Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Caiaphas (Jesus Exposed) – Ant. 18


Here Josephus makes the first primitive construction the New Testament.  Caiaphas  was his source for Jesus as a messiah who came back from the dead.  (The so-called Testimonium Flavium was thus not a later Christian interpolation, as some say.)  It is ironic that Josephus used his knowledge of Caiaphas, who in today's world would be considered a terrorist, to form the basis of the Christian religion. Josephus, a priest, reinstated the priests in history.  Caiaphus was Josephus’ hero.  The NT has Caiaphas as high priest. Vespasian would have heartily agreed with him, wanting to cover-up the fact that he deprived the prophets of a vast fortune which he stole from the temple. He was a mere general in an army being actively led by Nero.   

Caiaphus was also the source for John the Baptist. Josephus replaced the prophetic Jewish practice of immersion with Christian Baptism.  Josephus’ motive was to create a new religion to replace that of the prophets. He succeeded in eliminating from history the prophet’s belief in the Spirit, which was gaining ground among gentile Romans.  The prophets recognised that immersion did nothing for their standing before God.  The prophets belief in the Spirit was the excuse used by the Romans to classify the prophets as atheists, whereas the Christians met Roman requirements of sacrifice by the sacrifice of Jesus, and having him come back from the dead as God.   

The original text that follows was written before the gospels of the New Testament.  It was an account of the activities of one Caiaphas and his son Eleazar who were priests and the leaders of the zealots.  This original text of Antiquities was written by a Jewish author well before Josephus adapted it for his and the Roman’s ends, whereas Josephus's War was almost a totally fabricated text.  But Josephus' text of Antiquities 18 contains the earliest form of the New Testament, and not a later Christian interpolation. He greatly expanded the text with much fabricated Roman material which I have removed for clarity.  The original text was about a civil war between the priests (led by a Zadokite priest Caiaphas) and the Herodian kings (Aristobulus and his son Agrippa, who both supported the prophets).  The kings mistrusted the priests who they barred from the temple.  The priests had had their Scrolls (falsely called the Dead Sea Scrolls) confiscated and kept in the king's Citadel adjacent to the temple.  

Professor Helen Bond of Edinburgh University has written books about Pilate and Caiaphas. In her foreword (page vii), she describes Caiaphas as the longest serving Jewish high priest.  Given that his ossuary is accepted as valid, there is no inscription on it which says he was high priest.  Indeed, there is no evidence on any ossuary that anyone was ever high priest. The priests were out power living in exile, barred from the temple.  Josephus, a self-confessed priest, probably a Zadokite, and not a Hasmonean as he claimed, makes no reference to himself sacrificing any animal.  Power always had been with the Jewish kings, such as Hyrcanus, his son in law Herod, his son Aristobulus, and his son Agrippa the Great. According to Bond (Caiaphas, Page 36), "Jewish government, then, was in the hands of the chief priests".  This was a myth created by Josephus.  His hatred for the Herodians was shown by writing Aristobulus out of his history - he even created two characters with that name, one being supposedly killed by his father Herod and the other disappearing on the Island of Crete never to be heard of again. (See my post: Story of a Spurious Alexander and a Living Aristobulus, Ant.17.12) 

The kings were guided by their prophets, a sore point for the priests.  There were 30000 or so priests and approximately 4000 prophets.   According to the NT, Caiaphas was married to the daughter of a rich priest Annas. To support themselves, the poorer priests must have extorted donations from the people.  The prophets ruled the temple. They earned their keep by farming or doing skilled crafts such as metal or stone working.

On page 19, Bond says Josephus was a reliable witness to the temple and the sacrificial cult. But Josephus is disqualified as a reliable witness to anything.   We have the wishful thinking of a man who was desperate to reinstate the priests in history.  He was in effect a slave of the Flavian dynasty. The priests were outcasts from the temple.

Also on page 19 of Caiaphas, Bond writes that "we must treat everything that Josephus says with suspicion."  This is typical of what most scholars write about Josephus, but they hardly ever analyse what he did say.   Priests were known as liars, yet she considers both men fairly honest, and has it that "Josephus's views may not be far removed from those of Caiaphas."  Caiaphas was a priest who ‘drew’ other priests over to his rebel cause using lies and deception.  Caiaphas led separate seditions against two kings, Aristobulus the son of Herod, and Agrippa his son, known as the Great.  Caiaphas' son Eleazar followed his father.

