Mod+ Is the Bible a political con job? This scholar says the proof is right in front of us |289|

#61
Well I actually don't think that would be so strange. Firstly, if he was the man behind the sayings (or some of the sayings) attributed to him, he did not go unrecorded. Secondly, we know nothing about the vast majority of the people living during this time. Bart Ehrman makes a comparison with Pontius Pilate, about how much information we have of Pilate, the arguably most important man Judea of his time. If there is so little that we know about Pilate, then what kind of information would there be about someone not so interested in political power?
thx interesting... but I don't know if Ehrman is on solid ground. I'm not a big Richard Carrier fan, but he rips Ehrman pretty good here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/6923

moreover, Ehrman does nothing to raise Jesus above much more than Eisenman does is James Brother of Jesus. so, there's no there there for Christians.

but returning to this epsiode (and my next on with Joel Watts to be published on Mon) the big problem is sorting thru all the obvious shenanigans re the gospels. I mean, at the end of the day we have to take a step back and realize that there were so many players in this Bible-writing game... and so many agendas... that it's impossible to know much of anyhting from this history. but here's the kicker -- we don't have to. the Gnosis shines thru... and has for every culture and every time. we don't have to play the bible game.

I have now finished listening to the unedited version of the interview. I have learned a lot from this episode of Skeptiko, but I get a bit frustrated when Joseph Atwill says things that are clearly not correct (IMO). Like insinuating that the lords supper had it's origin in the Flavian history making, when Paul wrote about it in 1 Corinthians (around 53-54 AD). Or that the old testament view of the Messiah is unambigiously the King-Priest, when there is also the Priest-Servant (Is 52:13-53:12; Zech 9:9-10). Or showing a lack of elementary knowledge when he says that it is implausible that Jesus Christ existed because "Christ" is an improbable name...
This does not make Joseph Atwill wrong about his central theme (the dependency between the gospels and Josephus' writings), but kind of draws down the overall impression a bit. That said, I am pretty impressed with the parallels between the Flavians and the gospels portrait of Jesus and will go on to see if I can verify these similarities myself.
I agree with some of these criticisms. as I said in the ep, I think Atwill has given us an important new lens to thru which to see this stuff... but I don't swallow his theory whole.
 
#63
moreover, Ehrman does nothing to raise Jesus above much more than Eisenman does is James Brother of Jesus. so, there's no there there for Christians.
I agree. The "there" would be the message of Jesus...

but returning to this epsiode (and my next on with Joel Watts to be published on Mon) the big problem is sorting thru all the obvious shenanigans re the gospels. I mean, at the end of the day we have to take a step back and realize that there were so many players in this Bible-writing game... and so many agendas... that it's impossible to know much of anyhting from this history. but here's the kicker -- we don't have to. the Gnosis shines thru... and has for every culture and every time. we don't have to play the bible game.
Good point.
 
#64
you obviously haven't listened to the show... that's ok... but, like, we can't really have much of a discussion.
I haven't listened to this show, Alex, no because I can't accept any of Atwill's ideas which I am familiar with. It's a free world though.
 
#65
Is the Bible a political con job? This scholar says the proof is right in front of us |289|
by Alex Tsakiris | Oct 6 | Spirituality


Biblical Scholar Joseph Atwill has forever changed how we understand early Christian history by focusing on religion as an instrument of political mind control.


photo by: Bolton

A long time ago there was a war in the Middle East between the Romans and the Jews. Spoiler alert: the Romans won. After hauling the bounty back to Rome, and building a really nice arch, they had their official historian write it all down. The man they chose for the job was a Jewish general who not only switched sides to join the Romans in the sacking of Jerusalem, but proclaimed his Roman leader was the real Messiah the Jews had long waited for.

Now, a New Testament scholar has turned Christianity on its head by pointing out obvious connections between Josephus’ version of the Roman victory and passages in the Gospels attributed to Jesus. Joseph Atwill has challenged New Testament scholars to explain how Josephus’ very pro-Roman version of events wound up becoming Jesus prophecies. Atwill insists we need to re-examine what we thought we knew about the ability of the Romans to rewrite history in order to consolidate power.
I for one loved this show.

