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 text of the Testament which is the part of the writings of Josephus the first century historian that supposedly proves Jesus lived follows with the lines before and after in italics:
“An end was put to this uprising. Now about the same time, a wise man called Jesus, if it be right to call him a man for he was a worker of wonderful works and a teacher of men who like to receive the truth. He won over to him many of the Jews and also many of the Gentiles. He was the Messiah or Christ. Pilate at the request of the chief men among us condemned him to crucifixion. When that happened those who loved at from the first did not abandon him because he appeared to them alive on the third day as the prophets of God had forecasted and not only that but ten thousand other things about him. The tribe of Christians called after him are not extinct even today. About this time another sad calamity put the Jews into great crisis and terrible disgusting things happened concerning the Temple of Isis in Rome.”
In the early days of the Church, a priest called Caius was accused of writing it. But that has not stopped Christians wanting it to have issued from Josephus's quill. No less an authority than the Patriarch Photius declared that it was probably Caius in 860 AD.
The purpose of this study on this small piece Josephus allegedly wrote about Jesus Christ is to show that it cannot be used as evidence for anything about Jesus including his existence. In actual fact it makes it likely that he never existed at all. Because Josephus was a Jew and a supporter of the Roman Empire which didn’t tolerate Messiahs and considered allegiance to them to be treason against the divine Emperor in Rome this passage has been inserted or reworked by a Christian.  It has solely been Christian copyists who have preserved Josephus's writings for us (page 43, The Marian Conspiracy) and understandably we can be suspicious about this Testament. If a Christian went to the trouble of putting it together and getting it passed off as Josephus' work it would indicate that there was a need to fabricate evidence for the existence of Jesus. There can be no doubt that the passage is principally intended to bolster its main statement that there was a man called Jesus. The other details are just meant to back this up. We refuse to consider attempts to reconstruct the original that Josephus wrote for there is no reason to think he wrote any of the Testament at all.
The funny thing is, Josephus in the Jewish Wars recorded an eyewitness testimony that a cow gave birth to a lamb in the Temple. This was recorded ten years after the event unlike the gospel miracles which were recorded longer after the supposed event. Yet Christians scoff at this miracle and believe the gospel miracle tales. They believe what Josephus allegedly wrote about Jesus Christ and his miracles though it was written longer after. If they did not like Jesus they would be saying that Josephus was unreliable regarding miracle reports.
If you can't be bothered reading on, know that the Testament of Josephus has been tampered with or inserted altogether.


It is argued that we have no copies of Josephus’ work that are older than the ninth century and as all these copies have the Testament in some form it is stupid to say the Testament is a complete forgery and that Josephus never mentioned Jesus as a real man.  This argument is wrong for Origen wrote about what Josephus had to say about Jesus and mentioned book 18 where the Testament occurs and found nothing connected to Jesus in it so he just mentioned what it said about John and had to go to book 20 to get material about Jesus.  The way Origen writes proves that there was no mention of Jesus except in book 20.


Some would say that Occam’s Razor says we should assume as little tampering as we can. But that is only if we can’t believe that the whole thing is an interpolation. And we can. So the simplest belief is that we take the whole thing about Jesus is an insertion for there is no need for it in the text. But say we don’t wish to go that far then Occam’s Razor tells us that the smooth way is to assume that rather than reading, "At this time there was a Jesus" we could read, "At this time there may have been a Jesus" or "At this time there was said to be a Jesus". That makes the whole passage unable to prove anything about Jesus and saves us the trouble of working out all the things we think are insertions.

Whatever this book says there are only three things that need be kept in mind. One, is that Josephus is not a sound witness in regard to Jesus if he did write the piece about Jesus for it was too unlike Josephus to dish out Christian propaganda. Two, if the text has been interfered with there is no reason to assume that the original did not refer to Jesus as a apparition or a lie or something. Three, there is no reason to believe Josephus wrote anything about Jesus at all. We just don't know so we should not be using Josephus to provide evidence that Jesus existed. End of story.

