Temple and Desert: On Religion and State in Second Temple Period Judaea, Michael Schwartz, Studies in the Jewish Background of Christianity, Mohr, Tubingen 1992.


Judean Desert

Judean Desert. By The original uploader was Effib at Hebrew Wikipedia. – Transferred from he.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2049137

This study’s point of departure is a collection of obscure Josephan narratives, most in his Antiquities and one in the Jewish War, dealing with clashes between religious figures and Roman authorities in first-century Judaea. The obscurity results from Josephus’ failure to explain the clashes. He merely reports what happens, without explaining why. While such obscurity is not entirely rare in Josephus, and may at times result merely from carelessness or the like, it seems that the obscurity in these cases has a meaningful origin.

In all of the cases we shall cite, Josephus reports religious figures who went out into the desert, whither they were followed by Roman soldiers and cavalry who attacked and stamped them out. Josephus always makes it clear that he approves of the Roman action and believes that the victims got their due. But he never clarifies what their crime was, he never clarifies why the Romans were justified in doing what they did. Thus, for our first example, we read of the following event in the mid-forties-

1. Ant. 20.97–99-1

During the period when Fadus was procurator of Judaea, a certain impostor named Theudas persuaded the majority of the masses to take up their possessions and to follow him to the Jordan River. He stated that he was a prophet and that at his command the river would be parted and would provide them an easy passage. With this talk he deceived many. Fadus, however, did not permit them to reap the fruit of their folly, but sent against them a squadron of cavalry. These fell upon them unexpectedly, slew many of them and took many prisoners. Theudas himself was captured, whereupon they cut off his head and brought it to Jerusalem.

As noted, it is clear that Josephus is on Fadus’ side. Josephus’ tone and diction makes his attitude clear. But what, in fact, motivated Fadus? Did he really believe that Theudas could split the Jordan? And even if Theudas had succeeded, what was threatening or illegal about him and his followers crossing to the other side of the river? How did Theudas threaten public order or any other legitimate concern of the Roman governor of Judaea?

Of course, we could easily fill in the story. Fadus might have feared the growth of a movement of enthusiasts of a latter-day Joshua;2 whether or not Theudas succeeded, such people might plan to pursue the conquest of the Holy Land,3 and it was best to nip the movement in the bud. Had Josephus written something like that, all would have been clear. But he didn’t.

Here are another four such passages-

2. Ant. 20.167–168-

With such pollution (scil. aforementioned murders in Jerusalem and the Temple) did the deeds of the brigands infect the city. Moreover, impostors and deceivers called upon the mob to follow them into the desert. For they said that they would show them unmistakable marvels and signs that would be wrought in harmony with God’s design. Many were, in fact, persuaded and paid the penalty of their folly;4 for they were brought before Felix and he punished them.

What is illegal or threatening about promising signs and wonders in the desert?

3. In Ant. 20.169–172, immediately after the preceding narrative, Josephus reports that an Egyptian “prophet” coaxed a multitude to follow him to the Mount of Olives, from which he would order the walls of Jerusalem to fall, thus allowing entrance into the city. Felix sent infantry and cavalry against this crowd, killing many and capturing hundreds of others. This story, with its reference to the city’s defenses falling and an entrance into the city, at least explains what the governor might fear. But did Felix really think the walls would fall at this “prophet’s” command?

4. Ant. 20.188, in Josephus’ narrative about Festus (Felix’s successor), after a report about the Sicarii and their murderous activities, is another enigmatically skeletal notice-
Festus also sent a force of cavalry and infantry against the dupes of a certain impostor5 who had promised them salvation and rest from troubles, if they chose to follow him into the wilderness. The force which Festus dispatched destroyed both the deceiver himself and those who had followed them.

5. In BJ 7.437 ff., Josephus narrates the adventures of Jonathan the Weaver, in Cyrene. Jonathan, who seems to have been a Judaean rebel who wound up in Cyrene after the war, is said to have convinced not a few indigent Jews to follow him into the desert, where they would see “signs and visions.” Most people, according to Josephus, realized that he was a fake, but the more respectable Jews of the region nevertheless informed the governor about Jonathan’s “departure and preparations (paraskeuē — § 439).” Preparations for what? Josephus gives no information whatsoever about any crime or anti-Roman activity or plans for same, so the reader is left wondering — or imagining — why the army was sent out to squash him.

These narratives, and similar ones,6 all leave the same question- Why did the Romans attack the Jews in question? And they all invite the same response- The Romans feared that those who went out into the desert would, whether or not the promised wonders occurred there, return and attack the Roman garrison and order. And this response is indeed a likely one; note, for example, the fact that in three of our five cases7 the Romans killed some and captured some. This indicates that there was a battle, which in turn implies that the Jews were armed with more than mere hopes for miracles. Indeed, the account of the Egyptian prophet explicitly refers to such a “battle” (Ant. 20.172), and Acts 21-38, the only other ancient source to mention him, says his followers were Sicarii. Below, furthermore, we will bring decisive evidence for their warlike nature.8 But if this expansion of Josephus’ accounts is indeed the correct one, as seems apparent, then we must ask the historiographical question- Why does Josephus leave it to our imagination?

