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Wealth and salvation in Mark 10.17-22

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  • Originally posted by Sparko View Post

    Word stealer!!!
    Liberator!

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

    Comment


    • Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
      Your welcome.


      The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post


        Thank you!

        I just looked at that and let out a little sigh of the disappoint that it elicited no response.

        So again thank you because believe it or not the above is true

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post


          I'm still trying to work out what Rogue intended to say about Sparko's welcome, and whether it is a welcome that Sparko gave or received.
          1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
          "It's bigger inside" might work for a TARDIS - it doesn't work for a bronze sea.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
            What is key is that not once have you ever produced anyone disagreeing with his assessment that slave labor was used to construct the ramp but rather those who disagree over the numbers involved. That is why you focus here again on the numbers hoping to avoid the central point.
            Josephus never mentions thousands of prisoners. Nor does Josephus mention any prisoners being involved in building the ramp.
            "It ain't necessarily so
            The things that you're liable
            To read in the Bible
            It ain't necessarily so
            ."

            Sportin' Life
            Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
              Josephus never mentions thousands of prisoners. Nor does Josephus mention any prisoners being involved in building the ramp.
              So? Leaving aside that the veracity of his account is regularly challenged[1], Josephus didn't mention a lot of things

              Would an authentic historian ever resort to such a transparent argument from silence?






              1. For instance, his claim that 40,000 Jews were killed by the Romans at Yodfat is not taken seriously by anyone and the speech made by leader of the Sacarrii atop Masada, Eleazar Ben-Yair to his men ("We have it in our power to die nobly and in freedom. Our fate at the break of day is certain capture, but there is still the free choice of a noble death with those we hold most dear.") was fabricated out of whole cloth since he says himself says that all those who would have heard any speech perished. Similarly, as scholars like William E Cohen in his Josephus in Galilee and Rome: His Vita and Development As a Historian note how he practically omitted any social and economic factors that contributed to the outbreak of the war as well as underestimates the widespread apocalyptic beliefs of his contemporaries and its influences

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                Josephus never mentions thousands of prisoners. Nor does Josephus mention any prisoners being involved in building the ramp.
                Absolute smoking gun proof that the Romans never tried to attack Masada.
                The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                Comment


                • FAO rogue06

                  Josephus is our only contemporary source for this event apart from the archaeological record. However, his account has been called into question including the mass suicide.

                  As far as the archaeological record is concerned no evidence of compounds for huge numbers of prisoners have been discovered among the Roman camps. Certainly Jewish prisoners/slaves were used and both food and water were hauled from great distances over land on pack animals or shipped on boats from points around the Dead Sea. Josephus describes the provisioning of the Roman troops at Masada: “For not only were supplies conveyed from a distance, entailing hard labour for the Jews told off for this duty, but even water had to be brought into the camp, there being no spring in the neighbourhood” (JW 7.278).

                  As Josephus indicates, Jewish slaves hauled the food and water and the supplies were transported in baskets and animal skins, which are lighter, easier to carry, and less susceptible to breakage than ceramic jars. Upon arrival at Masada, the contents of these containers were emptied into ceramic jars for storage. After the siege ended, the storage jars were emptied and left behind.1

                  In his book Masada: Herod’s Fortress and the Zealot’s Last Stand Yadin writes about Silva and his army marching “on Masada with his Tenth Legion, its auxiliary troops, and thousands of prisoners of war carrying water, timber and provisions across the stretch of barren plateau”. He then writes of “the Roman ramp which Flavius Silva’s soldiers laid with the help of thousands of Jewish prisoners of war” and later speculates on the size of the besieging force “But there is no doubt that the entire besieging force was very much larger, if we add to the fighting units the thousands of Jewish prisoners who, according to Josephus, were used to bring water and food and apparently also work on construction”. This would appear to be little more than Yadin's romanticised speculation given that Josephus provides no figure for Jewish slaves used and nor does he mention slaves being used in the construction of the ramp. Furthermore Yadin makes no reference to discovering the evidence of compounds to contain thousands of prisoners. He mentions camp followers and the remains of a few of the traders' shacks but nothing with regard to what would have had to have been very large enclosures to contain thousands of prisoners.

                  Likewise his estimate as to the size of the besieging force has since been reviewed. It is now estimated that “Approximately eight thousand Roman troops participated in the siege of Masada: the Tenth Legion (Legio X Fretensis) and a number of auxiliary cohorts".2 Nor did the Romans seem overly interested in keeping huge numbers of prisoners as an additional labour force. After Vespasian had subdued Jericho during the First Revolt in June 68 CE, he ordered bound Jewish prisoners thrown into the sea, as he had been told they could not sink.3

                  One wonders why he did not keep those prisoners as additional labour.

