnt, und leicht für Menschen solcher Gesinnung [zu ertragen]. Denn welcher Tyrann, welcher Dieb, welche Gerichtshöfe könnten denen noch furchtbar sein, die sich aus dem Körper und seiner Habe so wenig machen? Bleibt hier, entfernt euch nicht unbedachtsam! (Dis. 1,9,12–17)70

4 Zusammenfassung Wie wir gesehen haben, benutzt Josephus den Begriff ἐλευθερία grundsätzlich in einem religiös-politischen Sinn. Eine Ausnahme stellt jedoch die zweite Hälfte der Rede von Eleazar dar. Hier stammen die Argumente aus der Populärphilosophie; Josephus hat sie aus hellenistischen Antworten auf die Frage nach Tod, Seele, Freiheit und Selbstmord genommen.71 Der Redner will sein Publikum davon überzeugen, dass die ewige Form der Freiheit für die Menschen viel wichtiger sei und der (nur) temporär zu erlangenden Freiheit entgegengesetzt ist. Wir dürfen annehmen, dass Eleazar, wenn Josephus ihn zu Wort kommen lässt, in einer Weise redet, die den Absichten des Josephus entspricht.72 Was war seine Absicht in diesem Fall? Passt diese Rede auch zu der allgemeinen Feststellung über die Reden in Bellum Judaicum: „They are inserted at important points where he could not only present his own theological and ideological evaluation of the events, but also direct this as a polemic against the radical rebels whom he

 Wöhrle, Epiktet, 107–08. Der Entschluss zum Selbstmord sollte auf einer vernünftigen Entscheidungsbasis stehen. „Damit wird Selbstmord als Folge etwa einer depressiven Stimmung, als Welt- oder Lebensflucht im engeren Wortsinn, abgelehnt“ (Wöhrle, Epiktet, 107).  Es ist gut vorstellbar, dass Eleazars philosophische Rede eine Art Reflexion über die Ressentiments der Philosophen durch den kaiserlichen Hof im zeitgenössischen Rom gewesen ist (vgl. Ladouceur, „Masada,“ 253–58; Ladouceur, „Josephus and Masada,“ 99–101). „The ‚Stoic opposition‘ in the Senate of the Flavian period was not a Greek import. Through family ties, friendship and teacher-student successions, the group could trace its roots back to the victims of Nero in the sixties“ (Haaland, „Josephus and the Philosophers of Rome,“ 302, vgl. auch 304–05). Zum Thema Stoizismus im Imperium vgl. Gill, „The School in the Roman Imperial Period“. Dazu, wie Josephus auf dem Vorwissen seiner Leser in Bellum aufbaut, vgl. Mason, „Of Audience and Meaning,“.  Rajak, Josephus, 80–81. „Like any good Greek historian, Josephus salted his BJ with rhetorically elaborate speeches in direct discourse in order to explore the psychological interior of important historical players and to provide insight into motivations for the characters’ actions at critical junctures in the narrative“ (Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 6).


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believed had destroyed the Temple and the state.“73 Wir dürfen weiterhin annehmen, dass es die wichtigste Funktion der Reden sei, „dem Leser eine bestimmte Deutung der dargestellten Geschichte anzubieten und plausibel machen“.74 Josephus will mit seinem Werk zeigen, dass Juden und Römer dieselben Werte und Tugenden vertreten und diese aus der jüdischen Tradition stammen.75 Wie passt Eleazar in dieses Bild? Oder: „Why he included so detailed and stirring a record of apparent heroism on the part of a group whom he had opposed“?76 Ob dies wirklich nur ein Kompromiss sei – wie Sören Swoboda meint77 –, und Josephus die Todesbereitschaft der Sikarier trotz ihrer Kriegsschuld und ihrer Sünden gegen ihr eigenes Volk (vgl. Bel. 2,408; 4,400; 7,256–62)78 demonstrieren wollte? Es ist sicherlich kein Zufall, dass ἐλευθερία in der ersten und in der letzten Rede des Bellum am häufigsten vorkommt. Wir haben gesehen, dass in Agrippas Rede Freiheit eine unerreichbare politische Hoffnung ist. Die Juden sollen kühn und klug aushalten. Der Krieg wird ihnen nicht die gewünschte Freiheit bringen. Am Ende seiner Rede klingen seine ermahnenden Worte fast ein bisschen zynisch: Gewöhnlich beginnt man doch in der Weise einen Krieg, daß man sich göttlicher oder menschlicher Hilfe versichert. Ist es aber handgreiflich, daß weder von hier noch von dort Hilfe kommen kann, dann bleibt doch den Streitern nur noch der sichere Untergang! Was hindert euch da noch, gleich mit euren eigenen Händen eure Frauen und Kinder zu töten und dieses Juwel von einer Vaterstadt den Flammen zu weihen? Ein solcher Wahnwitz enthöbe euch wenigstens der Schmach einer Niederlage. (Bel. 2,394–95)

