Josephus Testimonium


by Evo
Tags: josephus, testimonium
Evo
Evo is offline
#1
Aug19-13, 03:27 AM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 25,958
(This was split off from this thread - http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=706058 )
I have for many, many years believed that Jesus, of the Christian bible did not exist. He is not mentioned in Roman records. The Romans were sticklers for record keeping.

He is not mentioned by Jewish chroniclers of the time (Josephus) nor in the epistles of Paul, long before the (supposed) gospels were written. I won't get into that as it has already been pointed out above.

The history of the era is still very interesting and should be read.

I'm retracting the statement about Paul since it's confusing, as Paul only references Jesus after he was "resurrected". (thank you Atyy for pointing that out.
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on Phys.org
Cougars' diverse diet helped them survive the Pleistocene mass extinction
Online retailers have clear advantage by not collecting sales tax
Ask yourself: Will you help the environment?
micromass
micromass is online now
#2
Aug19-13, 11:38 AM
Mentor
micromass's Avatar
P: 16,692
Quote Quote by Evo View Post
He is not mentioned by Jewish chroniclers of the time (Josephus)
Huh?

Quote Quote by Josephus
And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus... Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was 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.
Quote Quote by Josephus
Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man... Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion... Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death.
Quote Quote by Josephus
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.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus
marcus
marcus is offline
#3
Aug19-13, 01:12 PM
Astronomy
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
marcus's Avatar
P: 22,808
Hi Micromass, thanks for the three quotes. I feel OK about the first--I've seen that quote from Josephus several other places. I'm not a scholar and not especially skeptical of ancient sources being tampered with by copyists. I can only tell you my subjective FWIW hunches.

To me the first quote sounds genuine because kind of tossed off, kind of contemptuously: Oh yeah they stoned this guy, and he happened to be the brother of this other guy they were calling "Christ".

Some later copyist who forged some inserted mention of Jesus and put it into Josephus text would, I suspect, have done it with more awe and respect, hinting at how very important this personage was.

That's more the tone I hear in the third quote. With no scholarly expertise to go on, I still do feel it's questionable.

BTW liked your "French fish" problem!

micromass
micromass is online now
#4
Aug19-13, 01:16 PM
Mentor
micromass's Avatar
P: 16,692

Josephus Testimonium


Quote Quote by marcus View Post
Hi Micromass, thanks for the three quotes. I feel OK about the first--I've seen that quote from Josephus several other places. I'm not a scholar and not especially skeptical of ancient sources being tampered with by copyists. I can only tell you my subjective FWIW hunches.

To me the first quote sounds genuine because kind of tossed off, kind of contemptuously: Oh yeah they stoned this guy, and he happened to be the brother of this other guy they were calling "Christ".

Some later copyist who forged some inserted mention of Jesus and put it into Josephus text would, I suspect, have done it with more awe and respect, hinting at how very important this personage was.

That's more the tone I hear in the other two quotes. With no scholarly expertise to go on, I still do feel they are questionable.

I guess it would be interesting to find out what the various provenances are of various versions of Josephus and whether they differ significantly.
Sure, I completely agree with you. Whether the quotes are genuine and not inserted by translators is very debatable. So it is to me very possible that Jesus wasn't mentioned in the book at all. But claiming that it's certain that he was never mentioned is certainly incorrect. That's all I wanted to show.

BTW liked your "French fish" problem!
Haha, thanks!
marcus
marcus is offline
#5
Aug19-13, 01:32 PM
Astronomy
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
marcus's Avatar
P: 22,808
I reconsidered the second quote and edited my post so as to leave it out of consideration. I see your point in general: can't rule out that there was some historical reference by non-Christian.
Evo
Evo is offline
#6
Aug19-13, 01:38 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 25,958
Quote Quote by micromass View Post
Sure, I completely agree with you. Whether the quotes are genuine and not inserted by translators is very debatable. So it is to me very possible that Jesus wasn't mentioned in the book at all. But claiming that it's certain that he was never mentioned is certainly incorrect. That's all I wanted to show.
The passage that was inserted into the work of Josephus has been widely discredited. You should know by now that I usually look things up before I post. While it's still debated, the arguments that the passages are a forgery are pretty convincing.

