Monday, January 09, 2017

Why did the Church Fathers write Against Apion?

The first book of Against Apion (AA) was directed at Greeks who disagreed the Church Fathers account of Jewish history which could only have been the Antiquities, which we know was heavily edited. The Greeks of Rome were critical of this work of the Church Fathers and that Jewish history was different.  One Greek who the Church Fathers cynically acknowledges as "most excellent" is Epaphroditus  (AA 1: 1 and 2:1). He was Nero's secretary.  Needless to say, when the Church Fathers wrote AA, Epaphroditus was already dead, probably killed at the same time as his master for being atheist (not a worshipper of Roman gods).  The Church Fathers couldn't have picked a more perfect name to infuriate the Greeks of Rome. 

The Greek Apion appears in the first part of Book 2 followed by Appolonius Molo.  Then the writers, the Church Fathers seek to justify the Jewish law as established by Moses. But Moses was a prophet.  They finish Book 2 with yet more hollow cynicism (AA 2: 295 and 296): "Let the Apions and the Molons, with all the rest of those that delight in lies and reproaches stand confuted; but let this and the foregoing book be dedicated to you, Epaphroditus, who are so great a lover of truth, and by your means to those that have been in like manner desirous to be acquainted with the affairs of our nation."  Epaphroditus, the Emperor Nero and other Roman elites had been believers in the way of the Jewish prophets, the CHRISTIANOS as they were known in Italian circles.  The Church Fathers wanted to write them out of history.  

The Church fathers, had their fictitious Josephus, a priest, being supposedly captured by Vespasian's forces in 66 CE, from a cave.  They told a fanciful story about an agreement with 30 Jewish rebels (including Josephus) to kill each other. In the story, there were two survivors, one of which was Josephus who was then supposed to have surrendered to Vespasian's forces.  The Church Fathers then had Josephus, as a traitor to the Jews, imprisoned by Vespasian and later released to work for the Romans towards the end of the five or six years of the so-called revolt.   The false information put out by the propaganda machine of the Church Fathers using the book format is similar to that of the Russian intelligence led by Putin today.  

Further proof that Antiochus wasn't interested in the money

For AA 2.83,84,85 Josephus (really the Church Fathers) wrote:  "But for Antiochus Epiphanes, he had no just cause for that ravage in our temple that he made; he only came to it when he wanted money, without declaring himself our enemy, and attacked us while we were his associates and his friends; nor did he find anything there that was ridiculous.  This is attested by many worthy writers; Polybius of Megalopolis, Strabo of Cappadocia, Nicolaus of Damascus, Timagenes, Castor the chronologer, and Apollodorus;  who all say it was out of Antiochus's want of money that he broke his league with the Jews, and despoiled their temple when it was full of gold and silver.  Apion ought to have had a regard to these facts, unless he had himself had either an ass's heart or a dog's impudence; for he had no other external reason for the lies he tells of us."  

Note 11:  "It is a great pity that that these six pagan authors, here mentioned to have described the famous profanation of the Jewish temple by Antiochus Epiphanes, should all BE LOST; I mean so far of their writings as contained that description; though it is plain Josephus perused them all as extant in his time."  

How could a scholar write such unbelievable rubbish?  What is plain is that none of the extant writings of these six authors contained a description of the profanation of the Jewish temple by Antiochus Epiphanes.  The Church Fathers were writing propaganda.   Unlike Vespasian who ravaged the temple for its treasure and gold,  Antiochus did not go after money.  He supported the priests and wanted to maintain animal sacrifice.  This would have unified his rule.  He persecuted the prophets who wanted to abolish animal sacrifice. Judas Maccabeus, a prophet descended from priests, led a rebellion and defeated Antiochus's generals.  The priests fled from the temple taking all its treasure and recorded where they had hidden it on the Copper Scroll.  (See my posts on the Copper Scroll, and The Source of Christianity). This may be an argument from silence, but there are so many like it in the writings attributed to Josephus that they amount to a scream.