Aber wenn man Josephusʼ Schrift bis zum Bericht über Masada liest, werden diese warnenden Worte fast zu Prophezeiungen, die sich gerade an den Verteidigern der Festung erfüllt haben. Es zeigt, wie bewusst Josephus sein Werk zusammengestellt hat. Obwohl es für Josephus sehr wichtig ist, die Tapferkeit des jüdischen Volkes aufzuzeigen, sieht es gar nicht so aus, als würde er hier, in der Rede von Eleazar,  Runnalls, „The Rethoric of Josephus,“ 738.  Schell, Die Areopagrede, 224; vgl. Swoboda, Tod und Sterben, 129–36. „A Greek reader of his day would not have failed to notice the concepts, and even language, behind this speech, but would not have been perturbed by the discrepancy of a zealot and a Jew speaking in this way“ (Luz, „Eleazar’s Second Speech,“ 43).  Mason, Flavius Josephus und das Neue Testament, 89–90.  Ladouceur, „Masada,“ 246.  Swoboda, Tod und Sterben, 305. Die Zeloten auf Masada seien die charakteristischsten Beispiele der Standhaftigkeit und Tapferkeit. „In den letzten Zügen demonstriert der Sterbende, dass auch ein sündiger Jude letztlich noch die Fähigkeit besitzt, das richtige zu tun (vgl. EleasarRede auf Masada)“ (Swoboda, Tod und Sterben, 112, vgl. 108–12 sowie 136–45.  Vgl. Rajak, Josephus, 81–89; van Henten, „Masada World Heritage Site,“ 1341–42; Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 20.

Der Begriff ἐλευθερία im Bellum Judaicum


die Selbstaufopferung in diesem Sinn erwähnen.79 In seiner Rede bei Jotapata wird eindeutig klar, dass für ihn Selbstmord nicht zu Tapferkeit passte. Das Sterben dieser Leute in Masada interpretiert er als Vergeltung, als Bestrafung Gottes – wie auch Eleazar es richtig erkannt hat80 –, sodass die heidnischen Leser seine Darstellung dieses historischen Ereignisses als eine Art griechischer Tragödie lesen könnten.81 Ihre Reaktion könnte der Reaktion der römischen Soldaten entsprechen: „Als sie nun aber hier die Menge der hingeschlachteten Menschen gewahr wurden, da überkam sie keine Freude wie etwa beim Anblick toter Feinde, sondern es erfaßte sie Bewunderung für den großartig kühnen Entschluß und für die unbeugsame Verachtung des Todes, wie sie diese vielen Menschen durch ihre Tat gezeigt hatten.“ (Bel. 7,406; vgl. 7,388).82 Josephusʼ eigene Meinung zu diesen Ereignissen bleibt im Dunkeln, er macht jedoch zwei Bemerkungen. Eine ist die Reaktion der Zuhörenden (Bel. 7,389) auf der Rede: Sie wurden von einer unkontrollierbaren Begeisterung (ὁρμή) und Gier (ἔρως) ergriffen, von überirdischen Kräften erfüllt (δαιμονῶντες).83 Sie erschienen gleichsam dämonisiert, verrückt

