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Author Topic:   Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman
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Message 101 of 131 (848853)
02-16-2019 2:50 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by ringo
02-16-2019 2:35 PM

Re: The Legions need to understand the historical methodology (before making claims).

I'm saying that Paul is not relevant to this discussion.

So you don't care if he wrote 1 Cor, II Cor, and Galatians around 55 A.D.?

Well, then can I say Paul said Jesus was "born of a woman" and had a "mother"?

It does not matter, the interpretation?

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Message 109 of 131 (848865)
02-17-2019 12:48 AM
Reply to: Message 103 by Theodoric
02-16-2019 3:21 PM

Re: The Legions need to understand the historical methodology (before making claims).

Still waiting for someone to provide us with independent, contemporary historical evidence for the Jesus of the Bible. Instead of that evidence we get the kitchen sink of crap that does not have anything to do with the historicity of Jesus. It doesn't matter if a few dozen people in 100 CE thought he was a historic figure. Even if everything Josephus supposedly wrote about Jesus was actually written by Josephus(we know it could not have because an observant Jew would never refer to anyone being the Messiah) it is not evidence of a historical Jesus. Just evidence that 70 years after the supposed death of the dude people thought he was a historical character.

Josephus said that James was "brother of Jesus called Christ" so the mention of "called Christ" proves he did not say "called Christ"?

Because Josephus would not want to mention a false Messiah?

Josephus lived in the small city of Jerusalem during the early 60s.


None of what LMN has thrown against the wall, and it is a lot, is historical evidence for existence of Jesus.

Especially when you have an excuse for erasing (or ignoring) everything you don't like.


There is no mention of Jesus in the historical record. None. We have some anonymous writings that are post 70CE that present fantastical stories, but there is nothing to corroborate them. The earliest writer in Christianity, Paul, presents a nonhistorical Jesus. He tells us nothing about the historical Jesus, he talks about the mystical Jesus.

Paul essentially says he talked to a dead man's spirit.

Paul said Jesus had a "brother" and that he was "born of a woman", but I am sure you have 5-6 different ways to explain that away.


We know very little about this Paul. He is a shadow in the historical record. No other writers of that time period mention him. Then again why would an itinerant preacher of a minor mystery cult be mentioned by anyone of substance. We do not know where he was born, when he died or anyone else in the historical record that actually knew him or wrote about him. We do not even know his name. All we have is the book of Acts, which is not a historical document. Nothing in it can be corroborated by outside sources.

There are Paul's Letters.

But that is "The Bible"

There are extra Biblical documents from the first century.

I Clement (Clement of Rome's Epistle to the Corinthians)


LCL 24

(Harvard University Press, 2003)


The "First Letter of Clement" is a misnomer, as no other letter from the author survives: "Second Clement," which is not a letter, comes from a different hand (see Introduc­tion to Second Clement). Moreover, the present letter does not claim to be written by Clement, who, in fact, is never mentioned in its text.


The letter is addressed by the church of Rome to the church of Corinth, and is written in order to deal with problems that had arisen there. Although allusions to the situation are found already in chapter 1, its full nature is not made clear until nearly two-thirds of the way into the letter (esp. chs. 4 2 - 4 4 , 4 7 ) . The church in Corinth had ex­perienced a turnover in leadership, which the author of the letter considered a heinous grab for power by a group of jealous upstarts, who had deposed the ruling group of presbyters and assumed control of the church for them­ selves. The letter is a strong "request... for peace and har­mony" (63:2), which upbraids the Corinthian church for its disunity, convicts members of the guilty party of the error of their ways, and urges them to return the deposed pres­byters to their positions of authority



Even though the letter claims to be written by the "church... residing in Rome," it has from early times been attributed to Clement, a leader of the Roman church near the end of the first century. In his celebrated church his­ tory, Eusebius sets forth the tradition, earlier found in the writings of the third-century church Father Origen, that this Clement was the companion of the apostle Paul men­tioned in Philippians 4:3 (Eccl. Hist. 3.4.15; see Origen Comm. Jn. 6.36). Some of the early traditions claim that Clement was the second bishop of Rome, ordained by Pe­ter himself (Tertullian, Prescription 32); more commonly it was thought that he was the third, following Linus and Anacletus (thus Irenaeus in Agst. Heresies 3.3.1 and Eusebius Eccl. Hist. 3.4.21).

The first reference to any Ro­man Christian named Clement is by a near contemporary, Hermas, author of the Shepherd (see Introduction to the Shepherd of Hermas), who is instructed to send two copies of a book to Rome, one of them for "Clement" who was then to distribute it to churches in other locations, "for that is his commission" {Shepherd 8.2). This Clement, then, ap­pears to have had an official role in the church, at least in Hermas' time (first part of the second century), as some kind of secretary in charge of foreign correspondence.