                  As to the building of ramps in Roman siege warfare.

                  In 67 CE Vespasian found Jotapata too strong to be stormed and taken in a direct assault. Therefore its defences would have to be reduced and that meant recourse to standard siege warfare. At this time Jotapata was being defended by Jewish troops commanded by Josephus. Vespasian's plan was to construct a platform of earth, stone, and timber extending from the Roman lines to the heavily defended and well garrisoned town's wall. This would fill in the intervening dip in the landscape and provide a level approach for the heavy Roman siege engines. To do this [and we have Josephus' account in his Jewish Wars] Vespasian divided his army into large work details. One to cut down trees in the surrounding area, another to collect stones to form revetments between the timbers and a third to excavate the huge quantities of earth needed for the infill. This was work where the the Roman army showed its professionalism. For the construction of such siege works on campaigns it required the services of a corps of military engineers, surveyors, and the presence of many skilled artisans in the ranks. It also required large investments in labour, time and logistics with thousands of men possibly having to work for two weeks to build a single platform.4

                  It should be noted that the Roman army represented the largest organized and qualified work-force that was present throughout the empire, and it was controlled entirely by the emperor. The Roman army not only undertook engineering and building operations on campaign, but, particularly in border provinces, it built bridges, ports, streets, roads, and aqueducts. There was also state production in quarries and tile factories run by soldiers.5

                  Given what we know the Roman army did construct when on campaign the erection of another siege ramp at Masada was not something beyond the abilities of those legionary forces despite Yadin’s speculative notion that thousands of prisoners helped in the process.

                  Given the location of Masada and that it was the last of the "mopping up" operations following the war, the Romans sought to bring the siege to a swift resolution. To accomplish this, they had to move their troops and siege machinery up the steep, rocky slopes of the mountain and break through Herod’s fortification wall at the top. There were two paths to the top of Masada: the Snake Path on the east and another path on the west (today buried under the Roman ramp) . Using these paths would have required the soldiers to climb up in single file while carrying their personal equipment as well as the battering ram, which had to be erected at the top to break through the Herodian casemate wall—all the while leaving the soldiers vulnerable to stones, boulders, and other projectiles thrown or fired by the defenders above. To solve this problem, Silva ordered his men to construct an assault ramp of dirt and stones, which ascended to the summit from a low white hill (called the Leuke by Josephus) at the foot of the western side of the mountain:

                  "The Roman general, having now completed his wall surrounding the whole exterior of the place, as we have already related, and taken the strictest precautions that none should escape, applied himself to the siege. He had discovered only one spot capable of supporting earthworks. For in rear of the tower which barred the road leading from the west to the palace and the ridge, was a projection of rock, of considerable breadth and jutting far out, but still three hundred cubits [1 cubit = ca. 1.5 feet or 0.5 meters] below the elevation of Masada; it was called Leuce. Silva, having accordingly ascended and occupied this eminence, ordered his troops to throw up an embankment." (Josephus, War 7.304–5)

                  Once completed, the ramp provided a gentle slope that the soldiers could ascend easily with several men across. At the top of the ramp, they erected a stone platform for the battering ram:

                  "Working with a will and a multitude of hands, they raised a solid bank to the height of two hundred cubits. This, however, being still considered of insufficient stability and extent as an emplacement for the engines, on top of it was constructed a platform of great stones fitted closely together, fifty cubits broad and as many high." (Josephus, War 7.306–7)

                  During the siege operation, auxiliary troops provided cover fire with a barrage of arrows and ballista stones—large, round stones shot from torsion machines.6


                  Another aspect of the Masada story that has to be carefully re-examined is the prevailing myth about the actual size of that Roman assault ramp.

                  The Masada fortress sits atop a lofty mesa, an isolated hill with steeply sloping sides and a level top. Save for one spot, Masada is separated from its surrounding terrain by precipitous cliffs that are 300 to 1,000 feet high. According to Josephus the Romans were able to breach the defenses of Masada by building a gigantic ramp on the west side of the mountain [...]Constructing such a huge earthwork would have required a labor force of thousands of workers and many months of work. In line with this “huge-ramp scenario,” one finds in histories of Masada the widely perpetuated myth that the siege began after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and lasted three years.

                  To support this scenario, many authors also inflate the number of Roman Legionnaires and Jewish slave workers who took part in the siege. The building of the ramp was undoubtedly a demanding project, but it was not nearly as demanding as has often been assumed. My study of the geology of the spur and the nearby area shows that the ramp is a layer of man-made earthwork, several feet thick, that was added on top of what is a large natural spur. This finding is important to understanding the story of Masada because it shows that the building of the ramp could have been completed in a few weeks rather than many months.

