Herodotus’ Histories and Israel’s History (notes from Wesselius)

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by Neil Godfrey

Continuing my notetaking here from earlier post:

(A work in progress obviously — an attempt to grasp overview of the arguments)

Chapter 1 (my observations – with my commentary – on Wesselius)

  1. The genre of historiography in its modern sense is generally held to have arisen relatively late in history. Hence Herodotus is called “The Father of History”. (Till Hellenistic era we have annals and chrono lists but not interpretative history as a literary genre.)

Sara Mandell and David Noel Freedman compare Herodotus and Primary History (Gen-2Kings) : both divided into 9 volumes; both separate the 8th and 9th books in the middle of an episode; …. and many other points of comparison (not all agree on their significance).

Was Herodotus aware of the work of Ezra?

Hey… just recalled I have Freedman and Mandell’s work somewhere…. better go back and check that one first….

More later…


(Oh groan! i have just uncovered by Mandell and Freedman, heavily marked throughout — recognizing some of “my ideas” that I have obviously taken from sections of it….. Time for a much needed catch-up revision!!!!)

Questions, — dialogues?

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by Neil Godfrey

What came first? Jerusalem or Galilee? (I’m not interested in the “contradictions” question as such but in the question from a “dialogue” perspective — what are the different theological debates presumably underlying these variations?)

Justin Martyr says that the resurrected Jesus instituted the eucharist, church orders, etc to his disciples in Jerusalem and from there they went out to the whole world preaching to the gentiles — just prior to the destruction of that city by the Romans. There is no hint of a Judas or an 11. 12 is the assumed number throughout.

Mark appears to say that the resurrected Jesus told his disicples to meet him in Galilee but they presumably stayed in Jerusalem (after having had the eucharist given them before his death, not after his resurrection)

Matthew has the disciples going to Galilee to meet Jesus and there the resurrected Jesus tells his disciples (even those who doubted?) to think back and remember what he taught them before his death and go out to the world preaching and converting.

John seems to have two endings: the first one has the resurrected Jesus deliver a commission to his disciples in Jerusalem; the second has him doing something similar in Galilee. (Not from Matthew’s mountain, however, but from a lakeside — c.f. Matthew’s Sermon on Mount with Luke’s Sermon on Plain??) Was this second a later editorial hand or was it the one author deliberately placing in apposition two traditions?

Luke has the Justin Martyr view but, if we regard him as the same author who wrote Acts, with a time delay built in to the time when Jerusaelem was destroyed.

Acts also has Jesus commanding his 11, then 12, to go out from Jerusalem throughout the world, but in the course of the narrative there is no real depiction of them doing this. One has to find ways of reconciling this command to the 12 with the activity of Paul while the 12 appear left in Jerusalem so much of the time.

The Nag Hammadi texts also reflect the different scenarios: scenes of Jesus in Galilee and scenes of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Does any of this relate to the Transiguration scene in Matthew, Mark and Luke being on a Galilee mountain?

Surely this question has been addressed in the literature. Damn not living near a major university library with the appropriate collection! What leads are there in the literature to follow up questions about the origins of these variant Galilee/Jerusalem traditions.

I know of works like Weeden’s and Kelber’s that argue Jerusalem is the place of the old and fading kingdom and Galilee represent the new (multi-racial) kingdom — but how does such a view explain the persistence of the Jerusalem trad for so long, even though to the “final” gospel, Luke, and repeated by Justin Martyr as if there is no alternative?

Help, someone, please! More questions to occupy me in the night and shopping queues….


Herodotus’ Histories and the Primary History of Israel

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

Something I’ve been wanting to start for ages is a compilation of notes from Wesselius’ book as much for my own interest as others. I know it’s not the most popular hypothesis in biblical studies, but gosh it is interesting and at least thought provoking, i think. By the time I finish I may well decide it has not a leg to stand on. That’s no worries. Either way, I am sure I will have learned much more about the relevant literary and archaeological and other worlds by the time I reach that point. But an opportunity came up in iidb for me to find an excuse to make a start, and this is it– just a start only! Let’s go…. with a view to refinement, elaboration, embarrassing deletions, up ahead…..

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