Moreover — and here is the decisive evidence promised above — the fact is that Josephus himself, in other versions of stories 2, 3 and 5 (the others are unparalleled in his writings), gives our explanation, identifying the governors’ victims as dangerous rebels! Namely, BJ 2.259–260 specifies that the “signs and wonders” of Ant. 20.167–168 were “signs of freedom,”9 and the promises encouraged “rebellion and revolution.” Felix, accordingly, saw the exodus to the desert as “the onset of rebellion” — so his move to squash them is quite understandable. Again, BJ 2.261–263 has the Egyptian prophet planning not merely to order the walls of Jerusalem to fall (as in Ant.), but rather to enter Jerusalem with force and overcome the Roman garrison with the assistance of those who would attack together with him. Afterwards, he planned to rule the city as a tyrant. Felix, however, moved to forestall his “attack.” (It is important for our theme to add that BJ also gives an important detail missing from the Ant. report- this prophet’s followers came with him to the Mount of Olives not simply from Jerusalem, but rather from the desert.) Finally, Vita 424–425 retells the story of Jonathan the Weaver, but plainly describes him as one who “aroused rebellion” (stasin exegeiras) in Cyrene. Moreover, although the BJ account had stressed that Jonathan and his followers had been unarmed (BJ 7.440), the whole point of the Vita story is that Jonathan, after his capture, had falsely accused Josephus of having supplied him arms and money. On the other hand, BJ had stated that Jonathan promised “signs and visions” in the desert, but nothing like this appears in the Vita account.

If Josephus can tell these stories in a way which makes sense and which conforms to our historical understanding, why did he abstain from doing so in the versions we first cited?

To answer this, it appears that we should give due weight to the fact that BJ 2, as most of BJ, was written well before Ant., while BJ 7, or at least its narrative on Cyrene and Jonathan the Weaver, was composed — as Seth Schwartz has cogently shown — around the same time as Vita and Ant. The bulk of BJ was written by Josephus no more than a decade after the Temple was destroyed and after only a few years of life in Rome; Ant., Vita and BJ 7 were composed in the nineties.10 Now, in BJ 2, as we have seen, Josephus did not try to hide the religious nature of the rebels he described. He condemned them, of course, for he knew they had been false prophets and that people of their ilk brought catastrophe upon the Jews, but he admitted that they operated with religious claims and pretensions. In other words, in BJ 2 Josephus portrays religious people operating for religious reasons in the arena of state, and it is therefore understandable that those responsible for the state moved against them. In the Antiquities versions of the same stories, however, as in those others cited above which are without parallel in BJ, Josephus splits the two spheres. Those who move in the religious sphere have no connection with the state (leaving us wondering why the state suppressed them). The case of Jonathan the Weaver, of whom both narratives stem from the nineties, is especially interesting- Josephus was willing to make him only an armed rebel (as in Vita) or only an unarmed religious leader (as in BJ 7), but he is not willing to allow him, as the villains of BJ 2, to operate in both spheres. Similarly, while BJ 2.264, right after the account of the Egyptian prophet, reports that the (religious) “impostors” and the “brigands” joined forces and incited to further revolt, the parallel in Ant. 20.172 has the “brigands” acting alone.

Josephus, in other words, in the nineties of the first century, is trying to convince his readers that the Jewish religion has no political implications. It is, therefore, no threat at all to the state, and should be tolerated, not persecuted.

It will readily be admitted that Josephus’ approach is not totally consistent or unambiguous. Apart from occasional “sloppiness” (to borrow one of S.J.D. Cohen’s favorite terms), two special reasons may be adduced. First of all, although the best apologetic approach would have been simply to ignore these episodes, Josephus’ conscience as an historian forced him to tell the stories (cf. below, p. 115). And, second, some of the more central rebels had undeniably religious platforms,11 and they were so well-known that Josephus could not attempt to ignore them, as in the cases of these little-known desert prophets. Therefore, to the extent the former are mentioned in his later writings — luckily for Josephus, this was a small extent — he had to deal with them religiously. He does this by attacking them, as severely as possible. Nevertheless, the reader easily infers that there was a debate among various versions of Judaism, not a conflict between Judaism and rebels acting out of non- or anti-religious motives. In other words, Josephus was forced to admit that Judas the Galilean was the founder of a philosophy (BJ 2.118; Ant. 18.4–10, 23–25), however despicable that philosophy was. And this dispute was a matter of great consequence in Roman eyes, not merely obscure theological controversy about “words and names and your law” (Acts 18-15). Although Josephus would have rather avoided such matters, some rebels with religious platforms were so well known that they could not be swept under the carpet.

But, despite the inconsistencies, the fact remains that Josephus, in the nineties, attempted to portray the Jewish religion as unrelated to statehood. This attempt is reflected elsewhere in the Antiquities as well. A few other cases may be summarily mentioned- 1) his rewriting of I Maccabees in an attempt to make the Maccabees religious martyrs instead of rebels;12 2) his attempt to portray the Pharisees as religious figures divorced from involvement in the affairs of the state (see especially Antiquities 18.15);13 and 3) his attempt, in Antiquities and Contra Apionem, to portray the Jews as members of a religious community (politeuma), not as a people or a state, even in prior periods when they were one or the other.14

