From: Gaynor Roberts|
Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 07:50:24
An interesting theory. But rather than being a descendant of Alexandra and Timius who Josephus clearly states were childless, why could Paul not possibly have been from Alexander's line (killed by Herod in BC7). In 18BC he married Glaphyra, daughter of Archelaus, King of Cappadocia. They had 3 children: Tigranes who was childless, Alexander and allegedly an unnamed girl. It is this child who could have been the mother of Paul/Saul and would account for lack of information on his provenance. Salampsio's husband, Phasaelus, would then have been Paul's great grandfather. It might also account for why Paul was from Tarsus. Would appreciate comments.
Subject: Reply to Gaynor
Thanks for the comment Gaynor. True, the theory identifying Paul's place in the Herodian family tree rests on the assumption that Josephus misspoke a fact regarding Paul of Tarsus. Taking this route depends on a) no better alternatives and b) the belief that Josephus altered his histories to suit the political ends of his Roman masters (or that they were edited after the texts were out of Josephus' hands). I am in the camp holding the view that Josephus wrote with a political end in mind, however, I initially tried to follow the assumption that his alterations were that of omission rather than commission (i.e., that he omitted certain facts rather than actively changed facts). But the further I got into my research in the area of Josephus and Jesus / Paul, the further my thinking moved to the belief that Josephus did in fact alter certain facts to suit Roman interests. This where I reached the tipping point--Jesus as 'the Egyptian' of Josephus.
Once reaching that conclusion regarding Josephus, it becomes exponentially harder to put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle back together again. My working assumption is that the vast majority of facts contained in Josephus are true except in rare instances surrounding the subjects of Jesus / Paul. If Paul (also known as Saul) was a Herodian, I reasoned he came from the Phasaelus wing of the Herod family (i.e., nephew of Herod and son of Herod's brother Phasael killed in the war with King Antigonus in 40 BCE) and that Paul was also of Hasmonean descent. As to the children of Alexander ben Herod and Glaphyra, Josephus says they had two sons in Antiquities. Ant. XVII 1:2 (12). Note: in this passage Josephus lists both sons and daughters for Aristobulus (brother of Alexander) so the implication is that Josephus is giving us all of Alexander's children. Later in Antiquities, he says Glaphyra and Alexander had three children. Ant. XVII 13:1 (314). Did he mean to say two children in Antiquities XVII:13 or did he leave out a child in Antiquities XVII:1? I am unaware of a direct statement in Josephus that Alexander had a daughter; however, such a contention does harmonize the two statement above . One son of Alexander, Tigranes, was married to a daughter of Pheroras (brother of Herod) after Alexander ben Herod was executed. The name of the wife of the other son, Alexander ben Alexander, is never given by Josephus to my knowledge. There no mention in any of the histories of Alexander's rumored daughter to my knowledge.
>>Salampsio's husband, Phasaelus, would then have been Paul's great grandfather.<<
This is where you lost me. If you make Paul of Tarsus a grandson of Alexander ben Herod then he was not a direct descendant of Phasaelus ben Phasael (nephew of Herod), unless you know the name of Alexander's wife or you are claiming the mythical daughter of Alexander ben Herod married a son / grandson of Phasaelus. Give me a cite if you have evidence on this count. I think you are confusing Pheroras with Phasaelus and also the wives of two sons of Alexander ben Herod. It was Tigranes who was married to the daughter of Pheroras, not Alexander ben Alexander. We don't know the identity of Alexander's wife. Also, according to Josephus, Tigranes and Alexander disavowed their Jewish religion upon returning to Cappadocia after Herod's death in 4 BCE. I would find it odd if a grandson of Alexander ben Herod went on to become a Jewish rabbi and member of the Sanhedrin or refer to himself as a "Hebrew of Hebrews" (i.e., a Jew's Jew).
My theory on Paul's place in the Herodian family tree is, of course, reasoned speculation but I think it carries more weight than other alternatives I've studied. Surely others see it differently as there is room for disagreement.
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Subject: Apostle Paul
I found it very interesting to find your comments regarding Apostle Paul may have been part of Herod's family. I am leading the discussion in Sunday School this coming Sunday from Acts 9 where Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus.