Brand new info for me, though not sure if I feel liberated from my ignorance, or saddened that some of the Jesus myth and narrative has lost some of it's mystery (and hence power).

I never believed in the Catholic church's narrative, though the idea that there was a real Jesus character in some way has subtly meant quite a lot to me, and has been some what a support in hard times. So feeling a little like someone pulled a crutch from under me, but also, like maybe I don't need it?

Thanks Alex, a wonderful show !
 
#66
I for one loved this show.

Brand new info for me, though not sure if I feel liberated from my ignorance, or saddened that some of the Jesus myth and narrative has lost some of it's mystery (and hence power).

I never believed in the Catholic church's narrative, though the idea that there was a real Jesus character in some way has subtly meant quite a lot to me, and has been some what a support in hard times. So feeling a little like someone pulled a crutch from under me, but also, like maybe I don't need it?

Thanks Alex, a wonderful show !
cool. I feel much the same. I look back and am amazed at how long it took to really break free from my (rather ordinary, but none the less crazy) Christian indoctrination. it's shameful that we subject kids to this nonsense. equally shameful that the only ones calling out the Christians are crazy atheists with their biological robot in a meaningless universe shtick.
 
#67
As other commentators have noted, even Robert M. Price (whom I respect, even as I disagree with his conclusions) can't stomach Atwill's so-called thesis. There is no important new lens here, just the parallelomania of pseudo-scholarship. It's a shame that Alex is so taken in by this shoddy body of work.
as discussed in the show, I don't think "parallelomania" argument holds... i.e. Price is saying "sure the gospel writers took the writing of a pro-Roman historian who believed that Cesar was the Messiah and used that to create a fictionalized account of Jesus' prophesies, but... (fill in the rest... who cares)"
 
#68
Who cares? Anyone with good sense. Atwill has no knowledge of the primary languages and doesn't engage with actual scholarship. Every credentialed expert that I'm aware of who has reviewed his work has soundly rejected it. The inherent improbabilities of his thesis alone make it beyond questionable, and then it's further undermined by his poor argumentation. At least with Carrier and Price you have persons with earned and relevant Ph.D.s who have paid their bibliographic dues. As someone who is working toward his own doctorate right now, and who knows how #$@! hard it is, it boils my blood to see someone so clueless given the time of day, while the pointed criticisms of real scholars are hand-waved away.

If this is simply a war of assertions, then the rejection of Atwill's thesis has the overwhelming benefit of doubt due to the facts I have noted. Your counter-assertion (I don't think parallelomania holds) is empty and holds the burden of proof. Here's my challenge: present Atwill's best piece of evidence, and we'll see, by engaging the actual data (that word you love so much), whether it holds any water.
 
#69
Who cares? Anyone with good sense. Atwill has no knowledge of the primary languages and doesn't engage with actual scholarship. Every credentialed expert that I'm aware of who has reviewed his work has soundly rejected it. The inherent improbabilities of his thesis alone make it beyond questionable, and then it's further undermined by his poor argumentation. At least with Carrier and Price you have persons with earned and relevant Ph.D.s who have paid their bibliographic dues. As someone who is working toward his own doctorate right now, and who knows how #$@! hard it is, it boils my blood to see someone so clueless given the time of day, while the pointed criticisms of real scholars are hand-waved away.

If this is simply a war of assertions, then the rejection of Atwill's thesis has the overwhelming benefit of doubt due to the facts I have noted. Your counter-assertion (I don't think parallelomania holds) is empty and holds the burden of proof. Here's my challenge: present Atwill's best piece of evidence, and we'll see, by engaging the actual data (that word you love so much), whether it holds any water.
Hey Dr. Prayer Beads, perhaps Atwill is off, but no one would know it based on your replies here. Ad Hominem, appeals to authority/emotion/popularity, arguments from incredulity, and trollistic ridicule might work in your local bubble of academia, but don't get you very far here.
 
