Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


ESSAY: JOSEPHUS, DID NOT MENTION JESUS
 
Christians worry about how the gospel portrait of a Jesus who made a big social impact does not line up to the lack of interest in him outside Christian circles.

The first century Jewish historian Josephus allegedly wrote: “An end was put to this uprising. Now about the same time, a wise man called Jesus, if it be right to call him a man for he was a worker of wonderful works and a teacher of men who like to receive the truth. He won over to him many of the Jews and also many of the Gentiles. He was the Messiah or Christ. Pilate at the request of the chief men among us condemned him to crucifixion. When that happened those who loved at from the first did not abandon him because he appeared to them alive on the third day as the prophets of God had forecasted and not only that but ten thousand other things about him. The tribe of Christians called after him are not extinct even today. About this time another sad calamity put the Jews into great crisis and terrible disgusting things happened concerning the Temple of Isis in Rome.”
 
Even if Josephus wrote this we have testimonies from the New Testament itself that contradict him regarding when Jesus lived. The New Testament provides the best evidence that Jesus didn’t live at all. Much of the New Testament is older than his writings so it is what should be heeded if a conflict arises. This glowing reference to Jesus contradicts what he supposedly wrote in book 20 when he referred to James the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ.
 
Because Josephus was a Jew not a Christian and a supporter of the Roman Empire which didn’t tolerate Messiahs and considered allegiance to them to be treason against the divine Emperor in Rome this passage has been inserted or reworked by a Christian. The Romans sponsored his writing. If a Christian went to this trouble it would indicate that there was a need to fabricate evidence for the existence of Jesus. There can be no doubt that the passage is principally intended to bolster its main statement that there was a man called Jesus. The other details are just meant to back this up.

There is no need to suppose that any of this Jesus material is genuine. Arguments like that Josephus must have wrote that Jesus was a wise man for Christians didn’t use that terminology are silly, we have all heard Christians say that Jesus was a good man so why wouldn’t they say he was a wise one? The passage really shouldn’t be discussed in attempts to prove Jesus lived for it proves nothing. How could Josephus praise a man as wise who caused a riot in the Temple showing contempt for Roman and Jewish law?
 
The testimony says that that Jesus won disciples and was crucified under Pilate and rose BECAUSE the prophets spoke of these and countless others things about him. THE TESTAMENT DOES NOT CLAIM TO BE A TESTIMONY. WHAT IT CLAIMS IS THAT YOU MUST CHECK OUT THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES TO SEE IF WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT JESUS IS TRUE!! This is critically important. It means that even if Josephus did write the Testament it still does not help in the case for a historical Jesus because it depends on human interpretative ideas about Bible prophecies. It is not history that is here but faith. This means that his later reference to James being the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ is put into a new context. It is not saying Jesus existed because he indicated before that that this was a matter of faith. The evidence is overwhelming. Josephus and Rome and the Jews did not know of a Jesus of history.

When were the forgeries supporting Christianity implanted into Josephus' opus? Nobody knew about them before 320 AD. If the interpolations were in the early versions of Josephus the early Christian defenders of the faith would have used them to support their religious stance. Eusebius was the first person to write about the longer one and he did it in that year in his Demonstration of the Gospel. Eusebius stated that lying to get people to believe in Christianity was to be commended which is why many believe he was the forger of the Testament.
 
Origen in his famous Against Celsus, recorded that Josephus did not receive Jesus as his Saviour, Lord and Messiah and was amazed when Josephus praised James who was unjustly executed and who Josephus regarded as the brother of Jesus. It would be more natural, as well, for Origen to be amazingly amazed at what Josephus supposedly wrote about Jesus in the famous Testament of Flavius. It was not in the text in those days. When Origen was so gobsmacked then his Josephus did not mention Jesus in nice terms at all. Origen did not quote the stuff about Josephus saying Jesus was the Messiah and rose from the dead to Celsus though he wrote a lot against Celsus to defend the faith against Celsus’ scepticism about Christianity’s’ claims meaning it did not exist in the works of Josephus in his time. Celsus rejected Jesus’ morals and Origen couldn’t even use Josephus to argue that Jesus had been stated by a non-Christian to have been a good man. Josephus never mentioned the man at all.
 
Justin Martyr, Tertullian and Cyprian did not know that Josephus had any faith in Christ therefore their silence proves that he didn't. It must have been a Christian copyist who inserted the Testament. This Christian forger of the Testament did not know much about Jesus and had leanings towards the Christian tendency to deny that Jesus was a proper man but just God or an angel in a human body without a human mind. The interpolation was put in by somebody who did not believe that Jesus was God for that is too foundational a detail to leave out.
 
It is surmised that the Testament was not mentioned in the first few centuries because the existence of Jesus was not questioned by any important people or groups. The existence was questioned for example by Trypho the Jew Justin argued with for example but lets pretend the objection is right. The resurrection and the miracles were questioned as were the Messiahship and the divinity of Christ. The Christians had four very serious reasons then to use and cherish the text and they did not because it did not exist. They would not have known that it was a fake so that could not have put them off. The text would not be still extant if it had been recognised for the fraud it was.
 
In book 20 of Jewish Antiquities another reference to Jesus appears.  This is the place where Origen and others used to read a glowing report about James which is currently rejected as an insertion. This part of Josephus’ work was tampered with so we have no reason to trust its mention of Jesus.

“Ananus...called together the Sanhedrin and brought the brother of Jesus the so-called Messiah/Christ, James by name, together with some others. He accused them of breaking the Law and condemned them to death by stoning. But the experts of the Law who were more liberal were angry at this and secretly requested the king stop this from happening” (Jewish Antiquities, Book 20).
 
Calling James the brother of the Christ or the Lord was a title given to James by the early Church.
 
Josephus would not call Jesus the so-called Christ when it was not the Jews or the Romans were calling Christ but a tiny persecuted and obscure sect that never made the news. 
 
Maybe Josephus was saying James brother of the so called Christ as in a sneer. That would mean the line can’t prove if Jesus was thought to have existed or not. If James claimed to be very close to the risen Christ he might be called this in a sneering way.
 
In Galatians 1:19, Paul says that he met James the Lord's brother. This seems to say that Jesus lived in the first century when his brother was still alive. But the most important thing to realise is that Paul told Philemon that Onesimus the slave was to be his blood-brother and not just a brother in the Lord so blood-brother among the early Christians didn’t always mean that you shared a parent. Josephus who also called James Jesus’ brother could have made a mistake due to this confusing practice. The practice probably had a lot to do with the universal accusations of incest that supposedly was rife among the early Christians.
 
Tacitus the Roman Governor of Asia supposedly wrote about Jesus in 112 AD. Tacitus makes it plain that the Christians were detested in Rome because they got blamed for the fire of 64 AD which some believed that Nero himself had started. How then could Josephus who depended on Romans to look after his publications and buy them for the Jews hated him have spoken so well of Jesus or of James his brother either? The official verdict in Roman law was that Christians had a murderous hatred of Rome.
 
There were countless Christian believers in the early Church who did not subscribe to the thought that a man died under Pilate by crucifixion and rose again from the dead in the first century. To them Jesus was a vision from Heaven. Would Josephus then simply talk about a man who there was so much controversy about as if he was a real flesh and blood man? No. He would have had to give his reasons for saying Jesus was a man.
 
Josephus who wrote the intimate details of Jewish history down for the Romans ignored Christ. This indicates that he thought that Jesus never lived.