July 16, 2009

Theology in Josephus

Clipped this recently and meant to blog it - Peter Richardson on Josephus' theological explanation: "In 28/27 BC there was a famine (Ant.15.299-316). Though Josephus allows that the drought that helped to create the famine was a whim of nature, he explains theologically that God was angry." -- Herod, p.222

This is a perfect example of why I don't like the word "theological" when we're talking about the author's objectives in the Gospels and Acts. Richardson uses this word in absolutely the correct manner. It implies pure subjectivity. Fantasy. Creativity. Superstitious imagination. Pure invention.

Josephus explained something theologically. That can NOT be what the Gospel writers did. And whenever I hear a Biblical Scholar suggesting that - and I don't care how they disclaim it or qualify it - there is an automatic, inherent suggestion that the event or claim under discussion doesn't need to have actually happened. Just like Richardson's comment about Josephus.

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