Again on Ralph Ellis

Ralph has responded to my most recent blog post at great length after I invited him here to engage concerns with his scholarship directly. I told him I would not delete his posts, but I would not allow him to post if he showed himself unwilling or unable to address concerns with his arguments. I’ve consolidated my responses to his comments in the following:

Thank you for taking the time to post here, Ralph, but I invited you here to discuss Steve’s concerns with your claims, not your concerns with Tom or with his claims. Nevertheless, let it never be said that I am not accommodating. I’m not interested in engaging your personal attacks against Tom or anyone else, but I will respond to the claims you highlight from your book. However, I expect you to do me the same courtesy and fully address my concerns. If you refuse to do so, I will disallow future posting. I’m not going to delete anything unless it is vulgar or spamming, but I will ban you from commenting if you depart any further from the discussion I delineate, or attempt to sidestep my criticisms. I hope you understand that my time is important to me, as I’m sure your time is to you. I will not go diving down rabbit holes just to help you muddy the water.

Now, regarding your conflation of King Abgarus and King Monobazus, you don’t really provide any evidence, you simply assert their conflation at a sublevel. Instead of saying you conflated them because they were the same person (flagrant begging the question), you simply say you conflated them because their wives were the same person, as a result of Adiabene and Edessa being the same place. You’re still begging the question, you’re just moving the fallacy a couple steps away from your main claim to obscure it a bit. You do not provide a word of evidence for these identifications except for a forced inference you impose upon Josephus’ text in order to harmonize an artificial conflict. In other words, you see Josephus’ lack of reference to Edessa and assume—based on no evidence—that he would have had to have mentioned it.

Assumptions about what an historian would have had to have done do not form legitimate methodological bases for conflating toponyms and personal names, though. Historical authors frequently leave out quite important information for reasons that are not clear to us. For instance, some people claim that the absence of the mention of Belshazzar from Herodotus’ histories means Herodotus didn’t know about him, but they overlook the fact that Herodotus also never mentions Nebuchadnezzar, of whom Herodotus could not possibly have been ignorant. Josephus is actually quite infamous for glaring omissions from his retelling of Jewish history that he obviously felt did not reflect on Judaism the way he wanted. His Antiquities and his War are also inconsistent, crafting the narratives with different details to satisfy the rhetorical concerns of each composition. In short, I don’t see any reason whatsoever we are required to find Edessa or its rulers in Josephus’ text. If you wish to insist that we cannot leave the text without identiying Edessa within it, you will have to provide something well beyond the naked assertion that he just cannot have left it out.

Next, the existence of the kingdom of Adiabene is not in doubt, nor is there any historical need whatsoever to find some candidate from the archaeological record to identity with it. Its history, quite independent and distinct from that of Edessa, is narrated in a variety of ancient documents. For example, Strabo, Ptolemy, and Pliny all describe the geographic location of Adiabene, as well as the location of Edessa. There is some geographic overlap, but that is easily explained by the fact that Adiabene controlled the region for a time. See this text for discussion of the geographic descriptions of Adiabene. There is simpy no reason on earth to think that they are the same city. Josephus’ omission of Edessa is absolutely irrelevant. It certainly does not serve as evidentiary leverage for ignoring what other writers have to say about the two regions. The evidence unilaterally and unequivocally precludes your thesis, and there is simply no evidence whatsoever to support it. No responsible historian would ever subscribe to such a stunningly problematic thesis, and that is not rhetoric at all; the claim violates every single principle of historiography I can think of.

Next, you claim that you were constrained in your use of Greek and Hebrew fonts, and that you had to provide JPEG images of all occurrences of those scripts. You don’t make clear whether you produced the JPEGs or they were produced by Innodata using a text you submitted. If you did it, it would mean that whatever came through in the book was what was in the JPEG you submitted. They can’t edit the fonts in a JPEG image. If you mean to say you submitted the text and they turned it into a JPEG image, then there’s an interesting problem. The mistake was the confusion of a final sigma with a non-final one, which requires at least knowing the Greek alphabet and what the final sigma represents. I find it hard to believe that an Innodata inputer saw the final sigma, knew it was just the form of the sigma when it appears at the end of a word, but still managed to accidentally input a non-final sigma. No, the error found in your book is quite common to beginners who are typing out Greek from a transliteration. I am compelled to conclude that this was your error, but I am not going to pursue the argument any further; it does not seem to me that would admit it even if it were your error. The point of highlighting this error was to expose an obvious lack of familiarity with the relevant languages, which I believe is a valid and accurate conclusion, irrespective of the source of the error in your book.

As an example of some other concerns that are not based on inputter error, I would point to pp. 37–38, where you argue that the “Aramaic-Hebrew”  is a gentilic noun with the definite article, thus “The Adyab,” or “The Adia-bene.” You interpret it as a people because you understand the –bene suffix to represent the Hebrew word for “son” (thus “sons of Addai”). You also happen to fumble—or Innodata fumbled—the form of the final nun in the Hebrew בן (not בנ). You then accuse the Talmudic scribes of misunderstanding the word, resulting in the initial ḥet in two spellings and the final pe in one of those. Your analysis is staggeringly uninformed on several levels. The shorter form found in the Talmud and in the Syriac Chronicle of Arbela are original. The Greek Adiabene is secondary. We know this because the –ene suffix was one of a small number of Greek components attached to toponyms during the Parthian period when the Seleucid empire split up many Achaemenid satrapies into more manageable sizes. Compare “Adiabene” to the other names Osrhoene, Inigene, Tinigene, Akabene, Zabdicene, Dolomene, Sittacene, Mesene, Calachene, and Characene. The other widespread suffices that were added include –ena, -ia, and –itis. The –ene on the end of the toponym Adiabene has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Hebrew word בן. It comes from a Greek suffix added to the names of the cities after their annexation and division by the Seleucids. The Aramaic form without the suffix is original.

Anyone with a grasp of the Hebrew would not have understood it as “Sons of Addai” anyway, since the word you have read as “son” comes at the end of the word, rather than the beginning (Aramaic and Hebrew don’t do that), and also because gentilic nouns (“people of . . . , or “-ites”) end in yod (the long /i/ vowel). Finally, the Greek is based on the Aramaic word, which is represented in the Aramaic and the Syriac primarily with the ḥet. It is the Talmudic rendering with the he that is mistaken, the very spelling you naively think is original. Your etymology is stunningly uninformed and is flatly wrong.

It doesn’t seem to me you have much facility at all with the languages, but I’m willing to be proven wrong. Can you translate the following Greek sentence and parse the verbal elements:

εἰσέλθετε εἰς ἀγορὰν δῶρα παρά γε τῶν ἀδικούντων ληφόμενοι

And then translate this sentence from the Aramaic and parse the verbal elements:

שלם מראן אלה שמיא ישאל שגיא בכל עדן

Both of these sentences were taken from beginning grammars. I would appreciate a direct response to these two requests, whether that means providing the answers or acknowledging that you are unable.

