HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!


The first century Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus, is who Christians lean on for independent corroboration of the existence of Jesus. We know that Josephus didn’t say that Jesus existed in the part of his Jewish Antiquities which contains references to Jesus, saying he was wise, a miracle worker, crucified and seen again after his death and the founder of the Christians, for it is a forgery. We call it the Testament. However there is another reference later on in the Antiquities. In Book 20 to be precise.



"And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity. 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: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king, desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a Sanhedrin without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest"  (Jewish Antiquities, Book 20).


What if the names are tampered with?  What if it was actually, "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: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done." The tradition that this Jesus figure was stoned was strong among the Jews for centuries.


Or what about, "he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of James, who was called Christ, whose name was Jesus, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done"?  James should have been the Christ if his dead brother was under the rules of succession.  Christ means simply king.


Jesus death is seen as the root cause of the destruction of Jerusalem.  That is what the New Testament says.  Lending support to the idea that the Josephus Jesus is not the gospel Jesus, we read, "I should not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city (of Jerusalem), and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their high priest, and the procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their city."


Anyway that aside, the text is thought to mention the same James that appears in the New Testament.  We read of the apostle James the Son of Alpheus.  Jerome believed this was the James who was known as the brother of Jesus.  Hippolytus wrote "James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the temple."  This matches Josephus except for the temple bit.  Josephus is probably not calling James the literal brother of Jesus.   


Jerome said that the James was also the same person as James the Lesser.


A James died in the book of Acts by beheading and he was the brother of John.  He is not the James mentioned in Josephus for he died too early. 


When Jesus was ministering, his brother James, did not believe in him according to Mark 3:31-35, Matthew 12:46-50, Luke 8:19-21 and John 7:3-5.  If James did not believe in Jesus at the time he died then that explains his fame among the Jews.  He could even have been calling himself brother of the so-called Christ.


There is a James whom Paul mentions in the Galatians letter who he describes as the brother of Jesus. To call a man the brother of Jesus in literal sounding terms when that man is not the brother of Jesus can only mean either that Paul is lying or brother of Jesus is a honorific title not a literal one.  Either way, if Josephus calls James Jesus' brother it is not then necessarily a hint that Jesus was real.  Paul declared Onesimus the brother of Philemon though he was not.  In several places brothers of the Lord is metaphorical.  See Matthew 24, 3 John 3,5, 10 and 1 Corinthians 9:5.


Here is a list of when the New Testament uses brother when it may not meant and at times definitely cannot mean real brother in the genetic sense: "
Let us look for “brother” (adelphos) in the epistles.


Romans 16:23 – our brother Quartus.


1 Corinthians 1:1 – Paul . . . and our brother Sosthenes


1 Corinthians 5:11 – you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is immoral or greedy


1 Corinthians 7:12 – If any brother has an unbelieving wife


1 Corinthians 8:13 – If food causes my brother to stumble . . . I will not cause my brother to fall


1 Corinthians16:11-12 – I am expecting Timothy along with the brothers. As for brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers.


2 Corinthians 2:13 – . . . because I did not find my brother Titus there.


2 Corinthians 8:18 – We are sending with him the brother who is praised by all the churches.


 Philippians 2:25 – . . . to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker


Colossians 4:7 – Tychicus is a dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord.


1 Thessalonians 3:2 – Timothy, our brother and fellow-worker of God in the gospel of Christ.


1 Timoth 3:15 – Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.


1 Peter 5:12 – Silvanus, the faithful brother.


2 Peter 3:15 – Paul, our friend and brother.


Revelation 1:9 – I, John, your brother, who share with you.


If Josephus really did write that James was the brother of the so-called Christ, Jesus (as in the one we know), that still manages to weaken the evidence for Jesus.  He says that James was accused falsely of breaking the Law of Moses.  But James as regards his Jewish obligations did break the Law.  The gospels say that certain parts of the Law don’t apply any more but nobody could expect the Jews or their leaders to heed such a claim. If James taught such a thing then he broke the Law. If James taught that Jesus was the Christ then he broke the Law for that is blasphemy.


The author of the gospel of Luke and Acts mined Josephus to write his "history."  The story of James' death by stoning is curiously absent.
Book 20 seems to assume the reader knows who Jesus is. Mentioning that he was the brother of the so-called Christ, Jesus, seems random. Giving the bare facts about James was enough to identify him. Leaving out the reference to his being the brother of Jesus leaves us with more than enough to see what James this is. We know from Justin Martyr a few decades later that Christ was not well-known so why is Christ mentioned as if to help identify who this James is?


