I don't doubt that close relationships exist between the various cultures and characters. Judaism comes from Egypt and maintains strong links to Egyptian cultural practices. The Maccabees are Jewish (and, thus, also culturally Egyptian to some extent) and yet they also drew from Hellenistic globalism, and struck opportunistic alliances with the Romans.But, maybe I should have asked first, what were you intending to do with that line?
But historical processes also led to distinguishable characteristics. Judaism inverts much of Egyptian law. By the 1st century AD, Judaism had adopted a stark monotheism easily distinguished from Egyptian polytheism, and has its own distinctive canonical literature. Parthians of the time adopted a hybrid polytheistic religion based on syncretism of Hellenistic and ancient Persian deities, and Zoroastrianism had fallen from favor.
Geography also creates local distinctiveness. The Edessan royal family came out of Parthia, while the Maccabees were from Judaea.
I'm sure that Josephus was well aware of these distinctions. So if the passage about "Zamaris the Babylonian Jew" is really speaking of Phraates IV the Parthian, then Josephus isn't just being cute or erudite, he's being deliberately deceptive and/or obscure. And we ought to at least consider the possibility that Zamaris wasn't the same person as Phraates.
Just based on historical and geographical factors, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Maccabee royal family of Judaea would have left descendants who were not the same individuals as Parthian royalty. So why is it that we would think that those Maccabeean descendants would disappear completely in Josephus's narrative, hidden underneath the Edessan characters?
Indeed. Refreshing my memory from the early pages of this thread, I see it isn't the first time I've raised this concern. It makes sense to me that there must have been an organic Judaean opposition to Rome, otherwise why would there need to be some attempt to create an alternative "controlled opposition" as its opponent?the question of whether or not Judas of Gamala and his son, Jesus of Gamala, are really ... the Edessan royal family.... is indeed the recent central question.