The great josephus interpolation
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12-09-2014, 08:00 PM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2014 11:38 AM by goodwithoutgod.)
The great josephus interpolation
Flavius Josephus

Christian apologetic fan's most popular non-Christian writer who mentions Jesus is Flavius Josephus. Although he was born in 37 CE and could not have been a contemporary of Jesus, he lived close enough to the time to be considered a valuable secondhand source. Josephus was a highly respected and much quoted Roman historian. He died sometime after the year 100 and his two major tomes were ‘The antiquities of the Jews’ and ‘the wars of the Jews’. Antiquities was written sometime after the year 90 CE. In book 18, chapter 3, this paragraph is encountered:

“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, and condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and 10,000 other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

This does appear to give historical confirmation for the existence of Jesus. But is it authentic? Most scholars, including most fundamentalist scholars, admit that at least some parts of this paragraph cannot be authentic. Many are convinced that the entire paragraph is a complete forgery, an interpolation inserted by Christians at a later time. There are at least seven solid reasons for this:

1) The paragraph is absent from early copies of the works of Josephus. For example, it does not appear in Origen’s second century version of Josephus, in ‘Origen Contra Celsum’, where Origen fiercely defended Christianity against the heretical views of Celsus. Origen quoted freely from Josephus to prove his points, but never once used this paragraph, which would have been the ultimate ace up his sleeve.

In fact, the Josephus paragraph about Jesus does not appear at all until the beginning of the fourth century, at the time of Emperor Constantine. Bishop Eusebius, a close ally of the Emperor, was instrumental in crystallizing and defining the version of Christianity was to become Orthodox, and he is the first person known to have quoted this paragraph of Josephus. Eusebius once wrote that it was a permissible “medicine” for historians to create fictions – prompting historian Jacob Burckhardt to call Eusebius “the first thoroughly dishonest historian of antiquity.”

The fact that Josephus – Jesus paragraph shows up at this point in history – at a time when interpolations and revisions were quite common and when the Emperor was eager to demolish gnostic Christianity and replace it with literalistic Christianity – makes the passage quite dubious. Many scholars believe that Eusebius was the forger and interpolator of the paragraph on Jesus that magically appears in the works of Josephus.

2) Josephus would not have called Jesus “the Christ” or “the truth.” Whoever wrote these phrases was a believing Christian. Josephus was a messianic Jew, and if he truly believed Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (the Christ), he certainly would have given more than a passing reference to him. Josephus never converted to Christianity. Origen reported that Josephus was “not believing in Jesus as the Christ.”

3) The passage is out of context. Book 18 (containing the interval of 32 years from the banishment of Archelus to the departure from Babylon) starts with Roman taxation under Cyrenius in 6 CE and talks about various Jewish sexts at the time, including the Essenes and a sect of Judas the Galilean, which he devotes three times more space than to Jesus. He discusses at great depth the local history in great detail. But oddly this single paragraph can be lifted out of the text with no damage to the chapter or the way it flows.… Almost as if it was added after the fact, which of course it was.

4) The phrase “to this day” shows that this is a later interpolation. There was no “tribe of Christians” during Josephus time. Christianity did not get off the ground until the second century.

5) In all of Josephus voluminuous works, there is not a single reference to Christianity anywhere outside of this tiny paragraph. He relates much more about John the Baptist than about Jesus. He lists the activities of many other self-proclaimed Messiahs, including Judas of Galilee, Theudas the magician and the Egyptian Jew Messiah, but is mute about the life of one whom he claims (if he had actually wrote it) is the answer to this messianic hopes.

6) The paragraph mentions that the “divine prophets” foretold the life Jesus, but Josephus neglects to mention who these prophets were or what they said. In no other place does Josephus connect any Hebrew prediction with the life of Jesus. If Jesus truly had been the fulfillment of divine prophecy, as Christians believe, Josephus would’ve been the one learned enough to document it.

7) The hyperbolic language of the paragraph is uncharacteristic of a careful historian: “… As the divine prophets had foretold these and 10,000 other wonderful things concerning him…” This sounds more like sectarian propaganda – in other words, more like the new testament – than objective reporting. It is very unlike Josephus.

