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Josephus? Philo? Unreliable?
Courtesy of Dorset Press and a sale by Barnes and Noble some
years back, Mary Smallwood's translation of _The Jewish War_ now
sits once more on the hutch above my computer desk. Once more, I
regret not buying Thackeray's Loeb work on Josephus.
I was weaned on the Loeb Library translations in my undergrad
days under Ernie Craik (only now that he's gone with Big Bill too
and I also am in the exit generation would I dare speak of him
For another matter I had pulled down Hugh Schonfield's _The
Pentecost Revolution_, introduced to his readers on Pentecost,
1978. In scholarship of ancient times, that is recent comment.
In his introduction and first chapter, Schonfield uses Thack-
eray's Russian Josephus to good effect. Included as an appendix
in Thackeray's version, Schonfield uses it to tell us of the
thinking of latter day Nazoreans. Schonfield reminded me of the
Loeb evidence, noted only briefly in Smallwood's edition. IMO,
Schonfield needs to be read by more of our list.
When Schonfield wrote _The Pentecost Revolution_, it appears he
had knowledge of MMT and the other texts under Strugnell's
supervision, or I suspect as much.
I am posting this comment so list members will read or reread his
analysis of Josephus and comments on Philo too as a countervail
to the minimalist views we've been given recently on the list of
the reliability of Josephus and Philo as sources of valid infor-
mation. Their biases are easy to understand and to take into
account when reading their works. This is especially true when
one uses the Loeb texts with their original text opposite the
translation, each fully footnoted.
Schonfield's analysis of the veracity and usefulness of ancient
sources should be given attention by Orion lurkers and contribut-
ors alike. Someone spoke up against shunning Barbara Thiering.
Schonfield is sometimes given less shrift and for much less
reason. His work has stood very well for nearly a century.
Would that the rest of us fare as well!