Appearing in NC: Greensboro & Raleigh


I’ll be speaking at two venues in North Carolina later this month (February 2013): first for the Triangle Freethought Society at NCSU in Raleigh (details here), then for the UNCG Atheists, Agnostics & Skeptics at Greensboro (details here).

Raleigh: Wednesday (February 20) at 6:30 pm in the Walnut Room of 4115 Talley Student Center at North Carolina State University (2610 Cates Ave., Raleigh NC 27606). Open to the public. Parking is free after 5:00pm in the Coliseum Deck (directly east of Talley). My talk will be “Why the Gospels Are Myth: The Evidence of Genre and Content,” with Q&A. I’ll be selling and signing some of my books afterward.

Greensboro: Thursday (February 21) at 7:00pm in the UNCG Sullivan Science Building, Room 101 (301 McIver St., Greensboro, NC 27403). Open to the public. Not sure about parking. My talk will be “Why I Think Jesus Didn’t Exist: A Historian Explains the Evidence That Changed His Mind.” I will be talking about some things I haven’t mentioned in prior talks about this subject, but also summarizing some of my past talks on the same subject (and only minimal overlap with the Raleigh talk), and of course taking Q&A on the topic. And then selling and signing some of my books afterward.

Comments

  1. Giuseppe says

    About the Lost Reference (about the link ”death of James/defeact of Jerusalem”) Sabrina Inowlocki PhD believes to be true, I think instead of being correct Zvi Baras, pag.343-344 in the Feldmann’s book, ”Josephus Judaism and Christianity”, for which the ”Lost Reference” is actually a copy of Antiquities XI , 297-305.
    I agree with the conclusion of Zvi Baras:
    It seems, therefore, that Josephus served Origen not so much for explicit documentation and direct quotation as for supporting his own Christian historiosophy. (p.345)

    I’m curious of your opinion on this (when you want).
    Best Wishes,
    Giuseppe

    • says

      The video will go online at some point, presumably. I’ll blog it when it does. But they have the video rights. So you shouldn’t post your own. Unless you have a signed release.

  2. Fpvflyer says

    Dear Dr. Carrier,

    In one of your presentations, you say: “There was a pre-Christian Jewish belief in a celestial being actually named ‘Jesus’.” (http://www.richardcarrier.info/Historicity_of_Jesus.pdf) You direct readers to your book “Not the Impossible Faith” to view the source of this information.

    In endnote 284 in “Not the Impossible Faith,” you identify 14.62-63 of Philo’s work called “On the Confusion of Tongues” as this source. I am a bit puzzled, because the name “Jesus” does not appear in the passage. 14.60-63 of the aforementioned text states:

    “(60) But those who conspired to commit injustice, he says, “having come from the east, found a plain in the land of Shinar, and dwelt There,” speaking most strictly in accordance with nature. For there is a twofold kind of dawning in the soul, the one of a better sort, the other of a worse. That is the better sort, when the light of the virtues shines forth like the beams of the sun; and that is the worse kind, when they are overshadowed, and the vices show forth. (61) Now, the following is an example of the former kind: “And God planted a paradise in Eden, toward the East” not of terrestrial but of celestial plants, which the planter caused to spring up from the incorporeal light which exists around him, in such a way as to be for ever inextinguishable. (62) “I have also heard of one of the companions of Moses having uttered such a speech as this: “Behold, a man whose name is the East!”(Zech 6:12). A very novel appellation indeed, if you consider it as spoken of a man who is compounded of body and soul; but if you look upon it as applied to that incorporeal being who in no respect differs from the divine image, you will then agree that the name of the east has been given to him with great felicity. (63) For the Father of the universe has caused him to spring up as the eldest son, whom, in another passage, he calls the firstborn; and he who is thus born, imitating the ways of his father, has formed such and such species, looking to his archetypal patterns” (http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/philo/book15.html)

    Philo assigns this being the name “East” or “Rise” ([anatolh] in Greek). The meaning “east” fits nicely with the theme of the “east” and “paradise,” because Philo expresses his belief that the Garden of Eden resided in the east. However, Philo does not name this figure “Jesus.” The name “Jesus” does not appear anywhere in the text, nor does the context of Philo’s passage suggest the name would have been thematically relevant for Philo’s usage.

    What led you to conclude that Philo calls this celestial being “Jesus” in the passage above?

    Sincerely,

    Fpvflyer

    • says

      First:

      Read Zechariah 6. Philo is talking about the man described there. The man who is there named Jesus.

      (Or do you imagine Philo didn’t own a Bible and didn’t know what that man was named in that very same chapter?)

      Second:

      Philo wrote Greek, not English. The word he used is not literally “East” but anatolê, “rising.” That word was used to mean what we mean by East because the East is where the sun rises. The word “East” as a distinct word (a word that doesn’t mean rising) only exists in English. English translation thus disguises what actual word is being used.

  3. Fpvflyer says

    Hi, Dr. Carrier,

    Thank you for your response. My concern remains, though. I am not convinced that Philo was interested in the literary context of Zechariah 6 in the passage under discussion. The mention of Zechariah 6:12 in parentheses above has been inserted by the translator. Chapters and verses did not enter the biblical texts until after the first century C.E. It is odd that Philo attributes this quotation to “one of the companions of Moses,” not Zechariah. Note that “On the Confusion of Tongues” 14.62 says, “I have also heard of one of the companions of Moses having uttered such a speech as this: ‘Behold, a man whose name is the East!’” Zechariah 6:10 relays that Josiah son of Zephaniah lived during a period in which some exiles returned from Babylon. Zechariah 6:11 indicates that the high priest Joshua (Jesus) son of Jehozadak was one of Josiah’s contemporaries, which means this text’s author dates this Jesus to sometime when some exiles returned from Babylon. Contra Philo, the context of Zechariah 6 does not seem to be describing a time in which Moses purportedly lived. Indeed, the broader context of Zechariah specifies the author is discussing a time “in the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo” (Zech 1:1). One may suggest that Philo envisions another man named Moses, but Zechariah 6 does not name a figure called Moses either. Additionally, in the second half of 14.62, Philo denies that the “man” named “East” or “rising” is a real man consisting of body and soul. However, the context of Zechariah 6 makes it clear that the author describes the character named Jesus as being an actual man. In sum, I do not see any evidence that suggests Philo was interested in the context of Zechariah 6.

    Also, Jewish authors did not always care about the context from which they drew their quotations. This is evident from multiple citations of the Hebrew Bible in various texts from Qumran. The point is that Philo does not utilize the name “Jesus” in “On the Confusion of Tongues” 14.60-63.

    The Greek term anatolê can possess multiple meanings. Page 74 of the third edition of A Greek – English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BDAG) lists three basic possible translations:

    1. upward movement of celestial bodies, rising, of stars

    2. the position of the rising sun, east, orient

    3. a change from darkness to light in the early morning

    Observe that the second meaning “the position of the rising sun” is one of these meanings. The lexicon entry lists “east” as a translation right after this phrase. Within the context of 14.60-63, the translation “east” fits nicely with the theme of the “east” and “paradise,” because Philo expresses his belief that the Garden of Eden resided in the east. In addition to its use in 14.62, the same Greek term occurs in the genitive case in 14.60 and in the accusative case in 14.61. The genitive phrase, “apo anatolwn,” in 14.60 indicates movement from a location. Philo may also be interested in the meaning “rising” in this passage. Most importantly, however, “Jesus” is not listed as a possible rendering of this word.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    • says

      The whole series of paragraphs in question has Philo giving different meanings to rising and dawning, of which this is one, Eden is another, and so on (see pars. 60-64). So there is nothing to argue from this. It’s all about different kinds of rising and dawning. What Philo took from the word is not relevant to any argument I make. What Christians took from the word is.