Moving on (I’m skipping over much of your concerns with Tom’s treatment of your claims), you claim Josephus saw three “acquaintances” (ἐγνώρισα) being crucified and arranged to have them released and treated. You nakedly assert that these “acquaintances” are “three leaders of the Jewish Revolt.” There is no basis whatsoever for this identification, it’s just something you’ve conjured out of thin air. The text says nothing about the prisoners being leaders of the revolt, and the fact that Josephus mentions them as acquaintances in no way suggests they were leaders. Josephus uses even more intimate language for all kinds of men, women, and children. As Steve Mason points out, Josephus finds 190 “friends” and “close friends” among people locked up in the temple in §419, as well as others on crosses near a village in §420. Authors in this period inflated their importance by multiplying their intimate associations. These are unquestionably not leaders of the Jewish revolt. Finally, even if we assume that these three people were leaders of the Jewish revolt, the notion that because “King Izas” was a leader of the revolt, he had to be one of these three is flagrantly fallacious. To call that notion “axiomatic” is utter nonsense.

You say one may not agree with the speculation, but “the comparison is legitimate.” This is simply false. The comparison is not legitimate in any sense of the word, nor do the rest of the stories match. You are forced in your effort to make these things align to fudge meaning, ignore details, and subjugate the contexts to your conclusion. It’s flagrant begging the question. Your concluding remarks about Tom’s neglect of the context and of the relevant primary texts is laughable, as you repeatedly ignore the context and the historical data in the interest of your naked assertions. You’re attempting to talk down to him and his methodologies, but you’ve yet to show a single instance of respect for professionalism or the standard methodologies of biblical studies, historiography, or anything related. Youre primary concern is quite clearly whatever methodology you naively believe will support your presuppositions.

Now, getting on to what I actually asked you to come here to address. You claim Caruso is ignorant of the “true” history that Josephus was hiding. You go on to state the following:

 you cannot apply the rules of grammar and syntax on sentences that were written as ‘in jokes’ for a privileged few.

This is the most ridiculous claim you’ve provided to date. Basically, you’re saying the standard exegetical and historical methodologies cannot hold in instances where you believe someone is masking the details in pseudonyms in a way that only the initiated will understand. In this way you attempt to insulate your argument from actual informed scholarship. No matter what anyone says, you just have to point out that they’re not initiated, and so no matter what they don’t know what’s going on. You are the sole arbiter of the truth, and the sole proprietor of the exegetical keys to the text. This is amateur nonsense. Obviously, the claim that an author is cryptically hiding details underneath the text requires quite clear and definitive evidence, yet you can provide none. The lynchpin for your entire claim is the notion that Josephus could not possibly have omitted Abgarus from his texts. You can provide nothing to support this claim except the strength of your own assertion. I’ve already addressed the fallacy of asserting an ancient historian had to have included this or that figure. The additional fallacy here is the argument by assertion. Your entire claim quite literally comes down to “because I say so.” You obviously can provide nothing beyond your own word. Josephus’ comment about Adiabene being “beyond the Euphrates” doesn’t support your argument in the least. It’s not a clue of anything. Adiabene was located beyond the Euphrates.

Your claim that Queen Helena of Adiabene was living in Edessa and married to Abgar, the king of Edessa, is equally without merit of any kind whatsoever. Numerous historians have addressed the separate identities of the rulers of Adiabene and Edessa, particularly because the two locales were so important to early Christian proselytizing. The confusion of historical figures in later histories is quite widespread in antiquity, including within Syriac sources like Moses of Chorene, whose testimony you so naively prioritize. You are now the one cherry-picking sources by ignoring what the chonologically much closer texts have to say in order to assert the accuracy of some writing 400 years later. Several other authors from that period conflated Helena of Adiabene with Helena, the mother of Constantine. Are you going to write another book claiming they’re all the same Helena?

You’ve also obviously not considered the contemporary concerns with the text of Moses’ history. The oldest extant manuscript comes from the 14th century, and it appears to be based on heavily edited editions from the 7th and 8th centuries. For instance, Moses refers to four different Armenias that were not established until Justinian I organized the provinces in the 6th century. Moses claims the Iranians advanced into Bithynia, but that didn’t happen until a war from the early 7th century CE. Moses has also been criticized precisely for conflating figures and altering historical texts in the interest of his rhetorical aims. Some scholars defend him, however, pointing out that that was how history was written back then. In short, your dependence upon a much later and very tendentious historian is misguided. The propping up of your entire thesis on the legitimacy of that historian’s claim is pseudo-history.

The worst methodological mistake you make throughout all of your texts, however, is your insistance on synthesizing select data from various different disparate sources, while dismissing data that conflict with your preconceptions. You refuse to acknowledge errors where errors are beyond doubt, while asserting errors where the texts are clearly accurate, all in an effort to manipulate the sources in the aid of your presuppositions. Then you bark about people not being in the know, and not understanding because they’re trying to do history instead of acknowledging that the truth is cryptically hidden underneath the surface of the text. This is pseudo-scholarship, pure and simple. You don’t really defend any of your claims, as far as I can tell, you just hide behind rhetorical contrarianism that amounts to little more than “Nu-uh!” I’ve yet to see you respond legitimately to a call for references or for argument. Most commonly, you just reassert your original thesis without further argument. And this despite the fact that you accuse others of not providing direct evidence, or not providing scholarly support. You ignore all the standards of historiography only to prop up asinine claims on your naked assertions. Your research contributes nothing to history or religious studies.


27 responses to “Again on Ralph Ellis

  • Tom Verenna

    Quite well said, Dan. Thanks for this.

  • Ralph Ellis Swings and Misses Again–More on Jesus as King Arthur and Other Oddities | Fleeing Nergal, Seeking Stars

    [...] left is a variety of responses at more of the complaints from Ellis, including from Tom, Daniel, and me. Along the way, Ellis finds himself banned from various blogging venues because of his [...]

  • ralfellis

    Thanks for reviewing the previous replies I made and submitting this new enquiry. I will fill in the relevant information that will explain the situation for you.

    .

    >>Now, regarding your conflation of King Abgarus and 
    >>King Monobazus, you don’t really provide any evidence
    >>You do not provide a word of evidence for these identifications

    The short answer is that it is a complex topic.  I wrote a 600-page book, and you require a summary in one paragraph, which is not really possible.  However, these are the main points:

    a.
    The Syriac historians maintain that the wife of King Abgarus V was Queen Helena.
    Quote – Moses of Chorene:
    “The chief of King Abgar’s wives, who was named Helena … Helena could not bear to live with idolators, so she went away to Jerusalem in the time of Claudius, during the famine which Agabus had predicted. Spending all her treasures she bought an immense amount of grain in Egypt, which she distributed to the poor, to which Josephus bears witness. Her famous mausoleum stands before the gate at Jerusalem to this very day. (Moses of Chorene, History of the Armenians 2:35.) ”

    This description, with this Helena identified with the Judaean famine relief and the tomb in Jerusalem, means that this IS Queen Helena of Adiabene. And here she is the wife of King Abgarus.

