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In support of this interpretation, the learned writer proposeth two alterations, as emendations of the present text in Josephus. And instead of men who received the truth with pleasure,' Twv ydovn rednom SEXOLEWw he would read, tu eman, new, strange, unheard-of, extraordinary doctrines,' p. 27–29. And instead of twv belWv uportwv, “the divine prophets,' he is for reading TWw.yɛ idiwy, their own prophets or preachers,' p. 41-44.
Upon all this I'must say, first, that this is indeed giving a new turn to the passage, never so understood before, so far as we know, by any ancient Christian writers. But still the objections taken from • the want of connexion' in the place where the passage stands, and from the silence • of all Christian writers before Eusebius,' and of some others after him, remain in their full force. Some things are offered by the learned author of the dissertation to diminish the force of those considerations. But they are of small moment. Nothing material can be said here. Interpret the paragraph as you please; it was worth alleging. If the things here mentioned are the declarations not of the ancient Jewish prophets, but of the first preachers among the Christians, or the disciples of Jesus, their testimony was fit to be taken notice of. Nor could it have been omitted by the early apologists for Christianity. The apologists, and other Christians, of the second and third centuries, who were continually speaking of Jesus, and his resurrection from the dead, and his wonderful works, as proofs of a divine mission, would not have failed to remind their adversaries, and all men, that their doctrine was no other than the doctrine of the first disciples of Jesus, and that Josephus, a learned Jew and an unbeliever, who was contemporary with Christ's first disciples, and wrote before the end of that age, had borne witness of it in his writings to all the world.
Secondly, the alterations proposed by the learned author of the Dissertation, as emendations of the text, are destitute of authority.
The paragraph is twice quoted by Eusebius, and afterwards, in the space of a few centuries, by many others : by Jerom in his book of Illustrious Men in Latin; by his interpreter in Greek; by Isidore of Pelusium, Sozomen, Suidas, and others; and all in the like manner, without affording any the least countenance to either of the proposed alterations. I therefore do not see how they can be admitted, or approved of by any sober and cautious critics, who are concerned for the integrity of ancient writings. I do not think it needful for me to say any thing more here. I therefore proceed.
Thirdly, in this paragraph it is said of Jesus, he performed many wonderful works:' or, he « was a worker of wonders.' Hy yeep wapeedo twv spywv TOIYTYS: Which I think could be said by none but a Christian.
But let us see what this learned writer says, p. 25: • And what Jew almost, either ancient or • modern, that has written of Jesus, does not say the same?' And in a note at the same page: • This is not merely a periphrasis for storyce, but somewhat more express and particular. He was • by profession and character παραδοξων εργων ποιητής. This was what he was chiefly remarkable • for, the light in which, according to our author (Josephus) he is principally to be considered.'
I am rather of opinion, that few or none will admit miracles to have been performed by any but such as they believe to have been teachers, who acted with divine authority.
However, let us not perplex ourselves about the opinions of modern Jews. We are examining a paragraph in an ancient writing. Let us therefore observe the sentiments of the ancients.
When Nicodemus came to our Lord, he said, John iii. 2: “ Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest except God be with him:" which I take to be a certain truth, and that no man can work miracles unless he have the special presence of God with him. I
suppose this to have been the opinion of the Pharisees, and all Jews in general, in the time of our Saviour. The poor man who had been born blind, and had been healed by our Lord, was of this opinion, and openly declares it, and argues from it before the Jewish council: John ix. 30–33. “ Herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he has opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if a man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the
& Indeed I cannot think it needful to enlarge here. And according to the present reading, reflects upon it in these yet I know not how to forbear to confront the proposed Ta words : Εγω δε λιαν θαυμαζω τ' ανδρος εν πολλοις μεν το φιανθη for ταληθη, with a reference a letter of Isidore of λαληθες, μαλισα δε, εν οις, ειπε, διδασκαλος ανθρωπων των lusium, who, after haying quoted the paragraph in Josephus, rovy airon dexopew. L. 4. ep. 225.
world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one born blind. If this man were not of God he could do nothing.