      As to whether Philo ignored the context of the verse he interprets, however, that’s speculation beyond the text. Philo is usually conscientious of context. And it is clear someone had linked that verse in Zechariah to the Logos figure described by Philo. Thus the link was being made. That that link just happened to link to another Jesus all the attributes Paul connects peculiarly to his own Jesus is extraordinarily improbable as a coincidence. Yet your position requires assuming it was just a coincidence. Thus, your position requires an enormous improbability. My position does not. The far more probable position prevails.

  4. Fpvflyer says

    Hi, Dr. Carrier,

    I have supplied my replies to your comments below.

    “The whole series of paragraphs in question has Philo giving different meanings to rising and dawning, of which this is one, Eden is another, and so on (see pars. 60-64).”

    Reply: Correct. As BDAG explains, the Greek term can also be associated with the location where the sun rises.

    “What Philo took from the word is not relevant to any argument I make.”

    Reply: I would have to disagree with this point. Philo names this figure “rising” or “East.” He does not explicitly attribute the name Jesus to it.

    “What Christians took from the word is.”

    Reply: I have not seen sufficient evidence from this passage to draw this conclusion.

    “As to whether Philo ignored the context of the verse he interprets, however, that’s speculation beyond the text. Philo is usually conscientious of context.”

    Reply: If the issue of whether or not Philo is cognizant of the context is speculation beyond the text, then it seems that assuming Philo understands the man called “Rising” or “East” to also be called “Jesus” is also speculation beyond the text.

    All of the contextual data I have seen militates against the view that Philo was cognizant of the context. In fact, I am not convinced that Philo knew he was quoting a verse from Zechariah. I would be very interested in seeing specific instances in which Philo is usually conscientious of context when making quotations throughout “On the Confusion of Tongues.” Could you please specify some examples?

    However, even if Philo bore the contexts of other verses in mind in some instances, it does not necessarily follow that he did so each time he made a quotation. Sometimes a document from Qumran manifests awareness of quotations’ contexts in some sections, but the same document also merely disregards a quotation’s context in other portions of the text. Therefore, each quotation that a Jewish author, such as Philo, makes needs to be examined on a case-by-case basis. What is the contextual evidence that indicates Philo thought the man called “rising” or “East” possessed the name “Jesus” in 14.60-63?

    “And it is clear someone had linked that verse in Zechariah to the Logos figure described by Philo. Thus the link was being made.”

    Reply: The crucial question is: Does Philo call the personage in “On the Confusion of Tongues” 14.60-63 “Jesus”?

    “That that link just happened to link to another Jesus all the attributes Paul connects peculiarly to his own Jesus is extraordinarily improbable as a coincidence.”

    Reply: The problem is that the context consisting of “On the Confusion of Tongues” 14.60-63 does not explicitly associate the name “Jesus” with those attributes.

    Thank you again for your time.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    • says


      “What Philo took from the word [anatolê] is not relevant to any argument I make.”

      Reply: I would have to disagree with this point. Philo names this figure “rising” or “East.” He does not explicitly attribute the name Jesus to it.

      You are confusing the question of how I translate the word anatolê with the question of whether Philo (or his source) was aware the passage he is interpreting comes from a narrative about Jesus the Son of Jehovah the Righteous–and not just the same narrative, but this figure is so named in the immediately preceding verse, in the same grammatically continuous sentence:

      6:11 …you shall make crowns, and set them upon the head of Jesus the son of Jehovah the Righteous, the high priest,
      6:12 and say to him, “Thus says the almighty Lord, ‘Behold, the man whose name is Rising [anatolê]: and he shall rise up [anatelei] from his place below; and he shall build the house of the Lord,
      6:13 and he shall receive power and shall sit and rule upon his throne…

      Thus, the context is of rising (not being in the east) and the very same sentence identifies the man spoken of here as Jesus son of Jehovah the Righteous and as a high priest, the very thing Philo is talking about (both that this figure is God’s Son–and that he is his High Priest, as we know Philo understands the divine Son figure to be whom he refers to here, identifying in the other passages all the same theological attributes Paul connects to his Jesus). Philo even uses the same pun on the noun and verb forms of the word anatolê that we find in the Zechariah passage. Philo is thus quite aware of the context. Once again, the coincidences your assumptions require are just too weighty to be plausible.

  5. Fpvflyer says

    Hi, Dr. Carrier,

    It is not merely an issue of how you translate the word anatolê. Philo names the “man” anatolê in 14.62. Philo does not call the “man” “Jesus” in 14.60-63. Philo thematizes anatolê, but he does not thematize the name “Jesus.” These points can be summarized in the following question:

    Dr. Carrier, what name does Philo give the character in 14.62?

    I am still not convinced Philo was concerned with the context of Zechariah 6 for a number of reasons. First, recall that Philo attributes this quotation to “one of the companions of Moses,” (14.62) not Zechariah. Second, Zechariah 6 does not identify Jesus as being a divine son. “Jehozadak” is a theophoric proper name in Hebrew. It does not mean “YHWH the righteous,” because theophoric names do not function in that way. Theophoric names are sentences, not titles, which is what your suggestion would amount to. “YHWH is just/righteous” would be the expected translation, according to standard properties of theophoric names. The Anchor Bible commentary on Haggai and Zechariah 1-8 renders the name as “Yahweh is just.” 1. Consult Dana M. Pike’s entry titled “Names, Theophoric” on pages 1018-1019 of The Anchor Bible Dictionary Volume 4 (Doubleday, 1992) and Theophoric Personal Names in Ancient Hebrew: A Comparative Study, (Sheffield Academic Press, 1988) by Jeaneane D. Fowler, for more details. Therefore, more accurate translations of the phrase including the name “Jesus” with the term “ben” from the Hebrew version would be “Jesus son of ‘YHWH is righteous’ ” or “Jesus son of ‘YHWH is just.’ ” Moreover, the Greek version of Zechariah 6:11 reads, “Jesus of Josedek” (iesou tou Iwsedek). The Greek text does not use the Greek word for “son” in reference to Jesus in Zechariah 6:11. Remember that Philo seems to be working with the Septuagint here, not the Hebrew.

    Third, observe that Philo does not call the entity named anatolê a “high priest” within the context of “On the Confusion of Tongues” 14.60-63. Philo also does not say anatolê will rebuild the house of YHWH in 14.60-63. Yet, as we both agree, “rising” does play a thematic role.

    Fourth, the term “anatolê” means “rise,” so it really is not surprising that Philo would make a pun related to the concept of rising. Furthermore, Philo and Zechariah use different forms of the verb. Philo adopts the third singular aorist active indicative form of anatellw (aneteile) in “On the Confusion of Tongues” 14.63. The translation of this verb form indicates a completed action. The Greek version of Zechariah 6:12, however, utilizes the third singular future active indicative of anatellw (anatelei). This verbal form means: “he will rise.” Philo envisions the “rising” as a completed action, but the author of Zechariah 6 envisages the “rising” happening in the future. At most, one could argue that Philo was aware of the contents immediately following the material he quotes. One could alternatively argue, though, that the source that led Philo to believe this saying originated from “one of the companions of Moses” included the second half of the sentence (“Here is a man whose name is rise for he shall rise in his place”). Of course, neither scenario would demonstrate that the name “Jesus” was relevant to Philo’s exegesis of Zechariah 6.

    I hope this information clears up the confusion.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    Endnotes:

    1. The Anchor Bible Haggai, Zechariah 1-8: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Ed. Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers. New York, London: Doubleday, 1987. 16.

