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Saturday, September 12, 2009

A question...

The phrase 'very Jewish' (or the like) is very common in NT studies. What does it mean?

54 Comments:

Blogger Loren Rosson III said...

Presumably that which highly esteems the Torah, temple, and purity, and minimally esteems Hellenic influence. It's too often used to make the latter a foil (as noted especially by Arnal), even if only implicitly, and I think that's more the problem than any simplified definition itself.

September 12, 2009

 
Anonymous Josh Mann said...

In any case, the phrase implies a standard by which comparison is to be made. The question is: What 'Jewish' qualities become the standard by which one can judge Jesus as 'very' or 'somewhat' Jewish? If Rosson's suggested qualities are to be used, then I wonder if a different phrase than 'very Jewish' would serve us better.

September 12, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

it's meaningless lip service :-)

September 12, 2009

 
Anonymous Mike Koke said...

Good point. I slipped up when I recently posted that John's Gospel was "very Jewish" (I should have just said "Jewish"). I agree with the critiques in Arnal's "The Symbolic Jesus", your book "Jesus in an Age of Terror" and Jonathan Z. Smith's essay "Fences and Neighbours." What I meant is that John is part of an insider debate within Second Temple Judaism(s).

September 12, 2009

 
Anonymous Mike Koke said...

Correction: since the Temple was long destroyed by John's time, maybe it is better to say John was part of an insider debate on the legacy of Second Temple Judaism

September 12, 2009

 
Blogger N T Wrong said...

For the Apostle Paul, 'the Jews' were the circumcised.

It follows that those who are 'very Jewish' are those described in Gal 5.12.

September 13, 2009

 
Anonymous Mike Koke said...

But what if Paul is not aiming at Jews at all in Gal 5:12 but rather at Gentile Judaizers urging other Gentiles in the Galatian congregation to get circumcised? But this discussion does highlight the need to avoid essentialisms and that ethnic/cultural identities are fluid categories.

September 13, 2009

 
Anonymous Pat McCullough said...

Good question, James. I think I might put up a post on the question.

Mike, I think NT Wrong was being facetious.

September 13, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

perhaps because facetious questions get facetious responses ;-)

September 13, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

By 'very Jewish', I implied there could have been more than one form of Judaism. Ah! yes you all say, we know there were a number of sects. But I submit that the idea of sects was Roman propaganda. Something very Jewish was a prophetic belief in the Spirit, with no animal sacrifice. Here there was no Law. It is interesting to note that the Jews have not reinstated animal sacrifice. And for Gentiles, the Romans provided a substitute sacrifice - Jesus, a fictitious creation.

September 13, 2009

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Ok, while Geoff is obvious right, I'm going to assume he's not, and answer a few of these...

Loren's view: 'Presumably that which highly esteems the Torah, temple, and purity, and minimally esteems Hellenic influence'

Now I don't know if you would hold to this yourself Loren, but I imagine many people hold a view something like this. What, then, would we make of Philo? Would he think himself a very observant Jew?
(and Arnal convinced me on the foil thing too).

Josh: I think you are getting at what I want people to push: if we start talking of scale then we might as well start talking of percentages and then...well it gets very problematic and hits at the heart of identity issues often ignored I suspect.

Mike: I think I've probably used the phrase without thinking many times. Actually, doesn't John highlight the problems of identity very well: identifies over against 'the Jews' yet uses all sorts of things from Jewish tradition.

Steph: cynicism?!?!?

NTW, NTW, couldn't have put it better myself! The perfect way to undermine...

September 13, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

you know I hate that word!

September 14, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

A further implication of 'very Jewish' is that Jesus was created partly Gentile and partly Jewish. He was not 'very Jewish'. Christianity evolved from something 'very Jewish'. Or rather I prefer to say that the earliest 'christianity' had Flavian or Roman views imposed upon it.

September 14, 2009

 
Blogger Justin J. Meggitt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 14, 2009

 
Blogger Justin J. Meggitt said...

Could I suggest (a bit facetiously) that you look in the Jewish Chronicle at the Jew-ish column where they give a % score (and usually look at non-Jews like David Beckham - surely one of James' favourite people). Clearly very Jew-ish is a score in the 90s. Perhaps NT scholars should start giving % score (so, maybe Paul 83, Jesus 77, Herod 45 etc etc). I think people should, in the finest traditions of UK higher education, be encouraged to use the full range of marks.

(By the way, only removed my last post because of a typo and my own vanity).

September 14, 2009

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Yes, or scholarly Jesuses (Wright, Sanders, Meier etc). Better still, let's use Mike Bird's analogy of alcohol vol in wine and how Mack and the Jesus Seminar have a low%/not-very Jewish Jesus. I'm going to propose that Wright's Jesus is either a white wine spritzer or one of those 5% ones or something like Lambrini - always claiming to be proper wine but we all have our doubts.

I'll let the Beckham comment pass...

September 14, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

What percentage would Justin give to Agrippa I?

September 14, 2009

 
Blogger Justin J. Meggitt said...

James - not a wine but I think Wright's Jesus is probably a Cobra Zero - no, that's still too tasty - Caliber. Pretending to be alcoholic but not.

Geoff - I was being facetious. I think the Jewish Chronicle gave Ahmadinejad something like 18% (there was a rumour that he is in fact a descendant of a mashhadi - and he keeps some kosher). As for Agrippa I - off the top of my head, 47.2 or, in terms of a drink, a Watneys Red Barrel or Country Manor wine.

Sorry for being flippant Geoff. Maybe in a few weeks I'll be up to being serious.

September 15, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

I know you can't be serious for a few weeks Justin (too much wine may be), just go to sleep.