At first the priests engaged in individual acts of terrorism which were inspired by Caiaphas and his son.  Then, Caiaphas along with large numbers of priests came to Jerusalem and petitioned the king to remove the Scrolls from the Citadel to the temple.  They wanted to be to parade their Scrolls into the temple.  Aristobulus rejected this appeal.  With the backing of his army, Aristobulus commanded the zealots to go ‘home’ (home was across the Jordan to Arabia where king Aretas ruled).  Then Aristobulus built a road from Jerusalem to the Jordan and a bridge across the river. This displeased the priests. Aristobulus sent his forces to take on the zealots.   He defeated them but many fled including Caiaphas. 

Caiaphas gathered his forces and led an attempt to attack the Citadel and recover the priest's Scrolls which were stored there.  The attack was put down by Aristobulus' military. (Josephus makes out that it was Pilate who put down Samaritans).  Caiaphas was able to escape. He took on the reputation of a messiah who was invincible, able to return from the dead.  This was the source for Jesus's resurrection.  On instruction from the emperor Tiberias, Aristobulus came to an agreement with Caiaphas that he should remain free provided he gave up his son Eleazar as hostage and that he should not set foot in Judea.  (Eleazar was the source for Barabbas, the ‘son of the father’).

After the death of Aristobulus,  Agrippa was appointed king by Tiberias. Caiaphas was up to his tricks again, breaking his previous agreement. He led an attack on the fortress of Machaerus, but was captured by Agrippa's forces.  Tiberias, not wanting to take any more risks told him to behead Caiaphas.  This time Agrippa didn't make the same mistake as his father. He had Caiaphas beheaded in the fortress of Machaerus (the source for the story of John the Baptist. In the NT, ‘Herod’ is said to have feared John - in reality Caiaphas feared Agrippa). 

Pilate was totally off the scene in Caesarea.  The editor uses Pilate as a substitute for Aristobulus and Caiaphas.  

Aretas, the king of Arabia Petrea, probably had a quarrel with Agrippa about his borders.  The dispute was not with Herod the tetrarch over Aretas’ daughter.  She apparently sought a divorce from the tetrarch who was supposed to have taken a fancy to Herodias the sister of Agrippa.  This story is a cover for Caiaphus being given shelter in Arabia.  It also blackened Herodias’ and Agrippa's name. 

Text Extracted from Antiquities 18 (Numbering is as Loeb)

(1) NOW [Cyrenius] {Aristobulus}, a [Roman senator] {Hasmonean}, and

[one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them till he had been consul, and]

one who, on other accounts, was of great dignity came at this time into [Syria] {Judea}, [with a few others,] being sent by Caesar to be

[a judge of that Nation and to take an account of their substance.  (2) Coponius also, a man of the equestrian order, was sent together with him, to have the supreme power]

{king} over the Jews.

[Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus’s money; (3) But the Jews, although at the beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet did they leave off any further opposition to it, by the persuasion of Joazar, who was the son of Boethus, and high priest; so they, being over-persuaded by Joazar's words, gave an account of their estates, without any dispute about it. Yet was]

(4) There was one [Judas] {Caiaphas}, a [Gaulonite] {a Zadokite}, [of a city whose name was Gamala,] who, taking with him [Sadduc] {Eleazar}, [a Pharisee] {his son}, became zealous to draw them to a revolt, who both said that this [taxation] {king} was no better than an introduction to [slavery] {impurity}, and exhorted the [nation] {priests} to assert [their liberty] {the Law};

(7) There were [also] very great robberies and murder of our [principal men] {prophets}. This was done in pretense indeed for the [public welfare] {law}, but in reality for the hopes of gain to themselves; (8) whence arose seditions, and from them murders of [men] {prophets}, which sometimes fell on those of their own [people] {order}, by the madness of these [men] {priests} towards one another, while their desire was that none of the [adverse party] {prophets} might be left.