 „Die Fehlinterpretation der schrecklichen Zeichen des Krieges durch die Aufständischen gipfelt nach Josephus in der Überzeugung Eleazars, dass der Selbstmord das legitime letzte Angebot Gottes sei, um trotz der bevorstehenden Niederlage gegen die Römer die gewünschte ἐλευθερία zu erlangen“ (Schell, Die Areopagrede, 236).  „It is almost as if Josephus is trying to create the impression that the Sicarii at Masada, although they are dying according to God’s will, had removed themselves from the framework of Judaism itself“ (Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 21).  Vgl. Ladouceur, „Josephus and Masada,“ 104; Kelley, „The Cosmopolitan Expression,“ 267–68. „. . . for one well-known topos in Graeco-Roman literature and art is the melodramatic and heroic presentation of the deaths of one’s enemies“ (Ladouceur, „Masada,“ 247).  Der Selbstmord hat für den Leser viele Bedeutungen: Es ist die letzte Möglichkeit für verzweifelte Menschen, die keinen anderen Ausweg sehen. Dies kann Sympathie oder Bewunderung für die Entschlossenheit hervorrufen, und es kann das Ende aller Hoffnung auf Widerstand signalisieren. „It is a powerful statement that the victory is complete, even if that victory creates some sympathy for the defeated. While Josephus notes other examples, the examples at Gamala and Masada are powerful statements about the need to submit to Rome“ (Sterling, „The End of Military Campaings,“ 1225; vgl. weiter 1228–29).  „Though ὁρμή in a Stoic text might refer neutrally to ‚appetition‘, in this context, juxtaposed to words expressing lack of control, frenzy, and lust, it probably should be taken in a negative sense, and so Josephus’ description of the defenders’ motivation here hardly fits the model of the Stoic sage calmly and deliberately electing the time and manner of his death“ (Ladouceur, „Josephus and Masada,“ 102–03; vgl. auch Ladouceur, „Masada,“ 257–60; Price, „The Failure of Rhetoric,“ 22). Ganz anders sieht es aus, wenn ein Stoiker stirbt: „The hero faces death with dignity and serenity. He comforts his friends and students, engages them in a philosophical discussion about the afterlife or another suitable topic, and delivers some apt last words on virtue versus tyranny, suicide as the ultimate expression of freedom, etc.“ (Haaland, „Josephus and the Philosophers of Rome,“ 305, vgl. außerdem van Henten, „Masada World Heritage Site,“ 1339–40).


Viktor Kókai-Nagy

geworden. Die andere Bemerkung ist die über die zwei Frauen,84 die das Massaker überlebt haben. Sie seien „an Verstand und Bildung allen ihren Geschlechtsgenossinen weit überlegen“ (Bel.7,399: φρονήσει καὶ παιδείᾳ πλεῖστον γυναικῶν διαφέρουσα). Wie also hat Josephus ἐλευθερία im Bellum Judaicum verstanden? Freiheit bleibt für ihn ein religiös-politischer Begriff. Er redet nie über die innere Freiheit des Menschen, obwohl er den philosophischen (u. a. stoischen) Freiheitsbegriff offensichtlich kannte. Er lässt Eleazar über die jenseitige Freiheit der Seele sprechen, aber es ist die einzige Stelle, an der Freiheit als „Jenseitsmöglichkeit“ erscheint.85 Josephus teilte offensichtlich diese Meinung nicht. Nach Josephus kann man über Freiheit zwar philosophieren, aber es liegt allein in Gottes Hand, wahre Freiheit zu schenken. Diesen Prozess kann menschliches Handeln beschleunigen, wenn es Gottes Willen entspricht. Ε ̓ λευθερία ist ein Daseins-Begriff und bleibt in göttlicher Vorsehung vorbehalten.

Bibliographie Bartsch, Hans-Werner. “Freiheit im AT.” TRE 11:497–98 Bauernfeind, Otto.“Die beiden Eleazarreden in Jos. bell. 7,323–336; 7,341–388.” ZNW 58 (1967): 267–72. Bobzien, Susanne. Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. Epiktet – Teles – Musonius. Ausgewählte Schriften, übers. v. Rainer Nickel. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1994. Flavius Josephus. Der jüdische Krieg, übers. v. Hermann Endrös. München: Goldmann Verlag, 1993. Forschner, Maximilian. “Epiktets Theorie der Freiheit im Verhältnis zur klassischen stoischen Lehre (Diss. IV 1).” In Epiktet, Was ist wahre Freiheit?, hg. v. Samuel Vollenweider et al., 97–118. SAPERE 22. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013. Gill, Christopher.“The School in the Roman Imperial Period.” In The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics, hg. v. Brad Inwood, 33–57. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Haaland, Gunnar. “Josephus and the Philosophers of Rome: Does Contra Apionem Mirror Domitian’s Crushing of the ‘Stoic Opposition’?” In Josephus and Jewish History in Flavian Rome and Beyond, hg. v. Joseph Sievers – Gaia Lembi, 297–316. JSJSup 104. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2005.