    • says

      You have failed to respond to my “arguments from incredibly amazing coincidence.” And you are ignoring the fact that Philo well knew the firstborn son figure he connects to the Zechariah figure was God’s high priest (it’s not as if he suddenly forgot this, simply because he didn’t go out of his way to re-mention it), and the fact that Philo certainly knew Hebrew and thus what the untranslated word meant. You are acting like a Christian apologist here: desperately scrambling to rationalize some way to deny the obvious. You need an incredibly improbable series of coincidences to be true to maintain your position. I do not. That’s the sum of it.

  6. Fpvflyer says

    Hi, Dr. Carrier,

    Your “arguments from incredibly amazing coincidence” rest on the assumption that the “Jesus” in Zechariah 6 possesses all of the attributes Paul connects to the Jesus mentioned in Paul’s epistles. However, this would only be the case if one assumes Philo deemed the figure to be named “Jesus.” I doubt that Philo called this celestial personage “Jesus.” In short, you are confusing Philo’s interpretation of content found in Zechariah with the actual content within Zechariah. You are also reading the high priest element into “On the Confusion of Tongues.” Philo identifies the firstborn son as being a high priest in another one of Philo’s writings titled “On Dreams” (1.215), but he does not make this connection in “On the Confusion of Tongues.” Philo also does not assign the firstborn son the name “Jesus” in that text either. At best, one might be able to argue that Philo interpreted the human man named “Jesus” in a quotation by “one of the companions of Moses,” (14.62) as a “type” of the non-human firstborn son. However, one cannot legitimately move from this point to concluding Philo named the celestial figure “Jesus” in “On the Confusion of Tongues.” I never denied that Philo knew Hebrew, and I don’t recall mentioning an untranslated word.

    My position is that Philo names the personage anatolê, not “Jesus.” Fortunately, I do not need an incredibly improbable series of coincidences to be true to maintain that position. I only need to read what Philo writes in “On the Confusion of Tongues” 14.62. I appreciate your willingness to dialogue on this topic, but it appears that our discussion is not heading in a productive direction. I wish you the best in your future projects.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    • says

      Your “arguments from incredibly amazing coincidence” rest on the assumption that the “Jesus” in Zechariah 6 possesses all of the attributes Paul connects to the Jesus mentioned in Paul’s epistles.

      Yes, that Philo attributes them same as Paul, both to a man in heaven named Jesus.

      In simple terms: Philo says the man spoken of in that sentence in Zech. 6 has remarkable attributes w, x, y and z; Paul independently says his Jesus has the same remarkable attributes w, x, y and z. That the man Philo is talking about also has the name Jesus in the same sentence Philo quotes is therefore an incredible coincidence. Which by definition is very improbable. Unless it’s not a coincidence.

      Philo speaks frequently of the same figure in many places, so we know all the things Philo believed of that figure. You cannot pretend that he suddenly stopped believing those things wherever he just happens not to mention them all. Thus, your position is desperate and illogical even on that ground alone, much less in requiring an extraordinarily improbable coincidence. As well as the assumption that Philo had no idea what the rest of the sentence said…as if he never read the book of Zechariah. Philo. One of the most erudite biblical scholars of his day. Had never read Zechariah. Really.

      I never denied that Philo knew Hebrew, and I don’t recall mentioning an untranslated word.

      You attempted to argue that Philo didn’t know what Jôsedek meant. I guess you want to drop that argument now.

      Philo names the personage anatolê, not “Jesus.”

      Philo believed God, not Philo himself, had named the personage anatolê, which Philo learned from reading a sentence in Zechariah (the passage he quotes), a sentence in which the personage whom God names anatolê is named Jesus…and not just Jesus, but for someone like Philo deeming that figure a celestial being and not a human, that sentence even specifically calls this Jesus the son of God. As well as high priest, and placing him in heaven (where the scene in Zech. 6 occurs), two things we know Philo also did with the same figure he connects with this one.

      Hence your position requires improbability upon improbability. Mine does not. Mine explains all the evidence without requiring a single coincidence.

  7. Fpvflyer says

    Hi, Dr. Carrier,

    I have responded to most of the points you raise in your most recent post, so there is no need to respond to them in any detail again here. Interested readers may view my previous posts in which I respond to those points. I will only focus on the new ones you bring up.

    Philo does not say he believes God named the personage anatolê. Instead, Philo relays that one of Moses’s companions declared, “Behold, a man whose name is Rise.” Philo writes, “I have also heard of one of the companions of Moses having uttered such a speech as this: ‘Behold, a man whose name is Rise.’” When I write that Philo names the personage anatolê, I mean that this is the name Philo records one of Moses’s companions assigning to the personage and that Philo deems the name appropriate to apply to that figure. I apologize for not making this point clearer.

    Zechariah does not place the man called “Jesus son of Jehozadak” in heaven in the scene in Zechariah 6. If you think it does, please quote the relevant verses from Zechariah 6 that report this. Zechariah 6:9-15 situates Jesus in an earthly setting, saying:

    “The word of the LORD came to me: 10Collect silver and gold from the exiles—from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah—who have arrived from Babylon; and go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah.11Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak; 12say to him: Thus says the LORD of hosts: Here is a man whose name is Rise: for he shall rise in his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. 13It is he that shall build the temple of the LORD; he shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. There shall be a priest by his throne, with peaceful understanding between the two of them. 14And the crown shall be in the care of Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah, as a memorial in the temple of the LORD.

    15 Those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the LORD; and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

    Jesus son of Jehozadak is also discussed as being a literal man and living among other men elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible (Haggai 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2, 4).

    Zechariah 6 also does not call that Jesus the “son of God.” The Hebrew version of Zechariah 6 calls him “Jesus son of ‘YHWH is just’ ” or “Jesus son of ‘YHWH is righteous’.” I never argued Philo did not know what “Jehozadak” meant. I assume that Philo knew Hebrew, and that Philo knew that “Jehozadak” is a theophoric name and how such a name functions. Recall that I explained that “Jehozadak” is a theophoric proper name in Hebrew. It does not mean “YHWH the righteous,” because theophoric names do not function in that way. Theophoric names are sentences, not titles, which is what your suggestion would amount to. “YHWH is just/righteous” would be the expected translation, according to standard properties of theophoric names. The Anchor Bible commentary on Haggai and Zechariah 1-8 renders the name as “Yahweh is just.” 1. Consult Dana M. Pike’s entry titled “Names, Theophoric” on pages 1018-1019 of The Anchor Bible Dictionary Volume 4 (Doubleday, 1992) and Theophoric Personal Names in Ancient Hebrew: A Comparative Study, (Sheffield Academic Press, 1988) by Jeaneane D. Fowler, for more details. Therefore, more accurate translations of the phrase including the name “Jesus” with the term ben from the Hebrew version would be “ Jesus son of ‘YHWH is righteous’ ” or “Jesus son of ‘YHWH is just.’ ”

    Moreover, the Greek version of Zechariah 6:11 reads, “Jesus of Josedek” (iesou tou Iwsedek). Concerning this Greek text, I just noted that it does not use the Greek word for “son” in reference to Jesus in Zechariah 6:11. I suggested that this might be significant, because the sentence in 14.62 corresponds to the Greek version more than the Hebrew. This in turn might mean that Philo was only consulting the Septuagint, even if Philo knew both Hebrew and Greek. However, Philo attributes the “Rise” saying to one of Moses’s companions, so the Greek and Hebrew editions of text in the rest of the Zechariah passage are probably not relevant anyway.