Christians should be careful when they refer to Josephus as historical confirmation for Jesus. If we remove the forged paragraph, as we should, the works of Josephus become evidence against historicity. Josephus was a native of Judea and a contemporary of the apostles. He was governor of Galilee for a time, the province in which Jesus allegedly lived and taught. He transversed every part of this province and visited the places where but a generation before Christ performed his prodigies. He resided in Cana, the very city in which Christ is said to have wrought his first miracle. He mentions every noted personage of Palestine and describes every important event that occurred there during the first 70 years of the Christian era. But Christ was of so little consequence and his deeds too trivial to merit a line from this historians pen.

Consider

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12-09-2014, 08:26 PM
RE: The great josephus interpolation
Facts are irrelevant to most xtians. They simply trot out some shit that someone else wrote down and shout "YEP!!!! THERE'S JESUS."

The problem with the TF is, as you mention, that Origen writing 75 years before Eusebius - the probable forger - knows nothing about it. It is crystal clear that he has read Book XVIII of Antiquities of the Jews as he accurately notes the John the Baptist passage therein.

Here is Origen's passage from Contra Celsus (Against Celsus) from c 248 AD.

Quote:I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew as accepting somehow John as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins, is related by one who lived no great length of time after John and Jesus. For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless--being, although against his will, not far from the truth--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),--the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice.

Chapter XLVII Book 1

So, what the purveyors of the TF want us to believe is that Origen... having just complained that Josephus SHOULD HAVE said it was the killing of jesus which brought down Jerusalem, ignored the TF allegedly written in this very book and instead said that Josephus put the blame for the destruction on the killing of James the Just! That is simply stupid and would make Origen quite possibly the dumbest motherfucker who ever put pen to paper.

Except. Josephus in the discussion about James the Just never mentions the destruction of Jerusalem and the main result of the episode is to replace the high priest who ordered the alleged "trial."

In fact, in War of the Jews, Book V, 1.3 Josephus discusses the massacres which the zealots orchestrated within the temple compound and says:

Quote:and fell upon the priests, and those (2) that were about the sacred offices; insomuch that many persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices at this celebrated place, which was esteemed holy by all mankind, fell down before their own sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, with their own blood; till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of the priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves. And now, "O most wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy intestine hatred! 'For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou long continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulcher for the bodies of thy own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine. Yet mayst thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction."

As is fairly typical of Josephus, who had no use for troublemakers of any sort, the reason for the destruction of the city was God's anger because of their own desecration of the temple. Doesn't say a word about fucking jesus or james.

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12-09-2014, 09:29 PM (This post was last modified: 12-09-2014 09:53 PM by DLJ.)
RE: The great josephus interpolation
GWoG,
Thank you. I enjoyed reading that.

For point 2), 3rd sentence, I think an 'if' is missing. Wink
For point 3)... lifted rather than listed?
For point 7) then? or than?

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TF? Track and Field? Tooth Fairy? That's Funny?

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12-09-2014, 09:36 PM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2014 11:54 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The great josephus interpolation
(12-09-2014 08:00 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Flavius Josephus

Christian apologetic fan's most popular non-Christian writer who mentions Jesus is Flavius Josephus. Although he was born in 37 CE and could not have been a contemporary of Jesus, he lived close enough to the time to be considered a valuable secondhand source. Josephus was a highly respected and much quoted Roman historian. He died sometime after the year 100 and his two major tomes were ‘The antiquities of the Jews’ and ‘the wars of the Jews’. Antiquities was written sometime after the year 90 CE. In book 18, chapter 3, this paragraph is encountered:

“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, and condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and 10,000 other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

This does appear to give historical confirmation for the existence of Jesus. But is it authentic? Most scholars, including most fundamentalist scholars, admit that at least some parts of this paragraph cannot be authentic. Many are convinced that the entire paragraph is a complete forgery, an interpolation inserted by Christians at a later time. There are at least seven solid reasons for this:

1) The paragraph is absent from early copies of the works of Josephus. For example, it does not appear in Origen’s second century version of Josephus, in ‘Origen Contra Celsum’, where Origen fiercely defended Christianity against the heretical views of Celsus. Origen quoted freely from Josephus to prove his points, but never once used this paragraph, which would have been the ultimate ace up his sleeve.

In fact, the Josephus paragraph about Jesus does not appear at all until the beginning of the fourth century, at the time of Emperor Constantine. Bishop Eusebius, a close ally of the Emperor, was instrumental in crystallizing and defining the version of Christianity was to become Orthodox, and he is the first person known to have quoted this paragraph of Josephus. Eusebius once wrote that it was a permissible “medicine” for historians to create fictions – prompting historian Jacob Burckhardt to call Eusebius “the first thoroughly dishonest historian of antiquity.”

