Why Josephus’ So-called Testimonium Flavianum Must be Rejected

The acknowledged authority on the life and works of Josephus is Louis H. Feldman of Yeshiva University.

Education: B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa, Valedictorian), Trinity College, Hartford, 1946; M.A. (in classics), Trinity College, 1947; Ph.D. (in classical philology), Harvard University, 1951 (diss.: "Cicero's Conception of Historiography"); L.H.D. (honorary), Trinity College, 1998.

Teaching Positions: Ford Foundation Teaching Fellow in Classics, Trinity College, 1951-52; Instructor in New Testament Greek, Hartford Seminary Foundation, 1951-52; Instructor in Classics, Trinity College, 1952-53; Instructor in Classics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 1953-55; Instructor in Humanities and History, Yeshiva and Stern Colleges, 1955-56; Assistant Professor of Classical Civilization, Yeshiva College, 1955-61; Associate Professor of Classical Civilization, Yeshiva College, 1961-66; Professor of Classics, Yeshiva University, 1966-present; Abraham Wouk Family Professor of Classics and Literature, Yeshiva University, 1993-present.
Fellowships and Awards: Guggenheim Foundation, Fellow; American Council of Learned Societies, Senior Fellow; Selected to conducted seminar for college teachers, National Endowment for the Humanities, "The Greek Encounter with Judaism in the Hellenistic Period," at Yeshiva University, Summers of 1980, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1992; "Classical and Christian Roots of Anti-Semitism," Summer of 1987; Award for excellence in teaching the classics, American Philological Association, 1981; Judaica Reference Book Award, Association of Jewish Libraries, 1985; Fellow, Annenberg Research Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, Philadelphia, PA, 1988-89; Elected Fellow, American Academy for Jewish Research, 1993; Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 1994.

Of his fifteen books on Josephus and 138 articles on Josephus and Judaism, I would like to quote what this Josephian scholar says about the Testimonium Flavaianum taken from "Josephus (CE 37-c.100)," in William Harbury et al., ed., The Cambridge History of Judaism vol. 3 (1999) pp. 911 - 912.

“We may remark here on the passage in Josephus which has occasioned by far more comment than any other, the so-called Testimonium Flavianum (Ant. XVIII. 63 - 4) concerning Jesus. The passage appears in all our manuscripts; but a considerable number of Christian writers - Pseudo-Justin and Theophilus in the second century, Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Orgen in the third century, and Methodius and Pseudo-Eustathius in the early fourth century - who knew Jeosphus and cited from his works do not refer to this passage, though one would imagine that it would be the first passage that a Christian apologist would cite. In particular, Origen (Contra Celsum 1.47 and Commentary on Matthew 10.17), who certainly knew Book 18 of the Antiquities and cites five passages from it, explicitly states that Josephus did not believe in Jesus as Christ. The first to cite the Testimonium is Eusebius (c. 324); and even after him, we may note, there are eleven Christian writers who cite Josephus but not the Testimonium. In fact, it is not until Jerome in the early fifth century that we have another reference o it.

The principal internal argument against the genuineness of the Testimonium is that it says that Jesus was the Christ, whereas Josephus, as a loyal Pharisaic Jew, could hardly have written this. To be sure, there was several claimants to the status of Messiah in this era, and those who followed them were not read out of the Jewish fold; but in view of the fact that Josephus nowhere else uses the word Christos (except in referring to James, the brother of Jesus, Ant. XX.200) and that he repeatedly suppresses the Messianic aspects of the revolt against Rome because of the association of the Messiah with political revolt and independence, it would seem hard to believe that he would openly call Jesus a Messiah and speak of him in awe. The fact that Jerome (De viris illustrious 13) read that ’he was believed to be the Christ (credebatur esse Christus) would suggest that his text differed from ours. Another objection to the authenticity of the passage is that it breaks the continuity of the narrative, which tells of a series of riots. Those, such as Eisler, who regard the passage as interpolated, suggest that the original spoke of the Christian movement as a riot.

Pines (An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and Its Implications (Jeruslame 1971))has created a considerable stir by bringing to the scholarly world’s attention two hitherto almost completely neglected works containing the Testimonium, one a tenth-century history of the world in Arabic by a Christian named Agapius and the other a twelfth-century chronicle in Syriac by Michael the Syrian. There are a number of differences between Agapuius and our Testimonium, notably in the omission of the statement ‘if one ought to call him a man’ and of Jesus’ miracles and of the role of the Jewish leaders in accusing Jesus, and, above all, in the assertion that Jesus was perhaps the Messiah (‘was thought to be’ in Michael). Since Agapius declares that ‘This is what is said by Josephus and his companions’ and indeed includes a number of other details not found in Josephus, we may conjecture that he used other sources as well. Inasmuch as there are changes in the order of the statements of the Testimonium in Agapius and Michael, we are apparently dealing not with a translation but with a paraphrase.”

So, by the account given by Louis Feldman, Christians are not above forgery and lies to give credence to Christianity!

61 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

Harry, I truly appreciate your research here, there, and everywhere. Nice job!

Harry McCall said...

Thanks John. Truth is always a pleasure!

John W. Loftus said...

Harry before you posted this I was persuaded by most of what Christopher Price wrote about Josephus' passage here. Would you care to comment?

Oliver said...

Enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

Eric said...

And, apparently, atheists aren't above misrepresentations and the presentation of partial truths.

Look at the title of your post: "Why Josephus' So-called Testimonium Flavium Must be Rejected."

Look at the scholar you cite, and whose credentials you expand upon: Louis Feldman.

Now let's look at Feldman's 'ultimate' conclusion
concerning the TF:

"The most probable view seems to be that our text represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator."

ahswan said...

First, your conclusion presumes intent. Second, Josephus' importance is as a historian, not whether he believed Jesus was the Christ or not.

Dave said...

Here's an extract from a lecture Prof. Feldman, which I think may be relevant to this post:

"In the first century, there appeared at the eastern end of the Mediterranean a remarkable religious leader who taught the worship of the true God and declared that religion meant not the sacrifice of beasts, but the practice of charity and piety and the shunning of hatred and enmity.

"He was said to have worked miracles of goodness, casting out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead. His exemplary life led some of his followers to claim he was a son of God, though he called himself the son of man.

"Accused of sedition against Rome, he was arrested. After his death, his disciples claimed he had risen from the dead, appeared to them alive, and then ascended to Heaven. Who was this teacher and wonderworker?"

Sound familiar? The answer is: this is a sketch of the life of Apollonius of Tyana based on a work by Philostratus, a writer who lived in the third century.

Apollonius of Tyana's dates are almost the same as Jesus' dates. People claimed that he did almost the same things. There were a lot of people like that. So you can't be really sure that this is Jesus of Nazareth that we are talking about.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Please...YAWN...Josephus left more than enough of other material that confirmed Jesus of Nazateth even IF the complete Testimonium is thrown out...

Unconvincing!

Now Appollonius may be a debate worth having...

Later.

Dave said...

>Please...YAWN...Josephus left more than enough of other material that confirmed Jesus of Nazateth<

Supt., this woke me up! What is some of that other material?

Harry McCall said...

John, a very interesting and one side website, but one filled with false claims and mis-statements out of context!

“Did Josephus Refer to Jesus?
A Thorough Review of the Testimonium Flavianum"
By Christopher Price

Price states Feldmen as saying “According to leading Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman, the authenticity of this passage "has been almost universally acknowledged" by scholars. (Feldman, "Josephus," Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 3, pages 990-91).”

In fact, the Testimonium Flavianum is not what Feldman is talking about here! So lets quote the Anchor Bible in context: “Moreover, the fact that Josephus refers to Jesus in his reference to James the brother of “the aforementioned Christ” (Ant 20.9.1 / 200) - a passage the authenticity of which has been almost universally acknowledge- indicates that Jesus had been mention previously.”

And again Price claims, “In his book Josephus and Modern Scholarship, Professor Feldman reports that between 1937 to 1980, of 52 scholars reviewing the subject, 39 found portions of the TF to be authentic.” I have this book in my personal library and if Mr. Price would provide a page number, I sure its another proof text out of context.

