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Josephus auditioning for the part of Ali Baba.
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Secrets of times gone by

Titus Flavius Josephus, generally just Josephus, born Joseph ben Matityahu, (ca. 37 - 100 CE[1]) was a Romanised Jewish historian who wrote about Israel during New Testament times. He is primarily known because he supposedly considered Jesus to be the Messiah. Josephus produced four major texts: The Jewish War (ca. 75 CE), Antiquities of the Jews (ca. 94 CE), Against Apion (ca. 97), and The Life of Flavius Josephus (ca. 99 CE).

Many Christian apologists cite Josephus to attempt to argue that even the "pagan"/Jewish/etc. Josephus acknowledged Jesus as a savior/miracleworker/etc., and that one should therefore believe in Jesus' divinity. However, citing Josephus as a source on the Jesus argument has numerous flaws. For some reason, these facts almost always come as a surprise to Christians who cite him. It's almost as if they just look up quotes without any understanding of what constitutes valid sources for determining historical events. As a matter of fact, the only writings of Josephus with reference to Jesus have little to do with his alleged divinity. In those writings that do mention Jesus, Josephus seemed to treat him as a human philosopher with a sizable audience, like just about every other prophet responsible for the founding of a religion. Not being a Christian himself (in his day, the Christians comprised a mystical branch of Judaism), it would have been unlikely that Josephus would have even considered the "actual" Jesus as divine.

Passage 1: the "Testimonium Flavianum"[edit]

In Book 18, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3 of the Antiquities of the Jews (written ca. 93-94 CE), Josephus writes (Whiston’s translation):[2][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 him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal man 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 to this day.

Is the Testimonium Flavianum authentic? There are several reasons to think not, some of which have been pointed out since the 1600s:[4]

  1. Scholarly consensus: Most scholars admit that at least some parts, if not all, of this paragraph, cannot be authentic,[5][6] and some are convinced that the entire paragraph is an interpolation inserted by Christians at a later time.[7][8][9][10] Duke University Professor E.P. Sanders, a New Testament scholar, argues that the uninterpolated Josephus said that Jesus died by crucifixion.[11] Even Christian scholars consider the paragraph to be an overenthusiastic forgery,[12][13][14] and even the Catholic Encyclopedia concurs.[15]
  2. Context: This paragraph breaks the flow of the chapter. Book 18 (“Containing the interval of 32 years from the banishment of Archelus to the departure from Babylon”) starts with the Roman taxation under Cyrenius in 6 CE and discusses various Jewish sects at the time, including the Essenes and a sect of Judas the Galilean, to which he devotes three times more space than to Jesus; Herod’s building of various cities, the succession of priests and procurators, and so on. Chapter 3 starts with sedition against Pilate, who planned to slaughter all the Jews but changed his mind. Pilate then used sacred money to supply water to Jerusalem. The Jews protested; Pilate sent spies into Jewish ranks with concealed weapons, and there was a great massacre. Then in the middle of all these troubles comes the curiously quiet paragraph about Jesus, followed immediately by: “And about the same time another terrible misfortune confounded the Jews ...” Josephus would not have thought the Christian story to be “another terrible misfortune.” It is only a Christian (someone like Eusebius) who might have considered Jesus to be a Jewish tragedy. Paragraph three can be lifted out of the text with no damage to the chapter; in fact, it flows better without it.[16]
  3. Lack of citation: Then there is the issue of how many people do not mention it even when it would have been in their best interests to do so: Justin Martyr (ca. 100 – ca. 165), Theophilus (d. 180), Irenaeus (ca. 120 – ca. 203), Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150 — ca. 215), Origen (ca. 185 – ca. 254), Hippolytus (ca. 170 – ca. 235), Minucius Felix (d. c250), Anatolius (230 – 280), Chrysostom (ca. 347 – 407), Methodius (9th century), and Photius (ca. 820 – 891). There are many places in Origen's Against Celsus where he should have mentioned but was not.[17]
  4. Structure: Structurally there is much wrong with the passage.[18][19] Josephus doesn't explain things as he does in passages of other would-be messiahs.(see Jona Lendering's Messiah (overview) for examples of the amount of detail Josephus gives… even to Athronges, the shepherd of 4 BCE who Josephus says "had been a mere shepherd, not known by anybody" and yet had enough to give us far more details than are seen in the Jesus passage. Things such as what deeds Jesus did and how Jesus won over people are missing.[20]
  5. Similarity to the Bible: There is a 19-point unique correspondence between this passage and Luke's Emmaus account.[21][22]
  6. "Christ": The term "Christ" only appears in the Testimonium Flavianum and in a later passage regarding James “brother of Jesus” (see below). But the purpose of the work was to promote Vespasian as the Jewish Messiah (i.e., 'Christ'), so why would Josephus, a messianic Jew, use the term only here? Moreover, the Greek word used here is the same as in the Old Testament, but to Josephus' Roman audience it would mean 'the ointment' rather than 'anointed one', resulting in many a Roman scratching their head in befuddlement.[23]
  7. Location: Josephus was in Rome from 64 to 66 CE to petition emperor Nero for the release of some Jewish priests that Gessius Florus sent there in chains.[24] Josephus makes no mention of the further misfortune of Jesus' followers that Tacitus and Suetonius record. If the Testimonium Flavianum was genuine in any way, Josephus certainly would have mentioned the further misfortune of Jesus' followers under Nero, since he was right there in Rome for two years when it was supposedly going on. So either the Testimonium Flavianum is a forgery, or the Tacitus and Suetonius accounts are urban myth — both sets of accounts cannot be true.

