Josephus Fixed by History/Historians

  • Above video description: Scholar and historian Chris Forbes shows why Josephus is still a reliable source on the historical Jesus despite what atheists and pseud-historians say.

Via Reformed Apologetics and CARM:

The following quote has the passages that are rejected as additions (italicized) by a Christian scribe in a later Latin transcription of Josephus:

  • “Around this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who did surprising deeds, and a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who in the first place came to love him did not give up their affection for him, for on the third day, he appeared to them restored to life. The prophets of God had prophesied this and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, have still to this day not died out.”

And here is a 10th Century Arabic transcription from an earlier Greek copy:

  • “At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship.They reported that he had appeared to them after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” (This version will be lost to scholarship until 1971)

For a chronological look at the text and it’s evolving historical significance, see: The Mystery of the Testimonium Flavianum

  • Above video description: Historians and scholars show that Josephus is a reliable historian on the historical Jesus despite the interpolations.

Again, here is the fixed version most historians accept…

  • “At that time there appeared Jesus, a wise man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who receive truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and among many of Greek origin. And when Pilate, because of an accusation made by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him previously did not cease to do so. And up until this very day the tribe of Christians (named after him) has not died out”

…from this and Josephus’ other passage…

  • “Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned”

With the passage from Josephus fixed, and including his other history concerning that time/area — what do we know?

1. He existed as a man. The historian Josephus grew up in a priestly family in first-century Palestine and wrote only decades after Jesus’ death. Jesus’ known associates, such as Jesus’ brother James, were his contemporaries. The historical and cultural context was second nature to Josephus. “If any Jewish writer were ever in a position to know about the non-existence of Jesus, it would have been Josephus. His implicit affirmation of the existence of Jesus has been, and still is, the most significant obstacle for those who argue that the extra-Biblical evidence is not probative on this point,” Robert Van Voorst observes.32 And Tacitus was careful enough not to report real executions of nonexistent people.

2. His personal name was Jesus, as Josephus informs us.

3. He was called Christos in Greek, which is a translation of the Hebrew wordMessiah, both of which mean “anointed” or “(the) anointed one,” as Josephus states and Tacitus implies, unaware, by reporting, as Romans thought, that his name was Christus.

4. He had a brother named James (Jacob), as Josephus reports.

5. He won over both Jews and “Greeks” (i.e., Gentiles of Hellenistic culture), according to Josephus, although it is anachronistic to say that they were “many” at the end of his life. Large growth
in the number of Jesus’ actual followers came only after his death.

6. Jewish leaders of the day expressed unfavorable opinions about him, at least according to some versions of the Testimonium Flavianum.

7. Pilate rendered the decision that he should be executed, as both Tacitus and Josephus state.

8. His execution was specifically by crucifixion, according to Josephus.

9. He was executed during Pontius Pilate’s governorship over Judea (26–36 C.E.), as Josephus implies and Tacitus states, adding that it was during Tiberius’s reign.

(Via Tektonics AND Biblical Archaeology)

Even atheist agree:

Josephus Atheist Historian

Facebook Comments

One thought on “Josephus Fixed by History/Historians

Comments are closed.