Sam, Chr & Josephus

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sun Mar 11 16:49:22 EST 2001

>From these data, your theory is certainly a possibility, though Occam's
>razor makes me reluctant to introduce lost works for which no other evidence

Occam's razor cuts both ways strangely enough -- one needs to supply less complex
solutions --, yet I don't think we are necessarily talking about lost works! We may
even have fragments of the Vorlage in the DSS.

>But when three documents compare like this, there are other
>possibilities: that one (in this case, most probably Josephus) originates in
>an attempt to harmonise the differences between the other two;

Obviously if this were the case then he didn't do a good job. It also doesn't agree
with the way Josephus works. He tends to use passages which he augments with other
sources in nice coherent packages and this can actually be seen, not in this
particular text, but in similar ones which show the same synoptic problem. I think
you'd have to find some clear example where he actually does what you would like him
to do. Otherwise Occam hacks this one away without any further thought as being much
more complex.

>or that all
>three were (at least more nearly) in harmony when they were written and have
>diverged because of later redaction and copyists' errors.

This won't explain, except with massive conditions, why Josephus almost always
agrees with either one or the other and when not, it is usually a matter of
epitomising. We don't have three texts of the same tradition drifting apart. We have
clear redactional activity.


Eek. I have to seriously work again from tomorrow onwards.

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