Passage 2: the "Jamesian Reference"[edit]

The second, and lesser-known, supposed reference in Josephus is to James the brother of Jesus. In Book 20, Chapter 9, Section 1 of the Antiquities, Josephus writes:[25]

Festus was now dead, and Albinus was put upon the road; so he [Ananus, the Jewish high priest] assembled the [S]anhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, him 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.

Though there are good reasons to think this too is not Josephus' original text:

  1. Again, Josephus would have provided more details for the Gentile readership. For example, just what was meant by "Christ". If Josephus had mentioned "Christ" before, he would have referenced it as he does the Sadducees several times in this work.[26]
  2. After reading the rest of the text of this passage we find that the Jews were so angry about the stoning of James that they demanded that King Agrippa fire Ananus. Why would the Jews be angered over the killing of a Christian, since Christians were seen as heathens by the Jews?[27][28]
  3. The end of the paragraph seems to identify the Jesus described within as Jesus the son of Damneus and clearly states that this Jesus was made high priest by Agrippa.
  4. The passage doesn't agree with any other account of James the Just and Acts make no mention of the event at all.[29]
  5. In Against Celsus 1.47, OrigenWikipedia states "this writer" (Josephus)… "in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple"… "says nevertheless"… "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)". This point is repeated in Against Celsus 2.13 where Origen states "But at that time there were no armies around Jerusalem, encompassing and enclosing and besieging it; for the siege began in the reign of Nero, and lasted till the government of Vespasian, whose son Titus destroyed Jerusalem, on account, as Josephus says, of James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ, but in reality, as the truth makes dear, on account of Jesus Christ the Son of God." Note that the Josephus passage above does NOT connect the death of this James with the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, or any other disaster despite Origen stating twice that the passage he is referring to does.
  6. Finally, and most importantly the James of Josephus died ca. 62 CE by just stoning while Hegesippus, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Early Christian tradition all had James the Just dying ca. 70 CE by being thrown from a battlement, stoned, and finally clubbed to death by passing laundrymen.[30] In fact, Eusebius of Caesarea in his Church History, Book III, ch. 11 clearly writes "After the martyrdom of James and the conquest of Jerusalem which immediately followed..." but there are seven years and four High Priests[31] between these two events if the Josephus passage is genuine so either we have one of the wonkiest definitions of "immediately followed" in the history of the world or these are two different James and the "him called Christ" phrase was added to make the connection. The later interpretation is supported by Rufinus of Aquileia in the 4th century who states James the Lord's brother was informed of the death of Peter (64 CE or 67 CE ie after the James in Josephus was dead and gone).[32]

As late as 1846 the phrasing was "Jesus, who was Christ"[33] so there may be some translational mucking around going on. In any case, the "him called Christ" makes most sense as a margin note by a later scribe copying the text, inserted by error in a paragraph about Jesus son of Damneus.[34]

Drews in The Witness To The Historicity of Jesus stated that, even if the passage was entirely genuine, "brother" could have just meant the James being referred to belonged to a sect that venerated a Messiah called Jesus.[35] Furthermore since "christ" means the same in Greek that "messiah" does in Hebrew ("the anointed one") it could be used in reference to the anointment of Jesus, son of Damneus as high priest.