The fact that Josephus – Jesus paragraph shows up at this point in history – at a time when interpolations and revisions were quite common and when the Emperor was eager to demolish gnostic Christianity and replace it with literalistic Christianity – makes the passage quite dubious. Many scholars believe that Eusebius was the forger and interpolator of the paragraph on Jesus that magically appears in the works of Josephus.

2) Josephus would not have called Jesus “the Christ” or “the truth.” Whoever wrote these phrases was a believing Christian. Josephus was a messianic Jew, and he truly believed Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (the Christ), he certainly would have given more than a passing reference to him. Josephus never converted to Christianity. Origen reported that Josephus was “not believing in Jesus as the Christ.”

3) The passage is out of context. Book 18 (containing the interval of 32 years from the banishment of Archelus to the departure from Babylon) starts with Roman taxation under Cyrenius in 6 CE and talks about various Jewish sexts at the time, including the Essenes and a sect of Judas the Galilean, which he devotes three times more space than to Jesus. He discusses at great depth the local history in great detail. But oddly this single paragraph can be listed out of the text with no damage to the chapter or the way it flows.… Almost as if it was added after the fact, which of course it was.

4) The phrase “to this day” shows that this is a later interpolation. There was no “tribe of Christians” during Josephus time. Christianity did not get off the ground until the second century.

5) In all of Josephus voluminuous works, there is not a single reference to Christianity anywhere outside of this tiny paragraph. He relates much more about John the Baptist than about Jesus. He lists the activities of many other self-proclaimed Messiahs, including Judas of Galilee, Theudas the magician and the Egyptian Jew Messiah, but is mute about the life of one whom he claims (if he had actually wrote it) is the answer to this messianic hopes.

6) The paragraph mentions that the “divine prophets” foretold the life Jesus, but Josephus neglects to mention who these prophets were or what they said. In no other place does Josephus connect any Hebrew prediction with the life of Jesus. If Jesus truly had been the fulfillment of divine prophecy, as Christians believe, Josephus would’ve been the one learned enough to document it.

7) The hyperbolic language of the paragraph is uncharacteristic of a careful historian: “… As the divine prophets had foretold these and 10,000 other wonderful things concerning him…” This sounds more like sectarian propaganda – in other words, more like the new testament – then objective reporting. It is very unlike Josephus.

Christians should be careful when they refer to Josephus as historical confirmation for Jesus. If we remove the forged paragraph, as we should, the works of Josephus become evidence against historicity. Josephus was a native of Judea and a contemporary of the apostles. He was governor of Galilee for a time, the province in which Jesus allegedly lived and taught. He transversed every part of this province and visited the places where but a generation before Christ performed his prodigies. He resided in Cana, the very city in which Christ is said to have wrought his first miracle. He mentions every noted personage of Palestine and describes every important event that occurred there during the first 70 years of the Christian era. But Christ was of so little consequence and his deeds too trivial to merit a line from this historians pen.

Consider

A few more :
1. The earliest known copy of it is in a museum (the Museo Ambrosiano) in Milan. The interpolated text of that rather late copy ... (I think it's 11th Century), is in obviously different ink, and different handwriting. Clearly a forgery by Christian scribes/monks.
2. The purpose of the book it appears in, is to demonstrate that the Roman Emperor Vespasian is the messiah. Clearly most people talking about the book, never even read the whole thing. If Christians affirm what he says, do they REALLY know what they are affirming ? Vespasian is the messiah ?
3. Josephus was an apostate Jew, who fled from Israel, and was a client of the Roman emperor. He had every reason to be prejudiced, and was paid by the Roman Emperor to write what he wrote.
4. Not only can the text be "removed", it interrupts the thought train of Chapter 18. It does not flow from what was above it, or into what is below it.

It's "pious fraud".

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12-09-2014, 10:06 PM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2014 09:33 AM by DLJ.)
RE: The great josephus interpolation
(12-09-2014 09:36 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  ...
4. Not only can the text be "removed", it interrupts the thought train of Chapter 18. It does not flow from what was above it, or into what is below it.

It's "pious fraud".

