Sunday, January 08, 2006

Was Josephus a legalist?

"ouv dunato.n avnqrw,poij avpodou/nai qew/ ca,rin u`pe.r w-n eu= pepo,nqasin avprosdee.j ga.r to. qei/on a`pa,ntwn kai. krei/tton toiau,thj avmoibh/j w- de. tw/n a;llwn zw,wn u`po. sou/ de,spota krei,ttonej gego,namen tou,tw th.n sh.n euvlogei/n megaleio,thta" – Josephus, Antiquities, 8.111

("It is not possible by what men can do to return sufficient thanks to God for his benefits bestowed upon them, for the Deity stands in need of nothing, and is above any such requital; but so far as we have been made superior, O Lord, to other animals by you, it becomes us to bless your Majesty")

Apparently Josephus is considered by some to have been a bit of a legalist. Why?


At 1/08/2006 9:40 AM, Anonymous Michael F. Bird said...

In the volume, "Justification and Variegated Nomism" one author advocates that Josephus espouses something called "Patronal Nomism". The problem with Josephus is that he does not have a soteriology apart from an obscure reference in Antiquities to a hope of transmigration of the soul and in Apion about the "revolution of all things".

At 1/08/2006 5:05 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks for the reference, Mike, I'll have a look.

Aside from the soteriological themes, or rather absence of them, would you suggest that the ongoing relationship of Israel to God was framed in a tight 'legalism'? As yet I just haven't been able to find such an accent.


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