However, Drews also stated "in the sixteenth century Vossius had a manuscript of the text of Josephus in which there was not a word about Jesus"[36] which taken literally means as late as 1600 there was a Josephus manuscript with no reference to Jesus anywhere in it. For a contrasting view, see point 5 above, where Origen seems to have made a reference to the quote circa 250 CE.

The problem with this reference to Vossius' Josephus is that "According to the author of Christian Mythology Unveiled ("CMU"), this Vossius mentioned by a number of writers as having possessed a copy of Josephus's Antiquities lacking the TF is "I. Vossius," whose works appeared in Latin. Unfortunately, none of these writers includes a citation as to where exactly the assertion may be found in Vossius's works. Moreover, the Vossius in question seems to be Gerardus, rather than his son, Isaac, who was born in the seventeenth century."[37]

However, "The letters i and j: In the Roman alphabet, i and j were two forms of the same letter, but in the 16th and 17th centuries, i was used instead of j, both initially and medially, either vowel or consonant. As a consonant, the letter was pronounced as we pronounce j, as in jury, but written "iury".[38] So the "I. Vossius" could have been the father of Gerardus Vossius, Johannes Vossius. Sadly, material this old is full of partial references (if they exist at all) so little is known about where the material they cite originally came from.

It should be noted that our youngest copy of Josephus in the original Greek Antiquities is from the 9th to 10th century with the majority being in the 11th to 16th[39]

Carrier points out "Later Christian legend (first attested to only late in the second century, a whole lifetime or two after Acts was written) replaced this James, son of Alphaeus with James 'the brother of the Lord', but Luke clearly has no knowledge of this connection (nor, we must conclude did any source he may have had) Nor do any of the other Gospels show any awareness that any brother of Jesus ever had a role in the church at all, much less as a leader. Mark had already suggested none of Jesus family entered the church, as he has effectively disowned them (Mark 3:31-34 (repeated in Matthew 12:46-50 and Luke 8:19-21; echoed directly in John 7:5 and John 19:26-27 See Chapter 10 (§4)."[40]

Passage 3: John the Baptist passage[edit]

John the Baptist, a figure in the New Testament, is briefly mentioned.[41]

Scholars have noted many inconsistencies in the passage about John the Baptist.[42] Gregory L. Doudna argues that the passage actually refers to John Hyrcanus IIWikipedia and is the result of a compilation error.[43]

Additional problems[edit]

Carrier provides a summation of works that go into some (though not all) of the problems below.[44]


Supposedly, Josephus was the earliest non-Christian to write of the life of Jesus. Josephus' birth in 37 CE, well after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus which could have been no later than 36 CE by Gospels, means he could not have been an eyewitness. Being able to write with firsthand knowledge about events before he was born is a miracle that would potentially warrant worshiping Josephus instead of Jesus.

Moreover, Josephus wrote his Antiquities in 93 CE, even later than the first gospels, a minimum of 58 years or nearly three generations after Jesus was supposedly crucified. Worse, our oldest copy in Greek is from the 11th century and the suspected tampering is thought to have occurred no later than the 4th century...which predates our oldest copy...which is in Latin.

Altogether, Josephus' descriptions could not be taken as accurate, even discounting other problems.


Josephus was an orthodox Jew; if he was a closet Christian and believed in Jesus Christ, there's no evidence of it.