According to Eisenman's family tree for the Herodians, Agrippa I's grandmother was the Maccabean princess Mariamne who Herod her husband executed. Agrippa I's father was one Aristobulus who was also executed (strangled) by Herod, as was Aristobulus's brother Alexander (also strangled). It seems that Herod was out to eliminate the Maccabean line. This might explain why Agrippa was brought up in Rome, and spent his early years in Rome. Just think how pleased Agrippa would have been to know that his grandfather executed his grandmother and his father. No wonder then, Herod had a feared reputation as a murderer of children. But why should Herod go for the Maccabeans? Were they regarded as ‘true Jews’. If so, then Agrippa would be in the same category. But was there something more to Agrippa than ethnicity? Did he have a religion that could be described as ‘very Jewish’ which at the same time rejected the Law?

September 15, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

AGRIPPA SENT BY CAESAR TO BE KING? (Ant.18.1.1)

Ant.17.13.5 has; "so Archelaus's country was laid to the province of Syria, and Cyrenius, one who had been consul, was sent by Caesar to take account of people's effects in Syria, and to sell the house of Archelaus." One might have expected, since Archelaus had apparently been banished (more likely murdered) that Cyrenius was simply sent by Caesar to take account of Archelaus’s estate and sell it. Thus the matter of disposing of Archelaus’s ‘money’ had been dealt with. Note that there is no mention of Cyrenius being a judge of Judea, nor of him taking an account of the citizen’s substance, nor of Coponius being appointed to have supreme power over the Jews.

So it does seem strange when we get to Ant.18.1.1 that Cyrenius had not done his job yet. But now he is supposedly sent by Caesar to be a judge of Judea and to take an account of the citizen’s substance, as well as ‘disposing’ of Archelaus’s ‘money’. And Coponius, an equestrian, was supposedly sent with him, to have supreme power over the Jews. The text has been edited by Flavian historians to provide an artificial reason for the cause of the 'revolt'.

I suggest that Ant. 18.1.1 was originally about the appointment of Agrippa I as king in place of Archelaus. The text would have read something like this:

“Now Agrippa, one who was of great dignity, came at this time into Judea, being sent by Caesar to be a king of our Nation.”

Then there is a dispute. It wasn’t about taxation. It was about a kingdom, Agrippa’s kingdom of Judea. Agrippa was a Maccabean. The dispute was supposedly led by the ubiquitous Judas whose name was Gamala and his friend Sadduc a Pharisee. I suggest that the partners in crime were Ananias a high priest whose name was Hanan, and Joseph Caiphas a high priest (the Pharisees did not exist then). This was not a revolt against the Romans. It was some sort of protest at the appointment of Agrippa. And it leads on quite naturally to an explanation of the two major divisions of Judaism, priests and prophets, the former favouring the altar for burnt offerings, and the latter the altar of incense.

September 20, 2009

 
Blogger Joachim Martillo said...

Any use of the term Jewish before the 10th century CE is simply misleading: How Jews Distort Judaic History.

October 09, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

What does anyone make of this?

"Joshua kept the law, and he became a judge in Israel." I Macc.2:55

and this:

"Elijah never flagged in his zeal for the law, and he was taken up to heaven." 1 Macc. 2:58

October 10, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

I wonder if 'the law' is way overdone. The answer might be that the law referred to was 'oral law'. That seems like a get-out. The law was not written at the time of Elijah and Joshua. Did the law exist then? To me it points to Maccabees being written or edited by someone (a group, the writers are unknown) who were interested in creating law. This could only have been the later Pharisees who post the Jewish 'war' were made responsible (by the Romans) for the reconstruction of Judaism. 'The law' pre 70, was a figment of the imagination of these writers. They wrote history as though 'the law' was all important. They twisted history to make it appear that 'the law' was what Judas the Maccabean fought his battles over. Indeed, the whole of Maccabees I is centered on obedience of the 'the law'. And they they just could not resist saying that "Joshua kept the law, and he became a judge in Israel." 1Macc.2:55 and "Elijah never flagged in his zeal for the law, and he was taken up to heaven." 1 Macc. 2:58

October 11, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

When Mattathias was about to die, he is supposed to have said, "but now my sons, be zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers." 1 Macc. 2:50. Was 'the covenant' equivalent to 'the law'? The writer gets Abraham in on the act. "Did not Abraham prove steadfast under trial, and so gain credit as a righteous man." (1 Macc.2:52). ‘Paul’ says something similar in Romans 4:1-22. It seems as though there was some collusion between the writer of Maccabees and Romans. Can one therefore detect a different intended meaning from Romans?

Romans 4 wasn’t a matter of a person gaining credit by believing . Nor did it have anything to do with works being credited as an obligation, nor with the law, nor circumcision nor faith. It was originally a matter of giving credit to God for one’s cleansing by the Spirit, as distinct from sacrifice which a priest does not credit God but regards sacrifice as a reward. And it wasn’t Abraham, it was Moses.


Romans 4

MOSES NOT CLEANSED BY SACRIFICE

4.1.What then shall we say that Moses, our forefather, discovered in this matter?

4.2. If, in fact, Moses was cleansed by sacrifice, he had something to boast about -- but not before God.

October 12, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

4.4. Now when a priest sacrifices, his cleansing is not credited to God as a gift, but as a reward.

4.5.However, to the prophet who does not sacrifice, but obeys the Spirit who cleanses the impure, his cleansing is credited to God.

October 12, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

4.9.We have been saying that Moses’ cleansing was credited to God.

4.10.Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he sacrificed, or before? It was not after, but before!

4.11.And he received a seal of the Spirit before he sacrificed.

4.12.So then, he is the father of all who walk in the Spirit but have not sacrificed, in order that cleansing might be credited to God.

And we know who they were. They were the so-called 'Essenes' or prophets who "do not offer sacrifices, because they have more pure lustrations of their own." (Ant. 18.1.5)

And as Eusebius supposedly quoted Philo:

"I shall be contented with the testimony of Philo on this occasion, which he has given about the matter which I am here explaining in many passages on his treatise. And now do you take that work which he has written in defence of the Jewish nation, and READ THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES INTO IT.