Hegesippus wrote about James the brother of the Lord in such a way that it is clear the early Church had secret teachings and his Jewish fans were horrified to find out in the end that James believed in Jesus.  If this was a secret cult what had it to hide?  Was Josephus being sarcastic that James was the brother of a myth?  Hegesippus should be taken fairly seriously for he agrees with Josephus that James was stoned.


Forged reference to Christ?
Josephus wrote that if a story was false and nobody says so until twenty years later that is no good. Read his Jewish War 1:15, Against Apion 1:55.  If he mentioned Jesus and somebody told him there was no Jesus would he listen?  It would have been decades after Jesus.  Even if he did mention Jesus we must remember he is still not necessarily stating Jesus as a fact.


In this book 20 of his work, the death by stoning of James, the brother of Jesus who Josephus gives the unenthusiastic appellation of the so-called Christ shows that he was sceptical about Jesus being the Messiah. It is usually believed genuine because it asserts nothing more about Jesus than that he was the so-called Christ and was the brother of James which seems to indicate that a forger would have put in something more exotic. But it could still have been forged. Maybe somebody put it in to discredit the perpetual virginity of Mary or to make Josephus look unreliable in relation to Christ. Or perhaps a Christian put it in to make evidence for the existence of Jesus and didn’t know of the earlier alleged reference which was by another forger. It would mean it was a forger who did not know that the Testament was itself a fake?
Suppose the person who forged the Testament of Flavius knew of this reference. This place in Book 20 if authentic would have been the perfect place to insert his Testament. Instead he stuck his Testament in a place that makes no sense at all. He didn’t even put it in where John the Baptist was mentioned. We have this forger as evidence that the mention of Jesus in this Book 20 passage was faked to make it look as if Jesus existed.
Josephus would have preferred to identify Jesus not as the man called Christ but as the criminal crucified by Pilate. Josephus hated messianic agitators and did not mention any without portraying them in a bad light which is why his reference to Jesus in this must be an interpolation. He would have liked to give the Romans confidence that they exterminated this alleged Messiah. The reference would have made Christ look like a failure.
Several fathers of the Church such as Origen testified that a glowing reference to James existed in book 20 and they kept the text for us. It differs from the current text indicating that this part of the work of Josephus was routinely tampered with and we can’t trust anything about it. Perhaps somebody trying to fix the text thought that the insertion about Jesus belonged in it and left it in. It doesn’t mean he was right though.
If you want to believe the book 20 reference is real, Josephus then denied the resurrection for it was supposed to prove that Jesus was the Christ and more than a man called Christ. He could have believed that Jesus swooned or something and came round but he didn't tell us anything. Because Josephus knew that calling anybody a Christ or saying they were called a Christ could still lead to people being led to rebel against his beloved Rome for many reading of the Christ would want to see who he was and if he had a bloodline therefore he would not have done it. He would not have mentioned Jesus at all. He had no need to.
Josephus never mentioned Jesus at all for the other place where he says that Jesus was the Messiah and rose from the dead etc was something a man in his position could not write gives us no reason to think that any of it was really written by Josephus either.
Christians or perhaps Jewish believers in Jesus fabricated the James passage too to maybe fake evidence for the existence of Jesus because he never existed. They lied about James. Even if we are wrong on all that then that still does not help the case for the existence of Jesus. We would have the right to assume that Josephus didn’t mention Jesus. And if Josephus doesn’t mention such an important figure as Jesus then clearly Jesus couldn’t have existed.
If the Jews were powerful enough to use the king to get Ananus fired for doing this to James as Josephus says then how could they have failed to save James? The story does not hold together. That is why it has to be the work of a forger in a hurry. That is why Josephus never mentioned Jesus here either.
The book 20 reference to Christ is evidence that if Josephus called Jesus the so-called Christ then the long bit about Jesus, the Testament, is inauthentic at least in part if not all inauthentic for it is certain that Jesus was a miracle working Christ. The idea that if the Testament is inauthentic then Josephus would not have written so briefly about Jesus here is wrong for if Jesus were obscure or unimportant and possibly non-existent we could expect him to get no more mention than that.