It is said, Acts iv. 13—18, that when Peter and John were brought before the council, after healing the lame man at the temple: “ And beholding the man which was healed, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying: What shall we do to these men? for that a notable miracle has been done by them, is manifest to all them that dwell at Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.” So they say privately in a consultation among themselves. The meaning is: It is • not our business to dispute about it, or contest the truth of the miracle with the people. Or, as Dr. Doddridge: · Nevertheless, it is equally plain that both our credit and our interest require
us to suppress the rumour of it as much as we can.' Which they did. They did not publicly declare the miracle, as Josephus is here made to do. “ But that it spread no farther among the people, let us straitly threaten them that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus."
The sentiment of the unbelieving Pharisees at that time may be clearly discerned in the debate between the council and the man who had been healed of blindness, John ix. 18—22 : But the Jews did not believe concerning him that been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received sight. And they asked them, saying: Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them, and said: We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seethi we know not: or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age, ask him. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the
synagogue.” The parents did not dare to own either the miracle or the consequence. But the man, who had been healed acknowledgeth both: that his cure was miraculous, and that Jesus, by whom it had been performed, was a prophet. For which he was reviled by the council, and then excommunicated.
Let us now observe the sentiment of Josephus himself in this point. Speaking of Elisha, he says: · And · not long after the prophet also died, a man celebrated for his virtue, and manifestly favoured by God. For through his prophecy were shewn wonderful and extraordinary
were worthy of an honourable remembrance among the Hebrews.' Josephus therefore supposed the performance of wonderful works to be a proof of divine favour, and a prophetical character.
However, still our learned author proceeds, p. 26: The fact then, which Josephus mentions, « could not be dissembled. But the conciseness and ambiguity with which it is expressed are • extremely proper. Silent entirely with regard to the great variety and singular nature of • the miracles which Jesus had done, he is satisfied with simply representing him as a worker • ipywu wzgædofwv, a word, which all who are acquainted with its natural and original signification, and more particularly with the uses to which Josephus commonly applies it, (denoting any thing strange, extraordinary or unaccountable, of what kind and degree soever it may be,) • will perceive it to be one of the most equivocal, and consequently the best adapted, to his
dubious character of the person concerned, that this extensive and capacious language could • have afforded him.'
I do not perceive this to be rightly said. I have not observed the use of the word tapadočas in Josephus to be so ambiguous and equivocal. It has with him a precise and determinate meaning, and is equivalent to · miraculous.' So it is used by him in the place before cited, where he speaks of the works of Elisha, which manifested his favour with God. It is easy to allege other places in the writings of Josephus where this word has the same sense. When Moses in the wilderness saw the burning bush all in a flame, the fruit not hurt, nor the green leaves blasted, he was astonished at the wonderful sight:' Exod. iii. 3. Ο δε και αυτην μεν εδεισε Thu Ofiv Try werçe:dočov yevoueruv. Ant. l. 2, cap. 12, p. 105. We call it, “this great sight,' agreeably to the Hebrew, as do also the Seventy. Certainly it was miraculous, and a token of
2 Μετ' ου πολυ δε και ο προφήτης απεθανεν ανηρ επι δικαιοσυνη διαξοητος, και φανερως σπεδασθεις υπο το Θεό. Θαυμασα γαρ και παραδοξα δια της προφητειας επεδειξατο εργα, και
μνημης λαμπρας παρα τους Εβραιους αξιωθεντα. Αntig. 1. 9,
the divine presence, and allowed to be so by Josephus. When the water in Egypt had been turned by Moses into blood he says, • The water had not only the colour of blood, but it also 'caused great pains to those who drank of it. So it was to the Egyptians, and to them alone: • for to the Hebrews it was sweet and potable, and not at all altered in its nature. When the king saw this wonderful thing he was much perplexed, being concerned for the welfare of the
