Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
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03-01-2017, 12:02 PM
Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
This is a good example of a Josephus/NT parallel which is not only ironic but is directly mocking Josephus. In Mark 10:46-52 we find the story of Jesus healing blind "Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus" ("bar" means "son"). The Gospel parallels frequently use the same or similar names for the characters as found in Josephus (Mary, Jesus, Simon, John, Herod and more frequently appear in both Josephus and the associated NT parallel), so when I set out to find a parallel for this passage I looked for the same name "Timaeus". It turns out the only other reference in the works of Josephus to someone with a similar name is "Timeus" (without the "a") which is in "Flavius Josephus Against Apion", Book I, passage 3. So I checked out that passage as my best guess for a new parallel and found they fit perfectly and humorously together.

In Josephus' passage, he is cursing the Greek writers and satirists for "contradicting themselves to purpose" and "telling lies" and he especially complains about Timeus and "those that came after". Similarly, the NT version tells us that Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus (progenitors come after their parents) who is blind, which could be taken as a metaphor for people who write falsehoods and contradictions. Josephus says that he "should spend my time to little purpose if I should pretend to teach the Greeks", and indeed, any Greek writer of that day would probably find it insulting that their great literary tradition should be so insulted by a Jew of all things, but even worse, Flavius Josephus is the adopted son of the deified "Lord of the entire habitable earth", Vespasian, so having your literary tradition insulted by him is quite serious. So "those that came after Timeus" defend themselves satirically by portraying themselves as "Bartimaeus" who sarcastically say "oh, thou, son of David, have mercy on me". Son of David can then be interpreted as a euphemism for "Jew", like as if a Jew has any business teaching Greeks about their own literary tradition. Then the NT version says "many charged him to hold his peace, but he cried out the more". This is so placed as to have you assume that it is Bartimaeus who is crying out all the more, but if you know the parallel you can see this is Josephus bitching a bunch more about how horrible the Greek writers are. So then Bartimaeus asks to be healed and then Josephus tells us that "Thucydides... seems to have have given us the exactest history of the affairs of his time" and so Barimaeus, again sarcastically, "immediately receives his sight and follows Jesus in the way", like "oh, wow, what a miracle, thank you Josephus, I was blind about Greek literary traditions, but you healed me and now I see! Thank you so much, you son of David!"

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03-01-2017, 12:48 PM
RE: Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
This sort of stuff is not exactly news.

https://infidels.org/library/modern/rich...ephus.html

Quote:Conclusion

Luke almost certainly knew and drew upon the works of Josephus (or else an amazing series of coincidences remains in want of an explanation), and therefore Luke and Acts were written at the end of the 1st century, or perhaps the beginning of the 2nd. This also results in the realization that almost every famous person, institution, place or event mentioned in L that can be checked against other sources is also found in Josephus, so that efforts to prove the veracity of L by appealing to these checks is cut short by the fact that he appears to have gotten all this information from Josephus, and simply cut-and-pasted it into his own "history" in order to give his story an air of authenticity and realism. He could thus, for all we know, have been writing historical fiction--using real characters and places, and putting them in fictional situations, all dressed up as history--history with a message, and an apologetic purpose. We thus cannot really know what in L is true or false with regard to the origins of Christianity or the actions of early Christians, since these particular details are the most prone to manipulation for didactic, symbolic, politico-ecclesiastical and apologetic reasons, and have very little if any external corroboration (and no external corroboration from a non-Christian).

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03-01-2017, 01:17 PM
RE: Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
(03-01-2017 12:48 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  This sort of stuff is not exactly news.

https://infidels.org/library/modern/rich...ephus.html

Yes, exactly! This sort of stuff is not exactly news. That article discusses only Luke and Acts taking material from Josephus. The news here is that at least about 80% of all the Gospels and the book of Revelation is not just deriving from Josephus but is a satire of Josephus. This one example here is from Mark, not Luke-Acts.
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03-01-2017, 01:33 PM
RE: Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
(03-01-2017 12:48 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  This sort of stuff is not exactly news.

