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Josephus and Christ

QUESTION: Josephus and Christ-Did Josephus ever mention Jesus?


In various places throughout Josephus' writings, whether he is describing his personal life or depicting the history of his Jewish ancestors, one gets a clear picture of a distinct relationship between Josephus and Christ.

Josephus even devotes a whole dissertation to Jesus Christ. And when Josephus does not specifically cite by name Christ or Jesus, he makes generous allusions to that heavenly presence of power and omniscience.

From "The Life of Flavius Josephus," when Josephus speaks of a boat excursion he made at age 26, he says that it was by God's providence that he and his fellows did not drown after a near sinking in a storm.

When the residents of Galilee turned against Josephus and he contemplated his slim chances of living, Josephus openly committed the care of his life to God and opted not to run or even try to kill himself before his pursuers did.

Knowing how religious a man Josephus was, it is no surprise that the concept of God appears so frequently in his writings. Some thing or someone so intimate to an individual's heart will naturally have relevance to every area of life.

In Josephus' discourse to the Greeks, while defining Hades, he speaks with great boldness of Christ and God. "In this region [called Hades] . . . it is prepared for a day afore-determined by God, in which one righteous sentence shall deservedly be passed upon all men . . ."

". . . when the unjust and those that have been disobedient to God, and have given honor to such idols as have been the vain operations of the hands of men, as to God himself, shall be adjudged to this everlasting punishment . . . "

And "this is the discourse concerning Hades, wherein the souls of all men are confined until a proper season, which God hath determined, when he will make a resurrection of all men from the dead. . ." and, contrary to the Greek assumption that a resurrection of souls would not happen, "it must never be said of God that he is able to do some things, and unable to do others . . ."

Because, indeed, "at the might sound of God the Creator, [we] will sprout up, and be raised in a clothed and glorious condition . . . so that we have not rashly believed the resurrection of the body."

Josephus mentions Jesus in Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 3, paragraph 3 (this paragraph is so phenomenal, that scholars now debate the authenticity of some of the more "favorable" portions of this text):

"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."

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