RelSt 735 Historiography eMail Archive (Spring 2007)

Most recent come first:



Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 22:26:32 -0500
Subject: Jewish Christianity query

For some backgrounding in the "Jewish Christianity" discussions, see my old review article of Danielou's Theology of Jewish Christianity, now at

Also the first appendix to Bauer, by Strecker (heavy going at points), "On the Problem of Jewish Christianity"

A very complicated subject, where assumptions and definitions -- and lack of direct evidence -- make the going even tougher.

Forwarded message:
> Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 20:04:20 -0500
> Subject: Jewish Christianity
> With a view to gaining an introductory, usable frame of reference for some of the discussions

> on Jewish Christianity we've been having, could you point me in the direction of any relatively

> accessible intros / primers to some of this material -- or, perhaps, an article or 2 that might

> get me into some of the issues in a preliminary way?
> Michael:



Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 01:39:27 -0500
Subject: Class this week [Gaius Caligula]

As a focus for class tomorrow (today!), let's consider the treatment of Gaius/Caius (Caligula) in the various sources now listed on the class page (Philo, Josephus, Suetonius). All sources are unsympathetic, which shapes their accounts in various directions.

Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2007 10:46:31 -0500
Subject: Today! [Sparta correspondence]

For today's class, we will look at a couple of sample passages from Josephus' treatment of Kings/Chronicles material, and from 1 Maccabees, at least. You can find them in the file now mislabeled "josephusAnt1-4.html" which is linked from the temporary class page:

An interesting aspect of the Kings/Chronicles example is the quotation from Eusebius, who attributes the reference to the earthquake under Uzziah (see also Amos 1.1-2 and Zech 14.5) to Josephus' knowledge of Jewish "deuteroseis" (literally "repetitions," perhaps referring to what became rabbinic lore).

What was especially interesting to me about the 1 Macc materials is Josephus' treatment of the exchange of letters with Sparta, found in 1 Macc 12. Josephus tells of the second letter in an entirely different context (Ant 12.{4.10.}223ff) and seems to have a significantly different text. When he gets to the first letter (Ant 13.166ff), he also seems to have a fuller and different text, leading to the hypothesis that for that exchange (and probably for other letters that Josephus records), he had another source (a dossier of letters pertaining to Jewish political relationships?).

I apologize to the non-Greeks in class for the fact that I haven't yet added English to the main comparison of this Sparta correspondence. The Greeks might find it helpful in underlining the differences:

I will point out that the "extra" introductory material found in Josephus' version of the initial letter (Ant 13.163ff // 1 Macc 12.1ff) is virtually identical to formulas attested in papyri letters from the Ptolemaic period. We can also brainstorm about what "square" or "fourfold" might mean in Josephus' version of the second letter (Ant 12.227 // 1 Macc 12.19ff).

And if time permits, we will move ahead to some of the parallels between Antiquities and War -- materials still in process here!


Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2007 17:48:34 -0500
Subject: Jewish Christianity Lecture Monday at Penn

This will be of interest to some of you. It will be held in the "Class of 55"
room on the 2nd floor of the Van Pelt Library, at 5 pm Monday (12 Feb 2007),
University of Pennsylvania. Welcome one and all.

