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I. His age, work, and character. II. Eactracts from his work ; showing his history of the Jewish war with the Romans, and the destruction of Jerusalem. III. Concluding remarks.
I. WE are now coming to an author of a very extraordinary, or even a singular, character, writer of The Jewish History in six books, who styles himself Josippon, or Joseph Ben Gorion. He had a very high opinion of himself, and has now been for some while in great reputation with the learned men of the Jewish nation. At the beginning of the thirty-sixth chapter, which is the first chapter of the fifth book, he writes: ‘So " says Joseph Ben Gorion the priest, who has written the things which have happened to Israel, and his calamities, to be a memorial and instruction to his posterity—From this day, and henceforward, this book is to be a testimony to other writers who shall come after me, and attempt to write of the same things, and shall allege proofs of what they write. For they will say: “So and so has recorded Joseph the priest, who is the prince of all writers, who have published books among the people of Israel, excepting only the writers of the four and twenty sacred books.”” And indeed so it has happened. For Rabbi Tham, who published this work in the Hebrew original at Constantinople in the year 1510, and made another edition of it at Ve
* Josippon, sive Josephi Ben Gorionis Historiae Judaicae libri sex. Ex Hebræo vertit, Praefatione et Notis illustravit Joannes Gagnier. A. M. Oxon. 1706, 4to. * Sic ait Joseph Ben Gorion Sacerdos, qui rerum historiam texuit, quae contigerunt Israéli, et calamitatem ejus, ut sit memoria earum in documentum, et eruditionem posteris ejus.
Hic autem liber ab hac die, et deinceps futurus est in testimonium caeteris scriptoribus, qui post me venturi sunt, et aggredientur scribere, et testimonia allegare. Dicent enim: ‘Sic et sic memoriae prodidit Joseph Sacerdos, quiest princeps scriptorum omnium, qui libros ediderunt, quotauot reperti sunt in Israel, exceptis quidem Scriptoribus quatuor et viginti librorum sanctorum.' lib. 5. c. 36. p. 170.
nice in 1544, says of it in his preface : * Although * this book * resembles other books in soime respects, it is very different * from them in others. The great difference between books * consists in their truth or their falsehood. The words of * this book are all justice and truth, nor is there any thing * perverse in it. The evidence of it is this, that it approach* éth nearer to prophecy than any other book written since the * sacred scriptures: for it was written before the Mishna and * the Talmud. Upon that mam was the hand of the Lord * when he wrote this book. And it may be said that his * words are well-nigh equal to the words of a man of God.' This work is not so ancient as the author and his admirers pretend, as will be shown presently. But from the time that he has begum to be taken notice of, as Mr. Gagnier observes in the preface to his edition of this work, * All " Jew* ish writers, whether commentators, or historians, or philo* logers, continually allege it, and quote authorities and testi* monies from it, as an authentic and fundamental book.—As * for the Greek Josephus, they have little regard for him, or * rather none at all ; but declaim against him as a lying his* toriam, full of falsehoods and flatteries. But their Josip* pon they extol and magnify as true and almost divine.' But christiam critics, of the best credit, have argued that the work is the production of a late age. They show this from the work itself; in which, as * Joseph Scaliger has
° Quamvis autem hic liber cum cæteris libris in genere conveniat, tamen ratione argumenti plurimum ab eis differt. Differentia autem illa præcipue consistit in veritate aut in falsitate. Porro hujus libri verba omnia sunt justitia et veritas ; neque perversitas ulla invenitur in eo. Cujus quidem rei signum est, quod propius accedat ad prophetiam, quam cæteri omnes libri, qui post scripturas sacras editi sunt. Siquidem ante Misnam et Talmud scriptus fuit. Adde quod super virum illum fuit manus Jehovæ, dum hunc librum componeret : et parum abest, quin ejus verba sint verba viri Dei. Præf. R. Tham. De Scopo Libri. * Deinde omnes, qui secuti sunt, Judæi scriptores, sive commentatores, sive historici, sive philologi, ubique eum allegant, et tanquam ex libro fundamentali atque authentico testimonia et auctoritates depromunt Nam quod ad Josephum Græcum adtinet, illum non in magno solent habere pretio, imo ei nullam habent fidem, et, tanquam in historicum mendacem et adulatorum, adversus illum acriter invehuntur. Suum vero Josippon quasi hominem veracem et pene divinum summis laudibus ad sidera evehunt, extollunt, et prædicant, &c. Gagnier, in Præf. p. xxix. * De Josepho Gorionide satis est, si ostendero cujas fuit, quando vixit, cujusmodi scriptor est. Gallum Judæum fuisse ex agro Turononsi non difficile est colligere, ut qui plus de illis quam de aliis Galliæ tractibus agat. Recentem admodum fuisse arguunt verba locorum recentia, quibus utitür, Tours, Amboise, Chinon. Quæ loca post DC annos a natali Christi adhuc Turones, Ambasia, Kainon vocabantur. ' Quare cum Munsterus videret eum Francorum et Gothorum mentionem facere, et Francos interfuisse exsequiis Herodis, quos ITaXarac Josephus vocârit, ex eo solo potuit odorari hunc scriptorum recentis