    But if Queen Helena was married to King Abgarus V, then King Monobazus-Izas (the elder) of Adiabene and King Abgarus V of Edessa must be the same person. (She did not marry two different kings, because the surrounding events are the same too.)

    b.
    Likewise we have another history that says the same thing:
    Quote – Ganjakets:
    “She (the mother of Jalal) astonished all who saw or heard about her. For she had spent all her possessions for the poor and needy (like Abgar’s wife, Heghine) and she fed herself by her own embroidery work. History of the Armenians, Kirakos Ganjakets”

    Heghine is Queen Helena. Again this is a later history, but there are very few extant works from the 1st century from this region.

    c.
    An earlier text that we do have is Acts of the Apostles. This says:
    Quote – Acts Apostles:
    “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea. Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” Act 11:28-30

    Professor Eisenman says that this Agabus is one and the same as King Abgarus, and I would agree with him here:
    Quote – Eisenman:
    “According to Eusebius, the “Agbar” or “Abgar” in question (I prefer to use the former, because of its clear connection with the garbled “Agabus” in Acts and the matter of the famine or famine relief ) was actually called “Agbar Uchama”, which would be Abgar V ( d. c. 50 CE )”

    http://roberteisenman.com/articles/mmt_agbarus.pdf

    (Hint – if you select ‘Quick View’ from a google search for this article, you can do word searches and copy it.)

    So the Agabus in Acts is King Abgarus au Chama V of Edessa. (Note that Eisenman even continues to use the spelling ‘King Agbarus’.) Yet here King Abgarus is being linked to the famine relief for Judaea, that was given by Queen Helena (according to Josephus). So again, King Abgarus is connected both to the famine relief, and thus also to Queen Helena.

    Note, however, that it was Saul and Barnabas who took this famine relief from Edessa to Jerusalem. This demonstrates how close the biblical family were to the Edessan monarchy.

    d.
    Josephus says of this same famine relief event:
    Quote – Josephus:
    “And (Izates) made great preparations for (Helena’s) mission, and gave her a great deal of money, and she went down to the city Jerusalem … a famine did oppress them at that time, and many people died for want of what was necessary to procure food withal. Queen Helena sent some of her servants to Alexandria with money to buy a great quantity of corn, and others of them to Cyprus, to bring a cargo of dried figs. And as soon as they were come back, and had brought those provisions, she distributed food to those (in Jerusalem) who were in want of it. And when her son Izates was informed of this famine, he sent great sums of money to the principal men in Jerusalem.” (Ant 20:2:5)

    So in this version is is Queen Helena of Adiabene and her son Izates who sent the famine relief. But you have to ask yourself why Josephus never once mentions Edessa or the Edessan monarchy, even though they are so rich influential in Judaean affairs. But, as we have just seen, it was King Abgarus who ‘predicted’ the famine, and it was his wife (Queen Helena) who sent the famine relief to Judaea via Saul (St Paul).

    The simple answer to this apparent conundrum, which is backed up by a great deal of evidence, is that:
    Adiabene is Edessa,
    King Monobazus (elder) is King Abgarus V,
    King Izates (Izas) (jr) is King Manu V or VI,
    Queen Helena was actually the matriarch of Edessa.
    And all of these events are one and the same.
    (ie: Josephus was covering up the role of Edessa and the Edessan monarchy.)

    In reality, Josephus is saying that King Manu V or VI (a son of Abgarus) took the famine relief to Judaea (along with Saul and Barnabas obviously).

    The reason why Josephus invented pseudonyms for the Edessan royalty, is that the latter were intimately connected with the biblical family. And the knowledge that the biblical Jesus was connected with the Edessans (and thus he was the leader of the Jewish Revolt) would have destroyed the fantasy called Simple Judaism for Gentiles (a.k.a. Christianity). So Josephus did write about the Edessan royalty, its just that he called them the Adiabene royalty – an indeterminate region that nobody has ever proved that it exists. There is NO archaeological evidence for Adiabene being Arbela in Iraq.

    This is the reason that Josephus pointedly says that Adiabene was ‘Beyond the Euphrates’ – well it was, and it was usually called Edessa. And in a similar fashion Eusebius says that King Abgarus was the king of Edessa ‘Beyond the Euphrates’ – well yes he was, and Josephus cryptically called the region Adiabene.

    .

    >>Next, the existence of the kingdom of
    >>Adiabene is not in doubt, nor is there
    >>any historical need whatsoever to find
    >>some candidate from the archaeological
    >>record to identity with it.

    That is not true, as there is NO archaeological evidence for Adiabene being based around Arbela in Iraq. None whatsoever that I have found. There are some Roman accounts, but if you read them they all back up the claim that Adiabene was Edessa, not Arbela.

    For instance. Tacitus says that Emperor Claudius went to Adiabene:
    Quote – Tacitus
    Having crossed the river Tigris (Claudius) traversed the country of the Adiabeni, whose king Izates had avowedly embraced the alliance of Meherdates, though secretly and in better faith he inclined to Gotarzes. In their march they captured the city of Ninos, the most ancient capital of Assyria, and a fortress, historically famous, as the spot where the last battle between Darius and Alexander the power of Persia fell. (Tacitus Annals 12:13)

    But Moses of Chorene says that he actually went to Edessa:
    Quote – Moses of Chorene
    Claudius (Germanicus), having become Caesar, dragging with him the princes of the kingdom of Archavir and Abgar, celebrated a triumph in respect of the war waged with them. Abgar, indignant, forms plans for revolt and prepares himself for combat. He builds a city on the ground occupied by the Armenian army … this new city is called Edessa. (History of Armenia, Moses of Chorene II)

    The reason for the Roman duplicity is moot. It may have been bravado – they were merely on a tax gathering expedition, but claimed a bigger incursion into Parthia for propaganda purposes. (But an incursion well to the east was not really credible at this time, which is why it should be doubted).

    And King Abgarus was highly upset by this Roman interference in his affairs, because his son had been taken to Rome due to a dispute with Herod, after Herod’s nephew had been killed. Besides, the Romans were probably levying taxes, yet Abgarus had been promised his lands free of tax, as Josephus intimates (the story of the Babylonian Jews). One of the primary reasons for the Jewish Revolt was a tax dispute, as Josephus makes clear (the Fourth Sect Galilean Nazarenes would not pay their taxes).

    In the next paragraph Tacitus says:
    Quote – Tacitus.
    “Izates of the Adiabeni and then Acbarus of the Arabs deserted with their troops, with their countrymen’s characteristic fickleness, confirming previous experience, that barbarians prefer to seek a king from Rome than to keep him.”

    Again this can be interpreted in a different fashion. We now know (from the above) that Prince Izates (Izas) was the son of King Abgarus V (ie: he was King Manu). So it is not surprising that King Abgarus and his son Prince Izas-Manu were riding together.

    But the question here, is what city was Prince Izas ruling? It says here ‘Adiabene’, but it is highly unlikely that the Edessan royal family controlled lands down by Mosul and Arbela. What has happened here, is that the Syriac historians say that the royal sons of Edessa were given Harran and Nisibis to govern, and this is where the Romans really were – not down in Arbela.