In BJ, in contrast, written in the seventies, Josephus has not yet made this attempt, although he does attempt to portray legitimate Jewish religion as opposed to rebellion against Rome.15 Apparently, it took some time before Josephus grasped the full meaning of the destruction of the Temple. For it was the Temple, God’s house, which embodied the notion of Jewish territorialism, statehood; it was the Temple which seemed to be a king’s palace, making Jerusalem a capital and Judaea a Jewish state.16 Only after the Temple was destroyed could Josephus begin thinking of “being Jewish” as matter of religion without state. And the fact that he himself was doing this rethinking in Rome, not in Judaea, made the conclusion all the more compelling.17

If we therefore suppose that Judaean rebels acted out of a religious motivation, a Holy Land ideology, a “zeal for the Temple” due to their view that it — not Rome or its branch office in Caesarea — constituted the seat of the Judaean sovereign, and that Josephus faithfully reflected this linkage of religion and state in his first book but apologetically tried to hide it in his later works, where he instead reflected the realities of post-Destruction Diaspora existence, then a new problem arises. Why, indeed, did the rebels he portrays, at a time when the Temple stood, seek the Sovereign’s revelations in the desert of all places? By way of comparison, note that it is totally intelligible, if shocking, that many true believers gathered in the Temple courts on the very day they were burnt, due to the expectation, fostered by “false prophets,” that “signs of salvation” would be given there (BJ 6,285). For the Temple was the most reasonable of all places for such revelations, and it was theologically reasonable (although in fact suicidal) to suppose that it “would be saved by Him who resides in it” (BJ 5.459). But what shall we say of prophets, and their believers, who sought revelations and signs in the desert?

Of course, a simple solution is that “one obvious advantage of disappearing into the desert was escaping the tax-collector.”18 Since the biblical days of Moses, David and Elijah, who were imitated by “Hasidim” (I Maccabees 2) and Qumranites in more recent times, the desert had always been a good place in which to flee undesired or feared governmental authority. Particularly apposite in the present context is the case reported in BJ 6.351- Simon ben Giora and John of Gischala, two of the leaders of the lost rebellion, asked Titus’ permission to surrender and depart into the desert, “leaving him the city.”

However, while the last paragraph might illustrate the obvious fact that anti-Romans might prefer the desert to the Roman city, it fails to explain the expectation of signs and wonders and revelations there. And as for Simon and John, why should they — attempting to avoid captivity, enslavement or worse — be compared to those we want to understand, who went into the desert of their own free will (not in order to escape punishment) and, it seems, planned to come back to the city thereafter? Rather, to understand such people, we ought to turn to the literature of the only documentable desert group of the period — the Qumran sect.

If we assume, as we do and as is usual, that the Qumran sect was Essene,19 then it results that Josephus’ account of the latter is especially notable due to its failure to note two important foci of the sect. Namely, Josephus’ accounts give us no more than an extremely faint hint of the extremely important role priests played in the sect,20 and even less than that of its apocalyptic vision and tension. Given their prominence in the Qumran scrolls, it is difficult to imagine that Josephus (or his sources) did not know of these foci. Rather, it is far likelier that they were deliberately ignored due to apologetic considerations. For Josephus, a proud priest and descendant of the Hasmoneans, had no interest in revealing that his ancestors were bitterly criticized for usurping the Zadokite high priesthood and that there was a priestly opposition to his colleagues, “the last priests of Jerusalem.”21 Similarly, he had no interest in revealing that one of the three “legitimate” versions of Judaism — as opposed to that rebellious “Fourth Philosophy” (note the contexts of BJ 2.119 and Ant. 18.11!) — looked forward with gusto to the destruction of the Roman Empire (the “Kittim”), along with all other Sons of Darkness.22 Such a revelation would have ruined the positive attitude toward this sect which his accounts all attempt to induce. Rather, Josephus has the Essenes swear always to obey constituted authority, for there is no authority not given by God (BJ 2.140).
Josephus’ presentation of the Essenes forced him, however, into another case of his now-familiar predicament. For if the Essenes were such obedient subjects of constituted authority, why were so many of them tortured by the Romans at the time of the rebellion (BJ 2.152–153)? (And why, we may add, did the Romans destroy the Qumran settlement in 68 C.E.?) It is true that Josephus does supply an explanation in this case- he claims that the Essenes were tortured “in order to induce them to blaspheme the(ir?) lawgiver or to eat some forbidden thing.” However, we have no other evidence of religious persecution at the time of this rebellion. Rather, it is likely that Josephus simply did for the Essenes what he also did for the Hasmoneans (n. 12)- he turned rebels into martyrs. The only hints he left of the real truth are the two references to John the Essene, one of the rebel generals (BJ 2.567; 3.11). Thus, what I Maccabees does for the Hasmoneans, and Josephus’ own BJ account did for several of the desert prophets, the Scrolls do for the Essenes. Where would we be if we had to depend upon Josephus alone?

