Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (6) - Who Paraphrased Who?

Schiffman (Qumran and Jerusalem, 2010, p.121) writes: “Golb is certainly correct in reminding us that the scrolls preserve many compositions authored outside the group (sectarians). We see these (scrolls) however, as assembled by the sectarians because of their affinity for or adherence to the teachings of these texts. The scrolls also preserve much information about other groups of Jews in this period (sounds familiar): the Pharisees (says he), the Sadducees (says he), the Hasmoneans, and others known only from their literary compositions.”

Golb - (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 124, 1980, p.11) states that: “determination of the nature of the concepts and practices described in the scrolls may best be achieved not by pressing them into the single bed of Essenism (or presumably any other sect), but by separating them out from one another, through internal analysis, into various spiritual currents which appear to have characterized Palestinian Judaism of the intertestamental period.”

Schiffman just doesn’t get it that Golb has never referred to one or more “outside groups”, or an “inside group”. Schiffman’s own frequently stated idea is that the scrolls represent multiple “Judaisms” and that many of them are non sectarian writings. He never acknowledges that this is an obvious paraphrase of Golb’s actual view published in various writings since 1980, as above.  Schiffman wrote: “We see these (scrolls) however, as assembled by the sectarians because of their affinity for or adherence to the teachings of these texts.”  Golb is saying something different, that not all of the scrolls represent one spiritual view. The writers didn’t all “adhere to the teachings of the texts.” This is a world apart from Schiffman’s idea, essentially of multiple sects (his multiple Judaisms). One could compare the situation in the scrolls with the multiple spiritual ideas in the Church of England. There is one Church but many spiritual ideas within it. In other words the Church of England is a “broad Church”. Judaism was once a broad religion. The scrolls know nothing of sects, Pharisees or Sadducees. They did not exist when these scrolls were written, and have been retrospectively interpolated into the writings attributed to Josephus. Which would you rather believe? The scrolls which have been buried for 2000 years or the writings attributed to Josephus.

Schiffman states (p.323 of Qumran and Jerusalem) that "these bad relations were remembered when the historical allusions to the Pharisees in Pesher Nahum were composed.." He knows that Pharisees are not mentioned anywhere in Pesher Nahum, nor in any Scrolls text. He is speculating. Schiffman has used the wrong term allusions. His speculations about Pharisees are his delusions.  Ant.13.5.8 ends with:  "So the Lacedemonians received the ambassadors kindly, and made a decree for friendship and mutual assistance, and sent it to them."  These words are completely unrelated to the text in Ant. 13.5.9 which has : "At this time there were three sects among the Jews, who had different opinions concerning human actions; the one was called the sect of the Pharisees, another the sect of the Sadducees, and the other the sect of the Essens. Now for the Pharisees, they say that some actions, but not all, are the work of fate, and some of them are in our own power, and that they are liable to fate, but are not caused by fate. But the sect of the Essens affirm, that fate governs all things, and that nothing befalls men but what is according to its determination. And for the Sadducees, they take away fate, and say there is no such thing, and that the events of human affairs are not at its disposal; but they suppose that all our actions are in our own power, so that we are ourselves the causes of what is good, and receive what is evil from our own folly. However, I have given a more exact account of these opinions in the second book of the Jewish War."  The account of Ant.13.5.8 is continued in Ant.13.5.10: "But now the generals of Demetrius being willing to recover the defeat they had had, gathered a greater army together than they had before, and came against Jonathan;"  Ant.13.5.9 is the first example in Josephus where Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and sects are mentioned.  It is an obvious later interpolation (an editorial insertion) having nothing to do with the text beforehand or with that following. Schiffman refers to it (without comment) on p.322 of Qumran and Jerusalem.  It is typical of how scholars quote Josephus taking it for granted that it must be true.

