Tuesday, August 16, 2016

(Series 1) First Century Romano-Jewish Historian, Josephus, Wrote About Jesus

Many of the same unbelievers who swear America was not founded primarily by Christians, no matter the historical record, also swear that Jesus Christ never really existed..... no matter the historical record. So here is what a first century, unbelieving historian wrote about Jesus, His brother, James, and John Baptist.

Rom.14:11 "For it is written (Isa.45:23), As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." 

The existence of Jesus Christ and Early Christians is not just recorded in the Bible, but is confirmed by non-Christian historical records soon after Christ's crucifixion.

A page from a 1466 copy of Antiquities of the Jews  the extant manuscripts of the writings of the 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus include references to Jesus and the origins of Christianity. Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93–94 AD (nearly 25 years after the first known Gospel, Mark, dated around 70 AD), ....includes two references to the biblical Jesus Christ in Books 18 and 20 and a reference to John the Baptist in Book 18.
in Book 18, Chapter 3, v.3 of the Antiquities, there is a passage that states that "Jesus the Messiah was a wise teacher who was crucified by Pilate".

Josephus also wrote this of James the brother of Jesus "And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, and thought he had now a proper opportunity. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king, desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrin without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months....

Josephus also wrote in Antiquities of the Jews Book 20, Chapter 9, that "The stoning of James the brother of Jesus" was "by order of Ananus ben Ananus, a Herodian-era High Priest". The James referred to in this passage is most likely James the first bishop of Jerusalem who is also called James the Just in Christian literature, and to whom the Epistle of James has been attributed. The passage on James is found in all manuscripts, including the Greek texts. The context of the passage is the period following the death of Porcius Festus, and the journey to Alexandria by Lucceius Albinus, the new Roman Procurator of Judea, who held that position from 62 AD to 64 AD. Because Albinus' journey to Alexandria had to have concluded no later than the summer of 62 AD, the date of James' death can be assigned with some certainty to around that year. The 2nd century chronicler Hegesippus also left an account of the death of James, and while the details he provides diverge from those of Josephus, the two accounts share similar elements. Modern scholarship has almost universally acknowledged the authenticity of the reference to "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James"....Moreover, in comparison with Hegesippus' account of James' death, most scholars consider Josephus' to be the more historically reliable.

Josephus also made reference to John the Baptist. "Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man... Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion... Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death." In the Antiquities of the Jews (Book 18, Chapter 5, 2) Josephus refers to the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist by order of Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee and Perea. The context of this reference is the 36 AD defeat of Herod Antipas in his conflict with Aretas IV of Nabatea, which the Jews of the time attributed to misfortune brought about by Herod's unjust execution of John. Almost all modern scholars consider this passage to be authentic in its entirety.... Because the death of John also appears prominently in the Christian gospels, this passage is considered an important connection between the events Josephus recorded, the chronology of the gospels and the dates for the ministry of Jesus. While this passage is the only reference to John the Baptist outside the New Testament, it is widely seen by most scholars as confirming the historicity of the baptisms that John performed. While both the gospels and Josephus refer to Herod Antipas killing John the Baptist, they differ on the details and the motive. The gospels present this as a consequence of the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias in defiance of Jewish law (as in Matthew 14:4, Mark 6:18); Josephus refers to it as a pre-emptive measure by Herod to quell a possible uprising. The difference in these two versions of Herod's reasons for killing John do not conflict and could both have been true. While Josephus identifies the location of the imprisonment of John as Machaerus, southeast of the mouth of the Jordan river, the gospels mention no location for the place where John was imprisoned. According to other historical accounts Machaerus was rebuilt by Herod the Great around 30 BC and then passed to Herod Antipas. The 36 AD date of the conflict with Aretas IV (mentioned by Josephus) is consistent with the approximate date of the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias estimated by other historical methods. Matthew and Mark were giving an account based on eye witnesses,and from a moral view, and at the time of John the Baptist's execution. Whereas, Josephus wrote from a political view, and years later. At any rate, very little of secular history, recorded by faulty humans, is broadly inclusive or totally accurate, but "All scripture is given by inspiration of God ...." 2 Tim.3:16.

This post will be followed by a second in a series of two. The second concerns
the historian, Publius Cornelius Tacitus, a non-Christian, Roman Senator who recorded certain facts about Jesus Christ and Christians in his works shortly after Josephus' record. RB

Much of this post was taken from Wickipedia Encyclopedia