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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:11 pm 
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The Jesus Forgery: Josephus Untangled

8)

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:13 pm 
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For clarity, Christians hold up "The Jewish Antiquities" by Josephus what is called the "Testimonium Flavianum" (TF) and the "James passage" as their very best evidence for Jesus:

Quote:
18.3.3 "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 to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men 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 at this day." (Whitson, 379)

It was not quoted or referred to by any Christian apologists prior to Eusebius in the early 4th century. Dr. Gordon Stein relates:

Quote:
"...the vast majority of scholars since the early 1800s have said that this quotation is not by Josephus, but rather is a later Christian insertion in his works. In other words, it is a forgery, rejected by scholars."

http://www.truthbeknown.com/josephus.htm

Quote:
"Church father Origen—who studied Josephus's works and used them to refute critics such as Celsus—specifically complained that the Jewish historian did not consider Jesus to be the Christ. This phrase "who was called Christ" may have been copied from the gospel of Matthew (1:16), possibly long after Josephus's time."

- Who Was Jesus? (91)

And the other passage is known as "The James passage":

Quote:
20.9.1 "But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought it before the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned."

Dr. Lardner: "Nowhere else in his voluminous works does Josephus use the word 'Christ,' except in the passage which refers to James 'the brother of Jesus who was called Christ' (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 9, Paragraph 1), which is also considered to be a forgery."

Regarding the TF, as well as the James passage, which possesses the phrase James, the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, Jewish writer ben Yehoshua makes some interesting assertions:

"Neither of these passages is found in the original version of the Jewish Antiquities which was preserved by the Jews. The first passage (XVII, 3, 3) was quoted by Eusebius writing in c. 320 C.E., so we can conclude that it was added in some time between the time Christians got hold of the Jewish Antiquities and c. 320 C.E. It is not known when the other passage (XX, 9, 1) was added... Neither passage is based on any reliable sources. It is fraudulent to claim that these passages were written by Josephus and that they provide evidence for Jesus. They were written by Christian redactors and were based purely on Christian belief."

Earl Doherty remarks:

"in the absence of any other supporting evidence from the first century that in fact the Jesus of Nazareth portrayed in the Gospels clearly existed, Josephus becomes the slender thread by which such an assumption hangs. And the sound and fury and desperate manoeuverings which surround the dissection of those two little passages becomes a din of astonishing proportions. The obsessive focus on this one uncertain record is necessitated by the fact that the rest of the evidence is so dismal, so contrary to the orthodox picture. If almost everything outside Josephus points in a different direction, to the essential fiction of the Gospel picture and its central figure, how can Josephus be made to bear on his shoulders, through two passages whose reliability has thus far remained unsettled, the counterweight to all this other negative evidence?"

FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, a former Preacher of 20 years, cites Acharya's first book as a reference in his online article: "Debunking the Historical Jesus" http://ffrf.org/news/2006/debunkingJesus.php

Quote:
The little paragraph about Jesus that appears in Josephus' Antiquities (written after 90 CE) is regarded by liberal and conservative scholars to have been either entirely interpolated or drastically altered by a later generation of believers, probably by the dishonest Christian historian Eusebius in the 4th century[11]. (Whichever view is right, they both agree that early Christians tampered with documents, a fact that must bear on the reliability of the New Testament writings.)

The handful of 2nd-century references to "Christ" are too late to be of much value[12]. They are brief 2nd- or 3rd-hand accounts of what some people by that time believed had happened in their distant past, and none of them mention the name "Jesus." They are hearsay, not history.

http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/rise.php

This seems to be a good website as well - http://www.skeptically.org/bible/id3.html

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:11 pm 
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At Wicked pedia they actually do okay with this - or at least the TF. It's basically universally unanimous by scholars that the TF is a forgery by Christians fabricated most likely by Eusebius in the 4th century.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

That WAS the very best evidence according to Christians. So now, they're forced to hold up the reference to 'Jesus, brother of James' known as the James passage and the passage about John the Baptist as evidence. However, the evidence is very inconsistent and is therefore useless to hold up as valid, positive evidence for the existence of the biblical character Jesus. Even if authentic, their historical value seems to be zero.

Be sure to study "The Historical Jesus?" chapter in "Suns of God" starting on page 372. Read the brief mention about John the Baptist on page 390 and the "James Passage" on page 391.

She also discusses this in "Christ Conspiracy" in the "Non-Biblical Sources" chapter starting on page 49.

