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Josephus and Jesus

Josephus and Jesus

Postby TK » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:02 am

A friend of mine said he has been studying some of the writings of Josephus and said he has come across criticisms that the reference Josephus makes to Jesus was added in later by Christians.

I am not sure if this has been discussed here before, but if any of you have any insight on this I’d appreciate it.

TK
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Re: Josephus and Jesus

Postby Paidion » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:33 pm

Here is the quote from Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews" Book 18, Chapter 3, Section 3.

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it is proper 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 Messiah. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among 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, because the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the sect of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.


There are many who claim that Christians added this quote to the writings of Josephus. Yet to the best of my knowledge, no one had offered any evidence that this is the case.
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Re: Josephus and Jesus

Postby steve » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:15 pm

The only reason for claiming Josephus could not have written the above passages is that it has such a pro-Christian flavor, while Josephus was himself not a Christian. One suggestion I encountered, years ago, from F.F. Bruce ("The New testament Documents: Are They Reliable?") was that the passage was substantially original, but that a few emendations or interpolations may have entered through copying, such as the dropping out of some phrase such as "as they claim..."

Something like this explanation may be vindicated by the following information that came to my attention much more recently:

In 1972 Schlomo Pines, a non-Christian Jew who was an expert in many ancient Middle Eastern languages, discovered a 10th century translation of Josephus' Antiquities written in Arabic by a Melkite historian Agapius. It appears not to have suffered the scribal corruptions of all the manuscripts that have been handed down through the Western Church. Here's how it reads as translated by Pines into English:

"At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day."
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Re: Josephus and Jesus

Postby Paidion » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:29 pm

Thank you for that information, Steve. I wasn't aware of Pines' discovery. It seems possible that the text of his discovery is closer to what Josephus actually wrote, than that which has come down to us through traditional channels.
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Re: Josephus and Jesus

Postby TK » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:07 pm

Thanks to you both!
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