    On a side note, even if Philo was aware of the context of Zechariah 6, the idea he was aware of that context does not necessarily mean that Philo would have chosen to use that context. Many Jewish authors in the Second Temple Period (i.e., at Qumran) “atomized” verses and even parts of single verses, disregarding the verses’ contexts’ meanings. Furthermore, the Qumran sectarians displayed very thorough acquaintance with those Hebrew Scriptures, but they still chose to “atomize” particular verses, or parts of a single verse—sometimes from multiple versions of the same verse.

    Again, I appreciate your willingness to dialogue on this topic, but it appears that our discussion is not heading in a productive direction. This will be my final post. I recommend that people who are viewing this discussion read all of the posts associated with it to avoid missing relevant important points in previous posts. Again, I wish you the best in your future projects.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    Endnote:

    1. The Anchor Bible Haggai, Zechariah 1-8: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, ed. Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers (New York, London: Doubleday, 1987), 16.

    • says

      Your are still ignoring my argument from improbability. I gave several. You avoid discussing any.

      You are also still simply assuming, without plausible basis, that Philo didn’t know the content of a major prophetic book and thus didn’t know the context of the saying he quotes, or know that Zechariah devotes two whole chapters to this very same figure (Zech. 3 and 6). You also want to pretend Philo didn’t care about the context, or the Hebrew, even though the context and the Hebrew matches everything he says about this figure. Thus you are now adding yet another improbable coincidence to defend your position (that Philo didn’t know the passage said x, y, and z about this figure, yet himself says x, y, and z about this figure).

      Adding improbabilities on top of improbabilities to get the result you want is how Christian apologetics proceeds, not sound scholarly reasoning.

      You also ignore the fact that in my talk I addressed the difference between what the author of Zechariah meant and what Philo is taking him to mean (Philo is clearly, and explicitly, saying the author he quotes wasn’t talking about the first priest of the second temple, but the eternal celestial high priest).

      Zechariah does not place the man called “Jesus son of Jehozadak” in heaven in the scene in Zechariah 6.

      You’re right, that happens in Zechariah 3, where the same figure is shown being crowned, and again named (by God) anatolê. Thus confirming that this event (the same one described in Zech. 6) occurred in heaven, before the throne of God.

      The Anchor Bible commentary on Haggai and Zechariah 1-8 renders the name as “Yahweh is just.”

      The verb “is” is not present. It’s just Jehovah Righteous [jehow = “Yahwheh” + tsadaq = “righteous”]. As a sentence, the verb “to be” would often be implied, but as a name, it would not be, but rather a connecting article, in this case “the.” It has the same exact meaning as if read “Jesus the son of Righteous Jehovah.”

  8. Fpvflyer says

    Hi, Dr. Carrier,

    I hope you are having a pleasant Saturday. There is one more point that I believe is important to make. As you are aware, I am skeptical that Philo cared about the context of Zechariah 6 due to the fact he attributes the quote to one of Moses’s companions. There is another considerable problem with concluding Philo thinks the personage named anatolê is also called “Jesus.” Specifically, the literary context within Zechariah differentiates Jesus from the man named anatolê. Anatolê is a Greek translation of the Hebrew noun, Zemah, which means “Branch” or “Sprout.” Here is a rough translation of Zechariah 6:11-12 from Hebrew:

    “And you will take silver and gold and you will make crowns and you will set on the head of Joshua son of ‘YHWH is just,’ the great priest. And you will say to him (Joshua), saying, ‘Thus said YHWH of Hosts, saying, ‘Behold a man; Branch is his name and from under him he will sprout and he will build the Temple of YHWH.”

    God instructs Zechariah to tell Joshua about a man. This man’s name is “Branch” or “Sprout.” The man called “Branch” will sprout and this man will build the temple of YHWH. In other words, Zechariah does not equate Joshua with the man named “Branch” (or Anatolê in Greek). Zechariah does not say to Joshua, “Branch is your name and from under you you will sprout and you will build the Temple of YHWH.” Zechariah speaks to Joshua telling Joshua about another man.

    Indeed, Zechariah previously draws a distinction between Joshua and the man named “Branch” (or Anatolê) in Zechariah 3:8, which states:

    “Listen, now, Joshua the great priest, you and your fellows, the sitting ones, because they are men of sign. For behold! I am bringing my servant Branch (or Anatolê).”

    Reading Zechariah 4:9 in conjunction with Zechariah 6:12-13 reveals that “Branch” (or Anatolê) probably refers to Zerubbabel. Zechariah 4:9 says, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that YHWH of Hosts has sent me to you.” Zechariah 6:12-13 similarly reads, “Behold a man; Branch (Anatolê) is his name and from under him he will sprout (or “rise”) and he will build the Temple of YHWH. It is he that shall build the temple of YHWH; he shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. There shall be a priest by his throne, with peaceful understanding between the two of them.”

    Edgar W. Conrad writes the following concerning Zechariah 3:8:

    “The high priest, Joshua, is about to be joined by the civil authority, the Branch (Zerubbabel), who will be the subject of the next scene. Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, has already referred to Zerubbabel as ‘my servant’ (2.23). Furthermore, there seems to be a play on words in relation to Zerubbabel’s name ‘seed of Babylon’ and ‘branch’, which can also be translated ‘shoot’ or ‘sprout’.” 1.

    Conrad likewise identifies the man named “Branch” (or Anatolê) in Zechariah 6:12 as Zerubbabel. Conrad explains:

    “Also the identity of the man in the phrase, ‘Here is a man’, is not transparent. Some of the ambiguity of this passage becomes clear, however, if we understand that the ‘man’ is Zerubbabel. The ‘man’ will build the temple of the LORD. We know from earlier scenes that Zerubbabel was singled out as the man who will complete the building of the temple (see Zech. 4.8). Since this man will rule and sit on his throne and the priest will rule and sit on his throne, we can understand that this scene is portraying Zerubbabel and Joshua as the two spikes of grain who will rule side by side just as they were portrayed earlier as standing beside the LORD, the master of the whole earth (4.13). If that is the case, then it is not difficult to understand that two crowns were made from the two precious metals collected from the exiles. One was made from silver and the other from gold. While one of the crowns is placed on Joshua’s head, the other represents the missing Zerubbabel who is not in this scene.” 2.

    Although commentators Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers disagree, maintaining that “Branch” refers to a coming eschatological Davidic figure, they concur that “Branch” refers to someone other than Joshua. 3. They comment on Zechariah 6:12, writing:

    “The shift to the eschatological Shoot in verse 12 serves to reassure the community of two important details: 1) that the high priest’s authority, while greatly increased, nonetheless has its limitations; and 2) that a future Davidide will surely be installed as monarch and will himself renew or rebuild the Temple of Yahweh.” 4.

    Mike Butterworth agrees with Edgar Conrad, Eric Meyers, and Carol Meyers that anatolê refers to a man other than Joshua. In his monograph titled Structure and the Book of Zechariah (Sheffield Academic Press, 1992), Butterworth notes that in Zechariah 6:12, “This oracle is addressed to Joshua and informs him about someone else.” 5. Both secondary sources and primary sources, therefore, strongly indicate that anatolê is not Joshua (or “Jesus”).

