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orion-list Translations of Josephus

About a week ago, Robert Kraft was kind to provide comparative passages from 
Whiston and Thakeray of parts of Josephus.  I was particularly interested in 
the translations of two passages.  In 11c Wh. translates that Banus "lived in 
the desert".  Thack. has the passage as Banus "dwelt in the wilderness".  Is 
there any argument for preferring one or the other of the words "wilderness" 
or "desert"?  Then in 11d-f Wh. translates that Banus "bathed himself in cold 
water".  Thak. has the translation "using frequent ablutions in cold water".  
Again, is there an argument for preferring "bathed" over "ablutions"?

I am interested in the choice of words because I have been trying to 
understand the characteristics of the geographic area at the approximate time 
involved.  For example, R. Arav, R. Freund and J. Shroder, Jr. have an 
interesting article "Bethsaida Rediscovered" in the Jan/Feb 2000 Biblical 
Archaeology Review.  Page 46 of that article compares the water level of the 
Sea of Galilee now and 2,000 years ago.  It seems to me that the implications 
of the higher water level there would stongly imply (or confirm) the same 
situation for the Dead Sea and also carry implications about the climate, 
annual rain fall and what area was "desert" vis a vis "wilderness".  The use 
of the word "bathed" seems to possibly infer a bath to bathe in.  I 
understand that this is not necessarily true, but to me it does seem to be 
reasonably implied.  However, "ablutions" does not carry the same inference 
for me.  So, I was wondering about the choices of words used in the two 
transalations and would appreciate any comments.

Mark Dunn
For private reply, e-mail to Dunnlaw@aol.com
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