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The Testimony of Joseph ben Mathias

February 9th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Note on the Testimonium Flavianum

Joseph, son of Matthias, was born a few years after the crucifixion of Christ, during the first year of the reign of Caius Caesar (Caligula)[I], or 37 AD. Through his mother he derived from the Hasmonaean bloodline, a sacerdotal lineage which had included high-priests who were also kings. As evidence of Josephus’ rank within Jewish Society, he was selected in his twenty-sixth year[II] as a delegate to appear before Caesar in Rome in 63 AD. There he became friends with Nero’s wife, Poppea, through whose patronage he was able to accomplish his mission. Joseph returned to Judea in the midst of the Jewish uprising against Rome.

Titus at Jerusalem

Joseph eventually found himself in command of the Jewish armies for the region of Galilee, where he fought Roman Legions under the command of Titus Flavius Vespasianus (Vespasian). Captured alive at Jotapata, Joseph gave a prophecy to this Roman Commander that both Vespasian and his son Titus would reign as Caesar[III]. In his various writings, Joseph repeatedly claimed to have experienced such prophetic dreams and visions[IV]. When the prophecy was fulfilled and Vespasian was indeed elevated to the rank of Caesar, he rewarded Joseph with an apartment in the new Emperor’s own house, as well as Roman citizenship and an annual pension[V]. It was at this time that Joseph adopted his benefactor’s family name and became known as Flavius Josephus.

While residing at Rome, under the auspices of the Flavian Emperors[VI], Josephus wrote first the Wars of the Jews (AD 75), and subsequently the Antiquities of the Jews (AD 93), as well as other works. Contained within the pages of Josephus’ Antiquities is a passage commonly referred to as the Testimonium Flavianum:

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.

-Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, Chapter iii, 3 (Whiston Translation)

This remarkable passage is present in all extant manuscripts of the Antiquities. Further, it was cited verbatim by Eusebius Pamphili in his Ecclesiastical History[VII] and his Proof of the Gospel[VIII], both written around 300 AD. The earliest potential reference to the Testimonium Flavianum came in 246-248 AD, when Origen included the following phrase in a discussion of material from Josephus’ Antiquities[IX]:

And perhaps by these things is indicated a new doubt concerning Him, that Jesus was not a man but something diviner…

-Excerpt from Origen, Commentaries on Matthew, Book X, Chapter xvii

This phrase certainly captures the same thought as Josephus’ “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man“. Since Origen was already discussing a passage from the Antiquities, is it not likely that this wording is an allusion to another passage from the same history? This and other resemblances of concept and language were discussed in detail by Whiston[X].

Writers who later cite the Testimonium Flavianum include St. Jerome[XI] in 392 AD, Agapius[XII] the Melkite Bishop of Hierapolis around 942 AD, and Michael the Syrian[XIII] in 1195 AD. Jerome and Michael change the phrase “he was the Christ” as found in the received text to “he was believed to be the Christ[XIV]. Agapius may well have been paraphrasing from memory, as he even entitled Josephus’ work “The Governance of the Jews“.

With the Testimonium Flavianum uniformly present in every existing manuscript of Josephus, and having also been cited in substantially the received form by numerous ancient authors, one would normally assume the authenticity of Josephan authorship to be established. All primary evidence indicates that Josephus, for reasons of his own, and whether or not we understand his motives, authored the passage. There is no conflicting data.

However, critiques of the Testimonium Flavianum frequently assert that most (some say all) “scholars” object to certain phrases contained within the passage. Their line of reasoning is that Josephus cannot have authored these phrases because the scholars’ understanding of Josephus’ meaning is incompatible with the scholars’ conception of Josephus’ ideology. Specifically, they believe that Jews were hostile to the Christian claims that: 1. Jesus was Divine; 2. Jesus was the promised Messiah; and 3. Jesus rose from the dead. Josephus, as a practicing Jewish priest, would not in their opinion have agreed with the phrases italicized below, and therefore could not have written them:

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.

-Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, Chapter iii, 3 (Whiston Translation)

Since they opine that Josephus cannot have written the italicized phrases, they conclude that some unknown Christian sympathizer has altered the text of all copies which have survived to the present, including the copies referenced by Eusebius, Jerome, and Michael. Our eminent scholars believe Origen to have possessed their hypothetical “original,” and Origen’s similarity of expression to one of the objectionable phrases would then be mere happenstance – not evidence at all. The pro-Christian alteration would have been performed in such a fashion that it affected manuscripts throughout the Roman world, at least from Rome to Palestine[1]. And the revision occurred whether the owner of the work was Christian, non-Christian, or anti-Christian. In addition, everyone in the ancient world went along with it, so by the time Eusebius cited the received form around the time of Constantine the memory of the original version had either faded past recollection – a miraculous event since the Romans who would have had to have accepted the pro-Christian revisions in the forgotten past were the same Romans who punished Christianity with death. Or conversely, the lie was perpetrated by the Christians of Eusebius’ time, men who had risked death in their own lifetimes[XV] in order to remain true to their deeply held personal convictions. Obviously not one of these men would stand up for the truth? This or some similar chain of events the scholars aver to be more likely than that Josephus harbored some latent sympathy towards the sect known as Christians, outlawed by the Roman law of his day.

I hesitate to address this type of argument because I have a strong fundamental disagreement with its underlying logic. I believe that true scientific analysis compels us choose an hypothesis which best fits all of the data, rather than choosing the data which best fits our hypothesis. Frequently, I have found that it is the incongruous or inconvenient piece of evidence which leads to the very answers we seek. So, in my opinion, the scholars’ argument is discredited from the beginning because the desired conclusion – that Josephus cannot have written a passage favorable to Christ – is the very criteria based upon which the evidence that he did so write is rejected[2]. Nevertheless, and largely due to the fact that these speculative conjectures have gained widespread acceptance, we will examine the premises whose truth would be required to support the argument that Josephus’ convictions precluded his agreement with the phases under scrutiny:

(I) Flavius Josephus remained an adherent of the Jewish faith and never renounced it in favor of Christianity.

Exactly how do we know what another man believes in his heart? Men who die for specific beliefs leave us little doubt as to those convictions. But most men are not martyred, and to this more common case belonged Josephus.

We have already demonstrated Joseph to have been born Jewish. But of course all of Jesus’ original disciples were Jewish. The Apostle Paul, a leading Pharisee, converted to Christianity a few years before Joseph’s birth[XVI]. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue in Corinth, Greece converted to Christianity during Joseph’s childhood[XVII]. So what did Josephus believe when he penned the Antiquities?

Origen is often cited as evidence that Josephus never converted[XVIII], and he likely had access to source materials that have been lost in the eighteen-hundred years since he wrote. But Origen wrote one-hundred-fifty years after Josephus’ published his Antiquities, and Caesarea is far from Rome, and Origen does not name his sources. So we have no way to determine whether Origen’s belief was well founded.

Our best witness is Josephus himself, who closes the Antiquities of the Jews with the final words:

And if God permit me, I will briefly run over this war again, with what befell us therein to this very day, which is the thirteenth year of the reign of Cæsar Domitian, and the fifty-sixth year of my own life. I have also an intention to write three books concerning our Jewish opinions about God and his essence, and about our laws; why, according to them, some things are permitted us to do, and others are prohibited.

-Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XX, Chapter xi, Paragraph 3

The preface to the Antiquities contains the same sentiments expressed in more detail, extolling the virtues of Moses, not Jesus, as a law-giver[XIX]. So it is clear that Josephus never renounced his Jewish faith. But does that necessarily render Josephus hostile to Jesus of Nazareth called Christ?

(II) All Jews were hostile to the Christian claims that: 1. Jesus was Divine; 2. Jesus was the promised Messiah; and 3. Jesus rose from the dead.

Taking these in reverse order:

3. All Jews were hostile to the Christian claims that Jesus rose from the dead.

I fail to see why Jesus’ resurrection would be such an obstacle to a practicing Pharisee, as Josephus claimed to be[XX]. The New Testament[XXI] and Josephus’ own writings[XXII] each document that a point of contention between the Jewish sects of Pharisee and Sadducee was this very issue of resurrection. The Pharisees were the sect that supported the doctrine.

The Pharisees literally interpreted the Jewish Scriptures, which recorded that the Prophets Elijah[XXIII] and Elisha[XXIV] had each performed a resurrection. These Scriptures taught that a man had risen from death just by touching Elisha’s bones[XXV]. A serious student of the Jewish Holy Writ would also know of two men who never died, but were taken alive to be with G-d[XXVI]. And finally he would know the story of how the prophet Samuel appeared after death to King Saul[XXVII]. So if a Pharisee accepted that Jesus was a true Prophet of Israel, the idea that he rose from the dead would be within the bounds of previous Divine intervention. If a Pharisee believed Jesus to be a false Prophet, then his resurrection would likewise be assumed counterfeit.