 Auch in Gamala überlebten nur zwei Frauen und können so die Geschehnisse bezeugen (vgl. Sterling, „The End of Military Campaings,“ 1229–30). Aber der Autor behauptet dort nicht, dass sie klüger oder gebildeter waren als die anderen.  S. Swoboda bemerkt zurecht: „Eines der Ziele, die Josephus als für höherstehend als Ruhm vorstellt, bezieht sich auf den Glauben an ein Leben nach dem Tode“ (Swoboda, Tod und Sterben, 319). Umso auffallender ist, dass die Freiheit nirgendwo im Kontext eines Lebens nach dem Tod auftaucht.

Der Begriff ἐλευθερία im Bellum Judaicum


Hansen, Günther. “Philosophie, Stoa.” In Umwelt des Urchristentums. Bd. 1, hg. v. Johannes Leipold – Walter Grundmann, 354–64. Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1967. Roman Heiligenthal. “Freiheit im Judentum.” TRE 11: 498–502. Van Henten, Jan Willem. “Masada World Heritage Site: Josephus the Narrator Defeated.” In Sybyls, Scriptures and Scrolls. John Collins at Seventy, hg. v. Joel Baden et al., 1330–45. JSJSup 175. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2017. Kaden, David A. “Flavius Josephus and the Gentes Devictae in Roman Imperial Discurse: Hybridity, Mimicry, and Irony in the Agrippa II Speech (Judean War 2.345–402).” JSJ 42 (2011): 481–507. Kelley, Nicole. “The Cosmopolitan Expression of Josephus’s Prophetic Perspective in the Jewish War.” HTR 97 (2004): 257–74. Kochin, Michael S. “Freedom and Empire in Josephus.” HPT 39 (2018): 16–32. Kókai-Nagy Viktor. “The Speech of Josephus at the Walls of Jerusalem.” BN 161 (2014): 141–67. Ladouceur, David J. “Masada: A Consideration of the Literary Evidence.” GRBS 21 (1980): 245–60. Ladouceur, David J. “Josephus and Masada.” In Josephus, Judaism and Christianity, hg. v. Louis H. Feldman – Gohei Hata, 95–113. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987. Lavan, Myles Patric. “Slaves to Rome: The Rethoric of Mastery in Titus’ Speech to the Jews (Bellum Judaicum 6.238-50).” Ramus 36 (2008): 25–38 Luz, Menahem. “Eleazar’s Second Speech on Massada and its Literary Precedents.” RMP 126 (1983): 25–43. Mason, Steve. Flavius Josephus und das Neue Testament. Tübingen – Basel: A. Francke Verlag, 2000. Mason, Steve. “Of Audience and Meaning: Reading Josephus’ Bellum Judaicum in the Context of Flavian Audience.” In Josephus and Jewish History in Flavian Rome and Beyond, hg. v. Joseph Sievers – Gaia Lembi, 71–100. JSJSup 104. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2005. Mason, Steve. Hg. Flavius Josephus Translation and Commentary: Judean War 2. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2008. Meier, Christian. Kultur, um der Freiheit willen. München: Siedler, 2009. Morel, Willy. “Eine Rede bei Josephus (Bell. Iud. VII 341sqq.).” RMP75 (1926): 106–14. Niederwimmer, Kurt. “ἐλευθερία.” EWNT 1: 1052–58. Platon. Phaidon, übers. von Friedrich D. E. Schleiermacher. pdf (06. 07. 2021). Price, Jonathan J. “The Failure of Rhetoric in Josephus’ Bellum Judaicum.” Ramus 36 (2007): 6–24. Rajak, Tessa. “Friends, Romans, Subjects: Agrippa II’s Speech in Josephus’ Jewish War.” In Images of Empire, hg. v. Alexander Loveday, 122–34. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1991. Rajak, Tessa. Josephus. London: Duckworth, 22002. Rengstorf, Karl Heirich, Hg. A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus. Bd. 2, Leiden: Brill, 1975. Runnalls, Donna R. “The Rethoric of Josephus.” In Handbook of Classical Rhetoric, hg. v. Stanley E. Porter, 737–54. Leiden: Brill, 1997. Schwartz, Daniel R. “Rome and the Jews: Jospehus on ʻFreedom’ and ʻAutonomy’.” In Representations of Empire. Rome and Mediterranean World, hg. v. Alan K. Bowman et al., 65–81. Oxford: Oxford University Press – British Academy, 2002. Schell, Vítor Hugo. Die Areopagrede des Paulus und die Reden bei Josephus. WUNT 2/419. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016. Schlier, Heinrich. “ἐλεύθερος.” TWNT 2: 484–500. Seneca. Philosophische Schriften 3. Briefe an Lucius, übers. v. Otto Apelt. Leipzig: Felix Meiner, 1924. Seneca. Trostschriften, übers. v. Albert Forbiger. Berlin: Holzinger, 2016. Sievers, Joseph. “Josephus on the Afterlife.” In Understanding Jospehus, hg. v. Steve Mason, 20–34. Scheffield: Scheffield Academic Press, 1998.