    In conclusion, I am skeptical of the notion that Philo believes the personage that one of Moses’s companions named “anatolê” in “On the Confusion of Tongues” 14.62 is also named Jesus. The literary context in which Zechariah 6:11-12 resides additionally argues against the proposition that Joshua is the man named “anatolê.” The context implies God commands Zechariah to tell Joshua about another man. The other man is named Anatolê—not Joshua. This other man may be Zerubbabel or another Davidic figure, but not Joshua. This will be my last post (I promise). Again, thank you for being willing to converse with me.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    Endnotes:

    1. Edgar W. Conrad, Zechariah (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 95.

    2. Edgar W. Conrad, Zechariah (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 126.

    3. The Anchor Bible Haggai, Zechariah 1-8: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, ed. Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers (New York, London: Doubleday, 1987), 224.

    4. The Anchor Bible Haggai, Zechariah 1-8: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, ed. Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers (New York, London: Doubleday, 1987), 371.

    5. Mike Butterworth, Structure and the Book of Zechariah (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992), 146.

  9. Fpvflyer says

    Dr. Carrier,

    I did not ignore your arguments from improbability. I addressed each of the points that your arguments from improbability rested upon. As I noted in my previous responses, even if Philo knew the content and context, it still would not follow that he would choose to utilize the surrounding material. I also explained in my most recent reply that the context of Zechariah simply does not support your interpretation, so even if Philo was concerned about the context, it would not lend credence to your position. I additionally explained that I believe Philo probably knew Hebrew, and that Philo would know how Hebrew names function.

    If you concede that there is a difference between what the author of Zechariah means and what Philo interprets Zechariah to mean, then you are admitting that Philo does not necessarily care about the context of the quotation after all. You are effectively saying that Philo picks and chooses which portions of the context to apply to the celestial figure he discusses. Consequently, you are picking and choosing which aspects to believe Philo chose to apply to the figure named anatolê, such as the name “Jesus.” This exposes a contradiction in your reasoning leading to the conclusion that Zechariah would have assumed the figure’s name was “Jesus.” If Philo picks and chooses which portions to highlight from the context, then why didn’t he choose to mention the name “Jesus”? Also, remember that Philo attributes this quote to one of Moses’ companions (14.62), not Zechariah.

    As I explained in my most recent post, Zechariah 3:8 reveals Joshua is different from the figure named anatolê. In addition, Zechariah 6:9-15 situates Joshua in an earthly setting, saying:

    “The word of the LORD came to me: 10Collect silver and gold from the exiles—from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah—who have arrived from Babylon; and go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah.11Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest Joshua son of “YHWH is just;” 12say to him: Thus says the LORD of hosts: Here is a man whose name is Rise: for he shall rise in his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. 13It is he that shall build the temple of the LORD; he shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. There shall be a priest by his throne, with peaceful understanding between the two of them. 14And the crown shall be in the care of Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah, as a memorial in the temple of the LORD. 15 Those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the LORD; and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

    Do you think the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah (Zech 6:10) resided in heaven?

    Concerning the name “YHWH is just/righteous,” I cited works by scholars who specialize in theophoric proper names. One of these scholars wrote her doctoral thesis on these names. These scholars report that theophoric names are sentences. In this case, the word “is” is included in the translation, because “is” forms the complete sentence. If you disagree with these specialists, you need to cite other specialists who disagree, along with the reasons why they disagree.

    Also, I implore you to be more respectful in your replies to me. Conversation partners in academic discussions typically show each other respect, even if they disagree with each other. The lack of respect you are displaying is the main reason why I have tried to multiple times to conclude this dialogue.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    • says

      You evidently don’t understand my arguments from improbability: your explanations of the evidence require very improbable coincidences to be the case; my explanations of the evidence do not. You cannot rebut this argument by simply re-stating your explanations of the evidence.

      You also don’t appear to understand my explanation of the evidence, either. When you say “if you concede that there is a difference between what the author of Zechariah means and what Philo interprets Zechariah to mean, then you are admitting that Philo does not necessarily care about the context of the quotation after all,” you clearly have lost all track of the argument. Philo himself says that he is rejecting Zechariah’s interpretation (that a mere ordinary historical man is being described) and adopting an esoteric explanation of the scene instead (that this figure is not a man but a celestial being, in fact a particular celestial being Philo repeatedly talks about as fundamental to Jewish theology). That does not mean Philo “does not care about the context” in which this figure is mentioned; to the contrary, Philo attends to that context everywhere he believes he is mentioned. Philo is simply reinterpreting what that context means. Thus, when Zechariah says the Son of the Righteous God, the high priest, is hailed the Rising, Philo interprets that to mean the actual firstborn son of the righteous god, the celestial high priest (and says calling him Rising therefore “makes sense”).

      Your interpretation requires this to be a coincidence. Mine does not. Your interpretation further requires the fact that both Philo and the first Christians connect all the same unusual attributes (not just being God’s firstborn son and celestial high priest but also being the agent of creation and image of God) to a man who happens to be named Jesus is all just a coincidence. Mine does not. Your interpretation also requires Philo to be ignorant of the content of the book of Zechariah and unaware of the fact that this verse comes from there. Mine does not. Or perhaps (as you now have desperately changed your argument) your interpretation requires Philo to be aware of the fact that Zechariah also calls this figure high priest and son of God and assigns him universal power and yet still thought that that had nothing to do with his own identification of him as high priest and son of God and God’s agent of rule, which is also simply improbable.

      Everything else you argue is just a desperate attempt to avoid facing these facts.

      Do you think the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah (Zech 6:10) resided in heaven?

      First, it is in Zech. 3 that Jesus is standing before God and his angels, including Satan. Zechariah may have imagined this as occurring on earth (unlikely, but possible), but Philo clearly did not. (It is also not a question of whether Zechariah thinks Jesus resides in heaven, but whether he intended him to have visited heaven for this event; Philo is the one who concludes he resides in heaven.)

      Second, Zech. 6 instructs Zechariah to manufacture the crowns at the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah (6:11). It is unlikely a crowning would occur in the same place as the manufacturing; the crowning is described in Zech. 3 as taking place in what appears to be God’s court (in the presence of Satan and God and his angels). Possibly Zechariah imagined it all as taking place in the same house, but he doesn’t clearly state this; and that’s moot anyway, since Philo clearly did bot believe so. Philo sees this as taking place in heaven (because he does not see this as referring to an earthly man).

      This is all side show anyway. It is just an attempt to ignore my actual argument and pick at “possibilities” to twist things to fit the way you want them to be, rather than the way they probably are. Just like any Christian apologist.

      Zechariah 3:8 reveals Joshua is different from the figure named anatolê.

      Which is Christian apologetical desperation again. You now need God to have said exactly the same thing and performed exactly the same act on two different men within the space of three chapters. So again, your argument requires improbabilities. Mine does not. In Zech. 6 God has Jesus crowned and declares his name Anatolê (“Behold, the man whose name is the Rising: and he shall grow up out of his place; and he shall build the temple of Jehovah;…and bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne”). In Zech. 3 God has Jesus crowned and declares his name Anatolê (“behold, I will bring forth my servant the Rising” and “thou shalt judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts”). It makes no sense to think that God would call Jesus Anatolê in one crowning event, and then at another crowning event say that someone else would be called Anatolê. In Zech. 3 God is speaking to the entire congregation; his meaning is then explained in Zech. 6. In Zech. 3 God is asking Jesus to note the prophecy of the stone (3:10), and asking the congregation to behold the role his servant (Jesus the Anatolê) will play in it (3:9, 3:11). This has to be the interpretation, otherwise Zechariah contradicts himself within the space of three chapters when speaking of the same crowning of Jesus. And so would any later interpreter like Philo conclude, being unwilling to assume a contradiction so blatant. You require the improbability of Zechariah and Philo both assuming these passages contradict each other and thus don’t describe the same event even though they plainly do.

      These scholars report that theophoric names are sentences. In this case, the word “is” is included in the translation, because “is” forms the complete sentence.

