Testimonium Flavianum and the wives of Saturninus

Did the author(s) of /Jewish Antiquities/ write the /Testimonium/?

  • No. Even if some or most, certainly not confirming the Divinity of Jesus

  • Yes. They most likely had insider knowledge


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Marcilla Smith

Active Member
To me, this piece is key. In mainstream thought, it is already recognized as the pre-eminent, if not the only first century link between the secular world and the story of Jesus. If one subscribes to the "Josephus was in on it" theory, it looks to me like a gun case with a trail of smoke rising from it.

Further, I speculate that Saturninus most likely represents the Hebrew/Christian deity, as Saturn is considered to equate to El (thus, the day of Shabbos is called "Saturday" for "Saturn's day"). The wives, then, I would suspect of representing the surviving hearths and homes of El - Paulina for the Christian branch, and Fulvia for the Rabbinic.

How is that so far?
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
It's always frustrating to see how few voters are attracted to our polls. But at least this time we have an excuse -- our millions of fundamentalist Christian visitors can't vote for either option. Everybody knew Jesus was divine, so it wasn't just an insider thing.
 

Marcilla Smith

Active Member
Ok, so maybe "particular knowledge" would have been a better turn of phrase (sorry, fundies!).

In either event, at a minimum, I'm confused. We've achieved (so far as the writing of this post) unanimous agreement that the TF is original to Antiquities. Therefore, it is the most explicit reference from the one and only singular source outside the NT referring to any Jesus of Nazareth from the first century. And according to the currently prevailing PF hypothesis, the TF and the story of Jesus from the NT spring from the same source. And yet, there is no further interest so far in analyzing the language of the TF. This is what confuses me
 

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Your confusion confuses me

So much so it made me sympathetically forget to put a period at the end of my sentence above. Hopefully I will remember to correct that situation.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
And yet, there is no further interest so far in analyzing the language of the TF.
Marcilla, I assume you've seen the analysis of the TF in Caesar's Messiah, chapter 11? Your idea that Saturninus is Yahweh, Paulina represents Christianity and Fulvia represents Judaism seems consistent with his view. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
 

Marcilla Smith

Active Member
Your idea that Saturninus is Yahweh, Paulina represents Christianity and Fulvia represents Judaism seems consistent with his view.
Joe says the three stories are one story. I don't disagree with this, but I am postulating another reading of the text in which the three stories are indeed three different stories, even if not literal: the story of Jesus is the Gospel fiction, the story of Paulina is the story of Paul's church, and the story of Fulvia is the story of rabbinic Judaism. Or maybe my meaning is more clear if I say that I'm speculating they are the stories of Josephus, Paul, and Johanan ben Zakai - each of whom announced the arrival of "the Messiah"
 

Marcilla Smith

Active Member
TY. I should add that as I reported to Joe, "... according to the wikipedia article on the Temple of Isis and Serapis, although Tiberius did destroy the temple, it was rebuilt by Caligula. Frustratingly, the two 'references' for the article cover other sections, the 'external reading' site makes no mention of this, neither of the 'further readings' are in English, and the wikipedia entry for Caligula makes no mention of the rebuilding under it's 'construction' heading."

Curiously, Domitian is also listed as having rebuilt the temple after the fire of 80, presumably sometime before publishing of Antiquities some 13+ years later
 
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