Mr. Price is arguing like Louis Feldmen believes the Testimonium Flavianum is authentic and only needs to convince other of the same. This is a total perversion of what Dr. Feldman believes!

Mr. Feldman was the Solomon-Tenenbaum Lecturer in 1997 at the University of South Carolina and his topic was "Jesus in Josephus: Focus on the Testamonium Flavianum". I have the audio tape of the lecture and if anyone thinks that is what Mr. Price says is correct about Dr. Feldman, I would be happy to make a copy of the tape for you.

Mr. Price again states: “Notably, the consensus for partial authenticity is held by scholars from diverse perspectives. Liberal commentators such as Robert Funk, J. Dominic Crossan, and A.N. Wilson, accept a substantial part of the TF as originally Josephan. So do Jewish scholars, such as Geza Vermes, Louis H. Feldman, and Paul Winter and secular scholars such as E.P. Sanders and Paula Fredrikson.”

I have personally sat in lectures with Robert Funk and John Crossan and Prices is again fabricating his facts!! Mr. Price would do well to review the late Robert Funk’s “Honest to Jesus”.

I have read the autobiographical de-conversion story by Geza Vermas who retuned to Judaism from being a Roman Catholic priest and I know that the independent scholar the late Paul Winter had more in common with Judaism then Christianity.

I would challenge Mr. Price to quote me text and page number where either E.P. Sanders or Paula Fredrikson state the Testimonium Flavianum as authentic! I have a number of their books on my book shelf.

Unlike Dr. Louis Feldman, who is a life long Josephian scholar, Christopher Price has no more use for Josephus than Strabo except as a tool to prove and promote Christianity.

End the final analysis, the objectivity or Dr. Feldman and the deceitful subjectively of Mr. Price speak for themselves!

Harry McCall said...

Harvey stated: “Please...YAWN...Josephus left more than enough of other material that confirmed Jesus of Nazateth even IF the complete Testimonium is thrown out...

Unconvincing!”

But Harvey, without the Testimonium Flavianum, Jesus is just a moral man who is NOT the Christ!

I totally agree with Dave, please provide the fact Harvey and I’ll personally call Dr. Feldman to inform him that his life as a scholar of Josephus was misguided!!!

Harry McCall said...

Eric stated: “Now let's look at Feldman's 'ultimate' conclusion
concerning the TF:

"The most probable view seems to be that our text represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator."

Yes, Eric and the Testamonium Flavianum is one of the major Christian additions!!!

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks Harry, for your analysis!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Look,

For one, almost every scholar agrees that elements of the Testimonium are interpolations, but NO scholar calls for a complete rescinsion of the passage because that's unreasonable based on the evidence. When the interpolated parts are stripped away, the discourse is quite condescending toward Jesus but still yet confirms that he was a "wise man" was "crucified under Pilate", "performed wonders" and 20 years AFTER Josephus had written "The Jewish War" still had had followers.

Now I assume Harry your argument would be to throw out the passage completely, but the expert you render doesn't even state that. In fact the Arabic Version that your expert uses has the Testimonium but scaled down as I suggest and YET confirms the facts I stated above.

What other passages? Well there's the James passage of of "Antiquities" in which Josephus refers to "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ".(Antiquities 20.9.1) Says that Jesus had gained a following (epegageto) (Antiquities 18.3.3/63) which many believe was also a slap in the face as if Jesus had "tricked" Jews that did follow him...(That's what we'd expect from a Pharisee) and the whole text presupposes that Josephus has previously mentioned Jesus by way of the Testimonium.

I looked back at my statement, I didn't mean to give the impression that Josephus just taught a message on Jesus, or peppered his books with his history, I meant that he said a lot more in detail than it seems even IF the Testimonium was thrown out.

Later.

Harry McCall said...

Harvey, you are talking like a slick used car salesman! I swear that’s blown engine is blowing smoke, but you claim; “ Hey, it's just burning the new off!”

I stand by what Dr. Feldman stated in The Cambridge History of Judaism: Vol. 3 The Early Roman Period. Josephus DID NOT claim Jesus was anything but a common man / NO Christ!

Contra what you are saying; the Oxford Classical Dictionary 3rd edition agrees with what Dr. Feldman believes that Christians tampered with Josephus’ text.

Anyway, the that Dr. Feldman is an expert that stands unchallenged.

Eric said...

Hi Harry

You wrote: "I stand by what Dr. Feldman stated in The Cambridge History of Judaism: Vol. 3 The Early Roman Period. Josephus DID NOT claim Jesus was anything but a common man / NO Christ!"

Note, this is *not* consistent with the title of your post, which says that the TF "must be rejected." There's a difference between 'revision' and 'rejection.'

If all you're saying is that the TF has been tampered with, and that this shows that some Christians will lie to support Christianity, then all one can reasonably respond with is, "Um, no kidding -- on both counts."
Heck, even Lee Strobel's books will get you that far! I'll say it again, however: this does not entail the radical conclusion contained in the title of your post. "Why Josephus' So-called TF Must be Revised," or "Why Parts of Josephus' So-called TF Must be Rejected" are accurate (both with respect to what you're saying, and with respect to the data) but trite; "Why Josephus' So-called TF Must be Rejected" is misleading and false.

sconnor said...

harvey,

Hmmm, have you read Josephus' books? I've researched and read all five of his books. I suspect you have never taken the time to read and study his books. If you did, you would find, that Epherias added some of the text about Jesus, in around the fourth century.

Josephus was Jewish through and through and would not have written anything about a messiah, in the affirmative. If you were to examine the texts more thoroughly, you would see them as blatant forgeries. Why didn't christians ever mention Josephus before Epherias made some of the embellishments? It's because the writings about Jesus were forgeries.

Also, any other writings about Jesus was solely based on hearsay -- stories that were past on -- in the oral tradition -- for decades before Josephus ever put words on a page.

Basically, harv, your supposed, historical evidence for Jesus is nothing but hearsay and forgeries.

But if you want to stick with passages from Josephus, to prove your case, then please, explain this passage: "Jesus the supposed Christ, is repetitious upon the tongues of the meek and insincere."
Pretty much sums up harvey and christians, for me.

Additionally, All the other historians you could mention -- Tacitus, Suetonius and Pliny the younger (or the lesser known historians, Mara Bar-Serapion 73AD, Ignatius 50AD - 98AD., Polycarp 69AD - 155AD, Clement of Rome 160AD Tertullian 160AD - ?AD, Clement of Alexandria 215AD, Origen 185AD - 232AD, Hippolytus 236AD, and Cyprian 254AD) -- all wrote, well after Jesus' supposed death. Josephus was the earliest born, about seven to ten years after Jesus died and wrote his books 40-50 years later, the rest were born in the 50's, 60's, and 70's AD and all their writings are well over a hundred years after Jesus' death. What this means is, the historians you could site were only around when other christians talked about the stories of christ -- it's all based on hearsay. They were not around when Jesus was alive. They do not in any way confirm the biblical accounts or the historicity of Jesus.

Now, what's even more damaging is, there are zero writings from historians from Jesus' time. Not a single scribe, historian or philosopher who lived during the time of Jesus wrote about what surely would have been a monumental piece of history -- what with all his miracles, including healing and resurrecting the dead. The historians Seneca 4BC. - 65AD and Pliny the Elder 23? - 79AD never mention Jesus. Philo Judaeus 20BC - 50AD lived in Jerusalem during the supposed life of Jesus. Philo Judaeus, a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and historian wrote volumes on the lives of Jews in and around the surrounding area and nothing is mentioned about the miracle-workin' Jesus the christ. Go figure?

--S.

brian_g said...

"Jesus the supposed Christ, is repetitious upon the tongues of the meek and insincere."

sconnor,

Where is that quote from?

Harry McCall said...

Great points Sconner!

Even the Gospels are based on hearsay. And even St. Paul who did live doing the time of Jesus fails to discuss his healing miracles and only has a sky Christ.

Moreover, the funny thing is that even Jesus, who was creating a future Church, never once left any written documents for the future; unlike the Church Fathers!

Lvka said...

Jesus never once left any written documents for the future

Why? Was He supposed to? (In Your mind the answer is obviously yes, because that's a normal conclusion of Your Sola Scriptura upbringing)

brian_g said...