Hypothetica 11.1 But our lawgiver (Moses) trained an innumerable body of his pupils to partake in those things, who are called Essenes, being, as I imagine, honoured with this appellation because of their exceeding holiness. And they dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages." This was Eusebius imagining, not Philo. Eusebius was obviously playing about with original text, telling the truth but not the whole truth.

October 12, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Romans 4

4.12.And he is also the father of
all who walk in the Spirit.

4.13.It was not through sacrifice that Moses and his prophets received the Spirit, but by obedience.

4.14.For if those who sacrifice are cleansed, the Spirit is worthless,

4.15.because sacrifice brings condemnation.

4.16 to 4.24 are Paul's pure invention.

October 12, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

So, 'very Jewish' can mean different things depending on your point of view. Were you a supporter of priests or of prophets? Or, may be both? Before Judas, it would seem that it would have been of both. In the garbled account of the four sects (originally about priests and prophets), it was said of Judas (brought forward in time): "for Judas and Sadduc who excited a fourth philosophic sect among us and had a great many followers therein, filled our civil government with tumults at present, and laid the foundation of this system of philosophy, WHICH WE WERE BEFORE UNACQUAINTED WITHAL." The writer was really talking about Judas the Maccabean. Judas began the separation of prophets from priests, and he provided the philosophic basis it. And he fought for it. According to Judas, prophets were superior to priests. Prophets had come to think that sacrifice could not cleanse.

October 13, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

"They discussed what to do with the altar of burnt-offering, which was profaned, and rightly decided to demolish it, for fear that it might become a standing reproach to them because it had been defiled by the Gentiles. They therefore stored away the stones in a fitting place on the temple hill, until a PROPHET SHOULD ARISE WHO COULD BE CONSULTED ABOUT THEM." 1 Macc.4:45,46

This was Judas' cleansing of the temple after engaging the garrison at the citadel. The writer just could not resist a dig at prophets. A prophet had arisen. Judas was a prophet, but the writer could not admit it. Thus it was unnecessary that a prophet 'be consulted'. The decision-maker was at-hand. The altar of burnt- offering was destroyed. The temple was 'cleansed' by getting rid of the altar of burnt-offering. Sacrifices were considered ineffective in cleansing a person's spirit.

October 14, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

"After the death of Judas the 'renegades' raised their heads in every part of Israel, and all the 'evil-doers' reappeared. In those days a terrible famine broke out, and the country went over to their side. Bacchides chose apostates to be in control of the country. 'These men' set inquiries on foot, and tracked down the friends of Judas and brought them before Bacchides, who took vengeance on them, loading them with indignities. It was a time of great affliction for Israel, WORSE THAN ANY SINCE THE DAY WHEN PROPHETS CEASED TO APPEAR AMONG THEM. Then all the friends of Judas assembled and said to Jonathan: 'Since your brother Judas died, there has not been a man like him to take the lead against our enemies.'" (Macc.9:23 to 29).

The 'renegades' or the 'evil-doers', 'these men', were cover-ups for priests. The Greek general Bacchides was a supporter of priests. Judas and his friends were prophets who the priests took before Bachides. The writer implied that that Judas and his friends were prophets by saying the time was: 'WORSE THAN ANY SINCE THE DAY WHEN PROPHETS CEASED TO APPEAR AMONG THEM'.

October 15, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Judas was not about the law at all. He was about the Spirit (written out of the text). This was why he destroyed the altar of burnt-offering. The festival he celebrated came to be known as the Festival of Lights. "They lighted the lamps that were on the candlesticks, and offered incense on the altar of incense." (Ant.12.7.6). God was now in his sanctuary - the 'desolation' was over. They had gained the freedom of their worship. They were then worshipping as Moses wished. Moses said, "I wish all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them." Of course, the later Jewish and Roman writers were prepared to say anything, especially about Greeks and Syrians. This was a civil dispute between priests and prophets that rumbled on and off for nearly 200 years.

October 16, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Demetrius fled Rome to Syria, crowned himself king, and killed the present king Antiochus. (Ant.12.10.1). The text continues: "Then many of the wicked Jewish 'runagates' that came together to him, and with them Alcimus the high priest, who accused the whole nation, and particularly Judas and his brothers, and said they had slain all his (Alcimus's) friends; and that those in his (Alcimus's) kingdom that were of his party, and waited for his return, were by them (Judas and his brothers) put to death; that these men had ejected them out of the their own country, and caused them to SOJOURNERS in a foreign land; and they desired that he (Demetrius) would send someone of his own friends, and know from him what mischief Judas's party had done."

Can you think of anyone else around this time who was driven from his own country to be a 'sojourner' in a foreign land, the 'land of Damascus' or Syria?

October 17, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Alcimus was the Teacher of Righteousness who sojourned in 'the land of Damascus', Syria. The Kittim were the Selucids, the Greek kings who divided the Greek kingdom between them. And Bacchides was the furious young lion. (Commentary on Nahum, 4Q169).

Consider Ant. 12.10.2:
"At this Demetrius was very angry, and sent Bacchides, a friend of Antiochus Epiphanes, a reliable man, and one that had been intrusted with all Mesopotamia, and gave him an army, and committed Alcimus the high priest to his care; and gave him charge to slay Judas, and those that were with him. So Bacchides made haste, and went out of Antioch (Syrian) with his army; and when he was come into Judea, he sent to Judas and his brothers, to discourse with him about a league of friendship and peace, for he had a mind to take him by treachery; but Judas did not give credit to him, for he saw that he came with so great an army as men do not bring to make peace, but to make war. However, some of the people acquiesced in what Bacchides caused to be proclaimed, and supposing that they should undergo no considerable harm from Alcimus, who was their countrymen, they went over to them; and when they had receive oaths from both of them, that neither they themselves, nor those of the same sentiments should come to any harm, they intrusted themselves with them."