Here's a short excerpt. For more details you'll need to actually read the book - http://www.truthbeknown.com/historicaljc.htm

Quote:
"The only definite account of his life and teachings is contained in the four Gospels of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. All other historical records of the time are silent about him. The brief mentions of Jesus in the writings of Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius have been generally regarded as not genuine and as Christian interpolations; in Jewish writings there is no report about Jesus that has historical value. Some scholars have even gone so far as to hold that the entire Jesus story is a myth"

- The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Who Was Jesus? 84

:wink:

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:50 pm 
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JOSEPHUS’ SILENCE WAS DEAFENING

"If the defenders of the historicity of the gospel Jesus would stand by Josephus, the historian of Jewry in the first Christian century, they would have to admit that he is the most destructive of all the witnesses against Jesus.

It is not merely that the famous interpolated passage (19 Antiq. iii, 3) is obviously bogus in every aspect― in its impossible context; its impossible language of semi-worship; its "He was (the) Christ"; its assertion of the resurrection; and its allusion to "ten thousand other wonderful things" of which the historian gives no other hint—but that the brazen shout brings into deadly relief the absence of all mention of the crucified Jesus and his sect where mention must have been made by the historian if they had existed. In other words, why didn’t Josephus write about crucifixion and Jesus’ resurrection?"

The Silence of Josephus, by J.M. Robertson
http://jdstone.org/cr/files/josephussil ... ening.html

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:22 pm 
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Quote:
Aulus Perseus (60 AD)
Columella (1st cent. AD)
Dio Chrysostom (c. 40-c. 112 AD)
Justus of Tiberius (c. 80 AD)
Livy (59 BC-17 AD)
Lucanus (fl. 63 AD)
Lucius Florus (1st-2nd-cent. AD)
Petronius (d. 66 AD)
Phaedrus (c. 15 BC-c. 50 AD)
Philo Judaeus (20 BC-50 AD)
Phlegon (1st cent. AD)
Pliny the Elder (23?-69 AD)
Plutarch (c. 46-c. 119 AD)
Pomponius Mela (40 AD)
Rufus Curtius (1st cent. AD)
Quintilian (c. 35-c. 100 AD)
Quintus Curtius (1st cent. AD)
Seneca (4 BC?-65 AD)
Silius Italicus (c. 25-101 AD)
Statius Caelicius (1st cent. AD)
Theon of Smyrna (c. 70-c.135 AD)
Valerius Flaccus (1st cent. AD)
Valerius Maximus (fl. c. 20 AD)

Oddly enough, not one of these writers recorded any of the amazing and earth-shaking events reported in the gospels, even though this period was one of the best documented in history and although some of these authors lived or traveled in the same small area in which the gospel story was set. Neither Jesus nor his disciples are mentioned by any of them—not a word about Christ, Christianity or Christians.

- Who Was Jesus? page 85

Instead, Christians are reliant upon what they consider their best evidence for Jesus - Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus & Suetonius.

Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius: No Proof of Jesus

:wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:43 pm 
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Enjoy the discussion at wiki questioning the authenticity of the James passage. http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Talk:Jos ... dispute.3F

I'll quote a few things in case wiki throws a fit to delete it.

"Much more significantly, it is inconceivable that Josephus, a first century Jew, could have called another man the Messiah."

"Well, one of the first paragraphs in that section says the passage is "accepted as authentic by scholars". Then it goes into detail about the debate, and then seems to present an argument (OR?) on why all the scholars are all wrong. And it doesn't even give Well's hypothesis to explain the passage (that the text was origionally[sic] a marginal note by a Christian scribe that eventually ended up in the main text)."

Also, "James, Brother of Jesus passage"
http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Talk:Jos ... us_passage

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:47 pm 
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"Josephus probably wrote of the death of a Jewish Jerusalem personage called James, and a Christian reader thought he must have meant James the "brother of the Lord" who, according to Christian tradition, led the Jerusalem church about the time in question. This reader accordingly noted in the margin: "James = the brother of Jesus, him called Christ", and a later copyist took this as belonging to the text and incorporated it. Other interpolations are known to have originated in precisely this way. Of course, this will be a more plausible hypothesis if there are positive reasons for doubting authenticity. One such is that in Josephus's entire work the term "the Christ", meaning the Messiah, occurs only in two passages where mention is made of Jesus, with no attempt to explain what it means to the pagan readers to whom Josephus was appealing..."

"...When he applies a Messianic prophecy to Vespasian, he is careful not to call it such but "an ambiguous oracle" in the Jewish scriptures which Vespasian fulfilled when he was declared emperor in Judea."

- G.A. Wells "The Jesus Legend" (53)

"...Josephus describes all sorts of historical figures (prophets, would-be kings, priests, agitators) in the 1st century, he never calls one of them a Messiah" (Brown "Death" 475) - That he habitually takes such care to avoid the term makes its role and unexplained use in the two Josephus passages suspect."

