En Jesus hos Josefus
Det finns en berättelse som i sitt upplägg är så lik passionshistorien att det är svårt att dra någon annan rimlig slutsats än att den berättelsen varit den viktigaste inspirationskällan till Markus (eller hans källa) när han konstruerade passionshistorien. Det är den judiska historikern Josefus Flavius som berättar om en viss Jesus som var son till Ananus och som ca år 60 tillfångatas, pryglas och ställs inför den romerske prokuratorn Albinus. Denne anser att Jesus är galen och släpper honom fri. I samband med kriget får denne Jesus en sten i huvudet och avlider. Om man bortser från att det är Albinus och inte Pilatus som är prokurator och att händelsen därigenom utspelar sig i fel tid, får man en närmast perfekt överensstämmelse.
Josefus berättar om de mäktiga tecken som föregick Jerusalems och templets förstörelse. Han berättar om en stjärna som liknade ett svärd (likt Betlehemstjärnan) blev stående över staden och att en komet visade sig på himlen i ett helt år: ”Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year”. Vidare berättar han om en händelse från den 8:e (eller 9:e) nisan, (dvs, en knapp vecka fore påskhögtiden) lystes altaret och templet upp så att det under en halv time var lika ljust som på dagen: “at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour.” Här var det alltså ljust mitt i natten, medan det när Jesus hängde på korset var mörkt i tre timmar mitt på dagen fram till också den nionde timmen då Jesus dog och förhänget i templet brast.
Och naturligtvis är det några dagar före påsk också dags att leda in påskalammet till mitten av templet: “At the same festival [the feast of unleavened bread] also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple.” Jesus beskrivs också som ett lamm som några dagar före påsk kommer till templet. Ytterligare ett tecken på den förestående katastrofen kom när en massiv och tung dörr i templet med Guds kraft öppnades mitt i natten. Vakterna sprang och larmade tempelchefen som med stor möda lyckades stänga öppningen. I Matteusevangeliet öppnar en Guds ängel graven genom att rulla bort den tunga stenen, och vakterna springer och larmar översteprästerna.
”Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. Now those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness.”
En vecka efter påsthögtiden, den 21:a nisan, såg man på himlen soldater i rustning körande sina vagnar:
“before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities.”
Och vid pingsten inträffade en jordbävning och en röst dånade från himlen:
“as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence."
Detta ska jämföras med det tempelförhänge som enligt Markus brast vid Jesu död och den jordbävning som enligt Matteus inträffade. Och direkt efter detta kommer vår lilla berättelse om Jesus, son till Ananus:
I samband med en stor högtid kommer Jesus till Jerusalem och orsakar irritation och bråk i templet genom sina profetiska proklamationer. Han predikar om den kommande domen och varnar för vad som ska drabba folket, Jerusalem och templet. Han ropar ”Ve, Jerusalem” och säger att detta kommer att innebära slutet för det normala livet, såsom exempelvis giftermål (jämför Matt 24:38). Först tillfångatas Jesus av de äldste bland folket. Därefter är det de ledande judarna som tror att Jesus drivs av ett gudomligt raseri och överlämnar honom till den romerske prokuratorn som låter prygla honom in på bara benen utan att han ber om nåd. Prokuratorn förhör sedan Jesus, men han besvarar inte frågorna. Prokuratorn frågar Jesus varifrån han kommer men får inget svar (Joh 19:9). Han beslutar då att släppa Jesus (Luk 23:22).
Detta skulle kunna vara en sammanfattning av passionshistorien i evangelierna, men är en skildring från ”Om det judiska kriget”, som Josefus blev klar med år 78, och och jag anser den vara en av de huvudsakliga källorna till Markus’ uppdiktade passionshistoria. För den som vill läsa hela stycket återger jag det härunder på engelska:
6:5:(3) Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation, but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star 4 resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, 5 [Nisan,] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple. Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner 6 [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. Now those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. So these publicly declared that the signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence."
is still more terrible, there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and
a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the
city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is
our custom for every one to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a
sudden to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice
from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice
against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole
people!" This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the
lanes of the city. However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had
great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a
great number of severe stripes; yet did not he either say any thing for
himself, or any thing peculiar to those that chastised him, but still went on
with the same words which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as
the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought
him to the Roman procurator, where he was whipped till his bones were laid
bare; yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears,
but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of
the whip his answer was, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" And when Albinus (for he was
then our procurator) asked him, Who he was? and whence he came? and why he
uttered such words? he made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did
not leave off his melancholy ditty, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and
dismissed him. Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this
man did not go near any of the citizens, nor was seen by them while he said
so; but he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his
premeditated vow, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" Nor did he give ill words to any of
those that beat him every day, nor good words to those that gave him food; but
this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a melancholy presage
of what was to come. This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals; and he
continued this ditty for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse,
or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in
earnest fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; for as he was going round upon
the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, "Woe, woe to the city again, and
to the people, and to the holy house!" And just as he added at the last, "Woe,
woe to myself also!" there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote
him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages
he gave up the ghost.
 Robert M. Price, The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, s. 314.