The question of the origin of the “table of contents” and related practices in antiquity (when they began to be used, how they entered the manuscript tradition, and whether they are authorial or not in any particular case) is an involved one. There is an excellent paper by Roger Pearse providing some notes on the subject. On the question of the origin of the summaries found at the beginning of the books in Josephus’ Antiquities, some circumspect notes are offered by Joseph Sievers (“The Ancient Lists of Contents of Josephus’ Antiquities” in Studies in Josephus and the Varieties of Ancient Judaism, pp. 290-291).
1. “The author of the argumenta is ‘ostensibly’ Jewish, as Thackeray remarked. Abraham is called ‘our’ forefather (Ant. 1 #vii; cf. Ant. 1.158); ‘our’ people served the Moabites (Ant. 5 #v); Demetrius presented gifts to ‘our’ people (Ant. 13 #iv).”
2. “Christians took great interest in the Antiquities and were early on, from the third century at the latest, involved in their textual transmission. The fact that the argumenta show no Christian influence suggests an early date.”
3. “A terminus ante quem for the argumenta of the Antiquities is their Latin translation commissioned by Cassiodorus (c. 490–c. 583 C.E.), for the Latin argumenta, attested in relatively early manuscripts, agree on the whole with the Greek ones.”
4. “Nodet’s suggestion that the argumenta constituted Josephus’ outline before he wrote the Antiquities seems to be a brilliant solution to the striking inconsistencies between argumenta and text of the work. In support of his hypothesis one may adduce that they are at times closer to the content and wording of the War than of the Antiquities, and sometimes mix elements from both works.”
5. “Yet, there are other indicators that suggest that, as in the case of other ancient authors, the argumenta were provided for the benefit of the reader and are not fortuitous remains of the author’s outline. (see Ant. 1 #vii; 13 #i).”
6. “In some instances, the argumenta reflect use of a text of the Antiquities similar to the one known to us (see especially Ant. 14 #xxxvii and 15# 1; 15 #2). It does not appear feasible to assign just these sections to a later redactor.”
7. “Thus, the author of the argumenta seems to have known different (but not all) sources and stages of composition of the Antiquities, had a fair acquaintance with Jerusalem topography (Ant. 14 ##i, xii), and had a less than perfect knowledge of the geography of Greece and/or Roman history (Ant. 14 #xxii). Whether he knew the Histories of Nicolaus of Damascus (a principal source for both the War and the Antiquities) seems an intriguing but hard-to-verify possibility.”
8. “If it is hard to see the argumenta as Josephus’ own composition, Gutschmid’s suggestion of a ‘servus litteratus’ (or Thackeray’s ‘assistant’) does not seem as farfetched as it had appeared to me when I began my research for this paper.”
With these observations in mind, we turn to the subject of the table of contents of Antiquities, book 18.
The Translation of the Loeb Edition
[The phrase “some mss.” most frequently means “all mss.” but not the first printed edition.]
(i) How Quirinius was sent by Caesar to make an assessment of Syria and Judaea and to liquidate the estate of Archelaus. [Some mss. add ‘after Judaea had changed from a kingdom to a procuratorship.’] [§1]
(ii) How Coponius, a man of equestrian rank, was sent to be procurator of Judaea. [§2]
(iii) How Judas the Galilean [some mss. add ‘and certain others’] persuaded the masses not to register their properties, [some mss. add ‘and many followed their advice,’] until Joazar the high priest induced them rather to give heed to the Romans [some mss. add ‘and to give an evaluation of their properties’]. [§4]
(iv) What and how many were the philosophical schools among the Jews and what rules they had. [§11]
