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The Autobiography of Josephus and the Hypothesis of a Second Edition of his Antiquities1

  • David A. Barish (a1)

Josephus dates the publication of his Jewish Antiquities to the 13th year of Domitian's reign and the 56th year of his own life (93/94 C.E.). Because the Autobiography evidently forms an appendix to the Antiquities (see below), many scholars in the 19th and early 20th centuries dated it along with or soon after the Antiquities' publication. A problem with this supposition, however, is that the Autobiography assumes the death of Agrippa II, while the 9th-century ecclesiast Photius apparently places his death in the 3rd year of Trajan (100 C.E.). Thus, with the conflict of testimony, other scholars dated the Autobiography after 100 C.E.

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2 Ant. 20.267.

3 Wachsmuth, C., Einleitung in das Studium der alien Geschichte (Leipzig: Hirzel, 1895) 448; Luther, H., Josephus und Justus von Tiberias (Universitat Halle-Wittenberg: Wischan und Burkhardt, 1910) 63; Vincent, H., “Chronologie des oeuvres de Josèphe,” RB 8 (1911) 382; Niese, B., “Josephus,” Encycl of Religion and Ethics, ed. Hastings, J. (New York: 1920) 7.575.

4 Auto. 359–60.

5 Bibliotheca, cod. 33, PG 103 (1900) 65–66.

6 Clementz, H., Des Flavius Josephus kleinere Schriften (Halle: Hendel, 1900) 6; Schürer, E., Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi (3rd-4th ed.; Leipzig: 1901) 1.88; Krauss, S., “Josephus, Flavius,” The Jewish Encyclopedia (New York: 1904) 7.278.

7 G. Hölscher, “Josephus,” PW 9. 1941–42.

8 Motzo, B., Saggi di storia e letteratura giudeo-ellenislica (Florence: Monnier, 1924) 214–24; A. Momigliano, in CAH 10.886; Misch, G., A History of Autobiography in Antiquity (London: Routledge and Paul, 1950) 1.316.

9 Schalit, A., “Josephus und Justus,” Klio 26 (1933) 6795.

10 Laqueur, R., Der jüdische Historiker Flavius Josephus: Ein biographischer Versuch auf neuer quellenkritischer Grundlage (Giessen: Münchow, 1920; reprinted, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1972) 1–6; though Laqueur is considered by most to be the author of the “second edition” theory, H. S. J. Thackeray (“Josephus,” A Dictionary of the Bible, Extra Vol., ed. J. Hastings [New York, 1904] 466) stated the kernel of the theory well before Laqueur: “The probability is that the autobiography was an afterthought, which was appended to later copies of the Antiquities, in which the sentence containing the promise of the Life (Ant. 20.266) was then inserted for the first time” (emphasis added).

11 Haefeli, L., Flavius Josephus' Lebensbeschreibung (Münster: Aschendorff, 1925) 18; Thackeray, H. S. J., Josephus: The Man and the Historian (New York: Jewish Institute of Religion, 1929; reprinted, New York: Ktav, 1968) 16–19, with slight modifications; Gutmann, J., “Josephus Flavius,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (Berlin, 1932) 9.416; M. Gelzer, “Die Vita des Josephus,” Hermes 80 (1952) 67–90; Pelletier, A., Flavius Josèphe: Autobiographie (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1959) xiii-xiv; Schaller, B., “Iosephos,” Der Kleine Pauly: Lexikon der Antike, eds. Ziegler, K. and Sontheimer, W. (Stuttgart: Druckenmuller, 1967) 2.1442.

12 Thackeray, Josephus, 16–19; few supporting Laqueur's theory have given due recognition to Thackeray's modifications; however, see Pelletier, Flavius Josèphe, xiii-xiv.

13 Schalit, A., “When did Josephus write his Autobiography?” (Hebrew) Zion 5 (1933) 174–87; Frankfort, T., “La date de l'autobiographie de Flavius Josèphe et des oeuvres de Justus de Tibèriade,” Revue Beige de Philologie et d'Histoire 39 (1961) 5658; Stern, M., The Jewish People in the First Century, eds. Safrai, et al. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974) 1.21, n. 2, and 304, n. 4; B.-Z. Wacholder, Eupolemos: A Study of Judaeo-Greek Literature (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College, 1974) 302; S. Cohen, “Josephus in Galilee and Rome: His Vita and Development as a Historian,” (Diss., Columbia Univ.; New York, 1975) 307–22, who also emphasizes the methodological weaknesses of Laqueur's theory.