Lvka said:
Why? Was He supposed to? (In Your mind the answer is obviously yes, because that's a normal conclusion of Your Sola Scriptura upbringing)


You must be a member of an apostolic Christian church. Are you Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, or Assyrian Church of the East?

Harry McCall said...

“Why Josephus' So-called TF Must be Rejected" is misleading and false.”

It must be rejected since the whole section is a Christian interpolation into a Jewish text and not true!
Eric:
My post deals with only the TF and its insertion into the original text. It is a false Josephian statement and it has no bases of true in this text.

I just do not know how much clearer I can be.

Harry McCall said...

Lvka, Judaism has more credibility than Christianity since Moses wrote the Ten Commandments and give Judaism both the Oral and Written Torah.

Jesus left Christianity nothing because he gave Christianity NOTHING! Period.

Eric said...

Hi Harry

You wrote: "It must be rejected since *the whole section* is a Christian interpolation into a Jewish text and not true!
My post deals with *only the TF* and *its insertion* into the original text. It is a false Josephian statement and it has no bases of true in this text.
I just do not know how much clearer I can be"

Let's be clear. Here's the TF (Whiston translation):

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

Now, Feldman's own conclusion **concerning the TF itself** is this:

"The most probable view seems to be that *our text **represents substantially what ***Josephus*** wrote**, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator*."

Note, he is referring to the TF here, *not* to the works of Josephus in general, and *not* to the Antiquities of the Jews in particular. In other words, *your own source* says that the TF itself "represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator." You, on the other hand, are claiming that the TF *in its entirety* is an interpolation. Feldman, however -- your source -- disagrees with you. This is why your post is misleading: you rely *enitrely* upon the authority and arguments of Feldman, *but fail to mention his conclusion*.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor~ "Epherias added some of the text about Jesus, in around the fourth century."

This would be an educational point for me in this Sconnor. Could you send me the particular text that Epherias added. In all sincerity I hadn't studied that.

Sconnor~ "Josephus was Jewish through and through and would not have written anything about a messiah, in the affirmative.

That I TOTALLY agree with. I think he was speaking rather sarcastically and out of amusement BUT that doesn't change what or who he was actually and factually talking about.

So far as the others, and you gave a good and comprehensive list, I would not do this thread justice to go through why each of those are good evidence for the historical Jesus, but I'll say you bring up excellent study material.

Eric has given a rather good revision of the testimonium and no, Harry, I do NOT see where Feldmen or anyone else says the whole TF should be trashed. He admits tapmpering with and most christian scholars agree. I even agree with that sentiment, but there is other substantive evidence that must be considered and when the revisions are removed the TF yet confirms Jesus as a historical person.

Thanks, I'll get back with specifics later.

Harry McCall said...

Eric stated: “Note, he is referring to the TF here, *not* to the works of Josephus in general, and *not* to the Antiquities of the Jews in particular. In other words, *your own source* says that the TF itself "represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator." You, on the other hand, are claiming that the TF *in its entirety* is an interpolation. Feldman, however -- your source -- disagrees with you. This is why your post is misleading: you rely *enitrely* upon the authority and arguments of Feldman, *but fail to mention his conclusion*.

Eric, you made to accusation: “ *your own source* says that the TF itself "represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator." I now challenged you to find that statement in the post I cite as coming from Dr. Feldman.

Eric, I’ve been down this Red Herring road before when I was claimed by a blogger named “Guamy” that I said something I never did. Harry: “I ask you (Guamy) several times to quote me verbatim any where I EVER said ‘that Christianity believes Genesis 6:2 is proof of the divinity of Christ.’ You could NEVER do it, because you created a flat out lie.”

Eric, my post contains NO such statement “represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator."

Feldman does state: “The principal internal argument against the genuineness of the Testimonium is that it says that Jesus was the Christ, whereas Josephus, as a loyal Pharisaic Jew, could hardly have written this. … Another objection to the authenticity of the passage is that it breaks the continuity of the narrative, which tells of a series of riots. Those, such as Eisler, who regard the passage as interpolated, suggest that the original spoke of the Christian movement as a riot.” Nowhere do I find your claim.

So, maybe you are Guamy or a Guamy type throwing out a Red Herring. Support your statement with the complete paragraph from my post or stop wasting my time!

Unless you can support your claim, I will not respond to you on this claim again.

Eric said...

Hi Harry

You wrote: "Eric, my post contains NO such statement"

Um, no kidding. See, that's kinda the point.

Here's what I wrote:

"This is why your post is misleading: you rely *enitrely* upon the authority and arguments of Feldman, *but fail to mention his conclusion*."

When I said you failed to mention Feldman's conclusion about the TF, I meant -- well, that you failed to mention it. If you failed to mention it, it's not in your post, by definition.

You wrote: "I now challenged you to find that statement in the post I cite as coming from Dr. Feldman."

Let me get this straight: If you selectively quote an author's work as a source, and if I bring up something your source has written that is patently relevant to the issue you're discussing (it contradicts your conclusion!), but that you failed to mention, then the onus is on me to find the quote you ignored *in your selective quotation*? You must be kidding me!

Harry McCall said...

Eric claims: “Let me get this straight: If you selectively quote an author's work as a source, and if I bring up something your source has written that is patently relevant to the issue you're discussing (it contradicts your conclusion!), but that you failed to mention, then the onus is on me to find the quote you ignored *in your selective quotation*? You must be kidding me!”

Again Eric: you made to accusation: “ *your own source* says that the TF itself "represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator." I now challenged you to find that statement in the post I cite as coming from Dr. Feldman.

Problem 1: You made the claim Feldman stated verbatim: “ "represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator." Footnote this source.

Problem 2: “*your own source* says that the TF itself "represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator."

Find this quote in The Cambridge History of Judaism: Vol. 3 The Early Roman Period in Chapter 28, Josephus (CE 37 - c. 100) pp. 901 - 921!!!!

If your are half the scholar you claim to be, footnote your source! Your “I bring up something your source(***) has written that is patently relevant to the issue you're discussing (it contradicts your conclusion!), but that you failed to mention, then the onus is on me to find the quote you ignored *in your selective quotation*? You must be kidding me!”

(***) Eric, now my source (***) for this is: The Cambridge History of Judaism: Vol. 3 The Early Roman Period in Chapter 28, Josephus (CE 37 - c. 100) pp. 901 - 921; find it!!!!


You said you had the money is in the bank. I said prove it (Guamy!!!). You can’t.

But of course, as I suspect, you don’t have a source, which as a second Guamy, you only want to play mind games to comfort you hurt (Christian?) ego.

Again, you provide a source for your quote on the TF for Dr. Feldman, or you're a liar here just to cause problems (a doctrine expected of all Christadelphians)!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Harry,

I don’t mean to interrupt your dialogue with Eric but I do want to at least complete my thoughts on this.

As I stated to Sconnor, I generally agree that the TF had interpolated parts, but I do not agree that the whole thing was interpolated or should be thrown out. Here are my reasons:

1- There are generally 3 interpolated parts
A- statements to Jesus’s Divinity
B- Confession that Jesus was Messiah
C- Acknowledgement of the resurrection on the 3rd day “according to the scriptures”

Although I could counter-argue that a Pharisee as Josephus would have generally believed all of those things I don’t believe he believed this about Jesus because the rest of his writings do not reflect it.

I believe scholars lean toward a reconstructed TF rather than throwing the TF out. Why? Because of the complicity of additional evidences. Examples:

The evidence shows that the TF wasn’t planted by a Christian interpolator. Reasons:

a- Following the TF is a much longer discourse on John The Baptist. If a Christian would have planted the TF it certainly would have been AFTER the John The Baptist passage and would probably have been much longer and more favorable toward Jesus.

b- For coherent reading the TF occurs BEFORE the James passage in Antiquities. In the James passage Josephus identifies James as the “the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ” this is generally viewed as a statement of identification and not glorification and is generally not claimed to be an interpolation, thus leading the reader to a better understanding that Josephus has previously informed the reader about whom he was speaking.

c- The TF did not glorify Jesus so it was not good apologetic work for early Christian leaders. They would have no reason to use it to defend the faith.

d- Origen actually complained that Josephus DID NOT believe that Jesus was the Messiah (Against Celsus,1.45;Commentary on Matthew,10.17), therefore if Origen complains of this fact he by virtue of the complaint is stating that he’s read the TF and found what he believes should be in there missing. (C. Evans “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources”)p. 470

e- Jerome wrote about the TF without the interpolations in “De Viris Illustribus, 13.14. He further quoted Josephus over 90 times in his writings and NEVER makes use of the TF in defending the faith. Why? The TF existed BUT was not interpolated to reflect any of the items to defend the Christian faith.

f- Finally, the Arabic text that your article mentions has the TF in an unaltered form suggesting that Agapius had access to a version of Antiq. That did not contain the interpolated portions that we find in the Gk text.