Egyptians; and he gave leave for the Hebrews to depart.' -I1pcs 8v so napadožou aungeurcas o βασιλευς και δεισος περι των Αιγυπτιων, συνεχωρει τους Εβραιοις απιεναι. Αnt. 1. 2, c. xiv. sect. 1, p. 108. See Exod. viii. 19.—After relating the safe passage of the Israelites through the Red sea, and * the destruction of Pharaoh, and his army, he says: · The Hebrews having obtained this won• derful deliverance, Moses led them toward Mount Sinai,’ Παραδοξε δε της Εβραιοις της σωτηρίας 8τα YEVOLEVvs, x. 1. Ant. I. 3. c. i. in. Comp. Exod. xiv. and xvi. In Numb. xvii. is the contention for the priesthood, which is determined in favour of Aaron and the tribe of Levi, by the budding and blossoming of the rod of Aaron, which had been laid up in the tabernacle. Josephus calls this also a wonderful thing; and says that thereupon all the people readily acquiesced in the divine * judgment and determination.’ Εκπλαγεντες δ' επι τω παραδοξω της θεας, ει και δια μισες ην ο Μωυσης και Ααραν, αφενπες τετο, θαυμαζειν ηρξαντο την τε Θεε τερι αυτων κρισιν και το λοιπον, επευφημαντες τους δεδογμενοις τα Θεω, συνεχωρεν Ααρωνι καλως εχειν την αρχιεροσυνην. Αntig. 1. 4, cap. 4, sect. 2, p. 203. Going over the miracles of Elisha, and observing those recorded 2 Kings ch. vi. and particularly what is mentioned ver. 19, 20, he calls it a divine and wonderful work.' -Εν εκπληξει δε δεινη και αμηχανία των Συρων, οιον εικος, εφ' 8τως θεια και παραδοξα πραγματι κειμενων-κ. λ. 1. 9, c. 4, sect. 3,
In all these places the Greek word signifies miraculous :' and so it must do in this paragraph. And as Josephus allows miracles to be divine works, and a proof of a prophetical character, and of the special favour and approbation of God, he could not say this of Jesus unless he was a Christian. I might add that Josephus often speaks of God's confirming the mission of Moses by signs and wonders. See particularly Antiq. 1. 2, cap. xii. xiv. And if Josephus owned that Jesus had performed wonderful or miraculous works, he must have received him as a divine teacher, and the Messiah, and must have embraced the Christian religion; and would have been quite another man than what he really was, and we now see him to be in all his works.
Indeed, it is not Josephus, but Eusebius, or some other Christian about this time, who composed this paragraph. Every one must be inclined to think so who observes the connection in his Evangelical Demonstration, where is the first quotation of it. In the third book of that work Eusebius has a chapter, or section, against those who do not give credit to the history of “ our Saviour's wonderful works.' Προς τες απειθεντας τη τα σωτηρος ημων περι των παραδοξων πραξεων dinnycel. Dem. Ev. l. 3. c. vii. p. 109. Where follows an excellent argument, taken from the internal characters of credibility in the evangelical history, the success of the gospel among Greeks, and Romans, and barbarians, and the zeal, intrepidity, and sufferings, of Christ's apostles, and the first Christians. Then he says, “Though the testimony of such men concern
ing our Saviour must be esteemed fully sufficient, it cannot be amiss for me to add, over • and above the testimony of Josephus, a Hebrew, who in the eighteenth book of his Jewish
Antiquities, writing the history of affairs in the times of Pilate, speaks of our Saviour in these • words. Where follows the paragraph which we are considering: where our Lord is said to be a worker of wonderful works.' Hy yap wapadozwv Epywv wo147ns.
Which way of speaking is so agreeable to Eusebius, and has such a similitude with his style, that I am disposed to put down below some instances from him: which must be of use to satisfy us that the style of this paragraph is very Christian, if it be not the composition of Eusebius himself, as Tanaquil Faber suspected.
Fourthly, once more, the learned author of the Dissertation argues, that it was very unlikely that Josephus should be silent about our Saviour, p. 51, 52. Now, though I entirely agree with • this great writer,' the author of the Divine Legation of Moses,' that preaching up Christ was an • affair which Josephus would studiously decline, and have always deemed appearances of this • kind considerable objections to the passage in question, as it is usually read and understood, yet I cannot but think, (as many persons have already observed,) that it is very improbable that he should omit all account of Jesus, a person so remarkable in Judea, who so lately had · been the cause of so great commotions among his countrymen, and whose fame was at this very
Αυταρκης μεν ουν και η τωνδε τυγχανει αερι τη σωτηρος juwe Magtupsa. x. d. Dem. Evang. 1. 3, p. 124. A.