#70
Who cares? Anyone with good sense...
you've missed the point. whatever you might say after, "...gospel writers took the writing of a pro-Roman historian who believed that Cesar was the Messiah and used that to create a fictionalized account of Jesus' prophesies, but..." can not resurrect the Christian narrative. Try it... add something to the end of that sentence in a way that makes Christianity whole again.

...Here's my challenge
here's a better challenge, get Carrier to come and Skeptiko and I'll get Atwill to intellectually slap him around. Or, if he won't (and he won't) defend his unwillingness/inability to defend his position. A PhD in Biblical studies is fine, but we shouldn't let these nitwits hide behind these credentials.

BTW I'm publishing an interview with Joel Watts (soon to be Dr. so you'll like that) tomorrow with his take on all this. he's been a ardent critic of Atwill, but as you'll see the differences don't amount to much.
 
#71
My understanding was that "sin" means to "miss the mark" as in an archer whose arrow falls short of the target. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

Where there is no target, there can be no sin. "If they were blind, they would have no sin, but since they claim that they can see, their guilt remains." The law - either written on tablets or in the conscience or spoken through Jesus or prophets - provides the target for right living. So the greater the knowledge, the greater the accountability.
Interesting, Hurmanetar

I usually stay out of these debates and watch it from the side-lines because it's so hard to say anything without offending someone or being misunderstood. The only reason I chimed in with my original post is because I like to see fair play and I don't think it's right to stay silent when you totally disagree with something like Atwill's ideas. We all seem to be coming at this with different interpretations and judgement of what's bollocks and what's probably not bollocks.
I am officially a catholic (lapsed long time ago, allergic to the dogma and silly rituals) but that's not really Christianity. The boiled down basics are what I "attempt" to live by.
 
#72
Here's 9 selected parallels (there are dozens more!) from The Flavian Signature in sequence of Jesus' ministry and Titus' military campaign - is this coincidence or design?

... "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matt 16:19 (same place as Luke 9:18-20)

"O father, it is but just that the scandal [of a prisoner] should be taken off Josephus, together with his iron chain. For if we do not barely loose his bonds, but cut them to pieces, he will be like a man that had never been bound at all."
Wars of the Jews, 4, 10, 628-629


Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face.
Luke 9:51-52

Titus, when he had gotten together part of his forces about him, and had ordered the rest to meet him at Jerusalem, marched out of Cesarea.
Wars of the Jews, 5, 1, 40


As the crowds were increasing ...
Luke 11:29

The Jews became still more and more in number ...
Wars of the Jews, 5, 2, 78




... ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
Luke 13:7-9

But Titus, intending to pitch his camp nearer to the city ...
So they threw down all the hedges and walls which the inhabitants had made about their gardens and groves of trees, and cut down all the fruit trees that lay between them and the wall of the city ...
Wars of the Jews 5, 3, 106-107




Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
Luke 14:32

... Josephus ... attempted to discourse to those that were upon the wall, about terms of peace ...
Wars of the Jews, 5, 6, 261




For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Luke 19:43-44

they must build a wall round about the whole city; which was, he thought, the only way to prevent the Jews from coming out any way, and that then they would either entirely despair of saving the city, and so would surrender it up to him, or be still the more easily conquered when the famine had further weakened them ...
Wars of the Jews, 5, 12, 499
 
#73
For newcomers to Atwill's work, understanding this parallel helps determine who is the Son of Man that Jesus predicted would come within a generation:

Random Noise


True Parallel

OK - let's go through it:

Company vs. guest house, home and hope that you will enjoy our family hospitality
Year vs. few minutes


1) Pic 1: do you acknowledge that in the first paragraph they are talking about a production company, which is different to enjoying somebody's company at a guest house, and that a year is quite different to just a "few minutes" even though they are both units of time?

Sabbath vs. Seventh Day
"Right Hand" vs. "Right Hand"
not lawful vs. unlawful


2) Pic 2: Do you acknowledge that they are specifically talking about the Jewish Sabbath in both paragraphs, i.e.. the seventh day of leave as per Jewish custom? And do you also acknowledge that they are talking specifically about the "Right Hand" (of a person)?