https://infidels.org/library/modern/rich...ephus.html

As a matter of fact, while I do appreciate you posting that very relevant link, because it demonstrates a lot of scholars claiming textual dependence of the Gospels on Josephus, but it happens to be the exact same link I posted on another conversation with you and Bucky Ball yesterday over here:

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...sus?page=3

Because Bucky Ball was insisting on some references from scholars who claim Gospel dependence on Josephus and you compared finding the sources of the Gospels to finding a tachyon. Remember?
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03-01-2017, 01:38 PM (This post was last modified: 03-01-2017 01:46 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
You claimed "most scholars". I still see no evidence for that. You found a few. You greatly exaggerated.
The gospels were written for various communities of believers to use in worship liturgies, who would have had NO IDEA of and no access to the writings of Josephus. You're barking up the wrong tree. The gospels were not written to be read. They were written to be "proclaimed" in worship. There is NO WAY those who heard them would have had ANY way of making any connection. I think we have yet another dot-connector here.

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03-01-2017, 01:48 PM
RE: Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
(03-01-2017 01:38 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  It's YOUR interpretation that it's "humorous" and it's YOUR interpretation that it's "mocking". You claimed "most scholars". I still see no evidence for that. You found a few. You greatly exaggerated.

Well, I don't have a survey of all scholars available, but if the Christian apologists feel they need to address the similarities and try to explain them as fulfillments of prophecy, then it seems that both sides of the argument (that the Gospels are authentic "prophecy" or that they derive from some things from other source(s), specifically Josephus) it seems that most people admit there is some sort of influence or other, even if they only admit some back ground information. Like I said, the specific amount and nature of textual dependence is hotly debated, but I think it is not an exaggeration to say that very many if not most scholars on the apologetic and non-apologetic sides seem to agree that there is some amount of influence of Josephus on the NT. That is the point I am trying to make, that what I am arguing for is not really that original or far away from some pretty standard biblical scholarship except that I am arguing for much more dependence than most people do. At least about 80% of the Gospels and the book of Revelation, specifically, if not 100%.
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03-01-2017, 02:22 PM
RE: Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
(03-01-2017 01:48 PM)fhqwhgads Wrote:  
(03-01-2017 01:38 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  It's YOUR interpretation that it's "humorous" and it's YOUR interpretation that it's "mocking". You claimed "most scholars". I still see no evidence for that. You found a few. You greatly exaggerated.

Well, I don't have a survey of all scholars available, but if the Christian apologists feel they need to address the similarities and try to explain them as fulfillments of prophecy, then it seems that both sides of the argument (that the Gospels are authentic "prophecy" or that they derive from some things from other source(s), specifically Josephus) it seems that most people admit there is some sort of influence or other, even if they only admit some back ground information. Like I said, the specific amount and nature of textual dependence is hotly debated, but I think it is not an exaggeration to say that very many if not most scholars on the apologetic and non-apologetic sides seem to agree that there is some amount of influence of Josephus on the NT. That is the point I am trying to make, that what I am arguing for is not really that original or far away from some pretty standard biblical scholarship except that I am arguing for much more dependence than most people do. At least about 80% of the Gospels and the book of Revelation, specifically, if not 100%.

Quote:it seems that most people admit there is some sort of influence or other, even if they only admit some back ground information

There you go again. No references for your claims.

No one here cares about fundamentalist Christian's MISUSE of "prophecy". The role of a prophet in ancient Israel was not to tell the future.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid257278 In fact omen reading and divination were forbidden.

If it's so ''hotly" debated, how come we never heard about it from the leading NT scholars ? Why did Ehrman never address it ? Why did I never hear about it at Princeton or Harvard from their NT scholars ? Why are there no current books on the subject ? You keep making claims, and backing them up with nothing.

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03-01-2017, 02:24 PM
RE: Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
Quote:finding the sources of the Gospels

I compared Q to the tachyon. Both are speculative, neither have been detected.

In the case of Q not a single ancient xtian writer makes the slightest reference to it. It is an ad hoc explanation concocted by late 19th century German scholars to try to fix some of the stupider problems with Luke and Matthew, while ignoring the obvious answer that it is all just made-up shit.