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Sterling, Gregory E. “The End of Military Campaings: Gamala and Masada in The Jewish War of Josephus.” In Sybyls, Scriptures and Scrolls. John Collins at Seventy, hg. v. Joel Baden et al., 1217–31. JSJSup 175. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2017. Swoboda, Sören. Tod und Sterben im Krieg bei Josephus. TSAJ 158. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014. Thom, Johan C. “Popular Philosophy in the Hellenistic-Roman World.” EC 3 (2012): 296–320. Vollenweider, Samuel. Freiheit als neue Schöpfung. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1989. Vollenweider, Samuel. “Lebenskunst als Gottesdienst. Epiktets Theologie und ihr Verhältnis zum Neuen Testament.” In Epiktet, Was ist wahre Freiheit?, hg. v. Samuel Vollenweider et al., 119–62. SAPERE 22. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013. Wöhrle, Georg. Epiktet für Anfänger. München: DTV, 2002.

List of Contributors Carson Bay Department of Theology, University of Bern David R. Edwards Department of Religion, Florida State University Tibor Grüll Department of Ancient History, University of Pécs Jiří Hoblík Faculty of Arts of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem Tal Ilan Institute of Jewish Studies, Free University Berlin István Karasszon Department of Biblical Studies, Selye University of Komárno; Department of Old Testament, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary Budapest Viktor Kókai-Nagy Department of Biblical Studies, Selye University of Komárno; Department of Biblical Theology and History of Religions, Debrecen Reformed Theological University Steve Mason Department of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Origins, University of Groningen Marin Meiser Department of New Testament, University of Saarland Ádám Vér Department of Religious Studies, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest József Zsengellér Jewish Theological Seminary, University of Jewish Studies Budapest

Works of Josephus Antiquitates Judaicae 1.8–9 179 1.10 179 1.17 179 1.113 168 1.315 152 2.94 167 2.159 81 2.192 167 2.194 83 2.241 85 2.285 169 2.301 168 3.12 168 3.71 167 3.188–89 167 3.295 167, 179, 181 3.297 168 3.306–16 167, 168 4.12 168, 169, 181 4.12–66 168 4.13 168, 181 4.14 169 4.14–23 21 4.16 169 4.22 168, 169 4.23 169 4.24 168, 169 4.24–34 21 4.30 168, 181 4.32 168, 181 4.35 169 4.36 168, 169 4.39 83 4.50 169 4.59 169, 181 4.61 169 4.62–63 169 4.66 181 4.76 181 4.87 181 4.104 85 4.112 85 4.127–28 183

4.140 170 4.142 168 4.146 169 4.150 168 4.157 85 4.165 83 4.192 83 4.223–24 185 4.303 86 4.323 151 4.328 87 4.329 87 5.55 41 5.57 186 5.135 181, 187 5.231 181 6.35 168 6.36 185 6.56 87 6.69 152 6.84–85 186 6.118 168 6.125 168 6.128 168 6.139 168 6.166 83 6.221 87 6.268 186 6.327 86 6.330 85 6.331 85, 86 6.338 85 7.86 162 7.196 170 7.214 83 7.262 181 7.278 170, 181 7.318 162 7.321 87 7.337 170, 181 7.372 181 8.121 168 8.215 162 8.231 171


Works of Josephus

8.229 168 8.296 168 8.346 87 8.352 168, 171 9.18 168 9.58 152 9.98 171 9.104 171 9.182 87 9.252 97 9.280 171 9.282 171, 181, 188 10.47–65 167 10.61 167 10.62–63 42 10.63 167 10.67 170 10,79 86 10.93 162 10.103 167 10.195 85 10.209 184 10.210 184 10.246 89 10.249 89 10.266 83 10.276–81 93 11.5 139 11.12 140 11.19 142 11.21–25 142 11.35–57 140 11.57 140 11.73–74 140 11.79 142 11.88 142 11.97 142 11.111 188 11.112–13 186 11.168 142 11.184–296 143 11.297–303 143, 145 11.302–3 143 11.304–47 116 11.309–10 143 11.317 119 11.317–19 119