      You evidently are unaware that this is only true in an irrelevant sense, i.e. “Righteous Johovah” and “Jehovah is Righteous” are the same thing in this sense. You are trying to make the verb into a distinction from assigning an adjective, which requires placing a different meaning on the verb that these scholars are talking about with regard to names. This is a non-argument. It’s still “Jesus the son of Jehovah who is Righteous.” There is no getting around this with semantic trickery.

  10. Fpvflyer says

    Hi, Dr. Carrier,

    Philo himself says that he is rejecting Zechariah’s interpretation (that a mere ordinary historical man is being described) and adopting an esoteric explanation of the scene instead (that this figure is not a man but a celestial being, in fact a particular celestial being Philo repeatedly talks about as fundamental to Jewish theology).

    Philo does not say he is rejecting Zechariah’s interpretation. In fact, he does not attribute the quotation to Zechariah. Instead, Philo attributes the quotation to one of Moses’s companions (14.62). My argument is that Philo relays that one of Moses’s companions declared, “Behold, a man whose name is Rise.” Philo writes, “I have also heard of one of the companions of Moses having uttered such a speech as this: ‘Behold, a man whose name is Rise.’” When I write that Philo names the personage anatolê, I mean that this is the name Philo records one of Moses’s companions assigning to the personage and that Philo deems the name appropriate to apply to that figure.

    That does not mean Philo “does not care about the context” in which this figure is mentioned; to the contrary, Philo attends to that context everywhere he believes he is mentioned. Philo is simply reinterpreting what that context means.

    The key point here is that you maintain Philo is reinterpreting Zechariah’s context.

    Or perhaps (as you now have desperately changed your argument)

    I have not changed my argument at all. I merely highlighted the inconsistency in your argument that Zechariah was concerned about the context of Zechariah.
    By contending that Philo is aware of the context of Zechariah, but still rejects Zechariah’s interpretation, you are conceding that Philo does not really care about all of the details in the context of the quotation after all. If Philo did care about all of the details in the context, then he would not need to reinterpret the context at all. You are effectively saying that Philo picks and chooses which portions of the context to apply to the celestial figure he discusses. Consequently, you are picking and choosing which aspects to believe Philo chose to apply to the figure named anatolê, such as the name “Jesus.” This exposes a contradiction in your reasoning leading to the conclusion that Zechariah would have assumed the figure’s name was “Jesus.” Therefore, the question remains: If Philo picks and chooses which portions to highlight from the context, then why didn’t he choose to mention the name “Jesus”?

    First, it is in Zech. 3 that Jesus is standing before God and his angels, including Satan. Zechariah may have imagined this as occurring on earth (unlikely, but possible), but Philo clearly did not. (It is also not a question of whether Zechariah thinks Jesus resides in heaven, but whether he intended him to have visited heaven for this event; Philo is the one who concludes he resides in heaven.)

    I asked if you thought Josiah’s house resided in heaven, not whether you thought Joshua resided in heaven. You are also right to note that there is a difference between the context of Zechariah and Philo’s interpretation of the context.


    Second, Zech. 6 instructs Zechariah to manufacture the crowns at the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah (6:11). It is unlikely a crowning would occur in the same place as the manufacturing;

    Correct. YHWH instructs Zechariah to make the crowns at Josiah’s house. This is an earthly setting. Zechariah 6:14 likewise mentions other humans, not non-human beings. Thus, the context surrounding Zechariah 6:12 suggests an earthly setting, not a heavenly one.

    the crowning is described in Zech. 3 as taking place in what appears to be God’s court (in the presence of Satan and God and his angels).

    No crowns are mentioned in Zechariah 3. You are reading these into the chapter.

    Possibly Zechariah imagined it all as taking place in the same house, but he doesn’t clearly state this; and that’s moot anyway, since Philo clearly did not believe so. Philo sees this as taking place in heaven (because he does not see this as referring to an earthly man).

    The location of where Zechariah says Joshua is crowned is not a moot point. I am responding your claim that Zechariah 6 describes Joshua being crowned in heaven. You previously asserted the following concerning Zechariah, not Philo:

    and placing him in heaven (where the scene in Zech. 6 occurs)

    As you now agree, Zechariah 6 does not necessarily take place in heaven.

    Which is Christian apologetical desperation again.

    Not really. I am informing you why Zechariah scholars say Joshua is different from the figure named Anatolê. Are you suggesting that Edgar W. Conrad, Carol L. Meyers, Eric M. Meyers, and Mike Butterworth are Christian apologists?

    You now need God to have said exactly the same thing and performed exactly the same act on two different men within the space of three chapters. So again, your argument requires improbabilities. Mine does not. In Zech. 6 God has Jesus crowned and declares his name Anatolê (“Behold, the man whose name is the Rising: and he shall grow up out of his place; and he shall build the temple of Jehovah;…and bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne”).

    God does not declare that Joshua’s name is Anatolê in Zechariah 6.
    The literary context within Zechariah differentiates Joshua from the man named anatolê. Anatolê is a Greek translation of the Hebrew noun, Zemah, which means “Branch” or “Sprout.” Here is a rough translation of Zechariah 6:11-12 from Hebrew:

    “And you will take silver and gold and you will make crowns and you will set on the head of Joshua son of ‘YHWH is just,’ the great priest. And you will say to him (Joshua), saying, ‘Thus said YHWH of Hosts, saying, ‘Behold a man; Branch is his name and from under him he will sprout and he will build the Temple of YHWH.”

    God instructs Zechariah to tell Joshua about a man. This man’s name is “Branch” or “Sprout.” The man called “Branch” will sprout and this man will build the temple of YHWH. In other words, Zechariah does not equate Joshua with the man named “Branch” (or Anatolê in Greek). Zechariah does not say to Joshua, “Branch is your name and from under you you will sprout and you will build the Temple of YHWH.” Zechariah speaks to Joshua telling Joshua about another man. Remember that Zechariah specifies it is Zerubbabel who will build the temple (Zech 4:9), not Joshua.

    In Zech. 3 God has Jesus crowned and declares his name Anatolê (“behold, I will bring forth my servant the Rising” and “thou shalt judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts”). It makes no sense to think that God would call Jesus Anatolê in one crowning event, and then at another crowning event say that someone else would be called Anatolê.

    Several points need to be made here. First, no crowns are mentioned in Zechariah 3. You are reading crowns into Zechariah 3. Second, God does not call Joshua “Anatolê” in Zechariah 3. Rather, the angel of YHWH (3:6) promises Joshua that he will bring his servant “Branch” (3:8).

    In Zech. 3 God is speaking to the entire congregation; his meaning is then explained in Zech. 6. In Zech. 3 God is asking Jesus to note the prophecy of the stone (3:10), and asking the congregation to behold the role his servant (Jesus the Anatolê) will play in it (3:9, 3:11).

    There is no 3:11 in Zechariah 3. Zechariah 3 ends with 3:10. Also, Zechariah 3 does not identify Joshua as Anatolê.


    This has to be the interpretation, otherwise Zechariah contradicts himself within the space of three chapters when speaking of the same crowning of Jesus. And so would any later interpreter like Philo conclude, being unwilling to assume a contradiction so blatant. You require the improbability of Zechariah and Philo both assuming these passages contradict each other and thus don’t describe the same event even though they plainly do.

    The interpretation of the Zechariah scholars I explained previously does not result in a contradiction. Specifically, all of those scholars note that Zechariah is speaking to Joshua in Zechariah 6:12 about someone else. Reading Zechariah 6:12 in combination with Zechariah 3:8 and Zechariah 4:9 confirms that Zechariah draws a distinction between Joshua, who is crowned, and another figure who is named Anatolê.

