Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Josephus’ Theology of Prayer

I have been doing a series on the prayer life of Jesus as recorded in Luke. It is my intention to complete the series with a blog on Luke’s Theology of Prayer but my thoughts have not yet crystallized. Earlier this year, I completed a series on Rewriting Sacred Scripture wherein I directed attention to the rewrites that Josephus performed demonstrating that Josephus was in fact responding to the writings of Luke. I am not now suggesting that there is any relationship between Josephus’ Theology of Prayer and Luke’s Theology of Prayer because both remain unwritten.

In one instance, Josephus records himself praying in a synagogue but he does not reveal the contents of his own prayer.[1] I am still counting but I find 25 instances in Antiquities wherein Josephus notes that a particular person was praying without providing us the contents of the prayers. However, there are at least six instances, wherein he tells us a person was praying and provides us with the content of the prayer. These six instances all in Antiquities are: 1.272-273, Isaac’s benediction; 2.335-37, Moses’ prayer; 4.40-50, Moses’ appeal to God on the occasion of the revolt; 5.38-41, Joshua’s supplication to God after the defeat at Ai; and two prayers offered by Solomon at the consecration of the Temple, 8.107-8 and 8.111-17. In most of these instances, I have not checked every one; there is no biblical parallel. Thus these examples are further evidence of Josephus rewriting of sacred scripture. Josephus also provided several comments that can be considered.

[1] Life, 293.

copyrighted 2005


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps "rewriting of scripture" is a little bit of a stretch to conclude since Josephus did not claim that his writings were on par with the scriptures, or did he? Another issue is that if he was capturing the essence of the oral history or perhaps passed-down writings from antiquities, perhaps his writings may have some merit as historical recording of events?

8:39 PM

Blogger Richard H. Anderson said...

I direct your attention to my blog article, Rewriting Sacxred Scripture,, wherein I note:
Initially, as noted at the beginning, Josephus, the historian, accused those responsible for the revolt, inter alia, of introducing “innovations in the ancestral customs.” Furthermore, Josephus says that he will set forth the “precise details of what is written in the Scriptures, neither adding nor omitting anything.” Since ancestral customs are recorded in sacred scriptures, one has to wonder why Josephus makes changes on practically every page.

5:20 AM


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