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Category Archives: mark 13:14

Some Interesting Coincidences

This is just a coincidence I noted when someone brought up Caligula’s attempt to deify himself and build a statue in his likeness in the Jewish Temple c. 40 CE

Andrew Criddle

Caligula sought c 40 CE to have his image venerated in the Jerusalem Temple. This episode has probably helped shape the present form of Mark 13.

For information about Caligula’s plans for erecting his image in the Jerusalem temple see josephus antiquities 18 and Philo Embassy to Gaius

These texts refer to Caligula by his true name Caius/Gaius

Abe

I am interested. Do you happen to know where I can find more information on that?

Me

Ιt’s also interesting to note that he was assassinated before he could follow through with it. If he had done it, the Jews would have probably went to war with Rome 26 years earlier than what history records.

Antiochus IV set up a statue of Zeus in the temple and the Jews went to war with the Greeks (and their Hellenized Jewish sycophants) over it. The Roman Emperor Hadrian set up a statue of Jupiter on the sacred ground of the temple and again 300 years later and the Jews went to war with Rome over it; even though they had their asses handed to them two times prior (1st Jewish/Roman war and the Kitos War). Both were “abominations” (the Hebrew word is interchangeable with “idol”) that caused desolation.

No doubt Gaius attempting to deify himself and erect a statue in his likeness in the temple would have infuriated the entire Judean populace. Though if Jesus is talking about Gaius and his potentially desolating abomination, then he would have to be alive sometime in the late 30s or very early 40s (40, 41). According to Josephus, this was around the time John the Baptist was imprisoned and killed.

DC Hindley

The timeline is believed to go something like this:

Winter 39/40 CE = Petronius, governor of Syria, receives Gaius’ order to erect a statue and proceeds to head towards Judea with 2 legions.

April/May 40 CE = Petronius negotiates with Jewish elders at Ptolemais. Sends report to Gaius.

June 40 CE = Gaius receives Petronius’ report and writes back urging him to expedite execution of his order.

August 40 CE = Petronius receives Gaius’ reply but hesitates to act on it.

End of September 40 CE = Agrippa I faints when he learns what Gaius has ordered and appeals to his childhood buddy, persuading him to send an order to Petronius to abandon the plan.

Beginning of November 40 CE = Petronius has more negotiations with the Jewish elders. Sends a request to Gaius not to erect the statue.

Ending of November 40 CE = Petronius receives Gaius’ order to abandon the plan that was sent in Sept.

Beginning of January 41 CE = Gaius receives the petition from Petronius sent in early November, and responds with an order for Petronius to commit suicide for stalling instead of acting.

24 January 41 CE = Gaius is murdered.

Beginning of March 41 CE = Petronius receives the news of Gaius’ death.

Beginning of April CE = Petronius receives Gaius’ letter ordering him to commit suicide, sent in early January, but naturally ignores it. Hey, the man’s dead!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2010 in caius, caligula, gaius, jesus, john the baptist, josephus, mark 13:14, philo

 

Hanukkah and the Book of Daniel

I wrote about when the book of Daniel was written in an earlier post, so I’ll just summarize it here.

Daniel was written during the earlier stages of the Maccabean revolt of 167 – 164 BCE, but the character(s) were placed in an earlier stage of history to make it seem as though the events of the Maccabean revolt were foretold during the exile. This is a classic literary trope; of commenting about contemporary events via a past scenario. The “abomination causing desolation” is the erection of an idol of Zeus in the temple (Dan 9:27, 11:31) that the Seleucid king Antiochus IV set up in 167 BCE. It should be noted that “abomination” in Hebrew can also mean “idol”.

Daniel’s predictions about how the rebellion would end failed, however. After Alexander the Great conquered a large portion of the “known world”, his empire was split after he died. The southern part of his empire was ruled by his general Ptolemy and his progeny, and the northern (but more accurately “eastern”, but for Daniel it’s north of Judaea) part was ruled by his general Seleucus and his progeny. This is ostensibly described well by Dan in chapter 11. Dan predicts that Antiochus (the “king of the north” i.e. a Seleucid) would be killed by a Ptolemaic king (the “king of the south”). Dan also predicts that after Antiochus sets up the statue of Zeus and stops the sacrificial system (Dan 12:11-12) — which Antiochus did in 167 BCE — that there will be 1,335 days until the world ends, which is approximately three years.

Antiochus actually died from illness, and the revolt lasted until 164 BCE when the Maccabees drove out the Greek forces/idols from Judea (as well as the Hellenized Jews who rejected circumcison) and rededicated (hanukkah in Hebrew) the temple.

54 According to the time, and according to the day wherein the heathens had defiled it, in the same was it dedicated anew with canticles, and harps, and lutes, and cymbals.

55 And all the people fell upon their faces, and adored, and blessed up to heaven, him that had prospered them.

56 And they kept the dedication of the altar eight days, and they offered holocausts with joy, and sacrifices of salvation, and of praise.

57 And they adorned the front of the temple with crowns of gold, and escutcheons, and they renewed the gates, and the chambers, and hanged doors upon them.

58 And there was exceeding great joy among the people, and the reproach of the Gentiles was turned away.

59 And Judas, and his brethren, and all the church of Israel decreed, that the day of the dedication of the altar should be kept in its season from year to year for eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month of Casleu, with joy and gladness.

– 1 Maccabees 4:56–59

A similar event happens in 132 CE. The Roman emperor Hadrian erected a statue of Jupiter on the temple mount which incited the Bar-Kokhba revolt. The results of which eerily match Jesus’ prediction in Mark 13. Another “abomination causing desolation” standing where it doesn’t belong (statue of Jupiter, Mark 13:14), the complete destruction of the temple in 135 CE at the failure of the Bar-Kokhba revolt (Mark 13:1-2), Bar-Kokhba being called the messiah/christ for driving out the Romans but was ultimately a false christ/messiah (Mark 13:5-6), Christians being persecuted because of Bar-Kokhba’s messanic claims (Mark 13:9). And then, after the failure of the revolt, the Jews are evicted from Judaea (Mark 13:14 those who are in Judea flee to the mountains) and the area was renamed to “Palestine” by Hadrian.

Could the gospel narratives also be following the same theme of Daniel? As in, a contemporaneous account retrojected into the past?

Of course, the writer of Mark gives it away by having Jesus break the fourth wall. Why else would he say “let the reader understand” (Mark 13:14)? “Jesus” is not actually talking to Peter, et. al. in this pericope. The writer – talking through Jesus – is talking to the reader of this narrative, describing a situation that’s contemporary to the writer/reader (either 70 CE or 132 CE). “This generation” (Mark 13:30) is not Peter and company, but the reader.

What makes things more suspicious is that there’s no evidence of any Christians knowing any narrative gospels prior to the Bar-Kokhba revolt. Just like there’s no evidence of any Jews knowing of a “great prophet” named Daniel prior to the Maccabean rebellion. Jesus son of Sirach, writing c. 180 BCE lists a bunch of “great men” in his “Wisdom of ben Sirach” (chapters 44-50) but doesn’t include Daniel. 1 Maccabees, writing about 80 years later c. 100 BCE lists many of the same as Jesus b.Sirach, but includes Daniel as well (1 Macc 2:60). Which is why Daniel is ketuvim and not nevi’im.

The Tisha B’Av of Judaism in 135 CE might be the Hanukkah of Christianity, with Mark playing the role of Daniel.

 
 
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