5 Και δη σκεψαμεθα, όσων και οίων, συν ανθρωποις τας διατριζας πεποιημενος, παραδοξων γεγονε ποιητης εργων. Dem, Ev. l. 3. c. 4, p. 107. 6.
Ουκ ην σεμνοτερον τ8 πλαττεσθαι, ότι των τοιωνδε ποιητης εργων παραδοξων γεγονεν το γραφειν ότι μηδεν θνητον περι αυτον συνεζε-κ. λ. Ιb. p. 123. D.
-πως ουκ αν ειεν αξιοι και εν λοιποις, οίς εμαρτυρησαν αυτο παραδοξα και κ. λ. p. 124. Α.
time spread by his followers throughout the world. Christianity was an affair which made some • noise at this very time--Some account of it therefore seems to have been unavoidable in a person treating of the extraordinary incidents of that period. And silence, with regard to so remarkable and conspicuous an object, would have been only shutting his own eyes that others "might not see it.'
I must own that I did not expect to see this learned author enlarge so much, and set so high value upon a worn-out argument, which,' as he says, ' many persons have already observed,' to little purpose in my opinion. I shall only say that this argument proves too much, and therefore it proves nothing. It has been observed by some learned men, that Josephus has said nothing of the golden calf made by the Jewish people in the wilderness ; thus • dropping a very remarkable and important narrative, with a variety of incidents, recorded in one of the books of Moses himself, the Jewish lawgiver, the most sacred of all their scriptures. Yet, if we please, we may argue with a great deal of seeming probability that he did, and has taken notice of that transaction. «Was it not well known in the world ? Is it not recorded in one of the sacred books • of the Old Testament ? Is it not in the Hebrew original ? Is it not also in the Greek version, • made before the times of Josephus, and in the hands of many Greeks and others ? Does not he "say, at the beginning of his Antiquities, that he should write of the Jewish affairs as he found
them recorded in the sacred books, without adding to them, or taking away from them ? There• fore he could not avoid mentioning this. Is not Josephus an historian in great repute? And ·can it be consistent with that character to omit so remarkable an event? Upon the whole, there· fore, it may be concluded with great probability, if not with certainty, that this story is in his • works, or was there formerly.'
So men may harangue very plausibly, but yet to little purpose. And therefore it may be applied to the present case. If Josephus had reasons which induced him to pass by that transaction, recorded in the ancient history of his people, he might also have reasons which induced him to be silent about some remarkable occurrences in his own time.
I have now, as I think, paid due regard to the author of the aforesaid Dissertation.
II. Since the publication of the first volume of this work, I have received a letter from a learned friend, with several objections to what has been said by me for shewing this paragraph in Josephus to be an interpolation. And, if I am not mistaken, my friend is well acquainted with the abovementioned Dissertation..
1. Says my friend : It is introduced with great propriety, as what happened under Pilate's administration, and as what was one occasion of the disturbances amongst the Jews in his time.. Give me leave to add that this paragraph, concerning Jesus, doth not seem to me so much to interrupt the course of the narration as is complained of. It is introduced under the article of • Pilate, and placed between two circumstances which occasioned disturbances. And was not the * putting Jesus to death, and the continuance of his apostles and disciples after him, declaring « his resurrection, another very considerable circumstance, which created very great disturbances? "And though Josephus does not expressly say this, and perhaps, had good reasons for not saying
it, yet perhaps he intimates it, by placing it between the two causes of commotion, by giving so • honourable a testimony to Jesus, and telling us that he was crucified at the instigation of the ( chief persons of the nation.'
To which I answer, that there is not in this paragraph any intimation of disturbances occasioned by Jesus or his followers. And I shall here repeat the words of Mr. Tillemont, which were quoted formerly, Vol. üi. p. 540. • It must be owned,' says he, that there is one thing embarrassing in this passage, which is, that it interrupts the course o: the narration in Josephus. For • the passage that immediately follows begins in these terms: “ About the same time there • happened another misfortune which disturbed the Jews.” For those words, “ another mis« fortune,” have no connection with what was just said of Jesus Christ : which is not mentioned.