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03-01-2017, 02:36 PM
RE: Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
(03-01-2017 01:38 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  You claimed "most scholars". I still see no evidence for that. You found a few. You greatly exaggerated.

Well, if even Christian apologists have thought it was necessary to address these concerns, then I highly doubt that it is an exaggeration. However, if you prefer, let's change the claim to "quite a lot of people, both Christian apologist and otherwise have for almost 2,000 years noticed some similarities between NT and Josephus, so my idea is not all that new, in a sense, just more of the same". Now, that much is certainly true, if I have exaggerated, which I doubt, then I am sorry. Now, if we can agree that quite a few scholars and apologists have claimed some sort of dependence, including modern atheist scholars like Richard Carrier, then maybe we can move on and you can address the crux of my argument itself.

(03-01-2017 01:38 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  The gospels were written for various communities of believers to use in worship liturgies

How do we know that? Were you there? Does it say this in the Gospels themselves? Can you prove that? Because the only thing I need to prove my thesis is the texts themselves. If it's a satire, then it is a satire. If it was written for the Jews or the Gentiles then we need some kind of proof of that, not just Christian tradition.

(03-01-2017 01:38 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  who would have had NO IDEA of and no access to the writings of Josephus. You're barking up the wrong tree. The gospels were not written to be read. They were written to be "proclaimed" in worship. There is NO WAY those who heard them would have had ANY way of making any connection.

Again, you need to prove that. If I prove they are hilarious jokes, they are jokes. If the people who didn't get the jokes were anything like you, then it is no surprise that they were ultimately used as a religion, since people who don't know Josephus in and out won't get the jokes and will just think it is a Rome-friendly religion that will destroy Israel, almost the same impression you get from reading Josephus, but a little more nonsensical.

(03-01-2017 01:38 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  It's YOUR interpretation that it's "humorous" and it's YOUR interpretation that it's "mocking".

OK, maybe I need to explain how irony works. If you accept the parallel (as Richard Carrier does), based on the names "Timeus and those that came after" and "Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus", and the fact that I have a very large number of parallels where Jesus is a satirical representation of Josephus, then we should ask, why was Bartimaeus blind in this parallel, and I would conclude that it is because Josephus says he writes contradictions and lies in his histories. And Josephus says here that the Greek historians were terrible at their jobs, so if I were a Greek satirist, writing this satirical passage about Josephus, I would take a bit of offence at it. But since Josephus says that he "should spend his time to little purpose if he pretended to teach the Greeks" it is ironic that Bartimaeus would say "thou son of David, have mercy on me", because he really doesn't need mercy from a Jew trying to teach him about literature. This is where the definition of irony becomes important.
Irony:
-"the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect."
-"a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character."

Just like in a Greek tragedy, Bartimaeus seems to be asking for mercy and to heal his blindness when a Greek writer probably really doesn't need that, so he must have been saying it sarcastically. And then we would conclude that Josephus showing him who was the best Greek historian is represented by Bartimaeus receiving his sight, which is also ironic because we know that saying that one Greek historian wrote the best is hardly enough to clear up the confusion between the Greek writers, but Josephus doesn't seem to know this and walks on happily thinking that he has cured everyone's blindness. Like the character in a Greek tragedy, this paragraph was designed to set Josephus up as looking like someone who walks around thinking he has healed everyone's blindness but Bartimaeus was really just laughing at him.

Now, if none but a few scholars were able to understand these satires, like people even today seem to have trouble doing, then obviously they would have thought it sounded like a religious document that was Rome-friendly. The Romans could have easily recognized the potential there and then set out to make it an official religion, perhaps many of them could not see the joke too easily, after all:

“All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them.”
– Matthew 13:34.

“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given… Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”
– Matthew 13:10-13.

You see, it has to be given to you to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven;}. So, I am giving it to you.
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03-01-2017, 02:38 PM
RE: Josephus/NT Parallel: Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
But there are some remarkably common threads and language and stories. So far we've seen no evidence about who was writing what they were, based on what. If any of this is true, Josephus could have been writing based on a text he had in front of him. It's a presupposition.

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