We turned to the Qumran sect to understand the desert prophets and have so far established that the sect shared their anti-Roman animus and was, therefore, treated somewhat similarly by Josephus. Returning, then, to our question about revelations in the desert, we will not be surprised to find that the Qumran literature is quite helpful. Namely, the sect not only condemned the current Temple and priesthood in Jerusalem; it also considered itself as their replacement. The sect’s priests were the only legitimate priests, and the community replaced the Temple. As the Manual of Discipline, that central sectarian text, phrases it, the sect’s membership is divided into two “houses,” a holy house of Israel (laity) and a Holy of Holy house for Aaron (the priests); together, they fulfill that eminently Temple task of working atonement (see esp. Manual of Discipline 8-1–10 and 9-3–7). The Temple of Jerusalem, in contrast, is “desolate” (4QFlorilegium 1-5), and the sectarians awaited the day when they could return to “the desert (!) of Jerusalem” and restore the proper cult there (War Scroll 1-3; 2). Correspondingly, while until that day only the sect lived according to the correct calendar, in the end “all the times of desolation will come to an end” (Hodayot 12-16–17). In other words, the sectarians viewed Qumran as the Divine Presence’s residence in exile, while the Temple in Jerusalem was itself an empty desert.23

On such a view, it is indeed reasonable to expect divine revelation more in the desert than in the polluted Temple. And, indeed, this seems to be reflected by the Qumran sect’s repeated mobilization of Isaiah 40-3, “the voice calling in the wilderness” (so they construe the verse), in order to explain its own existence there (Manual of Discipline 8-13–16; 9-19–20). While the parallelism in the text leads us to divide “the voice” from “in the wilderness,” rather making the latter the beginning of a quotation, the sect rather inferred that the voice called in the wilderness. And it is interesting that John the Baptist apparently punctuated the verse the same way; as many scholars have agreed, John is probably to be understood on the background of Qumran. Indeed, from our point of view it is important to note that Josephus, in Ant. 18.116–119, leaves us in the familiar dark- he portrays John as a religious figure only, and thus leaves us no guessing why Herod Antipas feared him and had him killed. The Gospels, which report John’s condemnation of the Herodian’s incestuous relationship, fill out the picture.24

Qumran thus shows us religious Jews who expected and claimed revelation in the desert. These sectarians justified this by viewing their community as a functional substitute for the Temple.25 Presumably something similar was the case for the rebels so incompletely reported by Josephus- although they did not form lasting communities, they obviously did feel that the locus of sanctity had been removed from Jerusalem to the desert. Perhaps, in other words, we should assume that they, or some of them, were like John the Baptist, people to be understood on the background of Qumran although not part of its sectarian framework. More likely, however, this willingness to divorce sanctity from the Temple and find it elsewhere was more general. As it seems, a few factors, traceable to the Hasmonean period, made such a development quite likely. In our opinion, three such factors are especially important, two negative and one positive-

1. If prior to the Hasmonean period Judaea was a small “Temple-state” (see above, p. 9, n. 18), the Hasmonean period saw it expand to include regions inhabited by non-Jews. This forced the Hasmonean high priests to explain by what right they ruled such Gentiles- What claim can a Jewish high priest make upon a Syrian, an Arab, or a descendant of Greeks or Macedonians? One approach was to convert the latter to Judaism under duress. But although this was tried in a few well-known cases,26 it is not promising or tasteful. Rather, the more lasting solution was to turn the Jewish religious authority into a temporal authority, a king. This, then, is why the Hasmoneans, by the end of the second century, were forced to add the royal crown to the priestly diadem (BJ 1.70; Ant. 13.301). But it amounts to the separation of religion from state — a precedent which the Romans took over with open arms a few decades later. The end of the process would come in the Roman period, when Caesarea was constituted as a political capital of Judaea, leaving Jerusalem a religious capital alone in Roman eyes. But this process made it natural, especially for sectarian opponents of the Hasmoneans and the Romans, such as the Qumranites, to deny any link between sanctity and a given place; sanctity was where right religion was.

2. Parallel to the first development, we note, beginning with the early Hasmoneans or somewhat earlier, a good bit of criticism concerning the morality and the very legitimacy of the Jerusalem priesthood.27 While the criticism at first related to the formal aspects of priestly legitimacy (Aaronite and Zadokite descent)28 and formal complaints about the Temple service (such as the calendar controversy),29 as time went by, and, especially, in the Roman period, we find more and more criticism of the ruling priesthood’s morality.30

The first factor tended to deny the Temple’s political function, but the latter tended to undermine its religious significance too. The third factor, the positive one, to which we shall now turn, opened the way to save the Temple, as it were, by moving it elsewhere.

3. Hellenism made more and more of an impact upon Judaea as time went by. True, such impact may be exaggerated, and it seems that the major attempt in our generation to assess Hellenism in Palestine put too much too early- it focused upon the pre-Hasmonean period. But the rebellion’s success and the rise of the Hasmonean state brought Judaea into a new league, and it did not run away from it.31

