[b-hebrew] Tradition of Zechariah's Murder

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Apr 5 17:57:31 EDT 2004

On 05/04/2004 12:12, CS Bartholomew wrote:

>On 4/5/04 11:15 AM, "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org> wrote:
>>Edersheim (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol.II p.414 in my
>>1886 edition) refers to the murder of "Zacharias, the son of Baruch" as
>>reported by Josephus, War iv. 5.4, Maybe this is the correct Josephus
>>reference. But it seems to be to a death in the final siege of Jerusalem.
>Looks right:
>Here is the ancient WWinston translation:

The translator was not Winston, but William Whiston (1667-1752). He was 
a Fellow of my old Cambridge college, Clare, and Newton's successor as 
Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. He seems to have been a pioneer of 
geology, or at least Creation Science; and of speculative and 
controversial theology, for which he was deprived of his fellowship and 
expelled from the university. Translating Josephus seems to have been a 
sideline. See http://www.encyclopedia4u.com/w/william-whiston.html.

>War.4.5.4. (334) And now these zealots and Idumeans were quite weary of
>barely killing men, so they had the impudence of setting up fictitious
>tribunals and judicatures for that purpose; (335) and as they intended to
>have Zacharias,2 the son of Baruch, ...

Thanks for this text. Well, it is clear that this is set in the time of 
Vespasian. And so, if Josephus is recounting a historical incident, it 
must be quite separate from the death of the prophet Zechariah, or the 
death recounted in 2 Chronicles 24. Edersheim gives detailed arguments 
why the passages in the Gospels cannot be references to this death. On 
the other hand, it is surely possible that this passage in Josephus was 
inspired, at least in the names chosen, by the long tradition of the 
death of Zechariah in the temple.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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