observed, people and countries are called by modern names, not in use till more than six hundred years after our Saviour's nativity. And he supposeth him to be a Jew that lived in France. He therefore considers him as an impostor. Fabricius' has argued in the like manner. He supposeth him to have been a Jew who lived in Bretagne in France, in the ninth or tenth century. The many modern names of people and countries made use of by him plainly declare his late age. His Hebrew history is translated, or more properly extracted, from the Greek of Josephus, or rather from a Latin translation of him : taking from him what he likes, omitting some things, and adding others. To the like purpose Gagnier, in his preface, already cited more than once. Who also says that “Rabbi & Saadias Gaon, “who wrote his commentary upon the book of Daniel in the • year of Christ 936, is the first author who has mentioned ‘Josippon Ben Gorion. He does not expressly name his “work, though probably he refers to it.” Gagnier adds: “The "first writer, who has expressly mentioned this work ‘with the name of Josippon Ben Gorion, and quoted au“ thorities from it, is Rabbi Solomon Jarchi, who flourished • about the year of Christ 1140.” I refer likewise to Ittigius, and Basnage, who in * his History of the Jews, has a long article concerning this writer and his work. He says Josippon lived in the tenth or eleventh century: which he argues after this manner: “So“lomon Jarchi, who wrote in the year 1140, is the first who
‘has quoted this Hebrew Joseph. Abraham Ezra, and
simum esse, ac proinde planum, qui nomen Josephi Historici sibi vindicarit. Jo. Scalig. in Elencho Trihaer. Vid. Gagnier, Praef. p. xlviii. * Caeterum eruditis hodie plerisque dubium non est, Josephum huncce Hebraicum ex Graeco, vel potius ex Latinâ Josephi versione, esse expressum, vel excerptum potius: nec Josephum ipsum auctorem, Sed longe recentiorem aliquem, qui in Britanniä Galliæ Armorica non ante monum vel decimum seculum vixit, et pro lubitu digessit, addidit, interpolavit, omisit quaecundue ipsi videbantur addenda esse vel omittenda Ita recentiora longe Josepho tempora arguit, quod memorat Francos, et Burgundiae populum, et Daniscos, ac Danemanam, et Anglicam gentem, et quae in Irlandiá sive Hiberniä. Fab. Bib. Gr. lib. 4. c. 6. T. 3. p. 249. et apud Havercamp. Joseph. T. 2. p. 68. & R. Saadias Gaon, qui scribebat circa annum 696, min. Suppul. Chris. 936, in suo commentario in Danielem primus omnium Josephi Ben Gorionis meminit—Gagn. Pr. p. xxvii. * R. Salomo Jarchi, qui florebat circa annum Christi 1140, primus est, qui diserte citat hunc librum sub nomine Josippon, vel Josephi Ben Gorionis, et auctoritates ex eo adducit, quarum loca habes infra in Testimoniis. Gagn. ib. p. xxviii. * Ittigii Prolegom. ap. Joseph. Havercamp. Tom. 2. p. 87. * Basnag. Hist, des Juifs, liv. 7. ch. vi. p. 1539. 1570. ! Ib. sect. xxv. p. 1564.
“Abraham Ben Dion, who by their quotations gave the work * credit, lived in the same age. It would be very strange “ that a work should be unknown for three or four hundred ‘years to the nation for whose sake it was composed. But * if it was written near the end of the tenth, or the begin‘ning of the eleventh, century, it is not at all strange that ‘it did not begin to be taken notice of till some while * after.” I say nothing more in the way of introduction. I shall now make such extracts out of this work, as may be sufficient to show the writer's character, and his testimony to the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem by Vespasian and Titus. I have placed him in the tenth century, not very far from the beginning of it, in the year of Christ 930. II. The work is divided into six books and ninety-seven chapters. The sixth and last of which books.consists of five and fifty chapters. The forty-third chapter, which is the first of the sixth book, begins in this manner. ‘Thus * says Joseph Ben Gorion the priest, the same who is also called Josippon—This is the book which I have entitled, The Wars of Jehovah, because it contains the history of the calamities of the house of our sanctuary, and of our land and our glory.” My readers cannot but remember that our Greek" Josephus, when he gives an account of the determination of the Jewish people to go to war with the Romans, informs us that they appointed Joseph Gorion and Ananus the high priest, to preside at Jerusalem. Others were sent as generals into several parts of the country; and himself, Joseph son of Matthias, was appointed governor of the two Galilees, together with the praefecture of Gamala annexed to them. Our author's account of the same determination is to this purpose: ‘The " Jews, out of their generals which were at
" Sic dicit Joseph Ben Gorion sacerdos. Ipse est Josippon, nomine quidem diminutivo Josippon Hic estliber ille, quem appellavititulo, Bella Jehovae, eo quod continet historiam calamitatum desolationis domiis Sanctuarii nostri, et terrae nostrae, et gloriae nostrae. Lib. 6. c. 43. p. 189. * D. B. J. l. 2. cap. 20.