2. See Vol. iii. p. 546.
” Mr. Whiston's wrong, and indeed absurd, method of accounting for that cmission, may be seen in his second Disser
tation, sect. 28, p. xlv. and a confutation of it may be seen in Dr. Warburton's Divine Legation, vol. 2, p. 430.
• as an unhappiness. On the contrary, it has a very natural reference to what precedes in that place; which is a sedition, in which many Jews were killed or wounded. Therefore the paragraph concerning Jesus was not originally there, but was inserted by some interpolator afterwards. So likewise says Vitringa : Take away the paragraph concerning Jesus, and the • preceding and following paragraphs exactly agree and tally together. Sed restat longe maxima difficultas, de cohærentia horum verborum Josephi, quibus Christo testimonium perhibet cum sequentibus ; • Circa eadem tempora aliud etiam Judæos turbavit incommodum, &c. Quæ tamen verba, si testimonium de Christo e contextu Josephi sustuleris, egregie cum præcedentibus conspirabunt. Vitringa, quoted Vol. iii. p. 542, in the notes.
• He testifies that he was • a wise man.' Is uncertain “ whether he was not something • more than a common man;" which is the meaning of the words, erye avdqu QUTOV DEYE ww XPM.
Josephus, upon Jewish principles, could not but think him a man, though he was uncertain • whether he was not somewhat greater and more extraordinary than any mere man.
own quotation from Josephus about Moses, p. 126, that he was a man superior to his nature, • accounts for the character given to Jesus.'
I alleged that place to shew that the expression here used, is not altogether without example in the style of Josephus. But I did not intend to say or intimate that Josephus had as high an opinion of Jesus as he had of Moses. Nor can any think that Josephus believed Jesus to be equal to Moses, unless they suppose him to have been a Christian.
• He says he was παραδοξων εργων ποιητης. That the Jews themselves, his contemporaries and enemies, acknowledged:' Matt. xiii. 54. xiv. 2, &c.
This has been considered already in the remarks upon the Dissertation.
• I think, as you allow with great reason his testimony to the Baptist to be genuine, it is not • to be accounted for that he should wholly omit to say any thing of Jesus.'
So says my very learned and very ingenious friend. And another very ingenious man is reported to have said, that • Tanaquil Faber threw himself into innumerable difficulties by attacking the genuineness of the passage concerning Christ, and defending that where John the Baptist is mentioned.'
I am undoubtedly in the same case with Tanaquil Faber. _I receive the passage where John the Baptist is mentioned, and reject that concerning Jesus. But I do not here feel the weight of. any difficulties. I am not at all embarrassed thereby.
For, first, many Jews may have respected John the Baptist as a man of an austere character who did not receive Jesus as the Christ. And Origen in his books against Celsus has quoted the passage of Josephus relating to John the Baptist. But he, and all other Christian writers before Eusebius, are silent about the paragraph concerning Jesus, now found in the Jewish Antiquities. Surely this makes a difference.
Secondly, Josephus says nothing of that which is the distinguishing character of John the Baptist—that he was the harbinger, or the forerunner, of the Messiah. This is the true and genuine character of Jolin. He would not have existed, he never would have been at all, if it had not been for the sake of another, who was to come after him, and was greater than he.
Concerning Jesus, John testified : “ This is he of whom I said: After me cometh a man which is preferred before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water,” &c. John i. 30, 38. And see Matt. iii. 11, 12; Mark i. 6—8; Luke i. 16, 17, 76, 77; iii. 16, 17; John ïïi. 28, and other places. Josephus's entire silence about this true and genuine character of John the Baptist, by which he is distinguished from all the men and prophets that ever were, affords a cogent argument that Josephus is not the author of the paragraph concerning Jesus, now found in the same book of his Antiquities; wherein Jesus is said to have been more than a mere man, a worker of miracles, • the Christ, and the like.
I hope my honoured friend will accept of these answers to the principal objections which he has sent me.
III. I now intend to recollect and sum up the argument with some additional observations.
That this paragraph, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, is not Josephus's, but an interpolation, is argued from these several following considerations.
The Abbé de Languerue. See Langueruana, Vol. 2. p. 70.
c See Vol. iii. p. 534.
• See Vol. iii. p. 536, 537. et ultra chap. xviii. sect. 2. fin.
d See Vol. iii. p. 537-542.