I was thinking the same about this passage from the Quran Surah 4:

Quote:1. O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, (who created E=MC^2) through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you. Oh! And Higgs Boson. We knew that all along

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12-09-2014, 11:10 PM
RE: The great josephus interpolation
Yeah if you strike out Josephus there are no non christian writings that mention jesus any time in the first century. It is possible and even somewhat likely that a charismatic profit did exist some time in the early first century, and that person might have contributed to the origin of the jesus myth, however that person was not jesus. The guy described in the bible did not exist.
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13-09-2014, 12:20 AM
RE: The great josephus interpolation
TF = Testimoniam Flavianum

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13-09-2014, 04:51 AM
RE: The great josephus interpolation
It's all very well to engage in nihilistic demolition work but it doesn't acutally jive with reality.

If you pick up a copy of Norton's Anthology of English Literature, the one you read from cover to cover in first year of undergrad, all 5000 pages of it, the first piece of literature in it is "The Dream of the Rood", written some time around the 8th century. It's of Old English/Scots origin. It refers to a "young Christ" mounting the "Rood", which the piece refers to as the cross or tree which the people worshipped and was taken and turned into an instrument of execution by a conquering people. The fact that the "young Chirst" mounts the Rood doesn't resurrect Jesus. It resurrects the Rood as an object of worship. The Rood is the Tau of ancient Judaism, the tree of life, a phallic symbol.

If you actually take the time to study European and Middle East history and Christian history you will find that it is only in Roman Catholicism, which adopted the New Testament, that Jesus is a god figure or divine. There are several different names for these variants of Christianity which are based on oral traditions of peoples who were illiterate. This belief that Jesus was just a man who was crucified and not divine was held by the Saxons before Charlemagne forced them to convert, and by the Albegensians/Cathars, the Arian Christians, Armenians, Copts, and Christians of the Near East.

So, how is it that we come to this very peculiar position. The Romans needed to have ideological purity and set about converting all these people to a belief that Jesus was a god when they only thought he was a human being. They essentially erased whoever this man was from history and substituted this character in the New Testament who is clearly a ficionalization of something or someone. Even the Muslims thing Jesus was a real man and the Koran says he will return to slay the false messiah at the gates of Lydda, riding a horse and holding a spear. He is a warrior figure.

What you now do with this type of analysis is to finish off what the Roman Catholic Church started, the rewriting of the history of the first century AD.

What you miss is the obvious. There is no point or reason for peoples all over the Near and Middle East, Europe and North Africa to "invent" a man who they only consider a "prophet" or avenging leader and whose contribution is simply to preach a gnostic message and whose significance is that he resurrects the Tau, which these people worshipped.

The better approach would be to study the history of the first century and see if there was a person who resembled this figure, rather than focusing on a specific timeframe in a fictional political manifesto which is completely unreliable and unsupported by history of the 30s AD.

Look in a later era and you find a Jesus who was a high priest, was a Nazarene, was crucified, survived, was taken off the cross by Josephus himself, fed the poor, educated children and preached a "Christian" moral philosophy.

Not doing this exercise just shows a dogmatic mindset.
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13-09-2014, 06:23 AM
RE: The great josephus interpolation
(13-09-2014 04:51 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  It's all very well to engage in nihilistic demolition work but it doesn't acutally jive with reality.

If you pick up a copy of Norton's Anthology of English Literature, the one you read from cover to cover in first year of undergrad, all 5000 pages of it, the first piece of literature in it is "The Dream of the Rood", written some time around the 8th century. It's of Old English/Scots origin. It refers to a "young Christ" mounting the "Rood", which the piece refers to as the cross or tree which the people worshipped and was taken and turned into an instrument of execution by a conquering people. The fact that the "young Chirst" mounts the Rood doesn't resurrect Jesus. It resurrects the Rood as an object of worship. The Rood is the Tau of ancient Judaism, the tree of life, a phallic symbol.

If you actually take the time to study European and Middle East history and Christian history you will find that it is only in Roman Catholicism, which adopted the New Testament, that Jesus is a god figure or divine. There are several different names for these variants of Christianity which are based on oral traditions of peoples who were illiterate. This belief that Jesus was just a man who was crucified and not divine was held by the Saxons before Charlemagne forced them to convert, and by the Albegensians/Cathars, the Arian Christians, Armenians, Copts, and Christians of the Near East.

So, how is it that we come to this very peculiar position. The Romans needed to have ideological purity and set about converting all these people to a belief that Jesus was a god when they only thought he was a human being. They essentially erased whoever this man was from history and substituted this character in the New Testament who is clearly a ficionalization of something or someone. Even the Muslims thing Jesus was a real man and the Koran says he will return to slay the false messiah at the gates of Lydda, riding a horse and holding a spear. He is a warrior figure.

