Response to Carrier and Mason
Richard Carrier in his article, Luke and Josephus, (2000), summarizes Steve Mason and concludes, in agreement with Mason, that Luke is dependent on Josephus.
I would like to respond by addressing just two paragraph of Carrier’s summary:
“Steve Mason has reviewed the arguments and in summarizing the evidence concludes that, besides generic parallels of genre and form and the use of identical historical events, which are inconclusive as proofs, the "coindidence...of aim, themes, and vocabulary...seems to suggest that Luke-Acts is building its case on the foundation of Josephus' defense of Judaism," and therefore that Luke is consciously and significantly drawing on Josephus to supplement his use of Mark and Q and to create the appearance of a real history, a notable deviation from all the other Gospels which have none of the features of a historical work.”
“Both L and J appear in two parts: J begins with the "most important" event in history (the Jewish War) and follows by looking into previous Jewish history to explain the war's significance (with the JA); L begins with his own 'most important' event (the appearance of God on Earth and his act of salvation for all mankind), and follows by looking into subsequent Christian history to explain Christ's significance (with Acts) .
Footnote 2 states: “A direct inversion of detail can be evidence of borrowing, in a manner called "emulation" or "transvaluation," where the borrower deliberately inverts the order or message of the story or idea that he has borrowed. This is especially the case when the inversion or change so befits the author's message that his reason for inversion is overwhelming. In this case, Christianity by definition aimed at becoming a forward-looking break with the past, the end of the Old Covenant and beginning of the New. Thus, Luke's inversion of the Josephan order makes perfect sense and is therefore plausibly inspired by Josephus--it becomes a counter-Josephus, overtly defying his message and replacing it with a new one.” Emphasis added.
There is only one problem with this explanation!
Josephus is in fact responding to the NT and in particular to Luke-Acts. However, the evidence that supports this bold statement is totally unexpected. Josephus rewrote the story of Lot for no apparent reason. Josephus has also rewritten the story of the flood to eliminate all references to the covenant with God as he did with the covenant of circumcision. In my article I provided many instances of rewriting by Josephus and demonstrated that the purpose of this rewriting was an attempt by Josephus to answer the “New Covenant” of the NT. If there is no old covenant, as evidenced by the rewritten sacred scriptures, there can be no new covenant. Luke cannot build on the foundation of Josephus’ defense of Judaism when the writings of Josephus have rewritten sacred scriptures to omit the very basis of the foundation of Judaism, its covenants with God.
I provided a more detailed statement of the dependency of Josephus in my Rewriting Sacred History, March 27, 2005.
Gospel of Luke