    All of the Roman accounts can be re-interpreted in this fashion.

    .

    >>See this text for discussion of the geographic
    >>descriptions of Adiabene.

    Thanks for that, I will browse this later (it is rather long). I have already read many texts on this subject, so I don’t expect too many surprises from it.

    .

    >>Next, you claim that you were constrained
    >>in your use of Greek and Hebrew fonts,
    >>and that you had to provide JPEG images
    >>of all occurrences of those scripts. You don’t
    >>make clear whether you produced the JPEGs
    >>or they were produced by Innodata using a
    >>text you submitted. If you did it, it would mean
    >>that whatever came through in the book was
    >>what was in the JPEG you submitted. They can’t
    >>edit the fonts in a JPEG image.

    I really think this long discussion about one incorrect Greek consonant is a bit of a diversion (yes, the complaint was that I had one sigma incorrect – just one). The book and its arguments will rise or fall on its historical merit, not on one Greek sigma. But I have long noted that academics will try and concentrate on one minor error, and totally ignore the wider subject that they cannot fault.

    One academic said that an aleph could never become an ayin, and so my entire book was wrong. So I showed him 15 words that interchangeably used either alephs or ayins, and I never heard from him again. No apology, though.

    As it happens, the ePubber did everything (this was now Suntec, as Innodata had made such a mess. Innodata’s attempt was so bad, we scrapped it and started again.). The trouble is that because they could not cut-and-paste, they had to re-spell each Greek word themselves. But they could not differentiate between the letters, and so EVERY word came back spelt incorrectly. This is AFTER editing, of course, so you then have to re-edit the book again and again (we had eight edits). A pain, I can tell you. But the Hebrew-Aramaic jpgs were even worse. Instead of copying each word to a picture, one by one, they just said: ‘ah, that word looks like the same as the previous word, so I will use the previous one.’ So most of the Aramaic words were completely wrong (the Hebrew alphabet being particularly hard to differentiate).

    The guys at Apple and Kindle who decided upon ePub as a standard, instead of pdf, have a lot to answer for. If pdf can handle any font, why not ePub? I cannot count how much time this all cost.

    .

    >>The error found in your book is quite
    >>common to beginners who are typing
    >>out Greek from a transliteration. I am
    >>compelled to conclude that this was
    >>your error,

    Actually, you are ‘compelled to be completely wrong’, as every other sigma in the book was eventually correct before publication.

    .

    >>The shorter form found in the Talmud
    >>and in the Syriac Chronicle of Arbela are original.
    >>The Greek Adiabene is secondary. We know this
    >>because the –ene suffix was one of a small
    >>number of Greek components attached to
    >>toponyms during the Parthian period when
    >>the Seleucid empire split up many Achaemenid
    >>satrapies into more manageable sizes.
    How do you know that the Aramaic is the original? The fact that ‘ene’ refers to a satrapy is not evidence. And yes, I do know this, and mention it in the book, but this is not evidence.
    Again, just like Mr Caruso, you seem to misunderstand what was going on here. This was NOT linguistics, this was HUMOUR and CONCEALMENT.
    As we have already established Josephus was using Adiabene as a pseudonym for Edessa. So what did he do, to formulate his ephemeral ‘Adiabene’? How did he choose this name? Did he chose an existing location called Adiabene, and use that? No, I do not believe so. If you read Josephus, he appears to use a pseudonym that is somehow related to the person or location in question. Take Monobazus, for instance; where did that name come from?

    It would seem obvious that Mono Bazus was a garbled form of: Mono Basileus (Only King). And since the sons of Monobazus were called Only Begotten (Mono-Genes), that would appear likely.
    But since we now know that Adiabene was Edessa, then ther may have been another cryptic layer of fun. It is probable that Monobazus was ultimately derived (and concealed) from Manubazus (Manu Bazus or Manu Basileus) meaning King Manu. (Even more chortling from Josephus – what a jolly wheeze he was having.)
    Similarly, when devising a pseudonym for Edessa, Josephus would have been fully aware of the very famous visits to that city by the Apostle Addai, as he mentions this very same visit himself (except his apostolic visits are to Adiabene instead of Edessa). So did he name Edessa as the ‘Sons of Addai’ (Adiabene), knowing full well that Parthian satrapies were suffixed with ‘ene’? (Ho, ho, what a clever guy he was…. etc: )

    I think the idea is compelling, and I think there is only one mention of Adiabene by Strabo that would predate Josephus’ coining the term ‘Adiabene’, and cause a problem to this suggestion. (But Strabo’s main reference is actually to Artakene, which is often interpreted as Adiabene, but it is not.)

    .
    >>Can you translate the following Greek
    >>sentence and parse the verbal elements:

    Josephus was not parsing anything – he was having a bit of fun at your expense. And he succeeded too, by the looks of it. What Josephus was doing was indulging in his own form of pesher, and thus covering up the true history of Judaea, to suit the propaganda that Vespasian demanded.
    So I shall return the compliment, and set a pesher conundrum for you to solve. The following is a Talmud pesher designed to conceal Jesus’ (Izas’) plans and goals. Can you find the Tanakh verse it came from, and decipher what it means?
    Quote – Talmud:
    Had the men of Jericho escorted Elisha he would not have stirred up bears
    against the children, as it is said: And he went up from Jericho unto Bethel; and
    as he was going up there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked
    him, and said unto him, ‘Go up, you bald head, go up you bald head.’ Sotah 46b

    And here is another connundrum that is related to the first:
    Quote – Talmud:
    Our Rabbis taught: Elisha was ill on three occasions: once when he incited the bears against the children, once when he repulsed Gehazi with both hands, and the third [was the illness] of which he died; as it is written, Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness where of he died. Sanhedrin 107b

    This is all about New Testament events and characters (pesher style), and it says a lot about what was happening in this era. There is no parsing in sight, but a lot of humor, as you can probably see. You see, we all have our fortes and limitations.

    .

    >This is the most ridiculous claim you’ve
    >>provided to date. Basically, you’re saying
    >>the standard exegetical and historical
    >>methodologies cannot hold in instances
    >>where you believe someone is masking the
    >>details in pseudonyms in a way that only
    >>the initiated will understand.
    Yes, of course.
    Ok, let’s do it your way. Using Aramaic grammar and syntax, how do you progress from the name Paul or Saul to Gehazi? Show me the progression here. Or how about from Jesus to Balaam? Show me the progression there.

    You cannot do it, because these pseudonyms are not based upon the original at all. (These pseudonyms are from the Talmud, and the talmudic notes confirm they are correct).

    .

    >>Finally, even if we assume that these three
    >>people were leaders of the Jewish revolt, the
    >>notion that because “King Izas” was a leader of
    >>the revolt, he had to be one of these three is flagrantly
    >>fallacious. To call that notion “axiomatic” is utter
    >>nonsense.

