Joe, I've had a chance to read over your extra-CM material. I think it is right on track and will make an excellent follow-on to your first book. I can offer the following refinements:
1) The idea of "binding" and "loosing" is connected to the Osiris/Eleasar/Elijah cult of death, embalming, and resurrection, as in the binding of Gospel Lazarus with burial wrappings and then his later loosing from them. The "rock" or "stone" is also associated with Osiris, as well as the metaphor of "striking the rock".
2) Peter, as the "stone/rock" is made by the Gospels to be a type of Osiris, however one that ultimately rejects that role in a Roman context. The symbolism of Simon-Peter taking stonecutters and effectively digging his own tomb (in an attempt to escape death) before coming forth by day certainly has a sting to it. He refuses to be the "forerunner/messenger" for Titus, and therefore he is treated much like a much earlier rebel against Roman hegemony, Vercingetorix.
2) Josephus, on the other hand, leaps at the opportunity to play Osiris for the Romans and to "prepare the way" for Titus as the next Horus.
3) The former Horus was the Herodian Aristobulus III (as Jesus/Joshua). He was paired with Archaelaus son of Herod the Great (as the Moses of that generation) and with Phillip II as John the Baptist (as the Elijah). In the new era, Vespatian takes the role of Moses, as you deduce, and in leading an Exodus of Jews from Jerusalem, most to wanderings and death, a remnant to a promised land. Titus is the new Joshua/Jesus and Josephus becomes the new Elijah. Josephus has already taken the vacated role of Joseph of Arimathea (formerly played by Herod Antipas). He also assumes the role of Joseph the "minister" to pharaoh his "brother".
4) The Gospels to not depreciate the former Herodian Christ. He is accorded full honor, but the new Christ (Titus) expects that this devotion now be directed exclusively toward him. To reject the former Christ would have been tantamount to rejecting the entire Christ myth. By accepting the legitimacy of the previous occupant, Titus legitimizes the role for himself. However, it was necessary from a Roman perspective that the Herodian Christ should pass away and be succeeded by an even greater one, whose Gospel was one of "greater tidings". In contrast, Peter denied (or so it was said)the death of the former Christ and tried to gain the whole (Roman) world for Herodians. Ultimately he lost his life on account of it. In this way, Josephus, as one who laid down his own life (before the Romans) and received it back again (from the Romans), contrasts himself directly with Peter and provides the interpretive "key" to these Gospel passages.
5) I accept your interpretation of the passage about the temple tax. However, I would add that this passage also reveals that the former Jesus and his disciples were, as Herodians, also Roman citizens of very high status and personally exempt from such taxes.
6) Do you think that the expression "cutting off of hands" referred to the breaking of manacles/shackles? Also regarding the custom of cutting off the hands of suicide victims, was that an attempt to save the soul of such a person who took their own life? That is, they could enter Paradise but (figuratively) without their hands.
7) The idea of Josephus being the "child" and the one of fourty (or ninety-nine) that repented and was rescued seems reasonable. As a clarification however, I think the passage in Josephus that describes the emisaries of Titus that plead with Josephus to save himself is perhaps the Gospel proscription in reverse. I'll have to re-read that selection but if I recall correctly a large delegation ("church/congregation") comes to Josephus first, followed by two or three of his associates, followed by one intimate friend. Something to that effect anyway.
Good luck with this Joe, it looks extremely promising!
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