Monday, March 10, 2014

Agrippa The Great seen as a Prophet?

Now don't say a word to Larry Hurtado, as he might blow a gasket, but did you know that the so-called death of Agrippa the Great, as described in the writings attributed to Josephus, is a falsified account?  (See Ant.19.8.2 below).  

Agrippa didn't die such an inglorious death, but lived to tell the tale, until he met his real death in about 64 at the hands of priests who were warriors.  He was alive near the time Paul was supposed to have been in Jerusalem and supposedly spoke to Agrippa junior and his sister Berenice.  But these two were already dead, killed about the same time while imprisoned by the warrior priests at Masada.  The archaeologists found Berenice's plaited hair and skull buried there in the lower Northern Palace. (See Page 305 of Back to Masada, by Ben-Tor).  They also found in the same place the skeleton of a young man dressed in what appeared to be the parade armour of an important person.  This was Agrippa junior.  Needless to say, these remains were spirited away to be buried somewhere. 

So don't say anything to Larry, but Agrippa junior could not have spoken to Paul in Acts.  (See Acts 25.24,23).  You see Larry believes the writings attributed to Josephus - Berenice supposedly was Titus's lover - just the Christian priest's fanciful thinking.     

Ant.19.8.2.Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea, he came to the [city Caesarea, which was formerly called Strato'sTower] {temple}; and there he [exhibited] {offered} [shows] {prayers} in [honour of Caesar] {the Spirit} upon [his being informed that there was a certain] {the} festival {of Tabernacles} celebrated to make vows [for his safety].  At which festival a great multitude was gotten together of the [principal persons] {prophets} [, and such as were of dignity through his province]. On the second day of which [shows] {festival} he put on a garment made wholly of [silver] {white linen} [, and of a contexture truly wonderful,] and came into the [theatre] {temple} early in the morning; at which time the [silver] {whiteness} of his garment being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun's rays upon it, shone out after a surprising manner [, and was so resplendent] as to spread [a horror] {joy} over [those] {the prophets} that looked intently upon him; and presently [his flatterers] {the prophets} [cried out] {prayed}, one from one place, and another from another, [though not for his good,] that he was a {prophet of} God; and they added, "Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a [man] {king}, yet shall we henceforth own thee as [superior to mortal nature] {a prophet}.

It took three years from the start of his rule for Agrippa to qualify as a prophet. (Ant. 19.343).  This would be the same as for a priest, as in the DSS.