Now from our point of view, what is especially interesting here is the fact that critiques of the Temple cult during the late Second Temple period frequently reveal Hellenistic influence. In earlier epochs one sometimes hears emphasis upon God’s transcendence as part of a criticism or relativization of the Temple.32 But it is only in the Second Temple period that we find something which is not a temple (world, community, sage or pious man) being called a temple — a transference of terminology made possible by the recognition of the presence of divinity within it. This seems to be predicated upon a Hellenistic analysis of being into matter and essence (“forms” or the like)- if the Temple is the House of God, then it is where God is, so wherever God is is a Temple. And the Hellenistic background is proven by the fact that two Hellenistic Jews, Philo and Paul, were, along with Stephen “the Hellenist” (Acts 6–7) and the authors of the Gospel of John and of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the prime exponents of such views.33 But it must also be recognized that the Qumran community, which viewed its own essence as that of a Temple and Jerusalem’s essence as that of a desert, derives from the same type of thought. Since we don’t find Greeks or Greek literature in Qumran, such thought must have been in the air (although one need not subscribe to all which has been ascribed to it).34 Some more evidence for this type of air may also be seen in the end of Acts 18, where an Alexandrian sage of scripture is said to have been a preacher of John the Baptist’s movement.35
On the basis of these three factors, which all more or less began in the Hasmonean period and deepened as time went on, it appears that one may explain a fundamental development in the relations of religion and state in Second Temple period Judaea. Early in the period, they both had one capital- the Temple of Jerusalem. But the Hasmonean period saw the birth, in theory at least, of a split between the two. And if at first the same head wore both crowns, already Salome Alexandra demonstrated that this need not be so- she was temporal ruler, while one of her sons served as high-priest. The Romans accepted this situation, substituting vassal rulers or governors for the Hasmonean rulers but allowing the Jews to go on supplying high priests. Although it is usual to view the Sadducees, the party of the high priests, as quislings,36 it must be noted that all they did was accept the implications of the first factor — which the Hasmoneans had introduced.

On the other hand, those — including Zealots in the Jerusalem priesthood — who continued to view the Temple as a political center, the capital of God’s state, would have to go to war against Rome. And it was natural that the Temple itself was where they began the war, and where it ended. Both events which inaugurated the rebellion of 66 — the suspension of sacrifices for Rome in Jerusalem and the riots between Jews and Greeks in Caesarea — were, basically, expressions of the will to override the first factor. Namely, sacrifices for Rome constituted admission of the lack of Jerusalem’s political significance,37 and admission that Caesarea belonged to the Gentiles meant that it was part of a state defined by Rome, not by Jerusalem.38

As for those who, due to the second factor — criticism of the Temple and its priesthood — did not view the Temple of Jerusalem as a religious center, the third factor — Hellenism — opened a new option. Their belief that God had abandoned His home did not leave them in desperation, for they could find Him elsewhere. This approach too had two varieties- we must distinguish between those who thought God’s residence elsewhere was permanent, and those who thought it temporary, a fill-in until He could return to Jerusalem. The latter, our point of departure in this paper, searched for God in the unpolluted desert near Jerusalem and hoped to return from it in order to restore the Temple and a state around it. That is, they hoped to repeal the first factor, and therefore posed a real threat to Rome (and, therefore, a real problem for Josephus). But the former variety, who saw the other Temple as a permanent solution, did not need to stay near Jerusalem or to return to it- one can live anywhere if his Temple is heaven, the cosmos, the pure heart or the devout community or the like.

In summary, we shall offer a table summarizing — if only schematically and simplistically — the possibilities delineated-


The two side options, “should” and “should not,” represent the rejection and the acceptance of the first factor. The two top options, “is” and “is not,” represent the rejection and the acceptance of the second factor. Those listed in the right-hand column reflect, to a greater or lesser extent, the impact of the third factor, Hellenism.

* Hebrew original- Priesthood and Monarchy (Proceedings of the 1983 Convention of the Israel Historical Society; edd. I. Gafni and G. Motzkin; 1987), pp. 61–78.
1 Here and below, the translations from Ant. 20 are Feldman’s (LCL).

2 According to the other ancient source which mentions Theudas, Acts 5-36, Theudas thought himself to be “someone,” listed in the same breath as Judas the Galilean and Jesus of Nazareth.

3 We are not told in which direction Theudas hoped to cross the river. S. G. F. Brandon assumed that the crossing was eastward (Jesus and the Zealots [1967], pp. 100–101), but in light of the Roman fears, and of the Book of Joshua, westward seems more likely.

4 aphrosynē, as in Ant. 20.98 (above).

5 anthrōpos goēs — as goēs anēr in 20.97 and goētes in Ant. 20.167 (above). On its use of (false) prophets, see Feldman, pp. 440–441, n.b.

6 Such as the episode of the Samaritan prophet in the days of Pilate (Ant. 18.85–89) and two episodes which shall be discussed below- the death of John the Baptist (ibid. §§ 116–119) and the Essenes’ suffering during the war of 66 (BJ 2.152–153).

7 The exceptions are Ant. 20.167–168 and 20.185–187.

8 Similarly, in the Samaritan episode mentioned in n. 6 Josephus specifically says that the prophet’s followers were armed.

9 For the political implications of eleutheria, see T. Rajak, Josephus- The Historian and His Society (1983), pp. 139–140.

10 On the chronology of Josephus’ works, see, inter alia, Rajak, ibid., pp. 195, 237–238; P. Bilde, Flavius Josephus between Jerusalem and Rome- His Life, his Works, and their Importance (1988), pp. 79 (BJ) and 103–104 (Ant.). All we know of the dating of Vita is that, at least in its current form, it was completed after the Antiquities (see below, pp. 243–275). As for BJ 7, see S. Schwartz, HTR 79 (1986), pp. 373–386, where it is shown that BJ 7.437–453 must have been added in the nineties, for the governor of Lybia, whose death is described here so vividly, died no earlier than 93 C.E. (Indeed, Schwartz argues that this episode was in fact added no earlier than under Trajan [see esp. p. 383]; this additional precision is immaterial for us here.)

11 The modern recognition of this is largely due to the influence of M. Hengel’s Die Zeloten (1961; 19762; English edition, 1989). Cf. below, pp. 134–135.