In fact, Josephus says throughout his writings that he believes the Roman emperor VespasianWikipedia was the Jewish Messiah and probably believed in the emperor's explicit claim to deity.[citation needed]

Falsified works[edit]

Literary critic Harold Bloom has suggested — even assuming the passages are genuine — that in light of many other cases of Josephus falsifying evidence in his works, Josephus's judgement of Jesus is motivated entirely by his own politics and admires Jesus on account of the political actions of his followers: James and John the Baptist (whom he praises for their resistance of the rise of Pharisaic Judaism).[45]

Length and a host of holy men[edit]

Josephus gives far more space and/or detail to the following would-be 'Messiahs'. 'Sons of Man', 'the Righ­teous Ones', and 'the Elect [or Chosen] Ones' (i.e. "christs") that were showing up all over first century CE Palestine[46][47] than to Jesus (who got a measly one (maybe two) paragraphs):

  • Judas, son of Hezekiah (4 BCE).[51]
  • Matthias, son of Margalothus (during the time of Herod the Great)[52] - thought by some to be the "Theudas" referenced in Acts 5.
  • Athronges (c 3 CE) - who "had been a mere shepherd, not known by anybody." [53]
  • The Samaritan prophet (36 CE) killed by Pontius Pilate.[56]
  • Theudas the magician (between 44 and 46 CE).[57]
  • Egyptian Jew Messiah (between 52 and 58 CE). Supposedly led an army of 30,000 people in an attempt to take Jerusalem by force which the Romans drove back, killing 400 and capturing 200.[58][59] According to Josephus he "came out of Egypt to Jerusalem" and "He advised the crowd to go along with him to the Mount of Olives, as it was called, which lay over against the city, and at the distance of a kilometer."[59] Suggested to be the basis for the Gospel Jesus by Lena Einhorn. [60][61]
  • An anonymous prophet (59 CE).[62]
  • Menahem, the son of Judas the Galilean (66 CE).[63][64]
  • Jesus ben Ananias [Ananus] (66-70 CE).[65] Suggested by Carrier as being the raw template for the Passover section of "Mark"[66]
  • Menahem ben Judah (sometime between 66-73 CE).
  • John of Giscala (d c70 CE).[67]
  • Simon bar Giora (69-70 CE) [68]
  • Jonathan, the weaver (73 CE) [69]

If Josephus really thought Jesus was the Messiah, he would almost certainly have written far more on him. Most of the people above get far more detail than the short, awkward passages on Jesus that don't quite fit the flow of the section. In fact, Athronges, who Josephus states was "not known by any body", gets a paragraph nearly four times longer than that for Jesus. Furthermore, Origen claims that a man named Dositheus pretended to be the Christ.[70] but the only Dositheus Josephus mentions lived in the time of Herod the Great some time before 30 BCE [71], and there is nothing in the passage about him even being called a Christ.

Ned Ludd and John Frum comparison[edit]

Ned Ludd and John Frum stand as two examples of how even if both Josephus passages as we have them now were totally genuine are not evidence for a historical Gospel Jesus.

Ned Ludd was the supposed founder of the Luddites (a sizable movement in 1811-1816) which had several orders and documents signed by "King Ludd" or "General Ludd" who in 1779 supposedly smashed two knitting frames in a "fit of passion",[72][73] yet no record of Ned Ludd's actions appears anywhere before 1811.

John Frum is an even more interesting example, as there was a 1952 professional academic paper done on the John Frum cargo cult.[74] Even just 11 years after the cult's existence became known to the local authorities, there were many stories about John Frum; some say it was the name of some supernatural being coopted by a native named Manehivi, others said it was a native who "was still at liberty"; some were saying "John Frum, alias Karaperamun, is always the god of Mount Tukosmoru, which will shelter the planes, then the soldiers.", while others said John Frum was a man. Moreover the article contains one of the few surviving pieces of evidence that the John Frum cult could go clear back to the 1910s with the statement in a 1949 letter that "The origin of the movement or the cause started more than thirty years ago."

Sometime in the late 1950s to early 1960s, a splinter faction calling itself The Prince Philip Movement gave John Frum an actual flesh and blood biological brother: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. One problem: Prince Philip only had sisters. By that time the various natives who had used the name "John Frum" from 1940-47 were not in the oral traditions other then pretenders or prophets and John Frum effectively became a white World War II serviceman (sometimes being in the Navy) for the mainstream version of the cult.