2. All Jews were hostile to the Christian claims that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

First of all, it is not completely clear that Josephus was indicating that he personally believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the “Anointed One” or Christ (Χριστός). It is quite possible that, for the benefit of his Roman and Greek audience, Josephus was merely identifying the specific Jesus to whom the passage referred as that same Jesus who authored the controversial Judean religion associated with the name “Christ”. Both he and his audience may well have understood his meaning to be: About this time lived Jesus, a wise man…you know, the one they call Christ.”

This usage of “the Christ” to denote one of a myriad of Hebrews named Jesus or Joshua would be in keeping Josephus’ treatment of other historical figures such as Judas the Maccabee[XXVIII], Judas the Galilean[XXIX], Judas the Essene[XXX]. In each of these cases, Josephus distinguishes a specific character from others of the same name through the addition of an attribute exclusive to the individual under discussion. In the case of our Jesus, the appellation “of Nazareth” was added by the Jewish community of Judea[XXXI]. But Roman writers[XXXII] tell us that Jesus was known to the Roman populace from the time of Nero (64 AD) as “the Christ”, the founder of the abominable sect of “Christians.” So it is most reasonable that Josephus would identify Jesus to a Roman audience as “the Christ”, following the Romans’ own usage[3].

In Josephus’ only other reference to Jesus, he employs exactly this literary device as clarification for the reader, “…so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James[4]…”

The slight alteration in the wording of the Testimonium as cited by Jerome and Michael the Syrian[XXXIII] demonstrates that these ancient writers had no difficulty understanding that Josephus was not making a personal profession of faith. Rather, they each interpreted that Josephus was designating a specific Jesus vis-à-vis his reputation, through the use of a personal attribute which would distinguish his identity for the reader. And the fact that they altered the received text in a similar fashion points not to another variant text or forgery, but illustrates that similar conclusions will result from a well-conceived, logical argument form.

Still, it is clear from the rest of the language of the Testimonium that Josephus held this particular Jesus in high regard. Such statements as “for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure “ and “…as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him …” certainly indicate an elevated status for the recipient. So let us assume for a moment, based upon this language, that Josephus did entertain the notion that Jesus may have been a prophet, or that he may have been an “Anointed One” of G-d. What exactly would a declaration of Jesus as “the Christ” have meant to a Pharisee in the first-century AD?

The New Testament reveals that when John, called “the Baptist”, began his ministry, the Jewish religious leaders sent a delegation to discover John’s intended role:

19Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.”

21They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”

22Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” 24Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

-The Gospel according to St. John, Chapter 1, Verses 19-27 (New International Version)

From this account it appears that although we today expect the various prophetic Jewish Scripture to all apply to one Messiah, this was not necessarily the case in Jesus’ day. The Pharisees questioning John the Baptist were considering his candidacy for a number of distinct offices associated with the Messianic prophecies. Schurer indicates that the Jewish leadership may have held widely divergent opinions concerning the exact role of the Messiah, and the manner in which the prophecies would be fulfilled[XXXIV]. In this way, Matthew records that King Herod the Great perceived the Messiah as an earthly King, and therefore a threat to the throne[XXXV]. Other New Testament characters saw the Messiah in a different light[XXXVI].

It may very well be impossible, then, to determine a universal interpretation of Messianic Scripture acceptable to the sect of Pharisees during this period. But even if such a determination were possible, it would still be insufficient evidence to establish the premise that Josephus was by virtue of his faith incapable of declaring Jesus “the Christ.” Proving this premise requires more than a general assessment of what the majority of Pharisees may have believed – it necessitates that we somehow divine the ideology of Josephus himself. Fortunately, Josephus was considerate enough to relate to us a portion of his personal beliefs concerning the Messianic prophecies:

Now if any one consider these things, he will find that God takes care of mankind, and by all ways possible foreshows to our race what is for their preservation, but that men perish by those miseries which they madly and voluntarily bring upon themselves; for the Jews, by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their temple four-square, while at the same time they had it written in their sacred oracles, that “then should their city be taken, as well as their holy house, when once their temple should become four-square.” But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, “about that time one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth.” The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now, this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea. However, it is not possible for men to avoid fate, although they see it beforehand. But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure, and some of them they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city and their own destruction.

- Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book VI, Chapter v, Section 4, (Whiston Translation)

According to the interpretation of Josephus – Pharisee, Priest, and descendant of Hasmonaean royalty – at least some of the Messianic prophecies contained within the Jewish Scriptures were fulfilled with the accession of the Roman Emperor Vespasian! Following the logic of the scholars’ argument, this would then require Josephus to have “converted” to Vespasianity? Or does this rather point out the fallacy of their position, demonstrating that Josephus’ conception of “the Christ” might entail no ramifications whatsoever to his personal method of worship.

Having thus proclaimed this aspect of his personal beliefs, does it now seem so improbable that Josephus could also attribute some aspect of the Messianic prophecy to Jesus of Nazareth? If the idea that Josephus would declare Jesus to be “the Christ”; Jesus who was at least an adherent of Judaism; Jesus who could make claim to the tribe of Judah and the Davidic lineage[XXXVII]; Jesus who was held by some Jews to be a prophet[XXXVIII] – If the bare prospect of that declaration presents such an insurmountable paradox to our scholars, then surely the placement of the confirmed heathen Vespasian in that role of Messiah would be the greater enigma? [5]

None of the preceding should be taken to infer that I now believe Josephus was in fact naming Jesus “the Christ”. The most likely hypothesis based upon the evidence is that Josephus’ declaration was intended for identification, not spiritual contemplation. But in order to go forward it was first necessary to demonstrate the bankrupt conclusions that result from this sort of fallacious reasoning. To which end, it is now necessary to ask what Josephus did believe concerning the Jesus of whom he wrote so favorably.

1. All Jews were hostile to the Christian claims that Jesus was Divine.

Soon after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth his disciples began to preach publicly in Jerusalem that he was the Christ and had risen from the grave[XXXIX]. These claims not surprisingly precipitated a confrontation between Jesus’ disciples and the ruling Jewish Sanhedrin council:

1The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

-Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 4, Verses 1-4 (NIV)

After several arrests the Sanhedrin council held a debate to determine the proper penalty for these earliest Christians’ disobedience. While some of the Sanhedrin believed that the Apostles’ claims were blasphemous and deserving of capital punishment, others were of a different mind. In particular, early Christians note the intervention of Gamaliel, grandson of Hillel, a noted Rabbi of whom the Talmud states, “Since Rabban Gamaliel the Elder died, there has been no more reverence for the law, and purity and abstinence died out at the same time.” (Mish. Sotah ix.15) The Acts of the Apostles preserves the following record of Gamaliel’s view:

33When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

-The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 5, Verses 33-39 (NIV)

Now Gamaliel knew that the Apostles were claiming that Jesus was the Christ, who had risen from the dead. The earliest Christian literature uniformly makes these claims[XL]. He also had to know that the followers of Christ were claiming that Christ was more than just a man[XLI], (why else would the council be considering capital punishment?) These are the very three points with which our scholars take exception, stating categorically that no Pharisee could ever support these claims. But as a Pharisee anticipating the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy, Gamaliel was loathe to pass judgment on exactly how these claims applied to Jesus of Nazareth. Rather, he suggested that time would reveal the truth.

How similar is this position to the Pharisee Josephus’ attitude when he states, “About this time lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.” Does this statement mean that Josephus accepted Jesus as the son of God, the only recipient of the Messianic prophecies, and the only path to salvation for all Mankind? Most probably this was not his meaning. Rather the testimonies of Gamaliel and Josephus suggest that some first-century Pharisees were considering whether and how this controversial figure, Jesus of Nazareth, fit into the fabric of the Abrahamic covenant and the Mosaic Law[6]. Any Pharisee who became convinced of these claims would perforce convert to Christianity. But contemplating the possibility may have been quite common[XLII].

Considering the matter from the perspective of Josephus and Gamaliel, the questions concerning Jesus of Nazareth may have taken the form: Did Jesus really perform the miracles attributed to him; Did he raise Lazarus from the dead; If so, doesn’t that make him one of the great prophets of Israel, equal to Elijah or Elisha; Did G-d raise Jesus from the dead; If not, why would his disciples have persevered in the claim that cost their lives; Could he have appeared as a vision, rather than in physical form; If Jesus did rise again, is he the subject of some of the prophecies contained within the Jewish Holy Writ; How can I know whether to believe the testimony of Jesus’ disciples? Add to these uncertainties the social stigma of accepting a view found unpalatable by much of the Jewish religious leadership. And finally, consider the legal complications (in Josephus’ case) that accompanied the endorsement of a religion not approved by Rome.

