Josephus, ‘Arrius Piso’ and the Philo connection
Buckle in, because this post could be the most mind-blowing yet.
It all started when one of my readers read last week’s epic posts starting to figure out the true identity of ‘Jesus the Nazarene’, and sent me this:
Piso is also Josephus, a fictional Judean general turned roman sympathizer and apologist… just type in Josephus was Piso (pronounced peso) and see for yourself…
That link takes you to the xtian ‘Tektonics’ website, that was exploring the bizarre idea that there was a Roman noble named ‘Arrius Piso’, who made up the New Testament.
Judaism’s ethics and morality were incompatible with the hallowed Roman institution of slavery on which the aristocracy fed, lived and ruled.They feared that Judaism would become the chief religion of the empire…Repeatedly, religious-minded Judaean zealots were staging insurrections against the Herodian rulers of Judaea who were Piso’s wife’s relations. Piso wished to strengthen his wife’s family’s control of the Judaeans.The Pisos searched for a solution to the two problems. They found it in the Jewish holy books, which were the foundation both for the rapid spread of the religion and for the zealot’s refusal to be governed by Rome’s puppets.The Pisos mocked, but marveled at, the Jewish belief in their holy books. Therefore, they felt a new “Jewish” book would be the ideal method to pacify the Judaeans and strengthen their in-laws’ control of the country.==The member of the Piso family who started it all was Arrius Calpurnius Piso.He was the Roman general who captured the city of Jerusalem for Rome in 66 CE (Common Era), and who, collaborating with Titus (a relative) destroyed the temple there in 70 CE.In fact, both Zela (religious center of Pontus) and Jerusalem were the sites of temples that were destroyed: Julius Caesar destroyed the one in Zela in 47 BCE.
‘Arrius Calpurnius Piso’, if he did indeed exist, was NOT Josephus Flavius.
With all this stuff, there is still a birur required, and while I’m totally sure that the Piso family of Romans were probably scumbags and almost certainly part of the ‘invisible hand of evil’ running the Roman Empire from the shadows, I’m also totally sure that ‘Arrius Calpurnius Piso’ was NOT Josephus.
Now, we have the obvious red herring out the way, we can look at what’s really going on here, because if anything, it’s even more mind-blowing, and it will clue us in to ‘Josephus’ real identity – and way more.
Let’s start with this clue:
the Roman general who captured the city of Jerusalem for Rome in 66 CE (Common Era), and who, collaborating with Titus (a relative) destroyed the temple there in 70 CE.
That wasn’t a Roman called ‘Arrius Calpernius Piso’.
Titus’ second in command was actually an Alexandrian Jew, called: Tiberius Julius Alexander.
Snippet from Wiki:
Tiberius Julius Alexander (fl. 1st century) was an equestrian governor and general in the Roman Empire.
Born into a wealthy Jewish family of Alexandria but abandoning or neglecting the Jewish religion, he rose to become the 2nd procurator of Judea (c. 46 – 48) under Claudius.
While Prefect of Egypt (66–69), he employed his legions against the Alexandrian Jews in a brutal response to ethnic violence, and was instrumental in the Emperor Vespasian’s rise to power.
In 70, he participated in the Siege of Jerusalem as Titus’ second-in-command.
He became the most powerful Jew of his age, and is ranked as one of the most prominent Jews in military history.
Remember that Egyptian Temple built by ‘Chonyo / Onias IV, or V’, that we talked about HERE?
Here’s the relevant snippet:
By a unique coincidence, an interesting alliance was formed between the son of a Jewish high priest who fled to Egypt from political persecution and the desecration of the Temple, in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy about a new temple in Egypt, and the supreme ruler of Egypt.
Ptolemy [Philopater] enlists [Chonyo / Onias IV] sons and supporters as allies and as a military force in exchange for land and permission to establish their temple there.
These ‘Bnei Zadokite’ priests, whose immediate family were serving in the Temple in Jerusalem, not only set up a rival Temple in Heliopolis, Egypt – they were also the military leaders of the Egyptian rulers.
I am willing to bet good money that Tiberius Julius Alexander, above, descended from this same family of Kohanim, because that’s the family who had the real power, the real connections, and the real ‘military muscle’ in Egypt, already for a few generations.
And there is nothing new under the sun.
But there’s more.
The brother of ‘Tiberius Julius Alexander’ is called: Marcus Julius Alexander.
Snippet from Wiki here:
He was betrothed to Berenice, daughter of Herodian King Agrippa I,…
His ancestors and family had social ties and connections to the Priesthood in Judea; Hasmonean Dynasty; Herodian Dynasty and Julio-Claudian dynasty in Rome.