John Frum is one of the best documented example of how mythology around a supposed founder can form. If Manehivi was the "real" John Frum, then he was effectively wiped from oral tradition almost immediately and replaced by a person who for all practical terms didn't exist in the space of perhaps 15 years. And if that can happen in the space of just over a decade, then what about the some half-century that separate Josephus from Jesus, especially given the uncharacteristic brevity of the passages?

Lack of other mentions of Christians[edit]

Here is an historian who remembers and records in his work with staggering efficiency and in voluminous detail the events and personalities and sociopolitical subtleties of eight decades and more. Can we believe that Josephus would have been ignorant of this teaching revolutionary and the empire-wide movement he produced, or that for some unfathomable reason he chose to omit Jesus from his chronicles?
—Earl Doherty, The Jesus Puzzle[3]

Three sects[edit]

Acts 9:31 (KJV), written approx. 80-130 CE,[75] recalls:

Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

At the same time, the Council of JerusalemWikipedia was supposedly going on. Acts 15:12 (KJV) recalls the Church leaders speaking of the miracles that had occurred:

Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

If Christianity was undergoing an explosive growth, then surely Josephus, a local and aspiring historian, would have noticed. However, Josephus in his The Life Of Flavius Josephus wrote:[76][3]

And when I was about sixteen years old, I had a mind to make trial of the several sects that were among us. These sects are three: - The first is that of the Pharisees, the second that Sadducees, and the third that of the Essens, as we have frequently told you; for I thought that by this means I might choose the best, if I were once acquainted with them all; so I contented myself with hard fare, and underwent great difficulties, and went through them all.

In his Antiquities, Josephus does mention a fourth sect of Jewish philosophy. However, it's unrelated to Christianity. In Antiquities 18.[1.1-6].1-25, Josephus writes:[77]

The Jews had for a great while had three sects of philosophy peculiar to themselves; the sect of the Essens, and the sect of the Sadducees, and the third sort of opinions was that of those called Pharisees; of which sects, although I have already spoken in the second book of the Jewish War, yet will I a little touch upon them now. [Explanation of each of these.] But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy, Judas the GalileanWikipedia was the author. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. And since this immovable resolution of theirs is well known to a great many, I shall speak no further about that matter; nor am I afraid that any thing I have said of them should be disbelieved, but rather fear, that what I have said is beneath the resolution they show when they undergo pain. And it was in Gessius Florus's time that the nation began to grow mad with this distemper, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans. And these are the sects of Jewish philosophy.

Later, in Antiquities 13.[5.9].171-173, Josephus repeats the same message.[78]

Josephus had ample opportunity to mention the Christians, if they were a sizeable movement, and to talk about their leader, as he did with the fourth sect. Instead, Josephus is silent on any additional sects.


Some commentators have alleged that Josephus lived with a Banus, who "might well be a follower of John the Baptist".[76] The relevant passage of Life reads:[76]

Nor did I content myself with these trials only; but when I was informed that one, whose name was Banus, lived in the desert, and used no other clothing than grew upon trees, and had no other food than what grew of its own accord, and bathed himself in cold water frequently, both by night and by day, in order to preserve his chastity, I imitated him in those things, and continued with him three years.

The only evidence that Banus might be a follower of John the Baptist is (a) his life in the wilderness (b) his frequent bathing. Many hermits exist and existed who live in the wilderness; while bathing might be odd, it's not exactly something that only religious followers of John the Baptist do.

Ignoring Josephus to make things fit the Gospels[edit]

Josephus gets the fair weather friend treatment by some triumphal historical Jesus supporters to allow what are at the end of the day nonsensical theories to explain the Matthew and Luke "problem".

Josephus gives three key points regarding Herod the Great: when he came to power,[79][80][81] how long Herod had ruled when the Battle of Actium happened (September 2nd, 31 BC),[82] and finally how long Herod had reigned and been declared king when he finally died.[83] Josephus also states that Herod’s son and successor Archelaus was deposed by Caesar in the tenth year of his reign,[84] which is identified 759 AUC,[85] which, because there is no year zero works out to be 5/6 CE.

