By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Life of Josephus, Part 2

After returning from Rome, where he had helped secure the freedom of some incarcerated priests, Josephus found that many people in Israel were contemplating rebellion against the Romans. He tried to talk them out of it because he could see that they were no match for the Romans, but those enthused about rebellion would not listen to him.

Josephus finally began to fear that if he continued to speak against rebellion, he would be perceived by the other Jews as an enemy, so he withdrew to the inner court of the temple. I take that to mean that he busied himself at the temple so that he could avoid what was going on in the general population of Jerusalem. He eventually became more involved again, though, and was dismayed to see so many of the rebels with weapons. He and those of like mind were frankly afraid to speak too strongly against rebellion for fear of being killed, but they did try to persuade the rebels to lie low and wait a bit. Apparently, they had high hopes that someone named Gessius would come with a large force and put an end to the rebellion. Gessius finally arrived, but was beaten, which just made things worse, as it gave the Jewish people the hope and belief that they could beat the Romans, so they continued their rebellius plans.

I tried to find out something about Gessius from wikipedia. He was a Roman Procurator of Judea 64-66 a.d. He is mentioned in the article, "The Great Jewish Revolt," toward the end of the "Background" paragraph. It isn't a lot of information, but he was a Roman leading Roman forces, so that lets you know that Josephus' hope was that Gessius would defeat the rebels early on, so as to prevent much greater bloodshed and war. It may be, too, that Josephus was quite content with the status quo.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Pop said...

According to a short piece at latter-rain.com, Gessius Florus was a despotic individual who stole from the people. The description is not of one that you would expect a fair minded individual to support. I have no idea how accurate or unbiased latter-rain might be as I found it in a quick search.

Pop

1:45 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Interesting, Pop. Wikipedia said something about Gessius Florus stealing from the people. Mostly, I was wondering why Josephus was hoping he would come in a quell the rebellion, and as nearly as I can tell, it was because an early defeat for the Jews would get things back to normal, whatever normal would have been--at least no warring. And that Gessius was a Roman leader and so Josephus expected him to come in with a force and stop it.

It's been interesting to find out more about Josephus because usually people just quote from his history and don't say a whole lot about him--what he was like, what motivated him.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Pop said...

Mary,

I've done a little more searching and I have no idea why Josephus would want him to quell the rebellion. All the information that I have found indicates that he was a cruel and ruthless man, conducting crucifications wholesale in sight of the city to set an example. Perhaps it was the age old matter of the fact that they were after all Jews, a people that over time have been viewed as expendable.

Pop

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Pop said...

Mary,

I'm still trying to find more on Gessius Florus without much luck. From what I've been able to find thus far he was born in 64AD and was immeadiately appointed Procurator of Judea and died in 66AD. In other words there isn't much other than those two years. Thought if I could find out something about him maybe it would shed some light on other things. Still can't come up with a reason for Jesephus wanting him to stop the rebellion, given his excessively cruel ways.

Pop

6:09 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Well, thanks for looking anyway. I haven't found any more than that either. And, like you said, given Gessius' cruelty, it seems like too much for Josphesus to have wanted him to stop the rebellion, because it would have been so harsh for the Jewish people.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Hi Mary! I just wanted to know that I always read with interest. I do not always have something interesting to say though.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Pop said...

Mary,

Did you ever come to any conclusions regarding Josephus as Gessius Florus???

Pop

7:19 AM  

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