Light from Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews may be from 70AD or shortly before the Temple was destroyed. It was written to Jewish Christians because the argumentation against priests and Temples and sacrifices in it and its extensive use of the Old Testament would not have been deployed for Gentile Christians who were unfamiliar with this ritualism and scripture. It would have been written to Jewish Christians in Palestine for that is where most of them were. The letter was known as the Epistle to the Hebrews from the first meaning it would have been sent to Jerusalem the HQ of the Jewish Christians for it was for all of them. It was written to Jewish Christians in Palestine but meant for Jewish Christians everywhere and there were some of them in Rome.
Hebrews 12:3 tells them to think of Jesus who endured a lot of abuse from sinners so that they may feel stronger knowing Jesus went through worse than they did at the hands of hostile people. Verse 12:4 tells us something very interesting. It says that none of them have resisted this abuse until their blood was shed. This tells us that the account in Josephus about James dying at the hands of a lynch mob over religious differences in 64 AD and the Book of Acts saying about the other James dying in 42AD by the sword of Herod’s emissary are both lies. It also indicates that the stories in Acts about the murderous persecution of the Church and its claim that Paul was a murderer of Christians are fiction. Basically it means that some Christian inserted in Josephus the entire stuff about James the brother of the so-called Christ being persecuted to death.


Why didn't Christians who were sceptical that Mary was always a virgin use the text to disprove the growing doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary and to show that James was stoned in the early years? The passage may look genuine but it is not. Somebody put it there. Either that or the ancient tradition that some people were spiritually the twin brothers of Jesus, notably St Thomas, could explain what was meant by declaring that James was the brother of Jesus.


So-called Christ
Josephus calling Jesus the so-called Christ could mean that Jesus didn’t rise. That would only be the case if Josephus believed that Jesus was only supposed to become the Christ at his resurrection. Many early Christians, the adoptionists, taught that doctrine.  It is noted that Paul never once says that Jesus as man was the Christ but talks as if he became Christ at his resurrection.  Romans and Philippians gives clues that Paul should be interpreted as agreeing with adoptionism.  Josephus had to know something of Paul so it would not be surprising if our take on the so-called Christ appellation is right.


The crafty would have us believe that Josephus did not call Jesus the so-called Christ but Jesus who was called Christ as if that made a difference. It still means that Josephus was sceptical or undecided. If Josephus did call him that then it was clearly contempt and sarcasm. YOU DO NOT SAY JESUS WAS CALLED THE CHRIST WHEN HE IS NOT CALLED THAT BY THE ROMANS OR THE JEWS BUT BY AN OBSCURE MINORITY SECT THAT WAS DESPISED BY EVERYONE. If they are right that Josephus just meant Jesus was called the Christ then the passage is undoubtedly an insertion by a forger. A forger doing that would do it to provide evidence for the existence of Jesus simply because there never had been a Jesus.
Why did he not call James, James the Just, which was James’ official nickname? He would have to avoid mentioning any alleged Messiahs for he was loyal to Rome. It makes no sense. James was called James the Just by everybody so why did Josephus use an unusual and uncommon way to speak of him? Because the passage has been interfered with by someone in a hurry and it has been corrupted.
Some say the reference to Jesus the so-called Christ is authentic because it is aware that Jesus was the Christ as in title not name which indicates that a Jew wrote it while Christians tended to use Christ as a surname. But the New Testament contains the title usage so there were scores of Christians who could have made the Christ reference as a title. The lies told in Christian books are infinite.