These points result in one and only one year for Herod the Great's death: 4 BCE. Despite this, claims that he died in 1 BCE come up. Yes, there are a few hiccups in what Josephus relates, but the majority of the information points to 4 BCE, and other years require a good deal of special pleading to work.[86]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Louis Feldman, Steve Mason (1999). Flavius Josephus. Brill Academic Publishers.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Humphreys, Kenneth (2004) "Non-Christian Testimony for Jesus?"
  4. Eisler, Robert (1929) The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist according to Flavius Josephus' recently rediscovered 'Capture of Jerusalem' and the other Jewish and Christian sources
  5. Josephus and Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum Question, Testimonium Flavianum Early Christian Writings
  6. Jesus in Josephus, Richard Carrier.
  7. The Jesus Forgery: Josephus Untangled, Acharya S/D.M. Murdock.
  8. Eusebius of Caesarea forged Testimonium Flavianum, The Historical Integrity of Eusebius of Caesarea. An Alternate Theory of the History of Antiquity
  9. Olson, Ken (2013) “A Eusebian Reading of the Testimonium Flavianum.” Eusebius of Caesarea: Tradition and Innovations, eds. Aaron Johnson and Jeremy Schott (Harvard University Press), pp. 97–114.
  10. Hopper, Paul (2014) "A Narrative Anomaly in Josephus: Jewish Antiquities xviii:63." Linguistics and Literary Studies: Interfaces, Encounters, Transfers, eds. Monika Fludernik and Daniel Jacob (de Gruyter), pp. 147–169.
  12. Bishop Warburton, Quoted by Lardner, Works, Vol. I, chap. iv.:

    If a Jew owned the truth of Christianity, he must needs embrace it. We, therefore, certainly conclude that the paragraph where Josephus, who was as much a Jew as the religion of Moses could make him, is made to acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, in terms as strong as words could do it, is a rank forgery, and a very stupid one, too.

  13. The Rev. Dr. Giles, of the Established Church of England (Christian Records, p. 30):

    Those who are best acquainted with the character of Josephus, and the style of his writings, have no hesitation in condemning this passage as a forgery, interpolated in the text during the third century by some pious Christian, who was scandalized that so famous a writer as Josephus should have taken no notice of the gospels, or of Christ, their subject. But the zeal of the interpolator has outrun his discretion, for we might as well expect to gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles, as to find this notice of Christ among the Judaizing writings of Josephus. It is well known that this author was a zealous Jew, devoted to the laws of Moses and the traditions of his countrymen. How, then, could he have written that Jesus was the Christ? Such an admission would have proved him to be a Christian himself, in which case the passage under consideration, too long for a Jew, would have been far too short for a believer in the new religion, and thus the passage stands forth, like an ill-set jewel, contrasting most inharmoniously with everything around it. If it had been genuine, we might be sure that Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Chrysostom would have quoted it in their controversies with the Jews, and that Origen or Photius would have mentioned it. But Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian (I, ii), is the first who quotes it, and our reliance on the judgment or even honesty of this writer is not so great as to allow our considering everything found in his works as undoubtedly genuine.

  14. Rev. S. Baring-Gould, in Lost and Hostile Gospels:

    This passage is first quoted by Eusebius (fl. A. D. 315) in two places (Hist. Eccl., lib. i, c. xi ; Demonst. Evang., lib. iii); but it was unknown to Justin Martyr (A. D. 140) Clement of Alexandria (A. D. 192), Tertullian (A. D. 193) and Origen (A. D. 230). Such a testimony would certainly have been produced by Justin in his apology or in his controversy with Trypho the Jew, had it existed in the copies of Josephus at his time. The silence of Origen is still more significant. Celsus, in his book against Christianity, introduces a Jew. Origen attacks the argument of Celsus and his Jew. He could not have failed to quote the words of Josephus, whose writings he knew, had the passage existed in the genuine text. He, indeed, distinctly affirms that Josephus did not believe in Christ (Contr. Cels. i).

