Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rewriting Moses

I have been on trial this past week in Chester County!

The New Testament presents Jesus as a prophet like Moses. If Josephus were seeking to undermine the appeal of the New Testament, would it make sense that he would rewrite the story of Moses? Josephus gives an account of the years Moses spent in Egypt before the Exodus and his campaign as leader of the Egyptian army against the invading Ethiopian army. After his success against the invaders, Moses according to Josephus, then invades Ethiopia and lays siege to the royal city of Saba. In Josephus, Moses agrees to marry the princess of the royal city of Saba in return for the surrender of the city.

Feldman asserts that Josephus rewrote the biblical narrative of Moses to defend the Jews against the charges of their critics, particularly cowardice, provincialism, and intolerance, and by his positive desire to portray Moses as comparable to the great leaders of Greece. Thus in his rewriting, Moses becomes a commander of the army and acquires a second wife named Tharbis, the daughter of the king of the Ethiopians. Both of these additional traits would undermine the efforts of Christianity to portray Jesus as a prophet like Moses.

Copyrighted 2008


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