11.317–45 117–19 11.320 120 11.320–23 119 11.325–39 120 11.336 119 11.340–45 120 12–14 180 12.7 122 12.8 42, 122 12.11–118 121 12.119 123 12.149–53 123 12.274 152 12.289 133 12.299 133 12.305 133 12.337 125 12.383 125 12.387–89 125 12.398 167 12.418 124 13–20 181 13.4 133 13.27 133 13.28 130 13.32–73 125 13.62 125 13.62–73 125 13.65 125, 126 13.74–79 130 13.133 133 13.216 133 13.230–35 132 13.236–44 132 13.248–87 125, 126 13.249 131 13.249–53 131 13.282 79 13.284–87 126, 127–28 13.285 131 13.286 126 13.286–87 130 13.300 79 13.312–13 86 13.348–51 125, 126, 127–28 13.349 126 13.351 130

Works of Josephus

13.421 124 13.429–53 132 14.74–78 188 14.91 189 14.133 130 14.304 152 14.490–91 188 15.52 167 15.157 152 15.167 167 15.267 161 15.267–91 174 15.281 161 15.291 161 15.365 174 15.367 167 15.368 47 15.379 81 17.41–43 46 17.95 151 17.148 161 17.148–67 174 17.152 161 17.155 161 17.156 161 17.167 161 17.168–70 162 17.204 167 17.277 189 17.345 86 18–20 180 18.1–5 48 18.4 49 18.8–9 189 18.55 172 18.55–59 174 18.55–62 171–72 18.59 172, 174 18.60 172 18.62 172 18.217 85 18.223 85 18.261–83 174 18.264–68 174 18.273 174 18.275 161 18.284–85 174

18.286 174 18.317 172 18.317–50 172–73 18.340–52 174 19.184 181 19.208 169 19.228 181 20.14 64 20.97 174 20.103 56, 64 20.105 161 20.105–12 173, 174 20,110 161, 173 20.113–17 173, 174 20.115 161 20.116 173 20.117 161, 173 20.121 66 20.130 174 20.160 174 20.161 66 20.167 174 20.168 198 20.169 80 20.172 198 20.179–81 56 20.197–203 56 20.205–7 56 20.213 17 20.213–14 67 20.213–21 56 20.223 17 20.224–51 144 20.229 186 20,234 144, 188 20.235–37 125 20.235–67 125 Bellum Judaicum 1.1–8 10 1.8–9 125 1.9–12 13, 17 1.10 8 1.11 151 1.25–27 8 1.31 8 1.31–33 125, 126



Works of Josephus

1.68–69 79 1.79 86 1.88 115 1.116 124 1.175 130 1.190 130 1.191 130 1.304 150, 151 1.373–79 13 2.52 151 2.89 152 2.90 151, 152 2.112 86 2.118 189 2.120–61 156 2.135 43, 156 2.169–77 171–72 2.187 155 2.223–27 173 2.228–31 173, 174 2.235–36 66 2.253 66 2.259 198 2.261 79, 80 2.262–65 55 2.264 198 2.289–92 174 2.290 161 2.291 161 2.292 174 2.299 200 2.338 156 2.345 197 2.345–402 197, 199–201 2.346 174 2.394–95 210 2.408 210 2.409 62 2.409–10 61, 65 2.411–15 14 2.424 61 2.441 62, 65 2.443 198 2.443–45 61 2.447 62 2.450 61 2.453 61

2.562–65 67 2.562–68 14, 55, 58 2.564 58, 61, 62, 64 2.564–65 62 2.565 167 2.566 23 2.568 56 3.1–5 11 3.8 89 3.20 23 3.28 23 3.41 153 3.64–69 9 3.70–109 9 3.115–26 9 3.129 10 3.132–34 11 3.194–204 10 3.236–39 10 3.307 153 3.321–22 10 3.340 154 3.345–54 12 3.351–54 89 3.352 83, 89 3.353 89 3.357 207, 208 3.361 207 3.362 89 3.362–82 206–8 3.363 152 3.370 151 3.374 151 3.392–99 12 3.400 91, 207 3.406 91 3.443–46 10 3.472–84 198 3.475 164, 168 3.479–80 199 3.504 154 3.532–42 12 4.14 12 4.14–23 21 4.20 12 4.24–34 21 4.31 12

