About the Testimonium Flavium
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01-06-2016, 09:25 AM
About the Testimonium Flavium
To any historians out there, I'm interested in some information about the Testimonium Flavium by Josephus.

Quote:"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." -Antiquities of the Jews

Now, I'm aware that there are many scholars who believe that this is a forgery, and I'm really curious to know why.

There are some Christian apologist who will argue that since Josephus was born around 37 CE, and began studying around age 18, he would've had easy access to historical records about the birth and death of Jesus. Could he really have had access? Furthermore, some Christians will assert that the secular historians look at this in a biased view because of their "desire to sin". What do you say to that?
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01-06-2016, 09:30 AM
RE: About the Testimonium Flavium
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01-06-2016, 09:56 AM
RE: About the Testimonium Flavium
(01-06-2016 09:25 AM)SkepticalDaniel Wrote:  To any historians out there, I'm interested in some information about the Testimonium Flavium by Josephus.

Quote:"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." -Antiquities of the Jews

Now, I'm aware that there are many scholars who believe that this is a forgery, and I'm really curious to know why.

There are some Christian apologist who will argue that since Josephus was born around 37 CE, and began studying around age 18, he would've had easy access to historical records about the birth and death of Jesus. Could he really have had access? Furthermore, some Christians will assert that the secular historians look at this in a biased view because of their "desire to sin". What do you say to that?

The question of authenticity has little to do with what Josephus had access to at the time, but more so to do with glowing way in which Josephus speaks of Jesus, in sort of the way one would expect his followers to speak of him, not a Jew.

It's also not the only portion where Josephus mentions Jesus, in fact he mentions the death of his brother James, indicating that he was the brother of Jesus, in an undisputed portion of his writings as well.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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01-06-2016, 10:09 AM
RE: About the Testimonium Flavium
(01-06-2016 09:56 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  The question of authenticity has little to do with what Josephus had access to at the time, but more so to do with glowing way in which Josephus speaks of Jesus, in sort of the way one would expect his followers to speak of him, not a Jew.

But Josephus was a Jew.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus

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01-06-2016, 10:11 AM (This post was last modified: 01-06-2016 11:15 AM by Tomasia.)
About the Testimonium Flavium
(01-06-2016 10:09 AM)Silly Deity Wrote:  
(01-06-2016 09:56 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  The question of authenticity has little to do with what Josephus had access to at the time, but more so to do with glowing way in which Josephus speaks of Jesus, in sort of the way one would expect his followers to speak of him, not a Jew.

But Josephus was a Jew.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus

And hence the reason why it's authenticity is doubted, because the Jewish Josephus would be unlikely to speaking of Jesus in such a flattering way.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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01-06-2016, 11:42 AM
RE: About the Testimonium Flavium
Jesus Christ is mention twice in his manuscripts.

The one you sighted and in The Antiquites of the Jews.

The Antiquities of the Jews, 20.200
Quote:200when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:

Josephus in this passage was probably not referring back to the passage you posted. But instead James the brother of the Jewish High Priest Yeshua' ben Damnai. (Jesus son of Damnues)

Jesus son of Damneus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_son_of_Damneus

I can't post it because I'm a poor bastard. But if you're willing, and able Oxford has a per reviewed paper on this very subject.

Some Observations on Josephus and Christiantiy
http://jts.oxfordjournals.org/content/52/2/539.full.pdf

The Coincidences of the Emmaus Narrative of Luke and the Testimonium of Josephus by G.J. Goldberg
http://jsp.sagepub.com/content/7/13/59.full.pdf

On pp. 59-77. Goldberg demonstrates nineteen unique correspondences between Luke’s Emmaus account and the Testimonium Flavianum, all nineteen in exactly the same order. Then there is a twentieth correspondence out of order (Identifiying Jesus as "the Christ")

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01-06-2016, 11:47 AM
RE: About the Testimonium Flavium
(01-06-2016 11:42 AM)Commonsensei Wrote:  Jesus Christ is mention twice in his manuscripts.

The one you sighted and in The Antiquites of the Jews.

The Antiquities of the Jews, 20.200
Quote:200when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:

Josephus in this passage was probably not referring back to the passage you posted. But instead James the brother of the Jewish High Priest Yeshua' ben Damnai. (Jesus son of Damnues)

Jesus son of Damneus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_son_of_Damneus

I can't post it because I'm a poor bastard. But if you're willing, and able Oxford has a per reviewed paper on this very subject.

Some Observations on Josephus and Christiantiy
http://jts.oxfordjournals.org/content/52/2/539.full.pdf

The Coincidences of the Emmaus Narrative of Luke and the Testimonium of Josephus by G.J. Goldberg
http://jsp.sagepub.com/content/7/13/59.full.pdf

On pp. 59-77. Goldberg demonstrates nineteen unique correspondences between Luke’s Emmaus account and the Testimonium Flavianum, all nineteen in exactly the same order. Then there is a twentieth correspondence out of order (Identifiying Jesus as "the Christ")

Know the article title and/or the authors for the paper you can't post?

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01-06-2016, 11:50 AM
RE: About the Testimonium Flavium
Additionally, if you read the passages around this area, the writing style is different. Granted, the person doing the translation amplifies this with their own style but the passage in the Testimonium reads very out of place. The consensus is that this passage was messed with on some level. If you change it slightly, it can read very different. The degree of change is the debate, not whether it was tampered with.

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01-06-2016, 12:19 PM
RE: About the Testimonium Flavium
From what I remember there are several things to discount the Testimonium Flavium. One, he was Jewish, very Jewish, and would never make the statement attributed to him regarding the magical Jesus. Another reason is that two of the early church fathers ( and I can't remember which two, I'd have to check my history books) wrote to each other discussing Joesphus' writings in, I believe, the second century but not once discussed the Testimonium Flavium. If it had been in among his writings in the second century you'd bet your sweet bippy they would have written about it. The Testimonium isn't mentioned until, I believe, the third century indicating that it was added.

I'll check my sources and get back to you on this. Bart Ehrman mentions this in one of his books.

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01-06-2016, 12:22 PM
RE: About the Testimonium Flavium
(01-06-2016 11:42 AM)Commonsensei Wrote:  Josephus in this passage was probably not referring back to the passage you posted. But instead James the brother of the Jewish High Priest Yeshua' ben Damnai. (Jesus son of Damnues)

No, he said Jesus who was called the Messiah (Christ), and James was his brother. A relationship already noted by Paul as well, as well as Mark and Matthew. SO no it's not some uncanny coincidence, that Josephus highlight this relationship as well. It's quite the stretch to claim that Josephus was referencing Yeshua' Ben Damnai. If you're drawn to that conclusion it's not because it's the more reasonable one, but because it serves your prejudices better.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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