James Charlesworth said, “We can now be certain as historical research will presently allow that Josephus did refer to Jesus in Ant. [18.3.3] J. Charlesworth, Jesus within Judaism (New York: Doubleday, 1988)p.96

Authors P. Eddy and G. Boyd state, “In light of these considerations we side with the majority of scholars today who conclude that something like the reconstructed version of the Testimonium was penned by Josephus.” The Jesus Legend, (Baker 2007, p197)

Those are my reasons why I don’t believe that the TF should be thrown out my friend. It certainly doesn’t confirm divinity, BUT it does confirm historicity. We can argue divinity on other basis, we don’t need the TF for that.

Later.

sconnor said...

harvey,

This would be an educational point for me in this Sconnor. Could you send me the particular text that Epherias added. In all sincerity I hadn't studied that.


Sorry it's Eusebius -- my bad. The majority of scholars say the Testimonium Flavianum is a forgery as none of the earliest christian apologists referred to it -- they didn't refer to it because it was never there. It wasn't until sometime after the 300's when Eusebius got a hold of it adding the TF when other theologians started to refer to it.

Here's a reference from truthbeknown.com

The Culprit: Eusebius (c. 264-340)
In addition to acknowledging the spuriousness of the Josephus passage, many authorities quoted here agreed with the obvious: Church historian Eusebius was the forger of the entire Testimonium Flavianium. Various reasons have already been given for making such a conclusion. In "Did Jesus Really Live?" Marshall Gauvin remarks:

"Everything demonstrates the spurious character of the passage. It is written in the style of Eusebius, and not in the style of Josephus. Josephus was a voluminous writer. He wrote extensively about men of minor importance. The brevity of this reference to Christ is, therefore, a strong argument for its falsity. This passage interrupts the narrative. It has nothing to do with what precedes or what follows it; and its position clearly shows that the text of the historian has been separated by a later hand to give it room."

Regarding the absence of the TF in the writings of earlier Christian fathers and its sudden appearance with Eusebius, CMU says:

"it has been observed that the famous passage which we find in Josephus, about Jesus Christ, was never mentioned or alluded to in any way whatever by any of the fathers of the first, second, or third centuries; nor until the time of Eusebius, 'when it was first quoted by himself [sic].' The truth is, none of these fathers could quote or allude to a passage which did not exist in their times; but was to all points short of absolutely certain, forged and interpolated by Eusebius, as suggested by Gibbon and others. Even the redoubtable Lardner has pronounced this passage to be a forgery." (CMU, 79-80)

--S.

Harry McCall said...

Harvey, as Dr. Feldman stated, Josephus mention Jesus, especially in the James passage, by he id not write the TF.

The bottom line is that Josephus did not think Jesus was the Gospel Christ that Christianity claims him to be.

Nehemias said...

Mr. McCall,

The TF debate is complex and fascinating.

However, Professor Feldman believes that TF is partly interpolated (i.e: it have a basic kernel

Prof. Louis Feldman, Yeshiva University

"As to the celebrated Testimonium Flavianum (Ant. 18:63-64) the great majority of modern scholars have regarded it as PARTLY interpolated, and this is my conclusion as well. THAT THE BASIC KERNEL IS AUTHENTIC is supported by the fact that it appears in all the manuscripts (to be sure, the earliest of these dates fromk only the eleventh century) an all the versions, including the translation into latin made by the school of Cassiodorus in the sixth century"
(Louis H Feldman, "Flavius Josephus Revisited, The, His Writings, and his significance", page 822 IN Haase & Temporini; "Aufstieg und Niedergange der Romischen Welt, 1984").

See also:

"The most probable view seems to be that our text represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator" [Louis H. Feldman: Editor, "Josephus, Jewish Antiquities Books XVIII- XIX", page 49, The Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1998]

For the record

Paula Frederiksen:
"Most scholars currently incline to see the passage as basically authentic, with a few later insertions by Christian scribes." (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, page 249).

Geza Vermes:

http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/424/full
“(…) He [Josephus] also refers to Jesus in the days of Pontius Pilate and calls him a “wise man and performer of astonishing or paradoxical deeds. (…) The reliability of Josephus’ notice about Jesus was rejected by many in the 19th and early 20th centuries, BUT IT HAD BEEN JUDGED PARTLY GENUINE AND PARTLY FALSIFIED BY THE MAJORITY OF MORE RECENT CRITICS. The Jesus portrait of Josephus, drawn by an uninvolved witness, stands halfway between the fully sympathetic picture of early Christianity and the wholly antipathetic image of the magician of Talmudic and post-Talmudic Jewish literature. “wise man” and “performer of paradoxical deeds” ARE GENUINELY JOSEPHAN PHRASES THAT NO CHRISTIAN INTERPOLATOR would have found potent enough to describe the divinised Christ of the later church.”

So, I also believe that Josephus did wrote parts of Testimonium Flavianum, but that he did not regard Jesus as the Christ, or more than human.

Thank You

Nehemias

Kevin H said...

Harry,

You wasted your time on this one. There are two core Jesus passages in Josephus despite the probable interpolations.

K

Eric said...

Harry: "Harvey, as Dr. Feldman stated, Josephus mention Jesus, especially in the James passage, by he did not write the TF."

Eric: "Now let's look at Feldman's 'ultimate' conclusion
concerning the TF:
"The most probable view seems to be that our text represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator."

Harry: "Again, you provide a source for your quote on the TF for Dr. Feldman, or you're a liar here just to cause problems"

Nehemias, quoting Feldman: "The most probable view seems to be that our text represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator" [Louis H. Feldman: Editor, "Josephus, Jewish Antiquities Books XVIII- XIX", page 49, The Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1998]"

Nehemias has provided the source you asked for (thanks for saving me the trouble!). It's from Feldman, as I said. Also, as I said, it's clear that Feldman did not think that the entire TF is a Christian interpolation, which is what you've claimed. Your entire argument is based on Feldman's authority, yet you either never bothered to find out what your source -- Feldman -- had *ultimately* concluded about the TF, or deliberately ignored what your source -- Feldman -- thought about the TF. Nowhere did I restrict what I called 'your source' to "The Cambridge History of Judaism"; I was clear that I was referring to Feldman as 'your source,' and I accused you of selectively quoting from his works. As Nehemias' sources demonstrate, I was right. So, clearly I'm not "a liar here just to cause problems" but someone who is, as I hope you are, interested in the truth. If you are interested in the truth, you'll admit your error. You could, of course, use Feldman's arguments to reach the conclusion -- your conclusion, not Feldman's -- that the TF is, in its entirety, an interpolation; however, you falsely claimed that Feldman had concluded that the TF is, in its entirety, an interpolation. That was my only problem with your post.

Harry McCall said...

Nehemias and Eric: A 1999 article trumps a 1984 article by Feldman; one that he wrote 15 years earlier.

In the same line, twenty years ago I was an apologetic debater for Christianity, but what I write now trumps that.

I will responded to all Nehemias points and authors quoted by this week end if not before, so keep checking the comment section.

Regards,
Harry

Eric said...

"Nehemias and Eric: A 1999 article trumps a 1984 article by Feldman; one that he wrote 15 years earlier"

It would only trump what Feldman had written earlier if he had changed his mind; he hasn't. He's expressed agreement with Alice Whealey's 2003 "Josephus on Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum Controversy from Late Antiquity to Modern Times," in which she concludes that there is a historical core of the TF that does go back to Josephus.