Everything demonstrates the spurious character of the passage. It is written in the style of Eusebius, and not in the style of Josephus. Josephus was a voluminous writer. He wrote extensively about men of minor importance. The brevity of this reference to Christ is, therefore, a strong argument for its falsity. This passage interrupts the narrative. It has nothing to do with what precedes or what follows it; and its position clearly shows that the text of the historian has been separated by a later hand to give it room. Josephus was a Jew—a priest of the religion of Moses. This passage makes him acknowledge the divinity, the miracles, and the resurrection of Christ—that is to say, it makes an orthodox Jew talk like a believing Christian! Josephus could not possibly have written these words without being logically compelled to embrace Christianity. All the arguments of history and of reason unite in the conclusive proof that the passage is an unblushing forgery.

For these reasons every honest Christian scholar has abandoned it as an interpolation. Dean Milman says: "It is interpolated with many additional clauses." Dean Farrar, writing in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, says: "That Josephus wrote the whole passage as it now stands no sane critic can believe." Bishop Warburton denounced it as "a rank forgery and a very stupid one, too." Chambers' Encyclopaedia says: "The famous passage of Josephus is generally conceded to be an interpolation."
http://www.infidels.org/library/hist...ally_live.html

The pertinency of these questions will be recognized when it is remembered that the passage quoted above concerning Jesus has long been regarded as a forgery. Writing in the Encyclopaedia Britannica Dean Farrar says That Josephus wrote the whole passage as It now stands no critic can believe.
http://books.google.com/books?id=mc4...ve.%22&f=false

This also gives more background on the subject.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephu...um_Flavianum_2

Paul L. Maier calls the case for the total authenticity of the Testimonium "hopeless".[4] Almost all modern scholars reject the total authenticity of the Testimonium,
micromass
micromass is online now
#7
Aug19-13, 04:22 PM
Mentor
micromass's Avatar
P: 16,692
Quote Quote by Evo View Post
The passage that was inserted into the work of Josephus has been widely discredited. You should know by now that I usually look things up before I post. While it's still debated, the arguments that the passages are a forgery are pretty convincing.



http://www.infidels.org/library/hist...ally_live.html
Sorry, but this website has an agenda. I don't accept it as unbiased resource.

There is a difference between total authenticity and partial authenticity. This difference is important.

You are cherry picking your scholars and your examples. Fact is that many scholars at least believe that the quotes are partially authentic. Wikipedia gives a much more balanced overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephu...ailed_Analysis
atyy
atyy is offline
#8
Aug19-13, 04:29 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 8,007
I agree that the passages are doubtful, but Maier who is referenced by Evo in the quote "Paul L. Maier calls the case for the total authenticity of the Testimonium "hopeless".[4]" actually goes on to say "The weight of evidence, then, strongly suggests that Josephus mentioned Jesus in both passages. He did so in a manner totally congruent with the New Testatment portrait of Jesus, and his description, from the vantage point of a non-Christian, seems remarkably fair, particularly in view of his known proclivity of roasting false messiahs as the sorts who misled the people and brought on the Romans." http://books.google.com/books?id=kya...gbs_navlinks_s (p662-663). My quotation does not indicate my agreement or disagreement with Maier's judgement.
Evo
Evo is offline
#9
Aug19-13, 04:42 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 25,958
Quote Quote by micromass View Post
Sorry, but this website has an agenda. I don't accept it as unbiased resource.
I'm not using the article, I am using the references. Did you even bother to read the second reference Bibliotecha Sacra? (Bibliotheca Sacra is a theological journal published by Dallas Theological Seminary)


Fact is that many scholars at least believe that the quotes are partially authentic.
What that statement refers to is the authenticity of the entire Testimonium Flavianum. Some scholars believe that the entire work is a forgery, whereas others believe that most or part of it is authentic, with the parts about Jesus having been added later.

Yes, after reading the pros and cons, I do believe the references are a forgery.
Evo
Evo is offline
#10
Aug19-13, 05:08 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 25,958
Quote Quote by atyy View Post
I agree that the passages are doubtful, but Maier who is referenced by Evo in the quote "Paul L. Maier calls the case for the total authenticity of the Testimonium "hopeless".[4]" actually goes on to say "The weight of evidence, then, strongly suggests that Josephus mentioned Jesus in both passages. He did so in a manner totally congruent with the New Testatment portrait of Jesus, and his description, from the vantage point of a non-Christian, seems remarkably fair, particularly in view of his known proclivity of roasting false messiahs as the sorts who misled the people and brought on the Romans." http://books.google.com/books?id=kya...gbs_navlinks_s (p662-663). My quotation does not indicate my agreement or disagreement with Maier's judgement.
The entire paragraph
Based on this observation alone, Paul L. Maier calls the case for the total authenticity of the Testimonium "hopeless".[4] Almost all modern scholars reject the total authenticity of the Testimonium, while the majority of scholars still hold that it includes an authentic kernel.[4][115]
Again, he is referring here to the authenticity of the Testimonium itself.