Flavius Josephus, born in 37 AD, was the most important Jewish historian of the times. This dedicated writer created a monumental history of the Jews called Jewish Antiquities. It was written sometime in the early nineties. That Josephus was no Christian can be gleaned from his book. Yet it contains a piece popularly known as the Testament of Flavius that professes faith in Jesus.  This piece can only be a Christian interpolation which was pulled off easily enough because it was nearly all Christians who copied the book for posterity (A Reply to JP Holdings "Shattering" by G.A. Wells). That proves that somebody knew there was no Jesus for the insertion would only have been made to prove that there was one. It is not concerned with showing Jesus to be what Christians believe him to be but only says the things that they believed about him for it only makes statements and gives no verification for them.
Had any of it been written by Josephus who did make mistakes but who told us his sources we would be reading where he got his data from especially when it was controversial data that both Jew and Roman did not want to hear about.
Josephus wrote under the sponsorship of the Romans. That is crucial for understanding why all his alleged references to Jesus are forgeries put in decades later for they say things that offend the sponsors and Josephus could not have dared do that.
The Testament is too dogmatic to be from Josephus. It is in book 18. It tells us about Jesus:
1) That he appeared at the time Pilate put down a sedition when the Jews protested against his using Temple money to bring water to Jerusalem
2) That he was wise and a teacher of those who receive the truth with pleasure
3) That may not have been a real human being – “it may be unlawful to call him a man”
4) That he did miracles - but goes into no detail
5) That he won over many Jews and non-Jews
6) That he was the Christ or the Messiah, God's anointed king
7) That Pilate had him executed by crucifixion to please the leaders of the Jews
8) That his closest friends still believed in him when this happened and remained loyal
9) That he was up and about again on the third day, restored to life
10) That he appeared to his devoted disciples mentioned in 8
11) That the prophets foretold a huge number of marvels about him topping it off with prophecies of the resurrection
12) That the tribe of Christians has not disappeared to this day
The text questions if it would be right to call Jesus a man implying he was a vision or a god or something. The gospels say that Jesus certainly was a human being who had human weaknesses albeit probably not a sinner and very very frequently call him the Son of Man instead of questioning the appropriateness of calling him human. The gospels say that those who saw him after his resurrection had lost their faith up until they saw him.  So the author did not know the gospels at all or know the traditions in them or he just didn’t take them seriously. (Not taking them seriously would be a strong sign that somebody knew they were rubbish!) If Josephus had written this he would have got the doctrine of the humanity of Jesus from the Christians and some of the stories about him. The humanity was stressed among the early Christians and this passage must have been written at a time when Jesus came to be seen as divine which happened long after Josephus was dead. The way it says that the tribe of Christians has not vanished implies surprise that it is not gone. In the early Church there were many sects that claimed to be the real Christian faith. This passage had to have been written by a member of one of them who considered the vast majority of Christians to be fakes.
If Jesus existed he certainly claimed to be the saviour. This insulted the gods of Rome and the divine Emperor and therefore the whole Roman political regime. The intolerant Romans would not stand for that either. Now the problem here is that the name Jesus means Yahweh saves or Saviour from God if you like. Jesus used it as more than a name: as a job description. In that context, Josephus would not even have named Jesus in his work even if he did mention him. That means that when he mentioned Jesus twice in his book that it was an insertion each time. That means he never wrote that there was a man called Jesus so the whole Testament is dubious when something so basic to it is and his later alleged reference to James being the brother of Jesus is also fake. Josephus did mention other Jesuses but it was different. The name Jesus was the perfect name for the Messiah because the Messiah was to be the true king of the Jews who would save his people from foreign oppression. Even Jesus’ name implied a possible rebellion against Rome. It certainly implied that Rome had no right to occupy Palestine and would be an encouragement to people who wanted to use violence to break the Roman rule.