    Sorry, but you are not using all the evidence at your disposal here. How can you decide a trial case, if you only let the jury see one half of the evidence?
    The leaders of the Revolt included King Izas.
    The outbreak of war:
    The most valiant (in the battle against Cestius) were the kinsmen of Monobazus, king of Adiabene, and their names were Monobazus and Kenadaeus. (War 2:19:2)

    The surrender to Rome:
    On the same day it was that the sons and brethren of King Izates … besought Caesar to give them his right hand for their security … He kept them all in custody, but still bound the king’s sons and kinsmen, and led them with him to Rome, in order to make them hostages for their country’s fidelity to the Romans. (War 6:6:4)

    You have to remember that Josephus blames the Jewish Revolt on ‘two’ groups of people: –
    a. King Izas (au Kama?)
    b. Jesus (of Gamala).

    See the references in Antiquities to the Fourth Sect of Judas of Gamala (and Galilee) who caused the Jewish Revolt. Thus you have to wonder if Jesus and Izas are one and the same, as they both caused the Jewish Revolt. If they are the same person, and I demonstrate that they are, then it is worth noting that Josephus did indeed used to be a compatriot of Jesus:

    Quote – Josephus:
    Now, as my father wrote me an account of this, [for Jesus the son of Gamala, who was present in that council, a friend and companion of mine, told him of it]. Life 41

    So Josephus did know, and had been friends, with the leaders of the Revolt (as the Gospels confirm).

    So the scenario is that following the Revolt, three special people were crucified, who were known to Josephus, and were special enough for Titus to allow them to be taken down from the cross. Two die, and one survives.
    But if you compare that scenario with the biblical crucifixion, you will see that again we have three leaders of a revolt being crucified, at least one of whom is called Jesus. In a very similar fashion to the account is ‘Life’, a deputation is made to the governor and they are taken down from the cross. Again, two die and one survives. And again the person taking them down was called Joseph(us) of Arimathaea.
    I am sorry, if you are looking for a signed affidavit from Josephus saying that the former friends he took down from the cross included the biblical Jesus, you are not going to get one. All we can do is join up the historical and biblical dots to the best of our ability.

    .

    >>You repeatedly ignore the context and the
    >>historical data in the interest of your naked assertions.

    I’m sorry, but this new biblical chronology (AD 50s and 60s) and the conflation of Jesus of Gamala and King Izas with the biblical King Jesus, explains everything about the Gospel saga. A valid theory has to encompass all the known details, and it is even better if it can explain the previously inexplicable. This theory does all of that – even down to the little details about why Jesus was called a king, and why he wore a Plaited Crown of Thorns. How many previous theories could explain such details?

    .

    >>Your claim that Queen Helena of Adiabene
    >>was living in Edessa and married to Abgar,
    >>the king of Edessa, is equally without merit
    >>of any kind whatsoever.

    As previously mentioned, please read the Syriac historians, like Moses of Chorene, Yohannes Drasxanakertci, and Kirakos Ganjakets. And also browse the account in Acts of the Apostles.

    And I have to say that the revised history that is forged from knowing that Queen Helena was the wife of King Abgarus (and thus Adiabene is Edessa) makes a great deal more sense than the orthodox history of the region.

    Thanks for the questions. If you have any more, please let me know.

    Ralph Ellis

  • rogueclassicist

    I’m not in a position to comment on the whole of the argument RE is presenting above, but it is clear his use of Tacitus is somewhat lacking. What is presented:

    ========
    Having crossed the river Tigris (Claudius) traversed the country of the Adiabeni, whose king Izates had avowedly embraced the alliance of Meherdates, though secretly and in better faith he inclined to Gotarzes. In their march they captured the city of Ninos, the most ancient capital of Assyria, and a fortress, historically famous, as the spot where the last battle between Darius and Alexander the power of Persia fell. (Tacitus Annals 12:13)
    ========

    … well, sort of, and not sort of. What has to be included is 12:11-12 for this to make sense and it really can’t be taken out of context. In Chapter 11, we learn that a deputation of Parthians has come to Claudius seeking the return of Meherdates and Claudius consents. The man appointed with the task of escorting Meherdates is Gaius Cassius, the governor of Syria. It is he who will be doing the crossing of the river mentioned above, not Claudius. So that’s the first important thing that’s in error here. Then we need to read a bit from 12:12 (translation via Lacus Curtius) … the “he” being mentioned below is Gaius Cassius:

    ===========
    Accordingly, he called up the persons who had suggested the application for a king; pitched his camp at Zeugma, 21 the most convenient point for crossing the river; and, after the arrival of the Parthian magnates and the Arab prince Acbarus,22 cautioned Meherdates that the enthusiasm of barbarians, though lively, grows chill with delay or changes into treachery: let him therefore press on with his adventure. The advice was ignored through the dishonesty of Acbarus, by whom the inexperienced youth — who identified kingship with dissipation — was detained day after day in the town of Edessa.23 Even when invited by Carenes,24 who pointed out that all was easy if they arrived quickly, he took, not the short road into Mesopotamia, but a circuitous route to Armenia, at that time an impracticable district, as winter was setting in.
    ============

    Now we can look at Moses’ bit … here’s RE’s bit, with an important ellipsis:

    ===========
    Claudius (Germanicus), having become Caesar, dragging with him the princes of the kingdom of Archavir and Abgar, celebrated a triumph in respect of the war waged with them. Abgar, indignant, forms plans for revolt and prepares himself for combat. He builds a city on the ground occupied by the Armenian army … this new city is called Edessa. (History of Armenia, Moses of Chorene II)

    ==========

    … and here’s another translation (sorry, it’s French; all that was handy), which includes what RE has left out:

    =========
    . Il éleva une ville sur le lieu occupé par le camp des Arméniens, à l’endroit même où précédemment elle gardait le passage de l’Euphrate contre les entreprises de Cassius. Cette nouvelle ville fut appelée Edesse. Abgar y transporte sa cour qui était à Medzpin, tous ses dieux savoir : Nabok, Bel, Patnikal et Tarata,[153] les bibliothèques des écoles attachées aux temples, et aussi les archives royales.
    ==========

    So this “ville”/city is ‘guarding’ the crossing of the Euphrates by Cassius … Cassius is at Zeugma. If you look at a map, there’s an Edessa a little less than 100km to the east of Zeugma. no problem. … now we’ll return to Tacitus (again via Lacus Curtius because RE’s version is compressed):

    ==========
    13 1 At last, when, outworn by snows and mountains, they were nearing the plains, they effected a junction with the forces of Carenes, and, crossing the Tigris, struck through the country of the Adiabeni,25 whose king, Izates, had in public leagued himself with Meherdates, whilst in private, and with more sincerity, he inclined to Gotarzes. In passing, however, they captured Nineveh, the time-honoured capital of Assyria, together with a fortress, known to fame as the site on which the Persian empire fell in the last battle between Darius and Alexander.26 —

    ==========

    So there’s really not a mystery or need for interpretation here and when there aren’t any ellipses, there is no real ‘contradiction’ between Tacitus and Moses. Cassius ‘handed over’ Meherdates at Zeugma to a deputation of Parthians who would escort him to Parthia. Due to the treachery of Abgar, they delayed too long at Edessa and ended up taking a circuitous route through Armenia, Crossing the Tigris in the progress and entering the territory of the Adiabeni. On the way (and just to clearly establish what part of the world they were in) they captured Nineveh. Edessa is just east of the Euphrates. The territory of the Adiabeni is east of the Tigris.

