677 The eye-witness account gives the episode an apparent authenticity, but is fictional (see Bar-Kochva 1996a: 57-71;
pace Kasher 1996a). The foregrounding of ethnicity mirrors the stress in the narrative at 1.201, 204, and enables the figure of Mosollamus to stand for all Judeans. Josephus’ inclusion of this tale, the most vivid and most humorous in the treatise, serves his purposes in several respects. It provides a fine climax to the evidence from “Hecataeus” and, in its placement immediately before the citation from Agatharchides, undercuts the latter’s representation of Judeans as laughably “superstitious.” More generally, it hints at the Judeans’ “philosophical” ability to rise above the follies of others’ religious practices, thus paralleling the polemic against mythology to be launched in 2.236-54. This intellectually robust and practical archer is thus a model Judean in the mold in which Josephus here presents his culture. For Roman readers, the story is positioned in the tension in Roman culture between respect for augury and critical doubts about its rationale and mechanics; see further “Reading Options,” above.