Another James
There would have been lots of Jameses who died over religion. That is why it is possible that the statement that this man was the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ could have been scribbled into the margin as a note and was eventually incorporated into the text by mistake. But it seems then that we would be wondering what James this was so the real Josephus had to say he was the brother of Jesus and since there were lots of Jesuses he had to say it was Jesus called Christ (page 39, He Walked Among Us). But he did give some details about James and his death, enough to identify him, so this argument is simply wrong. There was no need for the bit about him being the brother of the so-called Messiah so it probably was a copyist's mis-clarification or a note that got into the passage. That could be why it is so brief and non-committal. Some say Christians would not insert it for it proved nothing - but they would if they thought Josephus meant the James who was Jesus' brother and wanted to clarify that and then made it non-committal in relation to Jesus for Josephus was known to have been an unbeliever.
There may have been three James who are often confused with one another. The apostle James was killed in the early days of the Church, then there was another James the apostle it seems and then there was the James who was called the brother of the Lord.
Why did Josephus not clarify that he did not mean the another Christian James but the blood-brother of Jesus? Jesus would have called the other James he knew brothers as well for Jesus said that anybody who obeys God is his brother and his mother (Mark 3:34). So would Josephus call a man Jesus’ brother and not clearly state that he was a blood-brother if that was what he was? Did Josephus not know that Christians called every Christian man a brother. That is impossible to believe so somebody did add in the words brother of the so-called Christ. They did it to manufacture evidence that Jesus lived. There could be no other possible motive.
The lack of clarity might mean that Josephus was using hearsay. It is possible also that calling James the brother of the so-called Christ may have been a sneer. He gives no hint that he cares for James. If it was a sneer then it is just a sneer and not a declaration that Jesus existed for you could mock a man by linking him to his non-existent brother. Jesus could be the so-called Christ in the sense that he was a fake king or a fictitious person. You might call a man who some said existed but who you knew didn’t a so-called man and that might be what Josephus is doing here. He could be calling Jesus the so-called Christ as in so-called man. The gospels may indicate that a double pretended to be Jesus after his death and Jesus was not recognised by people who saw him every day the night they arrested him. This is a clear indication that there were some people pretending to be Jesus. When the apostles had their hallucinations of a man having come back from the dead it was only natural that some people would play tricks on the weirdos. Maybe James was the brother of one of these impostors and sceptics knew that. Was that what Josephus was referring to?
Brother of Christ might have been James’ title. And Josephus may be sneeringly changing it to brother of the so-called Christ. In that case, it would tell us nothing about Jesus’ existence or non-existence.
There is evidence that seems to indicate that there would have been a number of Jesuses who claimed to be Messiahs. Palestine at the time was a hotbed of religious cultism especially since many believed that Daniel had predicted that the Messiah was due in those days. Jesus was a very common name so common-sense is enough to verify what I am saying. James sounds like the brother of another Jesus and not the one we know and love.
Josephus did not know about the apostle James who was called the son of Alphaeus. Modern scholars reject the ancient view that this James is the brother of the Lord (NAB, Biblical Dictionary and Concordance, page 95) or (obviously) the same person as James son of Zebedee another apostle. So if James son of Alphaeus was the one meant he was not the blood brother of Jesus. Since erroneous tradition said he was the brother of Jesus it would follow that a forger inserted the words, brother of the so-called Christ.
The James that Josephus supposedly wrote about was not an important person known in Rome. He was a nobody who caused trouble in Jerusalem and raised the murderous ire of the Jews who were his brethren. He would have been less known and popular than the other Jameses for he confined himself to the Jews and Israel. Yet the text runs as if he were well-known in Rome which is unlikely.
If it was another James, an apostle, who was meant he would have been one of the best known Christians. That would explain why the text speaks of him as if he were well-known to the Roman readers. But the apostle was not the brother of the so-called Christ. If a James who was not the brother of the so-called Christ was the person who was meant then either the words, brother of the so-called Christ are forged or they are not literal. Either way, the case for a historical Jesus based on the references in Josephus disappears.
Did the James in Josephus have a brother who perhaps leaped on the Jesus bandwagon and claimed to be Christ? It could have been just like how many Mormons claimed to be prophets and true heads of the Church after Joseph Smith was shot dead. Josephus gives no evidence for the existence of our Jesus Christ.
Why did Josephus write that James was the brother Jesus of the so-called Christ and not say that he was the brother of Jesus who was crucified by Pilate? That would be clearer and would have been a slap against Jesus for crucifixion was considered a disgrace. It was preferable to forget about people who claimed to be Christ and not mention that unless it was totally necessary for the less attention Christs got with their alleged royal bloodlines got the safer it was for the Roman Empire. Some say the reason was that he had already written that Jesus was crucified in the Testament. But it is clear from the text that it could stand on its own and be the only reference to Jesus in Josephus. In that case, it would mean that Jesus was too nebulous to write anything concrete about. The James he might have meant used the brother of the Lord and the brother of the Christ expressions as titles so we need not assume that the reference proves that somebody thought that James was his literal brother.
Page 40 of He Walked Among Us states that Josephus had to be careful not to write about all the Messiahs Israel had for he was writing to Romans about Jews and to portray the Jews in a more favourable way so that Romans would have less to fear from them.  That is pure speculation.   This book is not in a position to judge what Josephus' motives were.


The gospels say that the Jews hated Jesus and saw no problem with anybody degrading his name. They supposedly slandered him themselves to save their own reputation. If anything, Josephus concentrating on Jesus would have assured Rome that the Jews could be very anti where claimants to Christhood were concerned.


Since Christianity had become a mainly Gentile religion we are told that he felt there was no harm in calling Jesus a so-called Christ. But if so, then he would not have stirred the Gentile feeling against the Jews for killing Jesus' brother and why be evasive about the would-be Christs who had tried and failed and who were forgotten by the Jews and then mention another failure? He knew that there were many secret Christians in Rome. Jesus was not mentioned in the original text. Tampering has taken place.