(9) Such were the consequences of this, that the customs of our fathers were altered, and such a change was made, as added a mighty weight toward bringing all to destruction, which [these men] {the priests} occasioned by their thus conspiring together; for [Judas] {Caiaphas} and [Sadduc] {Eleazar} excited [a fourth philosophic sect] {the priests} among us and [had a great many followers therein], filled our civil government with tumults at present, and laid the foundations of our future miseries.

(30) Some of the [Samaritans] {priests} came [privately] {secretly} into Jerusalem, and [threw about dead men's bodies,] {killed some of the prophets} in the [cloisters] {temple}; on which account

[the Jews afterward excluded them out of the temple, which they had not used to do at such festivals; and on other accounts also they]

{the prophets} watched the temple (which they were in charge of) more carefully than they had formerly done.

(36) And now [Herod the tetrarch] {Aristobulus} [, who was in great favour with Tiberius,] built a [city] {village} [of the same name with him,] and called it [Tiberias] {Ein Gedi}. He built it in the best part of [Galilee] {Judea}, at the lake of [Gennesareth] {Salt}. There are warm baths at a little distance from it.

[, in a village named Emmaus. (37) Strangers came and inhabited this city; a great number of the inhabitants were Galileans also; and many]

{The prophets} were [necessitated] {invited} by [Herod] {Aristobulus} to come thither out of the country belonging to him [, and were by force compelled] to be its inhabitants; some of them were [persons] {prophets} of condition. He also admitted poor [people] {prophets}, such as those that were collected from all parts, to dwell in it. Nay, some of them were [not quite free-men] {trainees}, (38) and these he was benefactor to, and made them [free] {prophets} in great numbers; but obliged them not to forsake the [city] {village}, by building them very good houses at his own expenses, and by giving them land also;

(55) BUT now [Pilate] {Caiaphas},[ the procurator of Judea,] {petitioned the king to} remove[d] the [army] {Scrolls} from [Caesarea] {the Citadel} to [Jerusalem] {the temple},

[to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws. So he introduced Caesar's effigies which were upon the ensigns, and brought them into the city; whereas our law forbids us the very making of images;]

(56) on which account the former [procurators] {priests} were wont to make their entry into the [city] {temple}.

(57) [They] {The priests} came in multitudes to [Caesarea] {Jerusalem}, and interceded with [Pilate] {Aristobulus} many days that he would remove the [images] {Scrolls};

[and when he would not grant their requests, because it would tend to the injury of Caesar, while yet they persevered in their request.]

On the sixth day he ordered his soldiers to have their weapons [privately] {ready} while he came and sat upon his judgment-seat, which seat was so prepared in the open place of the city [, that it concealed the army that lay ready to oppress them]; (58) and when the [Jews] {priests} petitioned him again, he gave a signal to the soldiers to encompass them round, and threatened that their punishment should be no less than immediate death, unless they would leave off disturbing him, and go their ways [home] {back across the Jordan}.

(60) [But Pilate] {Aristobulus} undertook to bring a [current of water] {road from across the Jordan} (where Caiaphas’ army was) to Jerusalem,

[and did it with the sacred money, and derived the origin of the stream from the distance of two hundred furlongs.]

However, the [Jews] {priests} were not pleased with what had been done about this [water] {road}; and many [ten] thousands of the [people] {priests} got together, and made [a clamour] {war} against him

[, and insisted that he should leave off that design. Some of them also used reproaches, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do.]

(61) So [he] {Aristobulus} [habited] {sent} a great number of his soldiers

[in their habit, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them]

to [a place] {the Jordan} where they might surround them.

[So he bade the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; (62) who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did]

They {did not} spare them in the least: and since the [people] {priests} [were unarmed, and] were caught by [men] {soldiers} prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others of them (including Caiaphas) ran away [wounded].  And thus an end was put to this sedition.

(63) [Now there was about this time Jesus]

{Caiaphus}, a [wise] {wicked} [man] {priest}, if it be lawful to call him a [man] {priest}; for he was a doer of [wonderful] {wicked} works, a teacher of such men as receive [the truth] {a lie} with pleasure. He drew over (the sense is over the Jordan) to him [both] many of the [Jews and many of the Gentiles] {priests}. He was [the Christ] {a messiah}. (64) And when [Pilate] {Aristobulus}, at the suggestion of [the principal men among us,] Tiberias had condemned him [to the cross], those that [loved] {followed} him at the first (i.e. those that ran away from Aristobulus's soldiers) did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again [the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold.] (Caiaphas’s first escape) 

[These and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.]

