De dood van koning Herodes Agrippa volgens Handelingen 12:20-23 en Antiquitates XIX:343-352
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In this thesis two passages are studied that describe the death of king Agrippa I of Judaea (10/11 BC - 43/44 AD), from the Acts of the Apostles and Flavius Josephus' Antiquitates Judaicae respectively. In both cases, the king's death is described as a divine punishment for accepting divine honors. The focus of the thesis is on the narrative use that is made of the description of Agrippa's death by both authors, since the similar descriptions of his death follow strongly dissimilar descriptions of life and deeds: the author of Acts describes the king as a villain who persecutes innocent Christians, while Josephus gives a quite positive account of Agrippa's reign. Both passages are translated from critical editions of the Greek texts. The historical background of Agrippa's times is sketched and a general introduction is given about both Luke-Acts and the Antiquitates, followed by a discussion about the authors and their goals. The passages describing Agrippa's death are studied in detail and an investigation is made of their use in the respective narratives. Similarities and dissimilarities are found between the authors' use of Agrippa's death in their narratives. Both accounts describe the same historical event and used similar traditions as a source, and both authors adopt from their sources the interpretation of the king's death as a punishment for accepting divine honor. In both accounts the source stories are adapted but the main contents are left intact, in accordance with the conventions of Hellenistic historiography. Because of the differing goals of both authors, the description of Agrippa's death in Acts has a completely different function compared to the description of the same event in the Antiquitates. In Acts the king is flat character, an opponent to God and His church who gets what he deserves; his death is therefore primarily interpreted as a punishment for persecuting the primitive Church. His death shows that God's plan cannot be obstructed and that those who try to are struck by divine retribution. The author uses this scene to move the focus of the story away from the Jewish church towards the missionary travels of Paul, following a 'prophetic plot pattern' found elsewhere in Acts as well. In the Antiquitates, Agrippa is a main character. Josephus gives a positive account of Agrippa's reign, so his sudden death strikes the reader as unexpected within the moralizing framework of Josephus' thought. Josephus deals with the need to describe the historical fact of Agrippa's unexpected death by attributing both the king's rise and his fall to Providence. His rise was predestined in order to save the Jewish people from the threats of the emperor Gaius Caligula, while his death was the fate of a descendant of Herod the Great whose family was destined for destruction. Agrippa is not portrayed as an innocent victim of his ancestor's sins, however. Although a good king compared to his family members, he is portrayed as not rejecting the ways of Herod in most respects. Finally, his failure to reject divine honors constitute a grave offense, making it possible to portray his death as both Providentially fixed and ant the same time a deserved punishment. Because Agrippa's death was predestined, and in order to be consonant with his earlier description of Agrippa as a good king, Josephus' description of his punitive death is more mild than the version in Acts.