Joshua, Spurious Writings of

Joshua, Spurious Writings Of.

The Samaritans, who for dogmatical purposes endeavored to depreciate the authority of persons mentioned in the latter books of the Old Testament such as Eli, Samuel, Zerubbabel, and others, had no such interest in attacking the person of Joshua. Eulogius, according to Photii Codex, p. 230, states: "The Samaritan multitude believes that Joshua, the son of Nun, is the person concerning whom Moses said, 'The Lord will raise us up a prophet,'" etc. (Compare Lampe, Comment. in Evangelium Johannis, 1, 748.) The Samaritans even endeavored to exalt the memory of Joshua by making him the nucleus of many strange legends which they embodied into their Arabic book of Joshua, a work which seems to have been compiled in the Middle Ages, and is quoted by the Rabbinical chroniclers of that period, Sepher Juchasin, R. Samuel, Shullam (f. 154), Shalsheleth (Hakabbalah, p. 96), Hottinger (Historia Orientalis, p. 40 sq.), Zunz (Gottesdienstliche Vorträge der Juden, p. 140). Reland supposed that this book was written at an earlier period, and augmented in the Middle Ages; but it is more likely that the whole is a late compilation. (Compare Hottinger Smegma, p. 468.)

The so called book of Joshua of the Samaritans consists of compilations from the Pentateuch, our book of Joshua, the books of Judges and of Samuel, intermixed with many Jewish legends. Its compiler pretends that it is translated from the Hebrew into Arabic, but it was probably originally written in Arabic, and manifestly after the promulgation of the Koran, which exercised a perceptible influence upon it (comp. Reland, De Samaritanism, Dissertationes Miscellaneoe, 2, 12 and 68; Rodiger, in the Hall. Allg. Lit. Zeit. for 1848, No. 217). The author of this compilation endeavors to prove that the Samaritans are Israelites, and he claims for them the celebrity of the Jews. He attempts to turn the traditions of Jewish history in favor of the Samaritans. By his account Joshua built the temple on Mount Gerizim, and there established public worship; the schism between Jews and Samaritans commenced under Eli, who, as well as Samuel, was an apostate and sorcerer; after the return from the Babylonian exile, the Samaritan form of worship was declared to be the legitimate form; Zerubbabel and his sacred books, which were corrupted, were authoritatively rejected; Alexander the Great expressed his veneration, not for the Jews, but for the Samaritans; these were oppressed under the emperor Adrian, but again obtained permission to worship publicly on Mount Gerizim. The whole book consists of a mixture of Biblical history and legends, the manifest aim being to falsify facts for dogmatical purposes. This book terminates with the history of the Jewish war under Adrian. The only known copy of this book is that of Jos. Scaliger, which is now in the library at Leyden. Although the language is Arabic, it is written in Samaritan characters. Even the Samaritans themselves seem to have lost it. Huntington, in his Epistoloe (Lond. 1704, p. 48), mentions that he could not find it at Nabulus, nor have subsequent inquiries led to its discovery there. An edition, from the only MS. extant, appeared in 1848 at Leyden, with the title "Liber Josuoe: Chronicum Samaritanum; edidit, Latine vertit, etc., T.G.J. Juynboll." It seems never to have been recognized by the Samaritans themselves (De Wette, Einl. sec. 171).

Besides this adulterated version of the history of Joshua, there exists still another in the Samaritan chronicles of Abul Phetach. See Acta Eruditorum. Lips., anno 1691, p. 167; Schnurrer's Samaritanischer Briefwechsel, in Eichhorn's Repertorium, 9, 54; a specimen by Schnurrer, in Paulus's Neues Repertorium, 1, 117 sq.

The mention of the book of Jasher has given rise to some spurious compilations under that name, as well in Hebrew as in English. SEE JASHER.

2. A native of Beth-shemesh, an Israelite, the owner bf the field into which the cart came which bore the ark on its return from the land of the Philistines; upon a great stone in the midst of the field the Beth-shemites sacrificed the cows that drew the cart, in honor of its arrival (1Sa 6:14,18). B.C. 1124.

3. The governor of Jerusalem at the time of the reformation by Josiah; the entrance to his palace was situated near one of the idolatrous erections at the city gates (2Ki 23:8). B.C. 628.

4. The son of Josedech (Hag 1:1,12,14; Zec 3:1,3,9; Zec 6:11), a high priest in the time of Haggai and Zechariah; better known by the name of JESHUA SEE JESHUA (q.v.).

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