Monday, April 25, 2011

Josephus - J.BJ 4.9.10§562 and Ἀσελγείας: More Nonsense from G. Thomas Hobson

Hi, JeremiaA--

You and G. Thomas Hobson refer to “Simon the Zealot” in Josephus.

If Simon was “the Zealot” why does Josephus write, “This success of Simon excited the zealots afresh; and though they were afraid to fight him openly in a fair battle, yet did they lay ambushes in the passes…” (cf. J. BJ 4.9.8§538ff)? The question is not rhetorical.

Josephus writes: “And thus did they roll themselves up and down the city, as in a brothel-house, and defiled it entirely with their impure actions; nay, while their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with their right hands; and when their gait was effeminate, they presently attacked men, and became warriors, and drew their swords from under their finely dyed cloaks, and ran every body through whom they alighted upon.” (J. BJ 4.9.10§556ff). Notice that §562 reads “ἐμιμοῦντο καὶ δι᾽ ὑπερβολὴν ἀσελγείας.”

The word “ἐμιμοῦντο” is critical because Simon and his band “mimicked,” imitated and play-acted as ladies of commerce. They did so for one reason only. Despite your protestation, the male soldiers dressed - and comported themselves - as female prostitutes to allure and mortally attack their enemy. The events were not disparate, but concomitant!

The idea that soldiers dress as women to attack an enemy is not an ancient one. It occurs in our own time, as well. See the Fox News report: “U.S. Troops Kill Taliban Commander Clad in Woman's Clothing” at,2933,459025,00.html  

--ez duz it Copyright © 25 April 2011

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