Works of Josephus

4.40–48 9–14, 25–26 4.70 12 4.86 154 4.92–161 15 4.95 199 4.121–54 56 4.131 156 4.131–57 15 4.146 198 4.151 15 4.155–57 57 4.158–61 58 4.158–365 55 4.159 68 4.160 67 4.162–92 14–17, 27–31, 58, 198 4.175 198 4.178 198 4.185 198 4.212 169 4.216–23 58 4.225 58, 59, 61, 64, 65, 66, 169 4.228 198 4.228–32 19 4.234 198 4.235 59, 66 4.238–69 17–20, 32–36, 58, 67 4.246 200 4.260 151, 152 4.270 20 4.271–83 20–21, 37–38, 58, 66 4.272–73 198 4.284–85 23 4.305–15 22 4.310 22 4.314–16 69 4.314–17 67 4.319 200 4.322 18 4.326–27 22 4.335 200 4.345–52 21–24, 38–39 4.347 155 4.354–65 23 4.357 169 4.358 69 4.382 151

4.386–87 152 4.386–88 83 4.387 83 4.388 151, 152 4.390–94 24 4.391 169 4.399 151 4.400 210 4.443–45 62 4.508 198, 202 4.566 22 4.575–76 167 4.588–663 11 4.592 155 4.596 157 4.601 155 4.625 86 5.5 61, 65 5.10 62 5.12 61 5.20 151 5.21 61, 62 5.45–46 11 5.60 151 5.99 61, 62, 71 5.249 66 5.250 61, 71 5.332 151, 152 5.362–419 203 5.365 200 5.367 201 5.367–68 200 5.375 203 5.376–419 198 5.378 201 5.389 201 5.391 83 5.391–92 88 5.396 200 5.408 200 6.99–110 198 6.109–10 88 6.146 150 6.148 66 6.239 151, 153 6.273 174 6.277 174



Works of Josephus

6.285–90 80 6.313 83 6.346 152 6.350 200 6.353 151, 153 7.115 154 7.191 168 7.228 155 7.255 198 7.256–62 210 7.318–19 202 7.323–88 197, 198, 202–6 7.341–88 202 7.342 197 7.388 211 7.389 211 7.399 212 7.406 211 7.410 198 7.412–36 125 7.423 125 Contra Apionem 1.37 78 1.37–38 89 1.37–41 182 1.40 78 1.41 78 1.192–204 121 1.201–4 121 1.203 85

1.204 85 1.236 85 1.256 85 1.257 85 1.258 85 1.267 85 1.306 85 2.42 120 2.44 122 2.48–56 125, 126, 127–29 2.49 130 2.52 130 2.55 130 2.158 185 2.165 186 Vita 1–2 185 12 73 28–29 10 36–42 10 40 170 133 164 149 164 190 68 191 68, 73 193 67, 68 204 67 208–12 89 284 164 410 10

Index of Ancient Texts Appian


Bellum civile 5.75 48

De elocutione 77 17



De deo Socratis 1.131–32 43

Adversus ristocrates 23.61 154 Philippics 4.8 16

Aristotle Athēnaiōn politeia 14.1.4 163 Ethica nichomacheia 1124b 9 Politica 1266b 44, 174 Rhetorica 1.4.1359b 199 Augustus Res gestae 25.2 43 Cassius Dio Historia Romana 50.6.6 43 50.19.5. 151 65(66).6.2–3 175 Epitome 66.1 90 Cicero Ad Atticum 2.1.3 15 Tusculanae Disputationes 1.70–71 205

Dio Crysostom Orationes 2.19 15 Diodorus Siculus Bibliotheca historica 14.21.2 151 17.8.7 151 Dionysius of Halicarnassus Antiquitates Romanae 1.31.3 180 1.85–87 186 De Thukydide 16 7 18 7 Epictetus Dissertationes 1.9 205 1.9.12–17 209 1.12.26 204 1.14.6 204 1.19.9 205 2.1.17 206


Index of Ancient Texts

2.10.4–6 205 4.1.30 204 4.1.89–90, 98 202 4.1.128–30 204 4.3.9 202 4.10.27 205



De congressu eruditionis gratia 27 174 De migratione Abrahami 60–61 164 De praemiis et poenis 20 164 De specialibus legibus 2.3–5 9–17, 42 In Flaccum 33 164 41 164 82 164 95 164 135 164 Legatio ad Gaium 120 164

