Provenance and Owners' Notes
There is evidence of at least three previous owners of CRRS's copy of the 1524 Latin translation of Josephus' works from Cologne, as well as an overwhelming abundance of owners' notes and marginalia throughout.
1. CRRS bookplate, attesting to the book's previous owner, and donor to CRRS, Prof. Andrew James Bell (1856–1932) , who was Professor of Latin at Victoria College between 1881 and 1921, and was also a book collector who endowed many of the books in CRRS's Erasmus collection to Victoria College.
2. Verso of title page with ownership note: […]ure auctionis me obtinuit ger: Beck. t.t. studiof[..]s Anno Chr: MDCCLIX. Pro 1110 crucigeris." While the note is not fully extant and legible, it clearly attests that someone purchased this book for 11110 coins in 1759.
3. The title page contains the signature: "Ex libris K(?)onradi Schirmeri pastoris Köndring(en)." Köndringen was a town in Germany, now within the municipality of Teningen, in the south-west of Germany, near Freiburg. The owner may likely be Konrad Schirmer who was a pastor in Köndringen at the beginning of 17th century (see: see: http://dl.ub.uni-freiburg.de/diglit/schauinsland2003/0035/ocr?sid=6f53704a5875085e01a586397ce68aea).
Marginalia and Other Manuscript Notes:
There is a great deal of marginalia throughout this entire very large volume, including two long notes on the front and back paste-down pages. Most or all of these Latin notes and marginalia appear to be in one single hand, and that is possibly the hand of the same Konrad Schirmer from Köndringen, whose signature appears on the title page, although that is uncertain. There may be an additional hand, using a much thinner pen, and often noting terms in Greek, but, again, that is uncertain and it may be the same hand simply using a different pen. Be that as it may, this exhibit cannot cover all of the marginalia in this volume, and will therefore focus on several examples, all from the "main" hand, with the purpose of understanding the interests and education of their author.
Noting subjects within the text:
Some of the marginalia is not very elaborate and simply notes, usually in a word or two, subjects dealt with in that place in Josephus' text. Thus, for example, the beginning of book 12 of Antiquities, where Josephus tells the story of Ptolemy I Soter's capture of Jerusalem in ca 320 BCE is in leaf 126(verso), and at the top margin is a short manuscript note: "Ptolemaeus Soter capit Hierosolyma" [=Ptolemy Soter captures Jerusalem]. On the same page, in the left hand margin the name Onias is written, next to where Josephus' text says that Onias became the high-priest in Jerusalem. Similarly, other such marginalia note personal names, or place names - such as Bethlehem on leaf 62(recto) - or list chronological indicators (e.g., marginalia on leaf 115[recto] says that it's the year 43 of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar) which are mentioned in Josephus' text itself. Indeed, many such brief notes are chronological, and, as will be seen below, this owner was very interested in chronology.
Summaries/indices on front and back paste-downs:
Many other notes are much more elaborate and interesting. First, the paste-downs at the front and back of the volume are full of Latin manuscript. They are both index-like listings with references to sections of Josephus' text in this volume. The front paste-down appears to list a number of occurrences in Josephus' histories of "prophetic" predictions, mainly about people who will become rulers, during the Roman period in Judea. Thus, the first two items on the list are Menahem the Essene's prediction to Herod, when he was still a child, that he would become king, and Josephus' prophecy to the Roman general Vespasian that he would become emperor. The last item, following a space, is reference to the prodigies in Jerusalem about its future capture by the Romans.
The manuscript on the back paste-down page is a long summary-index of the succession of rule in Judea in the first century CE as described by Josephus in the Jewish Antiquities and the Jewish War, often noting correspondences with the New Testament. Thus, it lists Cyrenius (or Quirinius), who was appointed the first governor of Syria at the beginning of the first century, after the banishment of the Herodian Archelaus, and mentions the census of Judea that he undertook, and refers also to Luke 2. The summary continues with a list of all of the Roman governors of Judea in the first century. Referring to Pontius Pilate, the summary records that he is the one noted in the Four Gospels. Further, apparently concerning Pilate, the summary says that in the year 41 the Emperor Gaius Caligula deported him to Lugdunum (modern Lyons), but that information is not found in Josephus, and is probably derived from an early Christian source, likely Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiae. ii). However, there appears to be an error here, as that source says that Pilate was banished to Gaul and that he killed himself in Vienne, and does not mention Lugdunum.