Harry McCall said...

Eric: “Nehemias has provided the source you asked for (thanks for saving me the trouble!). It's from Feldman, as I said. Also, as I said, it's clear that Feldman did not think that the entire TF is a Christian interpolation, which is what you've claimed. Your entire argument is based on Feldman's authority, yet you either never bothered to find out what your source -- Feldman -- had *ultimately* concluded about the TF, or deliberately ignored what your source -- Feldman -- thought about the TF. Nowhere did I restrict what I called 'your source' to "The Cambridge History of Judaism"; I was clear that I was referring to Feldman as 'your source,' and I accused you of selectively quoting from his works. As Nehemias' sources demonstrate, I was right. So, clearly I'm not "a liar here just to cause problems" but someone who is, as I hope you are, interested in the truth. If you are interested in the truth, you'll admit your error. You could, of course, use Feldman's arguments to reach the conclusion -- your conclusion, not Feldman's -- that the TF is, in its entirety, an interpolation; however, you falsely claimed that Feldman had concluded that the TF is, in its entirety, an interpolation. That was my only problem with your post.”


Eric, it seems we are not on the same page over the basic definition of an “interpolation”, so lets establish the dictionary meaning of the term: “interpolate (verb), 1. To insert or introduce between other elements or parts. 2.a To insert into a text. (material). B. To insert into a conversation. 3. To change or falsify (a text)by introducing new or false material.

So, Eric, exactly what part of interpolate (verb) or interpolation (noun) do both you and Nehemias NOT understand?

The “TF“, according to Feldman’s 1999 article (as quoted in my post), argues for this point. Here‘s Feldman: “The first to cite the Testimonium is Eusebius (c. 324); and even after him, we may note, there are eleven Christian writers who cite Josephus but not the Testimonium. In fact, it is not until Jerome in the early fifth century that we have another reference to it.”; and again, “The principal internal argument against the genuineness of the Testimonium…”; and again, “Another objection to the authenticity of the passage…”; and “Those, such as Eisler, who regard the passage as interpolated,…” (Here Feldman cites an authority on Josephus: R. Eisler, Iesous Basileus ou Basileus (Heidelberg 1929; ET London 1931).

In the revision of Emil Schurer (who rejected it) “The history of the Jewish people in the age of Jesus Christ”; vol. 1 (revised bu Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar and Matthew Black), 1973 on page 430 Dr. Feldman is listed along with 21 others who hold it to be an “interpolation”.

Dr. Feldman’s 1999 chapter writes from the point on COMPLETE interpolation as my dictionary meaning describes in that: Feldman, “…but a considerable number of Christian writers - Pseudo-Justin and Theophilus in the second century, Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Orgen in the third century, and Methodius and Pseudo-Eustathius in the early fourth century - who knew Jeosphus and cited from his works do not refer to this passage, though one would imagine that it would be the first passage that a Christian apologist would cite.”.

Eric, let say that even if most of the TF is historical with Josephus and I took your statement “As Nehemias' sources demonstrate, I was right. So, clearly I'm not "a liar here just to cause problems" but someone who is, as I hope you are, interested in the truth.” and lets say I interpolated some minor words into it: “As Nehemias' sources could not demonstrate, I was wrong. So, clearly I'm "a liar here just to cause problems" and someone who is not, as I hope you are, interested in the truth.”

Now all I did was to insert a few words and omit one word, and as a historian writing 2,000 years later how would you know internally to the composition what was add, what was omitted and what was not your words?

This is my point exactly when I stated: “Why Josephus’ So-called TF must be Rejected”. Unless you or Nehemias can point to which part are authentic based on Feldman’s article, then his 1999 article prove the whole TF is a complete interpolation.
But then, if you two could, Christian apologists would be quoting you two as authorities.

If you want more facts, the I’ll offer your correct statement and the doctored statement to several individuals and ask them which one is true. They would have at least a 50 / 50 chance to get it right, even that is a lot more than the negative conclusion Dr. Feldman comes to that the “TF” is a complete interpolation using both Lower (Textual) and Higher (Literary) Criticisms!

I’ll post another comment on the “TF” in several more days.

Nehemias said...

Mr.McCall and Eric,

It is not my intention create trouble or accuse anyone here.

In a quote provided by Mr. Mc Call, the eminent scholar Louis Feldmann reviewed some of dificulties with the received text of Testimonium Flavianum. In fact, I know some good josephan scholars who regard TF as entirely forged (eg. Per Bilde), and they could be right.

However, Feldman accepts partial authenticity of the text. As Steve Mason, Geza Vermes, J.D Crossan, J.P. Meier and the majority of modern commentators.

>"A 1999 article trumps a 1984 >article by Feldman; one that he >wrote 15 years earlier."

I provided two quotes of Feldman. The second quote is from a 1998 book, and was cited, with approval, by eminent scholar David Flusser (1917-2000), - who was professor of Early Christianity and Judaism of the Second Temple Period at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and member of Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities - in his book "The Sage from Galilee -Rediscovering Jesus Genius".

take a look (page 12, note 17)
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tDNTzh-GlAsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=david+flusser&lr=&hl=pt-BR#PPA12,M1

>In the same line, twenty years >ago I was an apologetic debater >for Christianity, but what I >write now trumps that.

In the Feldman's article in Cambridge History of Judaism quoted by you. Prof. Feldman wrote (note 23, page 912):

http://books.google.com.br/books?id=AW2BuWcalXIC&pg=RA1-PA901&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=0_0#PRA1-PA912,M1
Feldman note:
"23: S.Pines, An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and its Implications 9Jerusalem, 1971). ON THE WHOLE QUESTION OF THE TESTIMONIUM FLAVIANUM see L.H Feldman "The Testimonium Flavianum: The State of Question" in R.F Berkey and S.A Edwards (eds.) Christological Perspectives Fs H.K. Mc Arthur (NEW YORK, 1982), PP 179-99, 288-295."

So, it seems that Feldman himself do not regard his 1982 work outdated.

Eric:
"He's expressed agreement with Alice Whealey's 2003 "Josephus on Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum Controversy from Late Antiquity to Modern Times," in which she concludes that there is a historical core of the TF that does go back to Josephus."

That is true. In a 2006 review article, Dr. Stuart Robertson (Purdue University) wrote the following about both Whealey and Feldman views on the subject:

(Robertson, 2006)
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v024/24.3robertson.html

"It appears that WHEALEY SHARES THE VIEW OF LOUIS FELDMAN, whose influence is strong in her study, that some form of the received text is authentic, though not that Josephus wrote, "He was the Christ." (I will refer to the passage in question as TF.)"

Alice Whealey has reviewed the state of schorlarship on TF, in a paper presented in 2000 SBL Josephus Seminar.

http://pace.mcmaster.ca/media/pdf/sbl/whealey2000.pdf

(Whealey,2000 - see page 9)
"the twentieth century controversies over the text have been marked by the presence of Jewish scholars for
the first time as prominent participants on both sides of the question. In general, the attitudes of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish and secular scholars towards the text have drawn closer together, with a greater tendency among scholars of all religious backgrounds to see the text as largely authentic."

Best Regards,

Nehemias

Nehemias said...

Mr. Mc Call,

When I was writing my last comment I hadn't seen yet your response.

So, a comment:

>"In the revision of Emil Schurer .>(who rejected it) “The >history of the Jewish people in >the age of Jesus Christ”; vol. 1 .(revised bu Geza Vermes, Fergus >Millar and Matthew Black), 1973 >on page 430 Dr. Feldman is listed >along with 21 others who hold it >to be an “interpolation”.

Winter, Paul, "Josephus on Jesus and James," in E. Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, rev. and ed. by G. Vermes and F. Millar (Edinburgh: Clark, 1973), pages 428-441

The Winter's article is here:

http://books.google.com.br/books?id=p75tWhrwGT8C&pg=PR12&dq=paul+winter+and+fergus+millar#PPA428,M1

The scholars were divided by Winter in

1) Defending Authenticity
2) Against Authenticity
3) Mantaining the theory of interpolation (Feldman was listed in this group).

However, in Winter's definition "Mantaining the theory of interpolation" is the same thing of defending parthial authenticity (see page 428). The scholars who believed that entire paragraph is false were listed in "Against Authenticity".