  15. "Flavius Josephus." Catholic Encyclopedia. "Attempts have been made to refute the objections brought against this passage both for internal and external reasons, but the difficulty has not been definitively settled. The passage seems to suffer from repeated interpolations."
  16. Carrier, Richard (2014) On the Historicity of Jesus Sheffield Phoenix Press ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2 pg 336
  17. Carrier, Richard (2014) On the Historicity of Jesus Sheffield Phoenix Press ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2 pg 334
  18. The Testimonium Flavianum, Eusebius, and Consensus (Guest Post) - Olson
  19. The Testimonium Flavianum (Josephus' Antiquities, XVIII, III, 3)
  20. Carrier, Richard (2014) On the Historicity of Jesus Sheffield Phoenix Press ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2 pg 334
  21. Goldberg, Gary J. (1995) "The Coincidences of the Emmaus Narrative of Luke and the Testimonium of Josephus" The Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 13 pp. 59-77
  22. Carrier, Richard (2014) On the Historicity of Jesus Sheffield Phoenix Press ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2 pg 333
  23. The Anointed One, Or The Ointment? (internet archive)
  24. When Gessius Florus sent some priests that Josephus knew in chains to Rome (64 CE), he followed to petition the emperor [Nero] to release them. The emperor's consort, Poppea, introduced the 26 year old Jewish aristocrat to the imperial court & supported his cause. This successful mission left Josephus favorably impressed by the grandeur & power of Rome & with a first-hand familiarity with imperial circles that few of his contemporary Jews could match. By the time he returned to Jerusalem, however, the Jewish revolt had already begun (in 66 CE). (Josephus [37-ca 100 CE])
  26. Carrier, Richard (2014) On the Historicity of Jesus Sheffield Phoenix Press ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2 pg 339
  27. Carrier, Richard (2014) On the Historicity of Jesus Sheffield Phoenix Press ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2 pg 339
  28. Rook Hawkins February 4, 2008 Josephus: What's the Deal?''
  29. Carrier, Richard (2014) On the Historicity of Jesus Sheffield Phoenix Press ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2 pg 340-341
  30. Eddy, Paul R. and Boyd, Gregory A. (2007) The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. Baker Academic, pg 189
  31. Joshua ben Damneus (i.e., Jesus son of Damneus) (63); Joshua ben Gamaliel (63-64); Mattathias ben Theophilus (65-66); and Phannias ben Samuel (67-70)
  32. "The epistle in which the same Clement, writing to James the Lord's brother, informs him of the death of Peter, and that he had left him his successor in his chair and teaching..." Recognitions (Preface)
  33. John Sundins Stamp, John Foxe, William Harris Rule (1846) Martyrologia; or, Records of religious persecution pg 186
  34. Richard Carrier. "Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 20.4 (Winter 2012).
  35. Drews, Arthur (1912) The Witness To The Historicity of Jesus, page 9 (London: Watts & Co., 1912)
  36. Drews, Arthur (1912) The Witness To The Historicity of Jesus, page 9 (London: Watts & Co., 1912)
  37. D.M. Murdock (2004) Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled
  38. Hill, Ronald A. "Interpreting the Symbols and Abbreviations inSeventeenth Century English and American Documents"
  39. Pearse, Roger .(2002) Josephus: the Main Manuscripts of "Antiquities"
  40. Carrier, Richard (2014) On the Historicity of Jesus Sheffield Phoenix Press ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2 pg 373
  41. The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, Chapter 5, paragraph 2.
  42. Allen, N.P.L. (2015) Clarifying the Scope of Pre-Fifth-Century C.E. Christian Interpolation in Josephus’ Antiquitates Judaicae (c. 94 C.E.). pp. 361–362. Unpublished Philosophiae Doctor thesis, Potchefstroom: North-West University.
  43. Doudna 2019, pp. 119–120.

    This article proposes that Josephus’s ‘John the Baptist’ passage in Antiquities is a chronologically displaced story of the death of Hyrcanus II, the aged former high priest, by Herod the Great in either c. 34 or 30 BCE. As a matter of method the Gospels are set completely to one side and the focus is solely on analysis of the Josephus passage. The passage in Antiquities is in Josephus’s language and style, yet at the same time the passage reads as an insertion into pre-existing text, like an ancient excursus or footnote set into a text that would read perfectly smoothly without it (Schwartz 2013: 106–9). This description does not mean the passage is an interpolation by a later Christian scribe. For a number of reasons the passage is unlikely to have come from a later Christian forger, not the least of which is that Josephus’s John the Baptist is not in any way portrayed as Christian. Rather, the insertion of a story into preexisting narrative is a well-known phenomenon in the composition process of Josephus. But this composition process results in precisely the kind of passage that can be subject to Josephus making a chronological mistake, in this case attaching an undated story from a source to the wrong Herod.