And the [tribe of Christians] {sons of Zadok}, so named [from him], are not extinct at this day.

(81) [There was a man who was a Jew]

{Caiaphas}, but had been driven away from [his own country] {Judea} by an accusation laid against him for [transgressing their laws] {sedition}, and by the fear he was under of punishment for the same; [but] in all respects a wicked man. He, then living [at Rome] {in Arabia}, professed to instruct men in the wisdom of the laws of Moses. (82) He procured also [three] other [men] {priests}, entirely of the same character with himself, to be his partners. These [men] {priests} persuaded [Fulvia] {Caiaphus’s wife} a woman of great [dignity] {wealth}, [and one that had embraced the Jewish religion,] to send [purple and gold] {money} to

[the temple at Jerusalem; and when they had gotten]


[they employed them for their own uses, and spent the money themselves, on which account it was that they at first required it of her.]

(83) Whereupon [Tiberius] {Aristobulus}, who had been informed

[of the thing by Saturninus, the husband of Fulvia, who desired inquiry might be made]

about it, ordered all the [Jews] {priests} to be banished out of [Rome] {Jerusalem};

(85) BUT the [nation of the Samaritans] {priests} did not escape without tumults. [The man] {Caiaphas} who excited them to it, was one who thought lying a thing of little consequence, and who contrived everything so that the [multitude] {priests} might be pleased; so he bid them to get together upon Mount [Gerrazim] {Moriah}, which is by them looked upon as the most holy of all mountains, and assured them, that when they were come thither, he would [show them] {get} those sacred [vessels] {Scrolls} which were laid [under] {in} [that place] {the Citadel}, because [Moses] {king Hyrcanus} put them there. (They were determined to get their Scrolls)

(86) So they came thither armed,

[and thought the discourse of the man improbable; and as they abode at a certain village, which was called Tirathaba, they got the rest together to them,]

and desired to go up [the mountain] {to the Citadel} in a great multitude together; (87) but [Pilate] {Aristobulus} prevented their going up, by seizing upon the roads with a great band of horsemen and foot-men, who fell upon those that were gotten together [in the village]; and when it came to an action, some of them they slew, and others of them they put to flight [, and took a great many alive,] the principal of which, and also the most potent {was Caiaphas} (his second escape).

[of those that fled away, Pilate ordered to be slain.

(91) {King} Hyrcanus

[; and as there were many of that name, he was the first of them; this man]

built a [tower] {fortress} near the temple, and when he had so done, he generally dwelt in it, and had these [vestments] {Scrolls} with him, because it was lawful for him alone to [put them on] {read them}, and he had them there reposited.

[When he went down into the city, and took his ordinary garments; the same things were continued to be done by his sons, and by their sons after them].

(92) When Herod came to be king, he

[rebuilt this tower, which was very conveniently situated, in a magnificent manner; and because he was a friend to Antonius, he called it by the name of Antonia.  (Herod was never a friend of Antony nor did he give a name the Antonia to the Citadel).  And as he found these vestments lying there, he]

retained them in the same place, as believing, that while he had them in his custody, the [people] {priests} would make no innovations against him. (93) The like to what Herod did was done by his son [Archelaus] {Aristobulus}, who was made king after him;

(96) Moreover, Tiberius sent a letter to [Vitellius] {Aristobulus}, and commanded him to make a league of friendship with [Artabanus, the king of Parthia] {Caiaphas};

[for while he was his enemy, he terrified him, because he had taken Armenia away from him,]

lest he should proceed further, and told him he should no otherwise trust him than upon his giving him hostages, and especially his son [Artabanus] {Eleazar}.

(101) When [Tiberius] {Aristobulus} had heard of [these things] {this}, he [desired] {agreed} to have a league of friendship made between him and [Artabanus] {Caiaphas}; and when, upon this invitation, [he received the proposal kindly, [Artabanus] {Aristobulus} and [Vitellius] {Caiaphas} went to [Euphrates] {the Jordan}, (102) and as a bridge was laid over the river, they each of them came with their guards about them, and met one another on the midst of the bridge.  And when they had agreed upon the terms of peace [Herod, the tetrarch] {Aristobulus} erected a rich tent on the midst of the passage, and made them a feast there. (103) [Artabanus] {Caiaphas} also, not long afterward, sent his son [Darius] {Eleazar} as an hostage,

[with many presents, among which there was a man seven cubits tall, a Jew he was by birth, and his name was Eleazar, who, for his tallness, was called a giant.]