The 1906 discovery


Josephus is the author of the Jewish War. In 1906, a Slavonic copy of it was found that contained a bit that described Jesus as a doer of miracles who was urged to head a rebellion against Rome. But this was a twelfth century bogus account. It was hoped that this version was identical to the book as Josephus originally wrote it in Aramaic. G.A. Williamson translated the Slavonic version for Penguin Books in 1959 which fooled a lot of people with its assertions about Jesus. It claimed that Jesus' tomb was looked after by 1000 Jews. No Jew would have guarded the tomb on a Sabbath. The gospels which were composed to convince people that Jesus rose again would have mentioned this important plus for Christianity for it would imply that a thousand Jews could verify that the body left the tomb miraculously assuming the fate of the body had any importance in early apologetics. It contradicts what Matthew wrote about the Jews issuing backhanders to keep the people who were at the tomb quiet. If there had been so many people involved it would have been hard for the Jews to suggest buying their silence for they wouldn't all have been eager to accept.
There is no evidence for the claim that Josephus regarded Christ as a man with magic powers. Josephus was silent on Jesus and that proves that Jesus did not exist.


Apocalpses of James


The heretical apocalypses of James are deemed to know of some traditions about James.  They say James was in hiding in Pella when the Romans invaded Jerusalem in 70 AD.  Josephus stated that James was eight years dead by that stage.  Eusebius said the same thing but he does not count for he took the information from Josephus.  Theudas is named as the father of James.  So there was a tradition that James was not the son of Jesus' father or his foster-father.  There was a tradition that Josephus might not have been accurate.
What Josephus allegedly wrote about Jesus could be a forgery.  Even if it isn’t, it proves nothing that is of any help to those who seek to show that Jesus must have existed.  Josephus though a historian was under no obligation to verify the existence of men he mentioned in passing such as Jesus.  Jesus the so-called Christ reference says nothing about whether the evidence that Jesus lived was good or bad.

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Who is GA Wells? Rev Dr Gregory S. Neal

The Silent Jesus

Apollonius the Nazarene, The Historical Apollonius versus the Historical Jesus

Why Did the Apostles Die? Dave Matson,
How Did the Apostles Die?
The "Historical" Jesus by Acharya S
History's Troubling Silence About Jesus, Lee Salisbury

Steven Carr discusses the Christian and apostolic martyrs
Challenging the Verdict
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ
The Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, Peter Kirby
The Martyrdoms: A Response, Peter Kirby

A Sacrifice in Heaven,

The Evolution of Jesus of Nazareth

The Jesus of History, a Reply to Josh McDowell by Gordon Stein,

Josh McDowell's Evidence for Jesus - Is It Reliable?, by Jeffrey J Lowder

A Reply to JP Holding's "Shattering" of My Views on Jesus

Robert M Price, Christ a Fiction

Earliest Christianity G A Wells

The Second Century Apologists

Existence of Jesus Controversy, Rae West

Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier

Jesus Conference, www.st-and.ac.uk/~www_sd/jconf_hall.html

Jesus Conference, www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_sd/jconf_stuckenbruck.html

The Testament of Levi Concerning the Priesthood and Arrogance

Sherlock Holmes Style Search for the Historical Jesus,

The Ascension of Isaiah,

Apollonius of Tyana: The Monkey of Christ? The Church Patriarchs, Robertino Solarion

What About the Discovery of Q? Brad Bromling

Wells without Water, Psychological Buffoonry from the Master of the Christ-Myth, James Patrick Holding

Critique: Scott Bidstrp [sic] on The Case for Christ by James Patrick Holding

GA Wells Replies to Criticism of his Books on Jesus

The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, Acharya S

Biblical Discrepancies, Todd Billings

The Testament of Josephus
This site gives the text of the Testament and the surrounding material in the chapter that contains it with a commentary:
www.theistic-evolution.com/josephus.html .

Josephus Unbound by Earl Doherty
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/supp10.htm IT CANNOT BE OVERSTRESSED HOW IMPORTANT READING THIS SITE IS. One major point it makes is that Josephus would not have called James the brother of the so-called Christ for he never explained to his readers who would have been unfamiliar with the title Christ what a Christ was. Evidence from Origen and Eusebius who referred to a missing line from the place where this reference occurs indicates that tampering did happen here. Josephus might however not have meant that Christ was a man. James could have been the brother of a Spiritual Christ meaning that James was a spiritual being incarnate and literally the brother of this being but not a biological brother. Josephus speaks of this Christ in concrete terms not because he was a man but because many said they had visions of him so Josephus believed in his existence. I add another possibility. Perhaps brother of the so-called Christ was James' nickname? Perhaps it was a mock title given to him by his Jewish enemies? This could be poking fun at his honouring a non-existent Messiah. He was writing for some Jews though it was mainly Romans so it is possible. Josephus might not have been mocking James but stating his nickname as an irony. Josephus did do things like that at times. We have seen that he did not explain the nickname Christ. 

Historical References to Jesus, His Miracles and His Resurrection, Outside the New Testament