12 See I. Gafni, in Josephus, the Bible, and History (edd. L. H. Feldman and G. Hata; 1989), pp. 116–131.

13 On this not entirely successful attempt, see my study in JSJ 14 (1983), pp. 157–171. On the Pharisees in Josephus, see also below, p. 265, n. 60.

14 See my study in Scripta Classica Israelica 7 (1983/84), pp. 30–52.

15 On his attempt to camouflage the logic and motives of the rebellious priests who stopped the loyalty sacrifices for Rome and thereby touched off the rebellion of 66, and on his denial of their legitimacy, see below, pp. 108–116.

16 One notes, for example, that the Temple was frequently the site of clashes with the Roman occupying force; see esp. BJ 1.58, also S. Safrai, Die Wallfahrt im Zeitalter des Zweiten Tempels (1981), pp. 204–206. On the national fervor awakened by mass pilgrimages, see also Philo, De specialibus legibus 1.69, and, in general, for the Temple as a focus of national sentiment, BJ 6.239 and 7.421. For invasions of Palestine being perceived as threats against the Temple, compare Damascus Document 1-3 with II Chronicles 36-16; see also Judith 4-2 and 9-8; I Maccabees 14-29, 31; II Maccabees 15-18; LXX Esther 4-17o (Rahlfs), etc. On “Zeal for the Temple,” see also Hengel (above, n. 11 [1976]), pp. 188–229. Finally, on the incidents which almost touched off rebellion in 39/40 C.E. and did so in 66, see below, n. 38.

17 This understanding of Josephus as a Diasporan Jew owes much to Abraham Schalit; see, for example, Zur Josephus-Forschung (ed. A. Schalit; 1973), p. viii. On his views and their development, see my essay in Jewish History 2/2 (Fall 1987), pp. 9–28.

18 Rajak (above, n. 9), p. 38, n. 77.

19 There are, of course, continuing debates; see, among the more recent pieces, N. Golb and M. O. Wise in Journal of Near Eastern Studies 49 (1990), pp. 103–114 and 202–4, respectively. It seems clear, however, that the similarity is so great, and the lack of any other candidates for identification with the Qumran sect is so clear, that the Essene identification should be accepted until something stronger than hitherto be adduced against it or in favor of another identification. Most of the arguments stem from discrepancies between Josephus’ account of the Essenes and what emerges from the Scrolls (so e.g., Wise, loc. cit.), but between what may reasonably be chalked up to change over time, to Josephus’ ignorance or — as in the present case — to his apologetic needs, little remains. Thus, for example, Golb’s major case is based on the contrast between the obvious fact that the Romans required military force to take the Qumran settlement, on the one hand, and Philo’s claim (Every Good Man is Free § 78) that the Essenes were pacifists. However, Josephus does not say the Essenes were pacifists, and BJ 2.125 and 139 (as well as § 567 and 3.11–12) contradict that notion; see T. S. Beall, Josephus’ Description of the Essenes Illustrated by the Dead Sea Scrolls (1988), pp. 67–68. Golb’s claim is largely based on the argumentum ex silentio (p. 108) that Josephus “nowhere indicates that groups of Essenes militarily resisted the Romans” to which Golb immediately adds, in misplaced trust, that “judging from his careful descriptions of the parts played by zealots, sicarii, and others in the revolt, he would obviously have noted [such resistance], either in his recounting of the war or his lengthy description of the Essenes, were it true.” The fact is that Josephus’ accounts of the Essenes give them such a positive valence that he had every reason in the world to hide their military resistance, if he knew of it. In any case, finally, the fact that a religious settlement was taken in battle, in the course of a general rebellion, need not tell us anything significant about its usual population and its attitude toward war and the rebellion. Witness the case of Jerusalem’s Old City in the 1948 war, in which the extremely Orthodox population, which was incapable of defending itself, and also somewhat constitutionally opposed to doing so, was taken over and defended — frequently against its own protests — by fighters sent in by groups of a radically different orientation. Similarly, Wise (p. 204) complains that Beall (p. 54), who cites evidence for Qumran use of a solar calendar as illustrating Josephus statement that the Essenes revere the sun (BJ 2.128), fails to cite other Qumran evidence, which indicates the use of a lunar calendar. For that evidence Wise refers to J. M. Baumgarten, Revue de Qumran 12 (1985–1987), pp. 399–407, and perhaps Beall should have too. But Wise fails to note Baumgarten’s argument and evidence that that lunar calendar belonged to the early baggage of Qumran, which was later replaced — by Josephus’ day — by the solar calendar.

20 On priests in Qumran, cf. above, pp. 19–20. As for the Josephan non-evidence, cf. below, pp. 61–62, n. 17.

21 On this topic see my essay in Archaeology and History in the Dead Sea Scrolls- The New York University Conference in Memory of Yigael Yadin (ed. L.H. Schiffman; 1990), esp. pp. 158–165, which, however, was unfortunately printed from uncorrected galleys. For Qumran criticism of the Jerusalem Temple and priesthood, see also G. Klinzing, Die Umdeutung des Kultus in der Qumrangemeinde und im Neuen Testament (1971), pp. 11–20, and J. M. Baumgarten, Studies in Qumran Law (1977), pp. 40–46.

22 Apart from the War Scroll, see esp. Pesher Nahum and the Manual of Discipline 9-21–23, along with D. Flusser, Zion 48 (1982/83), esp. pp. 165–168 (in Hebrew).