As early as the middle of the second century it was claimed by Dionysius of Corinth that Clement had written this epistle to the Corinthians, which, he indicated, contin­ued to be read in his own day during regular church gath­erings (ca. 170 CE; also claimed, about the same time, by Hegessipus). This tradition is followed, then, by Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. 4.23) and down through the ages; it is evidenced in the surviving manuscripts of the letter as well.

The only complete text of the epistle in Greek gives its title (in a subscription) as "The First Letter of Clement to the Corinthians." It is also ascribed to Clement in the other Greek, Latin, and Syriac manuscripts. Some have argued that this Clement was a freedman of the Roman consul T. Flavius Clemens, an aristocrat of the Flavian family who was executed by his cousin, the em­peror Domitian, for "atheism," possibly referring to an association with Judaism (see esp. the full account in Lightfoot and the more recent discussion in Jeffers).

There are reasons, however, to doubt the traditional as­cription. Nowhere is Clement mentioned in the letter, let alone named as its author. I f the bishop of Rome himself had written the letter, one might expect him to assert his authority by mentioning his position. More to the point, even the tradition that there was a single bishop over the church in Rome at this time appears to be a later idea, ad­vanced by (later) orthodox Christians concerned to show that their own lines of authority could be extended back through a succession of bishops to the apostles themselves, the so-called "apostolic succession."

As noted, Hermas, who was also from Rome, nowhere calls Clement, or any­ one else in his day, the bishop of Rome. Moreover, 1 Clem­ent itself uses the terms "presbyter" and "bishop" inter­ changeably (ch. 44), making it appear that a distinct office of "bishop" as the leader of the church presbyters had not yet appeared.

It is striking that some years later the bishop of Antioch, Ignatius (see Introduction to the Letters of Ignatius), could write the church in Rome and give no in­dication that there was a single bishop in charge. Some scholars have gone even further, asserting that the letter not only was not written by the head of the Ro­man church, but that it was not expressive of the views of the entire church. According to this view, the letter instead represents a perspective advanced by just one of the many "house churches" in the city, in an age when a variety of forms of Christianity were present in Rome (see especially Lampe, Jeffers).


Its later attribution to the sole bishop of the city, Clement, may represent a "best guess" by later Christians, or may even have been an orthodox claim used to bolster their own position vis-a-vis other groups con­ tending for power in the church. On the other hand, it is clear that even though the letter claims to have been writ­ten by "the church" of Rome, it must have been composed by a single author (rather than a group), and that one of the plausible persons for the task may well have been the otherwise unknown Clement, secretary for foreign corre­spondence mentioned by Hermas.


We are on somewhat firmer ground when it comes to assigning a date to the letter, although here too scholars have raised serious questions. What is clear is that since the letter is mentioned by Dionysius of Corinth and Hegessipus somewhat before 170 CE on the one hand, and since it refers to the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, usually placed in the reign of Nero, ca. 64, on the other hand, it must have been written sometime between these two dates. The traditional date of 95-96 is based on the indica­tion of Eusebius that it was written near the end of the reign of Domitian (emperor from 81-96).

Support for the dating was found in the ancient view, also advanced by Eusebius, that during his final years Domitian instigated a persecution of Christians in Rome. This context of perse­cution was used to explain the opening of the letter, which speaks of the "sudden and repeated misfortunes and set­ backs we have experienced"—which were taken to refer to the arrest and prosecution of Christians during a Domitianic reign of terror.

This view of the historical context is now by and large rejected. There is nothing in the epistle that suggests it was written in the context of persecution: the "misfortunes and setbacks" could just as easily have been internal struggles within the church. Moreover, there is no solid evidence from the period itself of a persecution of Christians under Domitian.

Even so, a date near the end of Domitian's reign is altogether plausible. The epistle could not have been written much later: it indicates that the deaths of Peter and Paul took place "within our own generation" (ch. 5) and as­sumes that there are still living leaders of the Christian churches who had been appointed by the apostles of Jesus, that is, sometime no later than early in the second half of the first century (chs. 42,44).

Moreover, there is no indication that the hierarchical structures later so important to proto-orthodox Christians—in which there was a solitary bishop over a group of presbyters and deacons—was yet in place.

