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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?

 


THE JOSEPHUS TESTAMENT: WHERE DOES IT BELONG?

There is a text in Josephus that reads like a Christian creed.  Nobody thinks Josephus really wrote it.  It says Jesus did miracles and appeared alive after his death.

It has been noticed that it is out of place.  It is put in book 18 but there is no indication that it belongs where it is.
 
Just before it, there is the story of Pilate violently putting down a riot by the Jews who protested when he used holy money to fund a canal to Jerusalem. The story ends with the words, “This was how this rebellion was brought to an end.”
 
Then it goes on to the Jesus Testament which it begins by saying, “Now about the same time, a wise man called Jesus, etc”.
 
 After the Testament appears the account immediately proceeds to another sad calamity to befall the Jews and then he says he will diverge for a moment to tell the story about a Roman lady Paulina who was fooled for sex by a man she thought was the apparition of the god Anubis in the Temple of Isis. He said then he would return to the story of the Jews as he promised and then he wrote of the calamity that happened to the Jews. So we see then that when he allegedly wrote about Jesus he was determined not to digress without saying. At the time he wrote he was not into wandering all over the place with his words. What he did other times would have nothing to do with this for we all temporarily take on good and bad habits. Therefore the Testament is an insertion by a Christian forger.
 
The text about Jesus can be extracted and not missed for it is in the middle of a train of thought which proves that it is an insertion for it breaks the train (The Jesus Mysteries, page 137). It is not a weird digression for Josephus was well organised. Some object that since it appears between two paragraphs of separate material that this cannot be proved. But it claims that Jesus appeared after John died so it is out of chronology and the length is bizarre for it is too short for a man who wrote in detail about John and little about Jesus and centred on doctrine.

Because of the lady in the Temple story, Christians argue that the Jesus Testament could be authentic despite looking out of place for Josephus occasionally wandered from the topic anyway. After this Temple story digression which he stated was a digression he went on to discuss the calamity he had in mind which was the Jews been ejected from Rome. He Walked Among Us claims that the story of the lady seduced in the Temple of Isis is seriously out of context (page 43). This story starts with the words, "At this time another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder but I will go back to this later," so this book is lying to cover up the fact that the Testament is what is out of context or to minimise our perception of how out of place it is. It goes as far as to say that the story about the lady is what should be removed not the Testament. This is ridiculous for Josephus explicitly warned that he was digressing so it is not really out of context but no such warning exists for the Testament. The Jesus Testament is still out of context and the story of the lady does not make this any less true.
 
The only basis on which Christians and the book He Walked Among Us dismiss the idea that Josephus's entire book 18 can do perfectly well without the Testament is that those who think it can see a pattern in the book that deals with disasters that is not there and they argue that the woman is a digression so why couldn't Jesus be? We have seen that the lady in the temple is not an unexpected digression. The Jesus one is in a different category for there is no hint that it is a digression unlike the woman’s story. Josephus would not have started about a Jewish disaster and then got carried away about Jesus especially if he liked Jesus for he would have given what he was going to write about him more thought than treating it as a footnote or impromptu afterthought. He would have written his book out roughly first and so this aberration would have been fixed in the final version.
 
Josh McDowell's Evidence for Jesus is it Reliable? says that being out of context would not mean the Testament was a forgery because ancient writers often digressed for it was in a time that footnotes and stuff were not thought of. But even if the case is that we don't know if it is a case like that or if it is an insertion by a fraudster we still cannot rely on the passage for evidence about Jesus.  And why would Josephus digress so dramatically and not give some warning? The passage sticks out like a sore thumb. The passage starts with "At this time there was a man of wisdom called Jesus". At what time? Certainly not the time when Pilate put assassins in the middle of a Jewish rebellion. Clearly, it does not matter who digresses in ancient writings. What is relevant is, would Josephus digress without indication and was it his style? We know he wouldn't.
 
Some reason, “It could well be that Josephus was in the habit of inserting material into his finished book which gave the forger of the Testament the perfect chance to put in his little Christian creed. Paulina’s tale could be an instance of Josephus’s habit.” Even if we grant that the Testament is so out of place and he would have slotted it into the context just like he said he was digressing to put in the details about Paulina.
 
