Friday, March 16, 2018

Josephus for Christians

JOSEPHUS HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: Why Should Christians Read Josephus? Josephus’ writings have unique value for Christians (Stephanie Hertzenberg, Beliefnet).
“Antiquities” contains two references to Jesus Christ, one in Book XX and one in Book XVIII. The latter is blatantly Christian and is believed by scholars to have been inserted into the work later. The reference in Book XX, however, is believed to have been written by Josephus himself. The mention is short, just one line, but it supports the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth “who was called Christ.”

Josephus was not a Christian, yet he wrote about events that were incredibly important to Christians: the life and death of John the Baptist, the existence of Christ, the growth of early Christianity and the fate of some of the apostles. The descriptions of these events as written by an outsider show Christians a new perspective on familiar stories.
One of the apostles - James, Jesus' brother.

There is debate on whether Josephus' longer passage about Jesus (the "Testimonium Flavianum") is partly genuine and partly interpolated or entirely a later addition. See here and links.

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