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Josephus says Sarah was Abraham's niece, not 1/2 sister

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Shermana, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    Why does Josephus say more than once that Sarah was Abraham's niece? (Which is 100% fine in Jewish religion and doesn't violate future Torah)
    Ant 1:5

    Does this clash with what the Bible says? What the Midrashim says?

    Did Abraham simply lie a second time when he told Pharoah she was his sister?
     
  2. Drolefille

    Drolefille PolyPanGeekGirl

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    Timeline wise, Josephus is approximately around the time of Jesus right? So significantly post-Abraham? Or am I getting my writers confused.
     
  3. Pegg

    Pegg Jehovah our God is One

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    why is it assumed the bible is wrong and not Josephus?

    Sarai was not Lots daughter. She was Abrahams 1/2 sister according to Genesis 20:12 And, besides, she is truly my sister, the daughter of my father (Terah), only not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife

    From the daughters of Lot came the tribes of the Moabites and Ammonites which is why God told the Israelites they were not to take any of the land from Moab or Ammon because he had given that land to the sons of Lot (Deut 2:9, 19)

    So do Josephus and the jewish authorities believe that Sarah is not an Israelite but rather an Ammonites or Moabite? Is that what they think?
     
  4. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    Well Pegg, obviously Josephus was a well-educated priest and scribe, the idea that he just invented this wholesale doesn't really add up. Why would he lie about this? To not look bad to the Romans? They had the same manuscripts to see for themselves.

    Also, read more carefully, Lot is Sarai's BROTHER in this case, the daughter of Haran.
     
  5. Pegg

    Pegg Jehovah our God is One

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    I can see what the quote says... but its not what the bible says. And this is why I dont put a lot of stock in the religious teachers of the 1st century. Where were they getting these ideas from? It obviously wasnt the hebrew scriptures which means they had stopped using the hebrew scriptures as the basis for their teachings. This was the issue Jesus had with them too...they put the tradition of men in place of the word of God.

    Can i ask if that is the only quote from your source which says Sarai is Lots daughter?
     
  6. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    The word Abraham uses to describe Sarah is achot, which does literally mean sister, however it was frequently used idiomatically in ancient Hebrew, from the Biblical era well through the Second Temple era, quite possibly into Rabbinic times, to mean "kinswoman," a woman of one's own clan. The word ach (brother) and even sometimes fir other close family members were sometimes used this way, also. It is possible that Abraham is deliberately playing on this double meaning. There are some midrashim that play with it. Josephus could well have been working off such a midrash, or he might simply have assumed on his own reading that the idiomatic sense of the word here was closest to a similarly idiomatic use of the word "neptis" (neice). Or, you know, he could've just missed something-- it can happen.
     
    #6 Levite, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  7. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    I suspect that Josephus is utilizing the ambiguity to present a more acceptable arrangement to his Hellenized audience. As for Josephus:
    To pretend that this 1st century CE historian had access to some authentic yet otherwise unavailable information about Sarai is more than a little silly.
     
  8. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    I can roll with that, and it's something I've thought of before. The word "sister" can simply mean "kinswoman". The question is, does the account of her being Haran's daughter instead of Terah's clash with scripture.

    If it doesn't, no problem.
     
  9. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    Now we see in Genesis 11:31 that Sarai is defacto referred to as Terah's Daughter in Law, not blood-daughter.

    With that said, I see no reason why this "Sarah was Abraham's blood half-sister" concept persists.

    Thus, when Genesis 20:12 says "daughter" it most clearly is meant to say "daughter in Law" because the implication was already given in 11:31.

    In addition this is apparently represented in the Aggadah:

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0018_0_17522.html

     
    #9 Shermana, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012