  • rogueclassicist

    I’ll also assume you’re aware of Seleucid-Parthian Adiabene in the Light of Ancient Geographical and Ethnographical Texts’ Anabasis. Studia Classica et Orientalia 2, 2011, 179-208
    by Michal Marciak … it’s available as a pdf if you have an Academia.edu account … it has an excellent account of all the sources and the evidence for where Adiabene is/was (across the Tigris)

  • ralfellis

    >>Rougeclassicist.
    >>So there’s really not a mystery or need for interpretation
    >>here and when there aren’t any ellipses, there is no real
    >> ‘contradiction’ between Tacitus and Moses. Cassius ‘handed
    >>over’ Meherdates at Zeugma to a deputation of Parthians …
    >>Edessa is just east of the Euphrates. The territory of the
    >>Adiabeni is east of the Tigris.

    Sorry, you have many quotes here, but not enough explanation as to the point you are making. You are possibly under a misapprehension here. Zeugma is on the Euphrates, not the Tigris. And if you go 100 km east of Zeugma (near modern Gazientep) you arrive at Edessa (Sanlurfa).

    http://www.zeugmaweb.com/zeugma/english/engindex.htm

    Moses of Chorene does not mention the Tigris, because the Romans never really went there. Or if they did, they went to the main Tigris crossing which was at Amida (Diyarbakir) where the ancient Roman bridge is. Amida was under Edessan control at this time, probably controlled by King Abgarus’ son, Prince Izas-Manu, and so the Romans had not left the Osrhoene at all. The Edessans had a habit of giving towns to the royal sons to administer, and one presumes that Prince Izas-Manu was in charge of Amida and perhaps Nisibis.

    .

    >>It is Cassius who will be doing the crossing of the
    >>river mentioned above, not Claudius

    Not sure what you mean here – Claudius did cross the river and go to Edessa, east of the Euphrates, as the accounts say.

    The bottom line here is that it is highly unlikely that the Romans charged into Parthia completely unopposed, under Claudius, Nero, and then Trajan. The Parthians were a deadly foe, who had defeated Antony and annihilated Crassus, so do you think that they could just walk into Parthia in the 1st century AD – unopposed? All the way to Ninos? Where are the major pitched battles in these accounts? Where are the defeats and victories? Indeed, it would appear that Trajan was honoured with the title of Parthicus simply for ‘capturing’ Nisibis’.

    Lets be realistic here. Claudius, Nero and Trajan were merely on tax-gathering missions (just as Cassius had been in Judaea) – they were in the eastern borderlands with Parthia that refused to pay their Roman taxes. Josephus is clear that the major problem was that when Queen Thea Muse Aurania (the Babylonian Jews) arrived in Syria from Parthia, they were given lands in the east of Syria to settle ‘tax-free’ (ie: the Osrhoene). But now a host of emperors were going back on that deal, and extracting taxes from the cities of the Osrhoene.

    I think that the Roman chroniclers were distinctly unimpressed with the lack of glory in these campaigns, and so they have changed ‘Euphrates’ into ‘Tigris’ and ‘Nisibis’ into ‘Ninos’. But in reality, I would doubt if the Romans went more than 5 km east of Amida.

    .

  • rogueclassicist

    Well, if you want to ignore what Tacitus (et al) actually say, that’s your business, but it won’t stand up to a minimum of scholarly scrutiny. Please don’t try to make us believe that the handicapped Claudius actually was at Zeugma. And please don’t try to project incidents from other periods onto this one — Rome had some defeats; Rome also had victories at different times in her history. Bringing up taxes and the like has nothing to do with the identificaiton of Adiabene as being across the Tigris. And please don’t try to prove points by conveniently leaving text out which doesn’t fit your thesis. You do scholarship a major disservice and when you so vociferously want to defend such a basic thing like Claudius in Zeugma — despite the fact the text, both in translation and Latin say it’s Cassius — you call into question ALL of your arguments.

  • rogueclassicist

    … and by the way, I know Zeugma is on the Euphrates; as I noted above, ti’s where Cassius was. Edessa is east of Zeugma, as I mentioned above as well.

  • ralfellis

    .
    >>Please don’t try to make us believe that the handicapped
    >>Claudius actually was at Zeugma.

    It is entirely possible that Claudius did not personally travel to Edessa (as did Trajan). It is possible that Moses of Chorene was speaking generically about the ‘Claudian army’, rather than personally about the emperor (although they did have coaches and litters in those days, if I remember correctly). But does this alter anything of what I have said? I feel not.

    There is no mention in these record of a battle deep in Parthia at this time (or during the eastern campaigns of Nero and Trajan) and there is no archaeology at Ninos to suggest a Roman occupation. Indeed, if you read the accounts of these three emperors’ forays into Parthia, the accounts seem somewhat formalistic – the march to Edessa, the perfidy of the Abgar kings of Edessa, and the Roman penetration to the site where Alexander triumphed over Darius etc: etc:

    Do you think that the Roman chroniclers never exaggerated, or never flattered their patron’s marvelous military achievements?

    The bottom line here, is that none of these Roman accounts prove that Adiabene is Arbela. You have assumed so, but an assumption does not make this true. It is much more likely that Cassius crossed the Tigris where the the Roman bridge was later built, at Amida, where King Abgarus’ son (Prince Izas-Manu) was governor. Cassius then staked his claim to the lands east of the Tigris, and marched back again – with a Triumph guaranteed.

    .

    Incidentally, Steve Caruso said I was completely wrong because there is an inscription at Arbela stating that the city was called Hadyab (Adiabene). I am still waiting for evidence of this inscription. If he was thinking about that battered old statue that has been claimed to be of King Monobazus – there is no inscription.

    .

  • rogueclassicist

    Your response betrays an incredible lack of knowledge of Roman history. I’d suggest you track down the Marciak article mentioned above (I’m assuming you are on Academia.edu) and deal with the identification of Adiabene there. In regards to lack of knowledge, I need only point out that triumphs by this time were only the property of Emperors, and Cassius would not have been even eligible for a triumph … the sources say much about Cassius’ movements, and just saying ‘it’s more likely’ doesn’t make it so. If you want the last word, take it … I don’t have time to waste on people who refuse to do the basics.

  • ralfellis

    .
    >>In regards to lack of knowledge, I need only
    >>point out that triumphs by this time were only
    >>the property of Emperors, and Cassius would
    >>not have been even eligible for a triumph

    A point of order that would only be valid if you had proved that Claudius was not there; but you did not (the Syriac historians say he was there).