(v) How Herod and Philip the tetrarchs founded cities in honour of Caesar. [§27]
(vi) How the Samaritans scattered bones of the dead in the temple [some mss. add ‘during a festival’] and thus defiled the people for seven days. [§29]
(vii) How Salome the sister of Herod died leaving her estate [some mss. have ‘Jamnia and its territory, together with Phasaëlis and Archelaïs’ in place of ‘her estate’] to Julia the wife of Caesar. [§31]
(viii) How Pontius Pilate sought secretly to introduce busts of Caesar into Jerusalem, and how the people rose up against him and refused to permit it. [some mss. have ‘how the people, having learnt of it, rose up against him until he withdrew them from Jerusalem to Caesarea’ for ‘how the people rose up against him and refused to permit it’] [§55]
(ix) What happened to the Jews in Rome about this time at the instigation of the Samaritans. [Some mss. have ‘arising from the destruction in Samaria, and how Pilate slew many’ in place of ‘at the instigation of the Samaritans.’] [§81]
(x) The bringing of charges against Pilate by the Samaritans before Vitellius, and how Vitellius compelled him to proceed to Rome to render an account of his actions. [Some mss. add ‘The ascent of Vitellius to Jerusalem and the honour accorded him by the people, and how he thereupon permitted them to keep under their own control the sacred robe that lay in Antoniain custody of the Romans.’] [§88]
(xi) The war of Herod the tetrarch with Aretas the king of the Arabians and Herod’s defeat. [§109]
(xii) How Tiberius Caesar sent instructions to Vitellius to induce Artabanus the Parthian to send hostages to him and make war on Aretas. [§96]
(xiii) The death of Philip and how his tetrarchy became provincial territory. [The Latin version adds ‘Concerning John the Baptist’ (no number attached).] [§106]
(xiv) The voyage of Agrippa to Rome [some mss. add ‘to Tiberius Caesar’] and how, after being accused by his own freedman, he was thrown into chains. [§155]
(xv) How he was released by Gaius after the death of Tiberius and became king of the tetrarchy of Philip. [The Latin version omits this entry.] [§237]
(xvi) How Herod, upon making a trip to Rome, [some mss. add ‘and after being accused by Agrippa,’] was banished, and how Gaius presented his tetrarchy to Agrippa. [§240]
(xvii) The civil strife of the Jews and Greeks in Alexandria and the dispatch of delegates by both groups to Gaius. [§257]
(xviii) The charges brought against the Jews by Apion and his fellow delegates on the score of their permitting no image of Caesar.
(xix) How Gaius in his resentment sent Petronius to Syria as governor [some mss. add: ‘giving him orders to collect a force and’] to open hostilities against the Jews if they did not agree to accept an image of him. [§261]
(xx) The disaster that befell the Jews in Babylonia because of the brothers Asinaeus and Anilaeus. [§310]
This book covers a period of thirty-two years.
The Text of the Niese Edition
(α)  Ὡς Κυρίνιος ὑπὸ Καίσαρος ἐπέμφθη τιμητὴς Συρίας καὶ Ἰουδαίας καὶ ἀποδωσόμενος τὴν Ἀρχελάου οὐσίαν.
(β) ὡς Κωπώνιος ἐκ τοῦ ἱππικοῦ τάγματος ἐπέμφθη ἔπαρχος Ἰουδαίας.
(γ) ὡς Ἰούδας ὁ Γαλιλαῖος ἔπεισεν τὸ πλῆθος μὴ ἀπογράψασθαι τὰς οὐσίας, μέχρις Ἰώζαρος ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς ἔπεισεν αὐτοὺς μᾶλλον ὑπακοῦσαι Ῥωμαίοις.
(δ) τίνες αἱρέσεις καὶ ὁπόσαι παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις φιλοσόφων καὶ τίνες οἱ νόμοι.
(ε) ὡς Ἡρώδης καὶ Φίλιππος οἱ τετράρχαι πόλεις ἔκτισαν εἰς τιμὴν Καίσαρος.
(ς) ὡς Σαμαρεῖς ὀστᾶ νεκρῶν διαρρίψαντες εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν τὸν λαὸν ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας ἐμίαναν.
(ζ) ὡς Σαλώμη ἡ ἀδελφὴ Ἡρώδου τελευτήσασα τὰ αὐτῆς κατέλιπεν Ἰουλίᾳ τῇ τοῦ Καίσαρος γαμετῇ.
(η) ὡς Πόντιος Πιλᾶτος ἠθέλησε κρύφα εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα εἰσενέγκαι προτομὰς Καίσαρος, ὁ δὲ λαὸς οὐ κατεδέξατο στασιάσας.