G.A. Wells - The Jesus Legend (54)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:30 am 
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Kenneth Humphreys website page on Josephus
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/josephus-etal.html

Here's a website page titled Jesus Christ Never Existed

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:25 pm 
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Jewish scholar Solomon Zeitlin, who wrote the foreword in 1969 to a new edition of Gerald Friedlander's The Jewish Sources of the Sermon on the Mount. On p. xi, Zeitlin remarks:

Quote:
"Ever since Scaliger in the sixteenth century, the genuineness of the Christ passage in Josephus has been questioned. Friedlander, in following Niese, whom he regarded as the greatest authority on Josephus, considered this passage to be spurious. I fully share his opinion. In my article on "The Christ Passage in Josephus," JQR, 18 (1927-28 ), 231-255, and in Appendix IV in The Rise and Fall of the Judaean State, Vol. II, I endeavored to prove that the Christ passage in Josephus was interpolated by the Church Father Eusebius...."

* Also found in Who Was Jesus? page 87


This commentary demonstrates that in the past mainstream scholars dismissed the TF in toto and had determined that Eusebius was the forger. I enjoyed the summary:

Quote:
"When you add up all of the following facts, the case for the existence of Jesus as an historical person becomes rather remote:

1) there are no proven, legitimate references to the existence of Jesus in any contemporary source outside of the New Testament,

2) There is no evidence that the town of Nazareth, from which Jesus' mother supposedly came, ever existed at the time he was supposedly living there,

3) the existence of Jesus is not necessary to explain the origin or growth of Christianity (were the Hindu gods real'?),

4) the New Testament accounts do not provide a real "biography" for Jesus until you look at the Gospels. The earlier Pauline epistles imply only that he was a god, and

5) the biblical accounts of the trial and death of Jesus are logically self-contradictory and legally impossible. Jesus could not have been executed under either Roman or Jewish law for what he did. Whatever you call what he did, it was not a capital offense under either system. Rather, it looks like someone is trying to make Old Testament prophecies of the death of the Messiah come true by fabricating a scenario which simply doesn't make sense legally."
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ ... esus.shtml

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:43 am 
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Quote:
"One argument for the authenticity of the Testimonium as a whole contends that, since it is present in all existing copies of Josephus's Antiquities, it must have been in the original. This assertion sounds good, until it is realized that there are no extant Greek copies of the Antiquities that predate the 9th to 11th century (depending on the source), that all of these copies were made by Christians, and that all of them evidently were based on a single text. Regarding this argument that all copies of Josephus contain the TF, Meier cautions, "These facts must be balanced, however, by the sobering realization that we have only three Greek manuscripts of Book 18 of The Antiquities, the earliest which dates from the 11th century."1 Moreover, the text of the TF differs significantly in an Arabic copy of the Antiquities, while an "old Russian" or Slavonic edition of the TF—which Meier calls a "clearly unauthentic text"2—appears not in the Antiquities but in Josephus's Jewish War. These facts tend to cast suspicion on the authenticity of the TF as a whole."

- Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ, page 89

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:32 am 
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Quote:
"... Other Christian authorities who studied and/or mentioned Josephus but wrote not one word about the TF include the following:

Justin Martyr (c. 100-c. 165), who obviously pored over Josephus's works, makes no mention of the TF.

Theophilus (d. 180), Bishop of Antioch.

Irenaeus (c. 120/140-c. 200/203), saint and compiler of the New Testament..."

Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-211/215), influential Greek theologian and prolific Christian writer, head of the Alexandrian school.

Origen (c. 185-c. 254), no mention of the TF and specifically states that Josephus did not believe Jesus was "the Christ."

Hippolytus (c. 170-c. 235), saint and martyr.

The author of the ancient Syriac text, "History of Armenia," refers to Josephus but not the TF.

Minucius Felix (d. c. 250), lawyer and Christian convert.

Anatolius (230-c. 270/280).

Chrysostom (c. 347-407), saint and Syrian prelate.

Methodius, saint of the 9th century--even at this late date there were apparently copies of Josephus without the TF, as Methodius did not mention of it.

Photius (c. 820-891), Patriarch of Constantinople, not a word about the TF, again indicating copies of Josephus devoid of the passage, or, perhaps, a rejection of it because it was understood to be fraudulent.

"The Catholic Encyclopedia ("Flavius Josephus"), which tries to hedge its bet about the Josephus passage, is nevertheless forced to admit, "The passage seems to suffer from repeated interpolations." In the same entry, CE also confirms that Josephus's writings were used extensively by the early Christian fathers, such as Jerome, Ambrose and Chrysostom; yet, except for Jerome, the fathers never mentioned the TF. ..."

"1. It was not quoted or referred to by any Christian apologists prior to Eusebius, c. 316 AD. ..."

- Suns of God by Acharya S, page 385

* The list goes 1 through 10 plus, much more throughout the entire chapter entitled, The "Historical" Jesus?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Thanks for posting that list from my book Suns of God. I'm currently working on a monograph about the Testimonium Flavianum, addressing the latest arguments for its authenticity in part or whole. I will be citing this monograph in the revised edition of The Christ Conspiracy.