Now, let’s remind ourselves what else is claimed for ‘Arrius Calpurnius Piso’, putative author of the New Testament:
Repeatedly, religious-minded Judaean zealots were staging insurrections against the Herodian rulers of Judaea who were Piso’s wife’s relations.
Piso wished to strengthen his wife’s family’s control of the Judaeans.
Let’s recap as we go along.
- There’s a claim that Josephus Flavius was actually a Roman non-Jewish noble called ‘ Arrius Piso‘. This is not true.
- What IS true, is that there was a family of very wealthy, connected Kohanim in Alexandria, descendants of the ‘Bnei Zadok / Beit Chonyo’ family of high priests who also gave us the Hashmonaim kings and high priests. This family were heading the Egyptian military for generations.
- At the time of this ‘Piso’ story, the most important Jew in Alexandria was called ‘Alexander the Alabarch’. As well as being the main tax collector for the Romans in Alexandria, he also had very tight connections to the Roman Caesars, and also the Herodian Kings (more on that in a moment.)
- Alexander (HaKohen)the Alabarch has two sons, Tiberius Julius Alexander, and Marcus Julius Alexander.
- Tiberius Julius Alexander: “was the Roman general who captured the city of Jerusalem for Rome in 66 CE (Common Era), and who, collaborating with Titus (a relative) destroyed the temple there in 70 CE.”
- Meanwhile, Marcus Julius Alexander was married to Berenice, the daughter of the Herodian King Agrippa I, which ticks this box, attributed to ‘Arrius Piso’: “the Herodian rulers of Judaea… were Piso’s wife’s relations.”
OK, let’s learn a little more about ‘Alexander (HaKohen) the Alabarch’ now.
I’m going to quote most of what there is on Wiki (not much….), so you can see just how ‘connected’ he was:
At some unknown date, Alexander was appointed Alabarch of Alexandria. The alabarch was a magistrate responsible for customs in Alexandria.
Later Alexander became an administrator for the extensive land estates in Egypt, owned by Antonia Minor.
Antonia Minor was a Roman noblewoman, who was the niece of Emperor Augustus and the youngest daughter of the triumvir Mark Antony.
Alexander had been a long-time friend of Antonia Minor’s youngest child, the future Emperor Claudius.
As an indication of Alexander’s great wealth, he had nine gates at the Second Temple in Jerusalem “overlaid with massive plates of silver and gold.” (War, 5.205)
In around 32-35 AD, the Herodian Agrippa I was indebted to Rome for 300,000 pieces of silver. (Evans, pp. 578–9)
Agrippa escaped Judea and sailed to Alexandria to beg Alexander to loan him 200,000 drachmas. Alexander refused to give the money directly to Agrippa, but agreed to loan Agrippa’s wife Cypros the money because Alexander “marvelled at her love of her husband and all her other good qualities.” (Antiquities, 18.159-160)
Sometime between 37 and 41 AD, the Emperor Caligula ordered Alexander to be imprisoned in Rome for an unknown reason.
First, pay attention to the dates.
We are slap, bang, in the middle of the ‘Yoshki timeline’ in Jerusalem.
Second, notice that Alexander (HaCohen ) the Alabarch is adminstering the estates for Mark Antony’s daughter, Antonia Minor.
She is the half-sister of ‘Alexander Helios’, Mark Antony’s son with Cleopatra that we wrote about HERE, who strangely goes missing out of history….
Except there are a lot of xtian genealogists claiming that an ‘Alexander Helios III’ is Yoshki’s maternal grandpa.
Next, notice that this guy is also lending a huge amount of money to the Judean King, Agrippa I (who know really owes him, because if he hadn’t have repaid his debts, he would have been forced to ‘commit suicide’, according to Roman rules).
Agrippa was the King of Judea up until 44 CE – again, slap, bang in ‘Yoshki timeline’ country.
When Agrippa I dies in 44CE, Judea returns to ‘direct Roman rule’.
And who is appointed it’s Procurator (Roman administrator) in 46CE?
Why, Tiberius Julius Alexander!
Here’s another snippet from Wikipedia:
Claudius appointed him procurator of Judea in 46 CE….
Despite the opinion of some fellow Jews that he was a turncoat, his period of office as Procurator in Judea was marked by peace, as Josephus himself writes.
He did condemn James and Simon, sons of an earlier rebel named Judas of Galilee, to crucifixion.
It was also at this time that Judea was afflicted by a severe famine. In 48 he was succeeded by Ventidius Cumanus.
Again, remember this guy descends from the ‘Bnei Zadok / Beit Chonyo’ kohanim, and had close family members who were the High Priests serving in the Jerusalem temple, and also his brother married ‘Julia Berenice’, King Agrippa I’s daughter.
