The Antiquities of the Jews

第508章

(4) This Epaphroditus was certainly alive in the third year of Trajan, A.D.100.See the note on the First Book Against Apion, sect.1.Who he was we do not know; for as to Epaphroditus, the freedman of Nero, and afterwards Domitian's secretary, who was put to death by Domitian in the 14th or 15th year of his reign, he could not be alive in the third of Trajan.

(5) Josephus here plainly alludes to the famous Greek proverb, If God be with us, every thing that is impossible becomes possible.

(6) As to this intended work of Josephus concerning the reasons of many of the Jewish laws, and what philosophical or allegorical sense they would bear, the loss of which work is by some of the learned not much regretted, I am inclinable, in part, to Fabricius's opinion, ap.Havercamp, p.63, 61, That "we need not doubt but that, among some vain and frigid conjectures derived from Jewish imaginations, Josephus would have taught us a greater number of excellent and useful things, which perhaps nobody, neither among the Jews, nor among the Christians, can now inform us of; so that I would give a great deal to find it still extant."Ant.Book 1

(1) Since Josephus, in his Preface, sect.4, says that Moses wrote some things enigmatically, some allegorically, and the rest in plain words, since in his account of the first chapter of Genesis, and the first three verses of the second, he gives us no hints of any mystery at all; but when he here comes to ver.4, etc.he says that Moses, after the seventh day was over, began to talk philosophically; it is not very improbable that he understood the rest of the second and the third chapters in some enigmatical, or allegorical, or philosophical sense.The change of the name of God just at this place, from Elohim to Jehovah Elohim, from God to Lord God, in the Hebrew, Samaritan, and Septuagint, does also not a little favor some such change in the narration or construction.

(2) We may observe here, that Josephus supposed man to be compounded of spirit, soul, and body, with St.Paul, 1Thessalonians 5:23, and the rest of the ancients: he elsewhere says also, that the blood of animals was forbidden to be eaten, as having in it soul and spirit, Antiq.B.III.ch.11.sect.2.

(3) Whence this strange notion came, which yet is not peculiar to Joseph,, but, as Dr.Hudson says here, is derived from older authors, as if four of the greatest rivers in the world, running two of them at vast distances from the other two, by some means or other watered paradise, is hard to say.Only since Josephus has already appeared to allegorize this history, and take notice that these four names had a particular signification; Phison for Ganges, a multitude; Phrath for Euphrates, either a dispersion or a flower; Diglath for Tigris, what is swift, with narrowness; and Geon for Nile, what arises from the east,--we perhaps mistake him when we suppose he literally means those four rivers; especially as to Geon or Nile, which arises from the east, while he very well knew the literal Nile arises from the south; though what further allegorical sense he had in view, is now, I fear, impossible to be determined.

(4) By the Red Sea is not here meant the Arabian Gulf, which alone we now call by that name, but all that South Sea, which included the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, as far as the East Indies; as Reland and Hudson here truly note, from the old geographers.

(5) Hence it appears, that Josephus thought several, at least, of the brute animals, particularly the serpent, could speak before the fall.And I think few of the more perfect kinds of those animals want the organs of speech at this day.Many inducements there are also to a notion, that the present state they are in, is not their original state; and that their capacities have been once much greater than we now see them, and are capable of being restored to their former condition.But as to this most ancient, and authentic, and probably allegorical account of that grand affair of the fall of our first parents, I have somewhat more to say in way of conjecture, but being only a conjecture, I omit it:

only thus far, that the imputation of the sin of our first parents to their posterity, any further than as some way the cause or occasion of man's mortality, seems almost entirely groundless; and that both man, and the other subordinate creatures, are hereafter to be delivered from the curse then brought upon them, and at last to be delivered from that bondage of corruption, Romans 8:19-22.

(6) St.John's account of the reason why God accepted the sacrifice of Abel, and rejected that of Cain; as also why Cain slew Abel, on account of that his acceptance with God, is much better than this of Josephus: I mean, because "Cain was of the evil one, and slew his brother.And wherefore slew he him?

Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous," 1John 3:12.Josephus's reason seems to be no better than a pharisaical notion or tradition.

(7) From this Jubal, not improbably, came Jobel, the trumpet of jobel or jubilee; that large and loud musical instrument, used in proclaiming the liberty at the year of jubilee.

(8) The number of Adam's children, as says the old tradition was thirty-three sons, and twenty-three daughters.

(9) What is here said of Seth and his posterity, that they were very good and virtuous, and at the same time very happy, without any considerable misfortunes, for seven generations, [see ch.2.

sect.1, before; and ch.3.sect.1, hereafter,] is exactly agreeable to the state of the world and the conduct of Providence in all the first ages.

Flavius Josephus

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