Now look at 4Q169 1:2,3 – I quote Vermes.
“Wither the lion goes, there is the lion’s cub [with none to disturb it] Nah.2:11b. Interpreted, this concerns Demetrius, king of Greece who sought, on the council of those who seek smooth things, to enter Jerusalem. [But God did not permit the city to be delivered] into the hands of the kings of Greece, from the time of Antiochus until the coming of the rulers of the Kittim. But then she shall be trampled under their feet…” The interpolation would be better as: “God had not permitted the city to be delivered”. But now the rulers of the Kittim were here, it was occupied.

Some of the ‘the seekers of smooth things’, originally on Judas’ side, and some others were prepared to help, given guarantees for their safety. What did Bacchides do?

The text in the writings attributed to Josephus continues:
“but Bacchides troubled not himself about the oaths he had taken, but slew three score of them, although by not keeping faith with those that first went over, he deterred all the rest, who had intentions to go over to him, from doing it; but as he was gone out of Jerusalem, and was at the village called Bethzetho, he sent out, and caught many of the deserters, and some of the people also, and slew them all: and enjoined all that lived in the country to submit to Alcimus. So he left them there, with some part of the army, that he (Alcimus) might have wherewith to keep the country in obedience, and returned to Antioch to king Demetrius.”

“The lion tears enough for its cubs and it chokes prey for its lionesses (Nah. 2:12a). [Interpreted this] concerns the furious young lion who strikes by means of his great men, and by means of the men of his council. (Vermes, 4Q169 1:4)

[And chokes prey for its lionesses; and it fills] its caves [with prey] and its dens with victims (Nah. 2:12a-b). Interpreted, this concerns the furious young lion [who executes revenge] on those who seek smooth things and hangs men alive on [the] tree. (Vermes, 4Q169 1:5-7). Choking is what happens when one hangs someone.

October 18, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

JUDAS THE WICKED PRIEST

Who would have thought it? Judas was the wicked priest who killed the Teacher of Righteousness and had himself installed as high priest. (Ant.12.10.6). He is also ‘remembered’ as high priest here: “This decree was written by Eupolemus the son of John, and by Jason the son of Eleazar, when Judas was high priest.” (Ant.12.10.6). And again in a passage where the writer summarises his life: “He had been a man of valour and a great warrior, and mindful of all the commands of their father Mattathias; and had undergone all difficulties, both in doing, and suffering, for the liberty of his countrymen. And when his character was so excellent, [while he was alive,] he left behind him a glorious reputation and memorial, by gaining freedom for his nation, and delivering them from slavery under the Macedonians. And when he had retained the high priesthood three years, he died.” (Ant.12.11.2). In 1 Macc, Judas is not mentioned as high priest.

He died in battle fighting Bacchides who had been sent by Demetrius after the failure of Nicanor to defeat him. In 1 Macc.9, Alcimus is also sent by Demetrius along with Bacchides. In the writings attributed to Josephus, Alcimus had died before, and doesn’t appear with Bacchides in the final battle. (Ant.12.10.6 and 12.11).

So these are critical differences between the writings attributed to Josephus and 1 Macc. I think the writings attributed to Josephus are more or less correct.

October 19, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

THE COMMANDERS OF THE KITTIM

First Demetrius sent Bacchides, then he sent Nicanor who was killed, then he finally sent Bacchides again. (Ant.12:10 and 11)

“The wind then sweeps on and passes; and they make their strength their god (Hab.1:11). Interpreted, [this concerns] the commanders of the Kittim who, on the counsel of [the] House of Guilt, pass one in front of the other; one after another [their] commanders come to lay waste the earth.” (Vermes, 1QpHab.10-12).

October 19, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

THE WICKED PRIEST KILLS THE TEACHER OF RIGTEOUSNESS

“Woe to anyone who makes his companion drunk, spilling out his anger, or even making him drunk to look at their festivals! (Hab.2.15) Its interpretation concerns the Wicked Priest who pursued the Teacher of Righteousness to consume him with the heat of his anger in the place of his banishment. In festival time, during the Rest of the day of Atonement, he appeared to them, to consume them and make them fall on the day of fasting, the Sabbath of their rest.” (Martinez, 1QHab.11.2-8)

Judas had fought Nicanor and defeated him. (Ant.12.10.3-5). Alcimus the Teacher of Righteousness had been expecting that Judas would be dead and that he would have a free hand. But with Nicanor out of the way, Alcimus the Teacher of Righteousness was confined to the temple where he thought he was safe. He was resolving to pull down the wall that had been built by the prophets, children of Asamoneus, Judas’s forebears, to prevent God from seeing animal sacrifices from the sanctuary. (In Ant.20.8.11, this wall was edited into a dining room built by king Agrippa, significantly, in a palace built by the children of Asamoneus). The temple had been polluted and Alcimus was determined to cleanse it. This angered Judas.

“But now as the high priest Alcimus, was resolving to pull down the temple wall of the sanctuary, which had been there of old time, and had been built by the holy prophets, he was ‘smitten suddenly by God’, and ‘fell down’. This stroke made him ‘fall down speechless’ upon the ground; and undergoing torments for many days, he at length died, when he had been high priest four years. And when he was dead, the people bestowed the high priesthood on Judas;” (Ant.12.10.6)

This little interlude is of course not in 1 Macc. The attack on Alcimus was while he was fasting and about to enter the sanctuary for his once a year appearance there. It was a critical time for Judas to strike, while Alcimus was feeling weak.

October 20, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

SORRY - THE DEATH OF ALCIMUS IS IN 1 MACC.

It occurs in 1 Macc.9:54-57, well after the death of Judas. Jonathan, the brother of Judas, had been appointed as ruler and leader. This news was received by Bacchides who then came to fight Jonathan. There is an account of Jonathan’s raid on a wedding party in revenge for his brother John, then he fought Bacchides at the Jordan, then there is the account Alcimus's death. The passage about Alcimus's death is unrelated to anything. It is clearly an interpolation, placed later to give no connection to Judas.