What you now do with this type of analysis is to finish off what the Roman Catholic Church started, the rewriting of the history of the first century AD.

What you miss is the obvious. There is no point or reason for peoples all over the Near and Middle East, Europe and North Africa to "invent" a man who they only consider a "prophet" or avenging leader and whose contribution is simply to preach a gnostic message and whose significance is that he resurrects the Tau, which these people worshipped.

The better approach would be to study the history of the first century and see if there was a person who resembled this figure, rather than focusing on a specific timeframe in a fictional political manifesto which is completely unreliable and unsupported by history of the 30s AD.

Look in a later era and you find a Jesus who was a high priest, was a Nazarene, was crucified, survived, was taken off the cross by Josephus himself, fed the poor, educated children and preached a "Christian" moral philosophy.

Not doing this exercise just shows a dogmatic mindset.

Facepalm
LMFAO
Look who's talking about "reality".
The rood is so far up his ass, it poked out his brain.

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13-09-2014, 08:51 AM
RE: The great josephus interpolation
(13-09-2014 04:51 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  It's all very well to engage in nihilistic demolition work but it doesn't acutally jive with reality.

If you pick up a copy of Norton's Anthology of English Literature, the one you read from cover to cover in first year of undergrad, all 5000 pages of it, the first piece of literature in it is "The Dream of the Rood", written some time around the 8th century. It's of Old English/Scots origin. It refers to a "young Christ" mounting the "Rood", which the piece refers to as the cross or tree which the people worshipped and was taken and turned into an instrument of execution by a conquering people. The fact that the "young Chirst" mounts the Rood doesn't resurrect Jesus. It resurrects the Rood as an object of worship. The Rood is the Tau of ancient Judaism, the tree of life, a phallic symbol.

If you actually take the time to study European and Middle East history and Christian history you will find that it is only in Roman Catholicism, which adopted the New Testament, that Jesus is a god figure or divine. There are several different names for these variants of Christianity which are based on oral traditions of peoples who were illiterate. This belief that Jesus was just a man who was crucified and not divine was held by the Saxons before Charlemagne forced them to convert, and by the Albegensians/Cathars, the Arian Christians, Armenians, Copts, and Christians of the Near East.

So, how is it that we come to this very peculiar position. The Romans needed to have ideological purity and set about converting all these people to a belief that Jesus was a god when they only thought he was a human being. They essentially erased whoever this man was from history and substituted this character in the New Testament who is clearly a ficionalization of something or someone. Even the Muslims thing Jesus was a real man and the Koran says he will return to slay the false messiah at the gates of Lydda, riding a horse and holding a spear. He is a warrior figure.

What you now do with this type of analysis is to finish off what the Roman Catholic Church started, the rewriting of the history of the first century AD.

What you miss is the obvious. There is no point or reason for peoples all over the Near and Middle East, Europe and North Africa to "invent" a man who they only consider a "prophet" or avenging leader and whose contribution is simply to preach a gnostic message and whose significance is that he resurrects the Tau, which these people worshipped.

The better approach would be to study the history of the first century and see if there was a person who resembled this figure, rather than focusing on a specific timeframe in a fictional political manifesto which is completely unreliable and unsupported by history of the 30s AD.

Look in a later era and you find a Jesus who was a high priest, was a Nazarene, was crucified, survived, was taken off the cross by Josephus himself, fed the poor, educated children and preached a "Christian" moral philosophy.

Not doing this exercise just shows a dogmatic mindset.

Not sure exactly your point, because a lot of what you say early on in that post doesn't really mean anything. There was never at any point that Saxons or most northern European believed anything about Jesus until those Roman's were pushing their Jesus views onto their cultures.

They had their own norse, celtic, etc. religions in those regions and they only adopted Jesus when the Christian Romans made his value important. Of course it wasn't something that took over a single generation so it had iterations of belief, but there wasn't any set idea of one way of view Jesus because the process was evolving long before they had their own writing, and Christian Monks were the only ones writing their stories down once they began to do so. The dream of the rood is still a mix of the adoration of trees from the Norse mythology that connects those ideas of Odin and Jesus together to mix cultures and icons so that Christianity could turn into the norm.

Overall, I've never seen anyone argue about Josephus since it's widely considered a forgery and most other passages of that time frame only acknowledge Christians existed, not that Jesus actually did.

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