Some scholars have gone so far as to claim that the letter may well have been written much earlier than tra­ditionally supposed, possibly prior to 70 (see Welborn). But the letter calls the Corinthian church "ancient" (ch. 47), which seems somewhat inappropriate if it were only twenty-five or thirty years old; it assumes that some churches are headed by leaders twice removed from Jesus' apostles (appointees of those ordained by the apostles, ch. 46); and it suggests that the bearers of the letter from Rome have been faithful members of the church "from youth to old age," which must make them older than their mid-40s (ch. 63). For these reasons, it appears best to as­sume a date sometime near the end of the first century, possibly, as traditionally thought, in the mid 90s during the reign of Domitian.

Historical Significance

If this dating is correct, then 1 Clement was produced at about the same time as or even before some of the writ­ings of the New Testament (e.g., 2 Peter and Revelation). It is, at any rate, the oldest Christian writing outside of the New Testament. This makes aspects of the letter highly significant for historians interested in the development of the Christian church in the earliest period.

The following are just three of the important issues.

(1) The use of Scripture.


At the same time, it is clear that this author (a) does not yet have anything like a canon of "New Testament" Scrip­tures, and yet (b) is beginning to ascribe authority to the words of Jesus and the writings of his apostles (see Hag­ner). He quotes Jesus' words on several occasions (see chs. 13 and 46), evidently as he knows them from oral tradi­tions rather than written Gospels, since the quotations do not match any of our surviving texts.

In addition he refers explicitly to Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (ch. 47) and alludes on numerous occasions to other writings that later came to form part of the New Testament canon (for example, Hebrews; see ch. 36). That is to say, we can see here the very beginnings of the process in which Christian authorities (Jesus and his apostles) are assigned authority comparable to that of the Jewish Scriptures, the begin­nings, in other words, of the formation of the Christian canon. In this connection, it is worth noting that some Chris­ tians in later centuries regarded 1 Clement itself as scrip­tural. It is quoted as such by Clement of Alexandria at the end of the second century, and it is included as part of the New Testament.

Like the Pastoral Epistles ( I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus), Bishops, and Elders/Presbyters are synonymous. (There are also Deacons)

Ignatius (probably written 107-108 or possible 115-116) was the first to clearly distinguish between Bishops and Elders/Presbyters.

That makes the date likely no later than 100.

The lack of quoting the Pastoral Epistles (except one possible reference that is an unimportant saying that is off the main topic of Bishops and Elders) is a major dating clue.

The usefulness quoting of the Pastoral Epistles suggests they were perhaps not written yet (or just being written).

There could be NO WRITTEN GOSPEL QUOTATIONS (but oral traditions that made it into Greek Matthew 5-7, plus other places, were in I Clement for sure)

One more thing: Paul is mentioned.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 103 by Theodoric, posted 02-16-2019 3:21 PM Theodoric has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 110 by Tangle, posted 02-17-2019 3:22 AM LamarkNewAge has replied
 Message 111 by Theodoric, posted 02-17-2019 10:36 AM LamarkNewAge has replied

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Message 112 of 131 (848886)
02-17-2019 8:02 PM
Reply to: Message 110 by Tangle
02-17-2019 3:22 AM

Re: The Legions need to understand the historical methodology (before making claims).

LMA, Why do you think that dumping a pile of copy and paste text on a page is worth doing? I don't read it and I'm pretty sure nobody else does.
Why not make whatever argument you have, simply and short and stick to one point at a time using your own words?

I doubt most are familiar with the issues involved in dating Clement of Rome (1 Clement) to 90-100.

I would rather give people a chance to see what scholars (in this case, it was Bart Ehrman's Introduction to his translation of the man Catholics call "Pope Clement") look at.

It would actually take a lot more text if I gave my reasons for an early date.

(The biggest reason is that Ignatius has a MUCH more developed Church hierarchy than 1 Clement)

(That, also, was always a problem for those who wanted to date the Pastoral Epistles after Ignatius of Antioch)

Understand that this is the only (probable) pre 100 Christian document from outside the Bible. People need to learn about it, and the learning process does involve a deeper understanding of the issues the scholars look at (mind you: I DIN NOT post anything that would come close to doing the job, and I wish I could post a lot more from multiple sources)

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Message 113 of 131 (848887)
02-17-2019 8:30 PM
Reply to: Message 111 by Theodoric
02-17-2019 10:36 AM

Re: The Legions need to understand the historical methodology (before making claims).

Again you show that there is no independent, contemporary evidence for the existence of the Jesus Christ character. 100 CE is not contemporary to 30 CE. That would be the same as claiming that we are contemporary to WWII. I know of no one alive that would be able to confirm or deny that there was a wandering preacher in this area during the 1930's and 40's. Your copypasta gishgallop just reaffirms that you have no evidence. Thank you for helping me to make my points.