Maier then goes on to say
Paul Maier states that a comparison of Eusebius' reference with the 10th-century Arabic version of the Testimonium due to Agapius of Hierapolis indicates that the Christian interpolation present in the Testimonium must have come early, before Eusebius.[4] Richard Van Voorst also states that the interpolation likely took place some time between Origen and Eusebius.[73]
So does this sound more in line with the part I quoted or what you found elsewhere? This is where he is referring to the pieces about Jesus not being in the Arabic version. Apparently he seems to contradict himself with this book "Eusebius: The Church History". Here he appears to be saying that both he and Van Voorst are assuming there was Christian Interpolation, no? I've read so many pieces from so many sources in the past 2 days that it's all blurring.

If there is this much interest in the matter of Christian interpolation of the Testimonium, then perhaps we should split this discussion off into it's own thread. There is a lot written pro and con as to it's validity.

Sounds like micro will take the pro side in the discussion, sounds like you are neutral? I wonder what our resident historian Marcus has to say?
atyy
atyy is offline
#11
Aug19-13, 05:15 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 8,007
Also, Evo must have meant something very specific by writing that the Jesus of the Christian Bible is not mentioned in the epistles of Paul. Paul mentions Jesus many times, even if you discard all the epistles that are not unanimously agreed to be written by Paul. Try for example Galatians, where he mentions the crucifixion of Jesus, and also some disagreement he had with James, the brother of Jesus (the subject of one of the above-mentioned passages attributed to Josephus).
atyy
atyy is offline
#12
Aug19-13, 05:23 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 8,007
Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Maier then goes on to say So does this sound more in line with the part I quoted or what you found elsewhere? This is where he is referring to the pieces about Jesus not being in the Arabic version. Apparently he seems to contradict himself with this book "Eusebius: The Church History". Here he appears to be saying that both he and Van Voorst are assuming there was Christian Interpolation, no? I've read so many pieces from so many sources in the past 2 days that it's all blurring
As I understand, Maier's suggestion is that even if you remove the later interpolations, the strong probability remains that Jospehus did refer to Jesus in his original work. So I believe that Maier's idea is that there was both a reference to Jesus in the original work, as well as later interpolations.
Evo
Evo is offline
#13
Aug19-13, 05:27 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 25,958
Quote Quote by atyy View Post
Also, Evo must have meant something very specific by writing that the Jesus of the Christian Bible is not mentioned in the epistles of Paul. Paul mentions Jesus many times, even if you discard all the epistles that are not unanimously agreed to be written by Paul. Try for example Galatians, where he mentions the crucifixion of Jesus, and also some disagreement he had with James, the brother of Jesus (the subject of one of the above-mentioned passages attributed to Josephus).
Yes, you are of course, correct, my understanding was that he wrote of Jesus in a mystical sense, more symbolically. This I could be wrong about as it is going by my ancient memory. Now I will need to research this as I hate being wrong.
atyy
atyy is offline
#14
Aug19-13, 05:30 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 8,007
Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Yes, you are of course, correct, my understanding was that he wrote of Jesus in a mystical sense, more symbolically. This I could be wrong about as it is going by my ancient memory. Now I will need to research this as I hate being wrong.
Nah, that's basically fine in the sense Paul mentions the death of Jesus, but none (that's a bit strong, not sure I'm remembering correctly) of the events in the life of Jesus before that, whereas the gospels do.
Evo
Evo is offline
#15
Aug19-13, 05:41 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 25,958
In the meantime, this has the pros and cons.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/testimonium.html

I'm splitting the Testimonium discussions off into a new thread of that title in history.
atyy
atyy is offline
#16
Aug19-13, 05:48 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 8,007
Quick technical question: Josephus has two references to Jesus. Only one of them, I believe, is in the "Testimonium Flavianum". But I believe the discussion is about both references?
micromass
micromass is online now
#17
Aug19-13, 05:49 PM
Mentor
micromass's Avatar
P: 16,692
Quote Quote by atyy View Post
Quick technical question: Josephus has two references to Jesus. Only one of them, I believe, is in the "Testimonium Flavianum". But I believe the discussion is about both references?
Yes. And let's add the reference to John the Baptist to this.
Evo
Evo is offline
#18
Aug19-13, 06:13 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 25,958
Quote Quote by micromass View Post
Yes. And let's add the reference to John the Baptist to this.
That's in the last link I posted. Testimonium is part of The Antiquities.

Would you please read the link?


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Flavius Josephus and the crucifiction of Jesus General Discussion 2