(θ)τὰ συμβάντα Ἰουδαίοις ἐν Ῥώμῃ κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν καιρὸν ὑπὸ τῶν Σαμαρέων.
(ι) κατηγορία ὑπὸ Σαμαρέων Πιλάτου ἐπὶ Οὐιτελλίου καὶ ὡς Οὐιτέλλιος ἠνάγκασεν αὐτὸν ἀναβῆναι εἰς Ῥώμην λόγον τῶν πεπραγμένων ἀποδώσοντα.
(ια) πόλεμος Ἡρώδου τοῦ τετράρχου πρὸς Ἀρέταν τὸν Ἀράβων βασιλέα καὶ ἧττα.
(ιβ) ὡς Τιβέριος Καῖσαρ ἔγραψεν Οὐιτελλίῳ Ἀρταβάνην μὲν τὸν Πάρθον πεῖσαι ὁμήρους αὐτῷ πέμψαι, πρὸς Ἀρέταν δὲ πολεμεῖν.
(ιγ) τελευτὴ Φιλίππου καὶ ὡς ἡ τετραρχία αὐτοῦ ἐπαρχία ἐγένετο.
(ιδ) ἀπόπλους Ἀγρίππα εἰς Ῥώμην καὶ ὡς κατηγορηθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ ἰδίου ἀπελευθέρου ἐδέθη.
(ιε) ὃν τρόπον ἐλύθη ὑπὸ Γαΐου μετὰ τὴν Τιβερίου τελευτὴν καὶ ἐγένετο βασιλεὺς τῆς Φιλίππου τετραρχίας.
(ις) ὡς Ἡρώδης ἀναβὰς εἰς Ῥώμην ἐξωρίσθη καὶ ὡς τὴν τετραρχίαν αὐτοῦ ἐδωρήσατο Γάιος Ἀγρίππᾳ.
(ιζ) στάσις τῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ Ἰουδαίων καὶ Ἑλλήνων καὶ πρεσβεία ἀφ᾽ ἑκατέρων πρὸς Γάιον.
(ιη) κατηγορία Ἰουδαίων ὑπὸ Ἀπίωνος καὶ τῶν συμπρέσβεων ἐπὶ τῷ μὴ ἔχειν Καίσαρος ἀνδριάντα.
(ιθ) ὡς ἀγανακτήσας Γάιος πέμπει Πετρώνιον ἡγεμόνα εἰς Συρίαν πολεμῆσαι Ἰουδαίους, ἐὰν μὴ θελήσωσιν εἰσδέξασθαι αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀνδριάντα.
(κ) τὴν συμβᾶσαν φθορὰν τοῖς ἐν Βαβυλῶνι Ἰουδαίοις δι᾽ Ἀσιναῖον καὶ Ἀνιλαῖον τοὺς ἀδελφούς.
περιέχει ἡ βίβλος χρόνον ἐτῶν λβ.
The Notes of the Loeb Edition
 numeros hab. (α΄-κβ΄ W, I–XXI Lat.) W Lat.
 P: Κυρήνιος AMW.
 + μεταπεσούσης τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἐκ βασιλείας εἰς ἐπαρχίαν AMW Lat.
 ἔπεισεν] P: καί τινες ἕτεροι ἔπεισαν AMW Lat.
 + καὶ πολλοὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῶν ταῖς γνώμαις AMW Lat. (in Lat. numeratur hoc cap. IIII).
 P: Ἰωάζαρος AMW: Iozarus Lat.
 + καὶ ἀποτιμήσασθαι τοὺς βίους AMW Lat.
 + ἑορτῆς ἐνεστηκυίας AMW Lat.
 τὰ αὐτῆς] P: Ἰάμνειαν (ει i. ras. A, Ἰαμνίαν W) καὶ τὴν τοπαρχίαν αὐτῆς καὶ Φασαηλίδα (Faselidam Lat.) καὶ Ἀρχελαΐδα AMW Lat.
 ὁ δὲ . . . στασιάσας] P: γνοὺς δὲ ὁ λαὸς ἐστασίασε πρὸς αὐτὸν ἄχρι ἐξεκόμισεν αὐτὰς ἀπὸ Ἱεροσυλύμων εἰς Καισάρειαν AMW Lat.