But this (I Clement)Epistle to the Corinthians demonstrated the fact that Paul was a good ways in the past.

Ringo said that Paul might not have existed. He later said he didn't care one way or another. Others will question how far back we can assume Paul wrote his Epistles, when we strip ourselves of the Acts of the Apostles. Others, still, want "non Biblical evidence" to date Paul (In that case, I suppose we can't even consider his Epistles as helping us form a date for his missionary career).

We know that there was a (however small) collection of Paul's Epistles in the possession of Clement of Rome, while he might not have had a written Gospel (though he had some sort of Jesus material) yet.

We know that (regardless of the interpretation of 1 Clement) the combined evidence of Ignatius, Barnabas, and Didache (plus, perhaps, Papias, though he used oral sayings or Logions, as he is now being dated 95-120) demand that Greek Matthew was written no later than the 90s A.D.,and this places Mark no later than 80-85.

The early non-Biblical Christian documents show us that Paul clearly dates before Mark.

Paul almost definitely wrote his Epistles before 80, just from the evidence from the early non-Christian documents alone.

So Paul's Epistles date no later than the 70s.

Going further:

If we can actually be allowed to read Paul's Epistles (for "evidence") then we can see he wrote his letters over a career that seems to span at least 10 years (probably longer). We can also see that he might not have known anything involving the MARKAN narrative of events in Jesus' life, thus indicating that the circulating pericopes - which later made it into The Gospel of Mark - were not YET assigned enough weight and credibility to warrant the attention of Paul's pen. Perhaps Paul was aware of many of the Jesus stories (that would make the cut in the Gospel of Mark), he simply couldn't separate the bogus historical stories from the actual accurate events, so he went without mentioning anything?

So, the pericodes that would later make it into Mark (the early church said it was Peter himself that possessed all the material, then Mark put it into writing, but "form critics" 100% deny that tradition and see very different process and origin of the pericopes) were not yet credible enough in Paul's day - as the narrative events involved in the Gospel of Mark woud have needed a period of credibility & acceptance before they would be put into such a high quality, not to mention refined & expensive, work as the Gospel of Mark was.

That is more evidence that Paul is even earlier still (than the 70s).

So without any "Biblical" documents, aside from Paul's Epistles, we can place the bulk of his writings before 70.

Then, we must consider his, seeming, long career WHEN ONLY HIS EPISTLES ARE READ (Acts compresses his - written Epistle - career into a span of just 7-9 years). That would put his Epistles into the 50s for sure.

I find Paul to be a man we might possibly know about even if a Bible was never written.

(Though we will never know what would have been preserved if history had played out differently)


As for Josephus you are less than honest in your comments. IN the Testimonium he is reputed to say.


He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ.

Not something an observant Jew would say. But more importantly it does not matter. This is not evidence of Jesus. It is evidence that people believed in him. No corroboration. Find corroboration.
If all you reply with is copypasta and a bunch of shit thrown against the wall I am done with you.

You keep using Ant Book 18 as proof that Book 20 is fake.

Your sloppy methodology is just glaring.

Edited by LamarkNewAge, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by Theodoric, posted 02-17-2019 10:36 AM Theodoric has replied

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Message 115 of 131 (848889)
02-17-2019 9:59 PM
Reply to: Message 114 by Theodoric
02-17-2019 8:48 PM

Re: The Legions need to understand the historical methodology (before making claims).
The problem is that Jesus Mythers can't get their story straight on why the Josephus text was messed up.

Richard Carrier somewhat recently wrote for the Journal of Early Christian Studies.

(it is the same journal that I have been quoting: The Second Century, A Journal Of Early Christian Studies, but after Johns Hopkins purchased it, around 1993, it dropped the "The Second Century" part, and now covers the period as far as the 8th or 9th century)

His argument was that the Book 20 Josephus reference ("called Christ" after "brother of Jesus") was just a careless note by a Christian scribe. Not deliberate fraud as is shown in Book 18.

My problem with the methodology starts with:

Jesus Mythers generally start out with a conclusion then search for an excuse to justify the conclusion.

(You would never do that, would you Theodoric?)

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Message 117 of 131 (848891)
02-17-2019 10:56 PM
Reply to: Message 116 by Theodoric
02-17-2019 10:10 PM

Re: The Legions need to understand the historical methodology (before making claims).
You were finished before you even started.

You also should ask what predictions the Jesus Mythers have made?

They make claims, but their theory needs some admitted way to be falsified.

Doherty wrote his book Jesus Puzzle in 1990.