As one other insight into his dilemma, we must never forget Josephus’ own claim to the prophetic office. Based upon prophetic vision, Josephus defied the expectation of his military superiors. Rather than ending his own life as required, he remained true to his calling and allowed himself to be captured alive[XLIII]. In this way he became G-d’s messenger to Vespasian[XLIV]. Now Josephus, from his own perspective, had obeyed a higher calling. But in the eyes of his countrymen, he was a traitor[XLV]. So if Josephus the prophet, misunderstood by his own countrymen and the Jewish leadership, hears tales of Jesus the prophet, surrounded by very similar controversies, where do you, the reader, think his sympathies might lie?

But the complete details of Josephus’ actual thoughts are not known. Our exercise merely demonstrates that the alleged certainty of Josephus’ position required by the scholars’ argument is unfounded. Failing the establishment of this premise, the rest of their argument collapses. In this short note we have reversed the form of their argument, thus demonstrating that the most probable conclusion confirms the Josephan authorship of the Testimonium Flavianum in the received form.

NOTICES:

1.) Titus Flavius Josephus:

Works by this author published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago. Translations or editions published later may be copyrighted. Posthumous works may be copyrighted based on how long they have been published in certain countries and areas.

Citations are from the William Whiston translation published by Thompson & Thomas in 1901. (Whiston’s translation was originally completed in 1736). This version of Whiston is in the public domain and available as a .pdf file on Google books.

A better reading translation (still under copyright) is that of P. L. Maier, ed./trans., Josephus -The Essential Works , Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1994

2.) Origen of Alexandria, Commentaries on Matthew:

Citations are from A. Cleveland Coxe, Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Revised and Chronologically arranged with brief prefaces and occasional notes by A. Cleveland Coxe (New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885). The text is in the public domain.

3.) Tacitus, Histories:

Citations are from The History of Tacitus, Translated into English, with Notes and a Map, by Alfred John Church, M.A. and William Jackson Brodribb, Third Edition, London, MacMillan and Co., 1876. This translation is in the public domain and available as a .pdf file on Google books. A searchable version may be found online at:

http://www.chieftainsys.freeserve.co.uk/tacitus.htm

Tacitus, Annals:

Citations are from The Annals of Tacitus, Translated into English, with Notes and Maps, by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb. Published by Macmillan and co., limited, 1906. This translation is in the public domain and available as a .pdf file on Google books. A searchable version may be found online at:

http://www.chieftainsys.freeserve.co.uk/tacitus.htm

4.) Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®: Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.

NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® and NIV® are registered trademarks of International Bible Society. Use of either trademark for the offering of goods or services requires the prior written consent of International Bible Society.

5.) Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, The Twelve Cæsars:

Citations are from Suetonius, Translated by John Carew Rolfe,

Published by W. Heinemann, 1920. This translation is in the public domain and available as a .pdf file on Google books. A searchable version may be found online at:

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Suetonius/12Caesars/home.html

6.) Cassius Dio, Roman History:

Citations are from the Loeb Classical Library edition, Harvard University Press, 1914 thru 1927, translation by Earnest Cary. This translation is in the public domain, and may be found online at:

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cassius_Dio/home.html


[1] Josephus makes no secret of the fact that the Flavian Emperors and Agrippa II were among his patrons and readers, (see Endnote VI, Life of Flavius Josephus – Autobiography, Chapter 65, Paragraphs 359-367.) Vespasian and Titus died before the publication of the Antiquities, but Josephus memorialized his gratitude for the Imperial favor that he still enjoyed under Domitian: “However, the kindness of the emperor to me continued still the same; for when Vespasian was dead, Titus, who succeeded him in the government, kept up the same respect for me which I had from his father; and when I had frequent accusations laid against me, he would not believe them. And Domitian, who succeeded, still augmented his respects to me; for he punished those Jews that were my accusers, and gave command that a servant of mine, who was an eunuch, and my accuser, should be punished. He also made that country I had in Judea tax free; which is a mark of the greatest honor to him who hath it; nay, Domitia, the wife of Caesar, continued to do me kindnesses.”(Life, 76) Further, if the Life was written after the death of Agrippa II, as Josephus seems to imply, “But if thou art so hardy as to affirm that thou hast written that history better than all the rest, why didst thou not publish thy history while the emperors Vespasian and Titus, the generals in that war, as well as king Agrippa and his family, who were men very well skilled in the learning of the Greeks, were all alive?” (Life, 65) And if we accept Justin of Tiberius’ statement that Agrippa died in the third year of Trajan, or 100 AD (see discussion in Schurer, History of the Jewish People, 1st Div., Vol II, Chapter 19, pp 191-205), and not earlier, then Agrippa may have actually collaborated with Josephus on the Antiquities, “King Agrippa to Josephus, his dear friend, sendeth greeting: I have read over thy book with great pleasure, and it appears to me, that thou hast done it much more accurately, and with greater care than have the other writers. Send me the rest of these books. Farewell, my dear friend.” “King Agrippa to Josephus, his dear friend, sendeth greeting: It seems by what thou hast written, that thou standest in need of no instruction, in order to our information from the beginning. However, when thou comest to me, I will inform thee of a great many things which thou dost not know.” (Life, 65) It is also quite probable that Tacitus, whose advancement under the same Flavian Emperors, “I would not deny that my elevation was begun by Vespasian, augmented by Titus, and still further advanced by Domitian” (Tac., Histories I, 1,) necessitated his familiarity with and contempt for the court favorite, wrote his famous anti-Semitic polemic (Tac., Histories V, 2-5) more as a rebuttal of Josephus’ Antiquities than as his usual well-researched fact-based history. Having been thus endorsed by the leaders of the Empire, acceptance and wide-spread readership of the Antiquities throughout the Empire seems de rigueur.

Specifically, we know that Eusebius wrote from Caesarea Maritime when he cited the Antiquities, Origen wrote both Contra Celsum and Commentaries on Matthew from Caesarea (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., VI, xxxvi), and Jerome wrote his Lives in Bethlehem. Since Josephus and Domitian (and Tacitus) resided in the vicinity of Rome, it a fair statement that the Antiquities had spread from Rome to Palestine prior to 246-248 AD, when Origen discussed Josephus. How much further it may have traveled is an open question.

[2] The scholars’ argument assumes the premise that Josephus must have had incompatible convictions, and based upon this presumption violates the written evidence that he did not hold such convictions. An appropriate approach might yield the question, “Based upon the evidence that Josephus wrote this passage, what might have been his convictions?” I frequently base my decisions upon a complex array of motives, and you, the reader, probably do so as well. It is unlikely that anyone else will completely understand my deeply held beliefs, or yours, unless we explain them. Let us grant Josephus the same courtesy, and not assume him to be a cardboard cutout, bereft of the sometimes complimentary and oftentimes conflicting intangible nuances of motive that define our own behavior.

[3] I am not inferring that Josephus followed the usage of Tacitus and Suetonius, whose work the Antiquities likely predated. I am rather deducing that all three men followed a Roman terminology whose first appearance may have been under Claudius, and which usage became commonplace during the persecution of Christians under Nero. Such a persecution would likely be the subject of discussion for the general population, which discussion would in turn accelerate the evolution of the language. Thirty years after Nero’s persecution, at the time the Antiquities were published, most Romans would share a common designation for the class of people who had thus been singled out for persecution by Nero.

[4] This excerpt is from the Antiquities, Book XX, Chapter ix, Section 1, Paragraph 200. The translation is Whiston’s.

[5] If we apply the scholars’ logic to Josephus’ passage on Vespasian, we must assume yet another forgery. Obviously, no practicing Jew could write that a heathen Emperor was the Messiah? So where is the scholars’ outcry over this pro-Roman alteration of the devout Jew’s orthodox work? Where the cries of dark Roman conspiracy? The Romans were at least in the position of power to perpetrate a cover-up, if we believe in such conspiracy theories.