23 On the community as a functional replacement for the Temple in Qumran, see below, n. 25. As for my understanding of 4QFlorilegium, see Revue de Qumran 10 (1979–81), pp. 83–91. In general, on the notion of Qumran as a “Gegenstadt” in contrast to Jerusalem, cf. O. Betz’s discussion apropos of BJ 5.73 (antipolizontos) in Wort und Wirklichkeit- Studien zur Afrikanistik und Orientalistik, I (Festschrift E. L. Rapp; ed. B. Benzing et al; 1976), pp. 104–106 (reprinted in Betz’s Jesus — Der Messias Israels- Aufsätze zur biblischen Theologie [1987], pp. 33–35).

24 On John the Baptist and Qumran, see above, pp. 3, 24. On the text and authenticity of Josephus’ account of John, see E. Nodet, RB 92 (1985), esp. pp. 322–331. On the discrepancy between Josephus’ statement that Antipas feared John, and Josephus’ own account of John as a “good man” who preached virtue, justice and piety, see J. Gnilka, in Orientierung an Jesus- Zur Theologie der Syoptiker, Für Josef Schmid (ed. P. Hoffmann et al.; 1973), p. 90.

25 See Klinzing (above, n. 21), also B. Gärtner, The Temple and the Community in Qumran and the New Testament (1965), and H. Lichtenberger, in Approaches to Ancient Judaism, II (ed. W. S. Green; 1980), pp. 159–171. I refrain from saying more simply that the Qumran community considered itself a Temple because I know of no source which does so explicitly (see Revue de Qumran 10 [1979], pp. 83–91, 435–446), and the avoidance may have been important to them, just as Jews traditionally term their houses of worship “synagogues” and not “temples.” Functionally, however, synagogues may well satisfy the same needs the Temple did, and the Qumran community did substitute for the Temple.

26 For the most recent and most thorough examination of all the data, see A. Kasher, Jews, Idumaeans, and Ancient Arabs . . . (1988), ch. 3. However, I would agree with C. Hoffmann (Historische Zeitschrift 251 [1990], pp. 117–118) that Kasher’s well-meaning attempt (in the wake of some predecessors) to deny the coercive nature of these conversions fails to convince. As for the motivation of these measures, I see no reason to complicate the matter by assuming that they resulted from a desire specifically to purify the Land (as assumed recently by E. Will and C. Orrieux, Ioudaïsmos-Hellènismos- Essai sur le judaïsme judéen à l’époque hellénistique [1986], pp. 191–193, 196, 211) rather than simply by a desire to establish jurisdiction.

27 I have collected these sources in my dissertation, “Priesthood, Temple, Sacrifice- Opposition and Spiritualization in the Late Second Temple Period” (Hebrew University, 1979), pp. 14–25 (formal complaints), 26–35 (morality). Numerous references are also assembled by M.D. Herr in Zion 44 (1978/79 = Yitzhak F. Baer Memorial Volume; 1980), pp. 49–50 (in Hebrew).

28 So among the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Oniads (of Leontopolis); see above, n. 21. In JSJ 14 (1983), pp. 161–162, I ventured the speculation that Josephus, in writing Ant. 13.171–173, eliminated his source’s reference to such criticism.

29 On the latter, see esp. S. Talmon, in Aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Scripta Hierosolymitana 4, edd. C. Rabin and Y. Yadin; 1958), pp. 162–199 (somewhat revised in his The World of Qumran from Within- Collected Studies [1989], pp. 147–185). Cf. above, end of n. 19.

30 See, inter alia, Damascus Document 4-6–8; Psalms of Solomon 8-17; Testament of Levi 14-3 and 17-1; Pesher Habakkuk 8-8–11; 9-4–6; 12-7–10; Testament of Moses 5–7; Ant. 20.181, 199–201; m.Shekalim 1-4; m.Ketubbot 1-2; Tos.Menahot 13-18–20; BT Pesachim 57a (on the “shrieks” recorded here, see JQR 72 [1981/82], pp. 262–268).

31 The major attempt is, of course, M. Hengel’s Judentum und Hellenismus- Studien zu ihrer Begegnung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung Palästinas bis zur Mitte des 2. Jh. v. Chr. (1969, 19883; English version, 1974). Later, however, Hengel moved into later periods, where one can trace Hellenism much more securely; see his Juden, Griechen und Barbaren- Aspekte der Hellenisierung des Judentums in vorchristlicher Zeit (1976) and, most recently, his The ‘Hellenization’ of Judaea in the First Century after Christ (1989). For references to some critiques of Judentum und Hellenismus, which focused mostly on the propriety of inferences from the Jewish Diaspora, from non-Jewish Palestine and from later periods, see my review of Hengel’s 1976 volume- IEJ 35 (1985), pp. 206–207; add A. Momigliano, JTS 21 (1970), pp. 149–153 (and JTS 27 [1976], pp. 168–169). On Hellenism in Palestine in the pre-Hasmonean period, see also M. Stern’s essay in Acculturation and Assimilation- Continuity and Change in the Cultures of Israel and the Nations (edd. Y. Kaplan and M. Stern; 1989), pp. 41–60 (in Hebrew). The final chapter of Will-Orrieux (above, n. 26- pp. 177–224) is dedicated to the Hellenization of the Hasmonean state; so too a soon-to-be-published Hebrew paper presented by U. Rappaport at the 1989 Haifa/Tel-Aviv conference on “The Hasmonean State.”