I think Price wrote in 2001.

Carrier has online Myther articles from 2002.

The Myther claim (among others) that the entire line "brother of Jesus called Christ, James" was false (and "fraud") because only Christians would have written about a James brother of Jesus, seems to be ditched? Now they say it was just carelessness and just "called Christ" was added.

When mid-first century archaeological artifacts are found ("James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" in 2003), Mythers claimed it was fraud (modern inscriptions). It has been proven to NOT be fraud. (though there is STILL a lot of doubt that it refers to the New Testament characters)

The Mythers were wrong about the James Ossuary being a forgery (with tampering).

Why should we trust their claims of Christian "tampering" on the other secular first century mention of a James with a brother named Jesus?

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Message 118 of 131 (848892)
02-18-2019 12:27 AM

Origen (lived 184-253) probably did quote "brother of Jesus, called Christ" (wrapped)
Theodoric is good at reaching conclusions while searching for a theory.

The Jesus Mythers like to use Origin as evidence for the controversial Josephus Ant Book 18 "Testinonium Flavianum" not being in the original manuscript.

Then we get to Ant Book 20, and the other mention of Jesus.

They also like to make much of Origin's seeming quotation of Hegesippus, and then say that the "Brother of Jesus, called Christ" was added later (Doherty says Eusebius, in around 325, invented the line).

Now Carrier has a different theory:

(not a free journal article)

(Carrier's article can be read in full if you purchase on of his books, which has all of his journal articles reproduced, but I forget the title. It has "Homer" in the title I think)

Carrier puts the change earlier.

Back to a more mainstream type of theory:

Here is the starting point THEORY (in my opinion):

I quote from "The Testimonium Flavianum and the Martyrdom of James", by Zvi Baras in:

Josephus, Judaism and Christianity
Ed (Louis H. Feldman & Gohei Hata)

(I made far more paragraph divisions than was in the original text plus put some quotation marks in spots, so reading could be easier)


Let us first reproduce the passage of Josephus concerning the trial and death of James, in which he recounts that Ananus the Younger, the high priest, brought James, during the absence of the Roman procurator from Judea, to trial:

"Ananus thought that he had a favorable opportunity because Festus was dead and Albinus was still on the way. And so he convened the judges of the San­hedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having trans­gressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned. Those of the inhabitants of the city who were considered the most fair-minded and who were strict in obser­vance of the law were offended at this."

In the hands of Origen and Eusebius, this incident, defined as "the martyrdom of James," became, through Christian historiosophical interpretation, the main cause for the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple. Moreover, they went so far as to say that Josephus himself regarded this catastrophe as just punishment for the execution of James—a statement not supported by the text reproduced above or by any other extant version. But Origen did not stop here; he not only attributed to Josephus a statement unknown to us from any other source or version but also "corrected" Josephus' alleged statement in a way favorable to the Christian historiosophical point of view.

Let us observe these stages in Origen's writings and note carefully how Ori­gen uses Josephus apropos the martyrdom of James. Origen mentions James' martyrdom three times in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and each time he introduces a small but meaningful addition.

First, in his Commentarii in Matthaeum X, 17:

"This James was of so shining a character among the people, on account of his righteousness, that Flavius Josephus, when, in his twentieth book of the Jewish Antiquities, he had a mind to set down what was the cause why the people suf­fered such miseries, till the very holy house was demolished, said that these things befell them by the anger of God, on account of what they had dared to do to James, the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ; and wonderful it is that while he did not receive Jesus for Christ, he did nevertheless bear witness that James was so righteous a man. He says further that the people thought they had suffered these things for the sake of James."

What strikes us immediately is the unanimous conclusion that places the blame for the destruction of the Temple on the execution of James. Yet Origen bothers to distinguish between Josephus' conclusion and that of the people. He directs us to Antiquities XX, where, indeed, the story of James is re­counted; but when he refers to the people's same deduction, he fails to produce direct documentation and only says vaguely "further."

The second time Origen refers to the martyrdom of James and to the de­struction of the Temple is in his polemical book Contra Celsum I, 47:

"For Josephus in the eighteenth book of the Jewish Antiquities bears witness that John was a baptist and promised purification to people who were baptized. The same author, although he did not believe in Jesus as Christ, sought for the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. He ought to have said that the plot against Jesus was the reason why these catastrophes came upon the people, because they had killed the prophesied Christ; however, although uncon­scious of it, he is not far from the truth when he says that these disasters befell the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was a brother of 'Jesus the so-called Christ/ since they had killed him who was a very righteous man. This is the James whom Paul, the true disciple of Jesus, says that he saw, describing him as the Lord's brother, not referring so much to their blood-relationship or common upbringing as to his moral life and understanding. If therefore he says that the destruction of Jerusalem happened because of James, would it not be more rea­sonable to say that this happened on account of Jesus the Christ?"