> "Jewish Christianity" as Counter-history?
> Eusebius, the Pseudo-Clementines, and the Place of Judaism in Christian
> History
> Annette Yoshiko Reed (McMaster University)
> What is the place of Judaism in Christian history? For the fourth-century
> historian Eusebius, this question could be answered in terms of a clear-cut
> contrast: the first century CE saw the decline of the Jewish people,
> concurrent with the rise of Christianity and its rapid spread throughout the
> Roman Empire. While a series of revolts catalyzed the increased isolation of
> the Jews, the apostles spread Christianity to Gentiles throughout the
> Empire. Even though Jesus and his first followers were Jews, the Jewish
> mission failed, and so-called "Jewish Christians" remained clustered in
> Jerusalem. When the revolts forced them to flee Judaea, the centre of
> Christianity shifted from the holy city of the Jews to the heart of the
> Roman Empire. Thereafter, Christ-believers of Jewish ethnicity played no
> role in the "mainstream" history of the church. Those who clung to "Jewish
> Christianity" became relics of a lost age, rendered "heretical" by the
> church's "Parting of the Ways" with Judaism.
> This meta-narrative has long been echoed in modern scholarship. For decades,
> scholars of early Christianity have been interrogating Eusebius' views of
> "orthodoxy," "heresy," and "paganism." Studies have increasingly pointed to
> the rhetorical, discursive, and apologetic features of his Ecclesiastical
> History. Nevertheless, in the field of Patristics, the Eusebian
> meta-narrative still shapes approaches to Judaism and "Jewish Christianity."
> For the most part, both are assumed to be irrelevant for our understanding
> of the history of the church after the first century.
> This paper will propose a different approach to Eusebius, "Jewish
> Christianity," and the late antique discourse about Judaism and Christian
> history. I will compare Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History with the
> Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, a fourth-century Syrian novel that is widely
> acknowledged as a rare first-hand source for "Jewish Christianity." Past
> research on the Homilies proceeded from Eusebius' account of the decline of

> "Jewish Christianity," and this late antique text was thus read mainly as a
> mine for earlier sources. In my view, however, it may not be coincidental
> that "Jewish Christian" sources are being collected, redacted, and reworked
> in the fourth century, concurrent with Eusebius' attempts to deny the
> continued place of Judaism in church history and Christian identity.
> Like Eusebius, the authors/redactors of the Homilies draw selectively on
> earlier source materials to remodel the apostolic past in the image of their
> own particular vision of "orthodoxy." In stark contrast, however, they
> retell the story of apostolic history as an affirmation of the radical
> continuity between Judaism and Christianity -- going so far, in fact, to
> resist any distinction between them. This evidence may help to open the way
> for a richer understanding of the late antique construction of "orthodoxy,"
> the contestation over the Christian past, and the history of
> Jewish/Christian relations.

Date:         Mon, 29 Jan 2007 16:49:14 -0500
Subject: Steve Mason on Josephus

I've had a couple of interesting and productive email exchanges with Steve Mason, which I'll excerpt below. If any of you are interested in seeing his pre-publication papers, let me know.

Mason email #1:
That's a great syllabus -- thanks for letting me see it. A couple of things occurred to me as a I read it.

First, the Josephus Bibliography Project at Muenster has been taken over into the PACE. We have considerably extended it and integrated into the text of Josephus (so that you can find biblio from the appropriate tab in situ). Muenster had to stop development in about 2001/2, when their developer passed away -- took his own life, very sadly. Afterwards, coincidentally, their funding disappeared. They (Folker Siegert) graciously gave us the database, which we reformatted for the dynamic use described above and updated with several hundred items -- also adding many abstracts. Further, it is constantly being 'grown' by members. If your students wish to join PACE, they can contribute entries by means of forms, which then become part of the database, accessible from either the biblio module or the text/commentary window.

Second, I wondered whether you knew Sabrina Inowlocki's work -- dissertation on Josephus and other Graeco-Jewish writers in Eusebius. She's now published the Oxford MLitt and Brussels PhD together, it seems, in: Eusebius and the Jewish authors : his citation technique in an apologetic context (Brill 2006). But you must know her already.

FInally, I have some recent things that might be of interest to you on the subject, whether they would be to the seminar or not I don't know. One is the long version of my own talk in the Toronto seminar where you will speak...: 'Josephus as Authority for First-Century Judaea.' It briefly discusses Eusebius on Josephus. The other (Contradiction or Counterpoint?) is from the Review of Rabb. Judaism 2003. Maybe they aren't useful, but the Authority paper at least seems close to your themes.