Josephus says immediately after the Testament that another calamity for the Jews happened. No hint was given that the death of Jesus was a calamity for the Jews. He denied it was for he said Jesus appeared after his death and the Jews wanted him dead and nothing bad came to the Jews because of it. The gospel of John says the Jews believed that it was better for Jesus to die than to risk antagonising the Romans who might turn on them all. Therefore the entire Jesus Testament was an insertion, a fabrication.
 
Josephus’ Testament speaks of Jesus a bit before it relates the terrible things that began to take place after the demise of John. This would contradict the gospels which all say that Jesus was baptised by John and was active before John’s demise and that he stole a lot of the light from John. If any part of the Testament is real then Josephus would not have believed the gospels and considered them to be silly lies. Some believe the time scale is spot on because the gospels speak of Herod thinking Jesus was John raised from the dead which can only mean that the gospels lied about Jesus’ actions and ministry before John’s demise.
 
If the Testament is not in its right place then that would destroy the link between Jesus and John the Baptist. We would have to wonder why when Jesus and John were so linked in the gospels why the Testament wasn’t put next to some John material. This would stand as a refutation of the gospels and their time-scale. Not that there is a solid link in Josephus except that it is near to it.
 
The Testament is just too avoidable and awkward where it is to be anything other than an interpolation – the claim that the concept of footnotes didn’t exist in those days and so what would have been footnotes were stuck in anywhere does not wash here. Why? Because even footnotes have some link to the text but the Jesus one has no link at all. Why would Josephus just think of it just like that? If he really liked Jesus he would have put a lot of thought into it and put it in a suitable place. It says he liked Jesus so it is a fake. Josephus would have written his book out roughly first before copying what he finally decided to write into the final manuscript. He had no need to wander from the point and had to be careful as to where he put data in case he would need to go back and revise it again. That was too much of a digression though everybody digresses a bit. This digression is too sharp and unexpected for comfort (Biblical Discrepancies).
 
Even if the Christians are right that there is no evidence that the Testament can be done without then we still don't know if it belongs there. To trust it would be like trusting a letter from your lover that could just as easily have come from her or a forger.
 
The fact that the insertion in Book 18 was not stuck in at Book 20 where there is an alleged reference to Jesus makes it plain that the original Book 20 never mentioned Jesus at all.
 
Josephus recounts the calamity of the protesters being slain first and then the Testament follows straight after and it begins by saying, “Now about the same time, a wise man called Jesus, etc”. So the impression given is that Jesus appeared at the time of the calamity – it has a dating function. But it was not a big enough event for that for slayings of Jews by Romans were common. This indicates that the Testament is an insertion.
 
Christians will object that he wrote about this time so it could give or take a few years. What use would that be. He says that another calamity befell the Jews and a shamefulness took place in the Temple of Isis at that time as well. He as good as wants the year in and that is how he says it. He wants us to know with sufficient accuracy when these events happened. The events happened in the same year if he is to mean anything at all.
 
He said that Jesus appeared at the time Pilate had the protesters slain – it was an unnecessary slaying at that for the Romans were able to go among the protestors in plain clothes without fear and then they withdrew their weapons and murdered them. This does not fit the Pilate who wanted to delight the Jews by killing Jesus that we have in the Testament. But enough digressing. He says the shame in the Temple and a disaster befell the Jews at the same time. This makes more sense if you leave the Testament out because then you have the slaying of the protestors and then the Temple shenanigans and the Jewish calamity said to be at the one time. But you can’t do this with the Testament for it says when Jesus appeared and gives events such as Jesus getting followers and then being killed which did not happen at the one time but would have taken a few years.
 
So what Josephus says is that at the time of the protesters being murdered, Jesus appeared and worked, died and rose and then at the same time the Temple seduction and the calamity happened which makes no sense because Jesus’ tale would have been a more long term thing spanning up to three years. When you leave it out the times make sense.
 
Another reason the Testament does not fit is that if Josephus liked Jesus so much then why would he describe the expulsion of Jews from Rome as another great calamity for the Jews for that would be disrespectful to Jesus? There is no comparison between the Messiah’s murder and Jewish men being exiled from Rome. And the Jews didn’t feel that Jesus’ death was a calamity.

I wonder though if that creed was among Josephus' notes and then some editor put it into his book.
 
The Testament does not belong in Josephus at all. End of.