Here we find some new elements. Origen "corrects" Josephus' alleged con­clusion, saying that Josephus should have assigned the blame for the destruc­tion not on the execution of James the Just, but rather on the Jews' mistreat­ment of Jesus. The other element introduced here by Origen to strengthen his argumentation is the logical category of inference or deduction, twice re­peated: "If therefore . . . , would it not be more reasonable?"

A further point to note is that while Origen refers us to Antiquities XVIII, where the account about John the Baptist is given, he remains tacit as to where Josephus' socalled conclusion can be found. The third time Origen refers to the same conclusion is also in Contra Cel­sum II, 13:

"While Jerusalem was still standing and all the Jewish worship was going on in it, Jesus foretold what was to happen to it through the Romans. For surely they will not say that Jesus' own pupils and hearers handed down his teaching of the gos­pels without writing it down, and that they left their disciples without their remi­niscences of Jesus in writing. In them it is written: 'And when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand.' At that time there were no armies at all round Jerusalem, compassing it about and surround­ing and besieging it. The siege began when Nero was still emperor, and con­tinued until the rule of Vespasian. His son, Titus, captured Jerusalem, so Josephus says, on account of James the Just, the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, though in reality it was on account of Jesus the Christ of God."

This stage, however, asserts as fact that the destruction of the Temple and Je­rusalem "in reality was on account of Jesus." In order to make his historical deduction more plausible, Origen first refers to Luke 21:20, where Jesus fore­told the destruction of Jerusalem, then he "corrects" Josephus' alleged conclu­sion as found in Contra Celsum 1,47. This interpretation—developed through the stages seen above and hardly unintentionally—culminated in Origen's con­cept of universal history, which was presented in Contra Celsum IV, 22. Here Origen states, this time without reference to James' martyrdom, that the de­struction of Jerusalem was a just retribution for the mistreatment of Jesus. But although Josephus' importance for Origen lay mainly in the fact that he was a contemporaneous historian ("a man who lived not long after John and Jesus"), Origen did not quote him directly; only in indirect speech (oratio obliqua) did Origen summarize Josephus' information.

How, then, could Ori­gen have arrived at such a conclusion, attributed by him to Josephus, and whence could he have found support? The lack of such a version in the extant text of Josephus has induced scholars to explain it in different ways.

One is the assumption that Origen's version of James' martyrdom indeed appeared in Jo­sephus' original text, but has not been preserved. Such an assumption over­ looks the question of why the Testimonium passage should have remained in Josephus' text, while the story of James' martyrdom—neither disdainful nor defamatory toward Christ—should have been excised from Josephus' writings.

The other generally accepted explanation is that Origen confused the ac­counts of James and John the Baptist in Josephus and Hegesippus and fol­lowed the latter, who associated James' martyrdom with the siege of Jerusa­lem. We reproduce here only the last few relevant lines of Hegesippus, as quoted at length by Eusebius:

"Such was his martyrdom. He was buried on the spot, by the Sanctuary, and his headstone is still there by the Sanctuary. He has proved a true witness to Jews and Gentiles alike that Jesus is Christ. Immediately after this Vespasian began to besiege them."

Could Origen have confused the sources? Such negligence on the part of so meticulous a scholar is unacceptable. I have already pointed out elsewhere that it seems more likely that the sequential events (hoc post hoc) in Hegesippus—namely, James' martyrdom and the siege—became for Origen causal events (hoc propter hoc).

In fact, I believe that we can now point to a specific place, or incident, in Josephus' own writings—unnoticed so far by scholars in this context—which led Origen to say that Josephus should have corrected his historical interpreta­tion.

I refer to Antiquities XI, 297-305 , where the remarks of Josephus may have served Origen as guideposts in leading him in the direction he took.

In this paragraph Josephus recounts the death of Jeshua (i.e. Jesus; this is another name for Christ) at the hand of his brother, Johanan (Joannes) the high priest. Josephus condemns the crime and says that God punished the Jews by enslav­ing them and by desecrating the Temple:

"Joannes had a brother named Jesus; and Bagoses, whose friend he was, prom­ised to obtain the high priesthood for him. With this assurance, therefore, Jesus quarrelled with Joannes in the Temple and provoked his brother so far that in his anger he killed him. That Joannes should have committed so impious a deed against his brother while serving as priest was terrible enough, but the more terrible in that neither among Greeks nor barbarians had so savage and impious a deed ever been committed. The Deity, however, was not indifferent to it, and it was for this reason that the people were made slaves and the Temple was de­filed by the Persians. Now, when Bagoses, the general of Artaxerxes, learned that . . . , he at once set upon the Jews . . . . This, then, being the pretext which he used, Bagoses made the Jews suffer seven years for the death of Jesus."