Mason email #2

 It occurred to me that, although your students are grad students, a paper I wrote for upper undergrads at Bard College, precisely on Josephus and historiography, might be useful. There is some overlap with the Authority paper, especially in the example of Pilate, but that's more developed here in connection with historical method. It's not heavily documented because it was for oral presentation, but the whole may be more user friendly than the others. In case it's of use,

PS: It's already out in a book edited by J Neusner et al, Historical Knowledge in Biblical Antiquity (Deo Publishing 2006).

End of Mason emails.

I've read the Bard paper, and it is an excellent survey of the subject of  Josephus as historian, in a historiographical context (although it has little to say about the Antiquities, interestingly enough). Steve doesn't want me to put it on a puplic web site (like the course page), but I can bounce it (and the other papers as well) to you individually.

Meanwhile, I'm gradually working on the file, now linked to the temporary class page at

with the comparison of Ant 1 to our surviving Pentateuch. Passages in red are what I don't find in our Pentateuchal texts. If any of you want to help with this project, please say so. There is lots that can be done, and it is very revealing with respect to Josephus' procedures, interests, and/or sources.

More to come (undoubtedly!)

Date:         Wed, 24 Jan 2007 00:13:55 -0500
Subject: Keeping up with Scholarship

In the Logan Lounge, near the exit hallway to the stairs, are many copies of the Abstracts from the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association, being given away as extras by the APA office.

This book consists of 349 one-page abstracts of various presentations, and is thus quite daunting overall. I took some time tonight (relaxing after class?) to thumb through it, to glimpse what is going on in "classical studies" scholarly circles. There is no index of topics, or even a listing of titles. Most of the abstracts deal, understandably, with typical "classics" topics of various sorts, but the following caught my attention as more directly relevant to my own work. I present them here, with page numbers, in case any of you want to take advantage of this opportunity.

009 Epitomes and the Epitome of Jason of Cyrene [2 Macc], Rosalind Maclachlan
033 The Invention of Early Christian Sacred Space? Ann Marie Yasin
034 Pagans, Christians, and the Domus Aeterna [burial practices], Stephanie Smith
036 Sociologies of Religion in 4th and 5th century Rome, Kimberly Bowes
053 [on sigla in "actors' papyri"], George Adam Kovacs
054 "Actors' Papyri" and Rhetorical Schools, Sebastiana Nervegna
082 Roman Coins and their 'Audience' [Trajan's buildings], Annalisa Marzano
099 The Derveni Papyrus in the Homeric Scholia, Dirk Obbink
100 [similar title], Richard Janko
116 Out of the Ashes and the Herculaneum Papyrus Project, Roger MacFarlane
131 Halley's Comet and the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, John Ramsey
132 Gentem Iudaeorum domuit: The Inscription from the Lost Arch of Titus, Tommaso Leoni
138-141 [on the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae Project] Michael Hillen et al.
174 Invisibility Spells in the Magical Papyri, Richard Phillips
219 Ostraka from the Athenian Agora, James Sickinger
239 Messages from Beyond the Grave in Greco-Roman Funerary Inscriptions, Gil Renberg
292 How to Hymn a Chthonic God? Mary Depew
296-298 [on Unicode], Maria Pantelia, et al.
303 How to Abuse a Late-Antique Emperor, Richard Flower
305 Chrysostom's Rhetoric of Mania and its Perils, Paul Kimball
306 Paterfamilias or Priest? Religious Authority and the Domus, Kristina Sessa
322 Greek formularies and amulets containing Christian motifs, Theodore De Bruyn
323 Greek, Egyptian and Biblical traditions in the Cambyses Romance, Philip Venticinque
324 Hymns as acclamations: Ambrose of Milan, Michael Stuart Williams
326 The Daimones of C. S. Lewis, David H. Sick

Now to get back to what I ought to be doing (dissertation drafts, research reports, etc.)!

Date:         Tue, 23 Jan 2007 13:46:40 -0500
Subject: Web Page Problem!