The passage in 1 Macc. is as follows:
"In the second month of the year 153, Alcimus orders for the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary to be demolished, thereby destroying the work of the prophets. But at the moment when he began demolition, Alcimus had a stroke, which put a stop to his activities. Paralysed and with his speech impaired, he could not utter a word or give final instructions about this property. Thus he died in great torment."

The passage about Alcimus’s death in Ant.12:10.6 is as follows:
“But now as the high priest Alcimus was resolving to pull down the wall of the sanctuary, that had been built by the holy prophets, he was smitten suddenly by God, and fell down. This stroke made him fall down speechless upon the ground; and undergoing torments for many days, he at length died, when he had been high priest four years. And when he was dead, the people bestowed the high priesthood on Judas.”

Both passages are obfuscations. But in some ways the second seems more authentic, with words like ‘smitten suddenly’, ‘fell down’ and ‘undergoing torments’ which could involve human activity. “O traitors, why do you stare and stay silent when the wicked swallows up one more righteous than he? (Hab.1:13b) Interpreted, this concerns the House of Absalom and members of its council who were silent at the time of the CHASTISEMENT of the Teacher of Righteousness and gave him no help against the Liar who flouted the Law in the midst of their whole [congregation].” (Vermes. 1Qphab.5:9-12).

So Judas “flouted (‘rejected’, Martinez) the Law in the midst of their whole congregation.” Yet he was supposed to be the one for the Law.

October 21, 2009

 
Blogger Jim said...

i commend to you joseph blenkinsopp's new volume on the origin of judaism. he addresses the issue quite magnificently.

one more thing. are you ever going to blog again or have you now quit?

i need to know- can't have dead links on ye old roll ya know.

October 21, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

"Cursed be the man who rebuilds this city! May he lay its foundation on his first-born and set its gate upon his youngest son (Josh.6:26) Behold , an accursed man, a man of Satan, has arisen to become a fowler's net to his people, and a cause of destruction to all his neighbours. And [his brother] arose [and ruled], both being instruments of violence. they have rebuilt [Jerusalem and have set up] a wall and towers to make it a stronghold of ungodliness ... in Israel, and a horror in in Ephraim and in Judah ... They have committed an abomination in the land, and a great blasphemy among the children [of Israel. They have shed blood] like water upon the ramparts of the daughter of Zion and within the precincts of Jerusalem." (Vemes, 4Q175:22-30)

This was the Wicked Priest Judas and Jonathan (from the point of view of a supporter of the Teacher of Righteouness). Judas became the hated arch-typical traitor, as in the Gospels.

October 22, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

JUDAS A COUNTRY BOY

Judas was from Modin, or Modein, a tell, a village about 20 miles NW of Jerusalem. Thus he was a country boy. His family were country folk, like most of the prophets.

Mattathias, his father, was a priest, of the order of Joarib (a prophet), and a citizen of Jerusalem. He would come up to Jerusalem to perform his day’s service in the sanctuary once a year, much as ‘John the Baptist’s’ father did. Now it was his turn, along with the people of Modin. But this time Apelles, king Antiochus’s general appeared, with instructions from the king, commanding everyone to offer sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem. Antiochus was a cultured Greek, tolerant of foreign beliefs, but his motive was greed (as usual).

This infuriated Mattathias. Generations of his family had worshipped God in the sanctuary. He and his sons slew the general and a few of his soldiers. “If”, said he, “anyone be zealous for the worship of God, let him follow me; and when he had said this, he made haste into the desert with his sons, and left all his substance in the village. Many others (prophets) did the same also, and fled with their children and wives into the desert and dwelt in caves.” (Ant.12:6.1,2)

This was really a clash between simple country folk used to hard labour in the fields and the sophisticated priesthood in the cities cosying-up to Antiochus and later Demetrius - the sociohistorical link, James. There was no ‘Jew’ who stepped forward to offer sacrifice at Modin. There were no idol altars to be overthrown. These were dissimulations by later Roman and Jewish writers (the winners).

Still watching then Jim?

October 22, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

MATTATHIAS TAUGHT HIS FOLLOWERS TO FIGHT ON THE SABBATH

The breaking of the law continued. Mattathias, who was appointed ruler or king, taught his followers, some of whom had escaped a previous attack by Demetrius’s generals on the Sabbath,

“to fight even on the Sabbath-day; and told them unless they would do so, they would become their own enemies by observing the law, while their adversaries would still assault them on this day.” (Ant. 12:6.2)

Whiston inserted [so rigorously] after “observing the law”. He obviously realised there was a problem with the text. In the next breath, the writer has Mattathias overthrowing idol alters and killing those who broke the laws. It is more than likely an interpolation, as is the reference to the circumcision of boys.

October 23, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

THE LAST WORDS OF MATTATHIAS

According to 1 Macc. 2:49-70, Mattathias’s speech included:
50.“But now my sons, be zealous for the LAW, give your lives for the COVENANT of your fathers”
55.“Joshua kept the LAW, and he became a judge in Israel.”
58.“Elijah never flagged in his zeal for the LAW, and he was taken up to heaven.”
64.“But you, my sons, draw your courage and strength from the LAW, for by it you will win great glory.”
67.“Gather to your side all who observe the LAW, and avenge your people’s
wrongs.”
68.“Repay the gentiles in their own coin, and always heed the LAW’S commands.

The law is mentioned six times in the speech. It is blatant dissimulation. 1 Macc. has been created by later Jewish authors wishing to convince others that their earlier heroes were law abiding.