One of scholars listed in Mantaining the theory of interpolation group is H.St Thackeray, who wrote the following about TF "the paragraph in the mais comes from Josephus or his secretary, but the christian censor or copist has, by slight omissions and alterations, so distorted it as to give it a wholly different complexion" (Winter, page 430).

Winter himself is listed in the group of "maintening theory of interpolation". However he wrote:

"to conclude our examination Josephus mentioned Jesus. the present text of Ant. XVIII (63-4) is only to some extent his own. Josephus wrote more about Jesus than we are able to extract from this text.
Although Josephus certanly did not call Jesus the messiah, and did not assert that his ressurection on the third day has been announced by divine prophets , the impression gained from an intimate study of his report is that he was not on the whole unsympathetic towards Jesus"
(Winter, The history of the Jewish people in the age of Jesus Christ”; vol. 1: Excursus 2 Josephus on Jesus and James, page 440).

So, the scholars listed by Winter in the group "Maintening theory of interpolation" (as Martin, Pelletier, Klausner, Feldman, Eisler and Winter himself) believed that Josephus did wrote about Jesus in Ant. 18:63-64, but his text was changed by later scribes.

Nehemias

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Harry,

The debate over whether Jesus actually lived or existed is a relatively late debate. No historian of the first few centuries questioned that fact. So the TF was not to confirm or disprove the historical person as that was a given that people knew that. Even Trypho in his debate with Justin M, doesn't deny the Jesus of history although
he criticizes the followers and speak against his deity.

The TF would have NOT been used for apologetic purposes, that's why no early Christian writing reflects it. It is not glorifying to Jesus as ALL followers already knew he existed.

No matter, no scholar agrees with your thought that the TF should be thrown out and almost all agree that it was there. The TF either way confirms the historical fact of Jesus, his death under Pointus Pilate and followers of the religion early.

Basis to maintain otherwise is VERY slim to non-existent.

DingoDave said...

I'm inclined to agree that the entire Testimonium is an interpolation. It intrudes on the narrative and actually interupts the flow of the prose. Please read the following passage from Josephus' 'Antiquities' both with and without the Testimonium, and then ask yourself which reads more smoothly, and makes more sense.

Another piece of evidence in support of the Testimonium being a complete fabrication is that in the paragraph following it, Josephus apparently described Jesus crucifixion as being a "sad calamity". Josephus was not a Christian, and in fact heaped scorn on all the other so-called messiahs of the day whom he wrote about. Why then would he have singled out Jesus' execution as being a "sad calamity", when he didn't for any of the other messianic pretenders of the time? I don't believe he would have. Add to this the fact that no historian prior to Eusebius so much as mentioned the Testimonium, and I think a good case can be made for writing off the entire Testimonium as being an interpolation, probably by the pen of Eusebius, who is widely regarded as being somewhat less than truthful in some of his defences of Christianity.

Antiquities of the Jews - Book XVIII
Chapter 3.

"2. But Pilate undertook to bring a current of water to Jerusalem, and did it with the sacred money, and derived the origin of the stream from the distance of two hundred furlongs. However, the Jews were not pleased with what had been done about this water; and many ten thousands of the people got together, and made a clamor against him, and insisted that he should leave off that design. Some of them also used reproaches, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do. So he habited a great number of his soldiers in their habit, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them to a place where they might surround them. So he bid the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did they spare them in the least: and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others of them ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition.

3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

4. About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis that was at Rome. I will now first take notice of the wicked attempt about the temple of Isis, and will then give an account of the Jewish affairs. There was at Rome a woman whose name was Paulina; one who, on account of the dignity of her ancestors, and by the regular conduct of a virtuous life, had a great reputation: she was also very rich; and although she was of a beautiful countenance, and in that flower of her age wherein women are the most gay, yet did she lead a life of great modesty. She was married to Saturninus, one that was every way answerable to her in an excellent character..."
http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-18.htm

What do you the rest of you think?

DingoDave said...

The other references to Jesus in Josephus may be authentic, but we have no real way of knowing for sure.

Harry McCall said...

Nehemais and Harvey,

I have subscribed to the following series at $170 to $300 per volume:

Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary
Edited by Steve Mason and Published by EJ Brill

Commentators:
John Barclay (University of Durham)
Christopher Begg (Catholic University of America)
Per Bilde (University of Aarhus)
Honora Chapman (California State University, Fresno)
Louis H. Feldman (Yeshiva University)
Anthony J. Forte (Pontifical Biblical University)
Jan Willem van Henten (University of Amsterdam)
David Ladouceur (University of Notre Dame)
James McLaren (Australian Catholic University)
Jonathan Price (Tel Aviv University)
Joseph Sievers (Pontifical Biblical Institute)
Paul Spilsbury (Canadian Theological Seminary)
T. Peter Wiseman (University of Exeter)


Flavius Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, is without a doubt the most important witness to ancient Judaism from the close of the biblical period to the aftermath of the destruction of the temple in 70 CE. His four surviving works - Judean War, Judean Antiqities, Life, and Against Apion - provide the narrative structure for interpreting the other, more fragmentary written sources and physical remains for this period.
His descriptions of the Temple, the Judean countryside, Jewish-Roman relations and conflicts, and groups and institutions of ancient Judea have become indispensable for the student of early Judaism, of Classics, and of Christian origins alike.

The priestly aristocrat Josephus was born in 37 CE and died around the year 100. After fighting against the Romans in the war of 66-73 and surrendering in the earliest phase of the campaign, he moved to Rome where he began a productive literary career. His four surviving works in thirty Greek volumes are widely excerpted for historical purposes, but still not often read in their literary and historical contexts.
This project aims to assist every serious reader of Josephus by providing a new literal translation, along with a commentary suggesting literary and historical connections.

This is the first comprehensive literary-historical commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus in English. Scholar Steve Mason, York University, Toronto, edits the scheduled 10 volumes.


This product consists of the following titles


10. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, Volume 10 Against Apion
Translation and Commentary by John M.G. Barclay

9. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, Volume 9 Life of Josephus
Edited by Steve Mason

5. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, Volume 5 Judean Antiquities Books 8-10
Christopher T. Begg and Paul Spilsbury

4. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, Volume 4 Judean Antiquities Books 5-7
Christopher T. Begg

3. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, Volume 3 Judean Antiquities Books 1-4
Louis H. Feldman

As of yet, I not sure who will do book 18 on the TF, but that should be the definitive work on the text.

I have the complete Loeb library on Josephus and a number of specialty books published by EJ Brill on Josephus including : Josephus in Galilee and Rome by Shaye J.D. Cohen; Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus by Edited by Steve Mason; Josephus, the Bible and History Edited by L.H. Feldman and G. Hata; Josephus, Judaism and Christianity Edited by L.H. Feldman and G. Hata.

I have 3 of David Flusser’s major works which were published by The Magnes Press at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and distributed by Brill.

To me, Flusser makes some “off the wall” statements such as in his book on “Jesus” published in 1997 where on page 30 he remarks: “Moreover, Jesus’ Jewish education was incomparably superior to that of Paul.” This is remarkable since Jesus never wrote anything that what we now have is not in his original tongue of Aramaic, but is totally obscured by Hellenistic Greek! All one need do here is compare the LXX to the MT text to see what I mean!

Anyway, at the time of the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith’s death in 1844, all the original witnesses to the Golden Plates, including major players such as Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon, even though they either left the Mormon Church on their own or were expelled, NEVER renounced their testimony in the Golden Plates which they claimed they handled and that Joseph Smith under the leader ship of Jesus himself, restored the true Church.

Finally, my whole post is again sumed up by Dingodave:

"The other references to Jesus in Josephus may be authentic, but we have no real way of knowing for sure."

sconnor said...

"The other references to Jesus in Josephus may be authentic, but we have no real way of knowing for sure."

...and they were only based on hearsay (what other christians told as stories; not a first hand witness to the alleged history) coupled with the fact, that no historian from Jesus' time ever wrote anything about what, surely, would have been an amazing and monumental, bit of history -- what with all the supposed, incredible healings, resurrections, water into wine, walking on water, etc.