    I explained:

    These scholars report that theophoric names are sentences. In this case, the word “is” is included in the translation, because “is” forms the complete sentence.
    em>

    You responded:


    You evidently are unaware that this is only true in an irrelevant sense, i.e. “Righteous Johovah” and “Jehovah is Righteous” are the same thing in this sense. em>

    This point is actually very relevant. They are not the same thing. “Righteous Jehovah” is a title, but “YHWH is righteous” is a sentence. Remember that the aforementioned scholars explain that theophoric names are sentences, not titles.


    You are trying to make the verb into a distinction from assigning an adjective, which requires placing a different meaning on the verb that these scholars are talking about with regard to names. This is a non-argument. It’s still “Jesus the son of Jehovah who is Righteous.” There is no getting around this with semantic trickery.em>

    There is no Hebrew element in this theophoric name for “who” in the theophoric name “YHWH is righteous.” Moreover, your insertion of this term changes the name from a sentence to a fragment. This is very problematic, because theophoric names are sentences, not fragments.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    • says

      (1) Philo indicates he is aware the phrase refers to a man, and then says he rejects that interpretation because it would be an odd thing to say of a man; then he concludes it refers to the same Logos superbeing that he talks about here and several other places.

      (2) My argument does not require Philo to reject the context of either Zech. 3 or 6. It only requires that he is reinterpreting it. And since that is what he himself indicates he is doing, my theory requires no ad hoc assumptions. It is plainly what he is doing.

      (3) Zechariah 3:5 describes the crowning of Jesus before God.

      (4) Your assumption that different men are called Anatolê in Zech. 3 and 6 is implausible. Both scenes have God crowning the same Jesus and announcing his future rule. In 6 he clearly names him Anatolê. Thus, when he names his servant Anatolê in 3, this is clearly (and would clearly be to Philo) the same event–the same name, for the same man, for performing the same role (especially since Philo says anyone with the name Anatolê is the Logos; so he clearly did not think there were two different men by that name). Again, to argue otherwise requires arguing against all natural probability. Thus, your position requires improbabilities that my position does not. And as I have repeatedly pointed out, this is just one among many improbabilities you keep stacking up to try and maintain your position.

      (5) Zech. 3:11 is in the Septuagint, and the Septuagint is what Philo is quoting.

      (6) I’ve said this before and shouldn’t have to say again: yes, Zechariah understood 3 and 6 to be about someone else. It is Philo who is reinterpreting it to mean the Logos superbeing (and thus, obviously, not the guy Zechariah originally meant).

      (7) “Remember that the aforementioned scholars explain that theophoric names are sentences, not titles.” — this is where you are reading what isn’t there; quote even one of those scholars as saying these are never titles, in the sense I am using (don’t straw man me by using the word “title” in a different sense than is relevant to my translation).

      (8) The issue is not that the relative pronoun “who” is in the word; neither is the verb “is” in the word. You are surely aware of what a translation is. Yet you get to translate with words that aren’t there and I do not, apparently. That’s called a double standard. Typical Christian apologetic tactic. What I am saying is that both translations are the same (i.e. there is no actual distinction between them in the Hebrew, when words are formed this way). Therefore, there is no distinction here for you to draw. You are attempting to make something out of nothing.

  11. Giuseppe says

    Hi, dr.Carrier,
    this passage of Josephus’Antiquities more probably is the ”source” of Origen lost reference with the link James/Jerusalem.

    1. When Eliashib the high priest was dead, his son Judas
    succeeded in the high priesthood; and when he was dead, his son
    John took that dignity; on whose account it was also that
    Bagoses, the general of another Artaxerxes’s army, (22) polluted
    the temple, and imposed tributes on the Jews, that out of the
    public stock, before they offered the daily sacrifices, they
    should pay for every lamb fifty shekels. Now Jesus was the
    brother of John, and was a friend of Bagoses, who had promised to
    procure him the high priesthood. In confidence of whose support,
    Jesus quarreled with John in the temple, and so provoked his
    brother, that in his anger his brother slew him. Now it was a
    horrible thing for John, when he was high priest, to perpetrate
    so great a crime, and so much the more horrible, that there never
    was so cruel and impious a thing done, neither by the Greeks nor
    Barbarians. However, God did not neglect its punishment, but the
    people were on that very account enslaved, and the temple was
    polluted by the Persians. Now when Bagoses, the general of
    Artaxerxes’s army, knew that John, the high priest of the Jews,
    had slain his own brother Jesus in the temple, he came upon the
    Jews immediately, and began in anger to say to them,” Have you
    had the impudence to perpetrate a murder in your temple?” And as
    he was aiming to go into the temple, they forbade him so to do;
    but he said to them,” Am not I purer than he that was slain in
    the temple?” And when he had said these words, he went into the
    temple. Accordingly, Bagoses made use of this pretense, and
    punished the Jews seven years for the murder of Jesus.
    (Antiquities XI , 297-305).

    the coincidences with the lost reference + Ananus’passage are incredible and not mere chance. The ”amnecy” of Origen was deliberate midrash from Josephus.

    A question: about Testimonium flavianum, Goldberg writes:

    The coincidences may be due to a Christian interpolator who altered the
    Testimonium, or forged it entire, under the influence of the Emmaus narrative.
    This proposal has the weakness of supposing that a writer capable of imitating
    Josephus’ style and daring enough to alter his manuscript would at the same
    time employ non-Josephan expressions and adhere rather closely to a New
    Testament text. A forger of the required skill should have been able to shake free
    of such influences.

    (quote from The Coincidences of the Emmaus Narrative of Luke and the Testimonium of Josephus Gary J. Goldberg, Ph.D.)

    The problematicity of Testimonium, if it is autentic or not, if it is independent (if autentic) source or not implies that the best conclusion is pure agnosticism about Jesus historicity? How can you be sure that, if Testimonium was autentic, it is not an independent source (thoug admitting a common Christian source for Josephus and Luke)?
    For example, Crossan sees 3 basic steps common to Josephus and Tacitus:
    Movement
    Execution
    Continuation
    Expansion

    like it’s described here: http://vridar.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/crossans-proofs-that-jesus-did-exist/

    Sure it’s not a coincidence?

  12. Fpvflyer says

    Hi, Dr. Carrier,

    (1) Philo indicates he is aware the phrase refers to a man, and then says he rejects that interpretation because it would be an odd thing to say of a man; then he concludes it refers to the same Logos superbeing that he talks about here and several other places.

    Philo indicates he is aware that the phrase refers to a man, but he does not mention Zechariah. Remember, Philo does not attribute the quotation to Zechariah. Instead, Philo attributes the quotation to one of Moses’s companions (14.62). It is not surprising that Philo is aware that this figure is called a man, because the quote itself calls the figure a man.

    (2) My argument does not require Philo to reject the context of either Zech. 3 or 6. It only requires that he is reinterpreting it.

    If Philo cared about all of the details in the context, then he would not need to reinterpret the context at all. You are effectively saying that Philo picks and chooses which portions of the context to apply to the celestial figure he discusses. Consequently, you are picking and choosing which aspects to believe Philo chose to apply to the figure named anatolê, such as the name “Jesus.” This exposes a contradiction in your reasoning leading to the conclusion that Philo would have assumed the figure’s name was “Jesus.” Therefore, the question still remains: If Philo picks and chooses which portions to highlight from the context, then why didn’t he choose to mention the name “Jesus”?