 ὑπὸ τῶν Σαμαρέων] P: παρὰ τῆς ἐν Σαμαρείᾳ καταφθορᾶς τοῦ πλήθους καὶ ὡς πολλοὺς ἀπώλεσε Πιλᾶτος AMW Lat.
 καὶ] P: om. AMW Lat. novum caput incipientes.
 λόγον . . . ἀποδώσοντα] P: πρὸς Καίσαρα καὶ ἀποδοῦναι λόγον περὶ τῶν πεπραγμένων. Οὐϊτελλίου (οὐ ἰουτελλίου W) ἀνάβασις εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ τιμὴ ὑπὸ τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ ὡς ἐπὶ τούτοις παρεχώρησεν αὐτοῖς τὴν ἱερὰν στολὴν ἐν τῇ Ἀντωνίᾳ κειμένην ὑπὸ τῇ Ῥωμαίων ἐξουσίᾳ ὑφ᾿ αὑτοῖς (ἑαυτοῖς MW) ἔχειν AMW Lat.
 πόλεμος. . . ἧττα] post ἐγένετο (ιγ΄) tr. MW, in Lat. antecedentibus continuo adiuncta sunt.
 + de baptista Iohanne Lat. (numero non adiecto).
 + πρὸς Τιβέριον Καίσαρα AMW Lat.
 ὃν τρόπον . . . τετραρχίας] om. Lat.
 + κατηγορηθεὶς ὑπὸ Ἀγρίππα AMW Lat.
 δοὺς ἐντολὰς συναγαγόντα δύναμιν AMW Lat.
Loeb Note to (vii): “The table omits special mention of the dynastic struggles in Parthia (§§ 39–52).”
Loeb Note to (viii): “The table omits special mention of Jesus and of Paulina (§§ 63–80).”
Loeb Note to (ix): “Regardless of the reading, there is some confusion, since the troubles of the Jews in Rome arose not from the Samaritans but from certain unscrupulous Jews living in Rome who misled Fulvia, a Roman lady (§§ 81–84).”
Loeb Note to (xi): “The table omits special mention of the listing of Herod the Great’s descendants (§§ 130–142) and of Agrippa’s upbringing in Rome, his voyage to Judaea, and his proposed suicide (§§ 143–150).”
Loeb Note to (xii): “This section and section xiii belong before section xi.”
Loeb Note to (xiv): “The table omits special mention of the thwarting of Tiberius’ scheme to bestow the succession to the empire upon his grandson Gemellus (§§ 205–223).”
Loeb Note to (xix): “The table omits special mention of Agrippa’s successful plea with Gaius to give up the proposal of setting up the statue in the temple (§§ 289–301). It also omits Petronius’ escape, through the intervention of Gaius’ death, from the death penalty for insubordination.”
There is a note on some variation on the order of the items in the Greek manuscripts of Josephus in the Levenson and Martin article on “The Latin Translations of Josephus on Jesus, John the Baptist, and James” (Journal for the Study of Judaism, Volume 45, Issue 1, pages 1 – 79), mentioning the items found in (xi) to (xiii) of the table of contents above with letters A to D according to their chronological order in the text itself (p. 53):
1. P and A record the entry for the war of Herod with Aretas (C) first and, in addition, conflate Tiberius’ two letters (A and D), with the result that Tiberius’ command to make war on Aretas (D) precedes the death of Philip (B) and the war of Herod (C);
2. M and W agree with the narrative (against P and A) in placing the war of Herod against Aretas (C) after the letter about Artabanus (A) and the death of Philip (B), but, like P and A, conflate the two letters of Tiberius.
