The Anointing of Saul according to Josephus -- By: Christopher T. Begg

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 16:1 (NA 2006)
Article: The Anointing of Saul according to Josephus
Author: Christopher T. Begg


The Anointing of Saul according to Josephus

Christopher T. Begg

Catholic University of America

1 Samuel 9:1-10:16, the account of the anointing of Saul by Samuel, constitutes one of the key passages of the book of Samuel. This essay studies Josephus’s retelling of the biblical passage in Ant. 6.45-59. The investigation focuses on three main questions: the text-form(s) of the biblical account used by Josephus; the rewriting techniques he employs and the distinctive version of the anointing narrative that results from their application; and Josephus’s handling of the episode in relation to other early treatments of it.

Key Words: Josephus, Saul, Samuel, lxx, biblical retelling

1 Samuel 9:1-10:16, the story of Saul’s anointing by Samuel, its preliminaries and immediate sequels, constitutes an initial high point in the books of Samuel.1 In this essay, I shall focus on the retelling of the episode by Josephus in Ant. 6.45-59.2 My investigation aims to address three over-arching questions about the Josephan version and its biblical Vorlage. First, given the many differences among the major ancient witnesses for 1 Sam 9:1– 10:16—that is, the mt (BHS), 4QSama,3 the Codex Vaticanus (hereafter B)4

and the Lucianic (hereafter L) or Antiochene manuscripts5 of the lxx, the Vetus Latina (hereafter VL),6 and Targum Jonathan on the Former Prophets (hereafter Tg. Neb.)7—which text-form(s) of the passage did Josephus refer to in Ant. 6.45-59? Second, what sorts of rewriting techniques did Josephus employ in developing his own version of the biblical story, and what are the distinctive features of the former vis-à-vis the latter that result from the application of these? Finally, how does Josephus’s version of the anointing of Saul compare with the presentations of it found in other early extrabiblical traditions concerning the episode?8

In proceeding now to my study of Ant. 6.45-59, I break the segme...

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