    And I have to say that you are grasping at straws again. Your argument is like those previously made against me:
    a. An ayin cannot be replaced by an aleph, so your entire book is wrong.
    b. You used the wrong sigma in one word, so your entire book is wrong.

    Straw man arguments like these only need to be invoked when someone has run out of arguments, and cannot refute what the other is saying. The same is true of the academic discussions I have had …

    Here:

    http://gilgamesh42.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/jesus-was-king-arthur-and-a-pharaoh-and-king-of-edessa-the-scholarship-of-ralph-ellis/

    Here:

    https://gilgamesh42.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/more-on-ralph-ellis-and-his-jesus-as-king-of-edessa/comment-page-1/#comment-895

    And here:

    http://www.edfu-books.com/Caruso.html

    And the final accolade here, is that I have been banned from both of these sites. You only need to invoke censorship when the argument has been lost.

    Ralph Ellis

    .

  • rogueclassicist

    Well, no, when an argument is lost, you ask people to prove a negative.

  • ralfellis

    .

    Aaron Adair has posted another criticism of my work here:

    http://gilgamesh42.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/ralph-ellis-swings-and-misses-again-more-on-jesus-as-king-arthur-and-other-oddities

    But since he has banned me from his site, I have made the reply here:

    http://www.edfu-books.com/Adair3.html

    Ralph Ellis

  • Last Chapter of Ralph Ellis and his “Theories” | Fleeing Nergal, Seeking Stars

    [...] has recently shown another example of dishonesty on Ellis’ part, and the Rogue Classicist in comments on Daniel’s blog also showed Ellis used ellipsis to alter the context to get his desired [...]

  • ralfellis

    Dear Mr McClellan,

    Thanks for that pdf dissertation on Adiabene, which I have at last looked at.

    Sorry, I did not recognise this as Michal Marciak’s work. Yes, I am fully familiar with this work, as Michal kept me abreast of his research developments as he was writing it.

    Although I have to acknowledge and respect Michal’s deep understanding of this topic, I did have to wonder and ask why he omitted the Adiabene royal family from his analysis – he never mentions King Monobazus or Queen Helena. But if you can find the royal family of ‘Adiabene’, then surely you can find the city/region too. And that was the alternative line of research I undertook.

    Strangely, manuscripts like the Chronicle of Arbela do not mention the Adiabene monarchy at all. But the Syriac historians do, and they say that this monarchy lived in Edessa, not ‘Adiabene’ as it is commonly understood to be. Queen Helena was the wife of King Abgarus V of Edessa.

    Another problem that Michal Marciak came across in his analysis of Adiabene, is that the location is invariably referred to as ‘Assyria’, and yet this is a bit strange, as Michal note in his thesis.

    Michal says, quote:
    “The strong connection in our sources between Adiabene and Assyria is undisputed, and calls for an explanation.”

    Indeed it does. These quotes about Adiabene being called Assyria come from 1st and 2nd century historians, and yet ‘Roman Assyria’ in the 2nd century referred to the Osrhoene, and not to Arbela. Sextus Festus makes this perfectly clear when he says of Assyria and the Osrhoene:

    Quote:
    “(Trajan) … occupied localities of the Oshroenians and Arabs … He made provinces Armenia, Assyria, and Mesopotamia, which, situated between the Tigris and Euphrates, is made equal to Egypt in fecundity by the flooding rivers …. His successor in imperium … surrendered Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria on his own initiative and willed that the Euphrates be a border between Romans and Persians.”

    Let’s look at that. Festus identifies the Osrhoene with the ‘Arabs’ as is normal – they are always called ‘Arabs’. This is actually a reference to Parthia, for the Edessan monarchy was half Parthian and used the ‘Phraates’ title. But Festus also says that Assyria is between the Euphrates and the Tigris – ie: Assyria is the Osrhoene (I identify the Osrhoene as being from Edessa in the west to Amida in the east, and south as far as Palmyra). But if Assyria is the Osrhoene, and Adiabene is Assyria, then is not Adiabene also within the Osrhoene?

    Note also that the the eastern border of the Roman Empire under Trajan ended at the Tigris; but that Trajan’s successor withdrew from the Osrhoene and reestablished the Roman border further west, at the Euphrates. So the Osrhoene was now under Parthian influence once more. But Festus goes on in his accounts of the East saying:

    Quote:
    “Severus … quickly conquered the Parthians, annihilated the Aziabeni, gained control the Arabs of the interior, and made a province in Arabia. Titles were obtained by this man for these victories: for he was given the titles ‘Aziabenicus,’ ‘Parthicus,’ and ‘Arabicus.’ Antoninus, with the cognomen Caracalla, son of Imperator Severus, preparing an expedition against the Persians, died a fitting death at Osrhoene, near Edessa, and was buried in the same spot.” The Accomplishments of the Roman People, Sextus Festus.

    So in pushing forward from the Euphrates (the previous Roman border), to the Tigris, Severus conquered the Parthians and Aziabeni (the Adiabene). Eh? Do you think that Septimus Severus conquered all of Parthia? No, of course not. What has happened here is that the Edessan monarchy were half Parthian, and even used the Parthian royal name ‘Phraates’, and were called ‘Arabs’. So the ‘Adiabene’, the ‘Parthians’ and the ‘Arabs’ that Severus conquered here were actually the Edessans of the Osrhoene. So Severus had only regained the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris – the Osrhoene.

    Note the titles Severus was given: Adiabenicus (ie: Edessa), Parthicus (ie Edessa) and Arabicus (ie Edessa). Since the Edessans were half Parthian and were always called ‘Arabs’, all of these title referred to Edessa. And fittingly, that is where Caracalla died too – near Edessa. (Edessa was a very influential city, as it was connected to the Gnostics, the Nazarene, the Sabaeans and proto-Christianity.)

    I will ask Michal Marciak if he would like to comment on this blog thread. While I know he does not agree with my conclusions and is often busy, he might have some other explanation as to why Adiabene should be Arbella and not Edessa.

    Sincerely,
    Ralph Ellis

    .

  • ralfellis

    >>rogueclassicist April 16th, 2013 at 10:48 am
    >>Well, no, when an argument is lost, you ask people
    >> to prove a negative.

    The argument is lost?? Well, if you cannot prove a negative, then I shall prove a positive. Moses of Chorene says of Claudius’ campaigns in the East:

    Quote:
    “Claudius, having become Caesar, dragging with him the princes of the kingdom of Archavir and Abgar, celebrated a triumph in respect of the war waged with them.”

    So there – a triumph was indeed held, apparently. And if it was then Emperor Claudius must have made his way at least to Edessa to have justified it, disability or not. It also means that you were wrong in your criticisms.

    Q.E.D. I feel.

    Ralph Ellis

  • ralfellis

    .
    >>The mistake was the confusion of a final sigma with a
    >>non-final one, which requires at least knowing the Greek
    >>alphabet and what the final sigma represents.
    >>The point of highlighting this error was to expose an obvious
    >>lack of familiarity with the relevant languages.