The equivalent speech in Antiquities, is completely different and more original. The text has been reworked essentially with the same dissimulation about the law, but the law is only mentioned twice in a longer more detailed passage. (Ant.12.10.3). Biblical scholars would take the text as it is, i.e. the family of Mattathias was law abiding, as supported by 1 Macc. I mean there can be no doubt about it, can there. But we have seen that this group was not law abiding. There was an extended period in Jewish history, up to the time of the final ‘revolt’, when the law was frowned upon by a large number of people, much to the discomfort of those later Jewish writers. On this occasion, those writers had the true law abiders turned into the ‘runagate and wicked Jews’ (presumably led by the high priest) who fought against Judas (Ant.12.7.1). But Judas just had to be a hero. He couldn’t be ignored.

October 24, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

WHAT WAS ANTIOCOCHUS EPIHANES UP TO IN THE FIRST PLACE? (ANT.12.5 – A CLUE)

The epistle that the 'Samaritans' took to him, to do with the renaming of the temple on mount 'Gerrizim' to the Temple of Jupiter Hellenus, might give us a clue. I have rearranged it together with Antiochus's reply. These epistles have to do with the punishment of the prophets, in the text immediately preceeding.

5. When the [Samaritans] {priests} saw the [Jews] {prophets} under these sufferings, they no longer confessed that they were of their kindred. So they sent ambassadors to Antiochus, and an epistle, whose contents are these:

"To king Antiochus the god, Epiphanes, a memorial from the sons of Aaron, who live at Jerusalem. Our forefathers had a custom of observing the Sabbath. And when they had erected a temple at the mountain called Zion, they offered upon it the proper sacrifices.

Now, upon the just treatment of these prophets, those that manage their affairs, supposing that we were of kin to them, and practiced as they do, make us liable to the same accusations, although we be originally sons of Aaron, as is evident from the public records. We therefore beseech thee, our benefactor and Saviour, to Nicanor, the procurator of thy affairs, to give us no disturbance, nor to lay to our charge what the prophets are accused for; but let our temple, be no longer disturbed, and so bring in a greater revenue to thee."

When the priests had petitioned for this, the king sent them back the following answer, in an epistle:

"King Antiochus to Nicanor. The sons of Aaron, who live at Jerusalem, have sent me the memorial enclosed. When therefore we were advising with our friends about it, the messengers sent by them represented to us that they are no way concerned with accusations which belong to the prophets. Accordingly, we declare them free from such accusations.”

Of course one can never know the exact original words. But I think the suspicion is well justified, that this was a cover-up. The issue was sacrifice, and the prophets were on the receiving end of Antiochus’s wrath for refusing to do it. And the reason was Antiochus’s wanton greed for revenue from the temple.

October 25, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

THE PROPHETS ASK ANTIOCHUS IF THEY CAN SEPARATE FROM THE PRIESTS (ANT.12.5.1) AND IF THEY CAN BUILD A WALL (CD5:12,19)

“1.ABOUT this time, Onias the high priest, gave the high priesthood to Onias his son. But Jesus, who was the brother of Onias, was angry with him. Now Jesus, raised a sedition against Onias. The multitude were divided between them both. And the prophets took the part of Onias, but the greater part of the people assisted Jesus; and by that means Onias and the prophets were distressed, and retired to Antiochus, and informed him that they were desirous to leave priests. Wherefore they desired his permission to build a wall between the altar and the sanctuary. And when he had given them leave, they left off all the customs that belonged to the priests.”

And never mind about asking Antiochus’s permission to build them a gymnasium, or that they hid the circumcision of their genitals. How many biblical scholars have written on this, Jim? Again, I cannot be sure of the exact details, but I reckon it’s a pretty good guess.

October 26, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

ANTIOCHUS’S REVENGE ON THE SEEKERS OF SMOOTH THINGS

Ant.12.5.2
“2. Now Antiochus, upon the agreeable situation of the affairs of his kingdom, resolved to make an expedition against Egypt, both because he had a desire to gain it, and because he contemned the son of Ptolemy, as now weak, and not yet of abilities to manage affairs of such consequence; so he came with great forces to Pelusium, and circumvented Ptolemy Philometor by treachery, and seized upon Egypt. He then came to the places about Memphis; and when he had taken them, he made haste to Alexandria, in hopes of taking it by siege, and of subduing Ptolemy, who reigned there. But he was driven not only from Alexandria, but out of all Egypt, by the [declaration of the Romans] {Jews} [, who charged him to let that country alone].”

Antiochus had attacked Egypt, but was driven out by the Jews, not by the Romans (as the Roman editor would like us to think). There were large numbers of Jews in Egypt, and particularly in Alexandria. They attended synagogues. Many of them were ‘seekers of smooth things’ – they didn’t believe in animal sacrifice. Thus there were a large bodies of Jews living outside of Jerusalem who could be classed as ‘seekers of smooth things’.

So Antiochus waited two years, before seeking his revenge upon the ‘seekers of smooth things’ in Jerusalem who had also given up animal sacrifice with HIS agreement, as I showed previously.

The history books tell us that Antiochus took his frustration out on the Jews because Romans drove him out of Egypt – these historians believed the Roman propaganda. But the Nahum Pesher tells us different. He was executing revenge on ‘the seekers of smooth things’ (Vermes), or ‘those looking for easy interpretations’ (Martinez). His main motive was revenge. And the history books need to be re-written.

I previously thought ‘the furious young lion’ was Bacchides, but I was wrong. It was Antiochus Epiphanes. I was misled, by the interpolation that both Vermes and Martinez put into the Nahum Pesher 4Q169 1:2,3. [But God did not permit the city to be delivered] – Vermes, [but he did not enter, for God had not given] – Martinez. I said the interpolation would have been better as: “God had not permitted the city to be delivered”. But now I see it as “for God permitted the city to be delivered”. The full version would then be:

“Wither the lion goes, there is the lion’s cub [with none to disturb it] Nah.2:11b. Interpreted, this concerns Demetrius, king of Greece who sought, on the council of those who seek smooth things, to enter Jerusalem. [For God permitted the city to be delivered] into the hands of the kings of Greece, from the time of Antiochus until the coming of the rulers of the Kittim. But then she shall be trampled under their feet…”

October 27, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

ANTIOCHUS’S REVENGE ON THE SEEKERS OF SMOOTH THINGS (2)

“[And concerning what He says: (Nah.2:13) he fills] his cave [with prey] and his den with spoils. Its interpretation concerns the Angry Lion [who filled his cave with a mass of corpses, carrying out REV]ENGE against those looking for easy interpretations, who hanged living men [from the tree, committing an atrocity which had not been committed] in Israel since ancient times, for it is [hor]rible for the one hanged alive from the tree.” (Martinez, Commentary on Nahum, 4Q169 1:6-8).