There is a temporary (we hope) web page problem -- the new RelSt page has hijacked all rs listings, including mine.

As a work around, you can get to the class web page at

Sorry for the problem (not of my doing)!

Date:         Mon, 22 Jan 2007 16:00:23 -0500
Subject: Re: Antiquities and Jewish traditions


[Because this topic may be of general interest, I'll send this reply to the entire list, with the understanding that if you choose it as a report topic, it is reserved for you.]

Doug wrote:

I am interested that Josephus highlights Abraham's transmission of astronomy to the Egyptians (Ant. 1.166-168).  Although there is no record of this from the canonical account in Genesis, it does surface in other sources such as Pseudo-Eupolemus (OTP2, pg. 881 from Eusebius' Prep for the Gospel 9.17.2-9) and Artapanus (OTP2, pg. 897 from Eusebius' Prep for Gospel 9.18.1).  I wonder what traditions Josephus is using as he discusses the Abraham story.

Good. I think you may find some answers in tracing the connections in Josephus between "Chaldeans" (ala Berosus), Abraham, and astronomy, on the one hand, and the tradition of long-lived ancestors (Ant 1.106 and the 600 year cycle),  probably also reflecting Berosus, and survival of astronomical knowledge through the flood (Ant 1.69-71). Since Abraham is a renegade Chaldean (see also Philo), the reports of Berosus on the Chaldeans are fair game for Josephus to cite.

What especially interests me is that astronomy and related knowledge is closely associated with Enoch in some traditions that existed in Josephus' day (Enoch cycle, Jubilees), but Josephus almost ignores Enoch in his narrative -- although he does know the tradition of Enoch's being taken up by the deity (Ant 1.84, 9.28) -- but before Enoch had lived for a 600 year cycle!

See you all tomorrow. Check the class web page for an outline of what I'm hoping  to discuss.

[PS from Virginia:
You might also want to look at Jubilees 12.16-21 and 13:10-15.]

Date:         Thu, 18 Jan 2007 16:36:35 -0500
Subject: For next class

Please check the class page for updated information on Josephus (e.g. the online bibliography, the PACE project at York University). If you are able to do so, please look at Thackeray's online "Lecture 4" on "Josephus and Judaism: His Biblical Text,"  which I've included under the "assignments" --

Thackeray barely scratches the surface of this subject, and is especially focused on his work on the Greek texts of Samuel-Kings, which he was editing at the time (1927) for the "Larger Cambridge Septuagint," but he provides useful examples of various phenomena present in Josephus' works (etymologies, relation to Jewish Rabbinic traditions, parallels to Philo, etc.), and a couple of interesting explanatory theories.

Also, play around on the PACE pages, learning what is there and how to use it in your own interests (e.g. searches on topics) --

Later on we will make some use of the "textual parallels" material.

Date:         Wed, 17 Jan 2007 20:50:11 -0500
Subject: Did I mention ... ? [Erythraean Sea]

From the web --

Erythraean Sea: name of unclear origin anciently applied to the Indian Ocean, later to the Arabian Gulf, and finally to the Red Sea.

Date:         Tue, 16 Jan 2007 21:56:18 -0500
Subject: What I should have said ....

If you are the notetaking type, please correct the following:

Polybius flourished in the second century BCE, not the third, dying at 82 years of age (someone claims) in the 120s. I've added some further excerpts from his Histories, not all identified yet as to exact location. Interesting life!

Josephus is often confused or allied with Hippolytus, not Hegesippus [well, actually both!].

On Josephus' use of sources, see Whiston's Appendix; on Whiston's interesting (if very outdated) theories on Josephus' access to biblical materials, see his "Dissertation" 4. I hope to pursue some of his evidence.

Date:         Mon, 15 Jan 2007 18:26:46 -0500
Subject: Update of web page

I've added some materials on the intentions of various authors (quotes clipped from the online translations) at the bottom of our class page.

If you get a chance to browse through them, please do so. We will spend some time on them in class.

//end (start)//