3) Do you acknowledge that "Right Hand" and/or Sabbath/"Seventh Day" would occur at less frequency in general literature than a unit of time? Describing time in whatever unit would, in other words, be a more common occurrence than describing a Jewish custom or only a single hand?

WORD/PHRASE - FREQUENCY
YEAR - 354830
MINUTE - 37929
RIGHT HAND - 4606
SABBATH - 1347
UNLAWFUL - 892
LAWFUL - 827
SEVENTH DAY - 238
NOT LAWFUL - 12

http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/

4) Do you acknowledge that - although the first pic has some merit in terms of the comparisons made - the connections are far weaker than those of the 2nd pic? And the 2nd pic is less likely to be due to coincidence - but more akin to deliberate design?

5) Do you acknowledge that having both "Right Hand" AND Sabbath AND not lawful/unlawful clustered into single paragraphs is more improbable than having just one or two of those matching elements alone?

6) Do you follow that a Jew with a withered right hand came to Jesus in the first story, whom then questioned whether he should be saved on the Sabbath or "destroyed"(?) - paralleled by the story of the Romans wondering the same thing about a whole Jewish city ("destroy" or negotiate surrender on the day of Sabbath?). The Romans chose to offer the security of the Roman Right Hand, forming a satirical joke; the Roman story represents - typologically - the same situation Jesus faced: the Jews are like retarded slaves and then the Romans come along during the Jewish War and offer them protection for surrendering - upheld by the Roman salute that was also used by Hitler. So Josephus is using the gospels story to prefigure the Romans and make themselves look superior for sake of vanity?

7) Who was leading the Romans? Can you figure out from the same passages who the "Son of Man" represents yet? The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath in the first paragraph; who controlled the decisions relating to the Sabbath in the 2nd paragraph?
 
#74
Seeing a pattern yet?


Matthew 23-25:1: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23-25:1&version=NKJV
Josephus’ Jewish War Book 6, Chapter 5: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/josephus/war-6.html
(Feel free to find other translations)

•We are comparing 8.8% of Matthew to 0.9% segment of the Jewish War by Josephus.
•So that’s only 1,611 words vs. 2,092….
•Do we have 18 near-verbatim matches here? Or not – even after translation from Greek to English?
•If not then put a tick or cross next to each one and explain
•Why is there a Jesus who – just like Jesus Christ – says Woe 8 times, “gave up the ghost” before he was crucified and scourged? And why do we have all these other matching words/phrases in the same texts as the 2 Jesuses?
•Is it coincidence, design or 18 invalid matches due to 18 mistranslations or some other explanation?
•Has Josephus seemingly used the gospels (or vice versa) in a semi-plagiarism attempt?

1) Jesus
2) Jerusalem
3) “Woe”, “woe” multiple times – originally x 8 in fact (not 7!)
4) both crucified and scourged (Jesus ben Ananus: “taken up and given a severe number of stripes”)
5) both “gave up the ghost” (an attribute of Jesus from Luke I think)
6) “four winds” (based on the Anemoi)
7) “false prophet”
9) Bridegroom (or “Bridegroom and bride” cross-referenced to Revelation in the context of “lamps”)
10) clouds
11) east, west (only those 2 directions of the compass)
12) sun will be darkened/sun-setting
13) clothes/garments
14) earthquake/quaking
15) famine
16) robbers/thieves
17) signs
18) temple/holy house







What are "eagles" and "trumpets" indicative of?




Who "led" them? Who is the "Son of Man"? Any ideas?

 
#75
Here's 9 selected parallels (there are dozens more!) from The Flavian Signature in sequence of Jesus' ministry and Titus' military campaign - is this coincidence or design?
Thank you for posting this so that we can get down to brass tacks. It is not fruitful to try to tackle all of these suggested parallels in depth at the same time. I will take the first one of yours that appears to have substance and explain why coincidence + pattern-seeking is a better solution than intentional signaling by a hypothesized Roman conspiracy.






