As Atwill notes in this Chapter #9, there is a "seamless continuum" associated with the Messianic tradition. Atwill has however not discerned the entire scope of that tradition, which is expressed by others as the so-called "scarlet thread" of Messianic kingship. The roots of this institution go as far back as human history can be traced, and even into the world of mythology. The Old Testament speaks of a single Joshua, but there were in fact a long succession of Joshua's and even parallel Joshua's throughout the Old Testament period (paralleling the pre-Persian dynastic history of Egypt and Mesopotamia).
At the beginning of the Intertestiment Period appears yet another Joshua (a.k.a. Jeshua) mentioned in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra and Nehemiah were closely related to the Persian kings who carried on that Messianic tradition, and to the new Persian Joshua of the family of Cyrus.
Alexander the Great became the first Joshua of the Greek period, which was interrupted in Israel by an upstart Hasmonean Joshua and his successors. Then came the Herodian family with their own designated Joshua and back-ups. Finally, these were trumped by a Roman Joshua, Titus.
Atwill also states in this chapter that "there are unlimited ways to interpret scripture". And, yes, we are still doing it today. However, in ancient times it was expected that Scripture (and previous royal history in general) be adapted and re-enacted with each new ruling dynasty. There was also an extremely limited number of people who were qualified perform such interpretation. It was always the prerogative of the ruling king himself to make the final decisions on both the new script and actors. He often did so with the expert help of advisors, but authority to approve and later make changes were ultimately his.
For this reason, I would say that Atwill has likely reversed the causal relationship between the writings of Josephus and the Gospels. Josephus and his associates, as the adjuncts to Titus, would have taken any existing oral and written material circulating about the Herodian Christ(s), which they were intimately familiar with. They then would have performed the necessary "pruning", and then "grafted" onto them the Roman Christ Titus. Such Gospels could have then been used as secret companions to his own "secular" history of the Jewish Wars, which was composed roughly in parallel or after the fact.
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