Josephus could not slight Rome by saying that Jesus was the Christ for that implied that Rome had no right to rule Palestine and shouldn't have went along with its law that all who claim to be Christ which means political king must be destroyed in the case of Jesus. Rome would not have liked it said that somebody so controversial as Jesus who could have wittingly or unwittingly caused great trouble for Rome was wise. Josephus didn't want his head cut off. Elsewhere Josephus stated that the promised ruler of the world or Messiah according to a divine oracle was Vespasian, the Roman Emperor, who was in Judea when he was declared to be the successor of Tiberias (page 137, The Jesus Mysteries).
Christians respond that Josephus knew there was no harm in Jesus claiming to be the true king for he meant that he was just a spiritual non-political king. But in that case, Josephus would have had to have stated that Jesus was not the Messiah as understood by the Jews who would come to rule the Holy Land and drive away its enemies. He didn't so they are wrong.  Messiah meant warrior king. If you don’t like to be classed one of the Mafia you don’t use a Mafia title and claim to be the Godfather.
Jesus wilfully caused a riot in the Temple so how could Josephus praise his wisdom and goodness and example? How could Josephus say that men who like truth listen to Jesus when Rome didn’t listen to Jesus? To say that Jesus taught men who receive the truth with pleasure is to insult Rome which claimed divine protection and inspiration and to insult its laws which were believed to have been guided by the superior wisdom of the gods and the divine Roman Emperor. The Testament lies that Jesus won over many Gentiles when he was alive for he said himself he was sent only to the sheep of the House of Israel and though he was courteous to Gentiles except the pagan woman who he abused and rejected most horribly he did not set out to convert them or welcome them as disciples.
To say that Jesus was a doer of miracles or wonderful works is to insult Rome because these works were nearly always done to draw Jews to a deeper appreciation and commitment to their religion which abhorred Gentile rulers and pagan beliefs. Rome did not want this and found it very offensive. Josephus then did not write this. It is even more offensive when a man claims to be the Christ for then he is doing his miracles to defend this claim which denies the allegedly divine authority of the Emperor.

The Testament says Jesus was crucified by Pilate because of Jewish pressure and died and that his followers remained loving towards him and that then they saw him on the third day risen from the dead and that this fulfilled countless prophecies in the Old Testament.
First of all, would Josephus go to the trouble of detailing that Jesus rose on the third day? He would just say he rose. Christians would use the expression all right because they used it like a creed. They had a habit of saying the Lord rose on the third day.
Josephus was pro-Rome and if he had known that the gospels and Christianity blamed Rome for Jesus' death he would have defended Rome's action and called for the destruction of the gospels. It was too obvious to all that Rome would have wanted Jesus dead for saying he was a king. Josephus never knew the gospels. It appears to be a mark of authenticity when the passage says that Pilate killed Jesus when Christians of the time tried to frame the Jews for it. But not all Christians would have wanted to do that. And the passage does say that Pilate did it because the Jews were behind it which may indicate that he was forced by them. We know that the Jews had nothing to do with the crucifixion so this is a further indication of inauthenticity. Josephus would not have reported that Pilate got Jesus crucified and that the Jews persuaded him to do it because that would have led to a huge scandal in which Pilate would have been pilloried for being soft and giving a bad impression to other nations. There is no way Josephus would have omitted to mention the controversy. And Josephus could not say the victim came back from the dead or that there was reason to think he did for that makes Rome look like an enemy of his God and Rome did not like anything that hinted of that. Any argument for the Testament is best ignored because it could be based on a mistake that just happens to seem to support Christianity and even if it were not we still have too much evidence against authenticity.
Josephus recorded that Pontius Pilate delighted in provoking the Jews which contradicts what he allegedly wrote about Pilate being compelled to murder Jesus. When he spent so much time on Pilate he would have explained why if Pilate behaved out of character with Jesus if there was no contradiction and this material on Jesus was really his work. He said that Pilate provoked the Jews and persecuted then and then we read that at that time Jesus appeared which shows that the Jesus material is faked for it gives the impression Pilate was into pleasing the Jews when the context says otherwise.
