Tuesday, September 18, 2007

josephus on the pharisees, saducees and essenes pt 2

Antiquities of the Jews, Chapter 2.4
...For there was a certain sect of men that were Jews, who valued themselves highly upon the exact skill they had in the law oftheir fathers, and made men believe they were highly favored byGod, by whom this set of women were inveigled. These are thosethat are called the sect of the Pharisees, who were in a capacityof greatly opposing kings. A cunning sect they were, and soonelevated to a pitch of open fighting and doing mischief. Accordingly, when all the people of the Jews gave assurance oftheir good-will to Caesar, and to the king's government, thesevery men did not swear, being above six thousand; and when theking imposed a fine upon them, Pheroras's wife paid their finefor them. In order to requite which kindness of hers, since theywere believed to have the foreknowledge of things to come byDivine inspiration, they foretold how God had decreed that Herod's government should cease, and his posterity should bedeprived of it; but that the kingdom should come to her and Pheroras, and to their children.....
Antiquities Book 18, Chapter 1.2
2. The Jews had for a great while had three sects of philosophy peculiar to themselves; the sect of the Essens, and the sect of the Sadducees, and the third sort of opinions was that of those called Pharisees; of which sects, although I have already spoken in the second book of the Jewish War, yet will I a little touchupon them now.

3. Now, for the Pharisees, they live meanly, and despise delicacies in diet; and they follow the conduct of reason; andwhat that prescribes to them as good for them they do; and theythink they ought earnestly to strive to observe reason's dictatesfor practice. They also pay a respect to such as are in years; nor are they so bold as to contradict them in any thing whichthey have introduced; and when they determine that all things ared one by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men ofacting as they think fit; since their notion is, that it hath pleased God to make a temperament, whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously. They also believe that souls have an immortal rigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, accordingas they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and thelatter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again; on account of which doctrines they are able greatly to persuade the body of the people; and whatsoever they do about Divine worship, prayers, andsacrifices, they perform them according to their direction; insomuch that the cities give great attestations to them on account of their entire virtuous conduct, both in the actions oftheir lives and their discourses also.

4. But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this: That souls die with the bodies; nor do they regard the observation of any thing besides what the law enjoins them; for they think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom theyfrequent: but this doctrine is received but by a few, yet bythose still of the greatest dignity. But they are able to doalmost nothing of themselves; for when they become magistrates,as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, becausethe multitude would not otherwise bear them.

5. The doctrine of the Essens is this: That all things are best ascribed to God. They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for; and when they send what they have dedicated to God into the temple, they do not offer sacrifices (3) because they have more pure lustrations of their own; on which account they are excludedf rom the common court of the temple, but offer their sacrifices themselves; yet is their course of life better than that of other men; and they entirely addict themselves to husbandry. It also deserves our admiration, how much they exceed all other men thataddict themselves to virtue, and this in righteousness; and indeed to such a degree, that as it hath never appeared among anyother men, neither Greeks nor barbarians, no, not for a little time, so hath it endured a long while among them. This is demonstrated by that institution of theirs, which will not suffer any thing to hinder them from having all things in common; so that a rich man enjoys no more of his own wealth than he who hath nothing at all. There are about four thousand men that live inthis way, and neither marry wives, nor are desirous to keep servants; as thinking the latter tempts men to be unjust, and the former gives the handle to domestic quarrels; but as they live by themselves, they minister one to another. They also appoint certain stewards to receive the incomes of their revenues, and ofthe fruits of the ground; such as are good men and priests, whoare to get their corn and their food ready for them. They none ofthem differ from others of the Essens in their way of living, but do the most resemble those Dacae who are called Polistae (4)[dwellers in cities].

6. But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy, Judas the Galilean was the author. These men agree in all other things withthe Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord.They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. And since this immovable resolution of theirs is well known to a great many, I shall speakno further about that matter; nor am I afraid that any thing I have said of them should be disbelieved, but rather fear, thatwhat I have said is beneath the resolution they show when they undergo pain. And it was in Gessius Florus's time that the nation began to grow mad with this distemper, who was our procurator,and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse ofhis authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans. And these are the sects of Jewish philosophy.

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