But there’s more.
‘Alexander the Alabarch’s has a famous brother, who you probably heard of.
His name is: Philo of Alexandria – the famous Jewish philosopher, who ‘merged’ Greek thinking with Jewish philosophy.
And here’s where the story starts to take another mind-bending turn.
Snippet from Wiki:
[M]uch attention was paid to his teaching by Christian theologians of the first centuries, who used his system to justify Christianity.
The main points of his philosophy are:
Dualistic opposition of God and the world, finite and infinite;
God as the only active principle;
Divine intelligence inherent in the world;
Forces emanating from God and diffused throughout the world;
Struggle as a driving principle;
The theory of dead, inert non-existent matter;
The world that has neither beginning nor end;
Divine creative activity and the very act of creation beyond the limits of time;
The body as the source of all evil; the soul as a divine emanation.
In other words….HEL-LO, philosophical founder of ‘Jewish-Christianity’!!!!
You can go read more about what he taught, and what he believed, if you can be bothered, but this snippet kind of sums it up, for our purposes:
“Philo’s teaching continued to influence Jewish teachers of the law, on the one hand, and pagan neo — Platonists, on the other.
But most of all, Philo’s teaching influenced the development of Christian dogma.
Even in the Gospel, there are clear traces of Philo’s Wisdom, and almost all the Greek church fathers of the first centuries, apologists and Alexandrians, Gnostics and their opponents, as well as Greek theologians of later centuries, to a greater or lesser extent, directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, used his system to justify Christianity.”
OK, let’s sum up again.
- Alexander (HaKohen) the Alabarch of Alexandria is very connected to Roman Emperors, and the Herodian Royalty, and also (by blood….) the ruling family of High Priests in Jerusalem (all ‘Sadducees), who descend from ‘Beit Chonyo / Bnei Zadok.
- He is administering the Egyptian estates of Mark Antony’s daughter (and the mother of future Emperor Claudius), Antonia Minor.
- His sons are marrying Herodian princesses, destroying the Second Temple as Titus’ second in command, and also ruling Judea as Procurator shortly after the whole ‘Yoshki’ episode is meant to have happened (and crucifying Jewish rebels…)
- Judea at this time is a hotbed of nationalistic ferment, and there is one rebellion after another, against ‘Roman rule’ and their Herodian puppet royalty.
- Alexander (HaKohen) the Alabarch also has a very famous brother: Philo the Jewish philosopher.
- Philo comes up with a syncretic philosophy that ‘mixes’ orthodox Jewish teachings and beliefs with heretical Greek beliefs, and ‘scientific ideas’ about the creation of the world.
- Philo’s philosophy becomes the founding pillar of what shortly afterwards transforms into ‘christianity’.
So far so good?
OK, so now how does ‘Josephus Flavius’ fit into this hot mess?
It’s hard to know – because the main person writing about all these people is none other than….Josephus Flavius.
THIS is a very interesting document I turned up, that shows that:
a) Josephus FOR SURE knew this family, and was a close relative – if he wasn’t a direct descendant, himself (more on that in a moment.)
b) Philo visited Jerusalem at least once.
c) Even some academics are coming to the view that these ‘Alabarchs’ were actually closely related to the Hasmonean High Priests in Jerusalem.
In fact, let’s quote one pertinent snippet here, because it has a direct bearing on that other issue that we’re trying to bottom out, namely who the heck was ‘Jesus the Nazarene’, in real life?
(If he was a ‘discrete’ person, and not just a mish-mash of a few different people, written up in the New Testament, which is becoming an increasingly plausible possibility.)
Here‘s that ‘Gaius Julius Alexander’ on geni:
- Is Alexander II (married to his cousin, Alexandra II) – both grandchildren of King Alexander Yannai / Yochanan Kohen HaGadol (who became a Sadducee after 80 years, as discussed in the Gemara.)
- Their daughter, the Hashmonaim Princess Mariamne, who marries Herod the Great.
- Their son, ‘Alexandros III’ (who Herod has killed, in 7 BCE).
- Their son Gaius Julius Alexander, AKA, ‘Alexander the Alabarch‘.
- And his son is Titus Julius Alexander – who destroys the 2nd temple, as Titus’ second in command.
Now, here is where things get even more interesting.
Philo, the philosophical founder of ‘Jewish-xtianity’ is the older brother of ‘Alexander the Alabarch’, aka ‘Gaius Julius Alexander’.
But, they seem to have different fathers.
Who is ‘Alexander the Alabarch’s’ mother?
Glaphyra of Cappodocia.
Who else does she marry?
King Juba II of Numidia – whose first /other wife is Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII.