In the prior passage, the Lucan Jesus delares division and conflict as a corollary to divine judgment. In the latter passage, Josephus describes the infighting between the rival factions in Jerusalem during the year 69 CE. These groups are led by John of Giscala, Simon bar Giora, and Eleazar ben Simon (no relation to the former).

So the parallel items are:

1. The existence of division and conflict.
2. The use of the numbers three and two.

Father and son as a parallel needs to be supported. John was not Simon's father, not even in a fictive kinship or metaphorical sense. They were independent commanders of separate Zealot militia who contested one another for leadership in Jerusalem. Eleazar, the third leader, entered into an alliance with John, but he is not mentioned in your selection and their relationship doesn't imply a superior/inferior dynamic as would be suggested by the terminology of father and son.

Prima facie discrepancies include:

1. From now on - the language here indicates a future-progressive tensing as opposed to a punctiliar, one-time division. The Lucan Jesus speaks of conflict as recurrent, ongoing. The civil war between the Jewish rebels ended with Titus' assault on Jerusalem and, since they were defeated in 70 CE, did not continue afterward.

2. Five in one house vs. three reduced to two - The imagery of Jesus here depicts a united household of five members that is split so that two face off against three. Josephus writes about the effective subjugation of Eleazar's forces by John so that three factions at the start of 69 CE become two. Let's start with the description of prior unity in a single household. In the ancient Mediterranean, a household was a single unit authoritatively governed by the paterfamilias. For this image truly to parallel the Jewish Revolt, we should see Josephus describe a united rebel government that subsequently splinters. What we see instead is an original and ever-fluid dynamic of competing interests throughout the war without any truly unifying leadership. In Jesus' image, the united house enters a two-three split. In Josephus' telling of the civil war in Jerusalem, there are only three warring factions at the outset, not five, and in the end there are two. So Jesus' mini-parable starts with five persons and ends with five persons. Josephus' account of Jewish infighting starts with three factions and ends with two.

3. I've already pointed out the problem with paralleling John and Simon with father and son.

The discrepancies widen when you look at the Greek texts.

The relevant section in Josephus reads:

[104]πολλὰ δὲ δεινὰ τοὺς ἀναιτίους διαθέντες ἐκεχειρίαν τοῖς αἰτίοις ἔδοσαν, καὶ προελθόντας ἐκ τῶν ὑπονόμων διίεσαν. αὐτοὶ δὲ καὶτὸ ἐνδότερον ἱερὸν κατασχόντες καὶ τὰς ἐν αὐτῷ παρασκευὰς πάσας κατεθάρρουν ἤ δη τοῦ Σίμωνος. [105] μὲν οὖν στάσις οὕτω τριμερὴς οὖσα πρότερον εἰς δύο μοίρας περιίσταται.

The relevant section in Luke reads:

Luk 12:51 δοκεῖτε ὅτι εἰρήνην παρεγενόμην δοῦναι ἐν τῇ γῇ; οὐχί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀλλ᾿ ἢ διαμερισμόν.
Luk 12:52 ἔσονται γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν πέντε ἐν οἴκῳ ἑνὶ διαμεμερισμένοι, τρεῖς ἐπὶ δυσὶ καὶ δύο ἐπὶ τρισί·
Luk 12:53 διαμερισθήσονται πατὴρ ἐπὶ υἱῷ καὶ υἱὸς ἐπὶ πατρί, μήτηρ ἐπὶ θυγατρὶ καὶ θυγάτηρ ἐπὶ μητρί, πενθερὰ ἐπὶ τὴν νύμφην αὐτῆς καὶ νύμφη ἐπὶ τὴν πενθερὰν αὐτῆς.

One of the key principles of determining either intertextuality/mimesis or shared authorship is parallelism in distinctive language. The more you have identical words and phrases, the more likely you have imitation or a singular source. This is how we know the Gospels draw upon the Septuagint to tell their stories about Jesus. If Josephus wrote both De bello Judaico and the Gospel of Luke, and intended these passages to cross-reference, a key piece of evidence would be comparable wording.