--S.

Nehemias said...

Harvey,

Very good.

Dingo,

Good post.

As I've already said we have some good reasons to reject TF (and other good reasons to believe that at least parts of paragraph were written by Josephus).

J.P Meier "In the present case, one wonders whether any greater link need exist for Josephus than the fact that the account of Jesus (who is crucified by Pilate) is preceded by a story about Pilate in which many Jews are killed (Ant. 18.3.2, 60‑62) and is followed by a story in which the tricksters are punished by crucifixion". (The Marginal Jew, vol I, page 86). Meier also quoted H. St. Thackeray "Josephus was a patchwork writer." (Meier, Op. cit., page 86, fn. 54).

I agree with Geza Vermes position on the subject and his 2008 statement that TF "has been judged partly genuine and partly falsified by the majority of more recent critics" and "great majority of modern scholars have regarded it as partly interpolated, and this is my conclusion as well" (Feldman, 1984).

However, many excelent scholars disagree, and "after four hundred years the question of the Testimonium Flavianum's authenticity has still not been settled" (Whealey, 2003, page 195).

Harry,

Congratulations. You have very good books. I would onlysuggest "Josephus and New Testament" (Steve Mason).

>As of yet, I not sure who will do >book 18 on the TF, but that >should be the definitive work on >the text.

I must agree.

Sconnor,

Josephus lived in Palestine before the First Jewish-Roman War. He wrote about Theudas (45 AD), and John Baptist (30 AD), the Samaritan prophet (37 AD), Simon of Perea (5 BC) and Athronges (5 BC) and others messianic claimants. Josephus is the only source to many of them (John and Theudas are mentined in NT, and Tacitus wrote some words about Simon, probably because he proclaimed himself king). Philo did not mention any of them in his writings.

"So why would Christians in Rome be the source for the tale of how a High Priest lost his job? Josephus was close at hand when it happened, and was a man of some standing in the Jewish community. I can't imagine that he missed it when it was news, and didn't find out about it until he talked to some Christians about 30 years later." (Peter Kirby, 2001)

Of couse, Josephus did not mention Hilel, Hanina Ben-Dosa, Yehonam Ben Zakai, and the Council of Jamnia.

And Bar Kochba, the great leader of Second Jewish-Roman war (132-135 AD), who fought against 80,000 roman soldiers, is not even mentioned in III century Cassio Dio's account of the revolt( or Historia Augusta, and Frontus, and Appius).

Fellows,

That all folks. I appreciated this discussion very much. These were my final remarks on the subject.

Life long and prosper,
May the Force be with you,

Nehemias

Nehemias said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harry McCall said...

Thanks Nehemais! I appreciate your objective input. Thanks for taking the time to responded.

Regards,
Harry

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

What's up Dingo?

Good food for thought. I guess that's what Harry was trying to say all this time.

Who did you have to rebuke Harry? I must have missed that part....

Layman said...

It is disappointing to be accused of making false statements by someone making false statements about my work. It is also humorous to be "challenged" to answer questions no one let me know where being asked. It is also amusing to see so many of the attacks me me so completely refuted by others without any apparent retraction on the attacker's part. In any event, I started to draft this response to Harry's erroneous take on my Josephus article before noting that many of his flagrant factual misstatements have been caught and corrected, though Harry seems none the wiser.

Harry argues that I claim that Feldman says that the Testimonium is universally acknowledged as true when in fact Feldman refers to Josephus' reference to James the brother of Jesus here. If anyone had bothered to read my article, this is exactly what I said. I do not claim that Feldman said the Testimonium (which is the first reference in Antiquities) was universally acknowledged as authentic. I said Feldman claimed the second reference, to James, was so acknowledged. I was very clear that I was applying Feldman's statement to the James reference, which is the second reference in Antiquities to Jesus:

It is not the purpose of this article to address the arguments of the few commentators - mostly Jesus Mythologists - who doubt the authenticity of the second reference. According to leading Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman, the authenticity of this passage "has been almost universally acknowledged" by scholars. (Feldman, "Josephus," Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 3, pages 990-91). Instead, this article focuses on arguments regarding the partial authenticity of the TF.

http://www.bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm

I was pointing out that my article was going to focus on the Testimonium rather than the second reference (to James) because the second reference to Jesus is much less disputed (as attested by Feldman's statement).

It appears that Harry's claim of deceitfulness is projection. Can I get an apology?

Next Harry wants a cite to support my claim that Feldman's survey of the Josephan studies showed that the majority of scholars accepted at least partial authenticity. Notably, he does not dispute this is the case and apparently hasn't checked the book he says is on his shelf. In any event, Peter Kirby directed me to Feldman's assessment of Josephan scholarship and he reports the same numbers in his reading of Feldman here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/testimonium.html.

Since Kirby was an atheist at the time, I do doubt he can be accused of distorting Feldman to promote Christianity. In any event, if Harry can be bothered to actually read his Feldman book, he should check out pages 704-707, where Feldman goes through his scholarly assessment of the Josephan field scholar by scholar. Can I get an apology?

Harry also claims that "Mr. Price is arguing like Louis Feldmen believes the Testimonium Flavianum is authentic and only needs to convince other of the same. This is a total perversion of what Dr. Feldman believes!"

In fact, I do claim that Feldman believes partial authenticity is likely. And so does he, as other commentors here have noted. This is not contradicted by the selective parsing of Harry's opening post. Feldman routinely goes through all of the arguments both for and against authenticity. Harry quoted some of his analysis of the against arguments. In other places, Feldman notes some arguments that are favorable to partial authenticity. Does Harry have a final assessment of Feldman's that denies that any part of the Testimonium is authentic?

Harry also disputes my claim that Crossan and Funk accept the partial authenticity of the Testimonium, citing lectures and one of Funk's books (though without any page or chapter reference). Perhaps Harry is confused, as many skeptics are, about the difference between authenticity and partial authenticity. I do not claim that Crossan and Funk accept full authenticity. I do not accept full authenticity. They accept partial authenticity and I was explicit about that in my article. Certainly Crossan and Funk are no Jesus Myther fanatics so I'm not sure why Harry finds it so hard to believe that they would accept the likelihood of partial authenticity. Nor does Harry cite anything by Crossan or Funk that disputes my assertion. In any event, here are my supporting cites:

In J.D. Crossan's Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, he -- like J.P. Meier, notes likely Christian interpolations in italics and accepts the rest of the Testimonium as authentic. He then states, "Without them, Josephus' account is carefully and deliberately neutral. He does not want, apparently, to be embroiled in any controversy about this Jesus.... So he was cautiously impartial and some later Chritsian editor delicately Christianized his account, but only to the extent that it was at least plausible and credible for the Jewish Josephus to have written it." Page 162.

Robert Funk writes in The Acts of Jesus, that Jesus' death at the hands of Pilate is "all but certain, because attested also by Josephus and Tacitus, two ancient historians, that: -There was a person named Jeus, who was executed by the authorities during the preference of Pontius Pilate (26-26 C.E.)." Page 133. He also cites Josephus in other parts of the book as evidence for historical events in Jesus' life. Funk also, in Honest to Jesus, accepts most of the Testimonium as authentic, identifying the later Christian insertions in italics. Page 222 (1997 publ.). Funk then writes that "According to Josephus, Jesus was known as a sage who performed unusual deeds. he had a considerable following among both Judeans and Greeks. Those followers continued in their devotion to him after his death and formed a movement that took its name from him, a movement that was still in existence in Josephus' date late in the first century. While providing only a paucity of details, Josephus confirms the principal features otherwise attested of the historical Jesus." Ibid.

Perhaps Harry should listen better at lectures and actually read books he claims are in his library. Can I get an apology?

I am not sure what to do with the references to Vermes and Winters. Apparently Harry accepts that they accept the partial authenticity of the Testimonium, which is all I claim. It looks like Harry just wants to show that he knows something about these two scholars that I've already said.

Regarding E.P. Sanders, check page 50 of The Historical Figure of Jesus: "It is highly likely that Josephus included Jesus in his account of the period. Josephus discussed John the Baptist and other prophetic figures, such as Theudas and the Egyptian. Further, the passage on Jesus is not adjacent to Josephus' account of John the Baptist, which is probably where a Christian scribe would have put it had he invented the whole paragraph. Thus, the author of the only surviving history of Palestinian Judaism in the first century thought that Jesus was important enough to merit a paragraph, no more, no less."