                  [...]Based on various sources regarding the logistics of Roman siege-work building, Jonathan Roth of San Jose State University estimated the construction rate for the various siege installations at Masada. For the ramp he assumed a construction rate of 35 cubic feet per laborer per day. Roth further assumed that the project was carried out by three shifts of 800 workers each, who worked around the clock (the narrow spur could not accommodate more men than that). According to these estimates, the construction rate of the ramp would have been about 84,000 cubic feet per day. At that rate, a 663,000-cubic-feet ramp could have been built in just eight days. Such a short time span may well be overly optimistic. However, even if we cut the construction rate in half and assume a volume of 1.4 million cubic feet, the ramp could have been built in about one month.

                  Perhaps the most striking feature of the whole Masada complex is the assault ramp that climbs up the western slopes and which stands as an impressive testament to Roman efficiency and purposive determination . However, initial impressions as to the scale and extent of this feature are misleading, and the impact of the underlying geology is disguised to suggest an even greater human manipulation of the landscape. These caveats are doubly necessary because the description of the structure furnished by Josephus (JW 7.304–9), although superficially convincing, can be seen to be erroneous insofar as the stated dimensions are concerned. According to Roth, the rest of the siege works (including the building of roads, the 2.25-mile-long siege wall that encircled Masada and the eight army camps) could have been completed in just 31 days. Even if we double this to two months, all the siege installations around Masada could have been constructed in about three months—one month for the ramp and two months for everything else.7

                  An archaeologist offers further comments on Josephus’ and the ramp:

                  To start with, Josephus claims that the natural outcrop that he calls the λευκη fell short of the mesa-top by a vertical distance of 300 cubits (ca. 150 m), but the actual interval is only ca. 75 m (Lammerer 1933: 171), which would mean that an embankment 200 cubits (ca. 100 m) high crowned by a stone platform of 50 cubits (ca. 25 m) on which a further 60-cubit (ca. 30 m) tower was emplaced would have been far too large for the task at hand. Gill’s geological assessment reinforces Lammerer’s original survey and confirms that the height of the ramp proper (as opposed to the interval between the high point of the λευκη and the mesa-top) is 74 m, which falls short of the Masada summit by 13 m (Gill 1993: 570). Even allowing for the addition of the defenders’ casemate wall, the formula Josephus proposed of Roman works and engines measuring a total elevation of 155 m must be seen as grossly exaggerated.

                  The modern appearance of the ramp is partly the product of 1,900 years of erosion, and the present funnel-shaped structure, 225 m long and with a width (at the base) that varies between 50 and 200 m, with a more or less uniform crest gradient of 17, would have presented a sharper profile at the time of construction.

                  However, these impressive dimensions mask the fact that “the bulk of the ramp consists of natural bedrock” (Gill 1993: 570) and that the artificial fill comprising the “solid bank” (JW 7.306) raised by the Romans cannot have been more than 25–30 m thick (Lammerer 1933: 169). There are no surviving traces of the stone platform that was provided at the summit (as the ramp was “considered of insufficient stability and extent as an emplacement for the engines”; JW 7.307), and doubt has been cast as to the existence of any such “cap” (Gill 1993: 570). However, 19th-century visitors do record the incidence of stone blocks toward the top of the ramp, and it is likely that the earthquake of 1927 (Roth 1995: 106) was responsible for toppling these remains into the valleys on either side of the ramp.8

                  It would appear that many authors simply continued to restate his inflated [and entirely unsubstantiated] allegation concerning the number of prisoners present and the role they played in the actual building of the ramp.

                  1, 2, 3, 6Jodi Magness, Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth, PUP, 2019
                  4 Neil Faulkner, Apocalypse: The Great Jewish Revolt Against Rome , 66-73 CE, Tempus, 2002
                  5 Peter Herz, “Finances and Costs of the Roman Army”, in The Companion to the Roman Army, Ed. Paul Erdkamp, Blackwell, 2011.
                  7 Dan Gill, "It's a Natural: Masada Ramp Was Not a Roman Engineering Miracle" Biblical Archaeology Review 27:5, September/October 2001
                  8 Gwyn Davies, "Under Siege: The Roman Field Works at Masada": Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research , No. 362 (May 2011), pp. 65-83

                  ​​​​​​​
                  "It ain't necessarily so
                  The things that you're liable
                  To read in the Bible
                  It ain't necessarily so
                  ."

                  Sportin' Life
                  Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                  Comment

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