All the evidence indicates that if Jesus existed then his followers lost their faith in him when he was strung up. The Testament claims to know that this was not true. He is saying that the Christian Gospels are untrustworthy or that he did not know them which would imply the same thing for in that case he would not have wanted to know them. Josephus, if he wrote it, was not simply recording what Christians taught about Jesus. He wouldn't have made it look like that he was committed to their view of Jesus if he had. Historians get to the bottom of things before teaching.
Josephus was a Jew who would not have needlessly offended his countrymen and women by paying Jesus a compliment by calling him wise implying he was wise to claim to be a Messiah. It seems that the sayings attributed to Jesus would have been doing the rounds in those days and when they said extreme things like that family members should be hated for the sake of Jesus it is hard to believe Josephus would call Jesus wise for he would have looked into the sayings before writing. There are many other similar things in Jesus' sayings which the Christians justify with tortured and complicated "explanations" but which to the newcomer sound terrible.
Jesus made Rome suspicious of what was going on in Israel and Rome would have butchered many innocent Jews thinking they and their hero Jesus could turn nasty and start a rebellion. In the gospel of John we read that the Jews decided that it was better for Jesus to die than for a whole nation to perish over him.
Josephus could not call a man who put the nation at risk of attack by Rome and who caused a riot in the temple and who provoked Pilate to kill him by his provocative words a wise man. When somebody inserted something as minor as that in, the entire passage is probably fake. There is no doubt that if Jesus was really a wise man he would have taught and thought that being ruled by the people of God the Jews is better than being ruled by Rome. Josephus would not eulogise a man who did this.
God raising a crucified man from the dead would be very offensive to Rome. It would suggest that God was in opposition to their law and that the gods of Rome couldn’t stop him. It would suggest that God mocked their law that criminals like Jesus must be put to death in a humiliating fashion. It would suggest that Jesus was indeed the rightful ruler and the Christ and that the Emperor was not to get this devotion instead. Crucifixion was regarded as the will of the god of Rome the Emperor who got his mandate from the gods in Heaven so speaking of the resurrection of a crucified man would have been blasphemy against Rome.
Josephus was paid for his writing job by Rome and was writing principally for Romans and all his writings probably had to be signed by the Emperor. Titus signed his The Jewish War (Josephus Unbound).
Josephus was unlikely to write abut Christ the way he allegedly did for he was a Jew though his sympathy for his people was not very strong. He would not make a fool of himself and give critics a reason to disparage his research by proclaiming a religion he would not join true. An orthodox Jew like Josephus could not insult his faith by applauding Christianity and even hint that his Jesus was God against the first commandment! Even He Walked Among Us cannot refute his orthodoxy and simply says that it can be questioned for he SEEMED to have lived the Roman way too deeply (page 44). Would the pope living with prostitutes mean he did not agree with all his religion taught?
If Josephus had written this material then it is of dubious value for though he might be a reliable historian he was not a reliable religionist. He sold out on his Jewish religion by backing Rome though God said that the Jew should not serve heathenism. He proclaimed Christ to be God's Messiah and prophet yet he stayed out of the Church of Christ.
It seems to be a problem that when the works of Josephus were so greatly respected by the Romans that nobody could have attempted to forge that piece for it would never have been tolerated. But the Mormons have done the intolerable and rewritten their Bible that God wrote, the Book of Mormon, in thousands of places and have more or less gotten away with it. Wouldn't this have been thousands of times easier in an age before printing and where there were few copies of every book about and when the Church was able to burn anything it did not like? And nearly everybody agrees these days that not everything in the passage was originally there.
Some authorities feel that this record is genuine, that it really was by Josephus. Their reasons are spurious however. Even if the record is genuine Josephus got his information from Christians so it is only hearsay and we have evidence from other sources that the information he got was dubious.