14 E. Schürer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age ofJesus Christ (175 B.C.–A.D. 135), a new English version rev. and ed. by Vermes, G. and Millar, F. (Edinburgh: Clark, 1973) 1.53–54, 481–83: In the Introduction (pp. 53–54), after a positive discussion of Laqueur's theory, arguments are given for dating the Autobiography's publication close to that of the Antiquities. Apparently notfindingeither side convincing, the editors conclude that “it remains … uncertain when the Life was issued” (p. 54). Yet, in a later Excursus (pp. 481–83), the editors decide that the evidence of Photius for dating Agrippa's death must be rejected. Thus, they accept the possibility of Laqueur's theory solely on the basis of the apparent existence of two conclusions. In addition to the authors mentioned in n. 11, Schreckenberg, H. (Die Flavius-Josephus-Tradition in Antike und Mittelalter [Leiden: Brill, 1972] 175–76) accepts that the “apparent” existence of two conclusions indicates a second edition of the Antiquities.

15 Ant. 20.259, 266, 267. There are also six references in the latter part of the Antiquities which refer the reader to later topical discussions of certain subjects (Ant. 17.28; 19.366; 20.53, 96, 144, 147). Peterson, H. (“Real and Alleged Literary Projects of Josephus,” American Journal of Philology 79 [1958] 273–74) postulates that since two of these references are to events which occur after 69 C.E., beyond the historical period covered by the Antiquities, Josephus must have planned already at that time to treat these subjects in his Autobiography. That he did not do so, indicates only that he altered his original proposal for the work. However, Peterson does not consider sufficiently that Josephus could have been referring to a proposed work other than the Autobiography or could have intended to deal with these subjects later in the Antiquities. Indeed, the language of the references indicates the latter, since Ant. 20.53 and 144 end with juera μετὰ τατα δηλώσoμεν/δηλώσω (“We/I shall describe later”) and Ant. 20.96 and 147 with vaὕστερoν ἀπαγγελoμεν (“We shall report later”). Mετὰ τατα and ὕστερoν do not usually refer to other works, but rather, have a more immediate connotation. It is possible that Josephus originally intended to deal with these subjects in the last book of the Antiquities, but, under the strain of completion, failed to do so. Nevertheless, there is not sufficient evidence from these references to determine when Josephus first proposed to write the Autobiography.

16 Peterson (“Projects of Josephus,” 262, n. 11) reaches this conclusion because different titles are given to the Autobiography in the manuscripts. We may cite as well the evidence which shows the Autobiography to be an appendix to the Antiquities (see below, Section II); most significant is that Eusebius seems to know it only as a part of the Antiquities, not as a separate work with its own title. Certainly Josephus never refers to it by name.

17 Ant. 1.203; 13.72,298,433; 18.11; 20.258; Auto. 27, 412; on the title of the War in the manuscripts and tradition, see Thackeray, Josephus, 29–31; Michel, O. and Bauernfeind, O., Flavius Josephus: De Bello Judaico, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1960) 1. xix-xx.

18 Ant. 20.259, 267; Auto. 430; Ag. Ap. 1.1, 2, 54, 127; 2.136, 287.

19 The material pertaining to the war covers most of the book: Auto. 28–413.

20 Auto. 1–27, 414–30.

21 Feldman (LCL 9. 525) translates: “Here will be the end of my Antiquities, following which begins my account of the war.” He assigns the literal translation to a footnote.

22 Ibid., 525, n. d; Thackeray, Josephus, 72.

23 Thackeray, “Josephus,” 466; Niese, “Josephus,” 575; Laqueur, Flavius Josephus, 1–2; Feldman, LCL 9. 529, n. b.

24 Auto. 430.

25 Feldman (LCL 9. 529–31) translates: “With this I shall conclude my. Antiquities. … God willing, I shall at some future time compose a running account of the war and of the later events of our history up to the present day. …”

26 Gutschmid, A. v., Kleine Schriften (Leipzig: Teubner, 1893) 4.373–74; Niese, “Josephus,” 576; cf. also n. 15 above.

27 Peterson, “Projects of Josephus,” 259–61.

28 Feldman, LCL 9. 530–31, n. b; for other scholars who also reject the identification, see: Niese, B., “Der jüdische Historiker Josephus,” Historische Zeitschrift 76 (1896) 229; Unger, G. F., “Zu Josephus: V, Das verlorene Geschichtswerk des Josephus,” Sitzungsberichte Akad. München, vol. 2 (Munich, 1897) 226–67; Schürer, Geschichte, 1.88; Thackeray, Josephus, 34, 72–73.

29 LSJ, s.v.; Thackeray (Josephus, 72) translates as “a summary description of the war”; and the English Schürer (A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ [Edinburgh: Clark, 1885–91] 1.91) translates: “I will briefly run over this war again.”

30 LSJ, s.v.

31 The Interpretation of Biblical History in the Antiquitates Judaicae of Flavius Josephus (HDR 7; Missoula, Mont.; Scholars Press, 1976) 29–70.