[6] One of the objections to the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum is based upon the premise that Christian authors writing prior to Eusebius would certainly have cited this passage, due to its content, had they but known of its existence. We have already pointed to a possible allusion in the works of Origen (Comm. On Matt., X, xvii, see discussion App. I, p. ii), but this evidence critics disallow. Their argument thus concludes that the failure by men such as Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and especially Origen to reference this passage within their own writings somehow proves that the Testimonium did not exist at the time when they wrote, (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 1, Chapter II, p. 93.) From this datum, one may jump to the further conclusion that the Testimonium is a corruption of the original text of the Antiquities, i.e. a later forgery or interpolation. I can only point out that this speech of Gamaliel, containing content which could have been used to provide much the same evidence as the Testimonium, and contained within the text of the Acts of the Apostles which was certainly more readily available to the early Christian writers under discussion than was Josephus’ Antiquities - this remarkably pro-Christian speech from the lips of a Pharisee of greater theological repute than Josephus – was only cited twice to my knowledge in ante-Nicene literature. Origen, the same author who penned a possible allusion to the Testimonium, clearly references Gamaliel’s speech in his great work, Against Celsus, I, lvii. The only other ante-Nicene reference to this speech of which I am aware occurs in the Recognitions of Clement, a homily of unknown author and origin. If this passage from the Book of Acts, one of the most widely spread and well-known pieces of early Christian literature, was so nearly overlooked by these authors, what surprise is it that the Testimonium, a passage from Josephus’ less recognized work, Antiquities, should be nearly overlooked as well?


[I]The Life of Flavius Josephus – Autobiography, Chapter 1 (Whiston Translation)

The family from which I am derived is not an ignoble one, but hath descended all along from the priests; and as nobility among several people is of a different origin, so, with us, to be of the sacerdotal dignity, is an indication of the splendor of a family. Now, I am not only sprung from a sacerdotal family in general, but from the first of the twenty-four courses; and as among us there is not only a considerable difference between one family of each course and another, I am of the chief family of that first course also; nay, further, by my mother I am of the royal blood; for the children of Asamoneus, from whom that family was derived, had both the office of the high priesthood, and the dignity of a king, for a long time together. I will accordingly set down my progenitors in order. My grandfather’s father was named Simon, with the addition of Psellus: he lived at the same time with that son of Simon the high priest, who first of all the high priests, was named Hyrcanus. This Simon Psellus had nine sons, one of whom was Matthias, called Ephlias; he married the daughter of Jonathan the high priest, which Jonathan was the first of the sons of Asamoneus, who was high priest, and was the brother of Simon the high priest also. This Matthias had a son called Matthias Curtus, and that in the first year of the government of Hyrcanus; his son’s name was Joseph, born in the ninth year of the reign of Alexandra; his son Matthias was born in the tenth year of the reign of Archclaus; as was I born to Matthias in the first year of the reign of Caius Cæsar. I have three sons: Hyrcanus, the eldest, was born in the fourth year of the reign of Vespasian; as was Justus born on the seventh, and Agrippa on the ninth. Thus have I set down the genealogy of my family as I have found it described in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me, [as of a lower original].

[II] The Life of Flavius Josephus – Autobiography, Chapter 3 (Whiston Translation)

But when I was in the twenty-sixth year of my age, it happened that I took a voyage to Rome, and this on the occasion which I shall now describe. At the time when Felix was procurator of Judea, there were certain priests of my acquaintance, and very excellent persons they were, whom on a small and trifling occasion he had put into bonds, and sent to Rome to plead their cause before Cæsar. These I was desirous to procure deliverance for, and that especially because I was informed that they were not unmindful of piety towards God even under their afflictions, but supported themselves with figs and nuts. Accordingly I came to Rome, though it were through a great number of hazards by sea; for, as our ship was drowned in the Adriatic Sea, we that were in it, being about six hundred in number, swam for our lives all the night; when upon the first appearance of the day, and upon our sight of a ship of Cyrene, I and some others, eighty in all, by God’s providence prevented the rest, and were taken up into the other ship. And when I had thus escaped, and was come to Dicearchia, which the Italians call Puteoli, I became acquainted with Aliturius, an actor of plays, and much beloved by Nero, but a Jew by birth; and through his interest became known to Poppea, Cæsar’s wife, and took care as soon as possible to entreat her to procure, that the priests might be set at liberty. And when besides this favor, I had obtained many presents from Poppea, I returned home again.

[III] Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book III, Chapter viii, Paragraph 9, (Whiston Translation)

When Josephus heard him give those orders, he said, that he had somewhat in his mind that he would willingly say to himself alone. When therefore they were all ordered to withdraw, excepting Titus and two of their friends, he said, “Thou, O Vespasian, thinkest no more than that thou hast taken Josephus himself captive, but I come to thee as a messenger of greater tidings; for had not I been sent by God to thee, I knew what was the law of the Jews in this case, and how it becomes generals to die. Dost thou send me to Nero? For why? Are Nero’s successors till they come to thee still alive? Thou, O Vespasian art Cæsar, and emperor, thou and this thy son. Bind me now still faster, and keep me for thyself, for thou, O Cæsar, are not only lord over me, but over the land and the sea, and all mankind; and certainly I deserve to be kept in closer custody than I now am in, in order to be punished, if I rashly affirm any thing of God.” When he had said this, Vespasian at present did not believe him, but supposed that Josephus said this as a cunning trick in order to his own preservation; but in a little time he was convinced and believed what he said to be true, God himself erecting his expectations, so as to think of obtaining the empire, and by other signs fore-showing his advancement. He also found Josephus to have spoken truth on other occasions; for one of those friends that were present at that secret conference, said to Josephus, “I cannot but wonder how thou couldst not foretell to the people of Jotapata that they should be taken, nor couldst foretell this captivity which hath happened to thyself, unless what thou now sayest be a vain thing, in order to avoid the rage that is risen against thyself.” To which Josephus replied, “I did foretell to the people of Jotapata that they would be taken on the forty-seventh day, and that I should be caught alive by the Romans.” Now when Vespasian had inquired of the captives privately about these predictions, he found them to be true, and then he began to believe those that concerned himself. Yet did he not set Josephus at liberty from his bands, but bestowed on him suits of clothes, and other precious gifts; he treated him also in a very obliging manner, and continued so to do, Titus still joining his interest in the honors that were done him.

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, Life of Vespasian V, vi

When he [Vespasian] consulted the oracle of the god of Carmel in Judaea, the lots were highly encouraging, promising that whatever he planned or wished, however great it might be, would come to pass; and one of his high-born prisoners, Josephus by name, as he was being put in chains, declared most confidently that he would soon be released by the same man, who would then, however, be emperor.

Cassius Dio, Roman History LXVI, 1

Such was the course of these events; and following them Vespasian was declared emperor by the senate also, and Titus and Domitian were given the title of Caesars. The consular office was assumed by Vespasian and Titus while the former was in Egypt and the latter in Palestine. Now portents and dreams had come to Vespasian pointing to the sovereignty long beforehand. Thus, as he was eating dinner on his country estate, where most of his time was spent, an ox approached him, knelt down and placed his head beneath his feet. On another occasion, when he was also eating, a dog dropped a human hand under the table. And a conspicuous cypress tree, which had been uprooted and overthrown by a violent wind, stood upright again on the following day by its own power and continued to flourish. From a dream he learned that when Nero Caesar should lose a tooth, he himself should be emperor. This prophecy about the tooth became a reality on the following day; and Nero himself in his dreams once thought that he had brought the car of Jupiter to Vespasian’s house. These portents needed interpretation; but not so the saying of a Jew named Josephus: he, having earlier been captured by Vespasian and imprisoned, laughed and said: “You may imprison me now, but a year from now, when you have become emperor, you will release me.”

[IV] The Life of Flavius Josephus – Autobiography, Chapter 42 (Whiston Translation)

But wonderful it was what a dream I saw that very night; for when I had betaken myself to my bed, as grieved and disturbed at the news that had been written to me, it seemed to me, that a certain person stood by me, and said, “O Josephus! leave off to afflict thy soul, and put away all fear; for what now grieves thee will render thee very considerable, and in all respects most happy; for thou shalt get over not only these difficulties, but many others, with great success. However, be not cast down, but remember that thou art to fight with the Romans.” When I had seen this dream, I got up with an intention of going down to the plain. Now when the whole multitude of the Galileans, among whom were the women and children, saw me, they threw themselves down upon their faces, and, with tears in their eyes, besought me not to leave them exposed to their enemies, nor to go away and permit their country to be injured by them. But when I did not comply with their entreaties, they compelled me to take an oath, that I would stay with them: they also cast abundance of reproaches upon the people of Jerusalem, that they would not let their country enjoy peace.

Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book III, Chapter viii, Paragraph 3, (Whiston Translation)

Now as Josephus began to hesitate with himself about Nicanor’s proposal, the soldiery were so angry, that they ran hastily to set fire to the den; but the tribune would not permit them so to do, as being very desirous to take the man alive. And now, as Nicanor lay hard at Josephus to comply, and he understood how the multitude of the enemies threatened him, he called to mind the dreams which he had dreamed in the night-time, whereby God had signified to him beforehand both the future calamities of the Jews, and the events that concerned the Roman emperors. Now Josephus was able to give shrewd conjectures about the interpretation of such dreams as have been ambiguously delivered by God. Moreover, he was not unacquainted with the prophecies contained in the sacred books, as being a priest himself, and of the posterity of priests: and just then was he in an ecstasy; and setting before him the tremendous images of the dreams he had lately had, he put up a secret prayer to God, and said,- “Since it pleaseth thee, who hast created the Jewish nation, to depress the same, and since all their good fortune is gone over to the Romans; and since thou hast made choice of this soul of mine to foretel what is to come to pass hereafter, I willingly give them my hands, and am content to live. And I protest openly, that I do not go over to the Romans as a deserter of the Jews, but as a minister from thee.”

Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter x, Section 7, (Whiston Translation)

7. So Vespasian’s good fortune succeeded to his wishes every where, and the public affairs were, for the greatest part, already in his hands; upon which he considered that he had not arrived at the government without divine Providence, but that a righteous kind of fate had brought the empire under his power; for as he called to mind the other signals, which had been a great many every where, that foretold he should obtain the government, so did he remember what Josephus had said to him when he ventured to foretell his coming to the empire while Nero was alive: so he was much concerned that this man was still in bonds with him. He then called for Mucianus, together with his other commanders and friends, and, in the first place, he informed them what a valiant man Josephus had been, and what great hardships he had made him undergo in the siege of Jotapata. After that he related those predictions of his which he had then suspected as fictions, suggested out of the fear he was in, but which had by time been demonstrated to be divine. “It is a shameful thing, said he, that this man who hath foretold my coming to the empire beforehand, and been the minister of a divine message to me, should still be retained in the condition of a captive or prisoner.” So he called for Josephus, and commanded that he should be set at liberty; whereupon the commanders promised themselves glorious things, from this requital Vespasian made to a stranger. Titus was then present with his father, and said, “O father, it is but just that the scandal [of a prisoner] should be taken off Josephus, together with his iron chain. For if we do not barely loose his bonds, but cut them to pieces, he will be like a man that had never been bound at all.” For that is the usual method as to such as have been bound without a cause. This advice was agreed to by Vespasian also; so there came a man in, and cut the chain to pieces; while Josephus received this testimony of his integrity for a reward, and was moreover esteemed a person of credit as to futurities also.

See also two examples in Endnote III above: Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book III, Chapter viii, Paragraph 9, (Whiston Translation)

[V] The Life of Flavius Josephus – Autobiography, Chapter 76 (Whiston Translation)

But when Titus had composed the troubles in Judea, and conjectured that the lands which I had in Judea would bring me in no profit, because a garrison to guard the country was afterwards to pitch there, he gave me another country in the plain. And when he was going away to Rome, he made choice of me to sail along with him, and paid me great respect: and when we were come to Rome, I had great care taken of me by Vespasian; for he gave me an apartment in his own house, which he lived in before he came to the empire. He also honored me with the privilege of a Roman citizen; and gave me an annual pension; and continued to respect me to the end of his life, without any abatement of his kindness to me; which very thing made me envied, and brought me into danger; for a certain Jew, whose name was Jonathan, who had raised a tumult in Cyrene, and had persuaded two thousand men of that country to join with him, was the occasion of their ruin. But when he was bound by the governor of that country, and sent to the emperor, he told him, that I had sent him both weapons and money. However, he could not conceal his being a liar from Vespasian, who condemned him to die; according to which sentence he was put to death. Nay, after that, when those that envied my good fortune did frequently bring accusations against me, by God’s providence I escaped them all. I also received from Vespasian no small quantity of land, as a free gift in Judea, about which time I divorced my wife also, as not pleased with her behavior, though not till she had been the mother of three children, two of whom are dead, and one whom I named Hyrcanus, is alive. After this I married a wife who had lived at Crete, but a Jew by birth; a woman she was of eminent parents, and such as were the most illustrious in all the country, and whose character was beyond that of most other women, as her future life did demonstrate. By her I had two sons, the elder’s name was Justus, and the next Simonides, who was also named Agrippa. And these were the circumstances of my domestic affairs. However, the kindness of the emperor to me continued still the same; for when Vespasian was dead, Titus, who succeeded him in the government, kept up the same respect for me which I had from his father; and when I had frequent accusations laid against me, he would not believe them. And Domitian, who succeeded, still augmented his respects to me; for he punished those Jews that were my accusers, and gave command that a servant of mine, who was an eunuch, and my accuser, should be punished. He also made that country I had in Judea, tax free; which is a mark of the greatest honor to him who hath it; nay, Domitia, the wife of Caesar, continued to do me kindnesses. And this is the account of the actions of my whole life: and let others judge of my character by them as they please. But to thee, O Epaphroditus, thou most excellent of men, do I dedicate all this treatise of our Antiquities; and so, for the present, I here conclude the whole.

[VI]The Life of Flavius Josephus – Autobiography, Chapter 65, Paragraphs 359-367 (Whiston Translation)

… But if thou art so hardy as to affirm that thou hast written that history better than all the rest, why didst thou not publish thy history while the emperors Vespasian and Titus, the generals in that war, as well as king Agrippa and his family, who were men very well skilled in the learning of the Greeks, were all alive? for thou hast had it written these twenty years, and then mightest thou have had the testimony of thy accuracy. But now when these men are no longer with us, and thou thinkest thou canst not be contradicted, thou venturest to publish it. But then I was not in like manner afraid of my own writing, but I offered my books to the emperors themselves, when the facts were almost under men’s eyes; for I was conscious to myself, that I had observed the truth of the facts; and as I expected to have their attestation to them, so I was not deceived in such expectation. Moreover, I immediately presented my history to many other persons, some of whom were concerned in the war, as was king Agrippa, and some of his kindred. Now the emperor Titus was so desirous that the knowledge of these affairs should be taken from these books alone, that he subscribed his own hand to them, and ordered that they should be published; and for king Agrippa, he wrote me sixty-two letters, and attested to the truth of what I had therein delivered; two of which letters I have here subjoined, and thou mayst thereby know their contents. “King Agrippa to Josephus, his dear friend, sendeth greeting: I have read over thy book with great pleasure, and it appears to me, that thou hast done it much more accurately, and with greater care, than have the other writers. Send me the rest of these books. Farewell, my dear friend.” “King Agrippa to Josephus, his dear friend, sendeth greeting: It seems by what thou hast written, that thou standest in need of no instruction in order to our information from the beginning. However, when thou comest to me, I will inform thee of a great many things which thou dost not know.” So when this history was perfected, Agrippa, neither by way of flattery, which was not agreeable to him, nor by way of irony, as thou wilt say, (for he was entirely a stranger to such an evil disposition of mind,) but he wrote this by way of attestation to what was true, as all that read histories may do. And so much shall be said concerning Justus, which I am obliged to add by way of digression.

[VII] Citation of Josephus’ Testimonium Flavianum by Eusebius Pamphili, Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Chapter xi, § 7-8 (Translation by Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Ph.D.)

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vi.xi.html

[VIII] Citation of Josephus’ Testimonium Flavianum by Eusebius Pamphili, The Proof of the Gospel, Book III, Chapter 5, 143 (Translation by W.J. Ferrar)

http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0882/_PX.HTM

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/eusebius_de_05_book3.htm

[IX] The entire passage of Origen, Commentaries on Matthew, Book X, Chapter xvii (Translation by John Patrick, D.D.)

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf09.xvi.ii.iii.xvii.html

[X] William Whiston, The Testimonies of Josephus Concerning Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, and James the Just, Vindicated, Arguments From Section VIII

(1.) When Origen introduces Josephus’s testimony concerning James the Just, that he thought the miseries of the Jews were an instance of the divine vengeance on that nation for putting James to death instead of Jesus, he uses an expression noway necessary to his purpose, nor occasioned by any words of Josephus there, that they had slain that Christ which is foretold in the Prophecies. Whence could this expression come here into Origen’s mind, when he was quoting a testimony of Josephus concerning the brother of Christ, but from his remembrance of a clause in the testimony of the same Josephus concerning Christ himself, that the prophets had foretold his death and resurrection, and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him?

(2.) How came Origen to be so surprised at Josephus’s ascribing the destruction of Jerusalem to the Jews’ murdering of James the Just, and not to their murdering of Jesus, as we have seen he was, if he had not known that Josephus had spoken of Jesus and his death before, and that he had a very good opinion of Jesus, which yet he could learn noway so authentically as from this testimony? Nor do the words he here uses, that Josephus was not remote from the truth, perhaps allude to anything else but to this very testimony before us.