    Just for interest’s sake, I thought I would see how many sigma errors there were in the book. It turned out that there were a total of 41 final sigmas, of which one was incorrectly displayed.

    I think the final sigma is a straw-man argument, don’t you?

    .

  • Ralph Ellis

    .
    I am presuming, from the lack of replies and the lack of cogent arguments against my proposals, that everyone has now conceded that I was correct. Far from proving that Adiabene was Arbela, the many varied historical accounts tend to imply that Adiabene was, in fact, the Osrhoene in general and Edessa in particular. With this proposal being reinforced and underlined by Moses of Chorene’s account of Queen Helena of Adiabene being the wife of King Abgarus of Edessa.

    However, having conceded this new identification for Adiabene and its royal family, the next question is what does this westwards shift do for the historical record in general and the biblical record in particular. The royal family of Edessa-Adiabene were, after all, the architects of the Jewish Revolt, and thus very closely connected to Judaic history. And of course the Gospel accounts are all about a rebellion, a rebellion that is remarkably similar to Josephus Flavius’ accounts of the Jewish Revolt.

    So are we getting close to being able to say that a prince of Edessa was involved in the Gospel story?

    .

  • Steefen

    Daniel McClellan:

    Moving on (I’m skipping over much of your concerns with Tom’s treatment of your claims), you claim Josephus saw three “acquaintances” (ἐγνώρισα) being crucified and arranged to have them released and treated. You nakedly assert that these “acquaintances” are “three leaders of the Jewish Revolt.” There is no basis whatsoever for this identification, it’s just something you’ve conjured out of thin air.

    Steefen:

    During the war, people were killed in combat. Crucifixion is sometimes a billboard. Second, Josephus makes the three men crucified important by capturing them in his autobiography. Of the many “no-bodies,” three are captured for posterity at the same time the oral tradition of Jesus’ crucifixion has the same tableau, and written gospels have the same.

    Now, the gospels said the one crucified in the center was the Christian leader, Jesus. Jesus, with his Son of Man movement was a leader of a political revolt.

    When one reads the gospels or Josephus’ Life, one realizes there is some setting apart of a Jewish revolt leader, instead of him being on the second row or rows deeper in those crucified.

  • Steefen

    Daniel McClellan:

    Your claim that Queen Helena of Adiabene was living in Edessa and married to Abgar, the king of Edessa, is equally without merit of any kind whatsoever. Numerous historians have addressed the separate identities of the rulers of Adiabene and Edessa, particularly because the two locales were so important to early Christian proselytizing.

    Steefen:

    In Jesus, King of Edessa by Ralph Ellis, there is a map of the area. The map shows Arbela, which Mr. Ellis says is a stand-in for Adiabene, as being in Parthia while Edessa is in the Osrhoene. In his book, Mr. Ellis does not only rely on Moses of Chorene, he points out that we go from Josephus mentioning Helena as Queen of Adiabene to Eusebius mentioning her as Queen of the Osrhorenes. One of her sons, Izates seems to be a member of 1st century Edessan royalty.

    Mr. McClellan, with all of your background, tell us who Monobazus of Adiabene is. How is it that Monobazus has a son who seems to be a member of 1st century Edessan royalty.

  • Steefen

    Ralph Ellis:

    The simple answer to this apparent conundrum, which is backed up by a great deal of evidence, is that:
    Adiabene is Edessa,

    Steefen:

    I disagree. If the queen of one kingdom marries the king of another kingdom, the people and the kingdoms become one, kingdom one and kingdom two are not one geographical place but one political place.

  • ralfellis

    >>Steefen:
    >>I disagree. If the queen of one kingdom marries the
    >>king of another kingdom, the people and the kingdoms
    >>become one, kingdom one and kingdom two are not
    >>one geographical place but one political place.

    But that argument disregards all the other information on ‘Addiabene’.

    For a start, Queen Helena married King Monobazus of ‘Adiabene’. So who was this king? A second husband of Helena’s? Not likely. For many reasons, it is obvious that King Monobazus of ‘Adiabene’ was King Abgarus of Edessa, and this includes:

    a. The sorting out of political problems between the princes of Parthia (Vardanes and Gotarzes). Josephus says Monobazus did this, while the Syriac historians say Abgarus did this.

    b. The many apostles going up to Syria. Josephus says they went to ‘Adiabene’, while the Syriacs and the gospels say they went to Edessa (the person who took Queen Helena’s famine-relief money to Jerusalem in AD 47 was Saul-Paul).

    c. The Great King Beyond the Euphrates was Monobazus according to Josephus, but Agbarus according to the Syriacs.

    d. And if you look at the campaigns of Casius and Corbulo in the east, you will see they were campaigning in the Osrhoene, and not near Abela.

    And many other proofs besides.

    In addition, the reason why Harran, south of Edessa became known as Hellenopolis was obviously because this city had been given to Queen Shalmath (the wife of Agbarus) – ie: Queen Helena.

    .

  • ralfellis

    Just a short note to readers of ‘Jesus, King of Edessa’.

    A new edition of this book has been uploaded, v4.4, and this includes the new material highlighted here about the campaigns of Casius and Corbulo, with further evidence by Marcelinius, Festus and others.

    Rather than falsifying the proposition that all these Roman military campaigns happened in Osrhoene, this new evidence fully supports and reinforces these arguments. And this gives us renewed confidence that the Adiabene monarchy was, in fact, the Edessan monarchy.

    .

  • riardd

    I’ve been following the correspondences for a bit, Mr. Ellis – I’m no scholar, but I daredsay, knowing a bit of logical fallacies, your opponents here have resorted, more or less, to strawmen. What would suit them better would, in my opinion, is to try to build on your evidence with what they already know, instead of trying to tear the edifice down. Very intriguing work, Mr. Ellis. The evidence correlates with one of my favorites, Robert Eisenman. Well done.

  • Ralph Ellis

    With regards to the complaints about using images instead of fonts on the Kindle books, Kindle themselves have replied by saying:

    We can´t guarantee that Hebrew or Greek fonts will be displayed nicely on all the Kindle devices and Apps (e.g. Kindle für iPad or iPhone), as we “officially” do not support Hebrew or Greek. …. As I said, at this time, unfortunately, we can not guarantee for Hebrew or Greek characters. We are working to add this option in the future though. We are sorry that we can´t provide a more satisfying answer. Currently, there is no other “workaround” than to include images instead of fonts.
    Regards,
    Stephanie M.
    Kindle Direct Publishing

    http://kdp.amazon.com

    In literary terms contending the individual instead of the idea, especially when that attack is baseless, is called a Straw Man complaint – is it not?

    Ralph

  • gabrielm

    i know this is old but where do these people find the time to be so petty? if your going to try and discredit someones work do it because their work hurts people or misleads people. Not because you were taught something different by an establishment that constantly fabricates stupidity or blatant lies to cover their “all knowing” butts (whether ignorant or complicit). i have read through this and Ralph Ellis has stood up and addressed every criticism with grace and substance. unlike his critics who have resorted to callow behavior.

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