I've been trying to understand who he was prior to being converted, why he would have been such a raging maniac against Christianity, what all the credentials would have meant to him (Phil 3) prior to conversion.
I'm not able to discuss with you in a very... ummm....logical/intelligent way... but I found your information very fascinating!!!
The way he met the Lord, the way he was changed, the way God used him.. he truly became a vessel chosen and fit for the Lord's use.
I suppose if I'm looking for a conversion experience like Saul had, I'd better be ready to have the shipwrecks/beatings, hunger/thirst, etc that he endures as well....
Thanks for the feedback Ilva. My theories are unconventional so they are not for everyone.
Subject: Paul, Descendant of Herod
Very interesting indeed, but I have noticed a flaw if you will. In the section you titled Paul of the tribe of benjamin, "Hebrew of Hebrews". Second paragraph. Many people get this confused. I will explain. All the tribes are called Israelites, all twelve. Their race and language were Hebrew. Only the tribe of Judah were called Jews. In the Old Testament, when the tribes divided into two nations. Northern and southern. The northern tribes were taken into captivity. The tribes in the south consisted of Judah the kingly line. Levites the priestly line and a small portion of the Manasseh tribe. My point is, all are Israelites, but not all are Jews. Only the tribe of Judah are Jews. Israel is their nation. Hebrew is their race and language. So when Paul says he is "Hebrew of Hebrews, he is bragging of sorts that he is fully one of them.
Also Paul was very zealous for the law. He sought out christians for that very reason. It wasn't till his conversion, that he had a change of heart about the law and implemented grace.
Another error I see is with Herod and the temple priests. Herod threw out all the priests (the ones that were supposed to be priests) and appointed who he wanted. At that time the priests, sadducees and pharisees were not of the tribe of levi as it should have been, so many were making their way into the group. I am not disputing that he may have been a relative of Herod's and that is how he got in to the Sanhedrin, but the Sanhedrin was not of the priestly line (Levi) during Herod's reign.
In the first Paragraph of "Hebrew of Hebrews". You say. "The tribe of benjamin gave the JEWS their first king, Saul". Benjamin gave the ISRAELITES their first king, which included the jews (tribe of Judah). All the tribes are Israelites but not all Israelites are Jews! Only the tribe of Judah is called Jews! There has been much confusion on this issue. Which has lead to many errors in history and in figuring out the New Testament.
Subject: Response to Linda
"Only the tribe of Judah were called Jews."
So in your opinion all the Kohanim priests are not Jews because they are not from the tribe of Judah? That's beyond ridiculous. Lost somewhere in there is a historical point about Samaria and the split between the northern and southern kingdoms. Yes, the Samaritans set up their own priesthood with their own temple on Mount Gerizim. The northern kingdom was conquered and many of it's people deported. The Hasmoneans later conquered Samaria, Galilee and Idumea destroying the Samaritan temple in the process. I would not contest an argument that Samaritans were not truly Jewish (reasonable minds could differ) but it does not follow from that point to a conclusion that one has to be of the tribe of Judah to be a Jew.
"The Benjamites did not merge into Judah, for they were a part of the northern kingdom that was taken away by the Assyrians."
Just flat out incorrect. The homeland of the tribe of Benjamin was in the south and included Jerusalem itself. The Benjamites were not taken away by the Assyrians when the northern kingdom fell. The priests of Levi prosecuted a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Benjamites (the original royal tribe) nearly whipping them out of existence. Link.
"Another error I see is with Herod and the temple priests. Herod threw out all the priests (the ones that were supposed to be priests) and appointed who he wanted. At that time the priests, sadducees and pharisees were not of the tribe of levi as it should have been"
How can I put this kindly, bullshit. All Temple priests were of the tribe of Levi before, during and after Herod. Sadducees and Pharisees were religious parties that had no tribal requirement. One could be a member of any tribe and join the Pharisees or Sadducees. Yes, Herod appointed the high priest during his reign but that individual was always a Kohanim priest (meaning not only a member of the tribe of Levi but, also, a father to son descendant of Aaron).