What we find, instead, are dissimilar word choices. Both Luke and Josephus utilize duo (two), but Luke also has heis (one) and pente (five), which are absent from the purported parallel text. Moreover, where Luke employs treis (three), Josephus uses the distinct word trimeres (threefold) and not some declension of treis. Moreover, the two texts use different Greek terms to describe how the process of conflict plays out. Luke uses the noun diasmerismos and the cognate diamerizo as both verb and participle, which mean "division/divide/divided". In line 105 of Josephus, he narrates the division as eis duo moiras perustatai, literally translated as "rounded into two parts." Here is a completely different verb that really means "rounding down" or "reducing." Whiston's translation is a bit loose here, inserting "divided" as an implied dynamic-equivalent term to accentuate trimeres. Literally the whole line reads, "And the position which was threefold at first was rounded down to two."

I don't have time to raise some follow-up questions and problems with an Atwill-style parallel here, so perhaps in a subsequent edit or post.
 
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#77
Thanks to chotki for providing a personal analysis for one of the above selected parallels. I should mention that the parallels work as a system of multiple parallels, in sequence, within the same literature (the gospels on one side vs. the works of Josephus on the other side). Therefore, no single parallel has much strength (improbability) on it's own, but gains it's statistical strength as a sequential collection. You might have heard the saying: "when there are too many coincidences then it's no longer a coincidence"?

Father and son as a parallel needs to be supported. John was not Simon's father, not even in a fictive kinship or metaphorical sense. They were independent commanders of separate Zealot militia who contested one another for leadership in Jerusalem. Eleazar, the third leader, entered into an alliance with John, but he is not mentioned in your selection and their relationship doesn't imply a superior/inferior dynamic as would be suggested by the terminology of father and son.
By solving a number of parallels it can be shown that the 2 New Testament characters, Simon and John (Simon later has his name changed to confuse us), were based loosely on the 2 rebel leaders in Josephus. And it's demonstrated in Caesar's Messiah that John was Simon's father as per the relationship between the NT characters; the solution is on page 102 of the Flavian Signature Edition. And I agree it needs support here, so I guess the Father/Son part is not useful to emphasise at this initial stage of establishing a basic connection between the Gospels and Josephus.

1. From now on - the language here indicates a future-progressive tensing as opposed to a punctiliar, one-time division. The Lucan Jesus speaks of conflict as recurrent, ongoing. The civil war between the Jewish rebels ended with Titus' assault on Jerusalem and, since they were defeated in 70 CE, did not continue afterward.
The tense has no bearing in terms on how we interpret the many parallels (or how they were typologically formed in the first place), so that's a bit of a red herring; specifically we are looking for matching verbatim, phrases and concepts, including names, lampoons/stereotypes, and locations. Word corruptions also start to become noticeable, i.e. Sicarii vs. Escariot. The circumstances linking the "types" is always different on each side of the parallel.

2. Five in one house vs. three reduced to two - The imagery of Jesus here depicts a united household of five members that is split so that two face off against three. Josephus writes about the effective subjugation of Eleazar's forces by John so that three factions at the start of 69 CE become two. Let's start with the description of prior unity in a single household. In the ancient Mediterranean, a household was a single unit authoritatively governed by the paterfamilias. For this image truly to parallel the Jewish Revolt, we should see Josephus describe a united rebel government that subsequently splinters. What we see instead is an original and ever-fluid dynamic of competing interests throughout the war without any truly unifying leadership. In Jesus' image, the united house enters a two-three split. In Josephus' telling of the civil war in Jerusalem, there are only three warring factions at the outset, not five, and in the end there are two. So Jesus' mini-parable starts with five persons and ends with five persons. Josephus' account of Jewish infighting starts with three factions and ends with two.
Your analysis goes 1 level too granular: we are not comparing how many groups begin and how many groups end, i.e 5/5 vs. 3/2. At a more basic intepretation there is a division (or split) that involves the quantities 3 and 2. Again, the granular details and contexts are not too important, as it's typological. The emphasis here is that there's a 3/2 split indicating a link between the 2 sets of literature (in-between 2 other parallels), but instead of leading to satire, this parallel's purpose is to hint at Simon and John's relationship and the fact that they were somehow divided against their own will. This is how 2 typological texts work together to provide additional information - not apparent in the surface narrations - that also works at a global level across the entire parallel system; likewise there are multiple ways that the puzzle of the Son of Man is typologically solved to be Titus. So the information gained becomes corroborated.