(104) After which [Vitellius] {Aristobulus} went to [Antioch] {Jerusalem}, and [Artabanus] {Caiaphas} to [Babylon] {Arabia}; but [Herod the tetrarch] {Aristobulus} being desirous to give Caesar the [first] information that they had obtained hostages, sent posts with letters, wherein he had accurately described all the particulars,

[and had left nothing for the consular Vitellius to inform him of]. (Vitellius was never in the picture).

(106) About this time it was that [Philip] {Aristobulus}, Herod's ' [brother] {son}, departed this life, in the twentieth year of the reign of Tiberius, after he had been

[tetrarch of Trachonitis and Gaulanitis, and]

{king} of the nation of the [Bataneans also,] {Jews} thirty-seven years. He had showed himself a person of moderation and quietness in the conduct of his life and government;

(107) [he constantly lived in that country which was subject to him];

He used to make his progress with a few chosen friends; his [tribunal] {judgement seat} also, on which he sat in judgment, followed him in his progress; and when any one met him who wanted his assistance, he made no delay, but had his [tribunal] {judgement seat} set down immediately, wheresoever he happened to be, and sat down upon it, and heard his complaint: he there ordered the guilty that were convicted to be punished, and absolved those that had been accused unjustly. (108) He died at [Julias] {Jerusalem}; and when he was carried to that monument which he had already erected for himself beforehand, he was buried with great pomp. His principality [Tiberius] {Agrippa} took.

[, for he left no sons behind him, and added it to the province of Syria, but gave order that the tributes which arose from it should be collected, and laid up in his tetrarchy.] 

(111) So [Antipas] {Agrippa}, when he [had made this agreement] {was made king}, sailed to [Rome] {Judea}; but

[when he had done there the business he went about, and was returned again, his wife,]

having discovered the [agreement] {league of friendship his father} had made with [Herodias] {Caiaphas} {had been broken}  

[and having learned it before he had notice of her knowledge of the whole design, she desired him to send her to Machaerus, which is a place in the borders of the dominions of Aretas and Herod, without informing him of any of her intentions; (112) accordingly Herod sent her thither, as thinking his wife had not perceived any thing; now she] 

{Agrippa} [had sent a good while before] {went} to Machaerus

[, which was subject to her father and so all things necessary for her journey were made ready for her by the general of Aretas's]

{with his} army;

[and by that means she soon came into Arabia, under the conduct of the several generals, who carried her from one to another successively; and she soon came to her father, and told him of Herod's intentions. (113) So Aretas made this the first occasion of his enmity between him and Herod, who had also some quarrel with him about their limits at the country of Gamalitis.]

So they [raised armies on both sides, and] prepared for war,

[and sent their generals to fight instead of themselves;]

(114) and when they had joined battle, all [Herod's] {Caiaphus’s} army was destroyed


[the treachery of some fugitives, though they were of the tetrarchy of Philip joined with Aretas's]

{Agrippa’s} army.

(115) So [Herod] {Agrippa} wrote about these affairs to Tiberius, who being very angry at the attempt made by [Aretas] {Caiaphas}, wrote to [Vitellius] {Agrippa} to

[make war upon him, and either to take him alive, and bring him to him in bonds, or to kill him, and send him his head]

{behead him}. This was the charge that Tiberius gave to the [president of Syria] {king}.

(116) [Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John that was called the Baptist. (117) For Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing with water would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away of some sins only, but for the purification of the body;supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness].
(118) Now when many others came in crowds about him, for they were very greatly moved or pleased by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a REBELLION, for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise, thought it best ,by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late.]

(119) Accordingly [he] {Caiaphas} was sent a prisoner, [out of Herod's suspicious temper,] to Machaerus [, the castle I before mentioned,] and was there put to death. Now the [Jews] {prophets} had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon [Herod] {Caiaphas}, and a mark of God's displeasure to him.