Friday, June 7, 2013

Was Jesus Even Crucified? Part 3

Link to Part 1.
Link to Part 2.

Part 3 - The Latin Translation.

To perhaps get a better understanding of what Josephus meant, or perhaps not, we now turn to Jerome’s copy of the Latin translation of Josephus’ Antiquities, which he quoted in his De Viris Illustribus 13. Jerome, in contradistinction to what Origen said about Josephus not believing Jesus was the messiah, had this to say: “In the eighth [sic!] book of his Antiquities he most openly acknowledges that Christ was slain by the Pharisees on account of the greatness of his miracles, that John the Baptist was truly a prophet, and that Jerusalem was destroyed because of the murder of James the apostle. He wrote also concerning the Lord after this fashion:…” 1

Let me note here that the Jamesian reference was not found in the extant manuscript copy of Josephus’ Antiquities, as Jerome assrets, but rather the 20th, and Josephus does not attribute Jerusalem’s destruction to the murder of James therein or anywhere else in Antiquities.  Origen’s referrals to the Jamesian passage also appears to make the same error 2.

The English translation from New Advent 3 first:

“In this same time was Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it be lawful to call him man. For he was a worker of wonderful miracles, and a teacher of those who freely receive the truth. He had very many adherents also, both of the Jews and of the Gentiles, and was believed to be Christ, and when through the envy of our chief men Pilate had crucified him, nevertheless those who had loved him at first continued to the end, for he appeared to them the third day alive. Many things, both these and other wonderful things are in the songs of the prophets who prophesied concerning him and the sect of Christians, so named from Him, exists to the present day.”
The extant Latin, from the Documenta Catholica Omnia website 4:

Eodem tempore fiut Jesus, vir sapiens, sit amen virum oportet eum dicere. Erat enim mirabilium patrator operum, et doctor eorum, qui libenter vera suscipiunt: plurimos quoque tam de judaeis quam de gentibus sui habuit sectatores, et credebatur esse Christus.  Cumque invidia nostrorum principum cruci eum Pilatus addixisset a, nihilominus qui eum primum dilexerant, perseveraverant. Apparit eum eis tertia die vivens, multa et haec alia mirabilia carminibus prophetarum de eo vaticinatibus, et usque hodie Christianorum gens ab hoc sortita vocabulum, non defecit.
  1. adfixisset, “affixed, attached.” 5
And this is how I translate it (boldface emphasis mine) – footnotes flag certain Latin words that have multiple meanings:

There was at this time Jesus, a wise man, if nevertheless one ought 6 to call him a man. Namely he was an effector 7 of astonishing deeds and a teacher 8 of men, who are pleased to accept the truth 9: many even of the Jews as of the Gentiles he considered his own followers 10, and he was believed to be the messiah. And by means of the hatred 11 of our leading citizens Pilate sentenced him to the crux 12, all the same those who loved 13 him at first had continued to do so. For he showed up 14 to them on the third day alive still 15, and this and many other marvelous things in the oracles of the prophets having prophesied of him, and even unto this day the race 16 of Christians, having chosen 17 their name from him, are not extinct. 
Now if one looked closely at the Latin source (PDF) from Documenta Catholica Omnia, one would notice that the Latin runs side-by-side with the Greek. So it is probable that the Latin was translated from the Greek in Jerome’s day, because the extant Greek is identical to that in Antiquities 18.3.3! 18 So we have the Latin, therefore, conforming to the “Testimonium Forgianum” that Eusebius quoted, i.e., the Christianized version, not the Josephan original. And the only word that doesn’t conform to Whiston’s English translation is vivens, which means “alive still, surviving, living, alive, being alive,” etc. It does not mean “alive again,” let alone “resurrected.” So even here we have a possible remnant of Josephus’ skepticism that the historical Jesus (Jesus the Nazarene) rose from the dead. Rather, he survived his “crucifixion” or avoided getting suspended by the Romans under Pilate in the first place.

1.       Jerome, De Viris Illustribus (Illustrious Men) 13,       Origen, Commentary on Matthew 10.17. Cf. Contra Celsum 1.47 and 2.13.       Jerome (New Advent), ibid.
4.       Documenta Catholica Omnia, De Viris Illustribus Liber Ad Dextrum, Caput XIII, col. 663 (PDF p. 17). 
5.       Roger Viklund, Jesus Granskad, “The Jesus Passages in Josephus, Part 2l, ‘Testimonium Flavianum’: The Church Fathers’ Knowledge, The Latin Translations, Jerome.” Accessed 6-1-2013.
6.       Transl. “ought” – Latin oportet, “ought, has to, needs to, must.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
7.       Transl. “effector” – Latin patrator, “effector, achiever, accomplisher”. (Perseus) (Whitaker)
8.       Transl. “teacher” – Latin doctor, “teacher, instructor, trainer, doctor.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
9.       Transl. “truth” – Latin vera, “(adjective) of the truth, genuine, true, true things; (noun) the truth, that which is true truth, reality, fact; (noun) the spring, springtime of life, youth.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
10.   Transl. “followers” – Latin sectatores, “followers, pursuers, attendants, familiars, retinue, adherents.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
11.   Transl. “hatred” – Latin invidia, “hatred, envy, grudge, jealousy, ill-will.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
12.   Not translated but changed to the nominative – Latin crux (dative cruci = “to the crux”), “gallows, frame, tree, stake on which criminals were hanged or impaled, frequently cross [but not always so]; crucifixion; torture, torment, trouble, misery.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
13.   Transl. “loved” – Latin dilexerant, “loved, picked, selected, singled out, valued, esteemed, prized, appreciated.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
14.   Transl. “showed up” – Latin apparuit, “appeared, came into sight, made an appearance, was visible, was seen, showed himself.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
15.   Transl. “alive still” – Latin vivens, “living, being alive, having life, surviving, being still alive.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
16.   Transl. “race” – Latin gens, “race, swarm, brood, crew, herd, [a] people.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
17.   Transl. “chosen” – Latin sortita, “having drawn lots; having assigned, allotted  or obtained by lots; having shared, divided, distributed; having got by lot, obtained, received; having got by chance or as a lot, got, obtained, received.” (Perseus) (Whitaker)
18.   Subheading under the title at the first page of the PDF (pursue the link in note 4) we read, “Adjuncta versione antiqua Graeca quam sub Suphronii nomine Erasmus edidit,” meaning: “Attached to the ancient Greek version which under the name of the Suphronii Erasmus edited.”