* Quae omnia cum audissent Judaei, elegerunt educibus, quierant in Judā et Jerusalem, tres principes fortissimos bello, me Scilicet, Joseph Sacerdotem fortissimum bello cum auxilio Jehovae, et Anani Sacerdotem et Eleazar Sacerdotem filium ejus ; et praefecerunt illos super terram, et partiti sunt terram Judae inter illos per sortem, dederuntdue illis praesidio manum Judæorum ad bellum gerendum. Et obtigit tertia pars terræ per primam sortem, Scilicet, omnis terra Galileae a terrá Nephtali, et deinceps, Josepho filio Gorionis sacerdoti, in honorem et gloriam. Et appellaverunt illum Josippon in titulum dignitatis et laudis; quia tuncunctus fuit unctione militari. Deinde sors
Jerusalem, chose three princes valiant for war; me, Joseph the priest, valiant for war with the help of Jehovah, and Ananus the priest, and Eleazar his son, priests also, and by lot they divided to them the several parts of the country in which they should carry on the war. The third part, which was the first lot, containing the land of Galilee and Napthali, came out to Joseph Ben Gorion the priest; and they called him Josippon by way of praise and honour: forasmuch as he was then anointed with the military ointment for the war. The second lot came out to Ananus the high priest, to govern at Jerusalem and the adjoining country. The third lot came out to Eleazar, son of Ananus, and what follows.” This should be compared with what is written by P Josebus. p Thus he adopts the appellation of Joseph son of Gorion," but personates Joseph son of Matthias; and like him he is appointed governor of Galilee : and all along he will be Josephus in the main, and another person when he pleaseth. He will also transcribe the Greek Josephus, and copy a large part of his History of the Jewish War without taking any notice of him. If he differs from him, and adds to him, it is not taken out of any other writers better informed, but from his own invention only. Being come into Galilee, he there orders things very agreeably to what we have formerly seen in our Greek Josephus. At length he flies from Vespasian and Titus and the Roman army, and shuts himself up in Jotapata. Vespasian * with his army comes before Jotapata. The city is taken after a siege of eight-and-forty days. Joseph" him
secunda exit pro Anano sacerdote magno, Jerusalem Scilicet, et Omnia circum vicina loca.-Sors denique tertia egressa est Eleazaro filio Anani, &c. Josipp. c. 67. p. 293. P De B. Jud. lib. 2. c. 20. Sect. 1–3. * Gagnier, in his notes upon this place, p. 293, assigns some reasons why this writer chose to be thought the son of Gorion, rather than the son of Matthias. Curautem hic noster Gorionis filius quam Matthiae esse voluerit, ratio videtur fuisse, quod cum nomen Gorionis cujusdam insignis viri mentio aliquando in Talmude occurrat, atque etiam Nicodemi filii Gorionis, in eam familiam ipsi se adoptare visum est, ut proderet in lucem gratior contribulibus suis, eisque facilius imponeret. Vid. reliqua ibid. Et conf not. P, ap. Jos. Havercamp. p. 207. * At vero ut audivit Josephus, quod venit Vespasianus, et cum eo filius ejus Titus, omnisque exercitus ejus, ut proclium committeret, fugit Josephus a facie eorum in Jotapatam, urbem magnam, quae est in Galilaea; et inclusit se Josephus et omnis exercitus intra illam. c. 68, p. 299. * Cap. 69. p. 300. et cap. 70. p. 301, &c. * Cap. 71. p. 307. " Tunc surrexit Josephus ipse, et quadraginta viri ex militibus, qui residui erant cum illo, et egressi sunt ex urbe, fugeruntdue in sylvam, ubi inventà cavernå illuc intraverunt, delitueruntdue omnes in illā caverná, &c. Cap. 71. p. 307.