I should clarify that the contention about Justin Martyr is erroneous, because modern scholarship has determined that the text in question was composed a couple of centuries later by someone scholars call "Pseudo-Justin." When those writings are removed from the real Justin's works, there is evidently no indication that he knew Josephus's works.

The modern arguments (by scholars such as Dr. Alice Whealey) against the above list include that not all of these individuals were acquainted with Josephus's writings; thus, we would not expect them to know about the TF. Also, some of these writers who did know about Josephus's writings make no indication to having read Book 18, in which the Testimonium appears in the received text. I address these arguments in my monograph.

Despite all the detailed analysis, the fact remains that the TF constitutes what would conveniently be a perfect summary for a Christian proselytizer, that it is too brief for a writer who was fascinated by messianic movements, and that it interrupts the flow of the text unnaturally.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:21 am 
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Thanks to Robert for the quote below!
Quote:
To quote from 'Jesus Neither God Nor Man' by Earl Doherty (p538), which provides a comprehensive scientific demolition of the apologist arguments:

"...the startling fact is that during the first two centuries when [the TF] is claimed to have existed in all manuscripts of the Antiquities of the Jews, not a single Christian commentator refers to it in any surviving work. This includes Justin, Irenaeus, Theophilus, Tertullian, Clement, Origen, Hippolytus, Cyprian, Lactantius and Arnobius. All these apologists are intimately concerned with defending Christianity against pagan hostility, yet not one of them draws on what may have been the sole example of a non-negative comment on Christianity by an outsider before Constantine’s conversion."

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:10 pm 
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Acharya,

You said
"it interrupts the flow of the text unnaturally."

In checking the passage in question along with the preceding and trailing one, it does interrupt the flow.

From Wikipedia Josephus on Jesus

Quote:
Interruption to the text
Quote:
The paragraph before the Testimonium flows naturally into the paragraph after it, which might indicate either that the entire paragraph is a later insertion, or that it was substantially rewritten. As Guiguebert put it, "the short digression, even with the proposed corrections, interrupts the thread of the discourse into which it is introduced".[72] On the other hand, this argument has been rejected as inconclusive or unconvincing by some modern scholars, who have argued that Josephus was a "patchwork" writer, who often employed such digressive techniques, inserting passages, sometimes based on barely revised sources, that do not fit smoothly with, and sometimes even contradict, surrounding narratives.[73]


Quote:
[73]
John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew (New York, 1991) p. 86, n. 54. Meier cites H. St. John Thackeray, Charles Martin and other scholars who reject the argument that the Testimonium must be an addition because it seems to break its surrounding narrative thread.


Issues that may arise in monograph?

It would be interesting to know on what basis do the above scholars "reject the argument that the Testimonium must be an addition because it seems to break its surrounding narrative thread". The above article did not specify these.

In going through Josephus is there indeed a consistent pattern of Josephus breaking up passages in this manner? If there is not a pattern is this the most conspicuous.

Also, Josephus indicated that he was going to make a digression. Does he always makes such indication[of digression]?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:28 am 
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From Suns of God:

Quote:
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.


This seems to be the origin of the Vossius reference:
Gerardi Joannis Vossii: De historicis graecis libri IV (1601)
Download full pdf from the link in the bottom of the page: http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&out ... cTAAAAQAAJ

Or read page 196 online.

Illustre apud eum de Christo testimonium habemus in duodevigesimo Antiquitatum libro: unde illud etiam citat Hieronymus in Ecclesiasticorum scriptorum catalogo, item Suidas in Iosepos. Mirum verò non meminisse ejus Photium in excerptis suis cap. LXXVI.

So Vossius knows about Antiquities vol. 18 having the Christ bit, but is wondering aloud about Photius's strange omission. Feel free to give a more exact translation - I don't know Latin :) (thanks Acharya for deciphering that Iosepos bit in Greek).

Btw., on page 197-8 Vossius says:

Scripsit, Photio teste a, Judaeorum regum Chronicon qui coronati fuere. Incepisse illud ait à Moyse, & perduxisse usque ad exitum Agrippae, septimi è familia Herodis, ac Iudaicorum regum ultimi: qui Claudij tempore regnare coepit; sub Nerone crevit, majoraque incrementa sumsit sub Vespasiano; ac tertio Trajani anno obiit: quò usque & historiam Instus perduxit. Ibidem judicium tale de eo sert, stylum esse [some Greek again, not trying to transcribe!]. Adhaec dicit, communi Hebraeorum vitio laborare, ut, cùm Iudaeus genere effet, nullam de Christi adventu, aut miraculis ejus, faceret mentionem.

Working with Google Translate here, so would be nice to hear a proper translation of that passage as well.


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