(3.) How came the same Origen, upon another slight occasion, when he had just set down that testimony of Josephus concerning James the Just, the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, to say, that “it may be questioned whether the Jews thought Jesus to be a man, or whether they did not suppose him to be a being of a diviner kind?” This looks so very like the fifth and sixth clauses of this testimony in Josephus, that Jesus was a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, that it is highly probable Origen thereby alluded to them: and this is the more to be depended on, because all the unbelieving Jews, and all the rest of the Nazarene Jews, esteemed Jesus with one consent, as a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary, and it is not, I think, possible to produce any one Jew but Josephus, who, in a sort of compliance with the Romans and the Catholic Christians, who thought him a God, would say anything like his being a God.

(4.) How came Origen to affirm twice, so expressly, that Josephus did not himself own, in the Jewish and Christian sense, that Jesus was Christ, notwithstanding his quotations of such eminent testimonies out of him for John the Baptist, his forerunner, and for James the Just, his brother, and one of his principle disciples? There is no passage in all Josephus so likely to persuade Origen of this as is the famous testimony before us, wherein, as he and all the ancients understood it, he was generally called Christ indeed, but not any otherwise than as the common name whence the sect of Christians was derived, and where he all along speaks of those Christians as a sect then in being, whose author was a wonderful person, and his followers great lovers of him and of the truth, yet as such a sect as he had not joined himself to. Which exposition, as it is a very natural one, so was it, I doubt, but too true of our Josephus at that time: nor can I devise any other reason but this, and the parallel language of Josephus elsewhere, when he speaks of James as the brother, not of Jesus who was Christ, but of Jesus who was called Christ, that could so naturally induce Origen and others to be of that opinion.

[XI] Jerome, Lives of Illustrious Men, Chapter XIII (Translation by Ernest Cushing Richardson, Ph.D.)

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf203.v.iii.xv.html

[XII] Excerpt from Agapius Mahbub Qustanin, Kitab al-‘Unwab, (Translation by Schlomo Pines)

http://www.textexcavation.com/josephustestimonium.html#agapius

See also http://www.textexcavation.com/testimoniuminterface.html

[XIII] Excerpt from Michael the Syrian, World Chronicle, (Translation by Schlomo Pines)

http://www.textexcavation.com/josephustestimonium.html#michael

[XIV] Alice Whealey, 2000, The Testimonium Flavianum Controversy From Antiquity to the Present.

http://pace.mcmaster.ca/media/pdf/sbl/whealey2000.pdf

[XV] Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, Book VIII, Chapter ii, (Esp. § 4-5)

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.xiii.iii.html

Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, Book VIII, Chapter vi, Paragraph 10

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.xiii.vii.html

Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, Book VIII, Chapter ix

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.xiii.x.html

These excepts having been included to provide a portion of Eusebius’ own eyewitness testimony concerning the Diocletian persecutions, the reader is encouraged to read Book VIII of his Ecclesiastical History in its entirety for a province-by-province description of the manner in which these early Christians sacrificed for their convictions.

[XVI] Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 26, Verses 1-23 (New International Version)

1Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2″King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4″The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9″I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.

12″On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15″Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16’Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19″So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen- 23that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

[XVII] Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 18, Verses 8 (New International Version)

4Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

5When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

7Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

[XVIII] Origen, Against Celsus, Book I, Chapter xlvii (Translation by the Rev. Frederick Crombie, D.D.)

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf04.vi.ix.i.xlviii.html

See also Endnote IX, Origen, Commentaries on Matthew, Book X, Chapter xvii (Translation by John Patrick, D.D.)

[XIX] Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Preface, Section 4 (Whiston Translation)

But because almost all our constitution depends on the wisdom of Moses our legislator, I cannot avoid saying somewhat concerning him beforehand, though I shall do it briefly; I mean, because otherwise, those that read my book may wonder how it comes to pass that my discourse, which promises an account of laws and historical facts, contains so much of philosophy. The reader is therefore to know that Moses deemed it exceeding necessary that he who would conduct his own life well, and give laws to others, in the first place should consider the Divine nature; and, upon the contemplation of God’s operations, should thereby imitate the best of all patterns, so far as it is possible for human nature to do, and to endeavor to follow after it; neither could the legislator himself have a right mind without such a contemplation; nor would any thing he should write tend to the promotion of virtue in his readers: I mean, unless they be taught, first of all, that God is the Father and Lord of all things and sees all things; and that thence he bestows a happy life upon those that follow him, but plunges such as do not walk in the paths of virtue into inevitable miseries. Now when Moses was desirous to teach this lesson to his countrymen, he did not begin the establishment of his laws after the same manner that other legislators did; I mean, upon contracts and other rights between one man and another; but by raising their minds upwards to regard God, and his creation of the world; and by persuading them, that we men are the most excellent of the creatures of God upon earth. Now when once he had brought them to submit to religion, he easily persuaded them to submit in all other things; for as to other legislators, they followed fables, and by their discourses transferred the most reproachful of human vices unto the gods, and afforded wicked men the most plausible excuses for their crimes; but as for our legislator, when he had once demonstrated that God was possessed of perfect virtue, he supposed that men also ought to strive after the participation of it; and on those who did not so think, and so believe, he inflicted the severest punishments. I exhort, therefore, my readers to examine this whole undertaking in that view; for thereby it will appear to them, that there is nothing therein disagreeable either to the majesty of God, or to his love to mankind; for all things have here a reference to the nature of the universe; while our legislator speaks some things wisely but enigmatically, and others under a decent allegory, but still explains such things as required a direct explication plainly and expressly. However, those that have a mind to know the reasons of every thing, may find here a very curious philosophical theory, which I now indeed shall waive the explication of; but if God afford me time for it, I will set about writing it after I have finished the present work. I shall now betake myself to the history before me, after I have first mentioned what Moses says of the creation of the world, which I find described in the sacred books after the manner following.

[XX] The Life of Flavius Josephus – Autobiography, Chapter 2, (Whiston Translation)

Now my father Matthias was not only eminent on account of his nobility, but had a higher commendation on account of his righteousness, and was in great reputation in Jerusalem, the greatest city we have. I was myself brought up with my brother, whose name was Matthias, for he was my own brother, by both father and mother; and I made mighty proficiency in the improvements of my learning, and appeared to have both a great memory and understanding. Moreover, when I was a child, and about fourteen years of age, I was commended by all for the love I had to learning; on which account the high priests and principal men of the city came then frequently to me together, in order to know my opinion about the accurate understanding of points of the law. And when I was about sixteen years old, I had a mind to make trial of the several sects that were among us. These sects are three: the first is that of the Pharisees, the second that Sadducees, and the third that of the Essens, as we have frequently told you; for I thought that by this means I might choose the best, if I were once acquainted with them all; so I contented myself with hard fare, and underwent great difficulties, and went through them all. Nor did I content myself with these trials only; but when I was informed that one, whose name was Banus, lived in the desert, and used no other clothing than grew upon trees, and had no other food than what grew of its own accord, and bathed himself in cold water frequently, both by night and by day, in order to preserve his chastity, I imitated him in those things, and continued with him three years. So when I had accomplished my desires, I returned back to the city, being now nineteen years old, and began to conduct myself according to the rules of the sect of the Pharisees, which is of kin to the sect of the Stoics, as the Greeks call them.

[XXI] Matthew 22:23 (New International Version)

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.

Mark 12:18 (New International Version)

Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.

Luke 20:27 (New International Version)

Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question.

Acts 4:1,2 (New International Version)

1The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

Acts 23:6-8 (New International Version)

6Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” 7When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8(The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)

[XXII] Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, Chapter i, Sections 3 & 4, (Whiston Translation)

3. Now, for the Pharisees, they live meanly, and despise delicacies in diet, and they follow the conduct of reason; and what that prescribes to them as good for them, they do; and they think they ought earnestly to strive to observe reason’s dictates for practice. They also pay a respect to such as are in years; nor are they so bold as to contradict them in any thing which they have introduced; and when they determine that all things are done by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit; since their notion is, that it hath pleased God to make a temperament, whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously. They also believe that souls have an immortal vigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again, on account of which doctrines, they are able greatly to persuade the body of the people, and whatsoever they do about divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction insomuch that the cities give great attestation to them on account of their entire virtuous conduct, both in the actions of their lives, and their discourses also.

4. But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this, That souls die with the bodies; nor do they regard the observation of any thing besides what the law enjoins them; for they think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom they frequent; but this doctrine is received but by a few yet by those still of the greatest dignity. But they are able to do almost nothing of themselves; for when they become magistrates, as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them.

Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book II, Chapter viii, Paragraph 14, (Whiston Translation)

But then as to the two other orders at first mentioned. The Pharisees are those who are esteemed most skillful in the exact explication of their laws, and introduce the first sect. These ascribe all to fate, [or providence,] and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men: although fate does co-operate in every action. They say, that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment. But the Sadducees are those that compose the second order, and take away fate entirely, and suppose that God is not concerned in our doing or not doing what is evil; and they say, that to act what is good or what is evil, is at men’s own choice, and that the one or the other belongs so to every one, that they may act as they please. They also take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades. Moreover, the Pharisees are friendly to one another, and are for the exercise of concord, and regard for the public; but the behavior of the Sadducees one towards another is in some degree wild, and their conversation with those that are of their own party is as barbarous as if they were strangers to them. And this is what I had to say concerning the Philosophic sects among the Jews.

[XXIII] I Kings 17:17-24 (New International Version)

17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”

19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”

22 The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”

24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.”

[XXIV] II Kings 4:18-36 (New International Version)

18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19 “My head! My head!” he said to his father.
His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.

22 She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”

23 “Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.”
“It’s all right,” she said.

24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! 26 Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’ ”
“Everything is all right,” she said.

27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”

28 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”

30 But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.

31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”

32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the LORD. 34 Then he got on the bed and lay upon the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy’s body grew warm. 35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out upon him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” 37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.

[XXV] II Kings 13:20, 21(New International Version)

20 Elisha died and was buried.
Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.

[XXVI] Genesis 5:24 (New International Version)

Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

II Kings 2:11, 12 (New International Version)

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.

[XXVII] I Samuel, Chapter 28, Verses 5-20

5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. 6 He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. 7 Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.”

“There is one in Endor,” they said.

8 So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”

9 But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”

10 Saul swore to her by the LORD, “As surely as the LORD lives, you will not be punished for this.”

11 Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”

“Bring up Samuel,” he said.

12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”

The woman said, “I see a spirit coming up out of the ground.”

14 “What does he look like?” he asked.

“An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.

Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”

“I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”

16 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has turned away from you and become your enemy? 17 The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors-to David. 18 Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today. 19 The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.”

20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and night.

[XXVIII] Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, Chapter vi, Section 1, (Whiston Translation)

Now at this time there was one whose name was Mattathias, who dwelt at Modin, the son of John, the son of Simeon, the son of Asmoneus, a priest, of the order of Joarib, and a citizen of Jerusalem. He had five sons, John, who was called Gaddis, and Simon, who was called Matthes, and Judas who was called Maccabeus, and Eleazar who was called Auran, and Jonathan, who was called Apphus. Now this Mattathias lamented to his children the sad state of their affairs, and the ravage made in the city, and the plundering of the temple, and the calamities the multitude were under; and he told them that it was better for them to die for the laws of their country, than to live so ingloriously as they then did.

[XXIX] Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, Chapter i, Section 6, (Whiston Translation)

But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy, Judas the Galilean was the author. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say, that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. And since this immovable resolution of theirs is well known to a great many, I shall speak no further about that matter; nor am I afraid that any thing I have said of them should be disbelieved, but rather fear that what I have said is beneath the resolution they show when they undergo pain. And it was in Gessius Florus’s time that the nation began to grow mad with this distemper, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans. And these are the sects of Jewish philosophy.

[XXX] Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter xi, Section 2, Paragraph 311, (Whiston Translation)

But here one may take occasion to wonder at one Judas, who was of the sect of the Essenes, and who never missed the truth in his predictions; for this man, when he saw Antigonus passing by the temple, cried out to his companions and friends, who abode with him as his scholars, in order to learn the art of foretelling things to come.

[XXXI] The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 21, Verses10 & 11 (New International Version)

10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The Gospel According to St. Mark, Chapter 16, Verse 6 (New International Version)

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.

The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 4, Verse 34 (New International Version)

“Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!”

The Gospel According to St. John, Chapter 19, Verse 19 (New International Version)

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

[XXXII] Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annals, Book XV, Chapter xliv

Such indeed were the precautions of human wisdom. The next thing was to seek means of propitiating the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibylline books, by the direction of which prayers were offered to Vulcanus, Ceres, and Proserpina. Juno, too, was entreated by the matrons, first, in the Capitol, then on the nearest part of the coast, whence water was procured to sprinkle the fane and image of the goddess. And there were sacred banquets and nightly vigils celebrated by married women. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, Life of Claudius, XXV, iii

He forbade men of foreign birth to use the Roman names so far as those of the clans were concerned. Those who usurped the privileges of Roman citizenship he executed in the Esquiline field. He restored to the senate the provinces of Achaia and Macedonia, which Tiberius had taken into his own charge. He deprived the Lycians of their independence because of deadly intestine feuds, and restored theirs to the Rhodians, since they had given up their former faults. He allowed the people of Ilium perpetual exemption from tribute, on the ground that they were the founders of the Roman race, reading an ancient letter of the senate and people of Rome written in Greek to king Seleucus, in which they promised him their friendship and alliance only on condition that he should keep their kinsfolk of Ilium free from every burden. Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome. He allowed the envoys of the Germans to sit in the orchestra, led by their naïve self-confidence; for when they had been taken to the seats occupied by the common people and saw the Parthian and Armenian envoys sitting with the senate, they moved of their own accord to the same part of the theatre, protesting that their merits and rank were no whit inferior. He utterly abolished the cruel and inhuman religion of the Druids among the Gauls, which under Augustus had merely been prohibited to Roman citizens; on the other hand he even attempted to transfer the Eleusinian rites from Attica to Rome, and had the temple of Venus Erycina in Sicily, which had fallen to ruin through age, restored at the expense of the treasury of the Roman people. He struck his treaties with foreign princes in the Forum, sacrificing a pig and reciting the ancient formula of the fetial priests. But these and other acts, and in fact almost the whole conduct of his reign, were dictated not so much by his own judgment as that of his wives and freedmen, since he nearly always acted in accordance with their interests and desires.

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, Life of Nero, XVI, ii

During his reign many abuses were severely punished and put down, and no fewer new laws were made: a limit was set to expenditures; the public banquets were confined to a distribution of food; the sale of any kind of cooked viands in the taverns was forbidden, with the exception of pulse and vegetables, whereas before every sort of dainty was exposed for sale. Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition. He put an end to the diversions of the chariot drivers, who from immunity of long standing claimed the right of ranging at large and amusing themselves by cheating and robbing the people. The pantomimic actors and their partisans were banished from the city.

[XXXIII] See Endnote XI, Jerome, Lives of Illustrious Men, Chapter XIII & Endnote XIII, Excerpt from Michael the Syrian, World Chronicle

[XXXIV] See discussion in Schurer, History of the Jewish People, 2nd Div., Vol II, Chapter 29, pp 126-187

[XXXV] The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 2, Verses 1-18 (New International Version)

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ 7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

[XXXVI] The Gospel According to St. John, Chapter 3, Verses 1-18 (New International Version)

22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” 5Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

[XXXVII] The Book of Genesis, Chapter 49, Verse 10 (New International Version)

The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs

and the obedience of the nations is his.

II Samuel Chapter 7, Verses 8-16 (New International Version)

8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
” ‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ “

Jeremiah Chapter 23, Verses 5 & 6 (New International Version)

5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.

6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The LORD Our Righteousness.

The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 22, Verse 41 (New International Version)

41While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42“What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.

The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 1, Verses 1-16 (New International Version)

1A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Eliud,
15Eliud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

[XXXVIII] The Gospel According to St. John, Chapter 7, Verses 40-41 (New International Version)

40On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

41Others said, “He is the Christ.”

The Gospel According to St. John, Chapter 9, Verses 40-41 (New International Version)

13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided.

17Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

18The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19“Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

[XXXIX] The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2, Verses 22-41

22“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25David said about him:
” ‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will live in hope,
27because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
28You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 29“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
” ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
35until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.” ‘ 36“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2, Verses 12-20

. 12When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

17“Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus.

The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 4, Verses 8-12

8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is
” ‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone. 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

[XL] The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 1, Verse 16

16and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 1, Verses 18-25

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”-which means, “God with us.”

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 11, Verses 2-6

2When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

Jesus’ response is an allusion to certain Messianic prophecies found in the Book of Isaiah:

4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”

5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.

-Isaiah 35:4-6

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

-Isaiah 61:1

The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 17, Verses 13-17

13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 20, Verses 17-19

17Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 20, Verses 17-19

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Parallel and complimentary reports may be found in the other Gospel Accounts as well as the Acts of the Apostles. These books are the earliest examples of Christian literature.

[XLI] The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 26, Verses 57-66

57Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

59The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward 61and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ ”

62Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ,

the Son of God.”

64“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.

The Gospel According to Mark, Chapter 14, Verses 53-64

53They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together. 54Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.

55The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.

57Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’ ” 59Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

60Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ,

the Son of the Blessed One?”