Regarding Paula Fredrikson, check page Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. "Scholars have debated the historical merits of this passage, some (few, now) maintaining that the whole is authentic, others (another minority), that the whole is a Christian interpolation, that is a passage written into the manuscript by a later Christian scribe. Most scholars currently incline to see the passage as basically authentic, with a few later insertions by a Christian scribe. The passage rendered below follows the editorial judgments and English translation of John Meier... I give the Christian insertions in italics, the Josephan substratum in roman...." Page 249.

It is amusing to see a skeptic brag so much about what books he owns and what lectures he attended but being completely wrong about almost everything he claims he learned from said lectures and books.

John W. Loftus said...

Harry, I don't know if you've see this but Layman a.k.a Christopher Price wrote a response on his less than popular Blog. I chimed in. He's not one to be particularly respectful when we disagree, kinda like know it all Holding wannabe.

I mentioned that I had recently gotten Frank Zindler's book. He makes a good case. If you've seen it hat do you think of it?

Layman said...

Loftus,

Are you trying to be funny or ironic? I am not pleasant to disagree with? How about your co-blogger who launched an attack against my character based on his own distortions and misrepresentations?

Perhaps I am unpleasant after being accused -- on your blog and after you solicited the response -- of deceit, fabrication of facts, and misrepresentation of scholars. But if so, then how pleasant is the person who made these accusations on false premises to begin with?

The double standard is ripe but, alas, business as usual around here.

Layman said...

You might be interested to know that an update by Louis Feldman about his perspective on scholarly assessment of the Testimonium's authenticity is available:

In a personal e-mail to one of the authors (Nov. 26, 2001), Feldman admitted that his list for the period 1937 to 1980 is incomplete and that much on Josephus has appeared since 1980. Asked to make a rough assessment of where contemporary scholarship stands on the authenticity of the Testimonium as a while, he responded, "My guess is that the ratio of those who in some manner accept the Testimonium would be at least 3 to 1. I would not be surprised if it would be as much as 5 to 1."

Gary Habermas and Michael Liconi, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, pages 268-269, n. 42.

Harry McCall said...

Since the Testimonium Flavianum post was written Nov. 29, ‘08 and not with Price’s webpage in mind (I only commented on it as an after thought in response to a question by John Loftus), I will post a new topic here at DC focusing on Christopher Price’s Josephus Testimonium web page and his subjective and misleading use of scholars and scholarship. I hope to have this out in two weeks.

Harry McCall said...

My next major post will be on Christopher Price’s essay in the Bede’ Library on his study of Josephus’ Testimonium Flavianum and how he constructed a study drawn from facts and authors with the end goal to tell the reader what to think apologetcally.

When I finish my critic of Price’s study, I’ll welcome comments by anyone who would like to compare how we both employed our facts and logic to arrive at two entirely different conclusions as to truth of the Testimonium Flavianum.

And to be fair to Mr. Price this time; I will notify him when I post my critic of his essay here at DC.

Layman said...

So McCall is not going to defend his specific claims against me that I fabricated facts and misrepresented the positions of leading scholars?

In any event, if you want to respond to my most up-to-date writing on Josephus and Jesus, you should pick up a copy of Shattering the Christ Myth. Chapter 1 is a revised article on Josephus that addresses the Testimonium and the James/Jesus reference.

It is available at Amazon, of course.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Layman,

You better believe I'll be gettin' my copy of that. These mythist theories are all ridiculous. The only thing more silly is Harry trying to prove inauthenticity of the the Testimonium.

Thanks for sticking to your guns.

Harry McCall said...

Harvey,
 
With the name of Jesus occurring 21 times in the works of Josephus and often referring to as many different Jesus-es, I would be foolish to claimed any of these Jesus people are a myth. 
 
What I will prove is that the Testimoniun Flavianum is a worthless pericope.
 
I will welcome both your and Mr. Price's attempts of disprove my thesis when I post it.

Harry McCall said...

Sorry about the delay in by citric of Chris Price’s study on the Testimonium Flavianum (Ant. XVIII. 63 - 4) .

I have been discussions with this pericope with Steve Mason (via emails) and he has given me some great references in the way of books (now on order).

Until I get all my information organized for a clear rebuttal, my critic of Price’s Bede study on the Testimonium will remain front and center though delayed.

Ralf said...

Testamonium Flavium false? Of, course, but some of the other comments about a Jesus may well be correct.

In fact, if Josephus was Saul (St Paul), as I have demonstrated, then the biblical Jesus was Jesus of Gamala.


But this would mean that:

The crucifixion account at the end of Josephus' Life was the biblical crucifixion.

Jesus was crucified in AD 70.

The New Testament events were about the Jewish Civil War of the AD 60s.

Thus Saul (St Paul) knew Jesus in the AD 60s

Thus Saul WAS Josephus (note the similar shipwrecks). I said this 12 years ago and was criticised for the chronological error. But with Jesus alive in the AD 60s, there is no chronological error.

The main enemy of Saul was Jesus

The main enemy of Josephus was Jesus (of Gamala)

If Saul and Josephus were the same - Saul-Josephus - then the biblical Jesus was Jesus of Gamala.

Thus, we now know a great deal about the biblical Jesus, because Saul-Josephus tells us a great deal.

Thus, Jesus was governor of Tiberius.

He was the leader of the Fourth Sect of Judaism, owned a castle,

He controlled a private army of 600 fishermen (yes fishermen, as in the New Testament description),
He was a friend of Agrippa II, and an enemy of Saul-Josephus, and he tried to defeat the Romans at Tarichae (stole their horses),

Jesus became high priest of Jerusalem in AD 63,

He married Miriam Boethus (otherwise known as Mary Magdalene), and more surprisingly Miriam (Mary) Boethus was said to have been the richest woman in Judaea.

Quite a change to the story, eh?


See the book 'King Jesus'.



Regards,
Ralph Ellis

Ralf said...

Testamonium Flavium false? Of, course, but some of the other comments about a Jesus may well be correct.

In fact, if Josephus was Saul (St Paul), as I have demonstrated, then the biblical Jesus was Jesus of Gamala.


But this would mean that:

The crucifixion account at the end of Josephus' Life was the biblical crucifixion.

Jesus was crucified in AD 70.

The New Testament events were about the Jewish Civil War of the AD 60s.

Thus Saul (St Paul) knew Jesus in the AD 60s

Thus Saul WAS Josephus (note the similar shipwrecks). I said this 12 years ago and was criticised for the chronological error. But with Jesus alive in the AD 60s, there is no chronological error.

The main enemy of Saul was Jesus

The main enemy of Josephus was Jesus (of Gamala)

If Saul and Josephus were the same - Saul-Josephus - then the biblical Jesus was Jesus of Gamala.

Thus, we now know a great deal about the biblical Jesus, because Saul-Josephus tells us a great deal.

Thus, Jesus was governor of Tiberius.

He was the leader of the Fourth Sect of Judaism, owned a castle,

He controlled a private army of 600 fishermen (yes fishermen, as in the New Testament description),
He was a friend of Agrippa II, and an enemy of Saul-Josephus, and he tried to defeat the Romans at Tarichae (stole their horses),

Jesus became high priest of Jerusalem in AD 63,

He married Miriam Boethus (otherwise known as Mary Magdalene), and more surprisingly Miriam (Mary) Boethus was said to have been the richest woman in Judaea.

Quite a change to the story, eh?


See the book 'King Jesus'.



Regards,
Ralph Ellis

Nazorean said...

From what I can garner, there exist at least 4 separate versions of this passage. This means that at least 3 of them are forgeries. The Roman Church was so famous for its forgery mill that the term 'Pious Forgery' was coined. Try the 'False Decretals,' the 'Donation Of Constantine,' or the forged 'Letters of Peter.' By the way the scriptures are also forgeries. To learn more about how the Romans usurped the scriptures of Yeshu and the Nazoreans and proclaimed them the revelations of their godman Jesus Christ visit: Nazoreans.