“He (Antiochus) also appointed overseers, who should compel them to do what he commanded….. But the [best men, and those of the noblest souls,] {prophets} did not regard him, but did pay a greater respect to the [customs of their country] {worship of God} than concern as to the punishment which he threatened to the disobedient; on which account they every day underwent great miseries and bitter torments; for they were whipped with rods, and their bodies were torn to pieces, and were [crucified] {hanged}, while they were still alive, and breathed.” (Ant.12:5.4)

You couldn’t have a better correlation between two passages from different sources. The editor of Antiquities hadn’t realised that hanging from a tree was something done in Jewish practice after execution, as a means of disgrace. Crucifixion was bound to be ‘while they were still alive.’ This was why Josephus wrote: ‘while they were still alive’.

In Ant.12.5.4, the references to strangling of women, the hanging their circumcised sons, the destruction of the sacred books of the law and those found in possession of them, are interpolations – none of this occurs in the DSS. The circumcised sons were supposedly hung, showing that it was the ‘seekers of smooth things’ who were the ones being punished with hanging.

October 28, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

ANTIOCHUS’S REVENGE ON THE SEEKERS OF SMOOTH THINGS (3)

After Antiochus’s failed attack on Alexandria, he favoured the priests. The ‘seekers of smooth things’ in Alexandria (Ephraim in the DSS) had thwarted his plans. So now he attacked their fellows in the city of Jerusalem. He was let in by the priests. Then he set about the seekers of smooth things, the prophets. ‘He ventured to break the league he had made’ with them previously. This had allowed them to separate from the priests and worship God without animal sacrifice and build a wall between the altar of burnt offerings and the sanctuary. But now from the sanctuary, ‘he took away the golden candlesticks, and the golden altar (of incense), and table (of shew-bread); and did not abstain from even the veils, which were made of fine linen and scarlet.’ (Ant.12.5.4). These items were used by the prophets for the worship of God.

Antiochus also took all the treasure from the temple.
“[I will] eradica[te the sp]oils [from the earth] (Nah.2:14) …his spoils is the wealth which [the pries]ts of Jerusalem accu[mulated] which they will deliver.” (Martinez, Commentary on Nahum, 4Q169:1:9,11,12)

Antiochus offered sacrifice according to the law, and he tried to make the prophets do the same, and thus forsake their form of worship, which they refused to do. The king had standardised on the priestly form of Judaism that involved animal sacrifice.

Antiochus did not build an idol altar upon God’s altar, nor did he sacrifice swine upon it. This would certainly have been mentioned in the Nahum pesher.

Within the list of items removed from the sanctuary, Ant. 12.5.4 has Antiochus supposedly removing the altar of burnt offering. This again would have been in the Nahum pesher, but it is not there. What the Nahum pesher shows was that Antiochus greatly opposed the ‘seekers of smooth things’, and the writer, in sympathy with the priests, was pleased about it.

October 29, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

"Woe to the city of blood; it is full of lies and rapine (Nah.2:13b). Interpreted, this is the city of Ephraim, those who seek smooth things during the last days, who walk in lies and falsehood." (Vermes, Commentary on Nahum, 4Q169 2:1,2).

Ephraim was Alexandria, the city Antiochus had tried to take which the 'seekers of smooth things' had helped Ptolemy Philometer defend.

'The simple of Ephraim' were supporters of animal sacrifice who were 'to flee from their assembly' and 'abandon those who lead them astray' and 'join Israel'. (4Q169 3:3-5).

October 31, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is anyone reading Geoff and why don't you get your own blog?

October 31, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

ONIAS’S SON

Anyone reading Ant.12.5.1 will no doubt be intrigued by the statement: "for the son (called Onias) that Onias (the first Onias) left was yet but an infant; and in its proper place, we will inform the reader of all that befell this child." Then we have another Onias who was the younger brother of Jesus brother to the first Onias (thus the first Onias had a brother Onias). Then there is all the name doubling. Jesus becomes Jason, and Onias the brother of the first Onias becomes Menelaus. This is all the deliberate dissimulation of the editor. He was arranging his history ‘for the reader’. Such typical statements are evidence that original Antiquities was written before original War.

My take on Ant.12.5.1 is as follows:

“1.ABOUT this time, Onias the high priest, gave the high priesthood to Onias his son. But Jesus, who was the brother of Onias, was angry with him. Now Jesus, raised a sedition against Onias. The multitude were divided between them both. And the prophets took the part of Onias, but the greater part of the people assisted Jesus; and by that means Onias and the prophets were distressed, and retired to Antiochus, and informed him that they were desirous to leave priests. Wherefore they desired his permission to build a wall between the altar and the sanctuary. And when he had given them leave, they left off all the customs that belonged to the priests.”

Thus the history belonging to Onias the son of Onias must be brought forward. He was not an infant at the time the first Onias died.

November 01, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

ONIAS (TAKE 2)

The general impression is, according to War 7.10.2, it was Onias the high priest, the son of Simon who fled from Antiochus Epihanes to Ptolemy Philometer. It was not his son as in Ant.13.3.1. So, Onias having a very young son may be true. Onias the high priest simply fled with his family. When did he flee?

