Jesus of Nazareth 9

Jesus of Nazareth HW 9
RLG 210
Dean Brady
Paul Fischer

Antiquities actually reveals more about the reality of the reactionary Temple and High Priests than about Jesus himself. Admittedly, his brother is sentenced to stoning without a trial, except for the illegitimate trial held by a Sanhedrin of Judges, whom Herod called against the will of Jerusalem’s populace.  The execution of James and others constituted a dangerous act directly before the outbreak of war in 66 AD.

Sanders points out astutely that  there are at least two major trains of thought regarding the actual dates of Jesus and John the Bapitst (286). The more prevalent, and certainly better elaborated upon by Sanders is that Jesus’ career would in fact be shifted somewhat to the later, in accordance to the Gospels, which depict the lives of Jesus and John as overlapping.  In such a scenario, Jesus would have been executed in 36 AD, two years after Antipas and Herodias’ marriage. John would have been executed for criticism of the couple just as Jesus began to go about and teach (Mk 1.14//).
This chronology is plausible, but Sanders admits that , in the Antiquities from this period, Josephus is far from specific, and the sequencing of events is not highly chronological. Though not much time  is devoted to its discussion, Sanders mentions that the death of Germanicus is 19 AD. If Book 18 of the Antiquities is at least chronologically authentic, then the appointment of Pontius Pilate would have to have been before 19 AD. The Crucifixion would then have taken place as early as 21 AD.  In either of these two historical hypotheses, Sanders points out, one certain fact is being used to make the rest of the evidence match, or as he puts it, “the tail is wagging the dog.”
Because of the paradox presented by the details of Josephus’ account, Sanders encourages the reader to take a more general view of everything. Roman accounts can be used, presumably, to verify a certain pericope or point, but there is nothing conclusive there, most of the information is not specific or trustworthy because of the small  impact Jesus and John had on the Romans. Probably, like Josephus, they believed Jesus to be a small-timer, and would not become aware of his message or importance until centuries later as Apolline schools began to speak Christ and salvation together, and the early Christian Church began to form.
Unfortunately, this part of the story is incredibly hard to check out. In Antiquities 18.3.63-4, the passage appears to have been entirely written by followers of  Jesus. It is obvious because of the extreme break from Josephus’ normal habit of calling these leaders false prophets and “charlatans” while those who followed were “dupes.”
The scholar Kokkinos claims that the Jews would wait for years for big incidents that they could tie together into one story. For example, Antipas could be depicted as marrying Herodias on two different occasions, one when it happened, and again when he was punished in war.

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