One of the key principles of determining either intertextuality/mimesis or shared authorship is parallelism in distinctive language.
Yes and no! Yes: it helps to have distinctive language, but then the authors would not want to make it too obvious in certain places - particularly during the entrance to the typological system. The crucifixion parallel is only matched in Josephus' biography, which is like an "addendum" (one might say) to the main Jewish War, so one of the least obvious and most hidden. The words are not always exact in the parallels, but nevertheless have the same meaning, i.e. Temple vs. Holy House. In hindsight of analysing the entire system it becomes clear that the part the Flavians really intended to "hit home" was Jesus Doomsday Prophecies with the eagles and the trumpets and the Son of Man among the clouds coming to destroy the temple. That part has least ambiguity of all; everything else is like a lead up to that. Once you start to match those kinds of parallels then the rest are easy to fill in so to speak.

In line 105 of Josephus, he narrates the division as eis duo moiras perustatai, literally translated as "rounded into two parts." Here is a completely different verb that really means "rounding down" or "reducing." Whiston's translation is a bit loose here, inserting "divided" as an implied dynamic-equivalent term to accentuate trimeres. Literally the whole line reads, "And the position which was threefold at first was rounded down to two."
Josephus's/Whiston's word for "division" doesn't appear to equate with the word you've identified as "rounded" (either that or Josephus' equivalent words to the NT's more basic choice might not be as common nor as well understood since they are missing from Strong's concordance)? The fact is: Whiston DID translate one of those Greek words (not necessarily the one highlighted) as "divided"; it's also translated here as "split":
So the revolt which had been split into three factions was now down to two.
http://biblical.ie/josephus/War/JWG5.htm

More use of the word "divided" in this parallel if you've got time for anymore:
 
#78
Here's a good one:


"Doctor/Physician, kill yourself!" :)

Elijah and the Widow
8 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Get up, go to Zarephath that belongs to Sidon and stay there. Look, I have commanded a woman who is a widow to provide for you there.” 10 So Elijah got up and went to Zarephath. When he arrived at the city gate, there was a widow woman gathering wood. Elijah called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup and let me drink.” 11 As she went to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.”
12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I don’t have anything baked—only a handful of flour in the jar and a bit of oil in the jug. Just now, I am gathering a couple of sticks in order to go prepare it for myself and my son so we can eat it and die.”
 
#80
...no single parallel has much strength (improbability) on it's own, but gains it's statistical strength as a sequential collection.
If you have a series of weak parallels that are easily accounted for by coincidence, generalization, and confirmation bias, then the end result is a weak case for intertextuality. Two wrongs don't make a right, and a dozen poor comparisons don't make a typology. The argument needs to be built on strong cases that exemplify multiple criteria as noted in scholarship. Wishing away notable differences as evidence of those darned Flavians being oh-so clever only weakens the probability.

I should back up and say, miracle of miracles, that I somewhat agree with Alex's previous post. Demonstrating parallels between Josephus and the Gospels is not enough to demonstrate Atwill's hypothesis. The argument needs to proceed step-wise through a series of stages, and it is a non sequitur to assume one step readily follows from the prior. Establishing that a particular gospel probably utilized Josephus does not determine that all did. Concluding that one or more gospels depend in part on Josephus does not either show that Jesus was fictional (mimesis was used even by authors of ancient non-fiction), let alone that said mythical Jesus was created by a Roman conspiracy instead of a visionary Jewish sect (the "mainstream" mythicist suggestion). Nevertheless, establishing a density of significant correlations according to intertextual criteria is the ground floor.