This story contains many elements that are relevant to the Christian his­torical interpretation.

For instance, here the high priest causes the death of Jesus, as it is in the case of Jesus Christ and his brother, James; the crime brings about God's retribution; and the punishment for Jeshua/Jesus' death comes shortly afterwards.

Moreover, the paragraph offers clear causal argu­mentation ("and it was for this reason") for the miseries that befell the Jews: the terrible sin committed was followed by God's punishment. Even the kinds of retribution described in this chapter—the enslavement of the people and the desecration of the Temple—could very easily fit the Christian attitude; namely, that the punishment for the mistreatment of Jesus Christ was the over­throw and dispersion of the Jewish nation and the destruction of the Temple.

Indeed, Origen says this in his Contra Celsum IV, 22:

"I challenge anyone to prove my statement untrue if I say that the entire Jewish nation was destroyed less than one whole generation later on account of these sufferings which they inflicted upon Jesus. For it was, I believe, forty-two years from the time when they crucified Jesus to the destruction of Jerusalem. . . . For they committed the most impious crime of all, when they conspired against the Savior of mankind, in the city where they performed to God the customary rites which were symbols of profound mysteries. Therefore, that city where Jesus suffered these indignities had to be utterly destroyed. The Jewish nation had to be overthrown, and God's invitation to blessedness transferred to others, I mean the Christians, to whom came the teaching about the simple and pure worship of God."

It seems, therefore, that Josephus served Origen not so much for explicit documentation and direct quotation as for supporting his own Christian historiosophy.

Now we turn to Eusebius to observe the way he treated Josephus' account of James' martyrdom. But first we have to point out that Eusebius was Origen's successor at the school of Caesarea; he was not only acquainted with the works of Origen but also indebted to them. Eusebius, like Origen, regarded Josephus as an important historian, contemporary with Jesus, worthy of being quoted many times and of having his reputation stressed among Jews and Ro­mans alike.

It is, therefore, only natural that Eusebius grasped the full his­torical significance of Origen's observation that Josephus should have ex­plained differently the disaster that befell the Jews. So seriously did he take Origen's suggestion that he tried his best to follow it in his own History of the Church.

Indeed, Chapter 23 of this book is devoted to the martyrdom of James. In it Eusebius quotes various sources to prove the far-reaching historical implica­tion for Christianity and reveals he shared his master's opinion on that point. However, unlike Origen, who in indirect speech (oratio obliqua) stressed that Josephus allegedly recognized the causality between the killing of James and the destruction of Jerusalem, Eusebius quotes Josephus in direct speech (oratio recta), as can be seen from a comparison of the two quotations:

Origen, Contra Celsum I, 47:

"[he says that] these disasters befell the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, since they had killed him who was a very righteous man"

(Chadwick trans., p. 43).

Eusebius, History of the Church, II, 23, 20:

"These things happened to the Jews in requital for James the Righteous, who was a brother of Jesus known as Christ, for though he was the most righteous of men, the Jews put him to death"

(Wil­liamson trans., p. 102).

The precise parallelism between the two texts has already been remarked by Chadwick, who proved that Eusebius quoted Origen's passage verbatim, but changed it to direct speech. It seems that only his dogmatic adherence to Origen's interpretation of history can explain Eusebius' departure from his custom of exact and attribu­tive citation. Eusebius' faithfulness to Origen's interpretation is made ob­vious by his insistent refrain—sometimes without any reference to James' martyrdom—that the crime against Jesus resulted in the destruction of Jerusa­lem and of the Temple. In order to convince his readers, he, too, equates historical causality with sequential events, and points to a series of calami­ties that befell Jerusalem—all occurring under the procuratorship of Pilate, during whose regime the crime against Jesus was committed:

Beside this, the same writer shows that in Jerusalem itself a great many other revolts broke out, making it clear that from then on the city and all Judea were in the grip of faction, war, and an endless succession of criminal plots, until the final hour overtook them—the siege under Vespasian. Such was the penalty laid upon the Jews by divine justice for their crimes against Christ.