32 Ibid., 58, n. 4.

33 See below.

34 Feldman (LCL 9. 529, n. b.) is incorrect to say that Schürer rejects any connection between the Antiquities and the Autobiography. He actually accepts the Autobiography as an appendix, but rejects that the work is referred to in Ant. 20.267; cf. Schürer, Geschichte, 1.87.

35 Cf. Schürer, Geschichte, 1.87–88; Thackeray, “Josephus,” 466.

36 Auto. 430.

37 Auto. 361–64.

38 Hist. eccl. 3.10.8–11.

39 B. Niese, Flavii Josephi Opera (Berlin: Weidmann, 1887) l.v; cf. H. Schreckenberg, Flavius-Josephus-Tradition, 10–12; the postscripts in the manuscripts at the end of the Autobiography also recognize that the book concludes the Antiquities; cf. Niese, Opera, 4.389; the Ancient Table of Contents makes the same identification; the fact that no Latin translation of the Autobiography exists does not present a problem since the Latin translation of the Antiquities is at the earliest a 4th century endeavor. The continuity of the transmission of both works is established for the earlier period by Josephus and Eusebius.

40 Laqueur (Flavius Josephus, 57–96), observing certain repetitions of thought and phraeseology both in the War and the Autobiography, claimed these doublets were the result of interpolation. Thackeray (LCL 4. 423, n. d) observed a similar doublet in reference to Moses (Ant. 3.212, 222) and maintained that “the text has been worked over without being thoroughly revised.” Attridge (Interpretation in Josephus, 52, n. 2), citing apparent repetitions in the Antiquities' Prologue (1.1–27), speculates as well on the existence of a second edition. However, such repetition need not be the result of a revised edition if such repetition is merely a stylistic, tendency of Josephus. Indeed, in a work the size of the Antiquities repetition is to be expected. One must admit that the general looseness of the work weakens the argument for a second edition based on these doublets; cf. the general criticism of Schreckenberg, Flavius-Josephus-Tradition, 176. The allusiveness of Josephus' work may also be seen in the unverifiable references of books 12–13 and those in the latter part of the Antiquities (cf. above n. 15). In addition, Josephus describes the Jewish Schools of thought twice in the Antiquities (13.171 -73 and 18.11–22), while referring back in both cases to his account in the J. W. (2.119–66).

41 Auto. 430: ἐνταθα καταπαύω τὸν λόγoν.

42 'Eνταθα καταπαύω τὸν λόγoν (Auto. 430) parallels ἐπὶ τoύτoις δὲ καταπαύαω τὴν ἀρχαιoλoγίαν (Ant. 20.267). It is also probable that ἐπὶ τoύτoις of the Ant. has influenced the phrase ἐπὶ τoπαρóντoς in the Auto.

43 For excellent summary discussions of this information, see: Frankfort, “La date,”52–58; idem, “Le royaume d'Agrippa II et son annexion par Domitien,” Hommages à A. Grenier, ed. M. Renard (Brussels: Latomus, 1962) 2.659–72; Schürer, History (New English edition) 1.473, n. 8, and 480–83; E. M. Smallwood, The Jews under Roman Rule: From Pompey to Diocletian (Leiden: Brill, 1976) 572–74.

44 Cf. above, n. 4.

45 For this translation of ἐν τoς στέμμασιν, see Schürer, History (1885–91) 1.69.

46 This has been shown by Vincent (“Chronologie,”379, n. 4) because of the parallel uses of the present and aorist tenses: ἄρχεται (P.)…; παρέλαβε (A.)…; ηὐξήθη (A.)…; τελευτῦ (P.). …

47 H. Graetz, MGWJ 26 (1877) 338–39; cf. Schürer, Geschichle, 1.88; compare Vincent, “Chronologie,” 379.

48 Histoire des Empereurs (2nd ed.; Paris: Robustel, 1700) 646–48; compare Luther, Josephus und Justus, 64, n. 2.

49 Wacholder, Eupolemus, 302.

50 Schürer, History (New English edition) 1.481, n. 47.

51 De viris illustribus, ch. 15 in PL 23 (1883) 663–66; the revised Schürer should be corrected from cols. 631–34.

52 Published by H. C. Reichardt, The Numismatic Chronicle, n.s., vol. 2.275–76, as cited by F. W. Madden, History of Jewish Coinage and of Money in the Old and New Testament, repr. with Prolegomenon by M. Avi-Yonah (New York: Ktav 1967) 133.