    And since that is what he himself indicates he is doing, my theory requires no ad hoc assumptions. It is plainly what he is doing.

    Philo does not say he is reinterpreting the context of Zechariah.

    (3) Zechariah 3:5 describes the crowning of Jesus before God.

    Zechariah 3:5 states, “And I said, ‘Let them set a clean turban upon his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with the apparel; and the angel of YHWH was standing by.” No crowns are mentioned here.

    (4) Your assumption that different men are called Anatolê in Zech. 3 and 6 is implausible. Both scenes have God crowning the same Jesus and announcing his future rule. In 6 he clearly names him Anatolê. Thus, when he names his servant Anatolê in 3, this is clearly (and would clearly be to Philo) the same event–the same name, for the same man, for performing the same role (especially since Philo says anyone with the name Anatolê is the Logos; so he clearly did not think there were two different men by that name). Again, to argue otherwise requires arguing against all natural probability. Thus, your position requires improbabilities that my position does not. And as I have repeatedly pointed out, this is just one among many improbabilities you keep stacking up to try and maintain your position.

    Why didn’t you interact with any of the arguments the Zechariah scholars provide for differentiating Joshua from the man named “Anatolê” in Zechariah 3 and 6?

    (5) Zech. 3:11 is in the Septuagint, and the Septuagint is what Philo is quoting.

    The verse numbering may vary from one version of the Septuagint to another. The version I utilize lacks Zechariah 3:11. Zechariah 3 concludes with verse 10. I consult the following edition:

    Septuaginta. Ed. Alfred Rahlfs. Editio altera by Robert Hanhart. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006.

    Which edition of the Greek critical text of the Septuagint are you using?


    (6) I’ve said this before and shouldn’t have to say again: yes, Zechariah understood 3 and 6 to be about someone else. It is Philo who is reinterpreting it to mean the Logos superbeing (and thus, obviously, not the guy Zechariah originally meant).

    Correct. Why doesn’t Philo’s reinterpretation include the name “Jesus”?

    (7) “Remember that the aforementioned scholars explain that theophoric names are sentences, not titles.” — this is where you are reading what isn’t there; quote even one of those scholars as saying these are never titles, in the sense I am using (don’t straw man me by using the word “title” in a different sense than is relevant to my translation).

    None of these scholars need to explicitly state that Hebrew theophoric personal names are never titles in the sense you are using the term. If Hebrew theophoric personal names are by their very nature sentences, they are not titles in the sense that you are utilizing the term. Dana M. Pike, who wrote a doctoral thesis on Hebrew theophoric personal names, specifies that theophoric names “represent declarations about or expressions of petition to the deity mentioned in the name.” 1. Declarations and petitions are sentences, not titles. On pages 1018 and 1019, Pike lists the following translations as examples from the Hebrew Bible and Israelite inscriptions:

    “God hears [requests].”

    “YHWH is my light.”

    “YHWH is my [divine] father.”

    “(My) [divine] father is a lamp.”

    “YHWH is my [divine] brother.”

    “My lord is exalted.”

    “YHWH is my lord.”

    “My king is exalted.”

    In accordance with this, Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers render the name under discussion as “Yahweh is just,” in The Anchor Bible commentary on Haggai and Zechariah 1-8. 2. In the monograph Theophoric Personal Names in Ancient Hebrew: A Comparative Study, Jeaneane D. Fowler writes, “BH y(eh) osadaq, ‘Y is just or righteous’, cf. BDB, 221, KB, 379, 386, Geh, 521, IPN, 189.” 3. “YHWH is just” or “YHWH is righteous” are, therefore, the only correct possible translations.


    (8) The issue is not that the relative pronoun “who” is in the word; neither is the verb “is” in the word. You are surely aware of what a translation is. Yet you get to translate with words that aren’t there and I do not, apparently. That’s called a double standard. Typical Christian apologetic tactic. What I am saying is that both translations are the same (i.e. there is no actual distinction between them in the Hebrew, when words are formed this way). Therefore, there is no distinction here for you to draw. You are attempting to make something out of nothing.

    The fact is that “mi” (Mem, Hireq, and Yod combined mean “who”) is not present. The point of this fact is that readers should not expect “mi” to be present in this name. No double standard is involved. There is a difference between a proper translation and an improper translation. The word “is” makes a sentence out of the theophoric personal name. Your proposed translation, which includes the term “who,” however, does not form a sentence. Instead, it turns the theophoric personal name into a sentence fragment.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    Endnotes:

    1. Dana M. Pike, “Names, Theophoric,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary Volume 4 (Doubleday, 1992), 1018.

    2. The Anchor Bible Haggai, Zechariah 1-8: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, ed. Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers (New York, London: Doubleday, 1987), 16.

    3. Jeaneane D. Fowler, Theophoric Personal Names in Ancient Hebrew: A Comparative Study (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1988), 80.

    • says

      You are simply continuing to ignore all my arguments. You are especially not answering the arguments from improbability at all. This is like talking to a wall. For example, “Jesus the son of Jehovah is righteous” is essentially what I am saying Philo is reading in the text; he thus identifies this figure as the firstborn son figure he often elsewhere speaks about. Your arguments simply ignore what I am actually saying here. Likewise, it’s very improbable Philo would quote a sentence spoken of “Jesus the son of Jehovah is righteous” and say it was spoken of the actual son of Jehovah who is righteous, unless that’s not a coincidence. Therefore, by definition, it probably is not a coincidence. As for this argument, so for all others. You are just hell bent on ignoring this and never responding to it, and instead raising irrelevant issues in the hopes people will not notice the arguments you aren’t answering. That is Christian apologetics, not scholarship.

  13. Fpvflyer says

    Hi, Dr. Carrier,

    You are simply continuing to ignore all my arguments. You are especially not answering the arguments from improbability at all. This is like talking to a wall.

    I have answered your arguments from improbability. I addressed each of the elements that your arguments from improbability rested upon. I explained how those elements did not correspond to your presentation/interpretation of them.

    For example, “Jesus the son of Jehovah is righteous” is essentially what I am saying Philo is reading in the text;

    Correct. This is what you are saying Philo is reading in the text.

    he thus identifies this figure as the firstborn son figure he often elsewhere speaks about.

    Philo identifies the character named “Anatolê” as being “the firstborn son.” However, the Zechariah scholars I referenced earlier explain that the context of Zechariah indicates that Jesus, the son of “Jehovah is righteous,” is not the same personage as the figure named “Anatolê.”

    Your arguments simply ignore what I am actually saying here. Likewise, it’s very improbable Philo would quote a sentence spoken of “Jesus the son of Jehovah is righteous” and say it was spoken of the actual son of Jehovah who is righteous, unless that’s not a coincidence.

    Philo does not call the character named “Anatolê” “righteous” in “On the Confusion of Tongues.”

    Therefore, by definition, it probably is not a coincidence. As for this argument, so for all others. You are just hell bent on ignoring this and never responding to it, and instead raising irrelevant issues in the hopes people will not notice the arguments you aren’t answering. That is Christian apologetics, not scholarship.

    I write the following with respect, but with firmness. I have answered your arguments. You, by contrast, have not replied to the main argument I have made, nor the arguments I presented in my most recent responses. In addition, you have not answered the questions I have posed to you in my last two replies. In light of all of these factors, I rest my case. It is simply inaccurate to claim that Philo calls the figure “Jesus” in “On the Confusion of Tongues”14.62.

    Kind regards,

    Fpvflyer

    • says

      No, you have not answered my arguments. Your answers amount in every case to “I am saying all these things are just total coincidences.” Which is extremely improbable. That’s the end of it. You don’t seem willing to even address it.

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