62“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

63The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64“You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

They all condemned him as worthy of death.

[XLII] The Gospel According to St. John, Chapter 3, Verses 1 & 2

1 Among the Pharisees there was a man named Nicodemus, who was a leader among the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Master, we know that You are a Teacher come from God, for no one could do the miracles You do unless God were with him.”

[XLIII] Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, Chapter viii, Section 3-5

3. Now, as Josephus began to hesitate with himself about Nicanor’s proposal, the soldiery were so angry, that they ran hastily to set fire to the den; but the tribune would not permit them so to do, as being very desirous to take the man alive. And now, as Nicanor lay hard at Josephus to comply, and he understood how the multitude of the enemy threatened him, he called to mind the dreams which he had dreamed in the night-time, whereby God had signified to him beforehand both the future calamities of the Jews, and the events that concerned the Roman emperors. Now Josephus was able to give shrewd conjectures about the interpretation of such dreams as have been ambiguously delivered by God. Moreover, he was not unacquainted with the prophecies contained in the sacred books, as being a priest himself, and of the posterity of priests: and just then was he in an ecstasy; and setting before him the tremendous images of the dreams he had lately had, he put up a secret prayer to God, and said,- “Since it pleaseth thee, who hast created the Jewish nation, to depress the same, and since all their good fortune is gone over to the Romans; and since thou hast made choice of this soul of mine to foretell what is to come to pass hereafter, I willingly give them my hands, and am content to live. And I protest openly, that I do not go over to the Romans as a deserter of the Jews, but as a minister from thee.”

4. When he had said this, he complied with Nicanor’s invitation. But when those Jews who had fled with him, understood that he yielded to those that invited him to come up, they came about him in a body, and cried out, “Nay, indeed, now may the laws of our forefathers, which God ordained himself, well groan to purpose; that God, we mean, who hath created the souls of the Jews of such a temper, that they despise death. O Josephus! art thou still fond of life? and canst thou bear to see the light in a state of slavery? How soon hast thou forgotten thyself! How many hast thou persuaded to lose their lives for liberty? Thou hast, therefore, had a false reputation for manhood, and a like false reputation for wisdom, if thou canst hope for preservation from those against whom thou hast fought so zealously, and art, however, willing to be preserved by them, if they be in earnest. But although the good fortune of the Romans hath made thee forget thyself, we ought to take care that the glory of our forefathers may not be tarnished. We will lend thee our right hand and a sword; and if thou wilt die willingly, thou wilt die as general of the Jews; but if unwillingly, thou wilt die as a traitor to them.” As soon as they said this, they began to thrust their swords at him, and threatened they would kill him, if he thought of yielding himself to the Romans.

5. Upon this, Josephus was afraid of their attacking him, and yet thought he should be a betrayer of the commands of God, if he died before they were delivered…

[XLIV] Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, Chapter viii, Section 9

9. When Josephus heard him give those orders, he said that he had somewhat in his mind that he would willingly say to himself alone. When therefore they were all ordered to withdraw, excepting Titus and two of their friends, he said, “Thou, O Vespasian, thinkest no more than that thou hast taken Josephus himself captive, but I come to thee as a messenger of greater tidings; for had not I been sent by God to thee, I knew what was the law of the Jews in this case, and how it becomes generals to die. Dost thou send me to Nero? For why? Are Nero’s successors till they come to thee still alive? Thou, O Vespasian art Cæsar, and emperor, thou and this thy son. Bind me now still faster, and keep me for thyself, for thou, O Cæsar, are not only lord over me, but over the land and the sea, and all mankind; and certainly I deserve to be kept in closer custody than I now am in, in order to be punished, if I rashly affirm any thing of God.” When he had said this, Vespasian at present did not believe him, but supposed that Josephus said this as a cunning trick in order to his own preservation; but in a little time he was convinced and believed what he said to be true, God himself erecting his expectations, so as to think of obtaining the empire, and by other signs foreshowing his advancement. He also found Josephus to have spoken truth on other occasions; for one of those friends that were present at that secret conference said to Josephus, “I cannot but wonder how thou couldst not foretell to the people of Jotapata that they should be taken, nor couldst foretell this captivity which hath happened to thyself, unless what thou now sayest be a vain thing, in order to avoid the rage that is risen against thyself.” To which Josephus replied, “I did foretell to the people of Jotapata that they would be taken on the forty-seventh day, and that I should be caught alive by the Romans.” Now when Vespasian had inquired of the captives privately about these predictions, he found them to be true, and then he began to believe those that concerned himself. Yet did he not set Josephus at liberty from his bands, but bestowed on him suits of clothes, and other precious gifts; he treated him also in a very obliging manner, and continued so to do, Titus still joining his interest in the honors that were done him.

[XLV] Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, Chapter ix, Section 5 & 6

5. But now, when the fate of Jotapata was related at Jerusalem, a great many at the first disbelieved it, on account of the vastness of the calamity, and because they had no eye-witness to attest the truth of what was related about it; for not one person was saved to be a messenger of that news, but a fame was spread abroad at random that the city was taken, as such fame usually spreads bad news about. However, the truth was known by degrees, from the places near Jotapata, and appeared to all to be too true. Yet were there fictitious stories added to what was really done; for it was reported that Josephus was slain at the taking of the city, which piece of news filled Jerusalem full of sorrow. In every house also, and among all to whom any of the slain were allied, there was a lamentation for them; but the mourning for the commander was a public one; and some mourned for those that had lived with them, others for their kindred, others for their friends, and others for their brethren, but all mourned for Josephus; insomuch that the lamentation did not cease in the city before the thirtieth day; and a great many hired mourners, with their pipes, who should begin the melancholy ditties for them.

6. But as the truth came out in time, it appeared how the affairs of Jotapata really stood; yet was it found that the death of Josephus was a fiction; and when they understood that he was alive, and was among the Romans, and that the commanders treated him at another rate than they treated captives, they were as vehemently angry at him now as they had showed their good-will before, when he appeared to have been dead. He was also abused by some as having been a coward, and by others as a deserter; and the city was full of indignation at him, and of reproaches cast upon him; their rage was also aggravated by their afflictions, and more inflamed by their ill success; and what usually becomes an occasion of caution to wise men, I mean affliction, became a spur to them to venture on further calamities, and the end of one misery became still the beginning of another; they therefore resolved to fall on the Romans the more vehemently, as resolving to be revenged on him in revenging themselves on the Romans. And this was the state of Jerusalem as to the troubles which now came upon it.

The Life of Flavius Josephus – Autobiography, Chapter 75, Paragraph 416 (Whiston Translation)

…and was thence sent, together with Titus, to the siege of Jerusalem, and was frequently in danger of being put to death: while both the Jews were very desirous to get me under their power, in order to have me punished. And the Romans also, whenever they were beaten, supposed that it was occasioned by my treachery, and made continual clamors to the emperors, and desired that they would bring me to punishment, as a traitor to them:

The Life of Flavius Josephus – Autobiography, Chapter 76, Paragraph 429 (Whiston Translation)

And Domitian, who succeeded, still augmented his respects to me; for he punished those Jews that were my accusers, and gave command that a servant of mine, who was a eunuch, and my accuser, should be punished. He also made that country I had in Judea, tax free; which is a mark of the greatest honor to him who hath it; nay, Domitia, the wife of Cæsar, continued to do me kindnesses.

Categories: The Jewish Response
  1. Geoff Hudson
    February 17th, 2009 at 16:43 | #1

    All you are doing is regurgitating the lies that you are reading.

  2. Tap
    March 5th, 2009 at 19:38 | #2

    Nice work dude, can i ask you if you are Catholic?

  3. March 6th, 2009 at 09:32 | #3

    For the purposes of this site, I will say only that I am Christian. The resurrection of Christ is an historical fact upon which all Christians are agreed, and I would not distract from that unity.

    Of the world’s great religions, only Christianity is based upon a supernatural, historical event. Either Christ rose from the dead, thus demonstrating his Deity and the truth of the claims of Christianity; or He did not rise, and Christianity is completely false. Each of the arguments on this site, and in How to Live Forever, should be strong enough to rest upon its own merits. With eternity at stake, each reader owes it to himself to determine what he believes with certainty.

  4. Tap
    March 6th, 2009 at 13:30 | #4

    Well, i’m Catholic, and there is a reason why i asked, b/c if you were there are other things i would have liked to point out (which you might or might now have missed) but for now i’m assuming from your answer that you are a Christian, of protestant denomination. But i respect your not willing the discuss the matter further. Keep up the good work though.

  5. March 6th, 2009 at 14:29 | #5

    This work has enjoyed support from Catholic readers, including those who have taken solemn vows.
    I would be delighted to hear your thoughts.

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