  44. Carrier, Richard (15 Feb 2017) Josephus on Jesus? Why You Can’t Cite Opinions Before 2014
  45. Bloom, Harold (2005) Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine Riverhead ISBN-13: 978-1573223225
  46. Jewish Antiquities 17.269-270
  47. Carrier 2014, pp. 67-73.
  48. Carrier 2014, pp. 26-30.
  49. Josephus 75, 2.57-59.
  50. Josephus 94, 17.273-277.
  51. Josephus 94, 17.271-272.
  52. Josephus 94, 18.147-150.
  53. Josephus 94, 17.278-284.
  54. Josephus 94, 18.1, 20.5.2.
  55. Acts 5:47
  56. Josephus 94, 18.85-87.
  57. Josephus 94, 20.97-98.
  58. Josephus 75, 2.259-263.
  59. 59.0 59.1 Josephus 94, 20.169-171.
  60. Lena Einhorn, PhD (Nov.17-20, 2012) Jesus and the "Egyptian Prophet" Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting
  61. Jesus–Rebel a out of time? Lena Einhorn (Youtube)
  62. Josephus 75, 20.188.
  63. Josephus 75, 2.433-434.
  64. Josephus 75, 2.442-448.
  65. Josephus 75, 6.301-309.
  66. Carrier 2014, pp. 428-430, JW 6.301 = Mk 14.2; Mk 11-17; Both quote the same chapter of Jeremiah; JW 6.306 = Mk 14.49; JW 6.304, 306, 309 = Mk 13.17; JW 6.300, 309 = Mk 13.2; JW 6.302 = Mk 14.43; Mk 14.58; Mk 14.60; Mk 14.65; Mk 15.1; JW 6.305 = Mk 15.2-4 (this is actually three different points); JW 6.304 = Mk 15.15 JW 6.305 is inverted in Mk 15.34; JW 6.308-309 = Mk 15.34 (two points); Mk 15.37
  67. appears periodically in Book IV, V, and VII of The Jewish War.
  68. Josephus 75, 7.26-32.
  69. Josephus 75, 7.437-450.
  70. Contra Celsum," i. 57, vi. 11; in Matth. Comm. ser. xxxiii.; "Homil." xxv. in Lucam; "De Principiis," iv. 17.
  71. Josephus 94, 15.165.
  72. Alsen, Eberhard (2000) New Romanticism: American Fiction, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-8153-3548-1, p. 43
  73. George Gordon Lord Byron (2002) The Works of Lord Byron. Letters and Journals, Adamant Media Corporation, ISBN 978-1-4021-7225-0, p. 97
  74. Guiart, Jean (1952) "John Frum Movement in Tanna" Oceania Vol 22 No 3 pg 165-177
  75. "Book of Acts of the Apostles" Early Christian Writings
  76. 76.0 76.1 76.2 The Life Of Flavius Josephus
  77. Antiquities of the Jews - Book XVIII
  78. Antiquities of the Jews - Book XIII, Chapter 5 paragraph 9
  79. Turner, Gary H () When was Jesus born?
  80. Antiquities XIV 14:5
  81. Antiquities XIV 13:10
  82. "At this time it was that the fight happened at Actium, between Octavius Caesar and Anthony in the seventh year of the reign of Herod; and then it was also that there was an earthquake in Judea, such a one as had not happened at any other time." - Antiquities XV 5:2
  83. "When he had done those things, he (Herod) died, the fifth day after he had caused Antipater to be slain; having reigned, since he procured Antigonus to be slain, thirty-four years; but since he had been declared king by the Romans, thirty-seven." - Antiquities XVII 8:1
  84. Josephus, Antiquities 17.13.2
  85. Dio Cassius, Roman History 55.27.6
  86. "Herod’s Death, Jesus’ Birth and a Lunar Eclipse" Bible History Daily