Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Many Shall Come In My Name

Matthew 24:5; Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8

Mason notes that Josephus has a problem of “conflicting loyalties.” “He resolves the problem deftly, by developing an interpretation of the Jewish war that allows him both to remain loyal to his patrons and to speak as a committed Jew. His essential thesis (War 1.9-12) is that the revolt was caused by only a few trouble makers among the Jews--power-hungry tyrants and marauders who drove the people to rebel against their will. The vast majority of Jews, he contends, have always been peace-loving, devoted to the Roman virtues of order and harmony. Those who fomented revolt were aberrations from true Judaism. They introduced innovations in the ancestral customs and polluted God’s temple by their actions. So in destroying Jerusalem and its temple the Romans were acting as God’s agents, bringing divine punishment for the outrageous actions of a few rebels.”[i]

The following are the persons, groups and movements mentioned by Josephus in War:

Judas son of Ezekiel (Ant. 17:271-272; War 2:56).
Simon of Peraea (Ant. 17:273-276; War 2:57-59).
A movement similar to the group led by Simon of Peraea (Ant. 17:277; War 2:59).
Athronges (Ant. 17:278-285; War 2:60-65).
Judas of Galilee (Ant. 18:4-9, 23-25; War 2:117-118)[Acts 5:37].
The Egyptian false prophet (Ant. 20:169-172; War 2:261-263)[Acts 21:38].
The religious enthusiasts who led their followers into the wilderness (Ant. 20:167-168; War 2:258-260).
Manaemos (Menahem), son of Judas the Galilee (War 2:433-440).
Simon bar Giora (War 4:514-544, 556ff, 763ff and elsewhere).
John of Gischala (War 4:389ff and elsewhere).
Jonathan the Weaver (War 7:437-450; Life 424-424).
Rome-hating imposters (War 2:264-265).
A false prophet in Jerusalem who prophesied God’s salavation even after the burning of the Temple (War 6:285).

The following are the persons, groups and movements not mentioned by Josephus in War but in other works he wrote:

Theudas (Ant. 20:97-98)[Acts 5:36].
The imposter (Ant. 20:188).
The Samaritan Messiah (Ant. 18:85-87).

Josephus has described sixteen persons, groups or movements that could be included in the category of “power-hungry tyrants and marauders who drove the people to rebel against their will.” Josephus has transferred the blame for the war from the temple establishment, of which he was a ranking member and one who was selected to be one of the generals in the war against Rome, to what might be called a group of messianic pretenders. Since Josephus relied heavily on sources, there is reason to believe that even his idea for resolving his problem had its origin in a document Josephus found circulating in Rome when he arrived there after the war. Furthermore, and this needs to be developed, this document contained the phrase, “many shall come in my name.”

The plan is to create a kind of synposis that may also include the writings used by Josephus as his sources. It is my intention to make comments on the similarities between the works of Josephus and the writings of Luke and the significance for Lucan studies if any. Since this is a work in progress, the blog will record my ideas in the drafting stage.

[i] Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, (Peabody, 1992), 60-61.

copyrighted 2005


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