Other notable examples from this summary are the mention of the governor Caspius Fadus and the famine that occurred in his days, which is [according to him] the famine prophesied by Agabus in Acts 11 [v. 28], and then the seditions among the Jews led by Theudas and the Egyptian in Acts 21 [and 5] and Ant. 20.
Some chronological information in the last few entries of the summary is not found in Josephus, and apparently derives from the Chronicon of Hieronymus (Jerome). For example, that Festus (who is also mentioned in Acts 25-26) succeeded to the governorship of Judea in the 2nd year of Nero, that Albinus succeeded Festus in Nero's 6th year, and Cessius Florus in the 10th year.
Various marginalia throughout this volume indicate that their author was quite a learned individual.
Noting Hebrew words:
For example, in the story of the Exodus on leaf 23(verso) he notes the Hebrew word (from Ex. 12:39) for dough (בצק), in Hebrew letters with vocalization. Likewise, in leaf 88 (verso) when, in Ant. 8, Josephus rewrites 1Kings 9:13, and mentions "the land of Chabalon," the marginalia notes the Hebrew word found in the Hebrew Bible, כבול [Kavul] (whereas the Septuagint attests a different reading], again in Hebrew letters with vocalization. Aside it is the Latin word terra [land].
Some of the marginalia are interpretative and reflect wide scholarly knowledge and understanding. For example, in Josephus' retelling of the story of the sedition of Korah from the book of Numbers, Josephus (in Ant. 4) writes that Aaron was chosen three times. However, that is not mentioned in the Biblical text. Regardless, the marginalia in this case - leaf 37(recto) - lists three suggested instances in the Bible in which Aaron was chosen (Exodus 28, Num. 16 and 17), and also points to the mention of Aaron having been chosen in the New Testament book of Hebrews (ch. 5), as well as the long section in the book of Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira), ch. 45.
When Josephus (in Ant. 7) recounts the biblical story of King David's census of the people from 2 Sam. 24, the marginalia notes - in leaf 81(recto) - where in the Bible the counting of the people was forbidden [Exodus 30], and then notes the numbers of people counted in that census as recorded in the Hebrew Bible: 800,000 [Israelites] and 500,000 [Judaeites], which are different from the numbers given by Josephus here (900,000 and 400,000 respectively, in agreement with the numbers in some of the Septuagint versions).
Lastly, much marginalia show that their author was very interested in correlating different chronological systems. Thus, in leaf 126(verso) the marginalia is attempting to correlate between Josephus' chronology and the Greco-Roman chronology of olympiads, likely using the Olympiad chronology of Hieronymus (Jerome). Likewise, in leaf 153(verso), in reference to the triumvir Crassus’ war against the Parthians, the marginalia mentions book 6 in the History of the Roman historian Eutropius (4th century), where Catilina’s conspiracy is discussed, and then mentions Eusebius Chronicle dating Crassus' war to the 181st Olympiad and the 9th year after the capture of Jerusalem (again, this seems to be based on Hieronymus), and then also points to the parallel in Josephus' Jewish War 1, C. 6.
At least most of the manuscript notes in this volume - both the marginalia and the long summary/indices on the front and back paste-down pages - appears to have been authored by the same person, possibly Konrad Schirmer, the early 17th century pastor from Köndringen, whose signature appears on the title page. Be that as it may, the author of these notes appears to have been very learned, with a knowledge not only of the New Testament and Early Christian literature, but also of the Hebrew Bible and Hebrew language, apocryphal books and at least some classical literature. He was apparently very interested in matters of chronology, as well as in correlations with the New Testament, but also in noting discrepancies between Josephus' text and the Bible and filling in "missing" details from Josephus' text.