They also write that, “The vast majority of Latin manuscripts with a Table of Contents (all except al, Alb, Cl, Ne, pa, and Sa) follow the order in P and A and the wording in mss. A, M, and W.” (p 53)
A Few More Notes
On the chronological indications of the number of years for each book:
“Now, all the manuscripts of the Antiquities have a summary prefixed to each book, often with a text poorly preserved; the period covered by the book is given at the end of every summary. Thus, we may ask whether these summaries reflect Josephus’ preliminary sketches or the work of a later copyist. The conventional answer, stated by Thackeray in the Loeb edition, is that they were composed after Josephus. Indeed, we read at the end of the summary of book 1: ‘The book covers a period of 3,008 years according to Josephus, of 1872 according to the Hebrews, of 3459 according to Eusebius‘. Obviously, the words in italics cannot antedate Eusebius’ Chronicon, and the figures may be corrupt, but we should not exclude that at least a portion of these summaries come from Josephus’ pen, since he displays a special interest for chronology throughout his works.” (Etienne Nodet, “Josephus and Discrepant Sources,” in Josephus, Interpretation and History, pp. 265-266)
“[T]he concluding formula for the argumentum of Ant. 1 attested only in ms. O: ‘The book covers a period of 3008 years according to Josephus, of 1872 according to the Hebrews, of 3459 according to Eusebius.’ Nodet’s … thesis that the reference to Eusebius is a gloss and cannot be taken as a terminus post quem for the argumenta as a whole is basically sound.” (Joseph Sievers, “The Ancient Lists of Contents of Josephus’ Antiquities” in Studies in Josephus and the Varieties of Ancient Judaism, p. 282 n. 41)
Regarding the numbers of years said to be covered by book 18 of the Antiquities:
“The book covers a period of 35 years not 32 as indicated in the summary (#28 below); the error may have come from a correction after the Chronicon, where Eusebius squeezed the sources in order to reconcile the datings of Jesus’ birth given by Matthew and Luke.” (Etienne Nodet, “Josephus and Discrepant Sources,” in Josephus, Interpretation and History, p. 266)
I have not been able to locate Nodet’s explanation according to which this may have happened, but I have been able to review the English translation of the Latin of Jerome’s Chronicon to see how it might have happened. The following dates appear in the Chronicon:
194th Olympiad, year 4 = “1 BC (March – Feb 1 AD)” = Quirinius’ Census (6/7 AD)
195th Olympiad, year 3 = “3 AD (March – Feb 4 AD)” = Herod the Great Dies (Mar/Apr 4 BC)
202nd Olympiad, year 4 = “32 AD (March – Feb 33 AD)” = Jesus Dies
204th Olympiad, year 4 = “40 AD (March – Feb 41 AD)” = Gaius Dies (Jan 24th, 41 AD)
If there were an accurate original reading here, it would presumably have listed the number of years between the beginning of Quirinius in Syria and the death of Gaius, inclusively, which can be reckoned as “40”-“6″+1, which would be 35, as Nodet indicates.
Now the question comes as to why someone would change that to 32 years (or, perhaps, why someone would have originally written 32 years). It would not seem to be based on Josephus’ text itself. Perhaps, then, it is based on the Olympiads mentioned in the Chronicon. This explanation could present itself particularly in a case where the alteration occurred after the reference to Jesus Christ were in the text, as then the alteration would have been made so that the summary here refers to the length of time from Eusebius’ date of the census to Eusebius’ date of the death of Jesus (8 olympiads, or 32 years).
This is not really certain, but it also isn’t clear that any better explanation of the difficulty has presented itself.
Regarding the hypothesis that this particular table of contents was written before the text itself:
“Sometimes, the order of the titles does not match the narrative flow of Ant. 18 … Several titles of the summary are not elaborated in Ant. 18 … Conversely, some titles correspond to large sections … Moreover, the summary ignores many portions of Ant. 18, almost one third of the book. … Now if we hypothesize that this summary is not a table of contents written after the book but a preliminary sketch, composed before its final redaction, all the previous difficulties disappear. A comparison of the summary with War 2 shows no discrepancy in the order of the topics, but the previous narrative is interlarded with new pieces of documentation.” (Etienne Nodet, “Josephus and Discrepant Sources,” in Josephus, Interpretation and History, p. 269)
Is There Any Significance to the Omissions?
There is a helpful table comparing “The Summary of Antiquities 18″ (divided into 28 sense units in the table of contents, including the note regarding the number of years covered, and 18 sense units not in the table of contents) both to War 2 and Ant. 18 found in Etienne Nodet, “Josephus and Discrepant Sources,” in Josephus, Interpretation and History, pp. 266-269. There also we find the ranges of sections referenced by the outline, as well as the ranges of the sections omitted by the outline.
