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JOSEPHUS, DID NOT MENTION JESUS

The first century Jewish historian Josephus allegedly wrote the so-called Testament of Flavius in his book, Jewish Antiquities, which runs: “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.” 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.
 
Even if Josephus wrote this we have testimonies from the New Testament itself that contradict him regarding when Jesus lived. The New Testament provides the best evidence that Jesus didn’t live at all. Much of the New Testament is older than his writings so it is what should be heeded if a conflict arises. This glowing reference to Jesus contradicts what he supposedly wrote in book 20 when he referred to James the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ.
 
Because Josephus was a Jew not a Christian 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. The Romans sponsored his writing. If a Christian went to this trouble 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 someone called Jesus. The other details are just meant to back this up.

 

There is no need to suppose that any of this Jesus material in the Testament is genuine. Arguments like that Josephus must have wrote that Jesus was a wise man for Christians didn’t use that terminology are silly. They are obviously very weak.  Besides, we have all heard Christians say that Jesus was a good man so why wouldn’t they say he was a wise one? The passage really shouldn’t be discussed in attempts to prove Jesus lived for it proves nothing. How could Josephus praise a man as wise who, according to the gospels, caused a riot in the Temple showing contempt for Roman and Jewish law?
 
The testimony says that that Jesus won disciples and was crucified under Pilate and rose BECAUSE the prophets spoke of these and countless others things about him. THE TESTAMENT DOES NOT CLAIM TO BE A TESTIMONY. WHAT IT CLAIMS IS THAT YOU MUST CHECK OUT THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES TO SEE IF WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT JESUS IS TRUE!! This is critically important. It means that even if Josephus did write the Testament it still does not help in the case for a historical Jesus because it depends on human interpretative ideas about Bible prophecies. It is not history that is here but faith. This means that his later reference to James being the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ is put into a new context. It is not saying Jesus existed because he indicated before that that this was a matter of faith. The evidence is overwhelming. Josephus and Rome and the Jews did not know of a Jesus of history.

 

When were the forgeries supporting Christianity implanted into Josephus' opus? Nobody knew about them before 320 AD. If the interpolations were in the early versions of Josephus the early Christian defenders of the faith would have used them to support their religious stance. Eusebius was the first person to write about the longer one and he did it in that year in his Demonstration of the Gospel. Eusebius stated that lying to get people to believe in Christianity was to be commended which is why many believe he was the forger of the Testament.
 
Origen in his famous Against Celsus, recorded that Josephus did not receive Jesus as his Saviour, Lord and Messiah and was amazed when Josephus praised James who was unjustly executed and who Josephus regarded as the brother of Jesus. It would be more natural, as well, for Origen to be a billion times more amazed at what Josephus supposedly wrote about Jesus in the famous Testament of Flavius. It was not in the text in those days. When Origen was so gobsmacked in relation then his Josephus did not mention Jesus in nice terms at all.

 

Here is the text from Origen,


"For in the eighteenth book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless - being, although against his will, not far from the truth - that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ) - the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice" Contra Celsus, Book I, Chapter XLVII.

 

This text is very odd.  At least it proves that the current version of Josephus is tampered with for it calls Jesus the Christ.  If Origen expected Josephus to blame the fall of Jerusalem on the murder of Jesus that implies that Jesus rather than being a fake messiah was a good man but his followers lied about him being the Christ.  Josephus would not have recognised Jesus as a prophet so Origin is saying he should have.  If Jesus was a prophet and as good as James then Jesus would have got the attention not James for James never claimed to be a prophet.  Notice that Origen says nothing at all about the Testament.  What he gives is a synopsis of the James and Jesus material from book 20.  That Origen should write about book 18 and its narrative of the baptist and not mention what it said about Jesus is clearly as good as proof that it did not mention Jesus at all.
 
Origen did not quote the Testament stuff about Josephus saying Jesus was the Messiah and rose from the dead to Celsus though he wrote a lot against Celsus to defend the faith against Celsus’ scepticism about Christianity’s’ claims meaning it did not exist in the works of Josephus in his time. Celsus rejected Jesus’ morals and Origen couldn’t even use Josephus to argue that Jesus had been stated by a non-Christian to have been a good man. Josephus never mentioned the man at all.
 
Justin Martyr, Tertullian and Cyprian who were big into defending the faith did not know that Josephus had any faith in Christ therefore their silence proves that he didn't. It must have been a Christian copyist who inserted the Testament. This Christian forger of the Testament did not know much about Jesus and had leanings towards the Christian tendency to deny that Jesus was a proper man but just God or an angel in a human body without a human mind or his words could be taken to mean that Jesus was just an apparition or an immaterial being. The interpolation was put in by somebody who did not believe that Jesus was God for that is too foundational a detail to leave out.
 
It is surmised that the Testament was not mentioned in the first few centuries because the existence of Jesus was not questioned by any important people or groups. That is another Christian lie.
 
The existence was questioned for example by Trypho the Jew Justin argued with for example but lets pretend the objection is right. The resurrection and the miracles were questioned as were the Messiahship and the divinity of Christ. The Christians had many very serious reasons then to use and cherish the text and they did not because it did not exist. They would not have known that it was a fake so its being a fake could not have put them off. The text would not be still extant if it had been recognised for the fraud it was.
 