But then there's also the question as to what are the criteria for determining intertextuality. Without having some rules of thumb here, how is the argument advanced if my interlocutor simply asserts I am too "granular" and I say that he is too woolly? Granted, this is more an art form than an exact science, but the best thing to do is turn to tested and peer-reviewed guidelines. Here are a few sets of criteria, drawn from the literature review in Mary Ann Beavis, "The Resurrection of Jephthah's Daughter: Judges 11:34-40 and Mark 5:21-24, 35-43," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 72 (2010); 49-52:

Thomas Brodie's Criteria
1. External Plausibility - contextual factors make literary dependence probable
2. Significant Similarities in theme, pivotal clues, action/plot, completeness, order, linguistic details, complex coherence (the similarity is complex and not confused or meaningless)
3. Intelligibility of Differences

Rikki Watts' Criteria
1. Marked linguistic parallels and conceptual congruence
2. Linguistic and conceptual parallels tend toward being unique in the antecedent passage
3. Themes evoked by the allusion cohere and clarify the proceeding passage
4. Demonstration of the allusion coheres with broader themes in the recipient text as a whole
5. Similar application of the antecedent passage elsewhere

Dennis MacDonald's Criteria
1. Accessibility/availability of antecedent text
2. Analogy - tradition of imitations according to the same model
3. Density - volume of weighty similarities between the texts (a significant collection of strong parallels)
4. Sequential order of parallels
5. Shared distinctiveness of the two texts - peculiar characterization, significant word or phrase, etc.

The basic principle is that, as more criteria are satisfied, the probability of an intertextual relationship increases.

Sticking with the subject of method for now, I should note that gilius is providing a novel understanding of typology and providing criteria for which I see no evidence in the literature. Definitionally speaking, typology has been the Jewish and Christian practice of construing relationships of theological significance between key events separated in time, in which the pattern of the original or type is in some way replicated by the antitype. So, for example, Moses parting the Red Sea is typical for Joshua drying up the Jordan River, and the Sojourn and Exodus of ancient Israel is typical for the Holy Family's flight to and return from Egypt in the Gospel of Matthew. Atwill contends that there is a typological relationship between the works of Josephus and the Gospels. In his understanding, the chronologically prior events of Jesus' ministry ca. 30 CE are presented as the type and Titus' military campaign is presented as the antitype. So far so good, except of course that Atwill contends that the same circle of elites is responsible for both sets of literature. One should keep in mind that this utterly unique proposal lowers the probability of his hypothesis, because this would be the only known instance in which, in terms of actual production, the proposed type is generated after the antitype and by the exact same community.

Furthermore, when gilius says "granular details and contexts" are not so important for typology, I'd like to know his sources for this determination. Typology is essentially a subspecies of intertextuality and thus arguments for typological connections are made stronger through multiple points of demonstrable contact with intertextual criteria. Barring a Matthean "this was done to fulfill the Scriptures" formula, you have to explore the details to make the connection. Furthermore, in the case of typology I suggest that these criteria are supplemented by attentiveness to their role in supporting coherent and allusive narrative structures. In other words, the "granular" details are necessary insofar as they suggest that the telling of the antitype as a story is found to have new depths when compared with the telling of the type as story. Cf., among other literature, Richard B. Hays, Reading Backwards.

What one sees in Beavis' article is an application of the criteria of intertextuality, with an eye toward narrative structures, to make her case for the Marcan passage as a typological reading of the Judges passage. She builds her case by noting common vocabulary, sequence of events, plot structure, theme, Mark's familiarity with Judges, and similar applications of the antecedent passage. Beavis also takes time to account for the differences rather than simply dismiss them as unimportant.

I've gone real meta here, but I wanted to back up and reflect on methodology a bit before going forward. This can help provide some context for everyone as we continue to examine possible parallels. I will come back in the near future to explain why I still find the specific example under discussion to be deficient.
 
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