53 Madden (Coins of the Jews [London: Trübner, 1881] 140–45, 168–69) postulates four eras, while others maintain the existence of two, either 49/50 and 61 C.E. or 56 and 61 C.E. On the question of Agrippa's eras, see: G. MacDonald, Catalogue of Greek Coins in the Hunterian Collection (Glasgow: Maclehose, 1905) 3.290–91; G. F. Hill, Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Palestine (London, 1914; reprinted, Bologna: Forni, 1965) xcviii-xcix; A. Reifenberg, Ancient Jewish Coins (2nd ed.; Jerusalem: Mass, 1947) 25–27, 49–54.

54 Most scholars, including the present writer, now follow the eras established by H. Seyrig, “Les ères d'Agrippa II,” Revue Numismatique 6 (1964) 55–65; cf. Madden and Avi-Yonah, Jewish Coinage, xxxiii; Y. Meshorer, Jewish Coins of the Second Temple Period (Tel Aviv: Am Hassefer, 1967) 81; Schürer, History (New English edition) 1.471 n. 1, and 473 n. 8; M. Stern, in The World History of the Jewish People: The Herodian Period (Jerusalem: Massada, 1975) 360 n. 110; Smallwood, Jews under Roman Rule, 573. However, Frankfort, (“La date,” 55–56) following MacDonald (Catalogue, 53), places the earlier era in 49 C.E., the beginning of Agrippa's reign. Still, he dates the coin-type attributed to Agrippa's 35th year to the earlier era, thus, having it testify to Agrippa's reign in 84 C.E. So too, Y. Meyshan (Essays in Jewish Numismatics [Jerusalem: Israel Numismatic Society, 1968] 73, 129) although he places the earlier era in 50 C.E.

55 According to Josephus (Am. 20.158) 54 C.E.

56 Seyrig “Agrippa II,” 55–65.

57 'Eτoυς λξ′ τoκαὶ λβ′ βασιλέως 'Aγρίππα, W. Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae (Leipzig: 1903–05) n. 426 = R. Cagnate, Inscriptiones Graecae ad Res Romanas Pertinentes (Paris, 1906; repr.; Chicago: Ares, 1975) vol. 3. n. 1127.

58 'Eτoυς ις′ ΔoμιτιανoKαίσαρoς, M. Dunand, Mission Árchéologique au Djebel Druze: Le Musée de Soueida (Paris, 1934) 49 n. 75.

59 'Eτoυς ά κυρίoυ Aὐτoκράτpρας Nἐρoυα Kαίσαρoς, Ewing, PEFQS (1895) 157 n. 109 = Cagnate, Inscriptiones Graecae, 3 n. 1176.

60 One may argue that Agrippa was still alive, though he had been relieved of his territories. However, since we have no explicit evidence for such a loss on Agrippa's part, this possibility seems most doubtful, especially when one considers the normal procedure concerning the fate of territorial rulership upon a vassal king's death. Under such a situation, the “kingdom” usually was assimilated as a province or territory into the empire. With regards to Syrian territories, see: A. H. M. Jones, The Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces, revised by Avi-Yonah et at. (2nd ed.; Oxford: Oxford University, 1971) 226–94; esp. 271 and 461 n. 60, on the annexation of the territories of both Agrippas.

61 'Aρχιεὺς ό ἐπὶ 'Aγρίππoυ βασιλέας γενὀμενoς κεντυρίων δεκαoκτὼ ἔτoυς καὶ ἐπὶ Tραιανoστrατηγὸν δέκα. H. Seyrig, “Antiquités Syriennes,” Syria 42 (1965) 25–34, esp. 32–33.

62 See above n. 60.

63 Ant. 20.145; cf. Luther, Josephus und Justus, 57; Frankfort, “La date,” 54–55; Feldman, LCL 9. 467 n. d, and literature cited there; Schürer, History (New English edition) 1.481–82, n. 47; Smallwood, Jews under Roman Rule, 573.

64 Auto. 362–66.

65 Luther, Josephus und Justus, 54–65.

66 Auto. 428; Josephus also mentions the honors proffered on him by Domitian's wife, Domitia.

67 This was pointed out already by L. de Tillemont in 1700; cf. above n. 48.

68 On Domitian's “reign of terror,” see: M. P. Charlesworth, in CAH 9.22–33; S. J. Case (“Josephus' Anticipation of a Domitianic Persecution,” JBL 44 [1925] 10–20) argues by comparing the Antiquities with the Jewish War that Josephus was “a wake to impending troubles” (p. 19) under Domitian's reign already by 93 C.E.

1 I am honored to recognize publicly my debt to Professor Ben-Zion Wacholder not only for his acute criticism given during the preparation of this paper, but also for his beneficial guidance conferred in the course of my studies.—All translations of Josephus, except where otherwise noted, are from Josephus with an English Translation, ed. and trans. Thackeray, H. S. J., Marcus, R., Wikgren, A., and Feldman, L. H. (9 vols.; LCL; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 19261965).

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