32 So, for example, I Kings 8-27 and Isaiah 66-1. But divine transcendence need not lead to criticism of the Temple; on the natural passage in Psalm 24 from “the earth is the Lord’s in all in its fulness,” on the one hand, to “the mountain of the Lord” and “His holy place,” on the other, see R.J.Z. Werblowsky’s comments in Das Land Israel in biblischer Zeit (ed. G. Strecker; 1981), p. 1.
33 For Philonic spiritualization of the Temple, see, inter alia, V. Nikiprowetzky, Semitica 17 (1967), pp. 97–116. As for Paul, out of the immense literature we may cite R. J. McKelvey, The New Temple- The Church in the New Testament (1968), pp. 92–124, and, especially, J. Coppens, in Studia Evangelica 6 (ed. E. A. Livingstone; 1973), pp. 53–66, who underlines the Hellenistic and Philonic (rather than Qumran) affinities. (In general, on Paul and Philo, see also H. Chadwick, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, Manchester 48 [1965/66], pp. 286—307, and several of the studies in P. Borgen, Philo, John and Paul- New Perspectives on Judaism and Early Christianity [1987].) On spiritualization of the Temple in John and its specifically Hellenistic background, see O. Cullmann in Jesus und Paulus- Festschrift für Werner Georg Kümmel zum 70. Geburtstag (edd. E. E. Ellis and E. Grässer; 1975), pp. 44–56. Cullmann links the Johannine view to the anti-territorial view expressed by Stephen the “Hellenist,” according to Acts 7; for that view, see also below, p. 120, n. 23. As for the Epistle to the Hebrews, see McKelvey, pp. 147–154. That epistle’s Hellenistic background, specifically with regard to the heavenly temple, is examined ibid., pp. 205–206; see also H. W. Attridge, JBL 98 (1979), pp. 90–93 (esp. p. 90, n. 1), and idem, The Epistle to the Hebrews (ed. H. Koester; 1989), pp. 20–21. Ibid., p. 29, however, Attridge shows just how difficult it is to choose between a Qumran and a Hellenistic background for it. That is our point.

34 On Hellenistic impact upon Qumran, see, inter alia, Hengel (above, n. 31 [1974], pp. 228–247); idem, in Qumrân- Sa piété, sa théologie et son milieu (ed. M. Delcor; 1978), pp. 333–372; D. Mendels, HTR 72 (1979), pp. 207–222; and Will-Orrieux (above, n. 26), pp. 203–206, where it is similarly traced to the fact that the sect “respirait l’air du monde.” Hengel and Mendels cite additional bibliography.

35 On this connection, see also my study in Mémorial Jean Carmignac (Revue de Qumran 13; edd. F. García Martínez and E. Puech; 1988), pp. 635–646.

36 See for example, O. Cullmann, The State in the New Testament (1957), pp. 9–10- “. . . these Sadducee collaborationists had no genuinely religious, theological program, but only a political one . . .” In our understanding, on the contrary, the Sadducees settled for religion without state.

37 See below, p. 114.

38 Although Josephus states (BJ 2.266; Ant. 20.173) the Jewish claim that Caesarea was a Jewish city was based upon the fact that it had been built by a Jewish king, Herod, this is at best a legal fig-leaf suitable for use when arguing before Romans. Jews of the type willing to riot over such questions were not the type to view a vassal of Rome, descended from Idumaeans, as a Jewish king. (For doubts as to the Jewishness of the Herodians, see Agrippa I, pp. 124–125, 219–222.) Rather, the real logic of the Caesarean riots (ibid. §§ 173–178; BJ 2.266–270, 457 ff.) was the same as that of the Jewish destruction of an altar to Gaius in Jamnia in 39 C.E. (Agrippa I, p. 82)- a Jewish demand that the coastal city be considered part of the Jewish state (“holy land” — Philo, Leg. 202), governed by the sovereign of Jerusalem, was countered by a Roman insistence that there was no such state, and that Jerusalem would be Romanized if Jews continued to demand that a Jewish Jerusalem have such a Jewish state around it. For detailed studies of the struggle in Caesarea, see A. Kasher, The Jews in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt (1985), pp. 289–297, and L. I. Levine, JJS 25 (1974), pp. 381–397. In the nature of things, the context of Kasher’s study led him away from the specifically Palestinian nature of the struggle (p. 296- “the Jews of Caesarea were more importunate in their political demands than those of any other [!] city in the Diaspora”). See rather Levine, p. 392- “The assertion that the city was theirs . . . was another form of the claim concerning the ownership of Palestinian territory first made by Simon the Hasmonean centuries before” — referring to I Maccabees 15-33–34. (However, I doubt that one must infer, with Levine [p. 396], from the fact that the Jews of Caesarea pushed their case through the imperial courts, that they did not want to rebel against Rome. It would not have been the last time Palestinian rebels attempted to use the occupying power’s legal system to their own advantage.) What happened with the destruction of the Temple was the assertion of Caesarea in Jerusalem as well; cf. Betz (above, n. 23).

39 Especially of the right-wing variety; cf. above, pp. 19–20.

40 To reiterate- this adjective applies to culture, not geography. Cf. above, n. 31.

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