Loyalty to Origen is apparent in the way Eusebius applies Origen's recommen­dation of how Josephus should have explained the calamities of the Jewish nation. He subtly attributes such an explanation to Josephus himself, not by quoting him as one might have expected and as it was his custom, but by sum­ming up:

"His statements are confirmed by Josephus, who similarly points out that the calamities which overtook the whole nation began with the time of Pilate and the crimes against the Savior."

We seem to have come full circle: it begins with Origen's "emendation" of Josephus' explanation for the Jewish catastrophe, through James' citation, al­legedly from Josephus, but in fact deriving from Origen; then it continues with Eusebius' full application of Origen's proposal that events be given a Christian interpretation focused on the crucifixion by attempting to put into the mouth of Josephus the imputation that the Jews were punished because of their crime against Jesus.

On another thread, I was attempting to make send of the Eusebius "Josephus quotation":


Eusebius, History of the Church, II, 23, 20: "These things happened to the Jews in requital for James the Righteous, who was a brother of Jesus known as Christ, for though he was the most righteous of men, the Jews put him to death"

This might make sense of it.

(It sure beats Earl Doherty's theory that this was a "confusion" of Origen, in mistaking Hegesippus' words for Josephus, and the inspiration for Eusebius to simply amend the Ant. Book XX text to - FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! - say "brother of Jesus called Christ".)

(Theodoric refused to respond btw, instead attacked me for going off topic, while he offers no theory of his own, just claims)

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Replies to this message:
 Message 120 by Phat, posted 02-18-2019 3:32 AM LamarkNewAge has not replied

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Message 121 of 131 (848898)
02-18-2019 7:47 AM

I already posted a long post on this Josephus Ant. Book 20 IN ANOTHER THREAD.
(it was like 90% my own words)


See my post 1659

Theodoric did not respond in any meaningful way.

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Message 131 of 131 (848942)
02-18-2019 9:25 PM
Reply to: Message 114 by Theodoric
02-17-2019 8:48 PM

Origen is used to show the Testimonium Flavianum did not exist before 250 A.D.
Theodoric keeps blowing the Testimonium Flavianum (Josephus Ant. Book 18) flute.

He has really been performing a clever "bait and switch", because he keeps making comments like this, to "prove" that the Book 20 reference to "brother of Jesus called Christ" was forged.


As for Josephus you are less than honest in your comments. IN the Testimonium he is reputed to say.


He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ.

Not something an observant Jew would say. But more importantly it does not matter. This is not evidence of Jesus. It is evidence that people believed in him. No corroboration. Find corroboration.

Theodoric is not only a one note flute, but it always is with a bait and switch.

He follows this pattern.


Ask for first-century documents mentioning Christians and Biblical characters.


Wait for somebody to present them, which they will


Change the subject (such as Josephus Ant. Book 20) to another (Book 18).


Claim that one bit of evidence for later Christian tampering causes ALL other evidence to be thrown out.

(Did I miss anything?)

Now, what about Theodoric's law code?

This legal technicality argument is getting old.

(What law code are you applying anyway)

You push him long enough, and he responds:


As for Josephus, you miss my point completely. The one Jesus reference puts the other into doubt.

I think we all get your point.

But you can only really say the Testimonium Flavianum (Josephus Ant. Book 18 reference to Jesus: "He was the Christ") is likely a POST 250 CHRISTIAN INSERTION because Origen did not mention it, and the absence of mention by Origen is all the more impressive because he positively comments on Josephus' lack of belief in Jesus as Messiah. The evidence does seem to indicate that the TF is an insertion from around 300 A.D.

But Origin did say that Josephus mentioned the "brother of Jesus, called Christ" and he specifically described a murder. Origin even attempted to interpret Josephus' comments as somehow supportive of the idea that the killing of James caused the Temple to be destroyed.

Yet there were no textual changes, to Jospehus' Antiquities, that worked that powerful Christian idea (clearly held from the mid-second century Hegesippus through Origen in the first half of the third century and INTO THE FORTH) into the Josephus text.

The BOOK 20 (not the Book 18 TF!) text has no evidence of changes to fit Christian theological views of the history of the destruction of the Temple.

Origen lived from 184-253.

During Origens time:

The "brother of Jesus called Christ" in Book 20 was in Josephus' text, it seems.

The "He was the Christ" in Book 18 (Testimonium Flavianum) was not.

Theodoric says, "The one Jesus reference puts the other into doubt".

I can't prove that there were no changes, to Book 20, before 200 A.D. But it seems that there were no changes after 200. Changes (major ones too) to Book 18, around 300, only prove that Book 18 was changed.

Edited by LamarkNewAge, : No reason given.

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 Message 114 by Theodoric, posted 02-17-2019 8:48 PM Theodoric has not replied

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