Who is their daughter? According to Wilson and Blackett, ‘Mary Magdelene’, who marries ‘Jesus the Nazarene’….
(That’s not sounding so ‘out there’ anymore, is it?)
OK, so where does ‘Josephus Flavius’ fit into this hot mess?
According to the ‘official history‘, Josephus is a sixth generation descendant of Matityahu father of the Maccabees, via his son John Apphus.
YOCHANAN KOHEN GADOL > MATITYAHU [CHANUKA STORY) > JONATHAN APPHUS > D? M MATHIAS EPHLIAS > MATTHIAS CURTIS > JOSEPH > MATTHIAS > JOSEPHUS FLAVIUS.
The mothers are all unnamed, but we know these families just married each other, mostly.
But even just via the fathers, we can see a close family connection between ‘Josephus’ and ‘Alexander the Alabarch’ and Philo the proto Jewish-Christian (who descend from Jonathan Apphus’ brother, Shimon Thassi, via John Hyrcanus I / Alexander Jannai).
There is a ton more to tell you, but slowly does it.
In the next post, we’re going to compare all this with the ‘official genealogy’ of ‘Jesus the Nazarene’ to see if we can figure out a few more things about who Yoshki and his mother might have been (spoiler alert we can….)
But let’s finish this post where we began, with this ‘ridiculous conspiracy theory’, namely:
Judaism’s ethics and morality were incompatible with the hallowed Roman institution of slavery on which the aristocracy fed, lived and ruled.They feared that Judaism would become the chief religion of the empire…Repeatedly, religious-minded Judaean zealots were staging insurrections against the Herodian rulers of Judaea who were Piso’s wife’s relations. Piso wished to strengthen his wife’s family’s control of the Judaeans.The Pisos searched for a solution to the two problems. They found it in the Jewish holy books, which were the foundation both for the rapid spread of the religion and for the zealot’s refusal to be governed by Rome’s puppets.The Pisos mocked, but marveled at, the Jewish belief in their holy books. Therefore, they felt a new “Jewish” book would be the ideal method to pacify the Judaeans and strengthen their in-laws’ control of the country.==The member of the Piso family who started it all was Arrius Calpurnius Piso.He was the Roman general who captured the city of Jerusalem for Rome in 66 CE (Common Era), and who, collaborating with Titus (a relative) destroyed the temple there in 70 CE.
Did ‘Arrius Calpernius Piso’ really exist?
I don’t know.
But we’ve learnt a lot about WHO was running Judea on behalf of their Roman masters at this time.
And their very strong connections to both the individuals and the philosophy that became ‘Jewish-Christianity’ – and to the evil Romans that wanted to keep the whole world enslaved to them, anyway they could.
And there is still more to discover.
Always by the end of these articles, I have more information that sheds more light then when I started typing this stuff up (about four hours ago….)
Now I know that ‘Alexander the Alabarch’ = Gaius Julius Alexander, the son of ‘Alexandros III’, I can tell you that his first cousin was the King Herod Agrippa (named above), who needed to borrow 200,000 drachmas from him, to pay off the Romans.
And Herod Agrippa’s wife, Cypros, was ALSO a cousin of both Alexander the Alabarch, and Herod Agrippa. They were all grandchildren of Mariamne I Hasmonean, and Herod the Great.
As usual…. they all just married each other.
There is nothing new under the sun.
You might also like this article:
Incredible work and incredibly revealing. Each of these posts is more mind blowing than the last.
Efraim Palvanov did a shiur some months back (on his YT channel) on Josephus. Worth a watch. He says Josephus goes into some detail on dozens of Jewish sects then in existence (at the time of the Churban), and notes the odd omission of any reference to Christians, given the Christian chronology of events (by which point they would have been a notable presence on the scene). Makes sense.
It is entirely conceivable, with his “interest in genealogies” (as per the scanned book image) that he would omit (or merely hint at) an identity relationship if it served a greater purpose. There is no disinterested observer reporting objectively on events. He could be accurate in conveying 99.9% of events (which he isn’t) and still omit a key fact that many conclusions hinge on.
At this point it’s kinda hard to follow what’s going on. But it sounds important..
Was “Ktav Ashuri” the original Hebrew script?
I hear that, but then I hear that that was only invented later after the “paleo hebrew” scripts. How should I mend these two views?
Amazing research Rivka,,,,i’m adding 2 articles (one with family tree) regarding the welsh connection:
this last sight didn’t open so i sent it differently,,,,again
Interesting! Lots more to consider… thanks Leah
I would recommend reading and looking into the FLAVIAN THEORY which is addressed in the book CEASERS MESSIAH
ok, I’ll take a look. Thanks