Ant 12.5.1 has:

“1.About this time, upon the death of Onias the high priest, they gave the high priesthood to Jesus his brother; for that son which Onias left was yet but an infant; and, in its proper place we will inform the reader of all the circumstances that befell this child. But this Jesus, who was the brother of Onias, was deprived of the high priesthood by the king, who was angry with him, and gave it to his younger brother whose name also was Onias; for Simon had three sons, to each of whom the high priesthood came, as we have already informed the reader. This Jesus changed his name to Jason; but Onias was called Menelaus. Now as the former high priest, Jesus, raised a sedition against Menelaus, who was ordained after him, the multitude were divided between them both. And the sons of Tobias took the part of Menelaus, but the greater part of the people assisted Jason: and by that means Menelaus and the sons of Tobias were distressed, and retired to Antiochus, and informed him, that they were desirous of leave the laws of their country, and the Jewish way of living according to them, and to follow the king’s laws, and the Grecian way of living; wherefore they desired his permission to build them a gymnasium at Jerusalem. And when they had given them leave, they also hid the circumcision of their genitals, that even when they were naked they might appear to be Greeks. Accordingly, they left off all the customs that belonged to their own country, and imitated the practices of other nations.”

My revised take on this is:
[] = read out; {} = read in

“1.About this time [upon the death of] Onias the high priest, [they gave] {disputed} the high priesthood [to] {with} Jesus his brother.

[; for that son which Onias left was yet but an infant; and, in its proper place we will inform the reader of all the circumstances that befell this child. But this Jesus, who was the brother of Onias, was deprived of the high priesthood by the king, who was angry with him, and gave it to his younger brother whose name also was Onias; for Simon had three sons, to each of whom the high priesthood came, as we have already informed the reader. This Jesus changed his name to Jason; but Onias was called Menelaus.]

Now as [the former high priest,] Jesus, raised a sedition against [Menelaus] {Onias, [who was ordained after him,] the multitude were divided between them both. And the sons of [Tobias] {Mattathias} took the part of [Menelaus] {Onias}, but the greater part of the people assisted [Jason] {Jesus}: and by that means Menelaus and the sons of [Tobias] {Mattathias} were distressed, and retired to [Antiochus] {Ptolemy}, and informed him, that they were desirous of leave the laws of their country, and the Jewish way of living according to them, [and to follow the king’s laws, and the Grecian way of living]; wherefore they desired his permission to build them a [gymnasium] {temple} at [Jerusalem] {Heliopolis}. And when they had given them leave, they also hid the [circumcision of their genitals] {the sacred treasure} [, that even when they were naked they might appear to be Greeks]. Accordingly, they left off all the customs that belonged to [their own country, and imitated the practices of other nations] {the priests}.”

The temple Onias built was a sanctuary with no altar for burnt offerings. These were ‘seekers of smooth things.’

We can now understand why Antiochus then attacked Philometer in Egypt, and why he was beaten back by Jews, ‘the seekers of smooth things’. (Ant.12.5.2). And the sons of Tobias were an obfuscation of the sons of Mattathias.

November 03, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

ANTIOCHUS’S SITUATION WAS FAR FROM AGREEABLE (Ant.12.5.2)

“2. Now Antiochus, upon the agreeable situation of the affairs of his kingdom, resolved to make an expedition against Egypt, both because he had a desire to gain it, and because he contemned the son of Ptolemy, as now weak, and not yet of abilities to manage affairs of such consequence; so he came with great forces to Pelusium, and circumvented Ptolemy Philometor by treachery, and seized upon Egypt. He then came to the places about Memphis; and when he had taken them, he made haste to Alexandria, in hopes of taking it by siege, and of subduing Ptolemy, who reigned there. But he was driven not only from Alexandria, but out of all Egypt, by the declaration of the Romans, who charged him to let that country alone.
Accordingly as I have elsewhere formerly declared. I will now give a particular account of what concerns this king, how he subdued Judea and the temple; for in my former work I mentioned those things very briefly, and have therefore now thought it necessary to go over that history again, and that with great accuracy.”
Antiochus’s situation was far from agreeable. He had been betrayed by Onias and the sons of Mattathias who had gone over to Ptolemy Philometer. The reason he ‘resolved to make an expedition against Egypt’, was not a ‘desire to gain it’ or because he thought Ptolemy Philometer was ‘weak’. It was to get revenge on Onias and the sons of Mattathias and the ‘seekers of smooth things’. He was driven from Egypt by the Egyptians assisted by a large Jewish community. Then Antiochus turned his attention to the traitors in Judea.

Laughably, the editor has ‘a declaration of the Romans’ being the cause of Antiochus’s withdrawal from Egypt. This is followed by a typical editor’s comment saying how he is going ‘to go over that history again, and that with great accuracy’.

November 04, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

WHO WROTE THE COPPER SCROLL?

It is laughable that an academic scholar can believe this: “And when he had given them leave, they also hid the circumcision of their genitals” (Ant. 12.5.1.) It was Antiochus who is supposed to ‘have given them leave’. But more realistically, I have suggested Ptolemy had given permission for Onias and his followers to practice their religion in Egypt where they built a temple, and not a gymnasium in Jerusalem. Thus I suggest, it was Onias and the sons of Mattathias who ‘hid’ the ‘secret treasure’, some around the temple and some all over Palestine, before Onias left for Egypt, and that they left an encoded record on copper scroll as to its whereabouts.

The reason I say this, is because when Antiochus came to Jerusalem, he emptied the temple of its ‘secret treasures’. (Ant.12.5.4) And judging by the torments inflicted upon those who had betrayed him, ‘the seekers of smooth things’, he extracted the locations of the treasure from his enemies by torture. The ‘secret treasure’ is implied by ‘his spoils is the wealth which [the pries]ts of Jerusalem accu[mulated]. (Martinez, Commentary on Nahum, 4Q169, 1:11). It seems that Antiochus turned Jerusalem upside down to get at the treasure.

November 05, 2009

 
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