Stratagemata 10 Iamblichus De vita Pythagorica 32.216 89 Isocrates Panegyricus 50.3 151 Herodian

Fragmenta 6.63 151 Philo

6.7.1 164 Plato Herodotus Historiae 1.59.5 163 1.60.5 163 1.96.1 163 5.97.1 163 8.135 85 Livy Ab urbe condita 1.1.1 152 Praef. 9 181 Lucian De historia concribenda 58 7 Zeuxis 2 154

Philebus 54c 154 Phaedo 62c 205 Pliny Historia naturalis 33.25 15 Plutarch Praecepta gerendae reipublicae 799b–801e 9 802d–803b 15 802e 16 Polybius 6.44.9 163 12.25–25a.4–5 7

Index of Ancient Texts

12.25i–26b 7 38.11.9 164 38.12.11 164 38.13.6 164 38.17.2 163

58.36 204 77.15 204 Of Consolation: To Marcia 23.1 204 24.5–25.1 205



Liber antiquitatum biblicarum 21.9 166 22.7 166 24.2 166 25–29 166 25.3 166 26.5 166 27.2 166 27.15 166 32.1 166 34.1–5 166 38.1 166 39.7 166 44.5.7 166 47.4 166 47.4–6 166

Antigone 964 89

Ps.-Plutarch De liberis educandis 9 154 Quintilian Institutio oratoria 2.5.16 15 3.8.65 15 6.5.6–8 15

Suetonius De Vita Caesarum Tiberius 26, 45 Vespasianus 11 Vespasianus 4–5, 90 Titus 5, 90 Tacitus Historiae 1.10 90 1.50 11 2.1 11 2.4 90 4–5 11 5.12.4 71 78 90 78–80 11 Annales 4.38 45 Theophrastus Characteres 26.3 164

Rhetorica Anonyma


Progymnasmata 1.607 151

1.22.1 7 2.60.6 169 2.65.4 163 3.82–84 169 3.82.1 169 3.83.1 169 4.28.3 163 6.63.2 163

Seneca Epistulae morales 58.23–24 203 58.34 204



Index of Ancient Texts

Valerius Maximus Facta et dicta memorabilia 8.7 15 Xenophon Cyropaedia 1.2.10 17 2.1.11 17 6.41 17 20 17 Hellenica 1.7.1–35 163 1.7.35 163 2.2.21 165 Memorabilia 3.3.7 17 Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Lakish Letter 3.13–18 115 Testament of Levi 8.11–15 79 Aristeas Letter 12–13 116 Rabbinic Literature: Mishna, Tosefta, Talmud and related Literature Mishnah m. Keritot 1:7 70 m. Nedarim 3:1–2 42 m. Shabbat 1:4 63 m. Sotah 9:9 66, 67 9:11 67 9:12 67 9:14 67 13:2 78 m. Yevamot 6:4 68

m. Yoma 3:9 68 Tosefta t. Horaiot 2:5–6 71 t. Menahot 13:11 64 13:21 56 t. Nedarim 42 t. Sanhedrin 2:5 70 t. Shabbath 1:13 71 16:7 59 t. Sota 13:4 72 73 t. Sukkah 4:4 70 t. Yoma 1:6 57 Babylonian Talmuds b. Bava Batra 12b 78 21a 68 b. Berakhot 7a 71 b. Betsah 15a 63 b. Gittin 56a 60 58a 71 b. Hagigah 13a 63 b. Keritot 28a 64 b. Pesahim 57a 64 65 57b 56 68b 63 b. Qiddushin 33a 63 b. Shabbath 13b 63

Index of Ancient Texts

15a 69 70 b. Yoma 2b 54 18a 68

Eichah Rabbah 4:2 60 Semahot

Jerusalem Talmud 6:11 62 y. Sanhedrin 2:5 70 29b 162 y. Shabbath 1:3 71 1:4 63 3b 71 3c 63

Sifra Deuteronomy 294 62 Emor perasha 2:1 57 Song of Songs Zuta

Avot R. Natan 73 A38 72 B41 72

8:14 65 Text from Egypt

Megillat Taʽanit 62, 63 Mekhilta Yishmael 72, 73 7 62

Flinders Petrie Papyri 120 Elephantine Papyri (TAD) A3.3.1.4 116 A4.2.11 116