So what had Josephus been doing in his early life. In Against Apion 1.10, Josephus wrote; “Now both these methods of knowledge I may very properly pretend to in the composition of BOTH my works;” In both works he had been an active participant. The editors make out that the second work was War which we know Josephus played an active part in (but on the Roman side against the priests under the emperor Nero). The second work was Against Apion (not War) which was really written against Greek philosophies (the Stoics were one) which he had experience of.  When Josephus was in his sixteenth year, he “made trial” of three philosophies “that were among us” (Life 2.), not of three Jewish sects.  That is typical of an intelligent young person who is searching for meaning in life.  Each new philosophy that he adopted was no doubt the best thing that could have happened to him. The “city” (Life 2.) that Josephus was in was Rome where the Greek schools of philosophy were to be found. When Josephus had reached the age of about 14, he had already gained a reputation for his learning, and the principal men of the “city” came to hear him regularly, particularly about Jewish matters. He then tried three Greek philosophies, for example the Stoics, and wrote Against Apion. He then met “Banus” with whom he spent three years, not in the “desert”, but in the “city” to which “Banus” had come from Judea. Thus, Josephus “was informed that one whose name was “Banus”, lived in the “city” (i.e. Rome where Josephus lived), not the editor’s “desert”. Banus was a prophet-like figure, a vegetarian who bathed in cold water frequently day and night. Josephus says “I imitated him in those things”. Then at the age of nineteen, the text says “I returned back to the city.” But Josephus was already in “the city”. After three years with Banus, Josephus “returned” to something different, the Lord. The culmination of three years with Banus was a major conversion experience at the age of 19. Josephus had become a prophet, like “Banus”. He was not a “Pharisee” and never was a Pharisee as the editor would have us believe. Prophets, by their very nature take their orders directly from the Spirit of God which abides upon them. Thus they do not call “any man Lord” or master -be that man a high priest, Moses, Abraham, or a Greek philosopher. He would call the Spirit of God Lord, not any man. Thus he met with the movement founded by “Banus” in Rome.

Life 2 has: “I had a mind to make trial of the several sects that were among us. These sects are three: - The first is that of the Pharisees, the second that Sadducees, and the third that of the Essens, as we have frequently told you; for I thought that by this means I might choose the best, if I were once acquainted with them all”.   The later Flavian editors wrote: "as we have frequently told you", but was there a different story?  Josephus’s Against Apion Book 1 is really against the Greeks and their philosophy.  Against Apion 1.10 continues from 1.8.  Against Apion 1.9 is a later interpolation to prepare the reader for an editorial in 1.10 about War.  Against Apion 1.10 has: “There have been indeed some bad men, who have attempted to calumniate my history, and took it to be a kind of scholastic performance for the exercise of young men. A strange sort of accusation and calumny this! since every one that undertakes to deliver the history of actions truly ought to know them accurately himself in the first place, as either having been concerned in them himself, or been informed of them by such as knew them. Now both these methods of knowledge I may very properly pretend to in the composition of BOTH my works; for, as I said, I have translated the Antiquities out of our sacred books; which I easily could do, since I was a priest by my birth, and have studied that philosophy which is contained in those writings: and for the History of the War I wrote it as having been an actor myself in many of its transactions, an eye-witness in the greatest part of the rest, and was not unacquainted with any thing whatsoever that was either said or done in it. How impudent then must those deserve to be esteemed that undertake to contradict me about the true state of those affairs! who, although they pretend to have made use of both the emperors' own memoirs, yet could not they be acquainted with our affairs who fought against them.” The editorial in Against Apion 1.10 begins with: “and for the History of the War I wrote it as having been an actor myself in many of its transactions.” Josephus was really saying that he knew about the Greeks and their philosophy because he had gone to the Greek Schools. And the “emperor’s own memoirs” would be full of untruths at the time of the Flavian editors. "both my works" were Antiquities and Against Apion, not Antiquites and then War (which is the wrong order according to the extant Josephus).  The original Antiquities and Against Apion were written before Josephus was aged 16.  In Against Apion above, Josephus’s critics accuse him of writing a history as a scholastic exercise. Most of extant Antiquities reflects such an accusation. Against Apion was probably his final year project at the end of his classical education in Rome.