In book 20 of Jewish Antiquities another reference to Jesus appears.  This is the place where Origen and others used to read a glowing report about James which is currently rejected as an insertion. We now have a heavily doctored version which we will meet in a moment. This part of Josephus’ work was tampered with so we have no reason to trust its mention of Jesus.

“Ananus...called together the Sanhedrin and brought the brother of Jesus the so-called Messiah/Christ, James by name, together with some others. He accused them of breaking the Law and condemned them to death by stoning. But the experts of the Law who were more liberal were angry at this and secretly requested the king stop this from happening” (Jewish Antiquities, Book 20).
 
Calling James the brother of the Christ or the Lord was a title given to James by the early Church.
 
Josephus would not call Jesus the so-called Christ when it was not the Jews or the Romans were calling Christ but a tiny persecuted and obscure sect that never made the news. 
 
Maybe Josephus was saying James brother of the so-called Christ as in a sneer. That would mean the line can’t prove if Jesus was thought to have existed or not.
 
In Galatians 1:19, Paul says that he met James the Lord's brother. This seems to say that Jesus lived in the first century when his brother was still alive. But the most important thing to realise is that Paul told Philemon that Onesimus the slave was to be his blood-brother and not just a brother in the Lord so blood-brother among the early Christians didn’t always mean that you shared a parent. Josephus who also called James Jesus’ brother could have made a mistake due to this confusing practice. The practice probably had a lot to do with the universal accusations of incest that supposedly was rife among the early Christians.
 
Tacitus the Roman Governor of Asia supposedly wrote about Jesus in 112 AD. Tacitus makes it plain that the Christians were detested in Rome because they got blamed for the fire of 64 AD which some believed that Nero himself had started. How then could Josephus who depended on Romans to look after his publications and buy them for the Jews hated him have spoken so well of Jesus or of James his brother either? The official verdict in Roman law was that Christians had a murderous hatred of Rome.
 
There were countless Christian believers in the early Church who did not subscribe to the thought that a man died under Pilate by crucifixion and rose again from the dead in the first century. To them Jesus was a vision from Heaven. Some of them believed that the crucifixion and resurrection was an illusion.
 
Assuming Josephus thought Jesus was a real man, would Josephus then simply talk about a man who there was so much controversy about as if he were a real flesh and blood man? No. He would have had to give his reasons for saying Jesus was a man.
 
Josephus who wrote the intimate details of Jewish history down for the Romans ignored Christ. This indicates that he thought that Jesus never lived. 
 
BOOKS CONSULTED

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He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha Cumbria, 2000
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Introduction to the New Testament, Roderick A F MacKenzie, SJ, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1965
Jesus - God the Son or Son of God? Fred Pearce Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham, undated
Jesus - One Hundred Years Before Christ, Professor Alvar Ellegard Century, London, 1999
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The WWW
 
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Apollonius the Nazarene, The Historical Apollonius versus the Historical Jesus
www.apollonius.net/bernard1e.html

Why Did the Apostles Die? Dave Matson,
 www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/4Why97.html
 
How Did the Apostles Die?
www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/4/4front97.html
 
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www.truthbeknown.com/historicaljc.htm
 
History's Troubling Silence About Jesus, Lee Salisbury
www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=102

Steven Carr discusses the Christian and apostolic martyrs
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/martyrs.htm
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/martyrs2.htm
 
Challenging the Verdict
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsOne.htm
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsTwo.htm
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsThree.htm#Twelve
 
The Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, Peter Kirby
http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/
 
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www.bowness.demon.co.uk/martyrs3.htm

A Sacrifice in Heaven,
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/supp09.htm

The Evolution of Jesus of Nazareth
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/partthre.htm

The Jesus of History, a Reply to Josh McDowell by Gordon Stein,
www.infidels.org/library/modern/gordon_stein/Jesus.html

Josh McDowell's Evidence for Jesus - Is It Reliable?, by Jeffrey J Lowder
www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap5.html

A Reply to JP Holding's "Shattering" of My Views on Jesus
www.infidels.org/secular_web/new/2000/march.html

Robert M Price, Christ a Fiction
www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/fiction.html

Earliest Christianity G A Wells
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/earliest.html

The Second Century Apologists
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/century.htm

Existence of Jesus Controversy, Rae West
www.homeusers.prestel.co.uk/littleton/gm1_jesu.htm

Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier
www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/index.shtml

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
www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-07.htm#P378_53868

Sherlock Holmes Style Search for the Historical Jesus,
www.fortunecity.com/greenfield/bp/890/history.html

The Ascension of Isaiah,
www.earth-history.com/sacred-ascension-Isaiah.htm

Apollonius of Tyana: The Monkey of Christ? The Church Patriarchs, Robertino Solarion
 www.apollonius.net/patriarchs.html

What About the Discovery of Q? Brad Bromling
www.ApologeticsPress.org

Wells without Water, Psychological Buffoonry from the Master of the Christ-Myth, James Patrick Holding
www.tektonics.org/JPH_WW.html

Critique: Scott Bidstrp [sic] on The Case for Christ by James Patrick Holding
www.tektonics.org/bidstrup02.html

GA Wells Replies to Criticism of his Books on Jesus
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/errant.html

The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, Acharya S
www.truthbeknown.com/origins.htm

Biblical Discrepancies, Todd Billings
www.freethought-web.org/ctrl/archive/billings_bd.html

The Testament of Josephus
www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/9623//index.html
 
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


Historical References to Jesus, His Miracles and His Resurrection, Outside the New Testament
www.british-israel.ca/Historical.htm