With all this information, we can test a hypothesis regarding the omissions from the outline, which is that the omissions are also likely to be omissions from the text of the War, while that which is present in the outline is more likely to be present in the War. The section numbers according to the Niese edition are useful in this regard because they are more consistent as to the length of the material than other divisions (such as Whiston’s chapter divisions).
In the Text of the Antiquities, Mentioned in the Table, and in the War (105 sections)
In the Text of the Antiquities, Mentioned in the Table, and not in the War (111 sections)
In the Text of the Antiquities, Not Mentioned in the Table, and in the War (41 sections)
In the Text of the Antiquities, Not Mentioned in the Table, and not in the War (122 sections)
And we can create a table.
|Sections of Antiquities Mentioned in the Table||Sections of Antiquities Not Mentioned in the Table|
|Also Mentioned in the War||105||41|
|Not Also Mentioned in the War||111||122|
Chi-square value: 21.5846
degrees of freedom: 1
p-value: < 0.0001
The above, however, isn’t necessarily valid, because using smaller sections will create more “points of data,” which will tend to cause the p-value to be small but without necessarily providing a secure basis for further reasoning, if the unit size of what is being counted is arbitrarily small. We need to use units of data collection that are not arbitrary or overly small, as the Niese sections could be considered in this context. So we will do this one more time using the unit of “four sections” (instead of just one), which corresponds to the median length (in sections) of Nodet’s sense units. This results in an evaluation along roughly the same level of granularity as the table of contents itself, as this would tend to provide a more robust result.
|“4x Sections” of Antiquities Mentioned in the Table||“4x Sections” of Antiquities Not Mentioned in the Table|
|Also Mentioned in the War||26||10|
|Not Also Mentioned in the War||28||31|
Chi-square value: 5.5894
degrees of freedom: 1
The groups are significantly different at the p-value < 5% significance level.
What does this mean? It means that the null hypothesis, that the parts of the Antiquities not mentioned in the table are just like those which are mentioned, in respect of this other quality of being also mentioned (or not) in War 2, is (more or less) falsified and to be rejected.
Instead, there seems to be a relationship between material that is not mentioned in the table and material that is not mentioned in War 2 (as the majority, about 75%, of the material not in the table is also not in War 2 but only 25% of the material not in the table is in War 2, which is considerably different than the roughly 50-50 ratio that we see for material that is mentioned in the table).
This can be said to go some way towards establishing the plausibility or likelihood of Nodet’s hypothesis regarding the original purpose of the outline to book 18 of the Antiquities, although there may also be other explanations. For example, perhaps the explanation is as simple as the idea that the things that Josephus considers important, essential, or memorable to him in this part of history, which were mentioned in his War book 2, were unlikely to be omitted from his table of contents for the Antiquities book 18. Either explanation tends to provide support for the view that this Greek outline has its origin either with Josephus or one of his assistants, due to the connection to War book 2, which is from Josephus. (Other explanations, not yet considered, which have nothing to do with Josephus or his assistant authoring the table, may also be viable.)
An Important Result for Consideration of the John and Jesus Passages
An omission of a section or a few sections from the Greek table of contents in book 18 of the Antiquities is hardly a reliable criterion regarding authenticity, unless and until there are better, fresh arguments that the table of contents is primarily Christian in origin. Most scholars who have considered the question in any detail, since Thackeray anyway, have decided that the table of contents is likely to be Jewish in origin and thus relatively close to the original composition in time (first or second century AD), if not actually created by Josephus or one of his assistants. If the data of the table of contents are considered in a general way, a full 43% of the sections of Antiquities book 18 are not referenced by the table of contents. If we draw in data from War 2 as well, 52% of the sections of Antiquities book 18 that are not paralleled in War 2 are also not referenced by the table of contents, while a full 75% of the sections omitted from reference by the table of contents are also omitted from reference in War book 2. Such statistics do not inspire confidence that passages such as these (the two sections on Jesus or the four sections on John), whose subjects are also not referenced in War book 2, should be expected to have references in the Greek outline. (Naturally, such comments apply only to some kind of expurgated and reconstructed passage on Jesus.)