Friday, December 04, 2009

by Bonnie Calhoun

I though today that I'd like to take a tiny peek at the historical evidence about Jesus.

My concentration will be on Flavius Josephus.

"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 among us, had condemned him to the cross, them 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" (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, bk. XVIII, chap.III, Section 3).

Flavius Josephus was a Pharisee and priest living in Jerusalem. Born in A.D. 37, following the death of Christ, he witnessed first-hand the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. He fought as a general of the Jewish rebel forces in Galilee in the war against Rome. Josephus was captured by the Romans at the fall of the city of Jotapata and became friends with the Roman general Vespasian.

As a historian, with access to both Roman and Jewish governmental records, he described the events in Israel during the turbulent decades of the first century. One of the most fascinating passages in his important history concerned the events in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Numerous liberal scholars have declared that this reference to Jesus Christ and other references to James and John the Baptist must be interpolations or forgeries by later Christian editors. Yet none of these so-called scholars can produce a single copy of Josephus' Antiquities that does not contain these passages on Jesus.

In another passage in Josephus' book Antiquities (bk.XX, chap.IX, sect. 1) he described the death of James, the brother of Jesus...

"As therefore Ananus (the High Priest)) was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus (the Roman Procurator) was now dead, and Albinus (the new Procurator) was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, togehter with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned."

Josephus also described the death of John the Baptist as follows: "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, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards on another, and piety towards hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people....thought it put him to death. (Antiquities of the Jews, bk.XVIII, chap. V, sect. 2)

These historical descriptions by Josephus, together with other sources, provide ample evidence that Jesus of Nazareth lived in the first century of this era!

Sorry...I had pictures but Blogger is being difficult!