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Document Details :
Title: The Ark in Philistia According to Josephus
Author(s): BEGG, C.T.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 72 Issue: 4 Date: Dec. 1996
1 Samuel 5, the account of the ark's stay in Philistine country, is a story of dramatic reversal. Carried off initially as a passive, impotent piece of booty to the temple of Dagon, the ark, by the story's end, has become a source of destruction and terror for its captors. In this essay I set out to investigate Josephus' version of 1 Samuel 5 in Antiquitates Judaicae (hereafter Ant.) 6,1-61. My investigation of the Josephan passage will proceed by way of a double comparison. First, I compare this with its Biblical Vorlageas represented by the following major witnesses: MT (BHS), 4QSama, Codex Vaticanus (hereafter B), the Lucianic (hereafter L) or Antiochene MSS of the LXX, the Vetus Latina (hereafter VL) and Targum Jonathan on the Former Prophets (hereafter TJ). In addition, I compare Josephus' account of the ark's stay in Philistia with the references to this episode found in Rabbinic tradition, Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (hereafter LAB) 558, and the Samaritan document known as “The Samaritan Chronicle No. II”9. By way of this two-sided comparison I hope to find answers to the following overall questions concerning Ant. 6,1-6. (1) Given the noteworthy differences between MT and BL 1 Samuel 5, which text-form(s) of the chapter did Josephus utilize? (2) How and why has Josephus dealt with the data of his Biblical source and does his handling of these evidence any affinities with their treatment elsewhere in Jewish tradition? (3) How, overall, does Josephus' version of the story compare with its Vorlage?